The Social Justice Warrior’s 9 Theses Against this Blog and Its Author

This blog is racist, because it supports Israel over Islamic totalitarians, and because it posts videos of people speaking in front of Tea Party sympathizers. (You know, those horrible racists!)

This blog is sexist, because it uses “he,” instead of “he/she” or “(s)he” or “he or she” or “she,” when referring to those of unspecified gender.

This blog is ableist, because its author doesn’t believe people should be robbed to support the disabled, (and all the disabled are permanently useless and can never support themselves without the government forcing others to care for them.)

This blog is hateful of poor people, because it doesn’t support the forcible tearing down of rich people for their sake.

This blog is against sound economics, like the Broken Window Theory and “wealth inequality means everyone is poorer.”

This blog dares to peek beyond the Veil of Ignorance, and challenge John Rawls’s view of (social) justice as fairness.

This blog is homophobic, because its author doesn’t support laws forcing private businesses to hire or serve people they don’t want to, such as gays.

This blog is anti-science, because its author doesn’t want government to destroy people’s freedom on the basis of unreliable computer models.

This blog is triggering, because it contains offensively positive references to Ayn Rand.

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Israel and the Palestinians: Of War, Civilization and “Refugees”

Here is a sampling of audio, video and articles about the history of the Israeli/Palestinian-Muslim conflict and the current war in Gaza between Hamas and Israel:

An audio interview with Dr. Efraim Karsh, professor of Middle East and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College London on “The Arab-Israel Conflict and the Palestinian Refugees”:

(The original ARI page for this interview is here: “The Arab-Israel Conflict and the Palestinian Refugees”)

A video interview with Elan Journo about the current (2014) Israel/Hamas war:

Written articles:

Hamas and The Left’s Pretense about the Deaths of Innocents in Gaza

Israel and the Front Line of Civilization

Israel Has a Moral Right To Its Life

Student suspended for questioning CT Governor on Gun Legislation

First, government officials come after your Second Amendment rights. Then, when you peacefully question them about it and tell them that they’re destroying your business, government officials violate your First Amendment rights to shut you up! (Note that Asnuntuck Community College is a public/government institution.) All hail the coming police state!

Two Heads are Better Than One


Shut up

If you’re one of the many folks upset about Connecticut’s new gun laws, that state’s governor has a message for you: Shut Up.

Courtesy of the Daily Caller:

“…student Nicholas Saucier tried to get (Democratic Governor Dannel ) Malloy to answer questions about his support for gun control legislation, which has put Saucier’s ammunition manufacturing business in jeopardy. Saucier followed Malloy to his car after the governor finished speaking at a public forum at Asnuntuck Community College.

The exchange took place in October of last year, and was captured on video…” 

Sounds relatively harmless so far, right?

Now here’s the video:

View original post 563 more words

Yaron Brook Interview on The Heartland Institute Daily Podcast: The Philosophy of Liberty

What’s the difference between “equality,” as the US Founding Fathers meant it and “equality,” as those in today’s political Left mean it? The Founders created the freest and most prosperous nation on earth. Yet did you know that the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia were motivated by “equality” in the deliberate murder of millions of people?

In this interview with Jim Lakely of the Heartland Daily Podcast, Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute, discusses equality, morality and general philosophy, and their connection to liberty:

Here is Part 1.

I had some trouble with the player stopping in the middle. If anyone has this problem, the direct link to the file is here:

http://heartland.org/sites/default/files/yaronbrook-part1.mp3

Here is Part 2.

And the direct link to the file:

http://heartland.org/sites/default/files/fire-yaronbrook-part2.mp3

If you found the interview enlightening or persuasive, please share this post with as many people as you can. Yaron Brook has a very important message, and is an excellent speaker. Here is a particularly good example of his many lectures:

Finally, I recommend the book Yaron Brook coauthored with Don Watkins: Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government

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An Objectivist Refutation of Anarcho-Capitalism (Market Anarchy)

Capitalism: Individual Rights vs. “The Common Good” — Full Version

Note: This is an expanded version of my entry for the “What is Capitalism?” essay contest on Ayn Rand Institute Campus. The essay prompt was: “Why does Ayn Rand argue that the moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the claim that it is the best way to achieve the ‘common good’?” The maximum length for the essay was a mere 800 words, so I had to heavily edit my original draft for submission, (already brief at just over 1,000 words.) Here, I’m able post the essay without that length constraint. For the 799-word version, click here.

adamsmith

Adam Smith

Ever since the Enlightenment, there have been many attempts to justify capitalism–or a quasi-capitalist mixed economy—on the basis of its being the best way to achieve “the common good,” or “the public good.” For example, Adam Smith wrote that “By pursuing his own interest [a man] frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.” Thus he implied that the public good is a valid concept and consideration. (1) According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Jeremy Bentham thought that “[Rights] ought to be made because of their conduciveness to ‘the general mass of felicity,’ and correlatively, when their abolition would be to the advantage of society, rights ought to be abolished.”

More common among modern conservatives and the moderate left, is the statement that regulated quasi-capitalism is “practical.” This statement is generally made without answers to the question: Practical for whom and to what end? The implied answer seems to be: For everyone and to any end. So this claim of practicality can be taken as an implied appeal to “the common good” as justification.

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand

But Ayn Rand justified pure, laissez-faire capitalism on different grounds. She rejected “the common good” as an invalid, collectivist notion, and instead held that capitalism rests upon the principle of individual rights. This principle, in turn, rests upon the morality of rational egoism, which rests on the nature of man. Thus, the justification for capitalism as the proper governmental system for man starts with the nature of man as a living organism.

Continue reading

Capitalism: Individual Rights vs. “The Common Good” — Short Version

Note: This is my entry for the “What is Capitalism?” essay contest on Ayn Rand Institute Campus. The essay prompt was: “Why does Ayn Rand argue that the moral justification of capitalism does not lie in the claim that it is the best way to achieve the ‘common good’?” The maximum length for the essay was a mere 800 words, so I had to heavily edit my original draft (already brief at just over 1,000 words.) For the longer version, without the heavy editing, click here.

Ever since the Enlightenment, there have been many attempts to justify capitalism–or rather, a quasi-capitalist mixed economy—on the basis of its being the best way to achieve “the common good.”

But Ayn Rand justified capitalism on different grounds. She rejected “the common good” as an invalid, collectivist notion, and instead held that capitalism rests upon the principle of individual rights. This principle ultimately rests on the nature of man. Thus, the justification for capitalism as the proper governmental system for man starts with the nature of man as a living organism.

Living organisms must support their own lives by their own actions. Whether plant or animal, microbe or man. It is this self-sustaining, self-generated action of life that gives rise to values: the things that living organisms pursue to keep themselves alive. It is only in reference to the maintenance of an organism’s life, as the ultimate basis, that anything can be evaluated.

Thus, it is only in reference to the maintenance of human life that a human governmental system can ultimately be evaluated. But in order to evaluate the effectiveness of any governmental system in the promotion of human life, we need to know the fundamental means by which man survives.

Man’s mind, unlike other animals, operates conceptually and non-automatically. He has no instincts to guide him throughout his life.

Man cannot survive by simply adapting himself to his environment, but must adapt his environment to himself. He lacks the physical prowess of the other animals, but he can use his mind to make tools, shelter, clothing, to grow food and domesticate animals.
Man’s mind—his process of thinking—is his basic means of survival, and it must be performed independently by individuals.

So the fundamental unit of human life is the individual. If human beings are to live, rather than die—to flourish, rather than stagnate—they need to use their own minds to support their own lives.

In order to do this, they need to be free from the initiation of physical compulsion by others. Among chosen human actions, it is only physical force that can stop, paralyze, or nullify the thought of an individual. A man’s thought (and life) is stopped if he is killed; his thought is stopped if his brain is destroyed by a club; his thought is paralyzed if the government prohibits his ideas from being expressed; his thought is nullified to the extent that he is prevented from acting on his own judgment.

The principle required to objectively implement the non-initiation of force in a societal context is the principle of individual rights. A right is, in Ayn Rand’s words, “a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context.” It is the rights to life, liberty and property that enable man to thrive in a society. This is because the enforcement of these rights protects man’s freedom of judgment and action in the pursuit of his own life. The protection of rights ensures that man has the free use of the fundamental tools of survival and happiness: his mind, his body and his property.
Under capitalism, the government only has three basic functions: to provide the police, the military and the courts. The only laws that the government enforces are those that help protect individual rights. The government does not provide welfare, health insurance, or retirement payments. Nor does it regulate business activity, (beyond protecting rights, prosecuting fraud and enforcing contracts.) Nor does it regulate interest rates, enforce an official currency, regulate rents.

Capitalism is a system designed to let those who produce valuable things benefit from their own production. They are as free to benefit from their own productivity as they would be on a large island by themselves. Capitalism is not designed to let some people force others to pay for their lifestyle. Capitalism, just like a deserted island, is not good for people who are determined to leech off of others, when they could be productive.

If the woozy notion of “the common good” is translated into “the good of everyone in the country, irrespective of his goals,” then capitalism does not promote the common good. It enables those whose goal is the maintenance and betterment of their own lives, to actually sustain and improve their own lives. In this process, capitalism enables people who are willing, to donate to charities for those who are genuinely unable to sustain themselves. The abundance of created wealth allows for larger donations, without self-sacrifice on the part of the donors.

Thus, capitalism, by enshrining and protecting individual rights, would provide great potential benefits to mankind. But it is only the portion of mankind that is (or would be) willing to use their minds and produce values that would actually benefit from the system.

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Related Posts:

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Yaron Brook: Shrugging the Stigma of Success

In this recent talk at the University of Texas-Austin, Dr. Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute, discusses the general American attitude toward success in business and how it is influenced by traditional moral ideas. But does traditional morality really make sense? Is it reasonable? Dr. Brook argues that it doesn’t and it isn’t.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

For anyone who found this talk interesting, I highly recommend reading the book, Free Market Revolution, which Dr. Brook co-authored with Don Watkins.

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The Nature of the Morality of Rational Egoism: Short Notes

Wealth is Created by Action Based on Rational Thought

One little bit of high-tech wealth brought to you by a lot of human thought.

One little bit of high-tech wealth brought to you by a lot of human thought.

Wealth consists of the life-promoting goods and services that people have access to. Wealth, (beyond fruit) does not grow on trees. Luxury homes do not spring up from the earth by themselves. Seasoned pork roasts do not fall from the sky. Wealth must be created by human activity.

But what kind of human activity generates wealth? Is it desiring? Does simply wanting a new car make it appear? Despite what most Keynesians will tell you, I’m afraid that it will not. (1) People have to act to create wealth. But what kind of action? If you flail your arms about mindlessly, will that create wealth? Obviously not. What is needed is action based on rational thought: That is, taking stock of one’s surroundings and the actual needs of oneself and/or others, then figuring out how to use one’s surroundings to create what is needed for the promotion of such human life, (i.e. wealth.)

To provide food, people need to think about how to plant and harvest, how to hunt, how to maintain livestock, how to store crop yields without spoilage, how to keep and prepare meat safely, etc. If no one thinks at all, everyone starves. But is all that’s required to reach today’s level of wealth, minimal, routine, low-level thought? Continue reading

Wealth is Not Money — Monetary Wages vs. Real Wages

MoneyStack-small

Not wealth.

There are many confusions that many people hold about economics today. One fairly common one that I’d like to address is the confusion of wealth with money.

Wealth consists of the actual goods and services that are available to a person. Food, medicine, clothing, houses, televisions, computers, jewelry, the services of a doctor–all of this is wealth.

Money, on the other hand, is the medium of exchange used to indirectly barter wealth. Unlike wealth, having money does you no good by yourself on an island. If the money supply in an economy is doubled, this does not increase the amount of wealth in that economy. What increases wealth in an economy is the production of material goods and the offering of valuable services.

The confusion between money and wealth tends to arise because, on an individual level with a given money supply, the way one gets access to more wealth is to get more money. But the way money translates into wealth is not a simple “more nominal money equals more wealth,” but “having a greater percentage of the money in the economy entitles one to a greater percentage of the wealth in that economy that one doesn’t already own.” Money is a claim to the wealth produced by others, (who are willing to sell) relative to the total money supply and the total wealth.

Money--Wealth Ratio

When people create wealth by producing valuable goods from raw materials or using skills to offer services, then trade these for money, they give value to the money in circulation. If they are able to produce wealth (of a type that’s needed/desired) faster than it’s consumed, they increase the value of the money in circulation. Since there are more goods and services chasing the same amount of money (assuming no more money is printed/created) the prices of the goods and services decrease. Continue reading

Dr. Burzynski and Hank Rearden: Real Life Mimicks Atlas Shrugged…Again

atlasshruggedIn the novel, Atlas Shrugged, the great steel tycoon, Henry “Hank” Rearden and his assistants create a metal alloy that’s stronger, lighter and cheaper to produce than steel. For this great achievement, the government subjects Rearden to every form of business obstruction it can muster. This includes a propaganda campaign, new laws and attempts to badger Rearden into selling the rights to the metal to a government institution.

In the real world, Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski and his team developed a cancer treatment that’s more effective (for some cancers), safer to administer and that produces much milder side-effects than radiation and traditional chemotherapy. For this great achievement, Dr. Burzynski was subjected to a harrowing, multi-year ordeal of interference by the FDA and state government.

This incredible, real-world progression of events is meticulously and compellingly documented in the 2010 film, “Burzynski,” currently available on Netflix streaming.

While the documentary is a searing indictment of the FDA, it is less compelling in its attempt to implicate the competitive drive of big pharmaceutical companies as the motive power behind the persecution of Burzynski. The evidence for this connection is relatively scanty. But it is certainly possible that there is some influence there, and it is definitely true that the FDA’s persecution of Burzynski served to insulate “big pharma” from competition. This would be another real-world parallel to Atlas Shrugged. There the politically connected steel baron, Orren Boyle, is involved in the government persecution of Hank Rearden, in order to eliminate his more able, productive and efficient competition.

But the lesson to draw from “Burzynski” is not that the pharmaceutical industry needs to be more heavily regulated, or that the FDA needs more “oversight.” The lesson is that the FDA needs to be abolished. Companies of all kinds will always want to remove obstacles and competition from their paths, but without the FDA regulatory machinery, they would have no way to do this by legalized force. They would only be able to overcome competition through superior efficiency and customer service. (Any coercive methods would be criminal.)

Moreover, the regulatory institutions of the state give politicians and bureaucrats the power to violate the decisions of individuals and private companies in the name of “the public interest.” This distorts economic decision-making, cripples market efficiency, and leads to pressure group warfare as described by Ayn Rand in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal:

‘So long as a concept such as “the public interest” (or the “social” or “national” or “international” interest) is regarded as a valid principle to guide legislation—lobbies and pressure groups will necessarily continue to exist. Since there is no such entity as “the public,” since the public is merely a number of individuals, the idea that “the public interest” supersedes private interests and rights, can have but one meaning: that the interests and rights of some individuals take precedence over the interests and rights of others.

‘If so, then all men and all private groups have to fight to the death for the privilege of being regarded as “the public.” The government’s policy has to swing like an erratic pendulum from group to group, hitting some and favoring others, at the whim of any given moment—and so grotesque a profession as lobbying (selling “influence”) becomes a full-time job. If parasitism, favoritism, corruption, and greed for the unearned did not exist, a mixed economy would bring them into existence.

‘Since there is no rational justification for the sacrifice of some men to others, there is no objective criterion by which such a sacrifice can be guided in practice. All “public interest” legislation (and any distribution of money taken by force from some men for the unearned benefit of others) comes down ultimately to the grant of an undefined, undefinable, non-objective, arbitrary power to some government officials.

‘The worst aspect of it is not that such a power can be used dishonestly, but that it cannot be used honestly. The wisest man in the world, with the purest integrity, cannot find a criterion for the just, equitable, rational application of an unjust, inequitable, irrational principle.’

In this case, the “public interest” coincides with the short-range “protection” of the major pharmaceutical companies, since their “partnership” with the FDA represents the “established system” of “ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs.”

If the US were to institute a system of government that only protects the individual rights of citizens from the coercion and fraud of others, its people would be much better off than with the FDA.

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