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Posts Tagged ‘Ayn Rand’

High Justice” (1974©) — book review
Today’s review is for an “old” science fiction collection of short stories written by Jerry Pournelle.  Most of the stories were originally published in “Analog: Science Fiction And Fact” magazine.  Analog has been around since the 1930’s and has published a whole lot of “pulp” SciFi over the years.
Pournelle (and his partner – in many other works – Larry Niven) is one of the “greats” of SciFi.  I have my standard of SciFi “demi-gods”: Robert Heinlein, Arthur Clark and Isaac Asimov.  Pournelle (and Niven) rate just below this level.  He is definitely amongst the historically significant writers in SciFi from the last century.
Pournelle is considered a “polymath”, that is, a person who is accomplished in more than one scientific / technical field.  After many years in the aerospace field, he changed career and concentrated on writing.  He created a number of SciFi (actually military / paramilitary SciFi) novel series which I’ve enjoyed over the years.  The series I have most enjoyed (of his) was his “John Christian Falkenberg” series.  I purchased this book thinking it might be a prequel to that series.  It isn’t.  Well, it kind of is, but not really.
(The Falkenberg series is a similar vein to the “Hammer’s Slammers” military SciFi series by David Drake which I also like.  But that’s for another post…)
Anyway, this set of stories is not “really” about military SciFi.  It’s more or less a precursor book to what has come to be know as Pournelle’s “CoDominium Future History” series.
Pournelle’s personal politics leans to what is known as “paleoconservative” and this is reflected in this anthology.  Basically, think Ayn Rand “lite”: government’s are welfare traps, society is going to hell in a hand-basket, corporations will save the world (if we get out of the way and let them), and, (of course) unions are bad.
Putting aside the politics, Pournelle has some insightful views of where the world is headed over the “next” 50 to 100 years – basically, where we are now.  Or, where we soon could be.  (Remember, these stories were written back in the 1970’s.)
The stories deal with clean power, corporate greed, political corruption, increasing food production, space based manufacturing (and asteroid mining), and rights and laws in space, in general.
So, are the stories any good?  Yes!  Once I finally got the hang of his theme, I quite enjoyed all of the stories.  Pournelle is considered a “hard” science SciFi writer. This means he goes into some detail about the science behind the technology discussed in each story.  If you lean more to the fantasy (“horror, dragons or magic”) SciFi, you may not care for his writing.  I found the technology being proposed (like using icebergs to get fresh drinking water) interesting.  They are definitely BIG engineering ideas which would take governments or very large corporations to fund.
Final recommendation: Strong to Highly recommended.  Not the “action” SciFi I normally prefer, but I enjoyed it and look forward to looking back at more of his future histories.
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If you don’t know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.
  ―  Ayn Rand
From her novel:  “Atlas Shrugged
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Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all.  Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach.  The world you desire can be won.  It exists..  it is real..  it is possible..  it’s yours.
   ―    Ayn Rand
From her novel:  “Atlas Shrugged
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The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.
   ―    Ayn Rand
Today, the Republican controlled Congress and Presidency passed and signed [* see correction below] the largest tax cut for the American wealthy class in history.  While it is true that almost everyone who pays Federal Income Taxes will receive a reduction in taxes, the top 20% of all income earners will receive over 80% of the tax savings.  This includes “poor” little #LyingDonald who promised any tax cut would be primarily directed at the working / middle class in American (those making $75,000.00 or less), while “millionaires” would have to pay more in taxes.  This is, if fact, the EXACT opposite of what Congress has just passed.  It seems the “investment” of corporate America in buying the Republican party over the last 40 years has at last paid off.
My prediction:  We will see a booming stock market as the cash reserves being held by American companies overseas comes home to buy back stock and pay dividends with almost NO gain in income being paid to employees.  In other words, if you own large chunks of stock, you’ll see higher dividends (more money and less taxes).  If you own small lots of stock, expect to be screwed by the corporations buying the small lots up prior to paying out the dividends (in other words, you’ll be getting screwed).  If you are a worker, get ready to see more job uncertainty as jobs (and factories) will  continue to move overseas and be automated when left here in the states.  You will only see a salary increase if you can upgrade your education / skill level (personally pay for it) AND find another employer willing to hire you.  There will be a continuing abundance of workers and a continuing shortage of well paying jobs.  Oh, yeah, and almost none of the jobs / companies will have pensions, so you’ll be on your own for that.  But don’t worry, you can pay for your retirement savings with all that extra money you’ll be making.  And don’t count on Social Security or Medicare for your retirement because the tax deficit the Republicans are creating with the tax give-away will be used as the excuse to cut “entitlements” (Social Security and Medicare) next year.  After all, deficit created debt was the reason the Republicans routinely gave / used to try to ruin the Obama Administration’s economic recovery for the last eight years.  You remember the last eight years we’ve had such anemic economic growth.  That anemic growth was because debt (big government and over-regulation) prevented economic growth which should have happened.  So, now the Republicans have intentionally increased the deficit, which will inevitably increase the debt, which they will then use as their excuse to cut spending on social benefits.
Lord, save us from these treasonous Republicans and give us back honest conservatives who sought a limited government which paid for the things (wars, infrastructure and a social safety net) which the majority of Americans discussed openly, debated honestly, and ultimately arrived at consensus on.
[* CORRECTION:  I was incorrect in stating the President has already signed this tax bill.  In fact, as of today (Thursday 21 Dec. 2017), he has not, and it appears he may not sign the bill until next year (3 Jan 2018).  The reason for this is it appears the signing will trigger an automatic reduction in Medicare the year immediately after signing.  If it is signed in January 2018, the automatic trigger does not occur until 2019.  Obviously, the Republicans do not want to do this in an election year, so the signing will be delayed.  The bill has not yet been “enrolled” – that is, formally printed and presented to the President.  This is the point which actually starts the “pocket veto” clock.  If the law had been enrolled on passing, the President would have ten days to veto or sign the bill.  The ten days does not include Sundays, so it is actually a twelve day rule.  Of course, this assumes Congress breaks for Christmas.  If Congress is in session for the full twelve days after a bill is enrolled, there is no pocket veto and the bill becomes law after ten days if the President does not sign it.  This “trigger” is still being debated in Congress.  If it is decided it doesn’t happen until 2019, irrespective of signing, then Trump will sign the bill before Christmas or as soon as possible.  If it is decided it (the trigger) happens in 2018, the Republicans will push the signing date back until January to make sure the the reduction does not happen during an election year.
Also, it appears the tax benefits to the top 20% will be only 60% (-ish) through 2027.  After that, the personal reductions will go away and then 80% (-ish) benefit will be for corporations and the very wealthy.  The benefits to the corporations and the very wealthy are permanent, while the benefits to the middle and working class are limited (sunsetted).   —   KMAB]
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Motivated

A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.
  —  Ayn Rand
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