28 October 2008

If We Are to Survive This Dark Time

There is only too much reason to fear that Western civilization, if not the whole world, is likely in the near future to go through a period of immense sorrow and suffering and pain--a period during which, if we are not careful to remember them, the things that we are attempting to preserve may be forgotten in bitterness and poverty and disorder. Courage, hope, and unshakable conviction will be necessary if we are to emerge from the dark time ...

It is not the first time that such disasters have threatened the Western world. The fall of Rome was another such time ...

Two very different conceptions of human life are struggling for mastery of the world. In the West we see man's greatness in the individual life. A great society for us is one which is composed of individuals who, as far as is humanly possible, are happy, free, and creative. We do not think that individuals should be alike. ... He should have his personal conscience and his personal aims, which he should be free to develop except where they can be shown to cause injury to others. ...

If bad times lie ahead of us, we should remember while they last the slow march of man, chequered in the past by devastations and retrogressions, but always resuming the movement toward progress. ...

It is to the possible achievements of man that our ultimate loyalty is due, and in that thought the brief troubles of our unquiet epoch become endurable. Much wisdom remains to be learned, and if it is only to be learned through adversity, we must endeavour to endure adversity with what fortitude we can command. But if we can acquire wisdom soon enough, adversity may not be necessary and the future of man may be happier than any part of his past.

Bertrand Russell essay, 1961, "If We Are to Survive This Dark Time"

It took many tens of thousands of years for the right men (and women) to come together to create the most enlightened document of political governance known to history, in Philadelphia of the 1780s. It may take only a few years for the most unenlightened of humans to destroy that document, and the brave national experiment it has guided for just over two centuries.

If other nations were prepared to accept the standard of freedom and protection of individual rights from the excesses of government, the loss would not be as great to mankind as a whole. Without such alternate standard-bearers, a destructive retrogression to a malignant growth of the state at the expense of individual liberties and potential is virtually guaranteed. Things were proceeding in that direction in fits and starts, regardless. With a simple turn of the screw on a US November day, all obstacles to the free flow of populist decadence can fall away.

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Blogger yamahaeleven said...


Did you lose a couple of dollars in the market?

Tuesday, 28 October, 2008  
Blogger al fin said...

Of course. So did you. So did your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. That is how wealth evaporates when government idiots from Carter to Clinton to Dodd to Frank to Maxine Waters and the rest of them tell banks how to make loans.

You know the funny thing? It's not over.

Tuesday, 28 October, 2008  
Blogger yamahaeleven said...

I've been pretty lucky so far, sold my house at the peak of the housing market, and started buying stock when the DOW began going below 10K. I just keep my eye, and ears, on a few bell-weather people in my network. When they start panicking and say "sell!!," I buy, when they buy, I sell. Has been working like a charm. The more conviction someone has, the more I'm inclined to do the exact opposite of what they recommend.

Thursday, 30 October, 2008  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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