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  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Islamic states and jihadists who attack and murder Westerners and other disbelievers are motivated to do so by their religion, Islam. Everyone paying attention knows this (including those who pretend not to).
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: This, the spring 2015 issue of The Objective Standard, begins our tenth year of publication; so let me start by extending a hearty thank-you to all of our subscribers and donors who have supported our vital work over the years. In a culture largely hostile to the ideas we elucidate and apply, the success of a publication such as TOS requires financial and spiritual support from the relative few who see the value of what we do. You are that few. You have made possible everything we have done—every article, every blog post, every video, every word. Without your support, TOS would have folded long ago, as most Objectivist periodicals have. Because of your support, however, TOS has not only survived, it has established and maintained a level of quality and clarity that has made and is making a difference. Here's an indication of the kind of correspondence we receive from people who discover TOS.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Spring 2014 issue of The Objective Standard, which begins our ninth year of publication. I want first and foremost to extend an enormous “thank you” to all of our subscribers, donors, and writers, whose material, moral, and intellectual support made our first eight years possible and laid the groundwork for what is to come. Without your initial and sustained support, TOS simply would not exist. With your support, this hub of Objectivist intellectual output is not merely existing, but thriving, expanding, and reaching more and more minds with the ideas on which human life and civilized society depend. From all of us at TOS: Thank you. Now, on to the contents at hand.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Author's note: The following are the introduction and first chapter of my forthcoming book, Thinking in Principles: The Science of Selfishness. The book, which will be published this December, is aimed primarily at active-minded young adults who have some familiarity with the principles of rational egoism. Its purpose is to elucidate the importance and method of thinking in principles. I hope you enjoy these early pages. —CB Introduction Your basic tool for making your life the best it can be is your mind. Your basic skill toward that end is your ability to think—to identify and integrate facts, to understand the world and your needs, to choose life-serving values and goals, to plan your days and years for maximum happiness, and to execute your plans effectively. The quality of every aspect of your life—from your career to romance to friendships to recreation to leisure time—depends on how well you think. How can you maximize your thinking skills? What are the principles of good thinking? How can you embrace and apply those principles to fill your life with values, projects, and people you love? The answers to these and related questions are the subject of this book. Whereas my first book, Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It, demonstrates that being moral consists in being selfish, Thinking in Principles: The Science of Selfishness shows what being selfish means in the realm of cognition. It is about how most effectively to use your mind in service of your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. You need not have read Loving Life in order to profit from reading this book, but reading either Loving Life or Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness before reading this book will better equip you to understand and integrate the ideas discussed herein. This book, of necessity, assumes a certain level of agreement about what is true and false, moral and immoral, right and wrong. For instance, it assumes recognition of the fact that reason (i.e., observation and logic) is your only means of knowledge, that neither feelings nor revelation nor faith is a means of knowledge. It assumes some understanding of the propriety of pursuing your own life-serving values and of the impropriety of sacrificing for others, society, or “God.” And it assumes some understanding of the morality of a social system that protects each individual's rights to live by the judgment of his own mind and to keep the product of his effort—and of the immorality of social systems that violate these rights. A reader with no knowledge of such truths will have trouble focusing on the subject at hand—the principles of thinking in principles—because he will constantly be challenged by the content and evaluations of various principles being used as concretes for discussion. We couldn't begin to discuss a science of good thinking for good living without assuming a basic understanding of what good thinking and good living consist of, and these ideas are part of such an understanding. If they are foreign to you, I suggest reading one of the above-mentioned books before proceeding. The purpose of this book is to examine the nature and need of principles; to identify and elucidate the principles of the method of thinking in terms of principles; and to integrate those principles into a systematic, scientific approach to living and loving life. Chapter 1, “What Principles Are and Why You Need Them,” discusses the nature of principles, surveys various kinds of principles, draws crucial definitions of “principle” from the survey, and shows the vital role of principles in thinking. The next six chapters identify and elucidate the principles of thinking in principles and examine various errors and fallacies that are violations of these principles. Chapter 2, “Axioms, Corollaries, and Proximate Fundamentals,” examines the principles at the very base of all thinking; shows their relationship to other principles that underlie and govern various areas of life (e.g., romance, business, recreation, parenting); considers some major aspects of the process of forming and validating principles; and briefly addresses the crusade against principles (i.e., anti-foundationalism and pragmatism). Chapter 3, “The Excluded Middle and Matters of Degree,” zeros in on the crucial role of the law of excluded middle in identifying and applying principles; addresses misconceptions of and objections to the law; clarifies the proper use of the law with respect to mixed ideas, mixed situations, and “slippery slopes”; and demonstrates the binary, either-or nature of principled thinking. Chapter 4, “Proper Classification and Definition,” surveys the basic principles of Ayn Rand's theory of concepts; shows the proper formation and use of concepts to be at once governed by principles and essential to principled thinking; examines several kinds of violations of the principles presented, including package deals, anti-concepts, and frozen abstractions; and shows why you must form and use concepts in certain ways and not others if they are to serve your life and happiness. Chapter 5, “Hierarchies of Knowledge and Values,” examines the hierarchical structures and interrelationships of conceptual knowledge, moral principles, and personal values; examines the fallacy of the stolen concept, further demonstrating why you must use concepts properly if they are to serve your life; and shows how to organize your values hierarchically and use the “math of egoism” to dramatically improve your thinking, decision making, and all-around effectiveness in pursuing and achieving your goals. Chapter 6, “Context, Knowledge, and Values,” expands on the principles of hierarchy, examining the broader relational nature of concepts, principles, and values; shows why and how these three elements properly fit together to form an integrated, noncontradictory whole in service of your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness; and examines the fallacies of context dropping, omission of volition, and the argument from intimidation. Chapter 7, “Evidence, Knowledge, and Happiness,” examines the nature of evidence (both perceptual and conceptual); demonstrates the crucial role evidence plays in thinking, forming principles, applying them, and choosing and pursuing values; and shows the highly destructive nature of arbitrary (evidence-free) assertions, which throttle and thwart thinking in myriad nonobvious ways. Chapter 8, “The Science of Selfishness,” pulls together all of the foregoing principles, demonstrating their unity as an observation-based, integrated, life-serving system of thought; shows how this system applies to specific situations and goals; and shows how to use the principles of the system to create highly effective personalized micro-principles and standing orders to guide specific day-to-day actions, enabling you to achieve massively challenging life-enhancing goals. Chapter 9, “The Art of Selfishness,” shows how the fully formed science of selfishness applies to a broad array of real-life and hypothetical situations, from personal to social to political, demonstrating its immense power to clarify your thinking, simplify your decision making, and fill your days and years with values, projects, and people you love. If that interests you, let's dig in. Chapter One: What Principles Are and Why You Need Them “I don't have any principles. If I believe in anything, I believe in rules of thumb,” boasts an outspoken college professor. “Therefore, as I say quite often (and it's true) my forward time span is generally two hours. By that I mean I tend not to think about or worry about anything more in the future than two hours hence.”3 If this professor's claim were true, he would not be able to function as a human being. Granted, if he didn't think about anything more in the future than two hours hence he wouldn't need principles or have any to speak of. But, then, he wouldn't have a life to speak of either. Consider just a few reasons. . . .
  • Topic: Politics
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Author's note: This essay is an edited version of a lecture I've delivered to various Objectivist community groups. It assumes some understanding of and agreement with the philosophy of Objectivism. That we live only once is not speculation. This is it. This life is all we have. This fact, however, is not cause for despair; it is cause for action. To quote a favorite ad, “It's not that life's too short, it's just that you're dead for so long.” Our time in life is substantial—we might live to eighty, ninety, or even a hundred years old—and we can do a great deal in the decades we have. But we are going to die. And when we do, that's it. We're done. So: What to do? As rational egoists—as people who know that the moral purpose of life is to maximize our personal happiness—we want to fill our days and years with accomplishments and joy. We want to wake up every morning and pursue our values with vigor. We want to thrive in a career we love, in romance, in our recreational pursuits, in our friendships, and so on. In short, we want to make our lives the best they can be. That's easy to say. And, in a sense, it's easy to do: Just think rationally and act accordingly. In another sense, however, it is the single most difficult thing in the world. Making our life the best it can be is the only project that requires the harmonious use of all of our resources and capacities—physical and mental, personal and social—toward a highly complex goal for the span of our entire life. No other project comes even close to this in terms of its demands. In fact, all of our other egoistic endeavors are subsumed under this one. Whether we are performing brain surgery, or composing a symphony, or building a semiconductor company, or raising children, or learning to hang glide—all such endeavors are only projects within the broader goal of making the most of our life. Everything we do is but an aspect of this grand, all-encompassing goal. To achieve the greatest happiness possible, we have to unify all of our choices, values, and goals into a single harmonious whole. This requires a great deal of thinking, selecting, planning, prioritizing, coordinating, reviewing, reevaluating, and so on. At every turn, we must gain or apply the necessary knowledge, use our best judgment, and act accordingly—with respect to the full context of our values and goals. This is a huge subject, and, in keeping with the opening point, we have limited time. So I want to be clear about the scope of my talk. My goal tonight is to indicate the nature and importance of purpose (and related matters) in good living. My overarching point is that understanding and upholding the concept, value, and principle of purpose is essential to making your life the best it can be. What is a purpose?
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Summer 2014 issue of The Objective Standard. Here's a brief indication of the contents at hand.
  • Topic: War
  • Author: Craig Biddle, Max Borders
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: This debate between Craig Biddle and Max Borders was held at the “Liberty, Free Markets, and Moral Character” conference, cosponsored by the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism and the Foundation for Economic Education, at Clemson University on May 25, 2014. Download the pdf for free. Moderator C. Bradley Thompson: The gladiators are now in the cage. Let the friendly fight begin. [Laughter from the audience.] Photo: FEE Photo: FEE In many ways, the debate that's going to take place, I think, is representative of what both the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism and the Foundation for Economic Education stand for. We're trying to expose you to ideas, and the big ideas are not simply those of capitalism versus socialism, right versus left. Within the broader liberty movement, there is a diversity of views on a whole range of issues. Just within the libertarian movement, there are all kinds of public debates. Within the Objectivist movement, there are all kinds of debates. And between libertarians and Objectivists, there are some very important, fundamental differences. What we'd like to do today is flesh out one of the big differences between libertarians and Objectivists. I don't think I need to introduce our two combatants today: Max Borders, from FEE, and editor of The Freeman; and Craig Biddle, editor of The Objective Standard. So we have the editors of two major liberty-oriented publications. I know Max and Craig have a lot that they agree on, and we're going to find out what they disagree about. And we're going to conduct this, of course, not as a cage fight, but as a civil discourse among friends. Here's the format: Craig and Max will each be given fifteen minutes for opening remarks, then they will each get five minutes to either respond or make follow-up comments, and then they'll get another five minutes each to respond or make further comments. After that, we're going to open up the floor to you for questions. So we're going to have at least forty minutes for Q from the floor.
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Fall 2014 issue of The Objective Standard.
  • Topic: Economics, Education
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Examines the crucial need for advocates of liberty to uphold the same cognitive standard in considering moral matters as they do in considering political matters.
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Merry Christmas, readers! Welcome to the Winter 2012 issue of The Objective Standard.