Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Writings Of Harry Binswanger

Harry Binswanger is a contributor to Forbes. He presents his bio as, "I am a philosopher who was an associate of the late Ayn Rand, and am a member of the board of directors of the Ayn Rand Institute. I have taught philosophy at Hunter College (CUNY) and the University of Texas at Austin. My forthcoming book, "How We Know," is on the theory of knowledge. My blog may be found at"

Binswanger, at least in my circles, is getting something of an examination of his writings, spurred by his latest piece for Forbes, entitled "Give Back? Yes, It's Time For The 99% To Give Back To The 1%". When I saw it, I had to make sure it wasn't actually a satire article. So, fine and dandy. Let's have an examination. I will post, verbatim, without rebuttal, some of the things that have come out of Binswanger's keyboard, as I think they speak for themselves.

He actually wrote these things. And meant them.


"Here’s a modest proposal. Anyone who earns a million dollars or more should be exempt from all income taxes. Yes, it’s too little. And the real issue is not financial, but moral. So to augment the tax-exemption, in an annual public ceremony, the year’s top earner should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Imagine the effect on our culture, particularly on the young, if the kind of fame and adulation bathing Lady Gaga attached to the more notable achievements of say, Warren Buffett. Or if the moral praise showered on Mother Teresa went to someone like Lloyd Blankfein, who, in guiding Goldman Sachs toward billions in profits, has done infinitely more for mankind. (Since profit is the market value of the product minus the market value of factors used, profit represents the value created.)" ("Give Back? Yes, It's Time For The 99% To Give Back To The 1%")

 "SAC Capital’s founder, Steven A. Cohen, is being tried as a witch. The government wants to send him to prison–for the mythical crime of “insider trading.” ("Insider Trading Is A Right: Don't Shackle The Knowledge-Seekers")

"“Bush lied, people died!”–they yell it out. But that is a moral denunciation. Despite their multiculturalism and relativism, in practice the Left does not treat morality as up for grabs, as subjectively “in the eye of the beholder.” They assert moral absolutes, while still mouthing their official doctrine: “There are no absolutes.”
If relativist Leftists accepted and lived by their notion that morality is a myth, they could not advocate any political position. If morality is a myth, then there’s really no such thing as “social justice”–or any other kind of justice, no such thing as an obligation to the needy or to anyone else. If morality is just a “social construct,” then the concept of “obligation” as such is mythical–on a par with the concept of “ghost.” How can the relativist-Left then have any political position at all? Only by sneaking in the kind of absolutist moral judgments that their theory scorns." ("Capitalism Without God: Freedom Is A Secular But Absolute Value")

"Those on the Right should be pointing out that “selfish greed” is a smear-term: it blackens ambitiousness and the desire to produce wealth, which are virtues, by associating them with mindless gluttony. But Rightists don’t expose the smear because they share the anti-self morality, or at least fear to challenge it." ("By Eliminating Failure, The Government Robs Us Of Success")

"We can’t outcompete Germany, China, France—we can’t outcompete any other country. In fact, no country can outcompete any other. The very concept “outcompete” makes no sense on a national scale. One business can outcompete another business, but a nation can’t outcompete another nation across the board.
A nation is not one business. It is not many businesess all in the same line of work. A nation contains a huge array of businesses in a great variety of fields, from fishing to finance, from advertising to advising, from manufacturing to moviemaking. A nation outcompeted in one line of work—say, chip-manufacturing—automatically gains a comparative advantage in some other line of work–say, moviemaking." ("No President Obama, We Can't "Outcompete" Other Countries")

"Regular subscription: $14 per month or $145 per year. Pay by credit card or check." (Harry's blog, which hides his writings behind this paywall.)

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