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  • 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