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Some favourite quotes from Karl Popper

Karl Popper is without doubt my favourite character in political philosophy. He was rational, believing knowledge and truth to be objective, but aware of the boundaries of reason. A scientist but concerned with the mechanisms of society. By humanitarian inclination a social democrat — when that meant “Marxist” — but by reason a liberal: a believer in freedom. In the course of things, I rediscovered these quotations by Popper, which seem apt today, as we hastily seek solutions to our […]

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The American Museum in Britain, Bath

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This past weekend, we visited the American Museum in Britain. It was thought-provoking: America was of course conceived in liberty but American history, like every nation’s, is filled with examples of man’s inhumanity to man. The exhibition began with a wall of quotations from significant figures. These particularly stood out: William Penn (1644-1718): Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants. Albert Einstein1: Never do anything against conscience even if the state demands it. […]

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“Bad Thoughts, a guide to clear thinking” — Jamie Whyte

Jamie Whyte’s book “Bad Thoughts” is a tremendous guide for those who are seriously interested in the welfare of everyone in society, and who are not prepared to separate moral and intellectual seriousness. Whyte’s 152-page book is entertaining and relevant and I do recommend it. In the meantime, I offer a brief and possibly inadequate guide to the key points here.

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Atlas Shrugged

Yesterday, I finished Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, a book which seems to be enjoying a fashionable resurgence. Atlas Shrugged is, from the jacket: The astounding story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world — and did. … It is a mystery story, not about the murder of a man’s body, but about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit. The novel articulates Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism: objective reality, reason, self-interest and […]

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The Abolition of Man

C S Lewis’ book The Abolition of Man is presented as three lectures examining the ultimate outcome of a philosophy which seeks to abandon the Tao: the body of natural law. In his first lecture, Lewis illustrates the trend of his time to disregard values and emotions: to dismiss them, encouraging instead a subjective approach. He explains that those who lack these values are “men without chests”, not having the trunk which unites intellectual man with animal man. He goes […]

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Rational Self-Interest — Ayn Rand Lexicon

In exploring Ayn Rand’s Objectivism, I found this: When one speaks of man’s right to exist for his own sake, for his own rational self-interest, most people assume automatically that this means his right to sacrifice others. Such an assumption is a confession of their own belief that to injure, enslave, rob or murder others is in man’s self-interest—which he must selflessly renounce. The idea that man’s self-interest can be served only by a non-sacrificial relationship with others has never […]

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The Spell of Plato

At a friend’s request, I spoke to a sixth form class on “The Spell of Plato”, explaining how Plato’s philosophy is relevant today. As the title suggests, I used Popper’s critique of Plato’s philosophy to explore these two propositions: Government ought to control us to ensure social, political and economic justice. We ought to control ourselves within the law to ensure freedom and progress. We discovered that Plato’s Spell — his plan for building the perfect state in which every […]

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Telegraph – “ECB goes nuclear as EU leaders plan to ‘civilise’ capitalism”

“The ECB is doing whatever it takes to unclog the interbank market,” said Gilles Moec, from Bank of America, who described the move as “spectacular” volte-face and a belated recognition that the credit crisis is deadly serious. The monetary blitz was welcomed in Brussels, where EU leaders were meeting yet again, just days after agreeing to the most comprehensive bank bail-out in history. “We are not at the end of the crisis, we are still living in dangerous times,” said […]

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New page: Bibliography

You’ll find a new page listed in the sidebar, a political bibliography. I hope you find some of these books useful. Those who say, ‘Let’s take the politics out of (whatever)’, would do well to understand that there are people who believe liberty is power and people who believe liberty is the absence of coercion. Beware of acquiescence to people of the former philosophy. Know that if you truly want to take the politics out of something in your life, […]

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