Echoes of National Seduction

Here is some fallen word I created recently that was inspired by my reading on tyranny and totalitarianism.  Enjoy.

 

Echoes of National Seduction

Hello tyranny,

The worst of enemies

You’ve come to haunt us again

Your terror slowly creeping,

While the nation has been sleeping

Imbuing a reference to the past

To spread fear fast

National seduction

 

What’s your road this time

A demagogue exploiting ideas of free speech

A business oligarchy

A party or group to blame

Usurping power with no shame

 

What deception do you spin

Burying what is objective

In favor of a glorious myth

Heightening arrogance and pride

To announce there is only one side

Proselytizing the nation’s inherent virtue

Promising to never hurt you

Blaring the trumpets of national seduction

 

Fall to the ways

Boasting of sovereignty and freedom

Hark, the path to serfdom

Entranced by national seduction

 

 

 

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December Reading. Books on Tyranny

“No cause is left but the most ancient of all, the one, in fact, that from the beginning of our history has determined the very existence of politics, the cause of freedom versus tyranny.” – Hannah Arendt

Oppression. Atrocity. Terror. Murder. Fear. Starvation. Imprisonment. Death.

There are many words that can be associated with tyranny and totalitarianism. With hindsight and history as a guide, we are fortunate enough to know the gripping and haunting disaster of tyranny. Whenever tyranny and totalitarianism have risen destruction and ugliness have followed. When is the line between freedom and tyranny in danger? How do you recognize the erasure of liberty? Where and when does the tyrant sprout his wings? It is hard to answer these questions as tyranny can be a slow moving process. History can and should be a lesson on this matter. Your freedom is something worth cherishing and protecting, and familiarizing yourself with some of the literature and books that depict the horrors of tyranny can act as a guiding light in a darkening world. If you would like to establish a beacon of bright light to help safeguard your freedom then here is a suggestion of books on tyranny that you may want to read or at least review.

  • Animal Farm by George Orwell. Most, if not all of Orwell’s writing was a charge against totalitarianism. Animal Farm is an example where he fused political purpose with artistic endeavor to create a satirical warning against tyranny in an easily consumable story.
  • Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin by Timothy Snyder. This is an in-depth and researched account of the death and brutality unleashed on humanity during the reign of Stalin and Hitler.
  • I Will Bear Witness: A Diary of the Nazi Years by Victor Klemperer. When we think of diaries during the Nazi years we usually think of Anne Frank, but there are at least two diaries that shed profound light on everyday life of totalitarianism and this is one of them. This one is significant because it chronicles some of the earlier years of Nazi Germany and not just the war. Astonishing.
  • On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. This is a short and concise warning against tyrants and tyranny. It does have some modern day bias but that should be no reason to dismiss some of the lessons. It is your job as a reader and citizen to recognize bias as it is in almost everything you see and read. Recognizing bias is probably a good way to help diminish tyranny.
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This is another fictional novel on the list but one that presents a different kind of danger with tyranny. Huxley weaved a tale of obedience and control that presents itself as subdued but with real consequences that suppress liberty. It sets an alarming tone on state control.
  • The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. I have not read this one yet but it is a three part account of life in the gulag. It is another of the incredible diaries covering those years of totalitarian control.

There is no shortage of material on tyranny, but the above suggestions are chosen for their remarkable impact. Any one of them is capable of searing a warning into your brain about the realities of tyrants and totalitarianism. They may have you thinking twice about championing the words and ideas of power seekers. As J.K. Rowling wrote “those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.”

Beware. Take caution. And, until next time, good reading.

 

The Fallacy You are Committing with Economics

“The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy, it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.” – Henry Hazlitt

Economics does not have to be difficult. It is not necessary to study economics for an entire semester, or even major in the subject to be able to grasp and wax about economics. In fact, if you find the right books you will be better primed on the subject than most of the politicians or pundits who propel the ideas of the subject on a regular basis. The innate difficulties with the subject of economics are due to self-interest. Everything about government and the socio-politico-economic system is related to one’s self-interest. It is this perpetual self-interest that amounts to the fallacy you are most likely committing with economics.

Henry Hazlitt and his book Economics in One Lesson is the brilliant and go-to explanation on this fallacy of economics. We should probably be more careful in what we go around repeating on the economy. It is likely what we are repeating and talking about in regards to the economy is full of fallacy. Reading Hazlitt’s book will guard you against such fallacy. The theme of the entire book is the one lesson. Knowing it may very well change your life. It will definitely impact your worldview. Here it is in basic words:

  • It is an economic fallacy to only look at one group and not all groups and only look at the short term and not the long term.

Simple! But, one if not both of these errors is committed all the time with economics and talk of the economy. Here is part of the lesson in Hazlitt’s words (Hazlitt was an economist who could actually write and turn a phrase):

  • “The most frequent fallacy by far today, the fallacy that emerges again and again in nearly every conversation that touches on economic affairs, the error of a thousand political speeches, the central sophism of the ‘new’ economics, is to concentrate on the short-run effects of policies on special groups and to ignore or belittle the long-run effects on the community as a whole.”

There is talk of the economy all the time as we all live under the socio-economic-system so it is beneficial to know and understand this fallacy. Henry Hazlitt will eloquently present the lesson to you in his book and then apply the lesson in each chapter. Think about the current economic and political climate. Protectionism. America First. Tariffs. Taxes. Do any of these issues focus on one group and not all groups? Do these topics concentrate on now and not the long term? Study Hazlitt’s lesson and then answer these questions. You may be surprised at your worldview.

Use this book and Hazlitt’s lesson to better understand yourself and the world. Until next time, good reading.

 

 

Six Word Stories

Six word stories are not only fun but an excellent way to practice and improve one’s writing skills. Here are a few more that I would like to share:

 

A waterhead underneath suit and title.

His thoughts chained to the Right.

His thoughts nailed to the Left.

Your trophy wife doesn’t equate winner.

 

 

Not for Everyone. Discern at Your Own

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.”

As readers we must all know at least one book that we have consumed that is not for everyone. Sometimes we come across a book that stands out but is difficult to consume. A book that haunts you with questions afterward and makes you wonder if anyone else had the same feeling about it as you. One such book is The Book of the Law. This is an obscure book with no listed author but is supposedly written by Aleister Crowley. The book was dictated during a three day period in 1904 while Crowley was in Egypt.

This book is not easily understood and probably is not meant to be that way. You may enjoy this book. You may despise this book. No two readers will likely share the same experience from reading this book, and that is why it is the focus of this post. Most books that you read you will find someone else that has the same viewpoint as you but not with this book. Because it is difficult to consume and doesn’t pigeonhole neatly into a genre opinions and attitudes will vary greatly. Reader interpretation is all over the place. Some dismiss it altogether as silly. Some claim it is evil. Some recognize beautiful phrases and passages. Whatever your thoughts and take-a-ways, they will likely differ in some way or another compared to another reader’s experience. The details of your encounter will most likely vary more than mildly to the next reader. That doesn’t happen with most books. Consensus is popular and standard among the majority of most books. Some are different and The Book of the Law is one such example.

This book is not for everyone. What other books can you think of whose very nature will exclude some readers?

Beneath the Persuasion

The day after Thanksgiving. We all know what day that is, and in fact it is just as famous as Thanksgiving. Black Friday. The day retailers see their bottom line go from a negative red to a profitable black. We get plumped up and dumbed-down on Thursday so we can go make irrational decisions on Friday as consumers. It’s sort of a tradition.

Have you ever questioned this day? If you haven’t here are a couple of articles to get your inner skeptic working.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/20440/5-beloved-traditions-invented-make-you-buy-stuff

 

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/11/how-retailers-trick-you-their-amazing-black-friday-discounts/355525/

 

In addition to the above articles I leave you with one of my poems on advertising, sales, and marketing.

Beneath the Persuasion

advertising has become society’s second skin

everywhere you look are the persuaders

everyday new backdrops of promotion

cycles of clutter

membranes of messages

the persuasion industry trying to reach us

advertisers dueling advertisers

infecting nature with artificial landscapes

it is all fuel to drive commerce

brands become the culture of the consumer

products become the window of our lifestyle

advertising is a language

a complex communication process avoiding noise

consumption is shaped by marketing

culture is broken down and targeted

an atmosphere of persuasion exists around us

companies weaving their brand into our fabric

cleverly disguising their interests

the public undergoing the research of psychographics

our activities, interests, and opinions exploited

meaning is sold to us

the definition of our lives is the products we buy

individuality erodes

consumption is king

beneath the ads we try and live

 

 

A Book for Anyone Involved in Plans, Tactics, and Strategy

Revere. Respect. Reputation.

These are a few words that come to mind when thinking about A Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. Few books have spoken so equally and eloquently to those in business, philosophy, sport, military, politics, and combat. The renowned samurai gave to the world a solid and polished guide to strategy that has been cherished and used by many for over 300 years. If you are involved in planning, tactics, or strategy in any kind of way then you can benefit by being a disciple of A Book of Five Rings. 

This book spotlights the importance of practicing and mastering your craft. If you value being adept and competent in the things you do then this book can be of value to you. See the language and words in the book as metaphor and you can hone your strengths and master your strategy at almost anything you do. If you are unaware of Musashi or haven’t read the book do yourself a favor and put it on your reading list. One piece of advice in seeking the book is to ignore the modernized versions of it as they focus too much on graphics and may not be the best translations.

Good luck in your endeavors as well your practice.

 

 

Reign of Terror: A Poem about the Osage

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann is an alluring true story about the murders of the Osage tribe in Oklahoma. The story is tied into the rise of the FBI as an investigative agency due to the corruption, clumsiness, and distrust of local law in the early twentieth century. It is another sad but true chapter of humanity in America. I will not review it here as there are plenty of worthy reviews already available but I will leave you with a piece of poetry that I wrote inspired from the book. It is another of my phantasmorgisms.

 

Reign of Terror

Osage territory of Oklahoma / 1921 / an undoing was happening under the flower-killing moon / a tribe had become wealthy swiftly and madly / a stench of resentment covered a stench of hate / bombings and shootings and poisonings / a wreckage of injustice rained down / corruption flew the sky / it’s shadow blackening all hope / wealth is wrong if you’re not the right color / time to disinherit the Natives with a taut narrative of death

 

 

 

 

Enlarging your Vocabulary

“One superlatively important effect of wide reading is the enlargement of vocabulary which always accompanies it.” – H.P. Lovecraft

In addition to keeping track of phrases that spark my fancy when I am reading I also keep a list of words in my journal from my reading to help build my vocabulary. I write down words that I do not know from my reading in an attempt to enlarge my vocabulary. The greatest way that I have discovered for learning and the retention of knowledge is a three-fold process. First, read. Second, write about what you have read. Third, discuss/talk out loud about what you have read. This approach is fool proof. I have used it to remember words since I was a teenager. Read the word. Write it down and define it. Then start using it in your everyday talk. I like to call it “ammunition for conversation.’

Here are some words/vocab from some recent reading:

  • ptomaine – food poisoning,  amine compounds of unpleasant taste
  • sangfroid – composure or coolness
  • equanimity – mental calmness, composure, evenness of temper
  • buggery – old term for sodomy
  • disrepute – lack or loss of reputation
  • misotheism – current of thought that hates god as the enemy of humanity
  • insuperable – of a difficulty or obstacle that is impossible to overcome
  • parsimony – frugal, unwilling to spend
  • surreptitious – stealthy, furtive, well hidden, covert
  • Gnosticism – belief that humans can be delivered from darkness by the light of knowledge

Hopefully, you learned a new word today. Until next time, good reading.

 

 

 

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