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  • Author: Joshua Lipana
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In Treason, Ann Coulter chronicles the anti-American actions of the leftist “liberals” in the United States from the Cold War to the beginning of the “War on Terrorism.” However, the book concentrates primarily on the Cold War, and fortunately so, as this is where Coulter shines.
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The term “command economy” was coined by the Nazis, but it was later used to describe the economies of the Soviet Union and sundry other “people's states.” On paper, it sounded like this: Instead of allowing dispersed buyers and sellers to determine their own economic activities according to the laws of supply and demand, a higher authority would issue commands determining the overall direction of the economy following a master plan. The command principle entailed that all economic decisions were centralized for the greater good, as the state determined what should be produced, how much should be produced, who produced what and where, how resources should be allocated and what prices should be charged for materials, goods and services. (p. 127)
  • Author: Richard Salsman
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Despite its many errors, contemporary academic economics has improved considerably in recent decades, especially after the Keynesian detour of interventionism from the 1930s to the 1970s. There is a lagged influence between academic economics and public policy, but increasingly since the 1970s academic economists have recognized that free markets work, that “market failure” reflects poorly defined and ill-protected property rights, and that boom-bust cycles and sapped prosperity are consequences of bad public policies.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: Israel
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Roy F. Baumeister started his career in psychology skeptical that such a thing as willpower even exists. In this, he says, he did not differ from many other psychologists and philosophers. But then he observed willpower in the laboratory: how it gives people the strength to persevere, how they lose self-control as their willpower is depleted, how this mental energy is fueled by the glucose in one's bloodstream. He . . . discovered that willpower, like a muscle, becomes fatigued from overuse but can also be strengthened over the long term through exercise. (pp. 1–2)
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Anyone eager to increase his mental productivity will do well to read David Rock's Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long. Each chapter has many tips that you can put to use right away to get more and better work done. And the setup is not just clear and entertaining but also memorable.
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: One day, in 1893, while taking a walk, nineteen-year-old Louise Barant met a slightly older man named Joseph Vacher (pronounced Vashay). After he asked about the weather, they went to a café, where, much to Louise's surprise, Vacher proposed marriage. He added that if she ever betrayed him, he'd kill her.
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Professor Max Pettenkofer held up a flask containing deadly cholera bacteria. The rapt attention of the students gathered all around him was unsurprising, for the professor had raised the flask in a toast, about to drink it. Pettenkofer did not believe that he would die. Contrary to the opinions of many scientists, he thought that the billion or so bacteria inside the flask would cause cholera only under certain conditions, conditions that were not present in his experiment. The experiment, he thought, would prove that he was right and that the theories held by others were wrong, settling the issue resolutely.
  • Author: Joseph Kellard
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: It's a pleasure to read Jim Sheeler writing about the dead. Consider how Sheeler, an obituary writer for the Denver Post and Boulder Planet newspapers during the 1990s, wrote “After 624 Deaths, One More,” his obit for Carolyn Jaffe. He shines a light on the techniques Jaffe used in her work as a hospice nurse who helped hundreds of patients come to terms with their mortality, and turns up the brightness on the enrichment she derived from her career by using this quote from a book she coauthored: I know I've made the time better. I've changed the dying from something that's feared, something that's the enemy, to a natural part of life—maybe even a friend. The families tell me this, and I know it without their saying a word. This is powerful; it is beautiful. (p. 208)
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Spring 2012 issue of The Objective Standard, which begins our seventh year of publication. Let me begin by thanking you, our readers, for your continued business and support, for enabling us to produce this vital journal, and for helping spread the word about its existence and articles. With your help, we have expanded dramatically in our first six years—and our seventh is off to a remarkable start: Our website traffic is up 160 percent from February 2011 to February 2012, and up 40 percent from January 2012 to February 2012. This explosive growth is due in large part to our proliferation of posts on TOS Blog—which has become the source for daily commentary from an Objectivist perspective. (Special thanks go to Joshua Lipana, Ari Armstrong, and Daniel Wahl for helping to make it so.)
  • Publication Date: 03-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The thing I most admire about Objectivism is its uncompromising affirmation of life. No other philosophy I have encountered consistently holds thriving human existence as its chief value. I was therefore disappointed to read Diana Hsieh and Ari Armstrong's argument for an alleged right to terminate the life of the unborn (“The Assault on Abortion Rights Undermines All Our Liberties,” TOS, Winter 2011–2012).
  • Topic: Development
  • Author: C. Bradley Thompson
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I would like to address two important questions: First, why should any of us care about Marxism in a post-Marxist world? After all, the Berlin Wall fell almost twenty-five years ago and communism seems dead just about everywhere. Second, why have so many people been attracted to Marxism over the course of the past 150 years? Or maybe, the better question here is: What kind of person is attracted to Marxism?
  • Political Geography: Berlin
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Advocates of a fully free, laissez-faire society are likely familiar with the following scenario. You provide a clear, well-concretized explanation of what capitalism is and why it is moral, only to be met with a question that seemingly wipes out everything you just said: “But if physical force were legally forbidden, taxation would be out; so how would a rights-protecting government be financed?” The implication being: A truly free society might sound great in theory, but it's impossible in practice.
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Because of its seemingly prophetic nature with respect to current events, Ayn Rand's 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged is receiving more attention today and selling at greater volume today than it did when it was first published fifty-five years ago. That's a good thing, because the ideas set forth in Atlas are crucial to personal happiness, social harmony, and political freedom.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Simpson, a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. Among Mr. Simpson's many accomplishments, he authored a friend-of-the-court brief in the landmark case Citizens United v. FEC, served as lead counsel in SpeechNow.org v. FEC, helped overturn aspects of Colorado's campaign finance laws that restricted people's ability to fund political speech, and helped overturn New York's ban on direct shipping of wine. Simpson has contributed articles to Legal Times, The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and The Washington Times, among other outlets. He is also the author of “Citizens United and the Battle for Free Speech in America,” which was published in the Spring 2010 edition of The Objective Standard. —Ari Armstrong
  • Political Geography: New York, America, Washington, Chicago
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I recently had the great pleasure of speaking with Bryan Larsen about his work, how he became a painter, who and what inspires him, and why his subjects always look so beautifully purposeful. Mr. Larsen's work can be seen and purchased through the Quent Cordair Fine Art gallery in Napa, California. His painting, Liberty, adorns the cover of this issue of The Objective Standard.
  • Political Geography: California
  • Author: C.A. Wolski
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: After six separate film adventures, the main players of the Marvel Comics universe have assembled in The Avengers, with the eponymous team of heroes battling the evil Norse god Loki.
  • Author: Andrew Bernstein
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Author's note: Because I want to address several key events of this story, I've written this review in a way that contains spoilers. Readers may prefer to view this outstanding film before reading the review. For anyone who loves America and wants the country defended against Islamic totalitarians and other savage enemies, a film starring active-duty Navy SEALs doing precisely that should be a rare treat. Act of Valor is that film, and it delivers fulsomely on this promise.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Although many teachers make the subject of rhetoric boring and seemingly useless, in Farnsworth's Classical English Rhetoric, Ward Farnsworth makes it fascinating and fruitful.
  • Author: Hannah Krening
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: We often hear claims that America is a “Christian nation” and that “the Constitution was designed to perpetuate a Christian order” (James Dobson). Are such claims correct? If not, how does one show it? If America is a secular nation, how can one convince ignorant but active-minded people of this truth?
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Summer 2012 issue of The Objective Standard. Welcome to the Summer 2012 issue of The Objective Standard. In the lead article, "Why Marxism? Evil Laid Bare," C. Bradley Thompson examines key ideas that have driven Marxists and socialists—from Asian and European dictators to American college professors—to enact or advocate an ideology that is historically and philosophically pure evil. In my article "How Would Government Be Funded in a Free Society?" I lay out evidence in support of the fact that, in a free society, people would voluntarily pay to support a properly limited, rights-protecting government; and I discuss the essential means by which they would do so. In "Atlas Shrugged and Ayn Rand's Morality of Egoism," which is a version of a speech I've given on college campuses over the years, I provide a myth-busting introduction to the Objectivist ethics. (Although it discusses Atlas Shrugged, the article does not contain spoilers.) In his extensive interview with Ari Armstrong, Steve Simpson, of the Institute for Justice, surveys the continuing threats to corporate freedom of speech and discusses the essential elements in the battle to defend it. Mr. Simpson sheds much light on the fundamentals of an otherwise nightmarishly complex political mess. I had the honor of interviewing one of my favorite artists, painter Bryan Larsen. If you love Larsen's work (one sample of which graces the cover of this issue ofTOS), you don't want to miss this interview. In addition to getting to know the fascinating man behind the masterful brush, you'll get to enjoy high-resolution images of ten of his breathtaking paintings. In the film reviews section, C.A. Wolski appraises The Avengers (directed by Joss Whedon), finding it a near-perfect superhero movie; and Andrew Bernstein reviews Act of Valor (directed by Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh), explaining "why I have seen this movie eight times" and "why I will see it again." Under book reviews, Daniel Wahl's discussion of Farnsworth's Classical English Rhetoric, by Ward Farnsworth, will whet your appetite for more principles and examples of classical English rhetoric—an appetite you may not have known you have. (I now have my copy and will be enjoying it by the pool this summer.) Our newest contributor, Hannah Krening (welcome Hannah!) reviews The Godless Constitution: A Moral Defense of the Secular State, by Isaac Kramnick and R. Laurence Moore, finding it highly valuable for the history it provides, even if suboptimal philosophically speaking. In case you haven't yet noticed, TOS has become much more than a quarterly journal. Our daily blog (TOS Blog) is the source for daily commentary from an Objectivist perspective. Topics include economics and politics, science and technology, philosophy and ethics, education and the arts, human achievement and personal productivity. Keep up with our blogging by subscribing to our RSS feed or by visiting the site daily. We also have highly active Facebook and Twitter pages, where we link to notable news, opinion, and general-interest pieces around the Web. Join our conversation on Facebook by "Liking" our page, and join us on Twitter by "Following" us there. I hope to see you around the Web, and, in any event, I wish you a productive and enjoyable summer. —Craig Biddle
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have labeled themselves “America's Comeback Team”—a political tagline that would be great were it grounded in a philosophical base that gave it objective, moral meaning. What, politically speaking, does America need to “come back” to? And what, culturally speaking, is necessary for the country to support that goal? America was founded on the principle of individual rights—the idea that each individual is an end in himself and has a moral prerogative to live his own life (the right to life); to act on his own judgment, un-coerced by others, including government (liberty); to keep and use the product of his effort (property); and to pursue the values and goals of his choosing (pursuit of happiness). Today, however, legal, regulatory, or bureaucratic obstacles involved in any effort to start or operate a business, to purchase health insurance, to plan for one's retirement, to educate one's children, to criticize Islam for advocating violence, or so much as to choose a lightbulb indicate how far we've strayed from that founding ideal. If America is to make a comeback—and if what we are to come back to is recognition and protection of individual rights—then Americans must embrace more than a political tagline; we must embrace a philosophy that undergirds individual rights and that gives rise to a government that does one and only one thing: protects rights. Although the philosophy of the Founding Fathers was sufficient ground on which to establish the Land of Liberty, it was not sufficient to maintain liberty. The founders advocated the principle of individual rights, but they did not fully understand the moral and philosophical foundations of that principle; they did not understand how rights are grounded in observable fact. Nor did the thinkers who followed them. This is why respect for rights has been eroding for more than a century. If America is to “come back” to the recognition and protection of rights, Americans must discover and embrace the philosophical scaffolding that undergirds that ideal, the scaffolding that grounds the principle of rights in perceptual fact and gives rise to the principle that the only proper purpose of government is to protect rights by banning force from social relationships. The philosophy that provides this scaffolding is Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. To see why, let us look at Rand's philosophy in contrast to the predominant philosophies of the day: religion, the basic philosophy of conservatism; and subjectivism, the basic philosophy of modern “liberalism.” We'll consider the essential views of each of these philosophies with respect to the nature of reality, man's means of knowledge, the nature of morality, the nature of rights, and the proper purpose of government. At each stage, we'll highlight ways in which their respective positions support or undermine the ideal of liberty. As a brief essay, this is, of course, not a comprehensive treatment of these philosophies; rather, it is an indication of the essentials of each, showing how Objectivism stands in contrast to religion and subjectivism and why it alone supports a culture of freedom. Objectivism stands in sharp contrast to religion and subjectivism from the outset because, whereas religion holds that there are two realities (nature and supernature), and whereas subjectivism holds that there is no reality (only personal opinion and social convention), Objectivism holds that there is one reality (this one before our eyes). Let's flesh out these differences and their significance with respect to liberty. . . .
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Andrew Bernstein
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: On the morning of September 11, 2001, Mohammed Atta and his minions flew stolen planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, destroying the former and murdering thousands of innocent civilians. What motivated this atrocity? What filled the murderers with such all-consuming hatred that they were willing to surrender their own lives in order to kill thousands of innocent human beings? The clear answer is that these were religious zealots engaged in holy war with their primordial enemy—the embodiment of the modern secular West: the United States of America.In their evil way, the Islamists provide mankind with some clarity. They remind us of what real religion is and looks like—not the Christianity or Judaism of the modern West, watered down and diluted by the secular principles of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment; but real faith-based, reason-rejecting, sin-bashing, kill-the-infidels religion. The atrocities of 9/11 and other similar terrorist acts by Islamists do not clash with their creed. On the contrary, they are consistent with the essence of religion—not merely of Islam—but religion more broadly, religion as such. This is an all-important lesson that humanity must learn: Religion is hazardous to your health. Unfortunately, conventional views of religion hold just the opposite. Many people believe that religion is the necessary basis of morality—that without belief in God, there can be no ethics, no right or wrong. A character in Dostoyevsky's The Brothers Karamazov famously expressed this view: “In a world without God, all things become permissible.” In the 21st century, many people still believe this. But the converse is true. A rational, fact-based, life-promoting morality is impossible on religious premises. Indeed, religion clashes with every rational principle and factual requirement of a proper, life-advancing ethics. A proper ethics, one capable of promoting flourishing human life on earth, requires the utter repudiation of religion—of all of its premises, tenets, implications, and consequences. To begin understanding the clash between religion and human life, consider the Dark Ages, the interminable centuries following the fall of Rome in the 5th century AD. The barbarian tribes that overran Rome eventually converted to Christianity, which, in the form of the Catholic Church, became the dominant philosophic and cultural force of medieval Europe. Unlike the essentially secular classical world, or the post-Renaissance modern world, the medieval world zealously embraced religion as the fundamental source of truth and moral guidance. What were the results in human life?
  • Topic: Health, Islam
  • Political Geography: United States, America, Europe
  • Author: Frederick Seiler
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries was a defining moment in the history of Western Civilization. Modern science and the scientific method were born; the rate of scientific discovery exploded; giants such as Copernicus, Vesalius, Kepler, Galileo, Harvey, Newton, and countless lesser figures unlocked world-changing secrets of the universe. It has often been observed that such a revolution occurred only once in human history, and in one particular culture: the predominantly Christian culture of early-modern Europe. This observation gives rise to several questions: What role, if any, did Christianity play in the birth of modern science? Did faith give rise to science? Did a mixture of faith and reason give rise to it? Was Christianity somehow responsible—perhaps even necessary—for the rise of modern science, as some historians have argued? In short, what, if anything, does religion have to do with the Scientific Revolution? As long as science has existed, religionists have been attempting to reconcile religion and science. Recently, a new breed of scholars has asserted that religion itself—in particular Christianity—actually caused the birth of science. What are the facts of the matter? Toward answering that question, let us first review some earlier and relevant historical developments; then we will turn to relevant highlights of the Scientific Revolution itself. Science was born in ancient Greece among the pre-Socratics, who were the first to look for natural explanations of the world around them. Thales's claim that everything is made of water is significant because it assumes that the fundamental building block of the world is a natural substance. Embracing this naturalistic outlook, the Greeks of the classical and Hellenistic eras made important advances in astronomy, geometry, medicine, and biology—and established the fields of history, drama, political theory, and philosophy. Philosophy was especially important. Plato and Aristotle—the philosophical giants of Greece—created two dramatically different philosophical systems, especially in terms of their metaphysics and epistemologies. Plato, in exception to the general Greek attitude, proposed that the world we experience is not fully real. He maintained that the individual physical objects we see are imperfect, corrupted reflections of those in a higher reality. Plato called this higher dimension the world of the Forms and held that knowledge of this realm can be reached only via intuition. Although Plato revered mathematics, he did so for its alleged ability to train the mind to receive the Forms rather than as a means of gaining understanding of the physical world. Plato had little interest in studying this world.
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Curt Levey is the president of the Committee for Justice, an organization devoted to promoting judicial nominees who uphold the written constitution, as opposed to a “living constitution.” After graduating from Harvard Law School, Levey clerked on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, then worked for the Center for Individual Rights, where he participated in affirmative action cases involving the University of Michigan. Levey worked for the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education before joining the Committee for Justice. Recently I had the opportunity to interview Levey about the Supreme Court in the context of the upcoming presidential election. Although I disagree with various aspects of Levey's conservative perspective, I find his comments about the Supreme Court to be insightful.
  • Topic: Education, Law
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Robert Zubrin, prolific author and president of Pioneer Astronautics and the Mars Society, most recently wrote Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism (Encounter Books, 2012). I recently interviewed Mr. Zubrin about his latest book and his other projects. Although I disagree with some of Mr. Zubrin's conclusions, I greatly appreciate his exposé of the antihumanist movement and his work toward the exploration and development of space.
  • Topic: Development, Environment
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Stop letting the enemies of capitalism claim the moral high ground. There is nothing noble about altruism, nothing inspiring about the initiation of force, nothing moral about Big Government, nothing compassionate about sacrificing the individual to the collective. Don't be afraid to dismiss those ideas as vicious, unjust attacks on the pursuit of happiness, and self-confidently assert that there is no value higher than the individual's pursuit of his own well-being.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Imagine how great it would be to have your own inside tour guide to the modern financial crisis, someone able to comment on the crisis not as an onlooker, but as the leader for two decades of one of America's strongest financial institutions.
  • Topic: Government, Law
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Ted Gray
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Did you know that the U.S. government subsidizes forced sterilization of women throughout the Third World, and that both Republican and Democratic administrations have supported this policy? This is just one evil among many that Robert Zubrin documents in Merchants of Despair: Radical Environmentalists, Criminal Pseudo-Scientists, and the Fatal Cult of Antihumanism.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Michael A. LaFerrara
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The title of Mark Levin's latest book, Ameritopia, is his term for “the grave reality of our day” (p. x), an America in transformation from a constitutional republic based on individual rights into a totalitarian state. The book is not a political manifesto. For that, Levin refers the reader to his previous book, “Liberty and Tyranny,” in which he warns about “the growing tyranny of government . . . which threatens our liberty, the character of our country, and our way of life” (p. ix).
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Andrew Brannan
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Observe the enormous bounty of food at your local grocery store. Note the fresh fruit and vegetables from around the world—bananas and coconuts are imported from Caribbean islands; strawberries, melons, and peppers travel from California or Florida to stores across the land; blueberries and mangos come from Central and South America; and so on.
  • Political Geography: California, South America, Central America, Caribbean, Florida
  • Author: Roberto Brian Sarrionandia
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The United States of America is heavily regulated and heavily taxed. For instance, in the “Dodd–Frank” Act—an 848-page federal law regulating almost every part of the U.S. financial services industry—one section, known as the “Volcker Rule,” lists 1,420 sub-questions that a bank must answer before it is allowed to engage in proprietary trading. Likewise, the Environmental Protection Agency dictates, among countless other things, where energy companies may and may not dig or drill for resources, how much and what kind of fuel or energy they may produce, and what kind of automobiles, air conditioners, and other machinery Americans may purchase and use. The list of federal laws and regulations goes on and on.
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Robert Begley
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In Alexander Hamilton , Ron Chernow takes on the task of portraying America's most controversial Founding Father. The book provides a broad view of the landscape of early America, with special emphasis on Hamilton's achievements and his relationship to certain Founders.
  • Political Geography: America, Caribbean
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In the Summer 2008 issue of The Objective Standard, John David Lewis concluded his review of Sun-tzu: Art of War with this important truth: "War is fought with wits as well as with weapons, and the way to victory is to use one's mind to defeat one's enemy." In The Secret Lives of Codebreakers: The Men and Women Who Cracked the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park , Sinclair McKay relays how this truth played out in Britain's relentless fight against Nazi Germany.
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Britain, Germany
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Two months after D-Day, an agent working in Britain received a message from his Nazi handler that said, in part: With great happiness and satisfaction I am able to advise you today that the Führer has awarded the Iron Cross to you for your extraordinary merits, a decoration which, without exception, is granted only to front-line combatants. For that reason we all send you our most sincere and cordial congratulations. (p. 335)
  • Political Geography: Britain, Germany
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The movie was about a woman whose mission it was to find a cunning enemy agent, to seduce him and kill him. There was little known about the man, not even his name. Armed only with a blurred photograph, a small handgun and her determination, she tracked and pursued him all over the world, always coming within just a few moments or a few steps of seeing him. As she learned his every habit and motivation, she became increasingly captivated, and driven as much by a need to see his face as by the necessity of completing her task. Finally, she followed him to a remote desert, certain that he wouldn't be able to elude her there—but she became hopelessly lost. Overcome by exhaustion and the burning heat, she fell to the sand. Lifting her eyes, she saw him on the crest of the dune above her, traced against the white desert sky. Pulling herself to her knees, she drew the gun and aimed . . . but her hands began to shake. She wiped a tear away with her sleeve. “I'm sorry,” she said, “but you see—I've fallen in love with you. . . .” She steadied the gun, closed her eyes, and fired.
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Fall 2012 issue of The Objective Standard.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I was disappointed by Richard Salsman's review of Northrup Buechner's Objective Economics [TOS, Spring 2012]. It was not so much a review as it was a putdown of Dr. Buechner and his knowledge of economics, its history, and accepted laws. (By the way, there is no law of supply and demand as such in economics.) The list of things Dr. Buechner is criticized for doing, or not doing, seemed to go on endlessly.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Paul Hsieh
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: If someone in America needs medical care but cannot afford it, should he rely on charity or should others be forced to pay for it? President Obama and his political allies say that Americans should be forced to pay for it. Forcing some Americans to pay medical bills for other Americans, says Obama, is a “moral imperative”1 and “the right thing to do.”2 Throughout the health-care debate of 2010–11, Obama repeatedly referred to government-run health care as “a core ethical and moral obligation,” arguing that, “No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick.”3 In speeches, he repeatedly cited the story of Natoma Canfield, an Ohio cancer patient without health insurance, as a justification for his health-care legislation.4 Many of Obama's supporters on the political left made similar moral claims. Vanderbilt University professor Bruce Barry wrote in the New York Times that, “Health insurance in a civilized society is a collective moral obligation.”5 T. R. Reid, former foreign correspondent for the Washington Post, called universal health care a “moral imperative.”6 Ezra Klein, another writer for the Washington Post, agreed that it is an “ethical obligation.”7 But all such claims are wrong—morally wrong. There is no “right” to health care. Rights are not entitlements to goods or services produced by others; rather, they are prerogatives to freedom of action, such as the right to free speech, the right to contract, or the right to use one's property. Any attempt to enforce a so-called “right” to health care necessarily violates the actual rights of those who are forced to provide or pay for that care. If a patient needs a $50,000 operation but cannot afford it, he has the right to ask his friends, family, neighbors, or strangers for monetary assistance—and they have the right to offer it (or not). But the patient has no right to take people's money without their permission; to do so would be to violate their rights. His hardship, genuine as it may be, does not justify theft. Nor would the immoral nature of the act be changed by his taking $100 each from five hundred neighbors; that would merely spread the crime to a larger number of victims. Nor would the essence of the act change by his using the government as his agent to commit such theft on an even wider scale. The only moral way for this patient to receive the assistance he needs is for others to offer it voluntarily. Morally, he must rely on charity. Fortunately for him, there is no shortage of people willing to offer charity, nor is there a shortage of reasons why one might self-interestedly wish to do so. . . .
  • Topic: Health
  • Political Geography: America, Washington
  • Author: Michael A. LaFerrara
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: More and more Americans are coming to recognize the superiority of private schools over government-run or “public” schools. Accordingly, many Americans are looking for ways to transform our government-laden education system into a thriving free market. As the laws of economics dictate, and as the better economists have demonstrated, under a free market the quality of education would soar, the range of options would expand, competition would abound, and prices would plummet. The question is: How do we get there from here? Andrew Bernstein offered one possibility in “The Educational Bonanza in Privatizing Government Schools” (TOS, Winter 2010-11): Sell government schools to the highest bidders, who would take them over following a transitional period to “enable government-dependent families to adjust to the free market.” This approach has the virtues of simplicity and speed, but also the complication of requiring widespread recognition of the propriety of a fully private educational system—a recognition that may not exist in America for quite some time.
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: C.A. Wolski
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In January 1, 1982, Ayn Rand began the new year by following a time-honored tradition of her native Russia; she began work on the major project she planned to accomplish that year: a teleplay for her 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged. Unfortunately, this teleplay, the last thing Rand wrote, was incomplete when she died that March. Although this was the high point in her nearly decade-long involvement in producing a film version of Atlas, it marked only the midway point in her magnum opus' fifty-four year journey to the silver screen. According to Jeff Britting, archivist for the Ayn Rand Institute, this journey began shortly after Atlas was published.1 In the late 1950s, at least one report in Daily Variety, the film industry's newspaper, suggested that the book would soon be made into a film. Considering the success of Rand's The Fountainhead, first as a novel and then as a film, such a suggestion, even if purely speculative, was not far-fetched given Hollywood's long history of procuring literary properties and turning them into blockbusters. However, there was a major impediment to transforming Atlas into a film: Ayn Rand herself. It is well known and oft reported that Rand essentially disowned the film version of The Fountainhead because one line of dialogue was cut from Howard Roark's climactic courtroom speech. Although some critics might chalk this up to petty hubris, Britting notes that Rand had good reason for her reaction: She felt betrayed by director King Vidor and producer Henry Blanke. She thought that she had built a good working relationship with them during the production. She often consulted with the two men and even rewrote parts of the script to suit the production—all in the spirit of artistic cooperation. Their cutting of an important line from the story's climactic speech without her knowledge betrayed Rand's trust and left a bitter taste in her mouth regarding Hollywood. Given this souring experience, Rand would not even consider selling the rights to Atlas without attaching certain conditions—conditions that, by Hollywood standards, were extraordinary. According to Ayn Rand's agent, Perry Knowlton, She said she's never going to sell anything to a film company that doesn't allow her the right to pick the director, the screenwriter, and to edit in the editing room. And, of course, a lot of people make contracts thinking they can get this type of deal from the backers, but never could. It became one of the problems that she never got over, but she refused to give up her way of doing it because she felt she was right, which she was. She didn't like what was done with The Fountainhead, and therefore, she was trying to make sure it wouldn't happen again.2 It would be nearly fifteen years after the publication of the novel before Rand would be approached by a Hollywood veteran whom she thought able and willing to produce the film in accordance with her conditions and standards. Albert S. Ruddy, a longtime admirer of the novel, was coming off his successful production of The Godfather when he contacted Knowlton about buying the film rights to Atlas. Knowlton was not optimistic about the prospect but told Ruddy he could try to convince Rand that he would do the book justice. Remarkably, by his own account and others, Ruddy did more than thoroughly charm Rand; he demonstrated that he understood at root how the film adaptation needed to be approached. . . .
  • Political Geography: Russia
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Craig Biddle: Thank you for joining me today, Harmon. I'm very excited about the Atlas Shrugged movie, and I know that TOS readers want to hear all about it. Harmon Kaslow: It's my pleasure. CB: How and when did you get involved in making this movie? HK: I got involved in April 2010 after being contacted by John Aglialoro, my coproducer. At that point, a movie had to be made quickly or John would lose the rights to it. So he contacted me to see if I might be able to help him put together a lower-budget version in short order. CB: As coproducers, what have been John's and your respective roles in the movie? HK: John's role was to keep the movie faithful to the book. Mine was to get the movie into production before June 15. John has probably read Atlas more than a dozen times, and during the process of writing the screenplay and getting the film into production, he was constantly rereading chapters, mulling over the elements of the story, and working to ensure that the production remained true to Rand's ideas. My job was to work with John to make the movie happen, to get all the pieces together so that we could say “action” and make certain the film was completed. CB: Atlas Shrugged is a 54-year-old story. Why do you think it matters today? HK: For starters, many events from the story parallel real-life events today. For instance, whereas in the story the government passes business-thwarting laws such as the “Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule” and the “Equalization of Opportunity Bill,” in real life today the government is passing laws such as the “Emergency Economic Stabilization Act” and the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” But more fundamentally, the story matters because it dramatizes timeless philosophic truths about human nature, the role of reason in human life, the morality of rational self-interest versus predation or “greed,” the role of the government and of the citizen, and man's need of political and economic freedom. These truths will always matter. . . .
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Author: Richard M Salsman
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Economics is widely regarded today as dry, lifeless, boring. But given what economics properly studies, this should not be the case. Economics studies the production and exchange of material values in a division of labor society. We live in a material world; we produce material values in order to live and prosper; and we exchange these values for those produced by others in order to live even better lives. In other words, economics studies one of the major means by which people live and achieve happiness. Why, then, do so many people regard this science as boring? And what could remedy the situation? The answers may be gleaned by comparing two books, each of which has sold millions of copies over the past five decades: Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (1957) and Paul Samuelson's Economics (1948). The first is a story about the role of reason in man's life and about what happens to an economy when the men of the mind go on strike. The second is the quintessential economics text of the 20th and 21st centuries, and is generally assigned reading for beginning students in the field.1 Although Atlas is a work of fiction, and although Rand was not an economist, her novel is replete with economic truths. Conversely, although Economics is a work of nonfiction, and although Samuelson was a Nobel-winning economist, his book is full of economic falsehoods. And whereas the truths in Atlas are dramatized with passion and excitement, the falsehoods in Economics are conveyed by way of lifeless, boring prose.2 Lest one assume that the reason Atlas is more exciting than Economics is merely a matter of the different mediums, one being fiction and the other nonfiction, observe that Rand's nonfiction—and much other nonfiction—is hands-down more exciting than many works of fiction (ever read The Catcher in the Rye?). Nor is people's boredom with economics due to Samuelson's book per se. But his text and those influenced by it, which represent the modern approach to the subject, have largely contributed to the way economics is taught and viewed today. To see the difference between the modern approach to economics and that dramatized in Atlas, let us consider the essence of each with respect to six key areas: the source of wealth, the role of the businessman, the nature of profit, the essence of competition, the result of production, and the purpose of money. The Source of Wealth Samuelson and company contend that wealth results essentially from labor applied to raw materials (or “natural resources”)—and by “labor” they mean physical or manual labor, not mental labor. The general idea is that the economic value of a good or service reflects the physical labor that went into making it. This is known as the “labor theory of value,” and it was originally advanced by classical economists including Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and Karl Marx.3 This theory is widely accepted today, especially by the Left. In the late 19th century, however, some free-market economists, trying to counter the growing Marxist charge that labor was being robbed by greedy capitalists, amended the theory to say that “consumer desires” also determine value, jointly with labor. This approach—dubbed “neoclassical economics”—is now largely accepted and is the prevalent view in today's textbooks. Ayn Rand, in contrast, holds that the mind—human thinking and the resulting intelligence—is the primary source of wealth. The mind, she says, directs not only physical labor but also the organization of production; “natural resources” are merely potential wealth, not actual wealth; and consumer desires are not causes of wealth but results of it. Each great producer in Atlas—Hank Rearden, Dagny Taggart, Francisco D'Anconia, Ellis Wyatt, Ken Danagger, Midas Mulligan, or John Galt—is dedicated first and foremost to using his mind. Each thinks, plans long-range, and produces goods or services thereby. Atlas dramatizes this principle in many ways, but perhaps most vividly through the work of Rearden. In one scene he is in his steel mill looking on as the first heat of the first order of his revolutionary new metal is poured. He reflects back on the ten long years of thought and effort it took him to get to this point. He had purchased a bankrupt mill even as experts dismissed the venture and industry as hopeless. Rearden has breathed life back into both. Rand writes that “his was a lifetime lived on the axiom that the constant, clearest most ruthless function of his rational faculty was his foremost duty” (p. 122). Here is an indication of the production process in his mill: “Two hundred tons of metal which was to be harder than steel, running liquid at a temperature of four thousand degrees, had the power to annihilate every wall of the structure and every one of the men who worked by the stream. But every inch of its course, every pound of its pressure and the content of every molecule within it, were controlled and made by a conscious intention that had worked upon it for ten years” (p. 34). Rand shows that Rearden's mind is the source of this wealth, and that labor and materials had stood idle until his mind showed up for work. Others in Atlas voice the textbook view of the entrepreneur. Rearden's wife dismisses his achievements: “Intellectual pursuits are not learned in the marketplace,” she scowls; “it's easier to pour a ton of steel than it is to make friends” (p. 138). A hobo in a diner accosts Dagny Taggart with a similar attitude: “Man is just a low-grade animal, without intellect,” he growls; “[his] only talent is an ignoble cunning for satisfying the needs of his body. No intelligence is required for that. . . . [W]itness our great industries—the only accomplishments of our alleged civilization—built by vulgar materialists with the aims, the interests and the moral sense of hogs” (p. 168). Perhaps an economist might recognize the nature of Rearden's achievement? As the metal is poured a train passes by the mills, and inside, a professor of economics asks a companion, “Of what importance is an individual in the titanic collective achievements of our industrial age?” (p. 33). The “importance” is happening just outside his window, but he doesn't see it, conceptually speaking. Nor do others. “The passengers paid no attention; one more heat of steel being poured was not an event they had been taught to notice” (p. 33). Professors such as this one had taught them not to notice. Such scenes illustrate how intelligence creates wealth, how business success entails a long-range process of thought and planning carried out by a focused individual—and how little this is understood. Yet Dagny understands—as is evident in the scene where she takes her first run on the John Galt Line, traveling on a track and over a bridge made of that as-yet untried Rearden Metal, at unprecedented speeds. . . .
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Talbot Manvel
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Toward the end of the 19th century, James J. Hill built the Great Northern Railroad across the American Northwest. This remarkable railroad transformed that barren land—labeled the “American Desert” on maps of the day—into a vibrant, productive region. Even more remarkable than the railroad, however, is how Hill built it. Hill was born in 1838 on a farm in Ontario, Canada. When he was fourteen, his father died suddenly and Hill went to work in a general store, where he learned much about what farmers in that cold but fertile region of Canada needed in order to produce their goods. A few years later, armed with this knowledge and just four years of formal schooling, the young Hill set out to make his fortune. In the summer of 1856, he arrived in St. Paul, Minnesota, a city situated on high bluffs at the end of the navigable section of the Mississippi River where the Falls of St. Anthony prevent the movement of boats upstream. As such, the city became the terminus for steamboat traffic on the Mississippi and an increasingly popular destination. In 1849, eighty-five steamboats plied the river to St. Paul; when Hill arrived in 1856, more than eight hundred steamboats were making their way there each year.1 The reason for the increased steamboat traffic to St. Paul was the bounty of the Red River Valley to the north. The bottom of an ancient glacier lake, the Red River Valley is covered with the most fertile soil in the world, and in the mid-1800s its creature-rich forests provided an abundant supply of fur. Although the high bluffs provide St. Paul protection from seasonal flooding, they made it difficult to transfer goods from the river to the city. Agile young men had to move freight from the steamboats down narrow planks to the riverbank and then manually hoist it onto horse-drawn wagons that would then climb the slippery embankment, risking accident and damage. Taking note of the scene as he stepped off the boat, Hill became an independent shipping agent on the spot. As a shipping agent, he was responsible for moving goods from ship to shore and for paying boatmen for the transportation costs of the goods delivered. At the frontier in Minnesota, all the goods needed for living had to be shipped in from elsewhere: nails, groceries, salt, plows, harnesses, saddles, sewing needles, books, and so forth. These goods passed through many hands in transit, and at each transfer point shipping costs mounted. As shipping agents managed and tracked the flow of goods, they would pay for the prior leg of shipping and tack on new charges to cover their own costs, which would then be paid by the next agent, and so on. As a shipping agent, Hill not only came to appreciate the value of the goods exchanged; he also became keenly aware of the costs of transportation. Hill realized that transportation costs often amounted to more than the cost of goods being transported. For example, from a shipping receipt in 1864 Hill noted that it cost $1,200 to ship 560 barrels of salt from Milwaukee to St. Paul, even though the cost of the salt itself was only $1,000. Of the transportation cost, $400 covered shipment by rail from Milwaukee due west to the Mississippi River town of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and the remaining $800 covered steamboat passage up the Mississippi to St. Paul. Knowing that the distances of rail and steamboat legs of the journey were roughly the same, Hill also realized that railroad transportation was cheaper than steamboat transportation, in part because no reliable railroad had been built to compete with the steamboats.2 To earn more business, Hill lowered his own charges, noticeably reducing the shippers' exorbitant transportation costs while raising his profits through increased volume. A quick success on his own, Hill was soon hired as the shipping agent for the Davidson Steamboat line, a position in which he set the shipping rates for goods throughout the line. As he had done on his own, Hill reduced rates to increase volume, and the Davidson line thrived as more and more businesses took advantage of the bargain. This strategy of low prices and high volume would become a mainstay of Hill's business practices. . . .
  • Political Geography: America, Canada
  • Author: Gretchen Thomas
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: “Invent your own job; take such an interest in it that you eat, sleep, dream, walk, talk, and live nothing but your work until you succeed.”1 That was Walt Disney's motto—and exactly how he lived. Passionate about his vision, he persisted until he made it reality, often overcoming seemingly impassible obstacles. In order to succeed in building his entertainment empire, and later his first theme park, Disneyland, Disney made his work his life, an all-consuming, 24/7 state of being. Even in the last years of his life, he ate, slept, dreamed, walked, talked, and lived nothing but his work—but by then his focus had shifted from filmmaking and Disneyland to Walt Disney World. According to Disney, Walt Disney World was “the most exciting and challenging assignment . . . ever tackled at Walt Disney Productions.”2 However, the Walt Disney World we know today is a far cry from what Disney himself had envisioned. Walt Disney did not intend it to be the world's largest vacation resort but rather the epicenter of a transformation in urban planning, which would improve domestic living by imbuing it with groundbreaking technology. The heart of Walt Disney World was to be EPCOT, not the theme park that currently bears that name but an actual Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, a futuristic city that would serve as a proving ground for the latest science and technology. EPCOT was Disney's pet project in his later years. Sadly, he passed away before it was completed, and without his passion and persistence, the futuristic city he had envisioned would not come to be. His vision and tenacity, nevertheless, are remarkable in themselves. Long before tackling the EPCOT project, Disney persisted in the face of many setbacks and stumbles, some of which threatened to leave him homeless and hungry. Although he did everything he could to save them, Disney's first two animation studios failed. His third studio, formed with his brother, Roy, after the two moved to California, finally saw success with its popular animated character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Unfortunately, in the face of this success, Disney discovered that the rights to his creation were actually held by Universal. Forging ahead, he strode past this disappointment by creating Mickey Mouse, who became far more popular with moviegoers than his predecessor and brought the studio much recognition and wealth. Even after Mickey Mouse had become a regular on the silver screen, however, Disney was eager to innovate again. In his eyes, his production studio needed a “new adventure,” a “'kick in the pants,' to jar loose some new enthusiasm and inspiration.”3 In 1934, Disney began developing the studio's first full-length feature animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Despite his own enthusiasm, however, many friends and associates, including his brother and wife, thought the film would destroy the Disney Studio. Indeed, financial troubles nearly halted production. But Disney refused to give up, mortgaging his house and taking out a loan to complete the film—which became one of the most popular films of 1937 (and, adjusted for inflation, is number ten on the list of top-grossing American films), establishing him as a master in the entertainment industry. Such persistence and passion would be crucial to the development and creation of EPCOT, which, as Disney conceived it, became a monumental undertaking. He envisioned EPCOT as a revolution in urban planning, “a community of tomorrow that will never be completed, but will always be introducing, and testing, and demonstrating new materials and new systems.”4 It was to be a completely functioning prototype city in which captains of industry could test their solutions for the problems of modern-day city living. For this reason, all residents would rent rather than own their homes, and Disney Corporation would constantly update, change, and test the technology therein. As Disney indicated in a 1966 promotional film, residents' homes would “be built in ways that permit ease of change so that new products may continuously be demonstrated.”5 During the workday, residents would enjoy a city geared toward maximizing their efficiency and productivity. Outside of work, EPCOT would provide them with a safe, convenient, entertaining, and educational atmosphere. . . .
  • Topic: Development
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Dan Norton
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Eleven years ago, toward the end of my undergraduate years as a philosophy major at the University of Virginia, I was feeling dissatisfied with my knowledge of history. I had taken several history courses but wanted more. Because my immediate interest was ancient Greece, I decided to try a friend's recommendation, The Life of Greece by Will Durant. Finding the book at the library, I was surprised to see that it was but one volume in a massive series called The Story of Civilization—eleven substantial volumes spanning two feet of shelving.1 Although I wanted to learn more about history, I wasn't sure I wanted to learn that much. It turned out that I did. Reading those volumes—sometimes poring over large portions of them multiple times—would be one of the most enlightening and enjoyable experiences of my life. First published between 1935 and 1975, The Story of Civilization is a work of great and enduring value. Exceptional for its masterful prose as well as its size and scope, the Story is a powerful combination of style and substance. An author of rare literary talents, Durant (1885–1981) won a wide readership through his ability to make history intriguing, lively, and dramatic. His volumes, intended for the general reader and each designed to be readable apart from the others, have sold millions of copies. Some even became best sellers, and the tenth volume, Rousseau and Revolution, won a Pulitzer Prize. Individual volumes have been translated into more than twenty languages.2 Having earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1917 from Columbia University, Durant first won fame and phenomenal success with The Story of Philosophy (1926). This book sold two million copies in a few years and has sold three million copies to date; eighty-five years later, the book is still in print and has been translated into nineteen languages.3 Durant followed this book with another best seller, The Mansions of Philosophy (1929).4 His earnings from these and other books, as well as from articles and public lectures, helped free his time for writing The Story of Civilization, which would be his magnum opus. His wife, Ariel Durant (1898–1981), assisted him throughout his writing of the Story, her assistance increasing to the point that, beginning with the seventh volume, she received credit as coauthor.5 The Story of Civilization begins with Our Oriental Heritage, a volume on Egypt and Asiatic civilizations. The remaining ten volumes tell the story of Western civilization (with a substantial treatment of Islamic civilization in one of the volumes6). Durant's original intention was to tell the story of the West up to the present, but, despite working on the Story for more than four decades, he was unable to do so: “[A]s the story came closer to our own times and interests it presented an ever greater number of personalities and events still vitally influential today; and these demanded no mere lifeless chronicle, but a humanizing visualization which in turn demanded space” (vol. 7, p. vii). The increasing space he gave to each period of European history resulted in his having to end the Story with the downfall of Napoleon in 1815; moreover, he had to omit the history of the Americas entirely. He was ninety when the Story's last volume was published and had carried it as far as he could. In each volume Durant takes a comprehensive approach, covering, for each nation and in each period of its history, all the major aspects of civilization: politics, economics, philosophy, religion, literature, art, and science.7 He called his approach the “integral” or “synthetic” method, and regarded it as an original contribution to historiography.8 Elaborating on the origin of his method, he writes: I had expounded the idea in 1917 in a paper . . . “On the Writing of History.” . . . Its thesis: whereas economic life, politics, religion, morals and manners, science, philosophy, literature, and art had all moved contemporaneously, and in mutual influence, in each epoch of each civilization, historians had recorded each aspect in almost complete separation from the rest. . . . So I cried, “Hold, enough!” to what I later termed “shredded history,” and called for an “integral history” in which all the phases of human activity would be presented in one complex narrative, in one developing, moving, picture. I did not, of course, propose a cloture on lineal and vertical history (tracing the course of one element in civilization), nor on brochure history (reporting original research on some limited subject or event), but I thought that these had been overdone, and that the education of mankind required a new type of historian—not quite like Gibbon, or Macaulay, or Ranke, who had given nearly all their attention to politics, religion, and war, but rather like Voltaire, who, in his Siècle de Louis XIV and his Essai sur les moeurs, had occasionally left the court, the church, and the camp to consider and record morals, literature, philosophy, and art.9 Durant's integral history does not only occasionally consider these latter areas (which he calls “cultural history” or “the history of the mind,”)10 it emphasizes them. “While recognizing the importance of government and statesmanship, we have given the political history of each period and state as the oft-told background, rather than the substance or essence of the tale; our chief interest was in the history of the mind” (vol. 10, p. vii). (Nevertheless, the Story contains ample and excellent material on politics.) The Story is by far the most massive and thorough treatment of Western civilization by a single author (or team of two) that I have been able to find. Large teams of historians have collaborated to produce similarly large, or even larger, works. But such works, writes a respected historian, “while they gain substantially in authoritative character, are seriously lacking in correlation and are not written from a . . . harmonious point of view.”11 Harmony is indeed one of the cardinal virtues of Durant's work; readers find therein a beautifully integrated tale of man's past, a veritable symphony of history. For this reason and others—notably, Durant's grand, philosophical overviews and scintillating style—I believe that many, and perhaps most, readers will find no better place to turn for a large treatment of Western civilization than The Story of Civilization. . . .
  • Topic: Government, History
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Joshua Lipana
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: An insurgency led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is ravaging the nation's countryside.1 Children as young as twelve are forced to join the “New People's Army” (NPA) and to fight for the communist cause.2 Farmers are often killed for refusing to support or join the communist cause. Businessmen are threatened with death or the destruction of their property should they not pay taxes to the revolutionaries. Politicians in areas of strong communist influence either become puppets of the CPP-NPA or are murdered. This insurgency has killed more than 120,000 Filipinos to date, and the body count is rapidly rising.3 The communist insurgents' ultimate goal is to conquer the nation, and they are fighting toward this end via two means. The first of these is armed force. According to Jun Alcover, a former high-ranking Communist Party member turned anticommunist congressman, the CPP hopes “to win the revolutionary struggle and change the social, economic, and political landscape in the Philippines—[through] armed revolution, Mao Zedong style.”4 Yettan Verita Liwanag, a coauthor with Alcover of the book Atrocities Lies: The Untold Secrets of the Communist Party of the Philippines, details the communists' plan to carry out this bloody insurrection. The first step would be to draw a significant number of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) away from the island of Luzon (where the capital is) to the southern Island of Mindanao, where the NPA, allied with secessionist forces such as the Moro National Liberation Front and the Bangsa Moro Army, would be able to bog down the AFP. “Attacks from the combined forces would tie down a large part of the AFP in the south. By splitting the AFP, NPA forces in the Visayaz could then contribute to the uprising by simultaneously assaulting their areas of responsibility. Finally, after achieving strategic advantage over the elements of the AFP by dividing its attention,” the communists in Luzon could “then strike the National Capital Region by surrounding it with pockets of Red-controlled areas and enveloping it from the inside” with a massive uprising of armed and non-armed supporters, ranging from workers to leftist students.5 This is the communist dream of violent revolution as envisioned by the founder and leader of the New People's Army—however, it is a long shot.6 The communists know that the AFP, which is far more powerful than their own modest forces, would almost surely win an all-out military conflict. So the communists are also fighting for control of the Philippines on a second, more insidious front. The CPP-NPA is trying to increase its reputation as a legitimate political party within the international community; meanwhile, it is smearing the Philippine government and the AFP as human-rights violators and mass murderers. The communists hope ultimately to cause enough commotion to invite direct intervention in Filipino affairs from foreign entities (including the United Nations), leading to pressure from those entities to accommodate the communists and perhaps even create a coalition government with them.7 In this way the CPP-NPA could wield much power in the Philippines while reducing the damage to its insurgency force. Even more amazing than the fact that a remnant of the Cold War severely threatens the Philippines is the fact that the Philippine government is permitting it to do so. From its prime in the 1980 of tens of thousands of “comrades,” the NPA has been reduced to a few thousand—a number that the Philippine government could easily squash. Yet a continuous policy of accommodation and appeasement from the Philippine government has allowed the NPA to survive, threatening the prosperity and lives of all Filipinos. . . .
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Philippines
  • Author: C.A. Wolski
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Although Ayn Rand published her epic novel Atlas Shrugged fifty-four years ago, and although it has consistently sold hundreds of thousands of copies annually, Rand's magnum opus has spent decades mired in Hollywood “development hell.” Numerous producers, stars, screenwriters, and film production companies have endeavored but failed to execute a film version (see: “Atlas Shrugged's Long Journey to the Silver Screen,” p. 35). All the while, fans of the novel have anxiously waited for the day when they could watch the story come to life on the silver screen. That day is finally here. Atlas Shrugged: Part I, the first in a planned trilogy, should, for the most part, please the novel's patient fans. Fortuitously following a blueprint similar to one outlined by Rand in the 1970s (see “Adapting Atlas: Ayn Rand's own Approach,” p. 38), the film covers the first third of the story. Like the novel, the movie focuses on Dagny Taggart as she endeavors to save her struggling railroad from both intrusive government regulations and the mysterious John Galt, who is hastening the nation's collapse by causing the great entrepreneurs and thinkers of the country to disappear. She is aided in her efforts by Henry “Hank” Rearden, a steel magnate who is also being squeezed by government regulations and is anxious to put an end to John Galt's activities. Those familiar with the novel know generally what to expect: the disappearance of more and more industrialists and other great producers, the banning of Rearden Metal, the “Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule,” the initial run of the John Galt Line, and finally Wyatt's Torch and the collapse of Colorado.
  • Topic: Development, Government
  • Political Geography: America, Middle East, Colorado
  • Author: C.A. Wolski
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: It is 1939 and England is in crisis—war looms, the government is in chaos, the people are in despair. All eyes turn to the country's reluctant, recently crowned monarch, George VI, to offer stirring words that will brace them for the coming storm. But there's the rub. The king suffers from a paralyzing stammer, and there are grave doubts that he will be able to deliver the speech that will unite his nation. Tom Hooper's Academy-Award winning The King's Speech is much more than a simple, inspiring wartime tale of a historical figure overcoming a physical and psychological ailment. The story of how Albert, Duke of York, later King George VI, overcame his stammer to give a series of rousing wartime speeches that united and inspired his nation is indeed the framework of the film. But at its heart, the film is the story of the power of the human mind and how hard work and perseverance—not miracles and wishes—are the bulwarks of the human spirit. The film opens in 1925. Albert (played by Colin Firth) must deliver the closing speech of the Empire Exhibition. The king's second son is terrified. He is led to the podium where his speech will not only be heard by the assembled crowd but is being simultaneously broadcast across the Empire. The time comes, and in what can only be described as sheer agony, Albert chokes out the first few words. He is next seen several months later at a session with a so-called “speech therapist” who insists that smoking will “relax the throat” and that stuffing one's mouth full of marbles is the “classic” cure for stuttering. Both remedies, unsurprisingly, fail. Albert, with the help of his wife, Elizabeth (played by Helena Bonham Carter), eventually lands himself in the offices of Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian speech therapist, who promises that he can help Albert (whom he insists on calling “Bertie” to the prince's continuing disdain) overcome his stammer and speak clearly. The eccentric speech therapist delivers. Through hard work, setbacks, and triumphs, Logue, with sometimes unusual therapeutic techniques and a wry bit of psychoanalysis, treats the prince and helps him rediscover the confidence and self-esteem that had been robbed from him during his bleak childhood. The efforts culminate in the pivotal speech that Albert, as king, must give. Success is the only option—and the psychological tightrope the king must cross during this moment is more compelling than any explosive action sequence one might imagine. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Australia, England
  • Author: Laura Hilse
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Conscientious parents and teachers have long wondered why so many educators are hesitant to teach phonics despite its known successes. Anthony Pedriana's Leaving Johnny Behind: Overcoming Barriers to Literacy and Reclaiming At-Risk Readers answers this perennial question and explains how the educational community shifted from teaching reading based on phonics (alphabetic code) to the “whole-word” or “whole-language” approach. Pedriana's book is based on his thirty-five years of experience in education, first as a public school teacher and later as a principal in Milwaukee's inner-city schools. Although initially committed to the whole word approach—by which students are taught to recognize word shapes rather than word components—he became increasingly frustrated at his students' lack of reading progress. When a new teacher promised him that she could have every one of her second graders reading at grade level by the end of the year—if he permitted her to use a phonics-based approach called “Direct Instruction”—Pedriana gave her the green light. He was soon astounded by her progress: Even though many of her students were already a year behind, the teacher, using the phonics approach, had 95 percent of her class reading at grade level by the end of the year. Having witnessed these results, Pedriana wanted all of his teachers to use the “Direct Instruction” method. Although he expected some resistance, he was surprised at how strongly many of the teachers opposed the program and implemented it only halfheartedly. Over the next few years, with the phonics program in place, Pedriana saw some gains made in reading at his school. But without the teachers putting forth the requisite effort and follow-through, these gains were negligible compared to what that one enthusiastic teacher had achieved, and Pedriana accordingly suffered much criticism for the program. Pedriana soon retired but could not stop thinking about these events. He wanted to understand why a program that promised to help so many students was opposed by teachers, and he wanted to be able to answer critics of the program. Leaving Johnny Behind is the result of his search for answers. . . .
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In 2003, HarperCollins published Terrorist Hunter: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman Who Went Undercover to Infiltrate the Radical Islamic Groups Operating in America. The book is as relevant today, if not more. At the beginning of Terrorist Hunter the anonymous author, since outed as Rita Katz, has infiltrated a conference for radical Muslims. She asks herself why she is in a place where she (and her unborn baby) will probably die if anyone finds her recording equipment. Recalling her past, she goes on to answer that question. Katz was born into a wealthy family of Jews living in the then-prosperous Iraqi city of al-Basrah. Her happy childhood changed dramatically after Israel soundly defeated the Arab nations that attacked it in the Six-Day War of 1967. Unable to match Israel\'s military power, many Arabs began to take revenge on the Jews within their own borders. After the Ba\'ath Party of Saddam Hussein and his cousin Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr seized power the year following the war, they came for Katz\'s father, falsely accused him of being a traitor and a spy for Israel, and began torturing him to extract a confession. Meanwhile, Katz\'s family was moved into a small, guard-surrounded stone hut from which her mother would leave each day to beg for her father\'s release—and to which she would return with fresh bruises bestowed by her husband\'s captors. Sadly, her valiant effort was in vain. Katz\'s father was well known, and his trial was scheduled to be shown on television. The Iraqi tyrants were determined to quench their Arab citizens\' thirst for vengeance by reaching a guilty verdict. Because no amount of torture had hitherto pushed Katz\'s father to confess to the crimes he had not committed, Ba\'ath party agents invited his pregnant wife into a room he knew well—one in which, just the day before, another prisoner\'s wife was beaten and gang-raped by many guards. The agents told Katz\'s father that, if he refused to confess, they would immediately walk into that room, cut open her belly, and bring his unborn child to him on a tray. Later that evening he walked to the stand and “in a clear, unwavering voice, confessed his crimes as an Israeli spy and a traitor to the Iraqi nation” (p. 25). He was hanged soon thereafter in Baghdad\'s central square—to the cheers of a half million Iraqis. Katz goes on to tell the story of her family\'s daring escape from Iraq, which required her mother to drug the guards with Valium bought surreptitiously and then pretend to be the wife of a general in order to get a car ride to a town where they could be smuggled to safety. The remainder of their trek to safety involved hiding in the secret compartment of a chicken truck and walking across mountains with duct tape on their mouths to ensure that nobody made a sound. All this is told with the drama of a good novel. In fact, when Katz and her family are on the plane to Israel, and her little brother musters the courage to ask if it is finally OK to tell people they are Jews, you are likely to cry—just as everyone on that plane did. . . .
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Iraq, America, Arabia