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  • Author: Gideon Reich
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: New York: Threshold Editions, 2011. 223 pp. $25 (hardcover). Reviewed by Gideon Reich In This is Herman Cain, Herman Cain attempts to convince the reader to support him in his run for president of the United States by telling the story of his life, with emphasis on his amazing business accomplishments. Although the impressive story is somewhat undercut by Cain's mixed politics and religious (even superstitious) beliefs, this self-confident, ambitious, and capable business leader appears to be an admirable man. Cain recounts his early childhood, growing up in segregated Atlanta “po', which is even worse than being poor” (p. 1). His father “worked three jobs: as a barber, as a janitor at the Pillsbury Company, and as a chauffeur at the Coca-Cola Company”; and his mother worked as a maid (p. 15). Nevertheless, thanks to his father's influence, Cain had a positive attitude: My attitude then—as it is to this very day—was that you take a seemingly impossible goal and you make it happen. That was one of the many lessons I learned from Dad: He never allowed his lack of formal education to be a barrier to his success. And he never allowed his starting point in life or the racial conditions of his time to be excuses for failing to pursue his dreams. Dad taught me the value of having dreams, the motivation to pursue them, and the determination to achieve them. (p. 14) According to Cain, he was ambitious from a young age, pursuing a series of ever more-challenging goals. He studied mathematics in college, then went to work in the U.S. Navy as a mathematician. When he learned that he was being passed over for promotions because he had only a bachelor's degree, he studied computer science at Purdue University and earned his master's degree in “one intense, demanding year” (p. 42). He did get promoted, and, at twenty-seven, achieved his first goal—a job that earned more than $20,000 a year (p. 44). . . .
  • Topic: Education
  • Political Geography: United States, New York
  • Author: Michael |A. LaFerrara
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: New York: Crown Forum, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. 247 pp. $24.99 (hardcover). Reviewed by Michael A. LaFerrara While working on the 2004 Bush-Cheney reelection campaign team, Fox News contributor Margaret Hoover came to a stark realization: On gay rights, reproductive freedom, immigration, and environmentalism, the Republican party “was falling seriously out of step with a rising generation of Americans . . . the 'millennials'” (pp. ix, x). “[B]orn roughly between the years 1980 and 1999 [and] 50 million strong,” this rising new voter block, says Hoover, has “yet to solidly commit to a political party” and thus could hold the key to the GOP's electoral future (p. xi). Hoover looks back for comparison to 1980, when Ronald Reagan fused a coalition of diverse conservative “tribes” around a central theme: anticommunism (p. 25). If the millennials, who “demonstrate decidedly conservative tendencies” (p. xii), could be united with today's conservatives under “a new kind of fusionism” (p. 41), the Republican party would be on its way to majority status, she holds. Hoover sees differences among conservatives and divides the “organized modern conservative coalition in America” (p. 28) into three main categories: economic libertarians and fiscal conservatives led by three “leading lights” who “were . . . not populists [nor] self-described conservatives,” but “thinkers”—Friedrich von Hayek, Milton Friedman, and Ayn Rand. social conservatives, traditionalists, and the “Religious Right” led early on by Russell Kirk, Richard Weaver, and Robert Novak, and later by Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson, and Phyllis Schlafly. anticommunists and paleocons led by Whittaker Chambers, John Chamberlain, James Burnham, and Pat Buchanan. According to Hoover, these three factions have formed the core of the movement that began with the publication of the National Review in November 1955 (p. 28) and have since been joined by neocons (p. 35), Rush Limbaugh's “Dittoheads,” Sarah Palin's “Mama Grizzlies,” the Tea Party uprising (pp. 36–37), and the “Crunchy Cons” and “enviro-cons” (p. 37). Hoover's hope is to find common ground between these conservatives and the millennials. . . .
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Joshua Lipana
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Nashville: WND Books, 2004. 240 pp. $17.99 (hardcover). Reviewed by Joshua Lipana For the purpose of “helping” the disabled, President George H. W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act into law in 1990. In Disabling America, Greg Perry tells us that the “ADA infiltrates the lives of average Americans in ways far beyond what we usually think—wheelchair signs in parking lots and grab bars in public restrooms” (p. 2). And as the book shows, the ADA affects virtually everything in the private sector. Perry, a successful writer and businessman who was born with one leg and only three fingers, explains in chapter 1, “Compassion or Coercion,” why he believes the ADA is immoral. He compares a situation in which a person voluntarily helps an elderly lady cross a street with a situation in which the government forces you to help the lady to cross the street. In the guise of compassion, we get state coercion. With a legal gun to your head, the government now states that you will be compassionate to the disabled and you must implement that commission exactly [how] the government spells out that you are to do so. Such force is cruel to both the disabled and the non-disabled. (p. 3) Perry moves on to show the damage that government intervention in the name of the disabled has done to businesses, including forcing some to close down. He reports on how business owners have had to spend hundreds of thousands—in some cases millions—of dollars fighting baseless lawsuits and complying with ADA standards, and how their overall freedom has been diminished. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Loribeth Kowalski
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Cato Institute, 2010. 376 pp. $25.95 (hardcover). Reviewed by Loribeth Kowalski Parents in America typically tell their children that they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, and children tend to believe it and explore the countless possibilities. I recall my own childhood aspirations: imagining myself as an archaeologist, wearing a khaki hat and digging in the desert sun; as a veterinarian, talking to the animals like Dr. Doolittle; as a writer, alone at my desk, fingers poised over a typewriter keyboard. Recently I found an old note in a drawer. It said, “When I grow up, I want to be a doctor. I want to save people. When I grow up, I WILL be a doctor.” Underneath my signature I had written “age 10.” Unfortunately, in today's America, a child cannot be whatever he wants to be. Leave aside for the time being the difficulties involved in entering a profession such as medicine. Consider the more man-on-the-street jobs through which millions of Americans seek to earn a living, support their families, and better themselves. Suppose a person wants to drive a taxi in New York City. To do so, he will first have to come up with a million dollars to buy a “medallion.” If he wants to create and sell flower arrangements, and lives in Louisiana, he'll have to pass a “highly subjective, State-mandated licensing exam.” If he wants to sell tacos or the like from a “food truck,” and lives in Chicago, he had better keep his business away from competing restaurants, or else face a ticket and fine. And a child doesn't have to wait until he's an adult to directly experience such limitations on his freedom. Last summer, authorities in various states shut down children's lemonade stands because they didn't have vending permits or meet other local regulations. In today's America, it is increasingly difficult to enter various professions, near impossible to enter some, and, whatever one's profession, it is likely saddled with regulations that severely limit the ways in which one can produce and trade. Timothy Sandefur explores and explains these developments in The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law. Sandefur addresses this subject in the most comprehensive manner I've seen, surveying the history of economic liberty from 17th-century England through the Progressive era in America and up to the present day. He shows how the freedom to earn a living has been eroded in multiple ways throughout the legal system, from unreasonable rules, to licensing schemes, to limitations on advertising, to restrictions on contracts. In The Right to Earn a Living, we see how these and other factors combine to create a system in which it is more and more difficult to support oneself and one's family in the manner one chooses.
  • Topic: Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: New York, America
  • Author: Richard M. Salsman
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: New York: W. W. Norton Company, 2011. 382 pp. $28.95 (hardcover). Reviewed by Richard M. Salsman The financial-economic crash of 2008–9, dubbed the “Great Recession” by pundits who have insisted its severity was second only to that of the Great Depression (1930s), has been blamed on “greed,” tax-rate cuts (2003), the GOP, and looser regulations in the prior decade—that is, to what passes today for full, laissez-faire capitalism (the same culprit fingered in the 1930s). The crash has also renewed interest in Keynesian economics, which holds that free markets are prone to failures, breakdowns, and recessions due to excessive production (supply) and can be cured of slumps only by state intervention to boost demand and dictate investment. And the crash has led to the worldwide adoption of two pet policies of John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946): massive deficit spending and inflation to “stimulate” stagnant economies. In fact, economies continue to languish not in spite of Keynesian policies but because of them. One key factor precipitating the recent revival of Keynes was the awarding of a Nobel prize to Keynesian Paul Krugman in fall 2008, during the worst weeks of the crisis, when the $700 billion bank bailout (TARP) was debated and enacted. A half dozen new books since 2008 also have helped revive Keynesian notions; one is subtitled “return of the master,” another eagerly reports that the crash has “restored Keynes, the capitalist revolutionary, to prominence.” As in the 1930s, when Keynes first exerted strong influence on policy, he is depicted today as capitalism's savior, favoring a mixed economy to quell popular angst of recessions and prevent more authoritarian alternatives (fascism, communism). Like most intellectuals today, British journalist Nicholas Wapshott (formerly senior editor at the London Times and New York Sun) falsely attributes the recent financial crisis to overly free markets; he also admires Keynes, his demand-side theories, and his interventionist policies. Yet unlike typical hagiography on Keynes, Wapshott adopts an ideas-oriented approach to Keynes's revival in his book, Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics. Like most interpreters, Wapshott believes that Keynesianism somehow “saves” capitalism from itself and from ultimate political tyranny, although he does not deny (or bother to hide) the many cases where Keynes expresses an unvarnished hatred for individualism and free markets. He acknowledges (and welcomes) the return of Keynesian policies, but he worries they may have been hastily implemented and thus ineffectual, given that multi-trillion-dollar stimulus schemes in the three years since 2008 have not boosted growth or jobs. Wapshott rightly recounts how Keynesianism was discredited during the 1970s “stagflation” (which it could not explain) and successfully challenged by “efficient market” theorists and classically oriented supply-siders (“Reaganomics”). But he exaggerates the reach of pro-capitalist ideas and policies in recent decades, and pins blame for the recent crash on what is still free about markets, not on the state interventions that necessarily render otherwise efficient markets dysfunctional and destructive. Yet Wapshott's main goal in Keynes Hayek is to have us understand Keynes's recent revival in the context of a long-running battle or “clash” between the ideas and policies of Keynes and those of Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek (1899–1992), who is portrayed as the champion of free markets and skeptic toward state intervention. Wapshott mostly succeeds in achieving his goal, but in the end he draws the wrong conclusion—namely, that the Keynesian revival is warranted—because he believes, not merely with Keynes, but, we see, also with Hayek, that markets fail when left free. In fact, free markets do not fail, but widespread belief that they do has helped revive Keynes. . . .
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2012. 180 pp. $34.95 (hardcover). Reviewed by Ari Armstrong How often does an author defend the right of citizens to own guns and the right of homosexuals to marry—in the same book chapter? In his new book Capitalist Solutions, Andrew Bernstein applies the principle of individual rights not only to “social” issues such as gun rights and gay marriage but also to economic matters such as health care and education and to the threat of Islamic totalitarianism. Bernstein augments his philosophical discussions with a wide range of facts from history, economics, and science. The release of Capitalist Solutions could not have been timed more perfectly: It coincides with the rise of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that focuses on “corporate greed” and the alleged evils of income inequality. Whereas many “Occupiers” call for more government involvement in various areas of the economy—including welfare support and subsidies for mortgages and student loans—Bernstein argues forcefully that government interference in the market caused today's economic problems and that capitalism is the solution. The introductory essay reviews Ayn Rand's basic philosophical theories, with an emphasis on her ethics of egoism and her politics of individual rights. Bernstein harkens back to this philosophical foundation throughout his book, applying it to the issues of the day. . . .
  • Topic: Economics, Education, Health
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011. 237 pp. $20 (Kindle edition). Reviewed by Daniel Wahl Already battered by slowing automobile sales due to the 2008 recession, Toyota faced a second crisis: claims that its management had put short-term profits ahead of their customers' safety. With commentators in the United States harshly criticizing the Japanese car manufacturer, Jeffrey K. Liker felt compelled to rise to Toyota's defense. Liker is the author of six books on the company, including the international best seller The Toyota Way, which shows readers the principles and operations that enabled Toyota to become both highly regarded by its customers and one of the most consistently profitable companies ever. In short, Liker knows Toyota more intimately than most, and the claims he was hearing in 2009 didn't correspond to that knowledge. But before he rushed to defend the company, Liker paused. A friend reminded him that blindly defending the company wasn't “the Toyota way,” and he had to agree. The Toyota Way demands that any problem be thoroughly investigated before any conclusions are reached. It demands that problem solvers “go and see” the problem firsthand and not rely on abstract, thirdhand reports. It demands thoughtful and critical reflection to find root causes and develop effective solutions. Most of all, it demands that every team member openly bring problems to the surface and work to continuously improve what is within their control. I wasn't doing any of these things. Whether Toyota was living up to its principles or not, I wasn't. (loc 165) So Liker set aside his defense of Toyota and set out to investigate what happened at Toyota during these crises; Toyota Under Fire: Lessons for Turning Crisis into Opportunity presents his findings. Together, Liker and coauthor Timothy N. Ogden went to plants across America and Japan to see whether Toyota was still the same company that Liker profiled in his earlier books—a company living up to its principles. As it turned out, Liker was glad he paused.
  • Political Geography: United States, Japan, New York, America
  • Author: Roderick Fitts
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Oxford: Kramedart Press, 2011. 400 pp. $32 (hardcover). Reviewed by Roderick Fitts Dr. Bryan Niblett's work, Dare to Stand Alone: The Story of Charles Bradlaugh, Atheist and Republican, immerses the reader in the life of a man who courageously fought against the Victorian-era culture of his time—and won. Niblett shows Bradlaugh to be a radical of his time, whose life's work consisted of passionately arguing in support of his unpopular views, including atheism and individual rights, and against injustices such as the “Oaths Act” of England, which excluded men with certain religious beliefs, including atheism, from taking office as a member of Parliament (MP). Niblett's thesis is “that one man, relying on reason, and daring to stand alone, can make a difference in the world” (p. viii). This he shows by surveying the life of Charles Bradlaugh (1833–1891), including personal, family, social, and business matters, but focusing primarily on various legal conflicts that defined Bradlaugh's career. His life and struggles are presented in a series of short and accessible chapters. We first see Bradlaugh as a poor young lad with a sense of justice, a desire to gain a wide range of knowledge and skills, and a penchant for conveying his ideas to others by means of logical arguments. He would grow to be one of 19th-century England's greatest orators, a famous (and detested) atheist, the founder and first president of the National Secular Society, a powerful and distinctive MP, and a prominent opponent of socialism and communism. Niblett shows that Bradlaugh was a consummate individualist, believing that people should never accept the claims of authorities on faith or expect to be taken care of by others, but rather should seek to understand matters for themselves and solve their own problems. And because he held that men should live by the judgment of their own minds, he held that they should be free to do so. . . .
  • Political Geography: England
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Merry Christmas, readers! And welcome to the Winter 2011 issue of The Objective Standard. I'd like to begin by congratulating Antonio Puglielli, the winner of the second annual TOS essay contest. Mr. Puglielli's entry, “'Dog Benefits Dog': The Harmony of Rational Men's Interests,” won him $2,000 and publication of his essay in TOS (see p. 67). Second place went to Caleb Nelson (winning $700) and third place to Deborah B. Sloan (winning $300). Congratulations to Mr. Nelson and Ms. Sloan, as well! As Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich vie for the GOP presidential nomination, and as Republicans marshal efforts to secure as many Senate seats as possible, advocates of liberty need to keep an eye on the one principle that unifies our political goals and grounds them in moral fact. In “The American Right, the Purpose of Government, and the Future of Liberty,” I identify that principle and discuss its application to issues of the day, including “entitlement” spending, corporate bailouts, and the Islamist threat. If you wonder which side of the abortion debate has the facts straight—or why the issue should matter to anyone other than pregnant women—you will find answers in “The Assault on Abortion Rights Undermines All Our Liberties,” by Diana Hsieh and Ari Armstrong. And if you already know the answers, I think you'll agree that this is the article to circulate on this matter. You may think that Steve Jobs was an impatient man, and you may know of evidence to support that idea, but in Daniel Wahl's “The Patience of Jobs,” you'll discover that Jobs, once again, breaks the mold. He was not patient, yet he was. How can that be? (Hint: The answer has nothing to do with Buddhism.) Get ready to fall in love with Linda Mann's still lifes and her manner of discussing them. Why do they grab your attention? Why do they hold it? Why are they so fascinating and rich and beautiful? I press Ms. Mann for answers, and she delivers. The interview is accompanied by color images of the paintings discussed. What's so great about the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.? Sanctum sanctorum—it's the holy of holies—says Lee Sandstead, and he has facts and photos to prove it. Chris Wolski reviews the movie The Help, directed by Tate Taylor. And the books reviewed in this issue are: Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson (reviewed by Daniel Wahl); This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House, by Herman Cain (reviewed by Gideon Reich); American Individualism—How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party, by Margaret Hoover (reviewed by Michael A. LaFerrara); Disabling America: The Unintended Consequences of the Government's Protection of the Handicapped, by Greg Perry (reviewed by Joshua Lipana); The Right to Earn a Living: Economic Freedom and the Law, by Timothy Sandefur (reviewed by Loribeth Kowalski); Keynes Hayek: The Clash That Defined Modern Economics, by Nicholas Wapshott (reviewed by Richard M. Salsman); Capitalist Solutions: A Philosophy of American Moral Dilemmas, by Andrew Bernstein (reviewed by Ari Armstrong); Toyota Under Fire: Lessons for Turning Crisis into Opportunity, by Jeffrey K. Liker and Timothy N. Ogden (reviewed by Daniel Wahl); Dare to Stand Alone: The Story of Charles Bradlaugh, Atheist and Republican, by Bryan Niblett (reviewed by Roderick Fitts). This issue of TOS completes our sixth year of moving minds with the ideas on which a culture of reason and freedom depend. Our seventh year will be, as every year is, bigger and better than the last, and we thank you for your continued business and support. We couldn't do what we do without you. Have a joyful Christmas, a happy New Year, and a prosperous 2012. —Craig Biddle
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: New York, America, Washington
  • Author: David Hayes
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: “Has Ayaan Hirsi Ali Fully Rejected Religion?” To the Editor: In his review of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Nomad (TOS Fall 2011), Joseph Kellard expressed disappointment that Hirsi Ali “promotes Christianity as a means to bring Western ideas to Muslim minds,” and he suggested that she might instead have advocated adherence to Enlightenment philosophy, especially as she identifies Enlightenment thinking as the source of the good aspects within current Christian teachings. In a June 2010 interview in the Washington Examiner, Hirsi Ali provided an explanation for this seeming inconsistency. Perhaps it will please Mr. Kellard as it does me: [Washington Examiner:] Mark Steyn and Oriana Fallaci say that Christianity is the best bulwark against militant Islam, but Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens and others say atheism—or at least secularism—are the best. How do you fall down on the question? [Hirsi Ali:] I agree with both. For those militant Islamists who find themselves falling away from their faith, I welcome them to atheism. But I get many letters from Islamic people who say they cannot live without spirituality, without God, and Christianity is a good answer for them. Mr. Kellard cites several passages from Nomad that seem overly tolerant of religious positions and thus raise the possibility Hirsi Ali may not have fully rejected religion. But her remark that “I welcome them [ex-Muslims] to atheism” suggests that she is an atheist, that she regards Christianity as false, but that she also sees it as less bad than Islam and as a possible waypoint on the road to a free mind.
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: This issue of The Objective Standard begins our fifth year of publication, and 2010 is shaping up to be our most exciting year to date. A few items of note: TOS is now on more than four hundred newsstands, and this number is increasing steadily. Look for us in Barnes Noble, Bookstar, Hastings, and other bookstores and newsstands nationwide.
  • Topic: Government
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Thank you for publishing Paul Beard's excellent article regarding the California Coastal Commission. Perhaps it was intended to be implied, but nowhere in the article was it stated that Pacific Legal Foundation, whose Coastal Land Rights Project Mr. Beard now heads, has represented the property owners in all of the cases he described.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Steve Simpson
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Supreme Court's recent decision in Citizens United v. FEC is one of the most important First Amendment decisions in a generation and one of the most controversial. In it, the Supreme Court struck down a law that banned corporations from spending their own money on speech that advocated the election or defeat of candidates. In the process, the Court overturned portions of McConnell v. FEC, a case in which the Supreme Court, a mere six years ago, upheld McCain-Feingold, one of the most sweeping restrictions on campaign speech in history.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Paul Hsieh
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: When medical students graduate from medical school, they take an oath-the Hippocratic oath-in which they solemnly swear, above all, to use their best judgment in treating their patients. Doctors hold this oath as sacrosanct; they regard upholding it as morally mandatory, and violating it as out of the question. But in order to uphold this oath, in order to practice medicine in accordance with their best judgment, doctors must be free to practice in accordance with their best judgment. Unfortunately, U.S. politicians are working feverishly to prevent doctors from upholding the Hippocratic oath. How so? By implementing government-run health care. Politicians' efforts to impose government-run health care include their goal of "guaranteeing" health care to everyone. But whenever the government attempts to "guarantee" health care, it must also control the costs of that service-which means, it must dictate how doctors may and may not practice. Toward this end, as Harvard professor Martin Feldstein notes, advocates of government-run health care call for "comparative effectiveness" practice guidelines. Quoting the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Feldstein points out that these guidelines are designed to ration health care and reduce spending by "implementing a set of performance measures that all providers would adopt" and by "directly targeting individual providers . . . (and other) high-end outliers."1 ("High-end outliers" is government-speak for "physicians who order more tests or perform more procedures than the government deems appropriate.") An example of such "effectiveness" guidelines is the new federal recommendations for screening mammography. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently recommended restricting mammogram screening to women over age fifty, despite the fact that medical organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology-whose conclusions are based on years of peer-reviewed scientific research-have long recommended that women begin routine mammography at age forty.2 The USPSTF argues that eliminating mammograms for women between ages forty and forty-nine would result in only one additional cancer death per nineteen hundred women screened-an increase in death that they evidently consider acceptable.3 The announcement of these new guidelines caused so much public controversy that Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius quickly backpedaled and stated that these particular USPSTF recommendations would be "nonbinding."4 But what does "nonbinding" mean when it refers to the guidelines of a government agency? The government is an agent of force. Any government "recommendations" come with at least the implicit threat that recalcitrant doctors may face negative consequences. Not surprisingly, government medical agencies have already adopted the new guidelines. The California state government has begun using the USPSTF guidelines to determine which services patients in the Medi-Cal program may and may not receive.5 (Medi-Cal is the California equivalent of Medicaid in other states.) Government-funded health programs in New York and Ohio have already begun turning away women under fifty seeking mammograms.6 And, Sibelius's reassurances notwithstanding, Congress is considering giving the USPSTF legal authority to determine which screening tests will or will not be covered for patients with private health insurance.7 How are American physicians responding to these developments? Fortunately, many have chosen to ignore the guidelines, to continue practicing according to their best medical judgment, and to order mammograms on their female patients between ages forty and fifty as they see fit.8 But bear in mind that the White House Council of Economic Advisers has already pejoratively labeled such physicians "high-end outliers." If the government decided to enforce its "comparative effectiveness" guidelines, such doctors could be punished at any moment. And bear in mind what the punishment would be for: upholding their Hippocratic oath, their promise to practice according to their best judgment for the best interests of their patients.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Sarah Gelberg
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: When my two-year-old cat, Lily, began vomiting and refused her food and water, I took her to my veterinarian who, after a battery of X-rays and other tests, found nothing conclusive. The vet offered a preliminary diagnosis of gastritis, an inflammation of the stomach lining, and sent us home with medication to treat the condition. When twenty-four hours of the treatment yielded no improvement, we returned to the vet, who admitted Lily for observation overnight. The next evening, the vet phoned to say: "Lily is still vomiting and refusing food and water, so we ran a second set of X-rays and a comparison of the two sets revealed that her intestines are bunching as if something's lodged inside. There's an emergency veterinary clinic twenty miles away that has an ultrasound machine, which will enable us to see what's inside. Please come pick up Lily and drive her there; we'll notify them that you're on your way." The ultrasound revealed a large quantity of thread tangled in Lily's digestive tract. Unbeknownst to me, she had extracted a bobbin of thread from my sewing kit and swallowed the contents. The condition required surgery, which the vet at the emergency clinic performed that night, removing the thread (which was lodged in Lily's stomach, small intestine, and large intestine) without complications. Lily remained in intensive care for two days before the vet sent her home with a scar on her stomach, some antibiotics, and a list of instructions for postoperative care. She recovered fully and was back to mischief in short order. As this story indicates, the state of animal health care in America, in terms of the quality of the diagnostics and treatments available, is in many ways on par with that of human health care. And the fact that advancements in veterinary medicine have progressed in close parallel with those in human medicine should come as little surprise: Animals are important to us. They provide us with, among other things, food, labor, and companionship. To ensure that our animals are respectively tasty, reliable, healthy, and happy, we need the services of well-trained veterinarians equipped with the latest technologies. That demand is nicely satisfied. Most veterinarians in private practice specialize in either large-animal or small-animal medicine, a division that roughly corresponds to the distinction between livestock, such as cows and sheep, and companion animals, such as dogs and cats. Small-animal veterinary medicine is, in important respects, remarkably similar to human medicine. The skills required in small-animal medicine are, by and large, the same as those required in human medicine,1 and today's veterinary schools are every bit as rigorous as their counterparts in human medicine. After earning their undergraduate degrees, veterinary students must complete four years of medical training and then pass national and state licensure exams. Those who choose to become specialists must also complete an internship and residency and pass an examination for their chosen specialty.2 The technologies used by veterinarians and those used by medical doctors are similar as well. Vets use many of the same drugs as medical doctors, albeit in different concentrations, doses, and formulations;3 and their facilities are equipped with essentially the same kind of medical equipment to treat essentially the same kinds of medical problems. In fact, a great deal of the medical equipment used in veterinary medicine, including surgical instruments, common devices such as stethoscopes, and CT scan machines, is either identical to that used in human medicine or downsized to accommodate the smaller size of most pets.4 In the United States, advancements in human medicine-whether in training, medications, or facilities-are generally mirrored in small-animal veterinary medicine. Fortunately for our pets, however, veterinary medicine has not paralleled human medicine in two important respects: accessibility and affordability.
  • Topic: Health
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Alan Germani, J. Brian Phillips
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: For centuries, few have questioned the idea that waterways-streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans-are or should be "public property." The doctrine of "public trust," with roots in both Roman and English common law, holds that these resources should not be privately owned but rather held in trust by government for use by all. The United States Supreme Court cited this doctrine in 1892, ruling that state governments properly hold title to waterways such as lakes and rivers, "a title held in trust for the people of the state that they may enjoy the navigation of the waters, carry on commerce over them, and have liberty of fishing therein freed from the obstruction or interference of private parties."1 This "public ownership," however, is increasingly thwarting the life-serving nature of waterways as sources of drinking water, fish, and recreation. Predictably, when a resource-whether a park, an alleyway, or a pond-is owned by "everyone," its users have less incentive to protect or improve its long-term value than they would if it were owned by an individual or a corporation. Users of "public property" tend to use the resource for short-term gain, often causing the deterioration of its long-term value-the well-known "tragedy of the commons." This phenomenon is perhaps nowhere clearer than in the case of waterways. "Public ownership" of waterways has led to, among other problems, harmful levels of pollution and depleted fish populations. Many waterways around the world have become so polluted that they are no longer fit for human use. In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency reported that one-third of America's lakes and nearly one-fourth of its rivers were under fish-consumption advisories due to polluted waters.2 In 2005, officials in China estimated that 75 percent of that nation's lakes were contaminated with potentially toxic algal blooms caused by sewage and industrial waste.3 And the World Commission on Water has found that half the world's rivers are either seriously polluted or running dry from irrigation and other human uses or both.4 By one estimate, the contaminated drinking water and poor sanitation that result from pollution and low water levels account for five to ten million deaths per year worldwide.5 In addition to containing harmful levels of pollution, many of the world's waterways are being fished in a manner that is depleting fish populations and threatening with extinction fish species such as red snapper, white sturgeon, and bluefin tuna-species highly valuable to human life.6 By 2003, primarily due to fishing practices associated with public waterways, 27 percent of the world's fisheries (zones where fish and other seafood is caught) had "collapsed"-the term used by scientists to denote fish populations that drop to 10 percent or less of their historical highs.7 In 2006, the journal Science published a study that offered a grim prediction: All of the world's fisheries will collapse by 2048.8 Whether or not all of the world's fisheries will collapse in a mere forty years, the data clearly show that current fishing practices are depleting supplies of many species of consumable fish. At best, at the current rate of fish depletion, many fishermen will lose their livelihoods and consumers will have fewer and fewer species from which to choose, species that will become more and more expensive. What solutions have been proposed? Federal and state governments have attempted to remedy these problems through regulation-violating rights and creating new problems in the process. For example, twenty-five states prohibit or severely restrict the use of laundry detergents containing phosphates, substances that harm aquatic life when present in water in high quantities.9 A growing number of state and local governments-including Westchester County, New York, and Annapolis, Maryland-are enacting similar regulations on phosphate-containing fertilizers.10 These laws violate the rights of detergent and fertilizer manufacturers by precluding them from creating the products they choose to create-and they violate the rights of consumers who want to buy such products rather than more-expensive, less-effective alternatives. Further, these rights-violating prohibitions have proven impractical in achieving their purpose: Despite many such regulations having been in effect for nearly forty years,11 an estimated two-thirds of America's bays and estuaries still contain harmful amounts of phosphates.12 Regulations regarding sewage treatment have proven similarly impractical: Since 1972, the federal government has forced water utilities to spend billions of dollars upgrading water treatment facilities, and yet, during the past four years, record numbers of beaches have closed due to pollution from sewage.13 And, for what it is worth, the EPA predicts that by 2016 American rivers will be as polluted by sewage as they were in the 1970s.14 Government efforts to address depleted fish populations have proven similarly impractical. The history of the halibut industry in Alaska is an illuminating case in point. In the 1970s, the International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC)-a U.S.-backed intergovernmental regulatory agency-established a five-month fishing season in public waters off the Alaskan coast with the hope of maintaining halibut populations, which had become severely depleted. But forcibly limiting the time during which fishermen could operate did little to improve the fishery's viability: Fishermen simply worked more vigorously during the season, and the halibut population remained at historically low levels. So, in the 1980s, the IPHC attempted to remedy the problem by reducing the five-month fishing season dramatically-to as few as two days.15 During these shortened windows of opportunity, fishermen took extreme risks to maximize their catches, only to be "rewarded" onshore with the plummeting prices of a glutted market. And, in the end, the huge catches brought in by fishermen on these days were still large enough to jeopardize the halibut population.16 So, in 1995, the IPHC dropped the idea of a short fishing season and instead introduced a "catch share program," through which it limits each fisherman's yearly catch to a percentage of what it deems to be a "safe" overall halibut harvest. But neither has this policy helped the situation; today, after more than two decades of shifting regulations, the usable halibut population in Alaskan waters is less than in 1985.17 Although some claim that still more government regulations are required to combat the ongoing problems of pollution and depleted fish populations, any such coercive measures are in principle doomed to failure because they attempt to treat problems in the waterways while ignoring their actual cause: "public ownership." Government force may provide a disincentive for certain behaviors, but this disincentive does not motivate the users of waterways to maintain or enhance the life-serving value of these resources. As a result, America's waterways remain largely and significantly polluted, and fish populations, even where they are stabilizing, remain at levels insufficient to meet the growing demand for seafood. . . . Endnotes The authors would like to thank Craig Biddle, Dwyane Hicks, and Thomas A. Bowden for discussions that aided the authors' understanding of the issues discussed in this article, and Matthew Gerber, Ben Bayer, and Steve Simpson for helpful comments made to earlier drafts. 1 Illinois Central R.R. Co. v Illinois (1892) 146 U.S. 387, 452. 2 Jaime Holguin, "Pollution Overtaking Lakes, Rivers,," CBSNews.com, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/08/24/tech/main638130.shtml. 3 Antoaneta Bezlova, "China's Toxic Spillover," Asia Times, December 2, 2005, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/GL02Cb06.html. When consumed by fish, shellfish, and livestock, such hazardous algae can enter the human food chain. 4 Mary Dejevsky, "Half of World's Rivers Polluted or Running Dry," The Independent, November 30, 1999; http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/half-of-worlds-rivers-polluted-or-running-dry-1129811.html. 5 http://www.grinningplanet.com/2005/07-26/water-pollution-facts-article.htm. 6 http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/species/red_snapper.htm , Species l ist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; http://ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/SpeciesReport.do?groups=E=L=1; http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/07/060724-bluefin-tuna.html. 7 "Catch Shares Key to Reviving Fisheries," Environmental Defense Fund, http://www.edf.org/article.cfm?contentID=8446. 8 Cornelia Dean, "Study Sees 'Global Collapse' of Fish Species," New York Times, November 3, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/03/science/03fish. 9 http://enviro.blr.com/enviro_docs/88147_9.pdf. 10 Juli S. Charkes, "Board Votes to Ban Phosphate Fertilizers," New York Times, May 1, 2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/nyregion/westchester/03lawnwe.html; Karl Blankenship, "Annapolis to Ban Use of Fertilizer with Phosphorus in Most Cases," Bay Journal, http://www.bayjournal.com/article.cfm?article=3511. 11 Michael Hawthorne, "From the Archives: Banned in Chicago but Available in Stores," Chicago Tribune, April 4, 2007, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-daley-phosphates,0,2871187.story. 12 http://www.grinningplanet.com/2005/07-26/water-pollution-facts-article.htm. 13 http://www.nrdc.org/water/oceans/ttw/titinx.asp and http://epa.gov/beaches/learn/pollution.html#primary. 14 Martha L. Noble, "The Clean Water Act at 30-Time to Renew a Commitment to National Stewardship," Catholic Rural Life Magazine, vol. 45, no. 2, Spring 2003, http://www.ncrlc.com/crl-magazine-articles/vol45no2/Noble.pdf. 15 http://www.fishex.com/seafood/halibut/halibut.html. 16 Halibut populations continued to decline, and the IPHC decreased the allowed catch more than 26 percent between 1986 and 1995. http://www.iphc.washington.edu/halcom/commerc/limits80299.htm. 17 The total catch share for halibut-which is based on "exploitable biomass"-declined between 1985 and 2009. For 1985 limits, see http://www.iphc.washington.edu/halcom/commerc/limits80299.htm. For 2009 limits, see http://www.iphc.washington.edu/halcom/newsrel/2009/nr20090120.htm.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Audra Hilse
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In 1970, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a man named Norman Borlaug. His achievement? Saving hundreds of millions of people from death by starvation. Yet today, few people in America and the West even know his name. This is unfortunate, for his story is heroic. Borlaug was a geneticist and plant pathologist who discovered ways to produce heartier and faster-growing varieties of wheat and other grains, brought these methods to various parts of the world, and taught people how to implement them. Thanks to his work, farmers and agriculturalists were-and are-able to produce orders of magnitude more food than they could prior to his discoveries. Borlaug was born in Iowa on March 25, 1914. His parents were farmers, and he was educated in a one-room schoolhouse through the eighth grade. He did well in high school, and wanted to pursue a college degree. In 1933, on the recommendation of a friend, and despite the onset of the Depression, he hitched a ride north to enroll at the University of Minnesota. He started in the General College, and later chose forestry as his major. He earned his degree in 1937, and was planning to enter the Forest Service until he attended a lecture presented by Dr. E. C. Stakman, a plant pathologist. That talk, Borlaug later said, "changed my life, my whole career."1 Stakman\'s lecture, "These Shifty Little Enemies that Destroy our Food Crops," discussed the spread of plant "rust" that was killing off grains across the United States.2 Borlaug was so fascinated by the subject that, instead of joining the Forest Service, he enrolled in the university\'s graduate program for plant pathology, where he proceeded to earn both a master\'s degree (1937) and a doctorate (1942). After receiving his doctorate, Borlaug took a job as a microbiologist with the DuPont de Nemours Foundation, but he did not stay there long.3 In September 1943, the Rockefeller Foundation offered him a position running a joint program with the Mexican government, helping Mexican farmers to improve agricultural technology and increase their wheat production. Borlaug accepted the job, moved to Mexico with his wife and children, and launched the Cooperative Wheat Research and Production Program. . . . End Notes 1 Vicki Stavig, "Bread and Peace," Minnesota, January-February 2004,http://www.alumni.umn.edu/Bread_and_Peace (accessed December 29, 2009). 2 Mark Stuertz, "Green Giant," Dallas Observer, December 5, 2002, http://www.dallasobserver.com/2002-12-05/news/green-giant/ (accessed December 29, 2009). 3 Stavig, "Bread and Peace" (accessed January 6, 2010).
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Author's note: This is chapter 5 of my book Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It (Richmond: Glen Allen Press, 2002), which is an introduction to Ayn Rand's morality of rational egoism. Chapters 1-4 were reprinted in the prior four issues of TOS. In chapter 4, we saw the life-or-death importance of productive work and, more fundamentally, of rational thinking. We also discovered what emotions are, where they come from, and what they mean. Finally, we observed and contrasted the crucial yet distinct roles of reason and emotion in human life and happiness. We will now capitalize on these truths. In this chapter, we turn to the question of how to make life meaningful. And the key word here is: make. Life does not come with ready-made meaning; we are not born with pre-packaged purpose. If we want our life to be meaningful, we have to make it so. Our life is a process of self-generated, goal-directed action-action that, because we have free will, is generated by us toward goals chosen by us. The meaning of our life is a function of the goals we choose to pursue-that is, our purposes. A purpose is a conscious, intentional goal-a goal chosen and pursued for a desired outcome. A rational purpose is a purpose that promotes one's life-such as getting an education, developing a career, engaging in a hobby, building a romantic relationship, or raising one's children. These are the kinds of goals that make life meaningful. For example, consider a college student who chooses his major carefully, goes to class regularly, and takes his studies seriously. He is selfishly after something; he is acting purposefully toward a life-promoting end. In so doing, he adds meaning to his life in the form of value-achievements-such as increased knowledge, improved judgment, and an earned diploma. By contrast, consider a college student who picks a major at random, frequently skips class to "hang out" in the coffee shop, and studies just enough to "get by." He is not selfishly after anything; he is not acting purposefully toward a life-promoting end. Consequently, he achieves nothing of value; he adds no meaning to his life. Even if he happens to receive a diploma, it will be meaningless, because he did not put anything into it; he did not earn it. Meaningful values are products of purposeful efforts. They have to be earned. In regard to career, suppose a young office clerk decides that he wants to manage the company for which he works. He commits himself to learning everything he can about the business, constantly asks himself what can be done to improve operations, develops innovative ideas, presents them to his superiors, and seizes every opportunity to excel. Not surprisingly, over the course of some interesting, action-packed years, he makes his way to the top-where he does not stop: Once there, he strives to take the company to ever greater heights. Here is a person acting purposefully and, as a result, making his days and years exciting, inspiring, and rewarding-filling his life with meaning. Now, contrast him to a young office clerk with the same potential, but who sets no such goals, takes no such actions, and stagnates as a clerk for the rest of his life. What will be the meaning of his days and years? What spiritual values will he achieve by means of his lethargy? The answer is obvious. The meaning of one's life is determined by the choices one makes and the effort one exerts. Whether one's life is meaningful or meaningless depends on whether or not one chooses to be rational and purposeful. Of course, irrational choices and actions may be said to have negative meaning-in that they have anti-life consequences. But this does not grant them any moral validity. Taking life-destroying actions is not a means to an "alternative lifestyle." Acting against one's life and long-term happiness is not another way to live; it is only a way to die. Observe further, in this connection, that there is no such thing as a "neutral" goal or value.
  • Author: Heike Larson
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Infidel is a heroic, inspiring story of a courageous woman who escapes the hell of a woman's life in the Muslim world and becomes an outspoken and blunt defender of the West. Ms. Hirsi Ali takes the reader on her own journey of discovery, and enables him to see, through concretes and by sharing her thought processes, how she arrived at the conclusion that Islam is a stagnant, tyrannical belief system and that the Enlightenment philosophy of the West is the proper system for human beings. In Part I, Ms. Hirsi Ali describes her childhood in Muslim Africa and the Middle East. With her father imprisoned for opposing Somalia's communist dictator Siad Barré and her mother often preoccupied with finding food for her family, young Ayaan and her siblings grew up listening to the ancient legends their grandmother told them-legends glorifying the Islamic values of honor, family clans, physical strength, and aggression. Born in 1969 in Somalia, Ms. Hirsi Ali moved frequently with her family to escape persecution and civil war, living in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. At a colonially influenced Kenyan school, she discovered Western ideas, in the form of novels, "tales of freedom, adventure, of equality between girls and boys, trust and friendship. These were not like my grandmother's stark tales of the clan, with their messages of danger and suspicion. These stories were fun, they seemed real, and they spoke to me as the old legends never had" (p. 64). Forced into an arranged marriage, she was shipped to Germany to stay with distant family while awaiting a visa for Canada to join the husband she didn't know. At age twenty-two, alone and with nothing but a duffle bag of clothes and papers, she took a train to Holland to escape the dreary life of a Muslim wife-slave. "It was Friday, July 24, 1992, when I stepped on the train. Every year I think of it. I see it as my real birthday: the birth of me as a person, making decisions about my life on my own" (p. 188). In Part II, Ms. Hirsi Ali shares her wonder of arriving in modernity, and her relentless effort to create a productive, independent life for herself. After being granted asylum, she worked menial jobs, learned Dutch, became a Swahili translator, earned a vocational degree, and finally graduated with a degree in political science from one of Holland's most prestigious universities. An outspoken advocate of the rights of Muslim women, she was elected to the Dutch parliament in 2003, as a "one-issue politician"-she "wanted Holland to wake up and stop tolerating the oppression of Muslim women in its midst" and to "spark a debate among Muslims about reforming aspects of Islam so people could begin to question" (p. 295). She became a notorious critic of Islam, at one point daring to call the Prophet Muhammad a pervert for consummating marriage with one of his many wives when she was only nine years old. In 2004, she made a short film called Submission: Part 1 in which she depicted women mistreated under Islamic law raising their heads and refusing to submit any longer. Tragically, the film's producer, Theo van Gogh, was brutally murdered by an offended Muslim, who left on van Gogh's body a letter threatening Ms. Hirsi Ali with the same fate. Since 2004, Ms. Hirsi Ali has had to live under the constant watch of bodyguards, often going into hiding for months at a time. Although the straight facts of her life are in and of themselves admirable, Ms. Hirsi Ali's intellectual journey as presented in Infidel is truly awe inspiring. This journey begins in Africa in the disturbingly dark world of Islam-with its disdain for thought and reason, its self-sacrificial ethics, and its corrupt, tyrannical politics-and ends in the West with her having become an outspoken champion of reason and freedom.
  • Topic: Government, War
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Canada, Germany
  • Author: Grant W. Jones
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In Winning the Unwinnable War, editor Elan Journo and fellow contributors Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein consider the ideas and events that led to 9/11 and analyze America's response. Arguing that our nation has been made progressively less secure by policies based on "subordinating military victory to perverse, allegedly moral constraints" (p. ix), they offer an alternative: grounding American foreign policy on "the moral ideal of rational self-interest" (p. 188). This they accomplish in the space of seven chapters, divided into three sections: "Part One. The Enemy," "Part Two. America's Self-Crippled Response to 9/11," and "Part Three. From Here, Where Do We Go?" In Part One, in a chapter titled "What Motivates the Jihad on America," Journo considers the nature of the enemy that attacked America on 9/11. With refreshing honesty, Journo dispenses with the whitewashing that often accompanies discussions of Islam and Jihad, pointing out that the meaning of "Islam" is "submission to Allah" and that its nature "demands the sacrifice of not only the mind, but also of self" (p. 33). Says Journo, the Jihadists seek to impose Allah's will-Islamic Law-just as Islamic teaching would have it: by means of the sword. "Islamic totalitarians consciously try to model themselves on the religion's founder and the figure who is held to exemplify its virtues, Muhammad. He waged wars to impose, and expand, the dominion of Islam" (p. 35). In "The Road to 9/11," Journo summarizes thirty years of unanswered Jihadist aggression, beginning with the Iranian takeover of the American embassy in Tehran in 1979. Throughout, Journo criticizes the idea that influenced the actions of America's leaders during this time-"realism"-which he describes as eschewing "[m]oral ideals and other broad principles" in favor of achieving narrow, short-range goals by sheer expediency (p. 20). Because of the nature of their own ideas, says Journo, realists are incapable of understanding the Jihadists and thus incapable of understanding how to act with respect to them. "The operating assumption for realist policymakers is that (like them) no one would put an abstract, far off ideal ahead of collecting some concrete, immediate advantage (money, honor, influence). So for realists, an enemy that is dedicated to a long-term goal-and thus cannot be bought off with bribes-is an enemy that must remain incomprehensible" (p. 21). Journo indicates how realism was applied to the Islamist threat in the years leading up to 9/11: Facing the Islamist onslaught, our policymakers aimed, at most, to manage crises with range-of-the-moment remedies-heedless of the genesis of a given crisis and the future consequences of today's solution. Running through the varying policy responses of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton there is an unvarying motif. . . . Our leaders failed to recognize that war had been launched against us and that the enemy is Islamic totalitarianism. This cognitive failure rendered Washington impotent to defeat the enemy. Owing to myopic policy responses, our leaders managed only to appease and encourage the enemy's aggression (p. 6). After 9/11, President George W. Bush shied away from the realist policy of passively reacting to the ever-escalating Islamist threat-and instead adopted the foreign policy favored by neoconservatives. "In place of 'realism,' neoconservatives advocated a policy often called 'interventionism,' one component of which calls for America to work assertively to overthrow threatening regimes and to replace them with peaceful 'democracies'" (p. 118). Two chapters of Winning the Unwinnable War are devoted to dissecting this policy, "The 'Forward Strategy' of Failure" by Brook and Journo (first published in TOS, Spring 2007) and "Neoconservative Foreign Policy: An Autopsy" by Brook and Epstein (first published in TOS, Summer 2007). In the first of these chapters, Brook and Journo consider Bush's interventionist plan, the "forward strategy of freedom." On the premise that democracies do not wage wars of aggression, Bush launched two campaigns of democratic state building in the Middle East-in Afghanistan and Iraq. In 2003, Bush exclaimed, "Iraqi democracy will succeed-and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Tehran-that freedom can be the future of every nation" (p. 54). But neither Iraqi freedom nor American security was achieved by Bush's "forward strategy" of enabling Iraqis and Afghanis to vote. Because of democratic elections, Iraq "is [now] dominated by a Shiite alliance led by the Islamic Dawa Party and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI)" (p. 54), and a "further effect of the elections in the region has been the invigoration of Islamists in Afghanistan" (p. 57). . . .
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Iraq, America
  • Author: Gideon Reich
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Norman Podhoretz, Jewish neoconservative and former editor-in-chief of Commentary magazine, attempts in his book Why Are Jews Liberals? to answer the perplexing commitment of American Jews to modern liberalism. Jews, according to Podhoretz, violate "commonplace assumptions" about political behavior, such as that "people tend to vote their pocket books"; they "take pride . . . in their refusal to put self-interest . . . above the demands of \'social justice\'"; and they have consistently sided with the left in the "culture war" (pp. 2-3). According to statistics cited by Podhoretz, 74 percent of Jews support increased government spending and, since 1928, on average, 75 percent have voted for candidates of the Democratic Party. Such political behavior "finds no warrant either in the Jewish religion or in the socioeconomic condition of the American Jewish community" (p. 3), argues Podhoretz; it can be explained only by realizing that Jews are treating liberalism as a "religion . . . obdurately resistant to facts that undermine its claims and promises" (p. 283). Podhoretz traces the prevalent political orientation of present-day Jews to conditions suffered by their Jewish ancestors in medieval Europe and later in the United States. During the Dark and Middle Ages, Christian authorities in Europe placed severe restrictions on Jews, including where they could live and what professions they could practice. In later centuries, as the influence of Christianity declined, liberal revolutions swept much of the European continent, and, in the 19th century, Western European governments began recognizing the rights of Jews and treating them as equal under the law (p. 57). Even so, conservative Christians, who still supported the monarchies, remained opposed to the "emancipation" of the Jews (pp. 55-57). Consequently, Jews entered politics in Europe almost exclusively as liberals, in opposition to the Christian right that had oppressed them and their ancestors (pp. 58-59). Governments in Eastern Europe and Russia, however, continued to persecute Jews well into the early 20th century (pp. 65-67), and, between 1881 and 1924, two million Jews immigrated to America, where they would be treated equally before the law. Most were poor, and few ventured out of Lower East Side Manhattan, where the majority found jobs in the textile industry, working more than sixty hours a week for low wages, and where even "modest improvements in their condition" were achieved only by the efforts of a Jewish labor movement (pp. 99-100). . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Russia, America, Europe
  • Author: Ari Armstrong
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: With Congress debating far-reaching bills to expand federal control of health care, politicians and pundits blaming the economic downturn on allegedly free markets, President Obama fulfilling his promise to "spread the wealth around," and dozens of czars overseeing wide swaths of American life, it seems that capitalism is in retreat. A rousing defense of capitalism, therefore, could not have come at a better time, and that is what Andrew Bernstein provides in his new book, Capitalism Unbound. Bernstein ably defends the achievements of the Industrial Revolution, presents the moral foundation for capitalism, skewers socialism, and indicates in some respects how several disasters-including the recent housing bust-were caused by government meddling in the economy. Capitalism Unbound is an updated and highly condensed version of Bernstein's 2005 book, The Capitalist Manifesto: The Historic, Economic and Philosophic Case for Laissez-Faire. With the new book, Bernstein promises "the essential points-presented in a simple, easy to read format" (p. ix). He begins his sixteen-page Prologue, "The Primordial Struggle for Individual Liberty," by mentioning that capitalism rests on the "moral code . . . of an individual's inalienable right to his own life" (p. 1). After recounting the American Revolution as a key example of the furthering of individual rights, Bernstein applies the principle of rights to issues such as contracts, property, and employment. He then defines some key terms, including capitalism ("the system of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned"), freedom (protection "against the initiation of force by either private citizens or the government"), and statism ("the subordination of the individual to the state [and] the repudiation of inalienable individual rights") (pp. 10-11). The prologue concludes with a discussion of some of history's most horrifying instances of statism, including tribal dictatorships, Soviet communism, National Socialism, and Islamic theocracy. The rest of the book is divided into three parts, about the historical, moral, and economic superiority of capitalism, respectively. In Part One, "The Historic Superiority of Capitalism," Bernstein first summarizes the impoverished conditions of preindustrial Europe. He then explains how, inspired by Enlightenment thinkers, innovators of 18th-century England and 19th-century America achieved profound advances in technology and economic production, created goods and services that radically improved the living conditions of the common person, and often amassed fortunes in the process. These productive giants include steam engineer James Watt, steel titan Andrew Carnegie, and oil pioneer John D. Rockefeller, who by the height of his dominance had driven oil prices from fifty-eight cents to eight cents per gallon (p. 52). Bernstein reviews many of the economic advances of the Industrial Revolution, such as the enormous expansion of cotton cloth-spun English cotton increased twenty-four-fold between 1765 and 1784 alone-enabling "hundreds of millions of people worldwide . . . to dress . . . comfortably, cleanly, and hygienically" (pp. 34-35, emphasis removed). . . .
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Since it was first published in 1957, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged has sold more than seven million copies. Remarkably, in that time, the popularity of the novel has actually grown, and, over the past couple of years, due to the parallels between the story and recent events, sales have skyrocketed. In 2009 alone, Atlas sold more then a half million copies. And now a new resource is available for the novel's legion of fans: Essays on Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged,edited by Robert Mayhew. In "The Part and Chapter Headings of Atlas Shrugged," Onkar Ghate indicates why such a collection is of value to fans of the novel: "At over a thousand pages long and dealing with the fate of a civilization, Atlas Shrugged is a story of incredible scope and complexity." Its theme is the role of man's reasoning mind in achieving all the values of his existence. Its plot is driven by a central question, a seeming contradiction: If the men of the mind are the creators and sustainers of man's life, why do they continually lose their battles and witness their achievements siphoned off and destroyed by men who have abandoned their minds? The story focuses on how the men of the mind learn to ask and to answer this question, thereby putting a stop to their own exploitation. To resolve the apparent contradiction demands of the heroes a ruthless commitment to logic: to identify the problem, learn its fundamental cause, and grasp the path to its solution. To liberate themselves, the men of the mind must discover, understand, and then practice a new set of philosophical principles. And for we as readers to really appreciate the story's progression, the same exacting logical focus is demanded of us (p. 1). Assuming "familiarity with the events of each part and each chapter," Ghate highlights "how the part and chapter headings help integrate those events and thus enable [readers] to gain a deeper understanding of the story and its meaning" (p. 2). Gregory Salmieri presents two essays (either of which could be reason enough to purchase the book) elucidating the theme of the novel, which Rand specified as "the role of the mind in man's existence" (p. 219), and discussing how the novel constitutes "the demonstration of a new moral philosophy" (p. 398). . . .
  • Author: Dina Schein Federman
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The founding of the United States was among the most dramatic and glorious events in history. For the first time, a nation was founded on the principle of individual rights. Those interested in learning about America's founding and its cause may turn to history texts. But history texts, even when their content is accurate, tend to be dry accounts of events. They lack the excitement of an adventure novel. Yet most novels set in the Revolutionary period are not good sources of information: Being works of fiction, they may take liberties with historical fact; and they often employ the American Revolution merely as their setting, not as their focus. What if one could find a work that combined the accuracy of a well-researched historical work with the dramatic presentation of a work of fiction? Fortunately, such a combination exists-the Sparrowhawk series of six novels by Edward Cline. Cline's purpose in this series is to dramatize America's founding: Most nations can claim a literature . . . that dramatizes the early histories of those countries. . . . But, except for a handful of novels that dramatize . . . specific periods of events in American colonial history, America has no such literature. The Sparrowhawk series of novels represents, in part, an ambitious attempt to help correct that deficiency (foreword to Book Three, p. ix). The series is set in the decades preceding the Revolution, beginning in the 1740s in England and concluding in 1775 in colonial Virginia. Throughout, the books dramatize important events leading up to the war, such as the liberty-constraining acts of British Parliament against the colonies and the colonial response to them. But Cline's theme is that the fundamental cause of America's declaration of independence from Great Britain was not mere events, but certain ideas Americans held. "[D]oing justice . . . to the founding of the United States . . . has meant understanding, in fundamentals, what moved the Founders to speak, write, and act as they did. Those fundamentals were ideas" (foreword to Book Three, p. ix). According to Cline, these fundamental ideas led inexorably to the Revolution: "The juggernaut of Parliamentary supremacy collided with the American colonies' incorruptible sense of liberty, which could be neither crushed nor flung aside. The result was a spectacular explosion: the American Revolution" (foreword to Book Six, p. 1). . . .
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Christopher McDougall's Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen inspires by showing superathletes running hundreds of miles nonstop across treacherous terrain-and argues that these seemingly superhuman feats can be achieved and enjoyed by practically anyone who excises self-imposed limitations. Readers first see these superathletes in action in the 1994 running of a brutal "ultra-race" called the Leadville Trail 100. McDougall describes participation in the Leadville 100, high in the mountains of Colorado, as "running the Boston Marathon two times in a row with a sock stuffed in your mouth"-then hiking "to the top of Pike's Peak"-and then doing it all over again, "this time with your eyes closed." That's pretty much what the Leadville Trail 100 boils down to: nearly four full marathons, half of them in the dark, with twin twenty-six-hundred-foot climbs in the middle. Leadville's starting line is twice as high as the altitude where planes pressurize their cabins, and from there you only go up (p. 60). In the 1994 running, a small group of runners from a secretive tribe based in Mexico's Copper Canyon participated. Called the Tarahumara, they ranged in age from 25 to 42 and ran in sandals, laughing as they left checkpoints more than halfway through the race. They completely dominated the Leadville, finishing first, third, fourth, fifth, seventh, tenth, and eleventh. The question of how these "stone-age guys in sandals" were able to do it, moreover looking like they were just having fun, has captivated the ultra-running world and McDougall. The explanation McDougall posits was discovered-or, according to the book, rediscovered-by modern doctors, track coaches, anthropologists, and ultra-runners. According to McDougall and the maverick scientists he quotes, we are all born to run, and very long distances at that. McDougall argues that the seemingly superhuman feats displayed by the Tarahumara are achievable by us all if we get rid of barriers that prevent us from doing so, including the modern "junk food" diet and mental limitations with regard to age and sex.
  • Author: David H. Mirman
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In 2006, Neil Shubin made history when he announced his discovery of a "missing link": a new fossil species showing characteristics that bridge the evolutionary gap between two different types of organisms. He named it Tiktaalik. [F]or me the greatest moment of the whole media blitz was . . . at my son's preschool. . . . The first child said it was a crocodile or an alligator. When queried why, he said that like a crocodile or lizard it has a flat head with eyes on top. Big teeth, too. Other children started to voice their dissent. Choosing the raised hand of one of these kids, I heard: No, no it isn't a crocodile, it is a fish, because it has scales and fins. Yet another child shouted "Maybe it is both." Tiktaalik's message is so straightforward even preschoolers can see it (p. 25). Your Inner Fish seeks to reveal the evolutionary history of humans as we travel down the branches of our family tree toward its trunk, passing fossils such as Tiktaalik and finding our "inner fish" along the way. Shubin makes this story accessible by maintaining a tight focus on the essentials of each topic while minimizing his use of technical terms. He uses analogy well in clarifying points; for instance, he compares the complexity of a smell made of many molecules to a musical chord made of many notes (p. 141), and compares the function of an inner ear bone to a plunger (p. 158). And he generally makes effective use of humor; for example, of searching for fossils, he writes: "Volcanic rocks are mostly out. No fish that we know of can live in lava" (p. 10). On waiting for monthly shipments of rare eggs for embryological research: "We became a virtual cargo cult as we waited" (p. 56). And on the alignment of teeth in mammals: "A mismatch between upper and lower teeth can shatter our teeth, and enrich our dentist" (p. 61). His droll style even affects some of his chapter titles, such as "Handy Genes" for the chapter on genetics of hand development, and "Getting Ahead" for the chapter on the head. . . .
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Isaac Newton sought "to master all the apparent confusion of the world, to bring order where none was apparent" (p. 5). He had, as Thomas Levenson shows, a "legendary capacity for study"; and for him frequently "sleep was optional" (p. 9). He was absolutely brilliant. Yet "for all his raw intelligence," Levenson says, "Newton's ultimate achievement turned on [the fact that if] something mattered to him, the man pursued it relentlessly." Equally crucial to his ultimate success, Newton was never a purely abstract thinker. He gained his central insight into the concept of force from evidence "known by [the] light of nature." He tested his ideas about gravity and the motion of the moon with data drawn from his own painstaking experiments and the imperfect observations of others. When it came time to analyze the physics of the tides, the landlocked Newton sought out data from travelers the world over (p. 20). By 1695, at the age of 51, Newton had been at "the leading edge of discovery" for almost three decades (p. 104). He had, as Levenson shows, discovered calculus-"the essential tool used to analyze change over time" (p. 14), and he had "presented gravity as the engine of the system of all creation-one that binds the rise and fall of the Thames . . . to all the observed motions of the solar system" (p. 30). And then "an odd message arrived from London . . . on a matter completely outside his usual competence" (p. 105). The letter, sent by Secretary of the Treasury William Lowndes, solicited Newton's opinion on the worsening shortage of silver coins, a matter of national importance. This unexpected correspondence would ultimately lead to Newton becoming warden of the Mint-and, as such, both an industrialist and a criminal investigator. Levenson tells the exciting story that follows in Newton and the Counterfeiter: the Unknown Detective Career of the World's Greatest Scientist. The problem facing England was that from "the late 1680s to the mid-1690s, the supply of [silver] coins-the basic units of exchange for the daily business of the country-shrank year by year." "By 1695," Levenson says, "it was almost impossible to find legal silver in circulation" (p. 109). This led to a standstill in trade, tenants that could not pay rent, many suicides, and a "general sense of terror" that violence would soon erupt (p. 138). . . .
  • Political Geography: England
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Summer 2010 issue of TOS, with which we are launching three new subscription formats: audio, e-book, and premium. The audio subscription (which includes access to the website or HTML edition of the journal) provides MP3 versions of TOS articles and reviews that can be downloaded to and played on your computer and a variety of audio devices. (Audio articles are also available à la carte, and, beginning with the Spring 2010 issue, all new articles are and will be available in audio format.)
  • Political Geography: America, Gaza
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Letters and RepliesTo the Editor:I am a recent subscriber and I want to let you know how much I enjoy TOS. The journal is entertaining, intellectually stimulating, and highly informative. The knowledge I have gained from your current and back issues regarding universal health care and the financial crisis has greatly enhanced my ability to defend free markets.
  • Political Geography: Virginia
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: On May 31, 2010, a flotilla of six ships manned by alleged "peace activists" motored toward Gaza, which, since 2007, has been controlled by the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group Hamas. But because Hamas openly seeks to destroy Israel and has already fired "more than 4,000 rockets and mortar shells [into the state] from Gaza," Israel has imposed a blockade on the region. The "peace activists" ostensibly sought to breach the blockade and reach Gaza to deliver "humanitarian aid." Their real goal, however, was revealed by their own words and actions.
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: America, Iran, Israel, Palestine, Gaza
  • Author: Alan Germani
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In his recent New Criterion article "Ayn Rand: Engineer of Souls," Anthony Daniels, better known by his pseudonym Theodore Dalrymple, attacks the well-known novelist/philosopher as being, among other things, prone to "crude" errors, a "rationalist who was not entirely rational," "adept at self-deception," "incapable of seeing the contradictions in her own work," and "seriously deficient in sensibility and discrimination across a wide range of important human activities." But Daniels's portrayal of Rand and her ideas is a series of gross misrepresentations and smears.
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Paul Hsieh
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (known colloquially as "ObamaCare"), declaring that the law would enshrine "the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care."1 But, for reasons I have elaborated in previous articles in TOS, far from establishing security regarding Americans' health care, this new law will make quality health care harder to come by and more expensive for everyone. Unfortunately, until our politicians rediscover the principle of individual rights, choose to uphold it, and reverse this monstrosity of a law, we Americans are stuck with it and will have to cope the best we can.
  • Topic: Government, Health
  • Political Geography: United States, America
  • Author: Heike Larson
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: One of the most important issues in life for anyone who has or is planning to have a child is the matter of his education. And the first stage of (formal) education with which parents need to be concerned is preschool through lower elementary. What is the best approach to education for children in this age range? What approach is consistent with the facts of reality, the requirements of the child's developing mind, and his need of self-esteem? The answer, in three words, is: The Montessori Method.
  • Topic: Environment
  • Political Geography: United States, Italy
  • Author: Sarah Biddle
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Rarely does one encounter a work of art that profoundly affects one's life. Even less frequently does one find such a work in the form of a television series. So what are the odds of finding such a work in the form of a subtitled Korean television series? Well, here is a reminder that the highly improbable is not impossible.
  • Political Geography: Korea
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Craig Biddle: Congratulations on the publication of The Logical Leap and on the launch of Falling Apple Science Institute. I have questions about both, but let me begin with the book. For those who are completely unfamiliar with it, what's the book about? What's the main thesis?
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Author's note: This is chapter 6 of my book Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It (Richmond: Glen Allen Press, 2002), which is an introduction to Ayn Rand's morality of rational egoism. Chapters 1-5 were reprinted in prior issues of TOS.
  • Topic: Government
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: n March 2010, the Texas State Board of Education acted to remove mentions of Thomas Jefferson from a standard history textbook. Texas students will now learn not about the author of the Declaration of Independence, but about the author of "The Word our Only Rule," John Calvin.*
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Frederick Seiler
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Author: Joseph Kellard
  • Publication Date: 07-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Considers the Ground Zero mosque, the spread of Islam in America, and how Americans and Westerners in general should deal with such efforts.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Stella Daily Zawistowski
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In their desire for less expensive, higher quality, more accessible health care, Americans have accepted a false alternative: fully regulated, socialized medicine, as advocated by Democrats, or semi-regulated, semi-socialized medicine, as advocated by most Republicans. But if Americans want better health care, they must come to recognize that government intervention, great and small, is precisely to blame for America's health care ills. And they must begin to advocate a third alternative: a steady and uncompromising transition toward a rights-respecting, fully free market in health care. In order to see why this is so, let us first consider the unfree, rights-violating nature of American health care today. Under our current semi-socialized health care system (which both Democrats and Republicans created), the government violates the rights of everyone who provides, purchases, insures, or needs health care. It violates the rights of doctors by forcibly subverting their medical judgment to the whims of government bureaucrats or to the heavily regulated insurance companies; it violates the rights of citizens in general by forcing them to buy insurance with a mandated set of benefits; it violates the rights of insurers by prohibiting them from selling plans of their design to customers of their choice at prices they deem economically appropriate; it violates the rights of pharmaceutical companies by forcing them to conduct trials that, in their professional judgment, are unnecessary; and it violates the rights of suffering and dying patients who wish to take trial medications but are forbidden to by law. These instances merely indicate the numerous ways in which the government violates the rights of health care participants, but they are enough to draw the conclusion that Americans are substantially unfree to act in accordance with their own judgment—a fact that alone is sufficient reason to condemn our current system as immoral. But, as we shall see, the immoral nature of the current system is also precisely what makes it impractical. The system is in shambles because of these rights violations, a fact that will bear out on examination of the three aspects of health care of most concern to Americans: its cost, its quality, and its accessibility. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: I recently spoke with Professor John Allison about his efforts and successes in creating pro-capitalist programs in American universities. Professor Allison was the CEO of BB for twenty years, during which time the company's assets grew from $4.5 billion to $152 billion. He now teaches at Wake Forest University. —Craig Biddle Craig Biddle: Hello, John, and thank you for joining me. John Allison: It is a pleasure to be with you. Photo courtesy Wake Forest University CB: Let me begin with a couple of questions about your work at Wake Forest. I understand that you joined the faculty in March 2009 as a Distinguished Professor of Practice—a fitting title given your decades of applying philosophy to business. What has your work at the university entailed so far? And how have your ideas been received? JA: I've primarily been involved in teaching leadership both to students and to some of the administrators in the university. I taught a course on leadership last fall, and I've been participating in various courses taught by other professors on finance, mergers and acquisitions, and organizational development. But my focus is on leadership. My ideas have been well received. The students take great interest in talking to someone who has been in the real world and been successful in business. I think they appreciate that perspective. CB: Through the BB Charitable Foundation, you've established programs for the study of capitalism at a number of American universities. How many of these programs are there now? What unifies them? And what generally do they entail? JA: BB has sponsored sixty-five programs to date, and they're all focused on the moral foundations of capitalism. While many people recognize that capitalism produces a higher standard of living, most people also believe that capitalism is either amoral or immoral. Our academic question is: How can an immoral system produce a better outcome? We believe that capitalism is moral and that this is why it is so successful. We think it is critically important that we not only win the battle over economic efficiency, but that we engage in and win the debate over ethics as well. . . .
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Michael Dahlen
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: For most of human history, the vast majority of people lived in squalor and bitter poverty. People labored hard in grueling conditions but produced little wealth for their efforts; food was scarce; disease was rampant; child mortality was about 50 percent; and life expectancy was twenty to thirty years. To borrow from Thomas Hobbes, life was “nasty, brutish, and short.” ©2008 Frankie Roberto http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ File:James_Watt%27s_Workshop.jpg Today, by contrast, in developed countries such as Britain and the United States, the relatively few people who are considered “poor” typically work in comfortable jobs (if they work at all); have refrigerators, electric light, indoor plumbing, televisions, telephones, and the like; and can expect to live into their seventies. Their “poverty” appears rather fortunate compared to the wealth of kings past. The average person today works in even greater comfort; has a car, a computer, a cell phone, countless other devices of luxury, and a lifestyle that would make any king living in the pre-industrial era look like a peasant. The dramatic transformation from universal poverty to widespread wealth began in the late 18th century with the Industrial Revolution, which originated in Britain. The Industrial Revolution was just that: a revolution of industry—a revolution in which an enormous increase in the commercial production and sale of goods changed the world and improved man's standard of living by orders of magnitude. As historian Eric Hobsbawm remarks, “No change in human life since the invention of agriculture, metallurgy and towns in the New Stone Age has been so profound as the coming of industrialization.”1 To see what caused this dramatic transformation, let us look first at the political climate and living conditions of the medieval era that preceded the British Industrial Revolution; then we will consider the politico-economic system in which the Revolution occurred, several related developments that illustrate the nature of the era, and the economic growth that these developments brought about. . . .
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Twelve-year-old Richard Feynman's room was a mess. Old, broken radios were scattered across the floor; spark plugs and electronic gizmos overflowed from a big wooden box; a well-worn microscope protruded from a tabletop covered with specimens and slides; and a book titled Trigonometry for the Practical Man lay open on the bed. Richard navigated through the chaos of his room, walked out the door, down the hall, and into his three-year-old sister Joan's room. He woke her, saying he wanted to show her something wonderful. They left the house and walked through the streets of Far Rockaway holding hands. When they reached a golf course, far away from the city lights, Richard stopped and said, “Look up.”1 There, in the sky above them, shone the aurora borealis, a beautiful green curtain of light caused, as Richard explained, by excited nitrogen atoms colliding with one another and emitting photons.2 Few twelve year olds knew this phenomenon was taking place; far fewer knew how. But Richard was not an average boy. Richard was the kid who presented a book report about a tale of mystery and adventure while delaying the revelation that he was talking about a math text.3 He was the kid who earned the curious title “the boy who fixes radios by thinking.”4 He was the boy who, in high school, won math competitions by circling his answers mere moments after the questions were asked.5 Richard read voraciously on any subject that interested him, amassing, integrating, and applying an ever-expanding wealth of knowledge. When his friend Arline told him that she was studying the works of Descartes in her philosophy class and that Descartes had proved the existence of God, Richard replied, “Impossible!” After examining Descartes' argument, Richard confirmed his initial conclusion: “It's a bunch of baloney.” When Arline said, “Well, I guess it's okay to take the other side. My teacher keeps telling us, 'There are two sides to every question, just like there are two sides to every piece of paper'”—Richard excitedly shot back: “There are two sides to that, too.” He grabbed a strip of paper, gave it a half-twist, connected the two ends, and handed her a one-sided piece of paper known as a Möbius strip (named after its discoverer, August Ferdinand Möbius). The next time her teacher repeated the cliché, Arline held up her own Möbius strip and said, “Sir, there are even two sides to that question: There's paper with only one side!”6 . . .
  • Author: Richard G. Parker
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Isaac Newton developed calculus, demonstrated the immense practicality of the scientific method, and discovered the laws of motion that govern the physical world. Charles Darwin developed the theory of evolution, discovered the mechanism of natural selection, and established the fundamental principles of biology. Michelangelo perfected the art of sculpture, depicted man as a heroic being, and inspired viewers and artists across centuries. Such men advanced their respective fields by orders of magnitude. Who is their equivalent in the field of medicine? His name, which few people today recognize, is Herman Boerhaave (1668–1738). In his day, Boerhaave was a world-renowned physician and educator. He held three professorial chairs—in medicine, chemistry, and botany—at the University of Leiden and made the Dutch school the focal point of medical education in the Western world. During the Age of Reason, Boerhaave was the undisputed standard-bearer of Enlightenment medicine:1 When he began his work in medicine, the field was still mired in the mystical methodologies and superstitions of the Middle Ages; by the time he was through, the field was a science concerned with the natural causes and treatments of illnesses. And although his name has since faded into near obscurity, his influence remains. To acquaint you with this heroic man, let us briefly survey the highlights of his life, and then consider his seminal contributions to medicine. . . .
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Author's note: This is chapter 7 of my book Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It (Richmond: Glen Allen Press, 2002), which is an introduction to Ayn Rand's morality of rational egoism. Chapters 1–6 were reprinted in prior issues of TOS. We have seen that being moral consists in being self-interested—acting in a life-promoting manner. We have also seen that what most fundamentally makes life-furthering actions possible to human beings is rational thinking. In order to live, we have to use our mind to discover the requirements of our life, and we have to act accordingly. We begin this chapter with the question: What can prevent us from acting on our judgment? What can stop us from employing our means of survival? Observe that if you are alone on an island, nothing can stop you from acting on your judgment. If you decide that you should acquire some food, you are free to make a spear and go hunting, fashion some tackle and go fishing, or plant a garden and tend to it. And if you obtain food, you are free to eat it, save it, or discard it. Likewise, if you decide that you should build a shelter, you are free to gather materials and construct one. And if you do, you are free to live in it, build an addition onto it, or tear it down. Alone on an island, you are free to act according to the judgment of your mind. But suppose another person shows up on the island, grabs you, and ties you to a tree. Clearly, you are no longer free to act on your judgment: If you had planned to go hunting, you cannot go. If you had planned to build a shelter, you cannot build it. Whatever your plans were, they are now ruined. And if you are not freed from your bondage, you will soon die. The brute's force has come between your planning and your acting, between your thinking and your doing. You can no longer act on your judgment; you can no longer act as your life requires; you can no longer live as a human being. Of course, the brute could feed you and keep you breathing; but a “life” of bondage is not a human life. A human life is a life guided by the judgment of one's own mind. In order to live as human beings, we have to be able to act on our judgment; wild animals aside, the only thing that can stop us from doing so is other people; and the only way they can stop us is by using physical force. Consider another example. A girl is walking to the store intent on using her money to buy some groceries when a man jumps out from an alley, points a gun at her head, and says: “Give me your purse, or die.” Now the girl cannot act according to her plan. Either she is going to give her purse to the thief, or she is going to get shot in the head. In any event, she is not going grocery shopping. By placing a gun between the girl and her goal, the thief is forcing her to act against her judgment—against her means of survival. If she hands her purse to him, and if he flees without shooting her, she can resume acting on her judgment—but, importantly: not with respect to the stolen money. While the thief may be gone, the effect of his force remains. By keeping the girl's money, he continues to prevent her from spending it; and to that extent, he continues to stop her from acting on her judgment. This ongoing force does not thwart the girl's life totally, but it does thwart her life partially: If she had her money, she would either spend it or save it; but since the thief has her money, she can do neither. She cannot use her money as she chooses, and her life is, to that degree, retarded. . . .
  • Author: Daniel Wahl
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Americans today have been told to expect years of military action overseas. Yet they are also being told that they should not expect victory; that a “definitive end to the conflict” is not possible; and that success will mean a level of violence that “does not define our daily lives.” (p. 1) John David Lewis holds that this defeatist attitude is completely at odds with the lessons of history. In Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History, Lewis shows how nations in the past that faced far greater threats and more formidable foes than America does now went on to defeat their enemies and win lasting peace. Lewis examines six major wars, devoting one chapter each to the Greco-Persian wars, the Theban wars, the Second Punic War, the campaigns of the Roman emperor Aurelian, the American Civil War, and two chapters to World War II. He shows how the Greeks defeated the mighty Persian empire, how the Thebans shattered the mirage of Spartan invulnerability, how the Romans swiftly ended a long war by attacking the enemy's home front, how Aurelian battled enemies on many fronts to reunite Rome, how William Tecumseh Sherman marched through the American South and destroyed the Confederate will to fight, and how America achieved a permanent victory over Japan. While recounting the key events of each conflict, Lewis draws several important, universally applicable lessons. . . .
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, Persia
  • Author: Burgess Laughlin
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea, authors C. Bradley Thompson and Yaron Brook show that the neoconservative intellectual movement is very much alive. Those who carry its banners are “deeply embedded in America's major think tanks, philanthropic foundations, media outlets, and universities” (p. 1). Then why would the authors select a title that implies that the object of their study is dead? The title is ironic, in part because the authors hope that their book may cause the movement's death, thus “inspiring the need for some future obituary” (p. 2). The authors wrote their lean work to Americans “who value our nation's founding principles” (p. x). The main message is that neoconservatives, who boast of being “in the American grain,” threaten those principles. That inference is based on an investigation that ranged across a diverse and sometimes deceptive intellectual movement. The authors examined the movement's leaders today; the movement's publicly stated guiding ideas; the lineage of the ideas passed down from the movement's ex-Marxist founders; the actual, but usually unstated, principles of the underlying neoconservative worldview; and, finally, the consequences of the guiding ideas and worldview in political policies that affect American lives. The ambitious scope of the book raised a crop of problems for Thompson and Brook. First, the authors say, the neoconservative movement's founders have presented a moving target. “[O]ver the course of forty years, [the neoconservatives] evolved rather seamlessly from neo-Marxists” at Brooklyn College in the late 1930s, to “neo-liberals” in the 1950s, and to “neoconservatives” in the late 1960s (p. 16). . . .
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Roderick Fitts
  • Publication Date: 09-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Ayn Rand was an influential and controversial novelist and philosopher whose name invariably ushers in a flood of debate. Unfortunately, not all of the controversy stems from Rand's radical ideas, such as her advocacy of egoism and laissez-faire capitalism. Distracting from the discussion of her ideas is a controversy concerning claims made about Rand's personal life and character in the works of two of her former students: Barbara Branden's The Passion of Ayn Rand (Doubleday, 1986) and Nathaniel Branden's My Years with Ayn Rand (Jossey-Bass, 1999). For eighteen years, the Brandens (who were married to each other from 1953 to 1965) were among Rand's closest friends. However, their relationships with Rand ended abruptly in 1968, at which point they became her most vocal and publicized critics. In their books, both of which were published after Rand's death, the Brandens tell their stories. James Valliant's The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics: The Case Against the Brandens is the first book-length critique of the Brandens' allegations. Valliant's book is divided into two parts: the first, an analysis of several dozen claims made by the Brandens about Rand; the second, a selection of journal entries from Rand concerning psychological issues that Nathaniel Branden revealed to her during their romantic relationship. (Rand was happily married but had an open affair with Nathaniel Branden, with the full knowledge and consent of her husband and Barbara Branden.) The purpose of Valliant's book is to dispel false claims the Brandens made regarding Rand, setting the record straight for those interested in the details of her life. . . .