Friday, December 24, 2010

Frank Lloyd Wright: “Man the Enlightened Being”

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Architect Frank Lloyd Wright used to send out his poetic Christmas message on “Man the Enlightened Being” his poetic Christmas message on “man the enlightened being” every Christmas time. So do I. [Note that Wright did not understand the word ‘Democracy’ to mean “a counting of heads regardless of content” as we do at 'Not PC'; by the word “Democracy,” Wright himself simply means Freedom.]

“The herd disappears and reappears," says Wright's message, "but the sovereignty of the individual persists." What better time of year to reflect on that.

_Quote Literature tells about man. Architecture presents him. The Architecture that our man of Democracy needs and prophecies is bound to be different from that of the common or conditioned man of any other socialized system of belief. As never before, this new Free-Man’s Architecture will present him by being true to his own nature in all such expressions. . .
    With renewed vision, the modern man will use the new tools Science lavishes upon him (even before he is ready for them) to enlarge his field of action by reducing his fetters to exterior controls, especially those of organized Authority, publicity, or political expediency. He will use his new tools to develop his own Art and Religion as the means to keep him free, as himself. Therefore this democratic man’s environment, like his mind, will never be style-ized. When and wherever he builds he will not consent to be boxed. He will himself have his style.
    The Democratic man demands conscientious liberty for himself no more nor less than he demands liberty for his neighbor. . .
    Whenever organic justice is denied him he will not believe he can get it by murder but must obtain it by continuing fair dealing and enlightenment at whatever cost. He will never force upon others his own beliefs nor his own ways. He will display his social methods to others as best advantage as critic or missionary only when sought by them.
    His neighbor will be to him (as he is to himself) free to choose his own way according to his own light, their common cause being the vision of the uncommon-man wherein every man is free to grow to the stature his freedom in America under the Constitution of these United States grants him.
    Exterior compulsion absent in him, no man need be inimical to him. Conscience, thus indispensable to his own freedom, becomes normal to every man. . .
    Remember the men who gave us our [American] Nation. We have ‘the Declaration’ and our Constitution because they were individualist. Great Art is still living for us only because of Individualists like Beethoven. We have creative men on earth today only as they are free to continually arise as individuals from obscurity to demonstrate their dignity and worth above the confusion raised by the herding of the common-man by aid of the scribes and Pharisees of his time—quantity ignoring or overwhelming quality. The herd disappears and reappears but the sovereignty of the individual persists. . .

Read on here for the full message: “Man, the Enlightened Being” by Frank Lloyd Wright, and remember to have a great individualistic holiday season.

And remember this useful advice about responsible holiday drinking: Don’t underestimate when you’re at the bottle store. When there’s serious celebrating to be done, it would be irresponsible to run out.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Jellyfish and broken arses

Libz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.

      This week:  Jellyfish and broken arses

  • NZ HERALD: “Plan opens ACC to private insurersAccident Compensation Corporation Minister Nick Smith confirms his decision “in principle” to allow competition in the workplace insurance market…

THE DOCTOR SAYS: Talk about spineless! If Nick Smith believed privatizing the Accident Compensation Corporation was right “in principle,” surely he would just do it rather than pussyfooting about seeking a “mandate” from voters. Either the man believes privatisation is the right thing to do, or he doesn’t. Simple as that.
    This blue-green invertebrate had six months to consider a “stocktake” on the ACC which recommended it exit the market for workplace insurance. And still he rejected doing it!
    Let’s face it, Nick Smith is a blue socialist, a supporter of big government, and any downsizing of the state will only happen over his dead body. That’s why you should NOT waste your vote on the BlueLabour Party, and instead consider voting for a party that has unflinchingly supported the privatisation of workplace insurance because it is the moral thing to do.
    This piss-weak effort from tree-hugger Smith is just further confirmation that BlueLabour are too scared to act on principle in case someone, somewhere might take offence.
    For the record, a Libertarianz government would not postpone decisions until after the next election. It would carry out its pledges according to its principles of individual sovereignty, private property rights, limited government and capitalism (essentially the same thing expressed in four ways).
    ACC could be gone by lunchtime, with employers and workers given the choice of whether they wanted to insure themselves or to carry their accident liability risk themselves.
    If Nick Smith and BlueLabour really believed privatizing ACC was the right thing to do, they would have done it early last year. Don’t waste your vote again on these jellyfish. Next year is election year. Turn over a new leaf and vote according to your core beliefs. If you believe in the justice of the free market, and in getting government out of your life, there is only one party that fits the bill – LIBERTARIANZ.
    After all, are you any better off now than you were under Helen Clark?    

THE DOCTOR SAYS: What a breath of fresh air! At last, someone from a mainstream political party in the Western hemisphere who recognises drug prohibition is a failure and decriminalisation is the answer.  
    Bob Ainsworth gives the reasons why the government should leave adults alone to make their own decisions about self-medication: “Prohibition fails to reduce the harm that drugs cause in the UK, fuelling burglaries, gifting the trade to gangsters and increasing HIV infections. The war on drugs creates the conditions that perpetuate the illegal trade.”
    Ainsworth envisages a system of regulated sales of drugs via doctors and pharmacies. I see this as a transitional policy until people become used to the idea that drugs can be accessed legally and safely. Eventually, adults should have access to low-cost, high-quality medication – and the best way to deliver that is via a free and open market.
    Only thing is – why didn’t Mr Ainsworth say all this during the thirteen years his party was in government? Already, Labour party leader Ed the Red Miliband has shown himself incapable of abstract thought by his whining copout: “What about the children?”
    The children, Mr Miliband, are the responsibility of their parents who hold their rights in trust until the children are old enough to assume these rights themselves. No sensible person is advocating making drugs available to minors without the express permission and supervision of their parents.
    Anyway, parents administer potentially fatal drugs to their children every day – for example, paracetamol – with very low rates of overdose or other problems.
    Conservative Party deputy leader Peter Lilley is sympathetic to Mr Ainsworth’s sentiments, even if he makes the rather artificial distinction between “soft” and “hard” drugs.
    However, Tory crime prevention minister James Brokenshire disagrees, saying legalization “fails to address the reasons people misuse drugs in the first place, or the misery, cost and lost opportunities that dependence causes individuals, families and the wider community.”
    Bah, humbug. Perhaps Minister Broken-arse should consider the misery, cost and lost opportunities that decades of socialism (and, more recently, the Islamisation of large parts of the UK) has caused tens of millions of British people.
    The libertarian solution to the man-made problem of drug prohibition is to hand back to people dominion over their own bodies, and make the challenge of medicational misuse a health issue and not a criminal one.
    Let adults decide for themselves what they put into their bodies, but hold them responsible for the consequences of their actions at all times._richardmcgrath

And with that sage advice I bid you goodbye for 2010.
Enjoy the Festive Season, and I look forward to seeing you back in the New Year.
Cheers!                
Doc McGrath

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Have a Salacious Saturnalia!

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Those cunning secularists, perverting the “reason for the season”!  We hear the same complaints every year, from Fox News to the Vatican, that "Christ is being taken out of Christmas," about the "War against Christmas" (TM) --  about the "widespread revolt" against "Christian values” and “Christian symbols” –about the prevalence of "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" greetings.

Here's what I say to those complainers:  Get a life.  Learn some history. And try a Christmas joke:

Q: "What's the difference between God and Santa Claus?"
A: "There is no God."

Ha ha ha.  The harsh fact is, customers, there is no God, and Christ was never even in Christmas --except in fiction and by order of the first Popes. 

_Quote None of the four gospels gives any notion of what time of year (let alone in what year) the supposed Nativity occurred. Only two gospels mention the virginity of Mary and only one has any mention of a "manger" [i.e., a trough]. Nowhere is there any record of a "stable." Wise men and shepherds are likewise very unevenly distributed throughout the discrepant accounts. So that the placement of a creche surrounded by a motley crew of humans and animals has no more Scriptural warrant than does The Life of Brian. Moreover, the erection of this exhibit near the turn of the year is actually a placation of the old Norse gods of the winter solstice - or "Yule" as the pre-Christians sometimes called it.
    I myself [
says Christopher Hitchens] repose no faith in any man-made text or made-man redeemer, so when it's Christmas I say "Merry Christmas" with a clear conscience, as I respect Ramadan and Passover, and also because "Happy Holidays" is so thin and insipid. I don't mind if Christians honor the moment by displaying, and singing about, reindeer (a hard species to find in the greater Jerusalem/Bethlehem area). Same for the pine and fir trees that also don't grow in Palestine. I wish everybody joy of it.

And so do I. I just wish the Christians would leave off bashing us over the head with their myth—and their values.

Jesus wasn't even born in December, let alone at Christmas time: he was born in July* -- which makes him a cancer**.  Just like religion. 

And God doesn’t even like Christmas trees, for Chrissake!

Historians themselves know the "reason for the season," and it's not because of anything that happened away in a stable at a time opf a non-existent census.  Even the Archbishop of Canterbury knows the truth, conceding a couple of Christmasses ago that the Christmas story and the Three Wise Men - the whole Nativity thing itself --  is all just "a legend."

And I like myths and legends. I’m even happier when we remember they’re stories, not historical accounts.

Fact is, 'Christmas' itself was originally not even a Christian festival at all.  The celebration we now all enjoy was originally the lusty pagan festival to celebrate the winter solstice, the festival that eventually became the Roman Saturnalia. This time of year in the northern hemisphere (from whence these traditions started) is when days stopped getting darker and darker, and started once again to lengthen.  This was a time of the year for optimism.  The end of the hardest part of the year was in sight (particularly important up in Lapland, the pagan home of the Norsemen where all-day darkness was the winter rule), and food stocks would soon be replenished. 

All this was something worth celebrating with enthusiasm, with gusto and with plenty of food and drink and pleasures of the flesh -- and if those Norse sagas tell us anything, they tell us those pagans knew a thing or two about that sort of celebration!  They celebrated a truly Salacious Saturnalia.

One popular celebration involved having a chap put on the horns and skin of the dead animal being roasted in the fire (worn with the fur side inside and the blood-red side outside ), and giving out gifts of food to revellers.  This guy represented Satan, and the revellers celebrated beating him back for another year by making him a figure of fun (I swear, I'm not making this up).  Observant readers will spot that the gift-giving and the fur-lined red outfit (and even the name, almost) are still with us in the form of Santa.  So Happy Satanmas, Santa!

SUCH WERE THE celebrations of the past.  But the Dark Age Christian do-gooders didn’t like the pagan revels.  Instead of bacchanalia, these ghouls of the graveyard wanted instead to talk about suffering and their sores, and to spread the misery of their religion worldwide; instead of throwing themselves into such lewd and lusty revels, they thought everyone should be sitting at home mortifying their flesh  – and  very soon they hit upon a solution: first they stole the festivals, and then they sanitised them.  Instead of lusty revels with Satan and mistletoe, we got insipid nonsense around a manger.  (Just think, the first 'Grinch' who stole Christmas was really a Pope!) 

So given this actual history, it's somewhat churlish of today's sanitised saints of sobriety to be complaining now about history reasserting itself and claiming Christmas back.

AND THE VERY BEST OF Christmas is still very much pagan. The mistletoe, the trees, and the presents; the drinking and eating and all the red-blooded celebrations; the gift-giving, the trees and the decorations; the eating and the singing; the whole full-blooded, rip-roaring, free-wheeling, overwhelming, benevolent materialism of the holiday -- all of it all fun, and all of it fully, one-hundred percent pagan. Says Leonard Peikoff in 'Why Christmas Should Be More Commercial', the festival is "an exuberant display of human ingenuity, capitalist productivity, and the enjoyment of life." I'll drink to all that, and then I'll come back right back up again for seconds. Ayn Rand sums it up for mine, rather more benevolently than my brief introduction might have led you to expect:

    “The secular meaning of the Christmas holiday is wider than the tenets of any particular religion: it is good will toward men—a frame of mind which is not the exclusive property (though it is supposed to be part, but is a largely unobserved part) of the Christian religion.
The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: ‘Merry Christmas’—not ‘Weep and Repent.’ And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form—by giving presents to one’s friends, or by sending them cards in token of remembrance....
    “The best aspect of Christmas is the aspect usually decried by the mystics: the fact that Christmas has been commercialized. The gift-buying is good for business and good for the country’s economy; but, more importantly in this context, it stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decoration put up by department stores and other institutions—the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors—provide the city with a spectacular display, which only ‘commercial greed’ could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle.

And so say all of us.  I wish you all, wherever you are a  Cool Yule, a Salacious Saturnalia, and a very Happy Christmas.

I’ll see you back again in the New Year.

Be as good as you can be while I’m gone.***

PS: Here’s some related Hot Facts from the Hot Facts Girl.

* Yes, this is simply a rhetorical flourish. Jesus' birth may have happened in March. Or in September -- or not at all -- but it certainly did not happen in December. More on that here.

** "A cancer. Like religion." Think that's harsh? You should try Landover Baptist's Bible Quizzes. Or Sam Harris's 'Atheist Manifesto.' Ouch! [Hat tip for both, good old Stephen Hicks] And, I confess, I pinched the quip from Australian comedy team The Doug Anthony All Stars.

*** Yes, I’ll be gone, but you’ll not be totally forgotten. Bernard Darnton and Doc McGrath have columns still to come. Jeff Perren can never keep his fingers too far from his keyboard. And, unfortunately, our place in Matakana does have internet access . . .

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Have an earthly commercial Christmas

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 IS CHRISTMAS TOO COMMERCIAL? Hell, no! You hear the same complaint every year, but for many retailers this year and last, Christmas hasn’t been commercial enough.

And according to at least one sane person, Commercialism Only Adds to Joy of the Holidays.  “It's the season for earthly pleasures,” says Ayn Rand enthusiast Onkar Ghate, “and embracing the spectacle is no sin.”

Actually, he had me at “earthly pleasures.”

Anyway, complaining about the “commercialisation” of Christmas pretty much misses the point anyway, because Christmas is the most benevolent and frankly commercial holiday in the catalogue. It was designed that way.

_Quote Christmas as we know it, with its twinkling lights, flying reindeer, and dancing snowmen, is largely a creation of 19th-century America. One of the most un-Christian periods in Western history, it was a time of worldly invention, industrialization, and profit. Only such an era would think of a holiday dominated by commercialism and joy and sense the connection between the two.

As Ghate says, Christmas is a time of unabashed earthly joy.  That’s what’s good about it. Like philosopher Leonard Peikoff says, at Christmas time we don't say "sacrifice and repent," we say enjoy yourself and thrive!  And we do, whatever the economic climate. We get together with workmates, friends and loved ones, celebrating the year with gusto; we give gifts to people we value, whose friendship and company we want to celebrate. Toasts are made and livers threatened. Boats full of happy people cruise the harbour; laughing diners fill restaurants; shops overflow (well,most years) with people buying gifts to make people happy who make them happy; and glasses full of enlivening liquids are raised the heavens to celebrate life here on earth. 

So what's not to like about Christmas being commercial? About capitalist gift-giving between consenting adults—and even children.

Because that sort of secular celebration is the real meaning of Christmas. Christmas is not really about a chap who came to earth to deliver “Good News” like this:

_Quote_Idiot If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife,
and children
, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he
cannot be my disciple.--[
Luke 14:26]

Because even if this was his birthday (which it isn’t) that’s not something you’d want to celebrate. No, in any case, Christmas is a good old pagan holiday taken over and rechristened. So let’s take it back and celebrate it like all good pagans should—like these enthusiastic Norsemen singing a song by Verdi for which the loose translation is ‘Wet Your Throat.’

Let me leave you now with “Five Golden Hemorrhoids: A Biblically Correct Version of The Twelve Days of Christmas

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Don’t panic, children

Children especially might enjoy this update…

_Quote_Idiot INDEPENDENT, UK (March, 2000):  “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
Britain's winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives …
    According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become "a very rare and exciting event” …
    “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said

Don’t worry children. Fast forward to today:

And don’t worry. Several feet of global warming over Britain is just one of those signs that global warming is definitely still happening.

Here’s Mahalia Jackson. Still dreaming…

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Oh dear

I’ve just started packing for the holidays. And I think I’ve overdone the books again.

PICT0018

Thanks to all the NOT PC readers who’ve very kindly donated to help keep my library growing. You make it more difficult every year to pack my suitcase. :-)

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Carols for Godless People . . .

I suspect only the British could do this: a full-blooded atheist celebration, “celebrating the majesty of the universe, and most of the things in it,” called ‘Nine Lessons, and Carols for Godless People.’

Here’s Part One of Seven… [hat tip Marcus Bachler]

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