Category Archives: Other People’s Work

Corrupt Justification

Devin Stevens Presents Literature

“‘I had forgotten that you are only a common boy. How should you understand reasons of State? You must learn, child, that what would be wrong for you or for any of the common people is not wrong in a great Queen such as I. The weight of the world is on our shoulders. We must be freed from all rules. Ours is a high and lonely destiny.”‘

C.S. Lewis “The Magician’s Nephew”

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Heaven

Devin Stevens Presents Literature

“And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us this is the end of the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

C.S. “The Last Battle”

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The Wonder in Astronomy

Devin Stevens Presents Literature

“There, totally immersed in a bath of pure ethereal colour and of unrelenting though unwounding brightness, stretched his full length and with eyes half closed in the strange chariot that bore them, faintly quivering, through depth after depth of tranquility far above the reach of night, he felt his body and mind daily rubbed and scoured and filled with new vitality. Weston, in one of his brief, reluctant answers, admitted a scientific basis for these sensations: they were receiving, he said, many rays that never penetrated the terrestrial atmosphere.

But Ransom, as time wore on, became aware of another and more spiritual cause for his progressive lightening and exultation of heart. A nightmare, long engendered in the modern mind by the mythology that follows in the wake of science, was falling off him. He had read of ‘Space’: at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal…

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The parts of Böhm-Bawerk’s “Capital and Interest” that resonate most with me (updated as I read).

1. “Literally to ascribe to capital a power of producing value is thoroughly to misunderstand the essential nature of value, and thoroughly to misunderstand the essential nature of production. Value is not produced, and cannot be produced. What is produced is never anything but forms, shapes of material, combinations of material; therefore things, goods. These goods can of course be goods of value, but they do not bring value with them ready made, as something inherent that accompanies production. They always receive it first from outside—from the wants and satisfactions of the economic world. Value grows, not out of the past of goods, but out of their future. It comes, not out of the workshop where goods come into existence, but out of the wants which those goods will satisfy. Value cannot be forged like a hammer, nor woven like a sheet. If it could, our industries would be spared those frightful convulsions we call crises, which have no other cause than that quantities of products, in the manufacture of which no rule of art was omitted, cannot find the value expected. What production can do is never anything more than to create goods, in the hope that, according to the anticipated relations of demand and supply, they will obtain value.”

2. “There is no power in any element of production to infuse value immediately or necessarily into its products. A factor of production can never be an adequate source of value. Wherever value makes its appearance it has its ultimate cause in the relations of human needs and satisfactions. Any tenable explanation of interest must go back to this ultimate source.”

PDF here.

“To a Fellow Politician in Washington, July 6th, 2017”

Vex not Thou the Poet's Mind

I remember you once asked,

How should I best serve the people?”

What I’ll tell you will sound hard

but is naturally and fearfully easy.

First, you wanna work at night

when the dazzling stars inspire smooth rhetoric.

In private, mind you. Public needs require secret newsfeeds.

Be sure you have the right tools and the right spot.

What you design in the dark should sound like this:

Each American should have their own place of rest,

fashioned with our lightly taxed cloth

pillows full as a soft father’s hands,

blankets tight as a woman’s grip.

His bed should be framed by the sturdiest wood,

fitting all and only his substance;

teach him to be an individual

and chase his own American Dream,

with no helping hand but yours.

They may wonder about random stuff like

the grave, or the coffin, or what happens at night,

but you can…

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I, Pencil – Leonard Read

Here.

Voluntarism and Capitalism.

Murray Rothbard on Compulsive Morality

“Suppose for a moment, that we define a virtuous act as bowing in the direction of Mecca every day at sunset. We attempt to persuade everyone to perform this act. But suppose that instead of relying on voluntary conviction we employ a vast number of police to break into everyone’s home and see to it that every day they are pushed down to the floor in the direction of Mecca. No doubt by taking such measures we will increase the number of people bowing toward Mecca. But by forcing them to do so, we are taking them out of the realm of action and into mere motion, and we are depriving all these coerced persons of the very possibility of acting morally. By attempting to compel virtue, we eliminate its possibility. To be moral, an act must be free.”