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Dr. Michael Hurd’s New Book — Now Available!

Dr. Hurd’s third book is finally available for sale! Autographed copies of “Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)” are available directly from DrHurd.com.

In his new book, Dr. Hurd shows people how to avoid the dangers of most contemporary therapies and how to rely on your own judgment when facing emotional problems. It is an indispensable guide to choosing a therapist who can produce the best results for you.
Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference) also includes a foreword written by none other than celebrated clinical psychologist Stanton Samenow, Ph.D.

Click here to get your autographed copy of Dr. Hurd’s latest book.

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Hold Your Tongue

I left this comment on an article about politically correct speech, “Political Correctness and the Thought Police,” by Gary Wickert, on November 1st.;

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/political-correctness-and-the-thought-police/?singlepage=true

Two minor corrections are called for here: Mr. Wickert says that “niggardly” means “spendthrift.” Actually, it means not quite the opposite: “ungenerous,” or “cheap,” or “penny-wise.” Then, he invented a new term, “cow-tow,” when he meant “kowtow.”

That being said, politically correct speech and writing are not necessarily traceable to the Frankfurt School and Marxism, although the two are closely allied ideologically. I doubt that even David Axelrod, Cass Sunstein, or Anita Dunn would claim that politically correct speech is Communist in origin, though they would have no problem enforcing it. Political correctness is a poliomyelitic affliction that attacks, not the brainstem or spinal cord, but language, concepts and ideas in one’s mind and renders the mind impotent and helpless. In short, it attacks the mind, and, like Orwell’s Newspeak Dictionary in Nineteen Eighty-Four, seeks to reduce the range of the mind by homogenizing its contents and imposing mindless conformity. The catch is that, while imbeciles would not know the difference between plain and politically correct speech – they are not the objects of the tyranny – it works only if one is willing to submit, Muslim-style, to a higher “authority,” only if one knows that it is expected of one to knuckle under and bow to the god of sensitivity. This in turn contributes to a habitual conformity in politics, art, and in speech. Which in turn contributes to the growth of a servile, passive, complacent citizenry.

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Scholarships to Study Free-Market Ideas

National University of La Jolla, CA (www.nu.edu) has a limited number of scholarships available for three online, undergraduate courses that focus on free-market economics and the philosophic foundations of capitalism. One of the courses uses Ayn Rand’s The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal as the required textbooks. These scholarships are being funded by a grant from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. The scholarships cover the full tuition for the courses plus the application fee to NU. These courses can be taken from anywhere in the world, as long as one has access to the internet. The courses incorporate live chat sessions in which the professor and students interact in a virtual classroom, much as they would in a traditional classroom.

To apply for one or more of these scholarships, send your name, transcript from your high school or university, and an essay of no more than 750 words discussing why you believe you deserve a scholarship and your future education and career plans to Dr. Brian P. Simpson. Send them to bsimpson@nu.edu or 11255 North Torrey Pines Rd.; La Jolla, CA 92037. Please indicate which course or courses for which you are applying for a scholarship. You can apply for one to three scholarships, depending on how many courses you are interested in taking. While the courses are undergraduate courses, individuals who already have their undergraduate or graduate degree are welcome to apply. Note that to receive a scholarship you will have to apply to National University and enroll in the course(s). If you have questions, please contact Dr. Simpson at the email address above or 858-642-8431.

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“2018″: Egalitarianism Dramatized

I wonder how many readers remember John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, that scholarly paean to egalitarianism and institutionalized envy, from 1971. How would one dramatize, in visual and auditory concretes, its high-blown, insidious principles?

I recently watched a little gem of a cinematic parable about a Rawlsian dystopia, 2081, which depicts a society in which “everyone is equal.” The film, made under the aegis of the Moving Picture Institute, produced by Thor Halvorssen and written and directed by Chandler Tuttle (based on a Kurt Vonnegut story, “Harrison Bergeron”) is exactly that, a parable, not meant to be taken literally, because the purpose of a parable is impart profound and lasting lessons.

In 2081, the exceptionally skilled, beautiful, strong, and intellectually endowed are “made equal” with their averagely endowed fellow men by means of a variety of restraining agents – weights, masks, and taser-like devices that interrupt thought and impede movement. Anyone tested by the state and deemed to be above average in any respect is required by law to be fitted with one or more of these restraints or “equalizers.” The penalty for removing them is imprisonment.

George Bergeron’s son Harrison was arrested and imprisoned for six years for refusing to wear the agents and for “blatantly removing them in public.” He escapes from prison and appears in a concert hall that is staging Tchaikovsky’s “Sleeping Beauty” ballet live in a national broadcast. The ballerinas are also arrested by weights that make their movements clumsy. Harrison announces to the audience that he has placed a bomb beneath the hall. He declares, among other things, that he is “an exception to the accepted,” and that he “was not created equal,” and proceeds to shed all the devices that burden his body, including a yoke fitted over his shoulders and neck.

That is his statement of freedom. He may be mad or perfectly lucid. He does not wish to continue living in a world of “fairness” and “original positions.” That is for the viewer to judge. He then invites a volunteer to do the same. One of the ballerinas rises and discards her weights, as well. (Forgive the plot-spoilers here, they are necessary to making a point.)

In the meantime, SWAT teams of the United States Handicapper General surround the hall, disable the bomb (it is unclear whether it was a real bomb, I don’t think so, but that is mere conjecture), and prepare to capture or kill the “public threat.” The authorities order the broadcast stopped, but Harrison Bergeron has a device that overrides the kill signal and rebroadcasts the program (shades of John Galt’s broadcast in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged). As Harrison Bergeron and the ballerina perform with total freedom of movement to a doleful composition and for a dumbstruck audience (many members of which are also wearing restraints), the SWAT teams move into the hall itself.

An expressionless, silent woman who is in charge of the operation takes a gun and kills Harrison Bergeson and the ballerina. The action is televised without her knowledge and one of the last things one sees is her slightly startled face staring into the camera. That is what Harrison wanted the nation to see – the vapid face of evil. End of broadcast. The extraordinary has been eliminated. Please stand by.

George (also loaded down with restraints), has watched all this in the comfort of his living room, while his dimly conforming and nattering wife, Hazel, played convincingly by Julie Hagerty (who wears none, because there is nothing extraordinary or exceptional about her), is oblivious to the events on the television screen. She is washing dishes with her back turned to the screen and misses the whole broadcast and a last glimpse of her son, the running water serving as her own sound-obliterating handicapping device.

When George begins to think of the abduction of his son from their home years before, and begins to respond to the broadcast and the heroism of his son, his memory is disrupted by his ear piece. HIs wife asks him why he is looking so upset; he can only reply that he saw something “sad.” He cannot remember what. He shuffles out of the living room to oblivion, because he will not remove the things that hold him down.

The film is only twenty-five minutes long, but it packs a punch as terrible as Michael Radford’s gritty, nearly two-hour long Nineteen Eighty-Four. The production values are as good as any $20 million budget blockbuster’s. As a parable on the price of silence and the fate of those who prefer security and passivity over independence and freedom, it is one of the best films I have ever seen.

2081 is A Theory of Justice, illustrated. It is philosophy in motion.

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Dr. Hendricks on Obamacare (1957)

“I quit when medicine was placed under State control some years ago,” said Dr. Hendricks. “Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I could not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything—except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the ‘welfare’ of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, but ‘to serve.’ That a man who’s willing to work under compulsion is too dangerous a brute to entrust with a job in the stockyards—never occurred to those who proposed to help the sick by making life impossible for the healthy. I have often wondered at the smugness at which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind—yet what is it they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands? Their moral code has taught them to believe that it is safe to rely on the virtue of their victims. Well, that is the virtue I have withdrawn. Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce. Let them discover, in the operating rooms and hospital wards, that it is not safe to place their lives in the hands of a man they have throttled. It is not safe, if he is the sort of man who resents it—and still less safe, if he is the sort who doesn’t.”
– Dr. Hendricks, a fictional character in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957
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Hazlitt on the U.S. Housing Crisis

WHAT AN ECONOMIST SAID ABOUT THE U.S. HOUSING CRISIS – DECADES AGO

 ”The case against government-guaranteed loans and mortgages to private businesses and persons is almost as strong as, though less obvious than, the case against direct government loans and mortgages [for homes]. … Government-guaranteed home mortgages, especially when a negligible down payment or no down payment whatever is required, inevitably mean more bad loans than otherwise. They force the general taxpayer to subsidize the bad risks and to defray the losses. They encourage people to ‘buy’ houses that they cannot really afford. They tend to eventually to bring about an oversupply of houses as compared with other things. They temporarily overstimulate building, raise the cost of building for everybody (including the buyers of the homes with the guaranteed mortgages), and may mislead the building industry into an eventually costly overexpansion. In brief, in the long run they do not increase overall national production but encourage malinvestment.” — Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (1979)

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