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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).
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Charlie HebdoThat many Muslims oppose free speech—often violently—is again made obvious by this week's terrorist attacks in France. There, two groups of Muslim terrorists slaughtered sixteen people, twelve at or near the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical publication that ran “offensive” images of Muhammad.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Richard M. Salsman
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century makes an important contribution to the economic history of industrialization since the early 18th century. His collection of data on the distribution of income and wealth around the globe, drawn mainly from tax records, surveys, and national reports, is rigorous and comprehensive; no one before has collected such credible material in this important sub-field of economics. Piketty is also to be credited for presenting the data in scores of easy-to-interpret graphs and for making it available online for those wishing to verify the presentation and/or investigate alternative empirical patterns.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Joseph England
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Every year throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, between four and five million girls suffer gruesome genital mutilation at the hands of tribal “cutters” or circumcisers. Far from being regarded as barbaric criminals from whom children should be hidden, these wielders of sharpened rocks, broken glass, rusty metal, and (only sometimes) scalpels occupy a special position of power and influence in their communities. Parents voluntarily, sometimes enthusiastically, bring their young and infant daughters to be mutilated. Though methods vary in severity, in as many as 10 percent of cases, a cutter shears a girl's labia for “beauty,” excises her clitoris to deprive her of sexual pleasure later in life, and sews closed her vagina to ensure virginity until marriage.
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Middle East
  • Author: Alex Epstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Who would argue that producing and using fossil fuels is not only not shameful, but also positively virtuous? Alex Epstein would. And he has done so eloquently and thoroughly in his book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Gregory Zuckerman
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters, the second book by Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman, tells the story of the development, over the past several decades, of the amazing technology by which oil and gas have been made to flow from previously unyielding stone, in quantities tallied in the hundreds of billions of barrels and trillions of cubic feet. Zuckerman's complex narrative crisscrosses the country to Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and the badlands of Montana and the Dakotas. The book is the result of (among other things) more than a hundred hours of interviews with those whose story it tells; Zuckerman often uses the perspective gained from these firsthand accounts to give the story a fly-on-the-boardroom-wall feel.
  • Topic: Development
  • Author: Mark Miodownik
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In May 1985, a young Mark Miodownik sat on a train, with a fresh thirteen-centimeter stab wound in his back, and thought about what had just happened. Moments earlier, a man had approached him saying he had a knife and asking for money. Miodownik had decided to keep his assailant talking until the train doors were closing, and then push quickly past him to safety. That didn't work out so well. Although his assailant did not have a knife, he had a razor blade. And it had sliced through Miodownik's thick leather coat and multiple layers of clothing, severely lacerating his back.
  • 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: Andrew Bernstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Careful observation of history reveals two dramatically different approaches to life on earth. In one approach, we see Islamic jihadists perpetrating murderous terrorist assaults around the world, virtually daily. The attack on 9/11 is the worst Islamist atrocity to date, but many have followed, including a recent attack at a shopping mall in Nairobi, in which Islamists murdered scores of people and wounded hundreds more. Similarly, we see Christians, throughout a full millennium during which they held unchallenged cultural and political power, relentlessly hunting down and slaughtering untold thousands for the “crime” of disagreeing with religious orthodoxy. And we see Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Sikhs on the Indian subcontinent engaging in a seething inferno of violence in which millions have been slain. In the other approach, we see something utterly different. We see Copernicus, Darwin, and Einstein advancing revolutionary theories in astronomy, biology, and physics. We see Edison, Bell, and the Wright brothers pioneering life-promoting inventions. We see writers from Homer to Ayn Rand dramatizing the heroism and greatness possible to individuals committed to man's earthly existence. Here, then, are two different visions of human life: one driven by faith, the other by reason—one religious, the other secular—one irrational, often violently so; the other, rational, often brilliantly so. Most of Western history has been a struggle between these two contrasting philosophies. Religious mysticism—in this instance, proceeding from ancient Judaism—is a pernicious force in human life. Rational secularism—the creation and legacy of ancient Greek culture—is vital to proper human life. By observing Judaism, Christianity, and Islam relative to the ideas of the ancient Greeks, we can see that the essentially secular approach of Greek culture—especially the rational method Aristotle developed—is responsible for golden ages and renaissances, both in the West and in the Middle East; and that the faith-based approach of religion, when intellectually dominant, is responsible for cultural stagnation and dark ages. A clear understanding of the nature of these opposing forces—and of the struggle between them—is essential to the preservation of civilization. An essentialized survey should start at the beginning. The Greeks Give Birth to Western Civilization What did the Greeks contribute to human life? As the eminent historian Will Durant wrote, “there is hardly anything secular in our culture that does not come from Greece. Schools, gymnasiums, arithmetic, geometry, history . . . physics, biology . . . poetry, music, tragedy, comedy, philosophy . . . ethics, politics, idealism, philanthropy . . . democracy: these are all Greek words for cultural forms . . . in many cases first matured . . . by the abounding energy of the Greeks.” Philosophy is the fundamental value that men inherited from the Greeks, for it seeks to answer life's most important questions: What is the nature of the universe? How do men gain knowledge? What is human nature? What is the good? What is a good society? Philosophy attempts to give rational rather than mythic or faith-based answers to such questions. . . .
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Richard M. Salsman
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Free Market Economics: An Introduction for the General Reader, by Steven Kates. Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011. 352 pp. $50 (paperback). Not since 1924 has there been a comprehensive yet readable book on economics aimed at the ordinary but intelligent citizen that defends and incorporates the field's foundational principle, Say's Law (named after Jean-Baptiste Say, 1767–1832) and its main corollaries: the primacy of production, the entrepreneur as prime mover, and prices as the commercial language that coordinates economies and their subsectors. Now we have such a book: Free Market Economics: An Introduction for the General Reader by Australian business economist Steven Kates. His prior books examined the prevalence of Say's Law among top economists during the pro-capitalist 19th century and its abandonment by most economists in the anti-capitalist 20th century. The handful of texts on economic principles since the 1920s that recognize the superiority of a free economy have been too technical, narrowly devoted to refuting economic fallacies, or tainted by dubious philosophy. This book avoids such flaws. Kates accomplishes what was last achieved by Oxford professor Henry Clay (1883–1945) in Economics: An Introduction for the General Reader (1924). Better still, Kates's book offers a modern, more sophisticated, more pro-capitalist treatment than did Clay's book, and it provides the ideas people need to grasp and refute the disastrous dogmas and policies of Keynesianism. At the core of this book is Say's Law, the principle that supply constitutes demand, that one cannot demand (or purchase) anything in any market without first producing an economic value for offer (or, in a monetary economy, without first earning spendable income by producing value). This principle recognizes that markets are made by the producers and that the most economically important producer of all is the entrepreneur, who specializes in soliciting and coordinating the other main factors of production: land (including raw materials), labor, capital, and financing. Say's Law condenses the truth that material prosperity is attained not by consuming (using up) wealth, but by saving, investing, and producing wealth. Unlike most textbooks today, Kates's says economics should explain wealth creation, or “net added value,” not how we ration “scarce resources.” Keynesianism, Kates explains, explicitly rejects Say's Law and asserts that a free market is prone to “failures” and crises, to excessive production, deficient consumption, and depressions; it further insists that government deficit spending, money printing, and near-zero interest rates can fix said market failures. Keynesian policies assume, contra Say's Law, that there can be an aggregate, economy-wide excess of abundance, or deficiency of aggregate demand. Say's Law holds that aggregate supply and aggregate demand are the same thing viewed from different perspectives and thus cannot be unequal; recessions entail reduced production and typically (but not always) are caused by government policies that are antithetical to production and profits. In contrast to Keynesianism, Say's Law, properly understood, tells economists (and citizens) to reject the contradictory claim that a contracting economy reflects an overexpanding economy, that somehow poverty is caused by prosperity, and it recommends the rejection or removal of any policies that impede or depress the incentive or capacity of entrepreneurs to create wealth or employ other factors of production. According to Kates, Say's Law “is the essence of market-based economics”; and “without the clarity that [it] brings, economic theory has lost its moorings and the irreplaceable value of leaving things to the market in directing economic activity cannot be understood” (p. 6). Yet, the classical, Say-based theory of the business cycle and public policy “has the ability to penetrate the darkness left by Keynesian theory in understanding the causes of recessions and the steps that are needed to bring recovery about” (p. 7). . . .
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Law
  • Political Geography: Australia
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Responsibility Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame, by Diana Hsieh. Sedalia, CO: Philosophy in Action, 2013. 214 pp. $19.99 (paperback). Imagine people in three different scenarios: . Abe and Bill both get blinding drunk at a bar, leave at the same time, and drive home at the same rate of speed. Both run a (different) red light at the same time on the way home. By bad luck, a single mother with her two children is driving through the intersection along Abe's course, and Abe rams his car into hers, killing her and her two children. Bill, on the other hand, makes it home without injuring anyone. . Alan and Betty walk along different piers at the same lake. Both are equally brave, but Betty sees a drowning boy in the lake and dives in and saves him. Alan does not see anyone in distress. . Adriana and Benjamin are born in very different circumstances. Adriana's parents are wealthy, and she grows up with a good education and many opportunities to improve herself. She becomes a successful neurosurgeon. Benjamin's parents neglect and abuse him and teach him how to steal for them. He becomes an armed robber who winds up in prison. Why do we blame or praise one individual in each scenario more, given that so much of what they do and what they accomplish depends on luck? Why do we send Abe to prison and sing Betty's praises, but not do the same for their counterparts? Such issues are the subject of Diana Hsieh's book, Responsibility Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame. As Hsieh makes clear, one's answers to questions about moral responsibility radically affect one's approach to moral judgment, to criminal justice, and to political policy. Decisions made in the criminal justice system depend substantially on moral judgments. Hsieh opens her book with the example of a Colorado man who, in 2005, while driving drunk at speeds exceeding one hundred miles per hour, struck and killed another driver. The judge, noting that the man had previously injured someone else while driving drunk and that he had dropped out of an alcohol rehabilitation program, sentenced him “to the maximum penalty of twelve years in prison.” Hsieh points out, “According to ordinary moral and legal standards of culpability, [the man] deserved to be blamed and punished for his reckless driving” (p. 1). Yet, according to certain theories with which Hsieh contends in her book, the man was instead himself “a victim of bad luck” (p. 2). Moral judgments also play a key role in public policy. To draw on an earlier example, if a neurosurgeon is not fundamentally responsible for her success, then how can she deserve her large income? Why should she not be taxed in order to subsidize someone working in fast food? Indeed, if no one deserves his financial successes or failures—if such success or failure is fundamentally a matter of luck (in Barack Obama's terms, “you didn't build that”)—then it would seem that the best system is “an egalitarian political order” (p. 9). . . .
  • Topic: Education
  • Author: Slade Mendenhall
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty, by Timothy Sandefur. Washington, DC: Cato Institute, 2014. 200 pp. $24.95 (hardcover). While the principles of liberty on which America was founded are under attack from so-called liberals and conservatives alike, and while expanding abuses of government power are too vast and complex for most Americans to fully follow, books by rational, knowledgeable professionals clearly and concisely explaining the problems and offering solutions are of immense value. Timothy Sandefur's The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty fits this bill. Sandefur, a principal attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, bases his latest work on an underappreciated idea in American legal thinking. It is the idea that the Declaration of Independence—understood as a formal, legal, diplomatic document issued by the representatives of thirteen British colonies to the king of England—is part of the law of the land, just as are the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. In fact, argues Sandefur, the Declaration used to be seen as the “conscience of the Constitution,” and reviving this understanding of its position in the framework of U.S. law will go a long way toward establishing the moral and political context within which lawyers, judges, and Supreme Court justices should argue and interpret constitutional law. Sandefur's thesis is controversial and is not likely to be well received in modern courts and law classrooms. Most law schools teach students to view the Declaration as a mere manifesto or letter of aspiration. But Sandefur wages a compelling intellectual defense of the Declaration-as-law on two fronts: against leftists, who have ridiculously claimed that the document was drafted as a wink-and-nod effort by elite white men to put down minorities and the lower classes; and against conservatives such as Russell Kirk and neoconservatives such as Irving Kristol who, afraid of its “natural rights” language, dismiss the ideas of the Declaration and characterize it as an underhanded “ploy to lure the French” into conflict with the English (p. 14). Sandefur, pointing out the baseless nature of such criticisms, puts forth a strong argument for holding the Declaration as law and highlights the Founding Fathers' own understanding of it as such. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, Washington, England
  • Author: Alexander V. Marriott
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Was Abraham Lincoln, as most Americans believe, a defender of individual rights, a foe of slavery, and a savior of the American republic—one of history's great heroes of liberty? Or was he a tyrant who turned his back on essential founding principles of America, cynically instigated the bloody Civil War to expand federal power, and paved the way for the modern regulatory-entitlement state? In the face of widespread popular support for Lincoln (note, for example, the success of the 2012 Steven Spielberg film about him) and his perennially high reputation among academics, certain libertarians and conservatives have promoted the view that Lincoln was a totalitarian who paved the way for out-of-control government in the 20th century. Those critics are wrong. Contrary to their volumes of misinformation and smears—criticisms that are historically inaccurate and morally unjust—Lincoln, despite his flaws, was a heroic defender of liberty and of the essential principles of America's founding. Getting Lincoln right matters. It matters that we know what motivated Lincoln—and what motivated his Confederate enemies. It matters that we understand the core principles on which America was founded—and the ways in which Lincoln expanded the application of those principles. It matters that modern advocates of liberty properly understand and articulate Lincoln's legacy—rather than leave his legacy to be distorted by antigovernment libertarians (and their allies among conservatives), leviathan-supporting “progressives,” and racist neo-Confederates. My purpose here is not to present a full biographical sketch of Lincoln, nor to detail all types of criticisms made against him. Rather, my goal is to present sufficient information about Lincoln and his historical context to answer a certain brand of his critics, typified by Ron Paul, formerly a congressman from Texas and a contender for the Republican Party's presidential nomination in 2008 and 2012. Paul and his ilk characterize Lincoln's engagement of the Civil War as a “senseless” and cynical power grab designed to wipe out the “original intent of the republic.” Such claims are untrue and unjust, as we will see by weighing them in relation to historical facts. Toward that end, let us begin with a brief survey of claims by Lincoln's detractors. The revision of Lincoln and his legacy began in earnest soon after the Civil War, but, at the time, it was relegated to the intellectual swamp of Confederate memoirs and polemics. What was once the purview of a defeated and demoralized rump and of early anarchists such as Lysander Spooner has picked up steam within the modern libertarian movement. In the early 20th century, the acerbic newspaperman and social critic H. L. Mencken seriously suggested that the Confederates fought for “self-determination” and “the right of their people to govern themselves.” He claimed that a Confederate victory would have meant refuge from a northern enclave of “Babbitts,” the attainment of a place “to drink the sound red wine . . . and breathe the free air.” Mencken's musings were but a symptom of a broader change in how many Americans came to view the Civil War. The conflict was no longer “the War of the Rebellion,” but “the War between the States.” The Confederate cause was no longer an essentially vile attempt to preserve slavery, but an honorable attempt to preserve autonomous government. Not coincidentally, during this period, Confederate sympathizers built monuments to the Confederacy throughout the South, and D. W. Griffith's openly racist silent film The Birth of a Nation presented revisionist Civil War history and contributed to the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. Sometimes Confederate sympathizers claimed that the Civil War was not really about slavery; other times they claimed that slavery was a glorious institution the South sought to preserve. More recently, Murray N. Rothbard—widely regarded as the godfather of the modern libertarian movement (and someone who saw Mencken as an early libertarian)5—characterized the Civil War as the fountainhead of the modern regulatory state: The Civil War, in addition to its unprecedented bloodshed and devastation, was used by the triumphal and virtually one-party Republican regime to drive through its statist, formerly Whig, program: national governmental power, protective tariff, subsidies to big business, inflationary paper money, resumed control of the federal government over banking, large-scale internal improvements, high excise taxes, and, during the war, conscription and an income tax. Furthermore, the states came to lose their previous right of secession and other states' powers as opposed to federal governmental powers. The Democratic party resumed its libertarian ways after the war, but it now had to face a far longer and more difficult road to arrive at liberty than it had before. Thomas DiLorenzo, a colleague of Rothbard's until Rothbard's death in 1995, penned two books responsible for much of today's libertarian and conservative antagonism toward Lincoln: The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War (2002) and Lincoln Unmasked: What You're Not Supposed to Know About Dishonest Abe (2006). (Both DiLorenzo and Ron Paul are senior fellows of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, an organization that, while bearing the name of the great Austrian economist von Mises, is more closely aligned with Rothbard's anarchist views.) Largely through his influence on popular economist Walter E. Williams, who wrote the foreword to DiLorenzo's 2002 book, DiLorenzo has reached a relatively wide audience of libertarians and conservatives. Williams is known to many as a genial guest host for The Rush Limbaugh Show, a fellow of the Hoover Institute, and a distinguished professor of economics at George Mason University. He gave his imprimatur to DiLorenzo's work, thereby elevating what might otherwise have been a peculiar book from the depths of Rothbard's libertarian, paleoconservative, neo-Confederate intellectual backwater to a nationally known and provocative piece of severe Lincoln revisionism. What are the essential criticisms leveled against Lincoln by such writers as Mencken and DiLorenzo? The most important of these criticisms can be grouped into four categories. First, these critics claim, Lincoln eviscerated the right of secession supposedly at the heart of the American Revolution. Second, say the critics, Lincoln did not truly care about slavery; he invoked it only to mask his real reasons for pursuing war—to expand the power of the federal government. Anyway, the critics add, slavery would have ended without a Civil War. Third, argue the critics, Lincoln subverted the free market with his mercantilist policies, thereby laying the groundwork for the big-government Progressives to follow. Fourth, Lincoln supposedly prosecuted the war tyrannically; in DiLorenzo's absurd hyperbole, Lincoln was a “totalitarian” who constructed an “omnipotent” state. Let us look at each of these criticisms in greater detail—and put them to rest—starting with the claim that Lincoln spurned the fundamental principles of the founding by opposing secession.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • 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: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Timothy Sandefur is a principal attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation who focuses on economic liberty. Recently I had the opportunity to interview him about his new book on the Declaration of Independence, his work at the Foundation, and related matters. —Ari Armstrong Ari Armstrong: Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Timothy Sandefur: Thanks for having me. AA: Your book, The Conscience of the Constitution: The Declaration of Independence and the Right to Liberty, was published early this year. How would you summarize its central arguments? TS: I argue that individual liberty is the central value, the conscience, of the Constitution. The Constitution says in its very first sentence that liberty is a “blessing.” But it doesn't say the same thing about democracy or about government in general. That is because the authors of the Constitution were building on a foundation of political philosophy, and that philosophy is articulated in the Declaration of Independence—that we are all properly equal before the law and have inalienable rights that no just government may infringe. This principle is the guidepost—the conscience—that helps us to guide our constitutional course. Or it would be the guidepost, if 20th-century thinkers had not abandoned the principles of the Declaration and replaced them with the ideas that government action is presumptively legitimate and that individual rights are just privileges the government gives to us when it chooses to. That shift is how our constitutional understanding has gone awry, and it's a leading reason why so much of the legal profession is unable to understand the document they're interpreting. The result is that our constitutional law has bizarre blind spots and contradictions. The “public use” clause was essentially erased in the infamous Kelo eminent domain case. The privileges or immunities clause was essentially erased in the 1870s in the Slaughterhouse Cases. The due process clause has been radically curtailed. These trends are a consequence of lawyers, judges, and law professors typically prioritizing democracy over liberty as a central constitutional value. So the “conscience” I refer to is a voice in our constitutional order telling us when we do something wrong. That voice is the Declaration of Independence. That's why I defend the idea of “substantive due process” [defined below]—something both conservatives and liberals have rejected nowadays. And it's why I don't buy arguments for “judicial restraint”—which usually seem to mean that when the legislature violates the Constitution, the courts should just look the other way—again, to prioritize democracy over liberty. AA: You argue that early American lawyers and political leaders understood the Declaration of Independence as an important interpretive guide to the Constitution. How was that understanding lost in American law?
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness, by Willard Spiegelman. New York: Picador, 2009. 208 pp. $16 (paperback). In Seven Pleasures: Essays on Ordinary Happiness, Willard Spiegelman asks: “In adulthood, what should—what does—one read? No longer having the luxury of youthful promiscuity, knowing that the clock ticks, that every choice of something eliminates something else, what should you do?” (p. 49). Spiegelman suggests rereading “those books that gave pleasure in the past.” He adds: A photographic memory is not necessarily a blessing; there's a charm in forgetting, so if you're not cursed with perfect recall, you'll have the joy of discovering some things as though for the first time, while others will hit you with the refreshing rush of repetition. As an older version of the person you've always been, you can have things two ways at once: something old, something new; something recalled, something revealed. (p. 49) Although Spiegelman does not directly advise going back to what one loves and extracting still more pleasure from it, or learning to convert a declining memory into a source of enjoyment, he nevertheless provides example after example of himself doing just such things. Whereas other books about happiness tell readers how to become happy, in Seven Pleasures Spiegelman simply discusses the activities that have made him happy and shows how he has learned to deeply enjoy his life.
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, by Cal Newport. New York: Business Plus, 2012. 304 pp. $26 (hardcover). In So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, Cal Newport challenges (among other things) the idea that “the key to occupational happiness is to first figure out what you're passionate about and then find a job that matches this passion” (p. 4). This is a widespread idea with the full backing of American pop culture and of many successful people. But is it true? Newport doesn't think so, and, in arguing that it is not, he observes (for starters) that passions rarely match up with specific jobs. In a 2002 study he cites, for example, 539 Canadian university students were asked if they had passions and, if so, what they were. Eighty-four percent replied that they did have passions, but the top five listed were dance, hockey, skiing, reading, and swimming. Newport sums up this list by concluding what the students themselves likely have found out by now—that “these passions don't have much to offer when it comes to choosing a job” (p. 14). Newport also observes that passions take time to develop. Here he cites a paper by Amy Wrzesniewski, published in the Journal of Research in Personality, that explores the differences between a job, a career, and a calling. A job, in Wrzesniewski's formulation, is a way to pay the bills, a career is a path toward increasingly better work, and a calling is work that's an important part of your life and a vital part of your identity.
  • Political Geography: America
  • 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: Joseph Kellard
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Donna Hassler is executive director of Chesterwood, the former summer home and studio of Daniel Chester French (1850–1931), a renowned and prolific American sculptor of public monuments best known for the sculpture of Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial. Located in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Chesterwood is a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit. I recently spoke with Hassler about French's life and work, Chesterwood, and the value of public art. —Joseph Kellard Joseph Kellard: Donna, thank you for taking time to speak with me about this great sculptor. I love the works of Daniel Chester French, and I've photographed many of them, so it's a real treat for me to chat about him and his work with such an expert on the subject. Donna Hassler: You're welcome. JK: French was quite prolific, producing more than one hundred monuments, memorials and other works. What would you say are some of the distinctive features and themes of his art? DH: Daniel Chester French was an American Beaux-Arts sculptor. Trained in Florence and later Paris, he was inspired by the ideal beauty of Greco-Roman art and architecture early in his career. In fact, he didn't even stay around for the unveiling of the Minute Man sculpture in Concord, Massachusetts, in 1874, because he had accepted an invitation from Ned Powers, the son of the prominent American neoclassical sculptor Hiram Powers, to stay with his family in Florence and study sculpture with another American artist, Thomas Ball. The artist looked to nature in modeling his figurative works but improved upon her in the classical tradition. Allegory and symbolism also played a more important role in his sculpture, especially when he memorialized individuals without portraying them in a realistic manner. JK: French's most celebrated sculptures are Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial and The Minuteman in Concord, Massachusetts; many of our readers have seen and enjoyed these. Which of his lesser-known works do you think deserve special attention, and why?
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Edge of Tomorrow, directed by Doug Liman. Written by Christopher Mcquarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, based on the novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, and Brendan Gleeson. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, 2014. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive material. Running Time: 113 minutes.
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Star Trek: First Contact, directed by Jonathan Frakes. Written By Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, And Ronald D. Moore. Starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates Mcfadden, Marina Sirtis, Alfre Woodard, James Cromwell, And Alice Krige. Distributed by Paramount Pictures, 1996. Rated PG-13 for some sci-fi adventure violence. Running Time: 111 minutes. Reviewed by Ari Armstrong Imagine a future in which humans rove the galaxy in starships; colonize the moon, distant planets, and space stations; and radically expand their knowledge of the universe. Star Trek: First Contact invites us to imagine just such a future, and it does so in the context of a nail-biting action story pitting the “next generation” crew of the Federation ship Enterprise against mankind's most frightening foes of their fictional universe: the collectivist Borg, who rasp, through cybernetic implants, “Resistance is futile.” Although each of the four films involving The Next Generation (the crew led by Captain Jean Luc Picard) has its merits, First Contact rises above the rest in its storytelling. In the film, the Borg first attack Earth and then send a probe back to their past (our future) to hinder mankind's development and make Earth easy prey for the Borg. What is the singular event the Borg hopes to stop? It is the first human space flight involving “warp” (faster than light) travel, something that (in the world of Star Trek) takes place on April 4, 2063. That the pivotal event of the film is a major technological advancement says a lot about the spirit of the franchise. The crew of Enterprise follow the Borg probe back in time, leading to a twofold story: In Montana, part of the crew help an inventor of 2063 repair his warp ship damaged by the Borg, while on Enterprise (orbiting Earth) the rest of the crew battle a Borg takeover.
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Dictionary of Human Form, by Ted Seth Jacobs. Santa Fe: Mariposa Press, 2011. 819 pp. $150. Reviewed by Daniel Wahl Ted Seth Jacobs painted The Open Window—one of the most beautiful paintings of the twentieth century. He taught Jacob Collins and Tony Ryder—two of the realist movement's most influential teachers. And he has written three books on art—Drawing What the Eye Sees, Light for the Artist, and The Dictionary of Human Form. This last is his latest, and it is arguably one of the greatest books of art instruction ever written. In fact, with more than twenty-five hundred drawings and diagrams on the structure of human form, no other book comes close to being as detailed and as comprehensive. Most books about how to render the human form focus on anatomy. But Jacobs, who has a unique view on this issue (and many others), does not think the study of anatomy is necessary or helpful for artists. He says, for example: Anatomy gives a picture of the skeletal system, of where muscles originate and insert, and their names and functions. I have talked with doctors and biologists, and both have assured me that the appearance of muscles in a dead dissected body is entirely different from that of a living subject. Perhaps that is why, most often, muscles drawn in anatomy books resemble skinny, attenuated, paramecium forms. (p. 10) And: I have not seen all the extant anatomy books for artists, but I have never seen one with what I would consider a mastery of drawing. Anatomy is more applicable to scientific disciplines than to the needs of the artist. Most commonly lacking in anatomy books and courses, is the sense of the special three-dimensional shapes of forms on the surface of the body. (p. 10) And: If you know anatomy as thoroughly as a doctor, but don't know structure, you will not be able to draw correctly. If you don't know any anatomy, but thoroughly understand structure, you will be able to learn to draw like an old master. (p. 1) The Dictionary of Human Form is thus not at all about anatomy; its focus is structure. Jacobs defines structure, most broadly, as “the way in which living organic forms are organized” (p. 7). He then explains why studying the structure of the body is of value to artists.
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art, by Roger Kimball. New York: Encounter Books, 2005. 200 pp. $17.95 (paperback). Reviewed by Daniel Wahl Roger Kimball begins The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art by asking why we teach and study art history. “It is a question,” he says, “that elicits a complicated answer.” To learn about art, yes, but also to learn about the cultural setting in which art unfolds; in addition, to learn about—what to call it? “Evolution” is not quite right, neither is “progress.” Possibly “development”: to learn about the development of art, then, about how over the course of history artists “solved problems”—for example, the problem of modeling three-dimensional space on an essentially two-dimensional plane. Those are some of the answers, or some parts of the answer, most of us would give. There are others. We teach and study art history—as we teach and study literary history or political history or the history of science—partly to familiarize ourselves with humanity's adventure in time. We expect an educated person in the West to remember what happened in 1066, to know the plot of Hamlet, to understand (sort of) the law of gravity, to recognize Mona Lisa, Botticelli's Birth of Venus, or Manet's Bar at the Folies-Bergère. These are aspects of a huge common inheritance, episodes that alternately bask in and cast illuminations and shadows, the interlocking illuminations and shadows that delineate mankind's conjuring with the world. All this might be described as the dough, the ambient body of culture. The yeast is supplied by direct acquaintance with the subject of study: the poem or novel or play, the mental itinerary a Galileo or Newton traveled, the actual work of art on the wall. In the case of art history, the raison d'être—the ultimate motive—is supplied by a direct visual encounter with great works of art. Everything else is prolegomenon or afterthought: scaffolding to support the main event, which is not so much learning about art as it is experiencing art first hand. Or so one would have thought. What has happened to the main event? (pp. 1–2) As Kimball makes clear, the main event has changed.
  • Political Geography: New York
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Martian, by Andy Weir. New York: Crown, 2014. 384 pp. $24 (hardcover). Reviewed by Ari Armstrong Imagine you're on a mission on Mars. Your space suit, not to mention your body, was punctured by an antenna blown loose by a raging sandstorm. Luckily, although the blow knocked you unconscious, the blood from your wound helped seal the hole, so you didn't die from lack of oxygen. Now that you're awake and moving again, you realize an unfortunate fact: Your entire crew, reasonably thinking you died and facing the dangerous storm, took off in the MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) and left you behind. You are now totally alone on a planet hostile to life. Your food supplies are running low, and you have no obvious way to communicate with Earth, much less to get home. What do you do? If you're Mark Watney, the main character of Andy Weir's near-futuristic, science fiction novel The Martian, you carefully think about what you need to do to stay alive and get rescued, and then you methodically do it. Watney's training as a botanist and a mechanical engineer gives him the skills he needs to survive; and his fierce desire to live, his fortitude, and his quirky sense of humor give him the strength of will to do it. Fortunately, Watney's own mission and various other missions to Mars have left a number of important tools at his disposal. He has a reasonably well-stocked Hab (basically, a giant pressurized tent), some solar cells, several functional space suits, two functional rovers, duct tape, glue, and various other machines and items. Oh, and he has some live potatoes, which his crew was supposed to have cooked for Thanksgiving dinner. Don't forget the potatoes! They become crucially important in Watney's efforts to survive. The story revolves around Watney coming up with clever ways to keep sucking air and consuming calories, then figuring out how to travel some two thousand miles across the cold Martian landscape to the site of a future Mars landing.
  • Political Geography: New York
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 08-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: To the Editor: I would like to congratulate Alexander Marriott on his well-written and illuminating article “Getting Lincoln Right” [TOS Summer 2014]. Mr. Marriott eloquently addresses the most common moral and historical fallacies that are used to smear the legacy of a man who, in my view, is one of the greatest presidents in American history.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: C. Bradley Thompson
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Tackles the problem that is the so-called public schools, showing that they are fundamentally corrupt and unfixable, and must be abolished.
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Interviews with five rising innovators in the field of private education, discussing their organizations, missions, philosophies, and offerings.
  • Author: Andrew Bernstein
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Examines the Golden Age of Islam and considers the ideas of some of its leading thinkers, telling “a story of great achievements—and their rejection; of great heroes—and their defeat; of great minds—and their suppression; ultimately, of great danger—and its cancerous growth.”
  • Topic: Islam
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Examines Harris's claims to have grounded his brand of utilitarianism in reality, and finds them wanting.
  • 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: Karl G. Kowalski
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Surveys Apple's staggering creation of great products, new markets, and massive wealth-for itself, its customers, and its competitors.
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In 2009, Salman Khan quit his job as a hedge fund analyst in order to devote time to Khan Academy—a grand name, explains Khan, for an entity with meager resources.
  • Author: Kevin Douglas
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Jason Riley's Let Them In is a treasure trove of facts and analysis. The book covers many facets of the immigration debate, including economic protectionism, cultural assimilation, and national security. Riley identifies his two major themes early in the book: “The first is that, contrary to received wisdom, today's Latino immigrants aren't 'different,' just newer. The second is that an open immigration policy is compatible with free-market conservatism and homeland security” (p. 12).
  • 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: 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.
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I somehow missed Craig Biddle's essay "Political 'Left' and 'Right' Properly Defined" when it was posted on TOS Blog, but I enjoyed reading it in the Fall [2012] issue of the journal.
  • Author: Richard M. Salsman
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Argues, via a mountain of evidence, that the ultimate purpose of central banking is not to "correct market failures" or "prevent financial crises" or the like, but to finance fiscally profligate governments and welfare states.
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Eric Daniels
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Surveys various problems inherent in focusing on the non-essential characteristic of government\'s size rather than on the truly essential characteristic of whether and to what extent government protects or violates individual rights.
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Andrew Bernstein, Dinesh D'Souza
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Debates the question, "Christianity: Good or Bad for Mankind?" D'Souza defends Christianity while Bernstein defends Objectivism, the philosophy that holds the requirements of human life as the standard of moral value.
  • 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: Andrew Bernstein
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. Starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Joel Edgerton, Jennifer Ehle, Mark Strong, and James Gandolfini. Released by Columbia Pictures. Rated R for strong violence including brutal disturbing images, and for language. Running time: 157 minutes.
  • Political Geography: Colombia
  • Author: Earl Parson
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Written and Directed by Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney, and Magdalena Segieda. Narrated by Phelim McAleer. Distributed by Hard Boiled Films. Unrated. Running time: 76 minutes.
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Directed by David Gelb. Starring Jiro Ono and Yoshikazu Ono. Released by Magnolia Pictures. Rated PG for mild thematic elements and brief smoking. Running time: 81 minutes.
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: If you want to learn the theories and history of economists who champion government controls of the economy-and of economists who criticize such intervention-Randy T. Simmons's Beyond Politics: The Roots of Government Failure is a fantastic resource.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Politics
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: A few years ago, on an assignment for a magazine, Daniel Coyle started visiting what he calls talent hotbeds, or "tiny places that produce large numbers of world-class performers in sports, art, music, business, math, and other disciplines".
  • Author: Joseph Kellard
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: “[E]ach person shall remain free, especially in his religion, and . . . no one shall be persecuted or investigated because of their religion” (p. 96). Those words evoke America's revolutionary era, but they were penned two centuries earlier. They are part of the Dutch de facto constitution, the Union of Utrecht, drafted in 1579 after thousands of Dutchmen had suffered religious persecution by the Spanish in the form of torture and death. To Russell Shorto, a writer for The New York Times Magazine, these words speak directly to the “tolerance” embodied by the 17th-century Dutch Republic and its colonies, particularly the island colony of Manhattan, or New Amsterdam, after English explorer Henry Hudson claimed the land for the Netherlands in 1609.
  • Political Geography: New York, America, Spain, Netherlands, Island, Dutch
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 03-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I want to thank C. Bradley Thompson for his excellent (and disturbing) article on government "education" ["The New Abolitionism: Why Education Emancipation is the Moral Imperative of our Time," TOS, Winter 2012-13]. Among the many disturbing facts Dr. Thompson reports, one that affected me personally concerns homeschooling in California. I have done (and continue to do) some homeschooling for local California families and was disturbed to learn that what I do was ruled illegal by some judge named Croskey. I was relieved to find by the end of the paragraph that Croskey (partially) reversed his ruling. What an abhorrent man and system! I, too, am an abolitionist.
  • Topic: Education, Government, Law
  • Political Geography: California
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In memory of assistant editor of TOS Blog Joshua Lipana, who recently died after a heroic nine-month battle with cancer.
  • Political Geography: Japan
  • 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: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Shows why, even after Ayn Rand created a complete morality based exclusively on observation and logic, many people persist in believing that moral principles cannot be derived from the facts of reality.
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Ifat Glassman discusses her artwork, her atelier education, and her plans for the future. The interview is accompanied by images of several of her artworks.
  • Topic: Education
57. Lincoln
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Written by Tony Kushner. Based on the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Directed by Steven Spielberg. Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, and Tommy Lee Jones.Rated PG-13 for an intense scene of war violence, some images of carnage, and brief strong language. Running time: 150 minutes.
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. Starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. Distributed by the Weinstein Company. Rated R for strong graphic violence throughout, a vicious fight, language, and some nudity. Running time: 165 minutes.
  • Political Geography: Washington
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Written by Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano. Starring François Cluzet and Omar Sy. Distributed by the Weinstein Company. Distributed by Gaumont. Rated R for language and some drug use. Running time: 113 minutes.
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Directed by Ben Lewin. Screenplay by Ben Lewin, based on an article by Mark O'Brien. Starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy. Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. Rated R for strong sexuality including graphic nudity and frank dialogue. Running time: 95 minutes.
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Is the history of Western Civilization "one great blooming, buzzing confusion," to adapt the words of William James? Not according to Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's lifelong student and heir. In his magnum opus, The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out, Peikoff persuasively argues that the West's major historical periods have been driven by, and are defined by, their cultures' approach to knowledge and the integration thereof.
  • Author: Robert Begley
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In Righteous Indignation, Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012) targets the political left's death grip on American culture. Focusing on the arts and entertainment, on academia, and (most important to him) on the media, he critiques the ideas of intellectuals who fundamentally oppose America's founding ideals, and he provides rational advice for liberty lovers who want to regain the culture.
  • Topic: Politics
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East
  • Author: Jared M. Rhoads
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Think about the health-related services you or your family need occasionally, if not regularly-doctor visits, hospital stays, casts, surgeries, health insurance. When was the last time you saw a meaningful price for any of these?
  • Topic: Health
64. Island
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: From Victor Hugo's The Man Who Laughs to Nevil Shute's Trustee from the Toolroom, many of the best books ever written have until recently been hard to find and therefore often expensive to purchase.
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: One way to determine the practical significance of ideas is to try practicing them. In The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, A. J. Jacobs sets out to do just that.
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Should government further restrict the ability of rights-respecting Americans to buy, own, and carry guns, or should it recognize that ability as a basic right and protect it? David B. Kopel, among the most influential Second Amendment scholars working today, makes a terse but cogent argument for the right to keep and bear arms in his latest book, The Truth about Gun Control.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • 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
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Summer 2013 issue of The Objective Standard.
  • Publication Date: 06-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I have just read Richard Salsman's "The End of Central Banking, Part I" [TOS, Spring 2013], and am amazed at how much it has explained. I have been disturbed and frustrated by many of the Federal Reserve's actions in recent years, but had not known where to turn to find explanations for what is going on and why the Fed has the authority for these actions. I had found nothing in my normal reading to help me understand these actions, but Dr. Salsman has explained their cause. My thanks to him for the superb history and commentary. Thanks also to The Objective Standard for publishing this article.
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Steve Simpson
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The revelation in May of this year that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was systematically targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups for special scrutiny under the laws governing nonprofit organizations shocked the nation and triggered one of the Obama administration's biggest scandals to date. According to a Treasury inspector general's report, in May of 2010, agents in the IRS's Cincinnati office began singling out applications for nonprofit status from groups with terms such as "Tea Party" or "patriot" in their names. The agents conducted lengthy investigations of the groups to determine whether they intended to spend too much of their money on political activities that are prohibited to most nonprofits.1 The IRS required some groups to answer long lists of questions about their intentions, it demanded donor lists from others, and it even examined Facebook and Internet posts.2 Some groups simply gave up and withdrew their applications. Others spent two years waiting for a decision that never came.3 When Congress investigated the scandal, Lois Lerner, the former head of the office that oversees nonprofit organizations, invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to testify. Later, hearings revealed that Douglas Shulman, the former head of the IRS, was cleared to visit the White House at least 157 times during his tenure and that IRS chief counsel William Wilkins, who was one of two Obama appointees at the IRS, helped develop the agency's guidelines for investigating the Tea Party groups.4 As a result, critics of the IRS have good reason to think that the scandal reaches the highest levels of our government. The public's outrage over this scandal is, of course, entirely appropriate. If the government can enforce laws based on nothing more than one's political views, then both freedom of speech and the rule of law are dead. But the outrage over the IRS's focus on conservative groups obscures a far more important question: Why was the IRS investigating the political activities of any group? The answer to that question is more troubling than the possibility of rogue IRS agents, biased law enforcement, or even abuses of power at the highest levels. As bad as all of those things are, the bigger threat to freedom is a legal regime that requires scrutiny of Americans' political activities and a political and intellectual culture that applauds such scrutiny and openly calls for more of it. This is the situation in America today. Our tax and campaign finance laws impose a host of regulations on Americans based on how much time, effort, and money they spend on political speech, and many opinion leaders agitate for even more laws and investigations every day. Against this backdrop, the IRS scandal should not surprise us. Our politicians and intellectuals demanded regulation of some of the loudest voices in our political debates, and the IRS delivered. Unfortunately, far too many critics of the IRS have accepted the premise that our laws should distinguish between groups that spend money on political activities and groups that do not. Expressing this view, Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein has argued that the real scandal was that the IRS did not treat all nonprofits as harshly as it treated the Tea Party groups.5 Using the same reasoning, congressional Democrats have attempted to blunt the scandal by claiming that the IRS also investigated some groups on the left.6 It appears that these claims are untrue, but the message is clear: As long as the government is scrutinizing everyone's speech equally, then there is no scandal. But this is the opposite lesson to learn from the IRS scandal. For anyone who cares about freedom of speech, the real scandal is that the government regulates Americans' campaign spending at all. So long as laws remain on the books that do so, scandals such as this one-and far worse-are inevitable. But to understand why that is so requires a deeper understanding of the premises on which the laws are based and how the laws operate in practice. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Thomas J. Eiden
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Contrary to claims by opponents of nuclear energy that it is "unsafe," "unclean," and thus "unacceptable," nuclear energy is the safest, cleanest, and among the most practical forms of power generation today. Unfortunately, opponents of this wonderful source of power are succeeding in their efforts to deceive people about it; and the deceived, in turn, are fueling legislation and regulations that shackle the nuclear industry. It is time to set the record straight and to defend this life-serving industry. Let us begin with a summary of the nature of nuclear energy. Nuclear power is generated by a controlled chain reaction involving the splitting of atoms. A modern nuclear power plant uses the intense heat created by this reaction to heat water and create steam, which turns a turbine and generates electricity. Whereas a coal-fired plant heats water by burning coal, a nuclear plant heats it by splitting atoms. This process is called nuclear fission. Nuclear fission, in simple terms, occurs when an atom splits in two, releasing a massive amount of energy and several subatomic particles called neutrons. These neutrons, in turn, hit and split other atoms, beginning and sustaining the chain reaction. Reactor operators control this reaction in a variety of ways and thus regulate the amount of heat generated and energy produced. The raw fuel for this process is the metal uranium, which must be enriched before it can be used for producing energy in commercial reactors. Enrichment is necessary because mined uranium ore is around 99.3 percent uranium-238, which, in today's commercial power plants, does not readily split upon exposure to neutrons from the fission chain reaction, and thus makes poor fuel. The other 0.7 percent of mined uranium is uranium-235, which makes excellent fuel. The number refers to the atomic mass, or the total mass of protons and neutrons that make up the atomic nucleus. This difference in mass of the same element makes them two different isotopes of uranium. The enrichment process consists essentially of increasing the percentage of uranium-235 by decreasing the percentage (via removal) of uranium-238. The fuel manufacturing process ultimately yields black, pinky-sized pellets of usable nuclear fuel. These pellets are stacked in tubes of a special metal alloy, and thousands of these fuel rods are placed in a reactor core. The rods are arranged in a very specific geometric configuration to enable a sustained nuclear reaction to occur. The nuclear fission reaction is controlled by inserting or removing a separate set of rods made of neutron-absorbing metal or by adding neutron-absorbing chemicals to the water that cools the reactor. All methods of producing energy involve risk, and nuclear fission is no exception. Historically, however, nuclear power has been by far the safest form of energy production among reliable and scalable energy sources. Nuclear power is safer than other forms of energy for several reasons. To begin with, . . .
  • Topic: Nuclear Power
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Americans are rightly concerned about the rising costs of health care and the monstrosity known as ObamaCare. As patients are looking for better ways to manage their health care, doctors are seeking innovative ways to offer their services. One type of medical practice growing in the marketplace is “concierge medicine,” in which patients pay a doctor or group of doctors a set fee (usually paid annually or monthly) in exchange for a defined package of care.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Zachary Huffman (reviewer)
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Les Misérables, the recent film adaptation of the beloved musical based on Victor Hugo's epic novel, carries viewers through a sweeping tale of revolution, romance, and redemption. Set in 19th-century France, the film captures the drama and hardship of life during a time of revolutionary turmoil while providing a testament to the inner hero of man and his capacity to live as an embodiment of his values. The film opens with the release of ex-convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) on parole from a nineteen-year prison sentence he suffered for stealing a loaf of bread and repeatedly attempting to escape. Valjean attempts to resume a normal life under the watchful eye of his nemesis, the rigid Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). Valjean soon realizes that the only way he can be truly free is to violate his parole, disappear, assume a new identity, and begin his life anew. In fleeing his parole, Valjean infuriates Inspector Javert, who vows never to rest until he has captured Valjean and administered "justice." From this point on, Javert's pursuit of Valjean dominates much of the story; however, numerous other story lines develop as well, the most important involving Valjean's adoption of Cosette (Amanda Seyfried). Cosette's mother, Fantine (Anne Hathaway), is thrown into abject poverty when a foreman at Valjean's factory unjustly terminates her employment. Eventually Valjean learns of Fantine's plight and vows to care for Cosette, whom he showers with love. The story leads to the June Rebellion of 1832 in Paris, .
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Oscar "Oz" Diggs is a charlatan. Although his heroes are Harry Houdini (the great illusionist and escapist) and Thomas Edison, Diggs is neither a great performer nor a great scientist. He scrapes by as part of a traveling circus, passing himself off as a supernaturalist, allegedly raising spirits of the dead. In his off hours, Diggs is a womanizer, pushing away his true love in favor of cheap, short-term "relationships." Oz the Great and Powerful, the story of Diggs, is fundamentally the story of a man in search of self-esteem. Diggs lacks integrity, and so he lacks respect for himself. He allows himself to languish in a career he hates and in a series of unfulfilling relationships. He is basically a lying dirtbag who knows he has poor character-and, at the beginning of the story, he has little desire to improve his character. Early in the film, Diggs says, "I don't want to be a good man, I want to be a great one." Over the course of the story, however, Diggs learns that goodness-strength of moral character-is a precondition both of greatness and of personal happiness. Oz the Great and Powerful, then, explores the interconnections between the moral issue of character and the psychological issue of self-esteem. As he chooses to do the right thing, Diggs holds himself in greater esteem; and, as he learns to trust and value himself, he gains a greater desire and ability to act morally. For a film based on children's books, its theme is remarkably sophisticated. Oz the Great and Powerful serves as a prequel to the classic 1939 film The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Diggs, escaping the angry boyfriend of one of his conquests by flying away in a hot-air balloon, finds himself in the eye of a tornado. And then he finds that he is not in Kansas anymore . . .
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: With the latest Star Trek film, Star Trek into Darkness, coming out on DVD, now is a good time to recount the virtues of the original films, which date back to 1979 and are worth watching or rewatching, as the case may be. Viewers of the newest film, which includes many of the same characters as the original films but in an altered timeline, will notice numerous interesting parallels to the stories of the originals.Star Trek: The Motion Picture Directed by Robert Wise.Story by Alan Dean Foster.Screenplay by Harold Livingston.Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, and Persis Khambatta.Distributed by Paramount Pictures.Released December 7, 1979.Rated PG for sci-fi action and mild language.Running Time: 132 minutes. Star Trek, the original series, first aired on television from 1966 to 1969. Due to the series's popularity in syndication, as well as the popularity of the 1977 science-fiction films Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Paramount Pictures decided to reinvigorate its major science-fiction property as a film. The result was Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Of all the Trek films, the original fits best in the genre of classic sci-fi. It is also the film with the least physical action. The story involves the crew of the starship Enterprise and its interactions with a strange being from the distant reaches of space, a machine on a quest to join its creator. This gigantic space-faring machine, surrounded by a mysterious cloud, attacks ships it regards as threatening. In an attempt to communicate with the crew of the Enterprise, the machine kidnaps and duplicates a crew member, killing her in the process. With its psychedelic portrayal of the machine's inner being (into which the Enterprise travels) and its jangling soundtrack, this film is rather dated. Thankfully, the performances make the best of the material, and Persis Khambatta creates an especially memorable character as the duplicated crew member. Thematically, the film leaves little to remember it by (although Freudians could have a field day analyzing its portrayal of a machine trying to "merge" with its creator). But the film is good, classic science fiction, and it is a work that will continue attracting the interest of science-fiction fans. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Directed by Nicholas Meyer.Story by Harve Bennett, Jack B. Sowards, and Samuel A. Peeples. Screenplay by Jack B. Sowards and Nicholas Meyer.Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Kirstie Alley, and Ricardo Montalbán.Distributed by Paramount Pictures.Released June 4, 1982.Rated PG for violence and language.Running Time: 113 minutes. In The Wrath of Khan, released in 1982, Ricardo Montalbán-then famous for leading the television series Fantasy Island-creates the most memorable Star Trek villain, Khan Noonien Singh, a maniacal but intelligent man bent on the destruction of James T. Kirk, former captain of the Enterprise and now an admiral in Star Fleet. . . .
  • Topic: War
  • Author: Alexander V. Marriott (reviewer)
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: “If America should grow into a separate empire,” British Prime Minister Frederick Lord North warned in late 1778, “it must of course cause . . . a revolution in the political system of the world” (p. 15). In his latest book, The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire, Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy examines the lives of the ten British political leaders, generals, and admirals most responsible for attempting to prevent that revolution from succeeding. O'Shaughnessy sympathetically discerns how and why they failed—and why America succeeded. O'Shaughnessy, professor of history at the University of Virginia, also examines the revolution from an outsider's perspective in his masterful An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (2000).1 Whereas his previous work sought to answer the question of why the other British colonies in the Americas—Canada and the sugar islands in the Caribbean—did not join with the American revolutionaries, The Men Who Lost America sets forth to save the British leadership from the historical ignominy of being remembered as “incompetent and mediocre” or “hidebound” (p. 5) and “novices” (p. 8). With a much more intimate biographical knowledge of these principal actors—including George III; generals Cornwallis and Clinton; Lord North; and the secretary of state for America, Lord George Germain—O'Shaughnessy seeks to reconstruct the perspective of the British war effort, which is, he contends, “essential for making the war intelligible” (p. 9). Among the strengths of the book, O'Shaughnessy artfully weaves the entire breadth and sweep of the wars of the American Revolution through nine biographical chapters (with one chapter devoted to the brothers General Sir William Howe and Admiral Lord Richard Howe). O'Shaughnessy also destroys certain deeply entrenched myths about the American Revolution and inculcates greater appreciation for the victory gained by the revolutionaries over a collection of determined, intelligent—and in many cases quite sympathetic—adversaries. The main recurring theme of the book, apparent in the experience of every figure examined, is the fundamental misunderstanding among British policy makers of the nature of the revolution and the depth of support for it among the colonists. “It was indeed an axiom of British policy,” writes O'Shaughnessy, “that the majority of Americans were loyal, and that the revolution was nothing more than a coup achieved by 'the intrigues of a few bold and criminal leaders'” (p. 98). Many modern American admirers of the American Revolution also unwittingly hold on to this view, often encapsulated in the convenient notion that the Americans were divided roughly into thirds: revolutionaries, loyalists, and the indifferent. As the British learned only very slowly, too slowly to alter their strategy, the loyalists were not anything close to a majority or even a consistent minority large enough to count on. . . .
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Michael Dahlen (reviewer)
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: From 2006 to 2007, Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, was one of few people warning that the U.S. economy was fundamentally unsound and that real estate was grossly overpriced. In his first book, Crash Proof: How to Profit From the Coming Economic Collapse (2007), he predicted that the economy, the housing market, and the stock market would fall apart. He also voiced these predictions on several cable news shows, yet few people heeded his warnings. Some hosts and other guests even mocked and ridiculed him. But Schiff was right. In his recent book, The Real Crash: America's Coming Bankruptcy-How to Save Yourself and Your Country, Schiff says that the worst is yet to come and that the 2008-2009 economic crisis was merely a "tremor before the earthquake." Schiff argues that the main culprit of our economic instability is America's central bank: the Federal Reserve. Through its control of the money supply and the effect this has on interest rates, the Fed artificially inflates the prices of various asset classes, creating so-called "bubbles," and when those prices inevitably collapse, the Fed then inflates the prices of other asset classes. "Throughout the 1990s," Schiff observes, "we had the stock bubble and the dot-com bubble. The Fed replaced that with the housing bubble and the credit bubble. Now, the Fed and the administration are replacing those bubbles with the government bubble" (p. 20). By "government bubble," Schiff is referring to the U.S. dollar and Treasury bonds. When asset prices collapse and recessions ensue, Schiff notes, the Fed-via bailouts and low interest rates-props up insolvent banks and other companies (while also helping to finance government debt). It has taken these actions allegedly to minimize the short-term pain of recessions, but in doing so, the Fed has prevented the economy from correcting itself, making it increasingly unsound. "If you keep replacing one bubble with another, you eventually run out of suds. The government bubble is the final bubble" (p. 23). If the Fed keeps interest rates artificially low and if the government keeps running massive budget deficits, the day will come, Schiff argues, "when the rest of the world stops trusting America's currency and our credit. Then we'll get the real crash" (p. 1). In his introduction to the book, Schiff explains that he is taking a different approach here than he took in his previous books: "[T]his time I have decided that rather than simply predicting doom, I would lay out a comprehensive set of solutions. That's why I wrote this book" (p. 2). After diagnosing our economic problems, Schiff explains how we can fix them. . . .
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Mikayla Callen (reveiwer)
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In her debut novel, Living Proof, Kira Peikoff addresses one of the hottest issues today-religious dogma versus individual rights-in the form of a conflict between the "rights" of embryos and the rights of people to engage in embryonic stem cell research. Living Proof is set in the not-too-distant future, the year 2027, in which the government has placed bans on any type of research on embryos and embryonic stem cells as part of an embryonic rights movement. The legal manifestation of this movement is the Department of Embryo Preservation, or DEP, whose sole purpose is to ensure that no embryos are used for research or destroyed in any way. The devoutly religious director of the DEP, Gideon Dopp, prides himself on his position at "the noblest of all government agencies" (p. 332), where he is responsible for "weeding out sinners to protect innocents" (p. 331). He makes it his personal goal to ensure that no embryos are harmed. [The DEP] mandated that all fertility clinics "preserve the soul of every embryo." In keeping with the law, the department required that clinics report, once a month, the number of embryos left over from every patient's attempt at in vitro fertilization-a number the inspectors verified with their visits. To ensure accurate reporting, the department periodically conducted random audits. . . . (p. 14) If an unfortunate doctor fails an audit, there are "serious consequences for the clinic: probation and heavy fines" (p. 15). The authorities mete out far more severe punishments for the "crime" of destroying an embryo, an act that is grounds for shutting down the clinic and charging the doctor responsible with first-degree murder. In this setting, the reader follows Arianna Drake and Trent Rowe in a conflict-ridden love story. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Daniel Wahl (reviewer)
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In his introductory remarks to The Chronicles of Prydain, Lloyd Alexander notes that the story is fantasy, yet not far removed from reality. Although the series includes enchanters, invisible dwarfs, and other impossibilities, the protagonists must strive constantly to live up to their highest potential in order to achieve their goals; and they must judge other people, who may not be completely good or evil and who may be much better or worse than they initially appear. So, too, notes Alexander, must we all. This is the way the real world is. The Chronicles of Prydain is ideal for young readers from about fourth through sixth grades, or for parents to read aloud to third or fourth graders. The series consists of five books: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, and The High King. The Book of Three introduces the main character of the series: Taran, a young boy nicknamed "assistant pig keeper" for his role on the farm where he lives and works. At the start, he is worried that he will never become anyone special, but after setting out to retrieve the escaped pig he is in charge of, and over the course of many adventurous trials that ensue, Taran develops into a heroic young man. He learns how to make tough choices, to weigh his alternatives by means of his best judgment, to judge individuals' characters, to acknowledge his errors, and to persist in the pursuit of his goals even in the face of grave danger. In short, he learns how to fight for the people he loves and the world he wants. In proving himself far more capable than he initially appears, Taran is much like Eilonwy, Gurgi, Doli, and Fflewddur Flam, the other four main characters and his close friends throughout the series. Eilonwy at first seems like a scatterbrained, excessively talkative girl of little substance. Although she remains talkative to the end, seemingly having a simile for everything, she proves to be wise and as courageous as they come. Gurgi at first seems like a disgusting and shifty creature, half man, half beast, and grossly incompetent. Nevertheless, he proves to be loyal, competent, even lovable. Doli initially seems like a dwarf among enchanted dwarfs. Among other quirks, he repeatedly fails at turning invisible and apparently excels at being irascible. Although his grumpy exterior never changes, it proves to be only on the surface-unlike his abilities, which turn out to be deep and vital. Finally, among the main characters, is Fflewddur Fflam, who at first seems to be the last person you would want on your side on a long and dangerous quest. Flam, as his friends call him, routinely exaggerates the truth and thus gives the impression of being unreliable. But he, too, proves the opposite: He is a loyal friend and a brave man who can be counted on, no matter the danger. By the end of The Book of Three, these characters have experienced much together; and, with their help, Taran has completed his initial quest of retrieving the aforementioned (and highly remarkable) pig-along with another victory of much greater import. In the books that follow, Taran sets out on many more adventures. . . .
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I was arrested in Eno's diner. At twelve o'clock. I was eating eggs and drinking coffee. A late breakfast, not lunch. I was wet and tired after a long walk in heavy rain" (p. 1). This is the scene in which Lee Child introduces the world to Jack Reacher, an American wanderer and former homicide investigator with the military police who manages to get himself into all kinds of trouble, despite his efforts to avoid it. Even with only these opening lines of Killing Floor-Child's first novel, originally published in 1997-we get a sense of Reacher's character. He is a man who likes to get to the point. He narrates in concise statements. He is rarely ruffled, never intimidated. Reacher, tired of his regimented military life-he was born on a military base in 1960 and never left the military until six months before the novel begins-decides to try the freedom of the open road. He wants to go where he pleases, see the country, and not get tied down. His only stable contact is his bank, which wires him cash from his military pension and sends him mail. On a whim, Reacher wanders into Margrave, Georgia, to learn the story of a long-deceased musician called Blind Blake, whom his brother had mentioned to him in a letter. His plan is to look around, get the lowdown on Blind Blake, then hop on a bus and leave. Unfortunately, Reacher wanders into town around the time police discover the bodies of two men, brutally murdered, found near the highway where Reacher got off the bus. Plenty of people saw him walking near the scene of the crime. So, he is arrested for murder. Initially, Reacher's goal is to beat the murder rap and leave town as quickly as possible. Unfortunately for his plans-but fortunately for those seeking justice-Reacher learns that the murders are part of a bigger crime, a crime that, unexpectedly, involves someone he knows. After beating the rap, Reacher decides to stick with the case and help solve it. . . .
  • Publication Date: 10-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: Chicago
  • 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: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Libertarianism, writes David Boaz, “is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others.”
  • Author: C. Bradley Thompson
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In “The New Abolitionism: Why Education Emancipation is the Moral Imperative of Our Time” (TOS, Winter 2012–13), I argued that America's government school system is immoral and antithetical to a free society, and that it must be abolished—not reformed. The present essay calls for the complete separation of school and state, indicates what a fully free market in education would look like, and explains why such a market would provide high-quality education for all children.
  • Topic: Education
  • 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: Scott McConnell
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Some movies offer their audience the experience of an efficacious hero wittily fighting evil in a dramatic but benevolent world. The 1940 film The Mark of Zorro dazzles with such qualities. The film stars the dashing Tyrone Power as Zorro; Basil Rathbone, one of Hollywood's most elegant and articulate villains, as Capitan Esteban; and the stylish Linda Darnell as the love interest, Lolita. The story opens in sultry Madrid, where the “California Cockerel,” Don Diego Vega (Power), is training in the arts of war when he is suddenly called back to California by his father, the Alcalde (mayor) of Los Angeles. Diego reluctantly obeys, believing that he is leaving behind a life of adventure for a land “where a man can only marry, raise fat children, and watch his vineyards grow.” Arriving in California, Diego finds—teased out in clever and suspenseful ways—a land under the heavy heel of despotism. His father has been deposed and the new Alcalde, Don Luis Quintero, is a bloodthirsty weakling obsessed with extorting money through heavier and heavier taxes, aided by the cruel and vain Capitan Esteban.
  • Political Geography: California, Los Angeles
  • Author: Richard M. Salsman
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: If, like most candid students of history, you recognize that capitalism (to the extent it has been instituted) has brought liberty, peace, and prosperity, but you wonder why the system has been so despised, this is the book for you. In Mind vs. Money: The War between Intellectuals and Capitalism, Alan S. Kahan points out that in only one century out of the past twenty-five—the Enlightenment (1730–1830)—did leading intellectuals speak well of money, lending, profit making, and commerce (i.e., capitalism). The vast majority of intellectuals, over the vast majority of time, have detested capitalism and all it stands for. The worst hostility dates from the mid-19th century: “For over 150 years, Western intellectuals have been at war with capitalism,” writes Kahan, and “the consequences have often been disastrous for all concerned” (p. 3)—the consequences including tyrannies and policies that sap economic vitality.
  • Topic: War
  • Author: Robert Garmong
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: When the U.S. economy collapsed in 2008, most economists, policy analysts, and government advisers were caught flat-footed. For more than a decade, the experts had assured Americans that such a catastrophic economic event had become impossible. In 2004, Ben Bernanke (now chairman of the Federal Reserve), declared a “Great Moderation,” beginning in the mid-1980s, during which “improvements in monetary policy” at the Federal Reserve had led to “a substantial decline in macroeconomic volatility” (Fed-speak for a taming of the business cycle).1 Robert Lucas gave a presidential address to the American Economic Association in 2003, declaring that the “central problem . . . of macroeconomics”—maintaining recession-free growth without runaway price inflation—“has been solved, for all practical purposes.”2 Yet the seeds of the so-called Great Recession, David Stockman argues, were already there for anyone to see. The Great Deformation is Stockman's attempt to explain and diagnose the economic crash, connect it to historical trends, and warn against policies that will bring worse economic disasters in the future. Stockman presents a compelling case, based on economic theory and exhaustive research. His warnings for the economic future are chilling but powerfully argued. The “Great Deformation” named in Stockman's title is the distortion of the economy brought about by the Federal Reserve's credit expansion since 1971, when Richard Nixon ended the last vestiges of the gold standard. Stockman reviews several major financial developments of the 20th century. Prior to Nixon's move, he recounts, the developed world was governed by the Bretton Woods Agreement, signed in 1944. Although not a full-fledged gold standard, Bretton Woods kept the world economy tethered to gold. All major currencies were pegged to the U.S. dollar, which in turn was redeemable in gold at $35 per ounce. Bretton Woods limited any country's ability to inflate. For America, it meant that any inflation by the U.S. government—creation of money to cover government debt—led investors to trade value-losing dollars for value-retaining gold. Thus, the effects of creating new money would show up immediately and painfully in the banking system. Chafing under this fiscal restraint, on August 15, 1971, Richard Nixon unilaterally reneged on the agreement, ended the convertibility of U.S. dollars to gold, and laid the groundwork for an unprecedented series of financial crises. Nixon's move had an immediate, dramatic effect, Stockman writes: skyrocketing prices for oil and other commodities in the 1970s. In four years, the price of oil increased from $1.40 to $13 per barrel. A ton of scrap steel went from $40 to $140, and even such a humble commodity as coffee went from 42 cents to $3.20 per pound. Abandonment of the gold standard enabled unfettered deficit spending without immediate consequences in the capital markets, Stockman writes. . . .
  • Topic: Corruption, Debt
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Practically everyone knows that reading is one of the most vital skills a child can learn, and many systems and products promising to teach the skill have been developed. Many parents, perhaps you among them, are looking to find the very best of these resources. Unfortunately, among the many resources from which to choose, some are based on the anti-conceptual “whole-word” approach to reading, which (to put it mildly) makes learning extremely difficult and frustrating for a child, rather than relatively easy and enjoyable. Adding to the difficulty of the search, even some reading programs based on a phonetic approach are poorly conceived and unnecessarily frustrating. Although some teach the child the sound each letter makes then show how those letters fit together to form words, they also include secondary sounds for certain letters before the child has been able to grasp the primary sounds. For example, one popular series presents pre-readers with four words for each letter of the alphabet, each word beginning with the respective letter, and proceeds to use these words in a short story including pictures. So far, so good. This approach helps the child to learn the shapes and corresponding sounds of letters. However, each time the series introduces a vowel, for example “u,” it introduces both the long vowel and the short vowel sound at the same time—for example, via the words “unicorn” and “umpire.” This does the child a gross disservice. Other systems and books present the different sounds of letters one at a time, introducing secondary sounds only after the child has grasped the primary sounds, but are poor in other respects. For instance, some fail to address important sounds (e.g., the “ng” in “sings” or the “er” in bigger”); some include unpleasant pictures or uninteresting stories, or both. Parents looking for a system that includes the good and excludes the bad will be delighted to discover The Emergent Reader Series, written by Laura Appleton-Smith. . . .
  • Author: Kevin Douglas
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Beautiful Tree is the inspiring story of James Tooley's quest to discover “how the world's poorest people are educating themselves.” Tooley begins his book by describing his serendipitous discovery of low-cost private schools for the poor in Hyderabad, India. While on an assignment for the World Bank to research the contribution of high-end private schools to the education of middle- and upper-income Indians, Tooley discovered that dozens of low-cost, for-profit private schools serve the poor in the slums of Hyderabad, and that parents choose to send their children to these private schools despite the fact that government schools are available for “free.” When Tooley returned to the World Bank and told his colleagues of his amazing find, their responses were typical of those he would receive during the rest of his investigation. Many refused to believe that low-budget private schools existed. The few who acknowledged their existence attempted to dissuade Tooley from giving them much attention, because, in their view, these schools were “ripping off the poor” and were “run by unscrupulous business people who didn't care a fig for anything other than profits” (p. 21). Tooley responded to such skepticism and cynicism by redoubling his efforts to learn about such schools. Inspired by what he found in Hyderabad, Tooley searched for similar schools in the slums of Nigeria, Ghana, and China. Tooley writes that many education officials he encountered were completely unaware of the low-cost private schools in their nations, and others went to great lengths to deny their existence. For example, in Nigeria, Tooley met Dennis Okoro, recently retired chief inspector of schools for the Nigerian federal government. Initially, Okoro professed ignorance that low-cost private schools existed; then he denied the possibility of their existence. When Tooley took Okoro into the slums of Makoko and showed him several schools, Okoro concluded that what he saw could not be private schools serving the poor, because “[t]he poor by definition cannot afford to pay fees for private schools. So if this was a fee-charging private school, it couldn't be for the poor” (p. 50). Similarly, Tooley describes officials at a regional education bureau in China who “argued” that, because the Chinese government's official position is that government provides basic education to all children, rich and poor, “what you propose to research does not only not exist, it is also a logical impossibility” (p. 97). This exchange came only moments after Tooley explained that he had already personally visited five such schools. The Beautiful Tree documents how Tooley ignored the advice of “development experts” (such as those at the World Bank) and pushed past the resistance and ignorance of education officials to build a team to help him investigate the phenomenon of low-cost private schools serving the poor. . . .
  • Topic: Education, World Bank
  • Political Geography: China, Nigeria
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Winter 2013–2014 issue of The Objective Standard. Here's an indication of the contents at hand. The increasing popularity of libertarianism is both a problem and an opportunity. It is a problem because, although nominally for liberty, the ideology rejects the need to undergird liberty with an objective, demonstrably true moral and philosophic foundation—which leaves liberty indefensible against the many philosophies that oppose it (e.g., utilitarianism, altruism, egalitarianism, and religion). The increasing popularity of libertarianism is an opportunity because, although the ideology denies the need for such a foundation, many young people who self-identify as libertarian are active-minded and thus open to the possibility that such a foundation is necessary. Toward reaching these active-minded youth, my essay, “Libertarianism vs. Radical Capitalism,” examines libertarianism in the spirit of Frédéric Bastiat, taking into account not only what is seen, but also what is not seen in common and seemingly unobjectionable descriptions of the ideology. The article exposes major problems with libertarianism, compares it to radical capitalism, shows why only the latter provides a viable defense of liberty, and emphasizes the need to keep these different ideologies conceptually distinct.
  • Topic: Education, Religion
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: On January 3, 2012, John David Lewis, my good friend and contributing editor of this journal, died after a relentless battle with cancer. The premature death of any good man is tragic, but John was not just a good man; he was the kind of man good men look up to. John was an ideal man, and his early death comes as close as anything can to being a metaphysical flaw in the universe.
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Surveys the metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and politics of these two creeds, showing, at each level, that only one of them corresponds to observable reality.
  • Author: Andrew Bernstein
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Examines these opposing philosophies in the story, characters, and theme of Ayn Rand's great novel.
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Boaz Arad, a founder of and spokesman for the Israeli Freedom Movement, discusses the inception, activities, allies, and successes of the Israeli equivalent of the Tea Party movement.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Jason Stotts
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Drs. Ellen Kenner and Ed Locke discuss their new book The Selfish Path to Romance: How to Love with Passion and Reason, covering ground from how altruism destroys relationships, to why people settle for less-than-ideal partners, to how to ask your lover to experiment sexually.
  • Author: Earl Parson
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Eames: The Architect and the Painter, of the PBS American Masters series, presents a portrait of the husband and wife design team of Charles and Ray Eames. Charles, educated as an architect, and Ray, trained as a painter, met in 1940 at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Although Charles was already married at the time, he fell madly in love with Ray, ended his marriage, and proposed to her. After marrying, they left the Midwest and moved to Los Angeles with the goal of bringing to fruition Charles's vision for the molded plywood chair, which had already won a major award but needed further development. There they founded the Eames Office, which was by all accounts informal, playful, and circus-like, yet simultaneously focused and intense. “[L]ife was fun was work was fun was life” as former Eames Office designer Deborah Sussman describes it in the film.
  • Author: Burgess Laughlin
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: About the Muslim Middle East, Robert R. Reilly, author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind, says, “I am trying to understand the situation as it is and the reasons for it. I am simply offering the conclusions to which I have come after searching for years to make sense of what I have seen, experienced, and read” (p. 9).
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Gideon Reich
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Given that Israel's legitimacy is regularly questioned in the media, a short book providing well-reasoned moral arguments defending Israel would be a useful addition to the library of any serious advocate of the state. Unfortunately, in The 7 Principles of Zionism: A Values-Based Approach to Israel Advocacy, Dan Illouz focuses primarily on the collectivist and nonessential historical arguments for Israel as the realization of “Jewish statehood” (p. 30) and spends few pages presenting genuine, objective moral arguments for its legitimacy.
  • Political Geography: Israel