"The integrity of Diogenes has much to do with his independence. He was not interested in advancing his career, winning the favor of princes, or making money. He didn't flatter his teachers or the public. When he spoke, there was no reason to distrust what he said. ... In today's world we have become very comfortable buying and selling things. It is also our habit to say what is pleasing to our superiors. More and more, our culture emphasizes the necessity of having a career, of promoting oneself, of making money and impressing other people. To be wise, to love wisdom, requires a different emphasis than that of today's culture. It requires an emphasis on truth and clarity. ... And when rank and privilege are abused, when truth is disregarded, what is the underling to do? ... The crisis of our time is a crisis of intellectual integrity. We are suffering a deluge, in which, common sense is drowned by the career logic of millions of nonentities. They are nonentites because they are careerists, because they have our something trivial above what is non-trivial. Their indifference to truth is seen in their daily compromises, their evasions, their manipulations of each other. ... But the salvation of a country--of any country--usually boils down to the wilingness of one respected figure taking an unpopular stand, or of one subordinate risking the wrath of his superior. ... To hide what we think, and disguise our true thoughts, is to act the part of a slave or an underling who serves his master by fooling him. This is not a position of self respect. It is a position of retreat and compromise. Isn't it better to speak the truth?," JRN, 27 March 2009, link: http://www.financialsense.com/stormwatch/geo/pastanalysis/2009/0327.html.
Friday, May 1, 2009
"One might ask, 'Where do you want your country to be--in three years, five years, or ten years?' Will you have a country in three years? And if you don't have a country, will you have work? Will you have food? Will you have security? To paraphrase Cato the Younger, 'If you want to keep all your fancy furniture, perhaps now is the time to do something for the Republic.' Life in consumer society has been about self-gratification. The most important questions have hedonistic assumptions built-in. Such are not questions at all. They are ready-made answers, in fact. ... The question that is missed, that is left out by the self-help gurus, is that of fundamental identity: Who are you? We've been told for many years that we can be anything we want. And it isn't true. We cannot all be rich. We cannot all be the King of England. ... Today's ideological gurus and demogogues talk of a 'great society' or eliminating poverty. We have our 'war against drugs' and all that nonsense about educating everybody. Oh yes, we would like to be a nation of aristocrats. Americans pick crops? No way. ... Russian President Dmitri Medvedev is one of America's enemies. This week he gave a speech that glistened with self-knowledge. He announced a 'large-scale' rearmament, what he called 'a qualitative modernization of our Armed Forces to give them a new, forward-looking perspective.' ... Most Americans do not know who they are. Instead, they have goals. ... For the Russians, however, 2011 is the year that Russia's military will be thoroughly 'buff.' To their way of thinking, the economic crisis will not be over. Rather, the Americans will be ripe", my emphasis, JR Nyquist (JRN), 20 March 2009, link:
Excepting the belief Russia is an enemy, I agree with JRN. Yes, we act as if we can do anything, even send 85 IQ kids to Caltech to major in physics. Well maybe not that; Harvard to major in philosophy.
It's not better to speak the truth as a Big 87654 CPA, that's for sure.