In Defense of Capitalism

As someone who owns a (very) small business (obligatory self-promotion), I sometimes find it frustrating when people talk about capitalism solely as a tool for the greedy. Capitalism exists as a replacement for old systems that weren’t working as society became more complex, and remains a valuable way of running society.

I must first acknowledge those who have said these same ideas more eloquently and more profoundly, most importantly Hayek, whose books on the nature of the decentralized economy and the history of economics are terrific resources for understanding how capitalism works. I am not a professional economist, but I find myself on occasion engaged in conversation with people who have no understanding of the basic notion of capitalism, and who indeed feel that it is a great social ill. I find the exact opposite to be true: capitalism, when kept free of corruption as all systems must be, is an enabling tool for progress.

Why is this? Because capitalism is built on the notion of demand. There will always be times when people rely on cronyism or malice to get an unfair advantage (a problem likely more for ethics and governance than economics), but the fundamental reward of capitalism comes from service.

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Frankenstein’s Lesson: Progress Is Not Evil

I read Frankenstein for the second time this week (technically, it’s more like first-and-a-half, because the first time I read it was in college in a single night), and I was struck by some of the lessons it has for us in regards to morality and the progress of science.

Mary Shelley is considered one of the first writers of science fiction novels, and Frankenstein combines the Gothic, Romantic, and science fiction genres together, with a focus more on the human side of the equation. Critics have pointed out many interpretations about Frankenstein, but I’m struck by one:

At the time of writing Frankenstein, Shelley was pregnant. She was also in a time of tumultuous progress.

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Gods of Babylon

They worship gods of Babylon, noble in vain self-conception.

Creating edifices of self-destruction, they cast their bones into the sky, sacrificing the stars for mastery of the world.

Profane flame burns in their chests, and nothing supports their feet.

Under a sunless sky they will meet eternity, weeping at their loss, purging their minds and bodies of what they knew in their first breath.

They worship, and come away unfulfilled.

Their temples are hollow, their eyes soulless, their hopes dashed on the rocks and shattered into the splinters of a thousand wasted words.

And still they worship gods of Babylon.

Salvation

She wanted to save him.

Sand passing through her fingers.

She could see him fall away. Distant and yet towering, former glory passing below the horizon.

The world was drowned in sorrow.

How could there be anything else?

She held him close to her heart as the decline began.

Even though she knew he could not hear.

She held him in her arms, his frail frame barely coherent. And she could hear the raspy jagged breaths. She closed her eyes,

letting hot burning swell inside the lids.

The sun had gone down and it would not raise again.

No salvation.

Listening

He could hear the music of creation around him as he listened. The somber strains compelled him to keep walking slowly forward, the air still around him. He was reminded of the grave as he tumbled forward, his foot missing a step. So he fell onto the gray pavement, his wrist cracking insensate.

The noise picked up all around him again as the music disappeared. Each moment was nothing more than a flash of time, the world going around him ignorant of his place in it.

He opened his mouth in a terrible and great scream.

But nobody was listening.

Enjoying the Simple Things

Tonight as I try to get some writing done, I figured that I should write something a little more personal and introspective, since I’m doing most of my stuff for Loreshaper Games over at steemit.

As I’ve gotten more disciplined in how I live my life, I’ve found that it’s important to make time for the simple things. Increasing the amount of moderation with which I have lived my life has made the everyday things more significant and more meaningful.

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The Flames (Part 1)

Herrek hadn’t gotten the chance to see Lethe before it burned. Born on the frontiers of the empire, he had always had his eyes turned home.

But the empire was too large, Lethe’s influence too wide-spanning, for just anyone to return home. Travel was expensive, and not without risks—how little they had known—so he had been stuck on a frontier world mired in dust, mud, and rebels.

The Hammer had been his chance to return to the land of his forefathers, to go back to Lethe.

He arrived to ashes, the burnt shell of a once-proud civilization.

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Goals (April 2-April 8)

Last week was productive in the form of a series of articles on archetypes over on steemit, but many of my original goals were not met, in part because of that shifted focus. With that said, I feel good about the things I got done.

Here’s the new goals:

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Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life Review

I took about a month to finish Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos (Amazon Affiliate link), in part because I wanted to slow down and try some of the advice in my life.

12 Rules for Life is an interesting book. Equal parts philosophy, psychology, and self-help book, it covers a broad range of topics, with Peterson drawing from life experiences, religion, and history to build a strong case for his points and provide what seems on its surface to be very good advice for people.

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Life is Short: Leave Virtue As Your Legacy

The other day I was driving home from an outing when I nearly got into a car accident because a massive van tried to enter my lane and did not stop when I honked. I was, fortunately, able to swerve into another lane, but I had a huge rush of adrenaline (as one is prone to do when nearly in an accident).

As I pulled up to the next red light, a thought popped into my mind:

“Life is short, leave virtue as your legacy.”

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