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    Objectivism Is The Everyman's Philosophy

    In the universe, what you see is what you get,

    figuring it out for yourself is the way to happiness,

    and each person's independence is respected by all

  • Rand's Philosophy in Her Own Words

    • "Metaphysics: Objective Reality"Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed/Wishing won’t make it so." "The universe exists independent of consciousness"
    • "Epistemology: Reason" "You can’t eat your cake and have it, too." "Thinking is man’s only basic virtue"
    • "Ethics: Self-interest" "Man is an end in himself." "Man must act for his own rational self-interest" "The purpose of morality is to teach you[...] to enjoy yourself and live"
    • "Politics: Capitalism" "Give me liberty or give me death." "If life on earth is [a man's] purpose, he has a right to live as a rational being"
  • Objectivism Online Chat

    Reblogged:Contra Zoning? Not Really.

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Over at Future of Capitalism is an interesting blog post regarding zoning. The New York Times, it notes, has just come out in favor of relaxed zoning laws:
    The ensuing commentary seems to take this at face value and makes the following interesting point, with which I substantially agree:
    I completely agree with Future of Capitalism that appealing to self-interest could more successfully pave the way to "relax zoning rules" than altruism. This could help those who would want to try relocating to a city to improve their fortunes. However, the appeal to self-interest needs to start sooner and the implications taken much farther than the Times would ever go, or care to admit.

    The Times does not speak of, say, relaxing zoning on the way towards its abolition. It also does not even mention the idea of property rights, which zoning violates and it is the government's (actual) job to protect. Consider also the fact that the reason this call for allegedly relaxed zoning is to do something the government ought not be doing. The reasons for the pitch Future of Capitalism sees as necessary hint at how this will play out: Since zoning subsumes many of the purposes other legal mechanisms, such as restrictive covenants, ought to serve, people understandably make expensive real estate decisions based on the assumption that zoning will still be around to "protect" their investments. This is why it becomes necessary to worry that people who buy houses with the expectation that they won't have to live in the shadow of a high-rise might not like the idea of "relaxed zoning." So, while it may be true that city dwellers can benefit from higher density, the real problem is that zoning laws can be changed at the drop of a hat in ways that restrictive covenants can not. Fighting for "relaxed zoning" rather than a program to abolish zoning altogether is thus meaningless. The Times poses as capitalist only so it can keep zoning intact, and turn around and use it as a tool to allegedly help poor hillbillies while actually running roughshod over the city slickers.

    If the Times deserves any credit, it might be for admitting that zoning harms the poor. But even that much credit is debatable: Zoning, by violating property rights, harms everyone. (Here is one another example.) As such, it should be opposed root and branch, and we should be wary of apparent changes of heart, such as that by the Times. Mere opposition to a bad policy (or part of one, or how one is used) is nowhere near as important as the reasons for that opposition. Zoning has always been excused by appeals to the fiction of the "public interest," and this "relaxation" is only in the sense convenient to those who claim to speak for "the public."

    I agree that we should appeal to the self-interest of the electorate on the subject of zoning -- because repealing it will better protect property rights: Landowners who want low density can guarantee low density through contracts, and developers who wish to build high rises will be able to do so without political opposition or the threat of same.

    If the Times really wanted to help the poor, it would go the extra mile to argue for a careful and systematic phasing-out of all zoning laws. In doing so, it would pave the way for increased prosperity for all, by way of enabling all of us to put our own property to the use we judge best.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Reblogged:Friday Hodgepodge

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Four Things

    Five, counting the picture.
    What's this? My "Little Man dozes off on the couch" checklist, of course. See P.S. 1. Answering a question from my daughter about whether chickens "poop out" eggs, I mispronounced the term cloaca, sounding more Roman than American in the process. (I  blame years of Latin for this.) My wife quickly corrected me, advising Pumpkin to check with her for pronunciation of new words, but with me for spelling.

    As if our division of labor isn't weird enough already...

    2. Pumpkin took her unicorn headband with her on an outing and, predictably, grew tired of it. Stuck carrying it, I put it on at one point and got her attention. "A manicorn does not look good," was her immediate verdict.

    3. Pumpkin has often amazed me with her ability to spot things that blend into backgrounds. I recently inadvertently put that use.

    I had lost my black-framed eyeglasses earlier in the day, and was afraid that they might get damaged, so I warned the kids: "You don't have to go looking for them, but watch out for my glasses when we get home. I lost them, and I'm worried that someone might sit on them or step on them."

    Within minutes of getting home, my daughter piped up, "Daddy, I found your glasses!"

    Where were they? On a black step stool in the downstairs bathroom.

    4. My kids are at their most talkative on the ride home from school. During our last couple of days in Baltimore, while we were using a hotel, my son relayed to me a most interesting dream he'd had the night before. He told me about how monsters were attacking his sister, and he fought them off by kicking them.

    I got a good laugh out of Pumpkin when I mentioned a strange coincidence: He had woken me up that very night, by repeatedly kicking me in the back.

    -- CAV

    P.S. What's up with the picture, Van Horn?

    I'm glad you asked. My son, who can sleep like a log, sometimes dozes off on the couch before bedtime. Rather than wake him, I just picked him up one evening and deposited him in his bed. Waking at two in the morning, he became quite upset that he was not in his pajamas. The next day, he created the pictured bedtime checklist for me, so I wouldn't forget that important step in the future.

    Two things about the image. (1) Kids his age flip things around from left to right, so I flipped it around for better "flow" (2) It's on moving paper, hence all the crinkles. Link to Original

    Notes and Comments on "The Virtue of Nationalism"

    Grames
    By Grames,
    The Virtue of Nationalism is a new book in political philosophy by Yoram Hazony.  Hazony here operates at the level of philosophy because he works with wide abstractions, has a sharp critique of Locke's Second Treatise on Government, provides an alternative to that tradition of rationalist political philosophy, and uses that conceptual framework to integrate a variety of current disparate controversies into coherent view of fronts where two different political philosophies are conflicting. Here in this topic I plan to go over the book chapter by chapter and provide a review in outline form of what he claims as I've done with other works listed in my signature block.  Since those other works were all by Objectivists and this one is not I will also provide comments of my own relating the points made to the Objectivist perspective.  Others are welcome to post comments or questions as well in between my content posts because I won't catch everything there may be to say or question and my focus here is not as much on presentation and continuity as when I covered a lecture series. I'll just plunge in and get started by paraphrasing his introduction. Introduction Britain voted for Brexit.  America voted for Trump.  Oh no, this is reversion to warmongering and racism. But wait a minute.  Until a few decades ago nationalism was associated with broad-mindedness and generosity.  Woodrow Wilson's "Fourteeen Points" and Churchill/Roosevelt's Atlantic Charter were progressive because independence and national self-determination for enslaved and colonized people around the globe were good things.  Statesmen from Mahatma Ghandi to David Ben-Gurion led nationalist political movements.  Why was nationalism thought to be a good thing then but not now? I, Yoram Hazony, a Jewish Israeli Zionist (a type of nationalism) have some insight into the question.  My family moved to Jewish Palestine in the 1920's and 1930's as aspiring nationalists and Israel has been governed continually by nationalists since then.  Nationalism is not a forgotten and now alarming idea in Israel but familiar and normal. Nationalism is the principle that the world is governed best when nations are free to cultivate their own traditions and pursue their own interests without outside interference.  Opposed to that is the principle of Imperialism which holds that the world would be peaceful and prosperous if united under a single political structure.  Pros and cons of each will be considered in turn but note here these principles are contradictory.  One must choose to be one or the other. Nationalism vs Imperialism contest gained new life with fall of Berlin Wall in '89.  After that, two new Imperialist great projects commenced: the European Union and the American "world order".  EU is the Austro-Hungarian Empire restored.  Charles Krauthammer advocated for an American "Universal Dominion" to establish a new pax Americana just like the pax Romana of old.  Both projects involve suppressing the sovereignty of existing nations and are thus identified as imperialist. Open debate and discussion of Nationalism vs. Imperialism has been muted and seemingly deliberately avoided.  The following list of euphemisms have been employed to conceal the imperialist agenda: "new world order," "ever closer union," "openness," "globalization," "global governance," "pooled sovereignty," "rules-based order," "universal jurisdiction," "international community," “liberal internationalism,” “transnationalism,” “American leadership,” “American century,” “unipolar world,” “indispensable nation,” “hegemon,” “subsidiarity,” “play by the rules,” “the right side of history,” “the end of history,” etc.   [footnote 6 of intro notes an uptick in more explicit calls for an American Empire after 9/11/2001]. The time for clear unambiguous reasoned debate on principles is now. This book is a statement of reasons to be a nationalist.  For clarity "globalism" will be taken as a version of the old imperialism.  Also for clarity, "patriotism" will be avoided as a synonym for nationalism because it merely refers to the love or loyalty of an individual for his own nation but not the wider context of a position within political philosophy. The argument will be as folllows: Part One “Nationalism and Western Freedom” will be the basic historical framework for understanding the confrontation between imperialism and nationalism as it has developed among the Western nations.  The aftermath of Hitler is the narrative that "nationalism caused two world wars and the Holocaust.”  It is this narrative that is responsible for nationalism being regarded as unnecessary and even morally suspect. The new imperialism takes liberal theories of the rule of law, the market economy, and individual rights—all of which evolved in the domestic context of national states such as Britain, the Netherlands, and America—to be regarded as universal truths and considered the appropriate basis for an international regime.  Supporters of imperialism have not described nationalism correctly. Part Two “The Case for the National State”.   Three alternatives of political order are described: the order of tribes and clans found in every pre-state society, the international order under an imperialist state, and an order of independent national states.  The admitted economic and security advantages of an unified legal regime for the entire world is a narrow and inadequate basis for the imperialist state because the fundamental political relations at the level of family, tribe, clan and nation are not universal and cannot be made so.   The advantages of an order of independent national states are: provides greatest possibility for collective self-determination; a logical aversion to campaigns of foreign conquest and a de facto tolerance of diverse ways of life ; productive peaceful competition among nations; powerful mutual loyalties are the only known basis for free institutions and individual liberties.   Not every stateless people can have its own independent state so what then? Part Three "Anti-Nationalism and Hate".   The Universalist ideologies that underlie and justify imperial regimes encourage hate toward all who won't cooperate with the imperialist program.  Examples: medieval Catholicism vs the Jews; Islam vs the world; Marxism vs the productive independent; The EU vs Poland, Hungary et al ; globalists vs Israel; etc.  Racism and hate can also be found in nationalist movements and expressed in national rivalries.  Hate is a feature of politics or human nature in general and is not a deciding factor in Nationalism vs. Imperialism. Part Four "The Virtue of Nationalism” The conclusion.  Some brief remarks on the relationship between nationalism and positive personal character traits.

    Reblogged:Lucas on Kyler Murray

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    Writing at Inc., Suzanne Lucas brings up something too many in the public square frequently ignore or fail to account for, when the subject of ill-considered past actions and utterances comes up:
    That something is called context. Lucas notes that many recent trials-by-media have used, as damning evidence, things people have said many years ago, and asks:
    All I can add to this line of thought is the following observation: It is particularly unjust to play this game regarding actions taken by people who were young at the time, before they have learned good judgement, and when they stand the best chance to change for the better.

    Lucas offers her own advice regarding such situations in the form of what really happened on that tram ride. Here is another: When you find someone pummeling another person over something -- non-criminal, and that doesn't cross some truly horrible line -- from their distant past, ask yourself what they might hope to gain by doing so. This goes double for those who dig up dirt on kids.

    -- CAV Link to Original

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