No nation was ever ruined by trade, even seemingly the most disadvantageous. — Benjamin Franklin

No nation was ever ruined by trade

What do you think Benjamin Franklin meant by “no nation was ever ruined by trade”? Do you think that his words apply to today’s Western economy?

Of course, Ayn Rand was a big proponent of free trade. Value for Value. And Christians, perhaps for the same and perhaps for very different reasons, should view free trade similarly.

Chapter 5 of The Soul of Atlas (entitled “Capitalism“) explores the Christian and the Objectivist view of Capitalism.

With economic turmoil and volatility in the capital markets today, skeptics come out of the woodwork like bugs in an old farmhouse. They question the validity and the viability of Capitalism, particularly the idea of laissez-faire, that the state should not intrude in the economic activities of entities in a free market. Media commentators reference the invalidation of a “free-market economy.” What G. K. Chesterton once said about Christianity can easily be addressed to today’s critics of laissez-faire Capitalism in the West: laissez-faire Capitalism has not been tried and found wanting. Rather, its moral basis has not been found “palatable” so it has not been tried.

Capitalism is Rand’s political system. She defines Capitalism in terms of the fundamental building blocks: a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.

 

Both of my fathers espoused Capitalism despite their adherence to world views which stand opposed on many issues. Ayn Rand understood Capitalism to be the economic system that supports the individual to the greatest extent, the Christian sees Capitalism as an economic system that recognizes and incorporates the inevitability of self-centered human behavior.

Similarly, both of my fathers agree on free trade, but for different reasons. John (a follower of Ayn Rand) sees free trade as a core principle supporting the productive individual who creates value and trades for other values with a reasonable party. While Dad (a Christian) agrees with Ayn Rand‘s assessment, he also sees the ultimate benefit of others. Trading value for value is a means to multiple bottom lines. It’s not charity, but it happens to benefit everyone. There really is such a thing as a “win/win.”

Reason.com

An article headlining this quote was published on Reason.com. Ronald Bailey makes a strong case for free trade and observes that most politicians do not subscribe to it, or cloud their support for it.

So why do people, especially politicians, believe the opposite? The 19th century French economist Frédéric Bastiat explained this sort of disheartening policy myopia his brilliant essay, “What is Seen and What is Not Seen.” People tend to focus on the seen consequences of a policy, in this case, competition from trade eliminating some jobs at relatively inefficient companies.

But they miss the unseen benefits, such as new jobs that result from increased average productivity. Naturally, the people who lose their jobs are worried and angry, so they call their member of Congress to complain about “unfair” trade. Fearing that they may lose their jobs, the denizens of Capitol Hill seek to enact legislation to block imports or mandate “Buy American” to protect their complaining constituents against “unfair” trade. In politics, as in much of life, the squeaky wheels get oiled.

Some of the clearest and most thoughtful rationale for free trade comes from the CFA Institute, an organization of which I am a member and a CFA charterholder. Still, I appreciate Bailey’s simple and straightforward explanation and I hope to hear more from Reason.com on the subject.

Benjamin Frankin
The Life and Miscellaneous Writings of Benjamin Franklin (Edinburgh: William and Robert Chambers, 1839), 80

Kindle Promo Free: The Soul of Atlas is available now!

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I just saw The Soul of Atlas available for Amazon Kindle’s free download… Now! Please jump on this opportunity to download this title for free now to Amazon Prime members. If you’re not a member, email me now and I will see what I can do as an author desiring to promote this title. Thanks!

a-preface-to-paradise-lost-400x400-cslewisThe older poetry, by continually insisting on certain Stock themes–as that love is sweet, death bitter, virtue lovely, and children or gardens delightful–was performing a service not only of moral and civil, but even of biological, importance. Once again, the old critics were quite right when they said that poetry “instructed by delighting,” for poetry was formerly one of the chief means whereby each new generation learned, not to copy, but by copying to make, the good Stock responses. Since poetry has abandoned that office the world has not bettered. While the moderns have been pressing forward to conquer new territories of consciousness, the old territory, in which alone a man can live, has been left unguarded, and we are in danger of finding the enemy in our rear. We need most urgently to recover the lost poetic art of enriching a response without making it eccentric, and of being normal without being vulgar. Meanwhile–until that recovery is made–such poetry as Milton’s is more than ever necessary to us.

Reading John Milton‘s Paradise Lost has been a delight and C. S. Lewis is one of my favorites. In this “Preface” (a series of lectures), Lewis illuminates the entire genre of epic poetry.  Even Ayn Rand recognized the beauty of poetry and art to inspire and elevate to new heights.
What have been your experiences with art and poetry?
In what way do you value art and poetry? Why?
I would love to hear your recommendations.

 

On Goodreads.com

Preface to Paradise Lost
by C. S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347999313l/207546.jpgThe sixth chapter is entitled “Virgil and the Subject of Secondary Epic.” After arguing that Homer’s subject is not what makes an epic, Lewis seems to say that Virgil’s subject rescues the Aeneid from obscurity when he builds so much depth and substance around his characters and events that we feel as if national, or even cosmic, issues are at stake.

You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

C. S. Lewis
Preface to Paradise Lost (London: Oxford University Press, 1961), 57

For the New Intellectual by Ayn Rand: a great place to start!

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I’m often asked by people who are interested in The Soul of Atlas, “Do I need to read Atlas Shrugged before I read your book?” The answer, I think, is “No.” But there’s a caveat. If you’re unfamiliar with Ayn Rand and you’re curious, I recommend her shorter work For the New Intellectual. Description This […]

Paradise-Lost

Paradise Lost by John Milton (Penguin)

In Paradise Lost, Milton produced a poem of epic scale, conjuring up a vast, awe-inspiring cosmos and ranging across huge tracts of space and time. And yet, in putting a charismatic Satan and naked Adam and Eve at the center of this story, he also created an intensely human tragedy on the Fall of Man.

John Leonard’s revised edition of Paradise Lost contains full notes, elucidating Milton’s biblical, classical and historical allusions and discussing his vivid, highly original use of language and blank verse.

From the Publisher

This is the first fully-annotated, old-spelling edition of Paradise Lost to be published in this century. It surveys in its introduction and incorporates in its notes the large amount of criticism published between 1965 and the present–not to mention the criticism that began with Dryden, Addison, Samuel Johnson, and William Blake–and it reflects critical perspectives from New Criticism to Deconstruction, from Philology to New Historicism and Feminism. On the page, the book combines the look and feel of original editions with the convenience of wide margins and thorough annotation.

From AudioFile

Edith Hamilton retells the Greek, Roman, and Norse myths with a sure taste and scholarship that help to restore their quality as perennial and refreshing fables about human nature, including our own.

About the Author

John Milton was born in London on December 9, 1608, and studied at the University of Cambridge. He originally planned to become a clergyman, but abandoned those ambitions to become a poet. Political in his writings, he served a government post during the time of the Commonwealth. In 1651, he went completely blind but he continued to write, finishing Paradise Lost in 1667, and Paradise Regained in 1671. He died in 1674.

On Goodreads.com

Paradise Lost
by John Milton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paradise-Lost-Kerrigan.jpgMilton is a brilliant genius. He does no injustice to the biblical text, but he does color it nicely. He draws in the reader who may not otherwise be drawn in to the sacred text and he inspired me to nurture the longing in my soul for God. I found Paradise Lost to be rich with imagery and imagination. I am challenged by his many references to Greek mythology, science, and his far-reaching view of the world. A couple of highlights for me: 1) scenes of the angels worshiping God in Book III, 2) the description of the Son volunteering to rescue the future, yet to be created race through his own sacrifice [Book VII], 3) Milton’s description of the Son descending to vanquish Satan from Heaven, and 4) descriptions of innocence. I appreciated Milton’s portrayal of Satan, but I don’t see Satan as a tragic hero, as that would aggrandize him more than Milton intended IMHO. I recommend Paradise Lost to any serious reader of literature.

Flat-Fleuron

You can find more reviews and discussions of this and many other books on Goodreads.com (including my own reviews and comments about this and other books). It’s one of my favorite sites to help me organize my own reading and keep up with others. When you’re on Goodreads, please visit my author page and “Like” The Soul of Atlas. Consider writing a review and sharing it with your friends on Goodreads and Facebook.com.

 

You are what you read? Or are you?

bigstock-Happy-Owner-Of-A-Bookstore-6901537

It’s debatable whether you are what you read, but it’s certainly true that what I read influences my writing style. A recent blog by Scott McKnight entitled Tips for Writers speaks to that point. Have you ever asked the question, “Who do I want to sound like?” Of course, the best answer is “be yourself,” […]

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