Jump to content
Objectivism Online Forum


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


Hermes last won the day on February 14 2021

Hermes had the most liked content!


About Hermes

  • Birthday 11/10/1949

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Austin, Texas
  • Interests
    Astronomy. Numismatics. Sociology.
    The origins of knowldge, artifacts, and institutions.

Previous Fields

  • Country
    United States
  • State (US/Canadian)
  • Relationship status
  • Sexual orientation
  • Real Name
    Michael E. Marotta
  • Copyright
  • Biography/Intro
    Professional author with over 300 magazine and newspaper publications. I am a former computer programmer. My hobbies include astronomy and numismatics. Bachelor of Science. summa cum laude, Criminology Administration. Master of Arts in Social Science. Areas of concentration: fraud and misconduct in scientific research.
  • Experience with Objectivism
    "Basic Principles of Objectivism" (Cleveland, Ohio; 1966-1967). Continuous contact and involvement with Objectivist culture and community. Frequent contributor to Objectivist discussion boards and websites.
  • School or University
    Eastern Michigan University
  • Occupation
    Senior Technical Writer

Recent Profile Visitors

5511 profile views

Hermes's Achievements


Member (4/7)



  1. A software upgrade broke the links to the Essay Contests sponsored by the Ayn Rand Institute. Those have been restored. You can read the winning essays 8th grade through university centered on themes in Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. Start at the ARI homepage, select Students, and the scroll down and click the blue box for Essay Contests. Scroll down again to Past Winners. There, you will find the selected winning essays as well as a roster of all notable entries. The inventory is for the years 2020, 2019, 2018, and 2017. Best Regards, Mike M.
  2. It can be the difference between life and death here and now if you are ever caught outside the city with a failed vehicle. Which way is north? One of the direct applications of astronomy in the 18th and 19th centuries was establishing local lines of latitude and longitude in order to draw the borders on maps. Here and now, any certified training in surveying for real estate begins with knowing how to establish your local position without a pre-existing map. Again, the practical applications are secondary to your own eudaimonic gains. All of these arguments apply also to that other easy hobbyist toy, the microcope. Have you ever seen your own cells? If you think it does not matter, read about Do-it-Yourself genomic hobbyists who pursue their own treatments. (Biohackers reviewed on my blog here https://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2012/10/biohackers.html )
  3. The easy answer is that it does not need to have any other justification than that it makes your life better. If you find life-affirming enjoyment in the discovery and understanding then that is all that is required. On a deeper level, consider the simple fact that a modest telescope like a 4-inch refractor or a 5-inch reflector, even a 70mm National Geographic "department store" telescope will reveal that many stars perceived as solitary objects to the naked eye are pairs and multiples. For thousands of years - even 200 years after Galileo - we always assumed that the stars were individual objects, more-or-less randomly distributed. You can find the truth for yourself if you care to invest in the instrument and invest your time. I started another discussion on this here that garnered some response. https://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/34192-any-other-astronomers-here/ And I posted this: https://forum.objectivismonline.com/index.php?/topic/34132-the-jupiter-saturn-conjunction-of-2020/
  4. [1] Yeah, they call it "seeing," the clarity of the atmosphere. It is more important than the nominal "power" of the instrument. The first night we went to "Moun Bonell" a bit a rise in the land in the city and we did not see it. A few days laters we went up into the hill country outside of town - still the suburbs - and I picked it out with binoculars. A woman at the same lookout off the highway said that she could see it naked eye, but I could not. [2] AAVSO - the American Association of Variable Star Observers - is a long-standing international group with a strong history of amateur-professional collaborations. There are others. Astronomy is one of the sciences where this has long been practiced. With satellites in orbit, there is more data in warehouses than professional scientisits to process it. They turn to crowd-sourcing and will train people to do the work.
  5. [7] That's an important reward for me: revisiting the paths of the pioneers. Jupiter and Galileo are top of the list there. But very many other sites are out there if you read the histories and follow the skies. [1] [2] Your Bushnell 50mm x 1200 mm is a good beginner scope. It does take work getting used to them, no different than shooting a rifle or handgun, or shooting pool or bowling for that matter. Do you remember learning how to drive a car? I have a 10-inch x 2500 mm telescope in the garage on loan from my local club -- an option you might consider -- and it is going back to the equipment chair tomorrow. It weighs 65 lbs to my 68 kg and it's a bear to haul out and set up. My "everyday carry" is a 102mm (4 inch) that I can lift with one hand and carry with two. I also have a 70 mm x 700 mm National Geographic. Like your Bushnell, it is a bit smallish for some things, but it works great for most. Give your telescope some time. Use it. [3] That's how they work. You may find that paying about $500 to $1000 for a larger telescope with a motor drive is more to your liking. The big 10-inch above was available because the tracking computer was blown out (vintage 1995) and no one wanted to use it and I did not care because I can do my own tracking. [4] Your telescope could have come with three lenses: 25, 10, and 6 plus a 2x Barlow. Saturn's rings should have been clearly visible in the 25. The 10 would put you right there in person. The 6 would be poor viewing for reasons of physical optics. The 25 and 2x would be a nice compromise. If you take your time with the focus you should get a sharp view, not a smudge. But it will be small, not Neil deGrasse Tyson on PBS zooming through the rings. Mars is even smaller. But - as a matter of objective epistemology - we understand our perception in the brain and the mind, not just the sensory organs. So, if you give it five minutes, you might be surprised at what you can see. [5] I brought binoculars. [6] See [7] above. Before i go outside, I make a plan and I often pause to give credit to the people of 1700 or 1750 who first saw this or that. Galileo also was the first to record about 30 stars in what had been the 7 stars of The Manger in Cancer. We call it The Beehive Nebula today. Your telescope will do that for you. Right now, you can check out the Orion Nebula. Galileo seems to have missed it because of the narrow view of his telescopes. If nothing else, look at the Moon. Get used to that with your array of oculars ("eyepieces"). And keep them. You can used them with your next telescope. Between Galileo and about 1870 or so, most of the viewing was in small telescopes within the budget of a dedicated hobbyist. In 1847 Maria Mitchell of Nantucket was awarded a gold medal by the King of Denmark for being the first person to identify with a telescope a comet that was not seen naked eye. Her scope was about the same size as yours, 3 inches for hers. I mean for $6,000 to $10,000 you can own an instrument that would have been beyond most universities 50 years ago and just about all of them 100 years ago. And those are very small dollars now. For about a tenth of that, like $500 to $1000 you will cross into the median range of hobby scopes. My 102mm cost under $300 and I am very happy with it. It is a voyage of discovery. You have to leave the shoreline.
  6. It is easy to "like" astronomy. But that is not the same thing as being active in it. Astronomy is one of the few hobbies in which amateurs and professionals collaborate. A continuing thread in the history of astronomy is that it was generally a private pursuit, privately funded either personally or through non-governmental organizations. In the 20th century that began to change. But amateurs developed radio astronomy as a spin-off of ham radio; and they quickly jumped in on photography and eventually spectroscopy. Most amateurs are backyard observers. Some do have distant, remote-controlled instruments in dark sky areas. However, most might travel an hour's drive or so to meet up with others away from the city. Even so, you can see a lot from the city, and more from the suburbs. In 2014, my wife and daughter bought me a 130-mm (5-inch) Newtonian reflector. Last October I bought myself a 102-mm (4-inch) refractor. I chose that because I can lift it with one arm and carry it out of my office, down a hall, through the kitchen, out the back door, and into the backyard without hitting anything. I recently posted to discussion forums my views, drawings, and measurements of some binary stars. Although I live in a city of 1.8 million and I am a mile from a major shopping center, I can show you the Andromeda Galaxy as a naked-eye object. You just need to know where to look and to understand what you are looking at. For myself, that is a large part of my engagement. I am a member of the American Astronomical Society and in that I am a member of the Historical Astronomy Division because I relate to the development of theory, how we came to believe what we think that we know now. I also like learning about the people who made those discoveries. I also just earned a certificate in astrophysics from the Ecole Polytechnique Federal Lausanne through edX. For myself, no matter what kind of telescope you have, the stars are pretty at any magnification; if you do not understand what you are looking at, then you are a slack-jawed simian gaping up at an incomprehensible universe. And there is an aesthetics to this. Many are the nights when I just lean back in the lawn chair and look up.
  7. Hermes

    Light Pollution

    I serve as vice president of our local astronomy club. We received a general inquiry from a reporter for a culture magazine. My comrades on the executive committee were all in favor of taking this opportunity to speak out against light pollution. I started a reply, but did not send it because there was nothing I could gain from the engagement. However, the questions are worth considering. ------------------------- We do not have the same perceptions with light that we do with sound. You can close your eyes. You cannot close your ears. So, we have laws against noise. We do need a rational theory of law to address noisy light. But not all light is pollution, any more than all noise is bad. After all, most people enjoy the sound of children playing and most so-called “light pollution” is equally benign. Moreover, you can see a lot from the city if you know where to look. I live in the city of Austin, one mile from South Park Meadows, a major shopping center. From my backyard, I can show you the Andromeda Galaxy. On hobbyist discussion boards, I have shared my views of binary stars. This is an endeavor that many hobbyists pursue, seeking out stars that look like single points to the naked eye, but which a modest telescope will reveal to be two or even four. We backyard astronomers know the book, Turn Left at Orion by Guy Consolmagno, SJ, Ph.D. He had a doctorate from Harvard and taught at MIT, but never knew the sky the way an amateur does until a friend showed him the stunning yellow-blue double star known as Albireo at the head of The Swan (or the Foot of the Cross). His friend did that with a small portable telescope from within the glare of New York City in Fort Lee, New Jersey. Turn Left at Orion was written for the urban or suburban hobbyist. One of our local leaders is a sun-watcher. With a special telescope costing four times more than a nice hobbyist instrument and ten times more than an entry-level telescope, he views our Sun, the closest star, and a very average star. Viewing in broad daylight, he never worries about light pollution. Astronomers also complain about “constellations” of artificial satellites, clusters and strings launched by private companies for communications, natural resource monitoring, economic research, and disaster response. When disaster strikes, we all want our cellphones to bring the responders to our exact locations by GPS. That convenience comes with a cost. Apart from the hobby, serious astronomy has been carried out for 50 to 70 years with radio telescopes, or “dishes.” First investigated by amateurs just before World War II, radio telescopes receive wavelengths that are not blocked by light pollution (or rain). Today, radio astronomy continues to be a pursuit for some amateurs. It is a spin-off of ham radio. Other leading edge research in astronomy is performed from orbiting platforms such as the Hubble and Hipparcos satellites. As enthusiasts of space exploration, the backyard astronomers do not complain about the consequences of building giant rockets to carry giant telescopes into orbit. It is true that amateur astronomers collaborate with professionals. One way is by reviewing the data in computerized “warehouses” of numbers and images. We have more data than university professors can analyze. So, they turn to amateurs. Those hobbyists work from the comfort of their homes, consuming electrical power, and other resources, that also create light pollution. Amateurs also build their own remote-controlled observatories and monitor the views on high-definition video screens. Those installations are hundreds of miles from their homes where the amateurs enjoy the benefits of civilization. Even deeper into the wilderness, some impassioned hobbyists travel to the darkest skies at state and national parks for their star parties. There, many of the instruments are custom-built, huge, complex telescopes, some of which need their own trailers to be hauled to the campsite. At those events, deep sky stargazers pursue “faint fuzzies” the galaxies and nebulas at the limits of viewing. For them, the planet Jupiter is light pollution. At a dark sky site, with no other competition, our solar system’s largest planet is bright enough to cast shadows. In the large “light buckets” built to gather the faintest glows from the farthest objects, the glare of Jupiter washes out the sky. So, one astronomer’s target is another astronomer’s light pollution. The same is true of the Moon. Some hobbyists do study it. It is not a dead world. But generally speaking most suburban hobbyists consider the Moon to be light pollution. I am not insensitive to the problem. I believe that a correct political analysis begins with considerations of property rights. A couple of years ago, I wanted to arrange the loan of a large hobby telescope to a co-worker who recently moved into a rural area. Sadly, he declined the offer because his neighbor had just installed a security light, a mercury-vapor spotlight that illuminated her land, his, and much else. If the light waves were sound waves, she would be blasting rock ‘n’ roll at 2:00 AM. That is a problem that is easy to understand and any number of local ordinances (if not common sense and common courtesy) would put a stop to it. We all want clear dark skies full of beautiful bright stars. Backyard astronomers also want telescopes, which are mass-production manufactured items, mostly from China. Even custom-made hobbyist telescopes two feet in diameter costing near $10,000 are built from precision glassware made in China. Backyard astronomers here do not mind if China's skies are polluted. I admit that it was at the Austin Astronomical Society's dark sky site 80 miles away from Austin that I first saw the Milky Way from horizon to horizon. It was worth the drive. There is no shortage of dark sky for anyone willing to make an effort, invest resources, and put up with some minor inconveniences. That being so, absent the amenities of civilization, daily life 80 miles from a Level One trauma center could be precarious should you break your arm or have a heart attack. Like telescopes, modern hospitals are another product of our industrial economy. What formal logic calls the law of the excluded middle is commonly expressed as, “You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.
  8. Dave, you speak an Indo-European language, but your language has 6000 years of new meanings reflected in the many nuances of simple words and the very many new words that did not exist 4000 BCE. Yet, all of our words evolved from those. I especially liked this: "Then what is the mental fodder for reasoning which leads to this chain of conclusions?" "Fodder for reasoning" is highly symbolic. It is analogy, of course, perhaps also metaphor. "Analogy" and "metaphor" are Greek words, of course. There is a hobby of using old English. Look up "Star Wyes." Astronomy would be "heavenlore" and fiction is "playtruth." If this all seems irrelevant, then you do not speak German. Telescope is "Fernrohre" far-tube. We say "telescope" and the sound is a symbol. When a German speaks it, two existing words are brought together for a new meaning. I do not disagree with anything you said, but everything you said has meaning only in context.
  9. I have several to match the clothes I wear. I have one with red-white-and-blue when I am in old GI clothes. I have one with constellations for when I have on an astronomy-theme T-shirt. I have one with a corporate logo that goes with the corporate polo shirts. We should have been doing this all along, but we accepted it as normal that people could come to work sick and pass their germs along to others. In the old days before connectivity, that might have been an excuse: we have to show up at work and work is important to our livelihood and the clients and their customers. But even if that was the case mid-20th century, back before 1985, I got a catalog book of software developers and most of them reported 1 or 2 employees and company revenues of $50,000 or $100,000 per year and locations in small places all over. Shortly after that, I joined my first BBS. But some years earlier, I actually got a message across my terminal at one college from a friend a different college. So, we could have been doing this for decades. Four years ago, I worked for a software development firm that actually had a stay-home-when-sick policy. This guy came in sick. Two days later he was still sick and I said something to HR and they said, "Oh, we don't follow that. The policies are just written for us by another firm we hire." The next day he was out ... and so was the guy in the cubie next to his.. I believe that spreading germs should be actionable. They locked up Typhoid Mary without a trial. Well, maybe a trial should have been held. In her interview with Edward R. Murrow, Ayn Rand said that the government has a role to prevent intentional harm and does not need to wait for actual harm. It is something to consider in the development of objective law.
  10. When I was able to get both planets in the same view with my telescopes, I drew proportional sketches of the conjunction. With a field-of-view, for example, of 2.42 degrees, I used circles of 2.4 and 4.8 cm. I developed a personal technique of being able to view with both eyes open so that I can hold a centimeter scale at a convenient distance to guage separations. I have used this for binary stars, also. ' Images are reversed right and left. Saturn was to the West (Left) of Jupiter. That is an artifact of the refracting telescopes. We correct that with prisms for binoculars ("field glasses"). With astronomical objects it is not that critical and we often just indicated N-W or whatever is convenient. On the night of closest conjunction, the sky was overcast. I could make out the planets because I knew what they were, but nothiing was distinct. I could not see the rings of Saturn or the moons of Jupiter that night. As for the annotations. Consider the notes added to the image directly above. 70mm is the diameter of the objective lens. F/10 means that the focal length is 700 mm. The viewing power is found from the focal length of the eyepiece (17 mm) divided into the focal length of the objective: 700/17 = 41+. In addition, I used a 2x Barlow lens, which effectlvely halves the focal length of the eyepiece, doubling the magnification to 82X. The field-of-view (FOV) is just under 1 degree: 52m 34s. That is based on the standard ("Ploessl") eyepiece field of view of 50 degrees at the higher power. (Georg Ploessl was a 19th century maker of optical instruments. His designs for eyepieces became popular in the late 20th century when the hobby of astronomy exploded in response to the US-USSR "space race.")
  11. I launched my blog on 2 January 2011. The title was inspired by Gregory Browne’s Necessary Factual Truths (University Press of America, 2001). I met Dr. Browne at Eastern Michigan University in the fall semester 2007. Waiting for a class in police operations, I was walking the halls and heard him lecturing. It was obviously a philosophy class and he sounded reasonable. I looked in and saw “Ayn Rand” on the blackboard closing an array of philosophers in historical sequence. A couple of weeks later, I heard him actually mention Ayn Rand. So, I introduced myself. And I bought the book format of his doctoral dissertation. It derives from a refutation by Leonard Peikoff of the Analytic-Synthetic Dichotomy. https://necessaryfacts.blogspot.com/2021/01/ten-years-of-necessary-facts.html
  12. Free Will—Right away they teach you, NAVY stands for Never Again Volunteer Yourself. Every branch boot camp does it their own way. The lure is often an easy-sounding assignment that turns in to a minor hell. Do not take the easy way out. The lesson is not that you should hang back and let other people do your work. The lesson is really to not throw yourself away. Think about it before you take up a challenge. Choose your battles. When you confront the organization at large, or a superior at rank, your buddy will ask, “Is this the hill you want to die on?” You decide. Independence—“With all due respect, sir, I disagree.” You still follow orders. You are free to explain your reservations. The positive expression is recommending a creative solution to an existing problem. It is as simple as telling your buddies to stop what they are doing and talk about what they want to do next because charging through the brambles is only going leave you all with scratches. Integrity—Never compromise your values or deny your virtues. Morality—Every choice is an answer to the question, “Right or wrong?” Objectively, no dichotomy exists between the moral and the practical. The mundane daily tasks have long term consequences. For want of a two-penny nail, the battle was lost. More complex decisions follow broader principles. In America, no soldier is required to carry out an unlawful order. Justice—. Justice is recognizing the fact that your actions always have consequences for other people. Moreover, justice is pro-active. You do not wait for others to be in harm’s way, to be in need before you act. Taking care of other people is integral to a military unit. That does not mean being a slave to the whims of others, no matter how high their rank. Justice in action is rational benevolence. The more common understanding of that is the protector-guardian role of the military. The simplest analogy came from the retired Marine Corps master sergeant who taught our class in advanced leadership: There’s sheep. There’s wolves. And there’s sheepdogs. We are sheepdogs. Most people think of justice as punishment for the guilty. That is a secondary consequence of egocentric justice. Pride --- “Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value and, like all of man’s values, it has to be earned—that of any achievements open to you, the one that makes all others possible is the creation of your own character...” -- Galt's Speech “And, above all, it means one’s rejection of the role of a sacrificial animal, the rejection of any doctrine that preaches self-immolation as a moral virtue or duty.” – “Objectivist Ethics” in The Virtue of Selfishness.
  13. At first inspection, the rational individualism of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism seems contrary to the requirements of military service. Everyone dressing alike is the most visible fact. Following orders without question is the deeper problem, of course, especially as that can lead to your own death. Groups are sacrificed in feints and gambits. The military shares well with other institutions the vice of inertial conservativism. Innovators such as Gen. William “Billy” Mitchell and Adm. William Sowden Sims were perfect examples of those whose heroism was not in standing tall against deadly weapons but in persistently confronting mediocrity to the detriment of their own careers. (Note: This is from a discussion on Rebirth of Reason, which was recently re-launched after being down for about six months.) However, in fact, admirers of Ayn Rand’s philosophy and fiction can be found easily in U.S. military ranks. See, for example, Love My Rifle More than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army by Kayla Williams (W. W. Norton, 2005) and The Leader’s Bookshelf, edited by Adm. James Stavridis USN (Ret.) and R. Manning Ancell (Naval Institute Press, 2017). But it is also easy to find Christians in the military, even though Christianity insists that we love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and obey a commandment not to kill. Clearly, people have the ability to explain away their moral standards in order to rationalize their choices. I assert that military service per se is as morally neutral as any other career. The ethics of its practice depends on the values of the actor. From November 22, 2014 to October 29, 2019, I was a petty officer in the Maritime Regiment of the Texas State Guard. About a dozen states have their own active home guards. By law, they are within the same state departments as the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard. (There is no Navy National Guard.) They all report to the same adjutant general. By federal law, the state guards cannot be federalized or sent overseas. They answer to their governors only, never to the President. Generally, today, they are not issued weapons, though most states grant that power to the governor in response to an emergency. Historically, the Texas State Guard has patrolled the international border with Mexico, been military police, and provided civic riot control. Generally, the primary purpose all state guards today is emergency response to mass casualty events such as tornados, floods, fires, and hurricanes. My primary duties were editing and writing policies, plans, and procedures for the general staff. I also was assigned to 14 months of fulltime employment as a specialist in the Domestic Operations Taskforce where I was one of six state guard sergeants working for national guard colonels in plans and training. My direct supervisors were young lieutenants and captains returned from combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. In my five years, I was deployed as a computer operator in command and control for four emergencies. The last of them was Hurricane Harvey, for me, 24 straight 12-hour duty days. Among the citations on my ribbon rack are two humanitarian service awards, two meritorious service awards, a national guard service award, and an adjutant general’s individual achievement medal. That last speaks directly to the Objectivist virtues of military service. Contrary to the common narrative that individuality is erased in the making of humans into mindless killing machines, the military encourages and rewards initiative, values human life, and reinforces dignity, respect, and self-esteem. As with any other profession, you bring yourself to its practice. “Honor is self-esteem made visible in action.” – Philosophy Who Needs It.
  14. Murray Rothbard was a fraud and a faker. A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II by Murray N. Rothbard, Von Mises Institute, 2002. Pages 119-122 on the Suffolk System. Rothbard begins: “But Dr. George Tivoli, whose excellent monograph, The Suffolk System, we rely on in this study …” Where does Tivoli's work end? On page 120 is a footnote 102 to John Jay Knox's A History of Banking in the United States in support of a quote. Then follows more narrative. Is this a continued paraphrasing of Tivoli? And where is the publication citation for that monograph? I found that original publication about the Suffolk Banking System. Rothbard just used scissors and paste on what was then an obscure work. Today, we have the Internet. What Has Government Done to Our Money?, 2nd ed (Santa Ana: Rampart College, 1974.) Section 7, pages 8-10, ending with footnote 9. No mention of actual private gold coins issued by Bechtlers, Templeton Reid or many others, or of private copper such as Higley's "Granby tokens" or many others throughout history, including “Hard Times” and Civil War issues (Patriotics and Store Cards). “Privately-minted gold coins circulated in California as late as 1848.” (page 10 closing Section 7). The actual use of fractional dollar gold coins in California in 1848-1849 is still much debated. Private gold had a 20-year run in North Carolina, 1831-1852. And again private gold in California was not used "until 1848," but starting in 1848. The coins of Wass-Molitor & Co. (1852-1855), Kellogg & Co. (1854-1855), Schultz & Co. (1851), Mormon Gold (1849-1860), and many other issues would have informed any researcher seeking to understand the substantive topic. Rothbard claimed that kings minted coins. Indeed, they did. So did perhaps a thousand other authorities: bishops, counts, town councils, etc. Kings held no monopolies until much later, and even then only tenuously. Again, relying on my faith in Rothbard, I was brought up short in an online discussion via Usenet's rec.collecting.coins by Francois Velde, a Federal Reserve economist who authored and co-authored books on medieval economics. While I disagree with Velde's theories, I have to accept his facts, which are available to anyone who cares to do the research -- which I did for an article, "Champagne: the Athens of the Middle Ages" for The Celator – and which Rothbard apparently did not. Rothbard completely ignored the error in “Gresham's Conjecture” the evidence of the silver half dime and nickel 5-cent circulating in parallel (as did the nickel 3-cent and silver 3-cent). The National Bank Acts of 1863 required the deposit of gold with the Treasury. In return, banks got Treasury bonds, against which they could issue their own National Bank Notes up to 90% of the value. This was, in fact, a gold-based demand banking system. Moreover, contrary to the baseless claims of Rothbard, state banks did revive and continue up to the 1933 mass closings. Rothbard just tailored his history. And he ignored the rich, varied, and informative history of the Wildcat Era, focusing only on the Federal government as the bogeyman. Discussing the origins of the evil Federal Reserve Bank, Rothbard writes of the Panic of 1907 without a word of the Clearinghouse Scrip that served the banks through the crisis. The vouchers demonstrate an ad hoc market solution to the (highly putative) "problem" of credit contraction. It would have helped to prove the case that the Federal Reserve System was not necessary.
  15. Saving Mr. Banks may be a new invention in modern cinema: a Romanticist biography. It is the story of conflict between Walt Disney and P. J. Traverse, author of the Mary Poppins books. At the end of her writing career, she is out of money. For 20 years, Disney has been offering her a lot of it. But she will not give up final rights to the artistic control of the movie. She says at least twice that Mary Poppins is like family to her. We see why in flashbacks. Talking to his writers, Disney says that he understands her well: at one point, when "I was just a kid from Missouri," he had been offered a lot of money for Mickey Mouse. "It would have killed me to do it. Mickey was family to me." Ultimately, they have the same values, but diametrically opposite goals: both want control of the production; and both are right to expect that. Some of the facts were tailored for the story. In the end, Walt Disney comes to Pamela Traverse Goff and tells her his story, to free her from her own. If I understand the facts from various Internet presentations and discussions, it was Roy Disney who went to London to negotiate the contract. But such is historical fiction; and as romanticist fiction, it was necessary for the integration of plot and theme; and nothing was lost. My wife, (and daughter) and I have stayed for the credits for 30 years, ever since Brain Storm. You never know where your friends have been working. It is also our tribute to the creators, the artists, the production workers who made the movie. Watching Atlas Shrugged in the theaters, we enjoyed a final moment of epilogue that many people missed. So, too, here, did the credits roll over a final scene that substantiated a crucial element in establishing the ground truth of the film. That was convenient for all the people fishing for handkerchiefs and tissues. I always have one laundered and ironed. Fortunately, I had another in my jacket for my wife. Added by Michael E. Marotta on 12/26, 8:40am
  • Create New...