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  • Publication Date: 09-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Fall issue of The Objective Standard. Ten years have passed since Islamic barbarians slaughtered thousands of Americans on U.S. soil, and America has yet to name the primary enemies (the Iranian and Saudi regimes), let alone eliminate them. Instead, we have gone to war with lesser enemies, enemies that we could retaliate against without appearing sure of ourselves, without appearing morally certain, without seeming selfish. In his article “9/11 Ten Years Later: The Fruits of the Philosophy of Self-Abnegation,” John David Lewis examines the essence of this approach and what it's delivered so far. The opposite philosophy—that of cognitive clarity, moral certainty, and self-respect—is Ayn Rand's philosophy of rational egoism, the political principles of which should be guiding U.S. policy. In “Ayn Rand's Theory of Rights: The Moral Foundation of a Free Society,” I examine the essential aspects of her philosophy that give rise to her theory of rights, as against the theories of God-given, government-granted, and “natural” rights. Using the principle of rights as his standard of evaluation, Joshua Lipana examines and grades various components of Rep. Paul Ryan's “Path to Prosperity,” which, although rejected in the Senate, is perhaps the best plan put forth by an elected official to date about how to deal with America's financial crisis. The report card is telling. In an exclusive interview with TOS, John R. Bolton, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, presents his ideas on the proper purpose of government and on various issues facing America today. This discussion will leave many TOS readers disappointed that Mr. Bolton has decided not to run for president. Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, is running for president, and his exclusive interview with TOS sheds important light on his view of the proper role of government and on what he would do if elected commander in chief. Where does he stand on domestic issues? How about foreign policy? Governor Johnson answers the tough questions here. In “The Mastermind behind SEAL Team Six and the End of Osama bin Laden,” Daniel Wahl surveys the history and principles that have given rise to the breathtaking competence of U.S. special operations forces, and finds that one man is primarily responsible. This, to borrow the words of Ragnar Danneskjöld, is a story of what happens when brute force encounters mind and force. Speaking of intelligence, ability, and heroism, sculptor Sandra J. Shaw explains, among other things, how she captures such qualities in the subjects of her works, including her bronze busts of Ayn Rand and Michelangelo. Several images accompany this lengthy interview, and Ms. Shaw's bust of Rand graces the current cover of the journal. Fuel for the soul from beginning to end. In addition to the above articles and interviews are film reviews of Captain America (directed by Joe Johnston) and Lifting King Kong (directed by Park Geon-yong) as well as book reviews of A Time to Betray by Reza Kahlili, Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Fear by Peter Godwin, The Bourgeois Virtues by Deirdre N. McCloskey, Gauntlet by Barbara Masin, Crashing Through by Robert Kurson, The Extra 2% by Jonah Keri, Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, and My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke. Enjoy the articles, interviews, and reviews, and have a wonderful and productive fall. —Craig Biddle
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: America, Mexico
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 12-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Now that the 2012 GOP presidential nominee is almost certain to be either Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich (who, in terms of policy and lack of principle, are practically indistinguishable), many on the right are turning their attention to the 2012 Senate races. And they are wise to do so. In the 2010 midterm elections, Republicans gained control of the House but failed to secure a majority in the Senate, leaving Democrats with 53 of 100 seats. Of the 33 Senate seats up for election in 2012, 21 are held by Democrats, 2 by independents. Republicans are likely to retain control of the House, and if they manage to gain control of the Senate as well, they will have the opportunity to repeal Obama Care, Dodd-Frank, and other disastrous laws and regulations, and to begin cutting federal spending. These are crucial short-term goals. But if we want to return America to the free republic it is supposed to be, we must do more than campaign and vote for Republicans. We must embrace and advocate the only principle that can unify our political efforts and ground them in moral fact. That principle pertains to the purpose of government. Government is an institution with a legal monopoly on the use of physical force in a given geographic area. What is the proper purpose of such an institution? Why, morally speaking, do we need it? The proper purpose of government is, as the Founding Fathers recognized, to protect people's inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Government fulfills this vital function, as Ayn Rand put it, by banning the use of physical force from social relationships and by using force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. Insofar as an individual respects rights—that is, insofar as he refrains from assault, robbery, rape, fraud, extortion, and the like—a proper government leaves him fully free to act on his own judgment and to keep and use the product of his effort. Insofar as an individual violates rights—whether by direct force (e.g., assault) or indirect force (e.g., fraud)—a proper government employs the police and courts as necessary to stop him, to seek restitution for his victims, and/or to punish him. Likewise for international relations: So long as a foreign country refrains from using (or calling for) physical force against our citizens, our government properly leaves that country alone. But if a foreign country (or gang) attacks or calls for others to attack us, our government properly employs our military to eliminate that threat. As Thomas Jefferson summed up, a proper government “shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”In order to begin moving America toward good government, we must explicitly embrace this principle, and we must demand that politicians who want our support explicitly embrace it as well. To do so, however, we must understand what the principle means in practice, especially with respect to major political issues of the day, such as “entitlement” programs, corporate bailouts, “stimulus” packages, and the Islamist assault on America. . . .
  • Topic: Government, Islam
  • Political Geography: America
  • 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: 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: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Fall 2010 issue of TOS—and a special welcome to our new Canadian readers who, with this issue, are discovering the Standard via newsstands in Canada's largest bookstore chain, Chapters/Indigo. We are excited to add our northern neighbors to the list of countries we infiltrate with principled discussion of the moral and philosophical foundations of freedom.
  • Topic: Economics, Islam
  • Political Geography: America, Canada
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 10-2010
  • 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.
  • Topic: Islam, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Alex Epstein, Yaron Brook
  • Publication Date: 10-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Islam, War
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Andrew Lewis
  • Publication Date: 12-2009
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Since 9/11, cultural critics and religious apologists have argued the question of Islam's militaristic nature: Is Islam inherently violent, or is it a peaceful religion corrupted by today's Islamic terrorists? Efraim Karsh does not argue that Islam is necessarily more inclined to violence than any other religion, or that today's terrorists have perverted Muhammad's message. Rather, he claims, Islamic culture has always been (and potentially always will be) associated with and spread by bloodshed and violence. This, he believes, is less because of the fundamental tenets of Islam than because of the fact that the religion's leaders and adherents have always been motivated by delusions of imperial grandeur achievable only by force. In trying to explain the motivation behind the attacks of 9/11 and the militancy of today's Islamists in general, Karsh documents Islam's history of political violence. He tells the story of Islam, from Muhammad's rise to power in the early 7th century, through the rule by caliphates of the medieval period, through the rise and fall of the Ottomans, up to today's "renewed quest," headed by terrorists such as Osama bin Laden, for a universal Arabic-Islamic empire. In Karsh's view, Islamic violence has always been driven more by political and imperial ambition than by religious fervor. Recounting key aspects of Islamic history, from Muhammad's many raids; through the persecutions, assassinations, and wars of conquest that followed; through the resurgent violence in the last century, Karsh leaves the reader with no doubt that Islam's past and present have been riddled with violence, and that its future likely will be too. Karsh explains that Islam developed on a foundational premise of an "inextricable link between religious authority and political power," established by Muhammad himself (p. 13). What "made Islam's imperial expansion inevitable" is that Muhammad's umma (community of believers) accepted a credo that combined a universal religion with the necessity of territorial conquest to establish political rule to enforce that faith (p. 18). Islamic Imperialism: A History is not a comprehensive or straightforward history of Islamic empires or culture. Rather it is a history of Islamic leaders' dream (Karsh's word) of achieving a global empire and the actions they have taken toward realizing that dream-a dream that, Karsh argues, can never become a reality. . . . To read the rest of this article, select one of the following options:Subscriber Login | Subscribe | Renew | Purchase a PDF of this article
  • Topic: Islam
  • Author: Alan Germani
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Examines the moral ideas of Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins, exposes some curious truths about their ethics, and provides sound advice for theists and atheists alike who wish to discover and uphold a rational, secular morality.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East