Only a few hours left until we cross into 2012 here in New York. Time to run down my ABC and 123 list of the best and worst of 2011!
A is for America, Ayn Rand, and activism
America: The land of opportunity. A land where millions of people immigrate to just for a chance to be a part of the great experiment that is a country ruled by the people. We must not lose sight of that vision and once again move toward liberty, not away from it.
I began reading Ayn Rand this year and am delighted to have discovered the writings and philosophy of someone that I can relate to, understand, and be inspired by. Some of my favorite Ayn Rand quotes:
It is the basic, metaphysical fact of man’s nature—the connection between his survival and his use of reason—that capitalism recognizes and protects.
In a capitalist society, all human relationships are voluntary. Men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions, and interests dictate. They can deal with one another only in terms of and by means of reason, i.e., by means of discussion, persuasion, and contractual agreement, by voluntary choice to mutual benefit. The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree—and thus keeps the road open to man’s most valuable attribute (valuable personally, socially, and objectively): the creative mind.
“What Is Capitalism?”
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 19
Capitalism cannot work with slave labor. It was the agrarian, feudal South that maintained slavery. It was the industrial, capitalistic North that wiped it out—as capitalism wiped out slavery and serfdom in the whole civilized world of the nineteenth century.
What greater virtue can one ascribe to a social system than the fact that it leaves no possibility for any man to serve his own interests by enslaving other men? What nobler system could be desired by anyone whose goal is man’s well-being?
“Theory and Practice,”
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 136
Both [conservatives and liberals] hold the same premise—the mind-body dichotomy—but choose opposite sides of this lethal fallacy.
The conservatives want freedom to act in the material realm; they tend to oppose government control of production, of industry, of trade, of business, of physical goods, of material wealth. But they advocate government control of man’s spirit, i.e., man’s consciousness; they advocate the State’s right to impose censorship, to determine moral values, to create and enforce a governmental establishment of morality, to rule the intellect. The liberals want freedom to act in the spiritual realm; they oppose censorship, they oppose government control of ideas, of the arts, of the press, of education (note their concern with “academic freedom”). But they advocate government control of material production, of business, of employment, of wages, of profits, of all physical property—they advocate it all the way down to total expropriation.
The conservatives see man as a body freely roaming the earth, building sand piles or factories—with an electronic computer inside his skull, controlled from Washington. The liberals see man as a soul freewheeling to the farthest reaches of the universe—but wearing chains from nose to toes when he crosses the street to buy a loaf of bread.
Yet it is the conservatives who are predominantly religionists, who proclaim the superiority of the soul over the body, who represent what I call the “mystics of spirit.” And it is the liberals who are predominantly materialists, who regard man as an aggregate of meat, and who represent what I call the “mystics of muscle.”
This is merely a paradox, not a contradiction: each camp wants to control the realm it regards as metaphysically important; each grants freedom only to the activities it despises. Observe that the conservatives insult and demean the rich or those who succeed in material production, regarding them as morally inferior—and that the liberals treat ideas as a cynical con game. “Control,” to both camps, means the power to rule by physical force. Neither camp holds freedom as a value. The conservatives want to rule man’s consciousness; the liberals, his body.
“Censorship: Local and Express,”
Philosophy: Who Needs It, 186
If America perishes, it will perish by intellectual default. There is no diabolical conspiracy to destroy it: no conspiracy could be big enough and strong enough . . . . As to the communist conspirators in the service of Soviet Russia, they are the best illustration of victory by default: their successes are handed to them by the concessions of their victims.
“For the New Intellectual,”
For the New Intellectual, 46
Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist withouteconomic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries.
“For the New Intellectual,”
For the New Intellectual, 25
Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.
Racism claims that the content of a man’s mind (not his cognitive apparatus, but its content) is inherited; that a man’s convictions, values and character are determined before he is born, by physical factors beyond his control. This is the caveman’s version of the doctrine of innate ideas—or of inherited knowledge—which has been thoroughly refuted by philosophy and science. Racism is a doctrine of, by and for brutes. It is a barnyard or stock-farm version of collectivism, appropriate to a mentality that differentiates between various breeds of animals, but not between animals and men.
Like every form of determinism, racism invalidates the specific attribute which distinguishes man from all other living species: his rational faculty. Racism negates two aspects of man’s life: reason and choice, or mind and morality, replacing them with chemical predestination.
The Virtue of Selfishness, 126
The essential characteristic of socialism is the denial of individual property rights; under socialism, the right to property (which is the right of use and disposal) is vested in “society as a whole,” i.e., in the collective, with production and distribution controlled by the state, i.e., by the government.
Socialism may be established by force, as in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics—or by vote, as in Nazi (National Socialist) Germany. The degree of socialization may be total, as in Russia—or partial, as in England. Theoretically, the differences are superficial; practically, they are only a matter of time. The basic principle, in all cases, is the same.
The alleged goals of socialism were: the abolition of poverty, the achievement of general prosperity, progress, peace and human brotherhood. The results have been a terrifying failure—terrifying, that is, if one’s motive is men’s welfare.
Instead of prosperity, socialism has brought economic paralysis and/or collapse to every country that tried it. The degree of socialization has been the degree of disaster. The consequences have varied accordingly.
“The Monument Builders,”
The Virtue of Selfishness, 86
In view of what they hear from the experts, the people cannot be blamed for their ignorance and their helpless confusion. If an average housewife struggles with her incomprehensibly shrinking budget and sees a tycoon in a resplendent limousine, she might well think that just one of his diamond cuff links would solve all her problems. She has no way of knowing that if all the personal luxuries of all the tycoons were expropriated, it would not feed her family—and millions of other, similar families—for one week; and that the entire country would starve on the first morning of the week to follow . . . . How would she know it, if all the voices she hears are telling her that we must soak the rich?
No one tells her that higher taxes imposed on the rich (and the semi-rich) will not come out of their consumption expenditures, but out of their investment capital (i.e., their savings); that such taxes will mean less investment, i.e., less production, fewer jobs, higher prices for scarcer goods; and that by the time the rich have to lower their standard of living, hers will be gone, along with her savings and her husband’s job—and no power in the world (no economic power) will be able to revive the dead industries (there will be no such power left).
“The Inverted Moral Priorities,”
The Ayn Rand Letter, III, 21, 3
I have taken on the role of libertarian activist in 2011. Within me, a passion for freedom and liberty has been awakened and I cannot foresee that ending in the coming years because I now fully grasp how fragile it is. It must always be fought for and appreciated. I have held Libertarian beliefs for many years now but only recently have I been inspired to “get involved” in a peaceful, nonviolent way, through discussion and education and example. I know this is probably one of the more boring aspects of my life, and I probably sound like a borderline cultist (I’m not, I promise! LOL), and I know it sounds sappy and corny and ultra nerdy, but I genuinely enjoy the philosophical discussions and heated debates and believe that humanity wants to be free more so than not, so I hope that the movement will inspire others to take a stance and choose liberty and reject force and violence.
This epic bacon cheeseburger was one of the greatest burgers in 2011
The Big Bang Theory is new to me in 2011 and is now considered one of our favorite TV shows of all time!
Shout out to Breaking Bad, also one of the greatest TV seasons this year!
I scored a few bargains this year, like the Kerrygold cheese I found on sale at Shop Rite
C is for Caesar, cats, and crabs
Caesar joined our family in September, one of the greatest events of the year!
Our cats didn’t like him at first, but now they tolerate him. Our cats rule the house in 2011 and all years.
D is for Dustin, Disney, and dinners
Our time at Disney was fabulous!
The weather, the FOOD!!, the nostalgia
The Hollywood Brown Derby Cobb salad
E is for evolution and everybody
Everybody deserves equality.
I have evolved. My blog has evolved. I have made changes in both myself and my blog in 2011, but they won’t be fully implemented until 2012. I’m very excited about the upcoming changes and hope you will to.
F is for Facebook, Florida, and fudge
Follow me on Facebook if you don’t already!
Loved, loved, loved our Florida vacation!
Dustin loves this peanut butter fudge
G is for guns and gluten-free We shooting guns and had some really fun times doing so in 2011
July 4th celebration
I’ve made more gluten-free (and grain-free) recipes in 2011 than any other year. This trend will continue in the years to come, for sure!
Zucchini Spaghetti Carbonara (gluten-free, grain-free)
Gluten-free is still just as delicious as gluten!
H is for health, hot peppers, and headaches
My health still isn’t the best it could be. But I hope to get to the bottom of my symptoms in this upcoming year.
One “new” symptom that’s become undeniable in the past year or so: Instant headache after eating hot peppers, hot sauce, etc. I adore hot peppers + hot sauce, so this is VERY upsetting to me! Definitely one of the lowlights of the year. I hope it’s not permanent, but for now I have been treading lightly with the hotness and suffering the consequences when I indulge in the forbidden spicy stuff.
I is for individualism, intermittent-fasting, and ice pops
Do not make the mistake of the ignorant who think that an individualist is a man who says: “I’ll do as I please at everybody else’s expense.” An individualist is a man who recognizes the inalienable individual rights of man—his own and those of others.
An individualist is a man who says: “I will not run anyone’s life—nor let anyone run mine. I will not rule nor be ruled. I will not be a master nor a slave. I will not sacrifice myself to anyone—nor sacrifice anyone to myself.”
“Textbook of Americanism,”
The Ayn Rand Column, 84
I practiced intermittent-fasting on and off in 2011 and really dig it!
I’ve acquired a taste for ice pops this year and I am not ashamed to admit it. They are so tasty, even if they are just low-cal sugar bombs.
J is for Jobs
We lost one of the greatest visionaries known to mankind in 2011: Steve Jobs 1955-2011
K is for kitchen and Kindle books
I my kitchen
I love downloading e-books to my iPad’s Kindle app!
L is for lettuce wraps
One of my favorite new foods of 2011: Lettuce wraps!
M is for Mexican food and music
I have enjoyed Mexican food for awhile, but really grew attached to it in 2011. It’s SO yummy!
Tacos at the Taco Factory in Middletown
Vegetarian black bean Mexican spaghetti (gluten-free, grain-free)
Sadly, I haven’t had much success with new-to-me music this past year. If it weren’t for one of my favorite rappers, ytcracker, putting out some stupendous tracks, my playlist would be in a musical drought. Seriously. YTCracker now dominates my playlist with a 5:1 ratio. Not complaining, but c’mon music industry. I’ve seen better years. (like 1985…)
N is for nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast has moved into my top 20 favorite foods. The cheezy, high-protein, vegan flakes are fabulous on so many things, like: popcorn, pasta, veggies, and sprinkled in salads and soup.
O is for Objectivism
I’m now a fan of Ayn Rand’s philosophy: Objectivism
P is for plants and pizza
Plants rule! They are definitely the base on my personal food pyramid.
We’ve had some superb pizza in ‘11
Q is for quinoa
February ‘11 introduces cheezy quinoa to Jenn’s Menu
R is for Ron Paul
I support Ron Paul because Ron Paul supports my individual sovereignty and yours too. I’m here to tell you he is the real deal with 40 years of loyalty and consistency to the Constitution, there will never be another Ron Paul in our lifetime. Join the revolution today to secure your freedom and prosperity tomorrow.
The mainstream media has spread and fabricated all sorts of lies and half-truths. I encourage you to do your own research, don’t believe the propaganda, form your own opinion based on facts, not lies and opinions of the ignorant.
I realized the other day that some people couldn’t load the YouTube videos I posted in their readers. Sorry about that! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Rv0Z5SNrF4
Some recommended reading:
- End The Fed by Ron Paul
- Liberty Defined by Ron Paul
- The Revolution: A Manifesto by Ron Paul
- The Case for Gold by Ron Paul
- The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek
- Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand
- The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand
S is for sandwiches and salads
Some of my best sandwiches and salads of ‘11
T is for thankful
I am so very thankful for my life. I love it. And that includes you guys! Thank you for helping to make 2011 a better year for me.
U is for untouchable
There is nothing anyone can do or say to rattle my cage. Haters try, but their efforts are in vain. I am who I am and the opinions of others are—quite frankly—irrelevant.
V is for vegan and vegetarian
Vegan and vegetarian foods can be absolutely delicious—and something that you begin to crave.
If you are reducing meat consumption in 2012 or already do so, here are some great vegan + vegetarian recipe ideas to get you started:
Smoky vegan cheese
W is for weight loss
I managed to lose 20 lbs this year with a combination of (calorie restriction) calorie-cycling, intermittent-fasting, and planned and unplanned activity. Hoping to lose more in 2012!
X is for [x]
I like my close window icon. And I can’t think of a single thing that starts with X, lol!
Y is for youth
May we stay forever young.
In 2011, I resolved to only be as old as I feel. And some days I do feel a bit on the relic side of age, but mostly I feel youthful and green.
Z is for zero
Zero apologies for anything in 2011.
Happy New Year, everyone! Here’s to a prosperous, healthful, and peaceful 2012!!!