Sunday, 14 September 2008


No, not capitalism, CAPITALISM - the INSISTENCE on using UPPER case for ALL the SIGNIFICANT words in EVERY SENTENCE, ESPECIALLY in ELECTRONIC formats like THIS one. CAPITALISTS do not REALISE that CAPITALISING a sentence's most IMPORTANT words makes it HARDER not EASIER to understand. CAPITALISTS, I implore you: rely instead on the natural emphasis inherent in well constructed prose. Listen to the rhythm of what you write: if the words don't jive, rearrange them, don't just make some of them bigger.

But if it was capitalism you were after, I don't want to disappoint you. Here's where you can find out more about capitalism:
  • The Ayn Rand Lexicon for a basic definition and further explication drawn from AR's writings. The entry starts with this:
    Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

    The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man’s right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.

  • The ARI's Capitalism page for op-eds, articles, lectures, videos and books aimed at the general public and businessmen

  • Clemson Institute for a university website with links to study resources.

  • If you read just one book from the Clemson's bibliography of capitalism classics, let it be Frederic Bastiat's The Law

The strangled remnants of capitalism in today's mixed economies are responsible for the wealth and freedom we still enjoy. If we understood the moral foundations of capitalism, we would clamour for less, not more regulation of economic activity.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Ironing Board Philosophy

Eurkea! Yes, I have found the solution to my ironing-bored problem. (Sorry about the pun but I can't help it, being British.) The lovely flower has two roots: web technology and Dr Leonard Peikoff. I recently bought a Mac iBook to replace my ancient PC. The laptop is easy to carry and of course has a wireless internet connection, so I can surf from anywhere in the house. When I have ironing to do, I connect to Dr Peikoff's website, download his latest podcast, and stow the Mac on the little shelf beneath the ironing board (I think it's meant for folded shirts). Then I listen to Dr Peikoff's benevolent, frequently witty and always original views on the topics raised by his audience; and I zip cheerily through my load of crumpled clothing in what seems like no time at all.

According to Myrhaf's recent post, I can look forward to LP's answers on the following: "sex with prostitutes, can a whore have a heart of gold, is the absence of evidence not the same as evidence of absence (an argument for God), can one be a Howard Roark or John Galt and still believe in God, why does Roark says he would sacrifice his life for Wynand, does faith lead to better health, and reading Rand's fiction or non-fiction books first". Tomorrow's ironing session should be good.

My opinion on the last topic: read Ayn Rand's fiction first!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Old Hats

The ancient ladies from sunny Tanagra:

A well-bronzed male showing off the same fashion:

A much younger man in a beautifully polished hard hat adorned with flowing horse hair:

Two other young men sporting full heads of bear hair:

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Demented music

All of the following drive me up the wall:
  • An English Country Garden.

  • Not sure that it's demented? Just listen to it. Even Nana Mouskouri can't make it bearable. It's a traditional song that used to be learned by every English schoolchild and perhaps still is. I learned it at boarding school in Rhodesia (demented enough then, infinitely more demented now as Zimbabwe).

  • Gilbert and Sullivan. Tit-willow, tit=willow, tit-willow - what does that mean?

  • (The Mikado is another legacy from my Rhodesian boarding school.)

  • Anything played on the pipes of Pan.

  • It's like nails being cheerily hammered into your head. I'd rather be a hammer than a nail... Aaaaaaargh!

  • Mozart. Respect - really - but, apart from a few songs, I can't stand his music.

Absolutely barking.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Dolphin Lamppost

Now that's what I call a lamppost!

(It's in a quiet part of central London a little north of Hyde Park.)