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  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: At the beginning of The Dictator's Learning Curve: Inside the Global Battle for Democracy, William Dobson states a fact that is all too clear for anyone who studies history or reads the news: Authoritarian governments rarely fret over United Nations sanctions or interference from a foreign rights group that can be easily expelled. Indeed, the mere threat of foreign intervention, whether from the United States, the United Nations, or a body like the International Criminal Court, can be a useful foil for stirring up nationalist passions and encouraging people to rally around the regime. (p. 9)
  • Topic: United Nations
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Mr. Natelson discusses state-driven amendments to restrain federal spending, the processes of proposing and passing or rejecting such amendments, the safeguards in place for preventing a "runaway convention" that might fundamentally alter the U.S. Constitution, and more.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Spring 2013 issue of The Objective Standard.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Financial Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Richard M. Salsman
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Explains why central banking should be terminated and how it can be, focusing primarily on the U.S. Federal Reserve System.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The modern welfare state began to take shape in the 1880s in Otto von Bismarck's Germany, and it took off in the United States in the 1930s under Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal." Now that the welfare state is thoroughly entrenched throughout most of the world, is there any reason to question its existence or any way to eliminate it? There is a reason and a way, and these are the subjects of the essays in After the Welfare State.
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Ross England
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: On June 14, 1940, when the German army entered an undefended Paris, the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces took full control of the city. But one door remained, at least temporarily, closed to them. When the Wehrmacht arrived at the Pasteur Institute and attempted to enter the basement crypt where the bodies of Louis Pasteur and his wife, Marie, were interred, they found an aging concierge blocking the path. The guard steadfastly and courageously refused to permit them entry to the tomb. This guard was not alone in his devotion to Pasteur. In a 1922 speech, the French ambassador to the United States, Jules Jusserand, described the incredibly high esteem in which Pasteur was held among the French people:
  • Political Geography: United States, Germany
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: To stop a Nazi plot, an American agent pimps the woman he loves to a dangerous Nazi. This is the premise of the drama and thriller Notorious, one of director Alfred Hitchcock's best films. Written by celebrated screenwriter Ben Hecht, Notorious was released in 1946 and stars Cary Grant as U.S. agent Devlin, Ingrid Bergman as the daughter of Nazi Alicia Huberman, and Claude Rains as Nazi Alex Sebastian. What lifts Notorious above the level of good thriller is the lead characters' internal conflicts and the story's ironic suspense. To set these up, Hitchcock masterfully establishes the characters' premises and problems to create a situation that he will play throughout the film.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joshua Lipana
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In Treason, Ann Coulter chronicles the anti-American actions of the leftist “liberals” in the United States from the Cold War to the beginning of the “War on Terrorism.” However, the book concentrates primarily on the Cold War, and fortunately so, as this is where Coulter shines.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Andrew Bernstein
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: On the morning of September 11, 2001, Mohammed Atta and his minions flew stolen planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, destroying the former and murdering thousands of innocent civilians. What motivated this atrocity? What filled the murderers with such all-consuming hatred that they were willing to surrender their own lives in order to kill thousands of innocent human beings? The clear answer is that these were religious zealots engaged in holy war with their primordial enemy—the embodiment of the modern secular West: the United States of America.In their evil way, the Islamists provide mankind with some clarity. They remind us of what real religion is and looks like—not the Christianity or Judaism of the modern West, watered down and diluted by the secular principles of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment; but real faith-based, reason-rejecting, sin-bashing, kill-the-infidels religion. The atrocities of 9/11 and other similar terrorist acts by Islamists do not clash with their creed. On the contrary, they are consistent with the essence of religion—not merely of Islam—but religion more broadly, religion as such. This is an all-important lesson that humanity must learn: Religion is hazardous to your health. Unfortunately, conventional views of religion hold just the opposite. Many people believe that religion is the necessary basis of morality—that without belief in God, there can be no ethics, no right or wrong. A character in Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov famously expressed this view: “In a world without God, all things become permissible.” In the 21st century, many people still believe this. But the converse is true. A rational, fact-based, life-promoting morality is impossible on religious premises. Indeed, religion clashes with every rational principle and factual requirement of a proper, life-advancing ethics. A proper ethics, one capable of promoting flourishing human life on earth, requires the utter repudiation of religion—of all of its premises, tenets, implications, and consequences. To begin understanding the clash between religion and human life, consider the Dark Ages, the interminable centuries following the fall of Rome in the 5th century AD. The barbarian tribes that overran Rome eventually converted to Christianity, which, in the form of the Catholic Church, became the dominant philosophic and cultural force of medieval Europe. Unlike the essentially secular classical world, or the post-Renaissance modern world, the medieval world zealously embraced religion as the fundamental source of truth and moral guidance. What were the results in human life?
  • Topic: Health, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Imagine how great it would be to have your own inside tour guide to the modern financial crisis, someone able to comment on the crisis not as an onlooker, but as the leader for two decades of one of America's strongest financial institutions.
  • Topic: Government, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ted Gray
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Did you know that the U.S. government subsidizes forced sterilization of women throughout the Third World, and that both Republican and Democratic administrations have supported this policy? This is just one evil among many that Robert Zubrin documents in Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Roberto Brian Sarrionandia
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The United States of America is heavily regulated and heavily taxed. For instance, in the “Dodd–Frank” Act—an 848-page federal law regulating almost every part of the U.S. financial services industry—one section, known as the “Volcker Rule,” lists 1,420 sub-questions that a bank must answer before it is allowed to engage in proprietary trading. Likewise, the Environmental Protection Agency dictates, among countless other things, where energy companies may and may not dig or drill for resources, how much and what kind of fuel or energy they may produce, and what kind of automobiles, air conditioners, and other machinery Americans may purchase and use. The list of federal laws and regulations goes on and on.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Private-sector colleges and universities, also known as career colleges or for-profit colleges, educate more than three million people annually in the United States. These colleges—which include the University of Phoenix, ITT Technical Institutes, Kaplan University, Strayer University, Capella University, and Monroe College—provide vital services to Americans seeking to improve their lives. Programs in career colleges range from information technology and business administration, to commercial art and interior design, to allied health care and nursing, to accounting and finance, to criminal justice and law. These highly focused, career-specific programs enable people to achieve their occupational goals and to become productive, self-supporting, prosperous, and happy. These colleges are, for many people, pathways to the American dream. Unfortunately, certain individuals and agencies in the U.S. government are seeking to cripple and destroy these schools via an assault that includes fraud, collusion, and defamation. Before turning to the details of this assault, however, let us take a closer look at the enormous life-serving value provided by career colleges.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The U.S. Memory Championship is an annual event at which contestants compete to memorize a list of 300 random words, 1,000 random digits, and a shuffled deck (or two) of playing cards. In 2005, Joshua Foer went to the event expecting to meet, and write an article about, a group of savants. However, the contestants he interviewed claimed that they were merely average people who started off with average memories, and that anyone could learn to do what they do. These claims were tough for Foer to swallow. But after many there encouraged him, Foer decided to attempt what he thought was impossible. Remarkably, after a year of practice, Foer returned to the competition and won. In Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, Foer tells how he did it and what he learned along the way. It is a fact-filled journey with lessons and characters you will not want to forget. Consider S, a Russian journalist who could remember everything. Unlike most, “When S read through a long series of words, each word would elicit a graphic image,” and “whether he was memorizing Dante's Divine Comedy or mathematical equations [they] were always stored in linear chains.” As Foer explains: When he wanted to commit something to memory, S would simply take a mental stroll down Gorky Street in Moscow . . . or some other place he'd once visited, and install each of his images at a different point along the walk. One image might be placed at the doorway of a house, another near a streetlamp, another on top of a picket fence . . . another on the ledge of a store window. All this happened in his mind's eye as effortlessly as if he were placing real objects along a street. . . . When S wanted to recall that information a day, month, year, or decade later, all he would have to do was rewalk the path where that particular set of memories was stored, and he would see each image in the precise spot where he left it. (pp. 35–36) According to Foer, this is how the Memory Championship contestants—known as “mental athletes”—performed their seeming superhuman feats. By “converting what they were being asked to memorize into images, and distributing those images along familiar spatial journeys,” they had “taught themselves to remember like S” (p. 40). This became Foer's goal as well. . . .
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Moscow
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy
  • Political Geography: United States, Iran, Middle East
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Gary Johnson currently campaigns as a candidate for U.S. president with the same outspoken fidelity to free markets, limited government, and fiscal responsibility that guided his two terms as governor of New Mexico. Aside from making headlines earlier this year with his strong opposition to an antihomosexual Republican-circulated marriage pledge, which he called “offensive” and “un-American,” he has been neglected by the mainstream press and has been excluded from several televised debates. He presses on in a struggle from which higher-polling candidates have already dropped out. Johnson started a one-man handyman company in 1976 and over the next two decades developed it to employing one thousand people. Against the odds, he launched his campaign for governor in 1994 and carried his win to a second term, a governorship marked by his stand for “freedom across the board.” During his eight years in office, his main focus was responsible management of the government pocketbook, and he earned the nickname “Governor Veto” by vetoing more bills than the other forty-nine governors combined. He cut twelve hundred state job positions, cut taxes, reformed Medicaid, promoted school vouchers, privatized prisons, and helped eliminate the state's budget deficit. An unconventional Republican, he supports the right to abortion, the legalization of marijuana, and legal equality for homosexuals. Today he retains popularity among New Mexico's voters. Goal-driven, independent, and with a zest for life, he has competed in multiple Ironman Triathlons, summited Mt. Everest, and personally built his current home in Taos, New Mexico. He's a divorced father of two and lives with his fiancée. I spoke with him just before his strong campaign push in New Hampshire at the end of August. —David Baucom David Baucom: Thank you for speaking with me, Governor Johnson. Gary Johnson: Absolutely. DB: With the decline of the U.S. economy and the emergence of the Tea Party movement, people in America are finally asking questions to the effect of, What is the proper role of government? As a candidate for president of the United States, what do you regard as the proper purpose of government? GJ: The proper purpose of government would be to protect you and me against individuals, groups, corporations that would do us harm, whether that's from a property perspective or physical harm. And that would also apply to other countries. DB: Relating to that, how would you define “rights,” and where would you draw the line for what individuals can properly claim as a right? GJ: You know, my definition of it, I guess, is the whole notion that we have too many laws. And that when it comes to rights, that they really have a basis in common sense, that they really have a basis in natural law, if you will. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. That government gets way, way, way too involved in trying to define that, as opposed to you and me working that out. DB: President Obama calls for “sacrifice” from everyone, but especially from “rich” individuals and corporations, whose taxes he wants to raise. You've said you don't think raising taxes on the rich is the way to deal with the financial crisis. As president, what would be your solution to the crisis? GJ: Well, I'm advocating the FairTax. I think we should scrap the entire tax system that we have and replace it with the FairTax. I'm talking about FairTax.org, for those who aren't aware of this proposal that I think has been around now for about ten years. By all free market economists' reckoning, it is what it is: it's fair, and it simplifies the existing tax system. So, by “simplify [the] existing tax system,” it abolishes the IRS and does away with all existing federal taxes: income tax, Social Security withholding, Medicare withholding, unemployment insurance, business-to-business tax, corporate tax. Replacing the current system would be a one-time federal consumption tax of 23 percent, which is meant to be revenue neutral, so we would still need to cut our spending by 43 percent, believing that part of revitalizing this country is balancing the federal budget and replacing it with the FairTax. . . .
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I recently sat down with Sandra J. Shaw to ask her about her work, her views on art, and how she became a sculptor. Ms. Shaw's sculptures are owned privately throughout the United States and Canada, as well as in England, Australia, Bermuda, Singapore. Her work can be viewed on her website, www.sandrashaw.com, or by appointment. The interview is accompanied by several images of the works discussed. —Craig Biddle Craig Biddle: Thank you for joining me, Sandra. I know our readers will be delighted to hear from you and get a peek inside your fascinating world. Sandra Shaw: My pleasure. CB: Why did you choose a career in sculpture, how and when did it begin? SS: I didn't set out to become a sculptor; I had no interest in being an artist. I grew up in Canada, which did not have a thriving fine art culture that I was aware of, or a fine arts profession that was promising to me. The art schools where I grew up were preoccupied with anti-art. So I was not attracted to the art world or the lifestyle that I thought artists lived. That being said, I ended up becoming an artist simply because I love making art. I just couldn't get away from it. I tried. I did other things. For instance, I enjoyed writing and pursued a career in journalism for some time, which I thought would be an interesting living. But I never gave up my art. I've always made art from as long ago as I can remember. I drew throughout my childhood—that was my passion—and I knew I was developing a facility for art. So I always knew that I would have art in my life. While in high school I attended night classes at a couple of colleges to explore journalism and commercial art. I even made some headway in the commercial art business, making some album covers and posters for the music industry, of all things. But by the time I'd graduated high school, I knew I didn't want a career in commercial art. Sculpture came to the forefront when I was in my freshman year at university. I'd decided to pursue journalism and went to university so that I could become a knowledgeable writer. I didn't want to have writing skills without knowing something about the world. To pay tuition, I got a summer job working in the art department for the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) in Toronto. At that time they were making a series of dioramas on the history of North American natives. A museum diorama is a three-dimensional scene that typically has figures and a painted or photographic backdrop. After a while it was apparent to me that the diorama project would be improved if they made better headway making the human figures. I knew the scenarios they wanted for the dioramas, so I drew up designs of the figures and showed these to the head of the art department. That's how I got the job of sculpting nine life-size human figures—my first job in sculpture, and three important years of studio experience in sculpture. I picked the simplest, most fully draped figures to do first, and left the mostly nude figures for last. This way I could master the head and hands in the beginning, and after a couple of years was able to sculpt the full figure. That was great training. It was how I converted my brain from drawing to sculpting in three-dimensional form. At the end of that project, I knew that I loved sculpture so much that it would be terrific if I could do this for a living. The idea of casting a figure into a permanent medium was thrilling to me, so I tried casting some small figures in bronze. And I eventually found that I could sell my bronzes. I continued to study the figure in life drawing classes, and advanced my skills at the National Academy in New York. CB: What have been the greatest influences on your work? SS: The great art of the past and the human figure per se. I think the greatest inspiration and influence began with the drawings of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. I don't remember how I got my hands on them, but for some reason I had access to Renaissance drawings before I was ten. I suspect that they were featured in art books that my parents had. I remember being thrilled by the line work and the kinds of human beings that Michelangelo and Leonardo portrayed. Although I didn't know it at the time, I was responding to the possibilities that those gorgeous, heroic figures suggested—they were god-like human beings with overarching gestures, physiques, demeanors. They captivated me. I examined and copied those master drawings. Later I had the opportunity to draw from Greco-Roman statuary in the ROM antiquities collection. That was long before I'd thought about sculpture, but I found classical form intriguing and pleasing. Those works showed a world of glorious men and women that stayed with me. Anatomical drawings also had a big impact on me—both master drawings and drawings in anatomy books for artists. Around age twelve I started copying anatomical drawings. I also recall drawing a human skull at a natural history museum. The facts of anatomy were core to my understanding of what I was looking at in the Renaissance works, and the structures of the human body fascinated me. Around the same time I became interested in the human face and in how a portrait can convey a kind of soul. I drew from photographs and from life—friends and classmates. The human figure and face have remained inspiring sources that translate for me a certain kind of life. . . .
  • Political Geography: United States, Canada
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: At the start of A Time to Betray, Reza Kahlili writes that this is "a true story of my life as a CIA agent in the Revolutionary Guards of Iran." As such, you might expect it to be a fast-paced thriller-and, if so, you'd be partially correct. A Time to Betray involves many intense moments, but its primary focus is on the choices that Kahlili and his two childhood friends made growing up in Iran, along with the sometimes-deadly consequences. One of those friends, Kazem, always took religion seriously, hated the Shah, and, when the Shah was overthrown, became a supporter of Khomeini and a devoted member of the Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guards. Soon after the Shah's overthrow, Kazem asked Kahlili to join the Guards. Having just returned from studying in the United States and being eager to help improve his country, Kahlili joined. Looking back today, he explains that, like many Iranians, he naïvely believed Khomeini and the mullahs would keep their promise not to force their faith on Iranians. Kahlili's other childhood friend, Naser, was not so naïve. Although he, too, was happy to see the Shah overthrown, Naser began speaking out against Khomeini soon after. He explained his reasons to Kahlili: "Look around, Reza. Everything is changing. Banning the opposition parties, shutting down the universities, attacking whoever disagrees with them. They're taking our rights away. They're arresting innocent people for nothing more than reading a flyer." I tried to calm him down, attempting to soothe my own rattled nerves at the same time. "We're in a transition, and change is always difficult. Maybe you should be more careful. Things will get better, you'll see." Naser took a moment before speaking again. When he did, there was pain in his voice. "I wish I felt the same way, Reza. I don't want to argue with you, but if people don't speak up now, it will only get worse." (p. 60) Numerous times, we see the young Kahlili not wanting to take sides, simply wanting everyone, in spite of everything, to get along. Indeed, this approach appears to have been his MO from childhood. Kahlili writes that, as a child, he found it tough just to stand up to his mother and friends. How could he, as an adult, stand up to the government of Iran? Something compelling would have to happen-something that threatened or assaulted his values on a personal level. Unfortunately, something did. . . .
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Joseph Kellard
  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Ayaan Hirsi Ali gained international recognition in 2004 after she and Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh made Submission, a documentary about the brutal oppression of women under Islamic law. In response to the film, a radical Muslim savagely murdered van Gogh on the streets of Holland and posted a note on the filmmaker's body in which he threatened Hirsi Ali's life as well. Nevertheless, in 2007 Hirsi Ali wrote Infidel, in which she recounts the horrors of growing up female under the rights-violating Islamic cultures in Somalia and Saudi Arabia; how she fled to and settled in Holland, worked menial jobs, attended university, and collaborated on Submission; and how, in 2003, she ran for and was elected to the Dutch parliament as a candidate with a single issue: to stop the oppression of and violence against Muslim women in Holland. In Infidel, Hirsi Ali championed the Western secularist ideals that she came to adopt as true and right—free inquiry, the equal rights of the sexes, individualism, and personal liberty. Since then, she has moved to the land that she declares in her follow-up book, Nomad, to be her final home: the United States. In this latest book, Hirsi Ali shares the observations and emotional journey she has made since leaving Europe and arriving in America, even as radical Muslims continue to threaten her life for her uncompromising condemnation of Islam. In some respects Nomad demonstrates that Hirsi Ali has not only retained the intellectual independence and moral courage at the heart of her prior book, but that she has also strengthened and developed her thinking on the secular values she came to embrace. For example, in Nomad she elaborates on Enlightenment principles, including free inquiry, individual freedom, and property rights, exercising a thought process that grasps fundamentals: Every important freedom that Western individuals possess rests on free expression. We observe what is wrong, and we say what is wrong, in order that it may be corrected. This is the message of the Enlightenment, the rational process that developed today's Western values: Go. Inquire. Ask. Find out. Dare to know. Don't be afraid of what you'll find. Knowledge is better than superstition, blind faith, and dogma. (p. 214) Hirsi Ali proceeds to correctly identify Enlightenment principles as this-worldly and thus incongruent with Islam: The Enlightenment honors life. It is not about honor after death or honor in the hereafter, as Islam is, but honor in individual life, now. It is about development of the individual will, not the submission of the will. Islam, by contrast, is incompatible with the principles of liberty that are at the heart of the Enlightenment's legacy. (p. 214) She powerfully illustrates her development in the contrasts she draws between herself on the one hand, and, on the other, her relatives and other devout Muslims, both of whom cling unquestioningly to their religion and clannish traditions such as “family honor.” . . .
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, America