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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"

    Is NATO a moral institution?

    NewbieOist
    By NewbieOist,
    Trump has been criticizing NATO, calling it "obsolete" and threatening to pull funding for it. This has rattled both liberal internationalists as well as "hawkish" American conservatives. I'm far from a Trump supporter, but I'm skeptical of the morality of NATO's purpose to say the least. It seems like pure collectivism: all these countries pool their military resources allegedly for everyone's benefit, but of course we as the country with the biggest defense budget end up pulling the most weight for the least benefit. Is that not a fair assessment of it? When I argue with NATO defenders that the U.S. military should only be for defending Americans and that other countries should have to rely on themselves, they claim I'm just ignorant of history, that without NATO Russia would invade and conquer all of Europe. Sounds highly far-fetched to me. The conservatives in particular talk about how NATO is critical to our "standing" as a "world power" (world power, world's policeman, potato, potAHto). They have this romanticized view of the purpose of our military, that we should use it to be "the good guys", fighting to defend innocents around the world (like we're Superman or something). And hey, what about all the non-U.S. NATO members who died fighting in Afghanistan because of 9/11? Yeah, I respond, it was immoral of them to sacrifice their troops when we were the ones who were attacked (and besides, we stayed way too long and lost sight of our mission in Afghanistan anyway). Liberals, of course, snarl at me that I'm "isolationist" and "cold-hearted", that we and Europe should be "united" in matters of war because, well, we just should. Was there every any moral basis for NATO's existence? As a young person (32) I may be speaking from naivete, but it seems to me that even at the height of the Cold War NATO didn't serve our national self-interest (national self-interest defined as the self-defense of individual Americans as delegated to the U.S. government). Russia was never going to attack us because we always outpaced them on military spending, particularly on nuclear weapons development (Mutually Assured Destruction and all that), so we didn't need other countries to be prepared to come to our aid. It was all about preparing to sacrifice American troops to protect Europe from invasion, and I can't see any moral justification for that. Tying this back to the present, there are those who fear that Putin is trying to bring back the Cold War (based on his buddying up with Assad in Syria, I'd say he's at least up to no good, that's for sure) and therefore, it's claimed, we must be prepared to defend our allies should he attack them. As one conservative on Twitter put it (paraphrasing), "The very reason to prevent the breakup of NATO is that Putin is for it." But I say we shouldn't play that game, that we should never have been in NATO to begin with. If Putin is scheming at rebuilding Russian power to its Cold War-era height, let him. As long as we don't fall behind on our own defense (and given our $500+ billion military budget, we'd have to fall a long way), we need not fear a direct attack, and we should just wait for his plans to inevitably collapse. Yes, he might invade Europe (although it's unlikely) and many innocents would die in that case (not to mention the destruction to the global economy, which WOULD hurt us, I don't doubt), but that would be on Putin's hands, not ours. Besides, I'm skeptical that Russia even has the resources to go back to the good ol' days of trying to take over the world what with oil prices plummeting and the ruble weakening.

    Reblogged:Will Trump Downsize the Square Foot Next?

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    At RealClear Markets, editor John Tamny considersthe president-elect's repeated assertions that the dollar is "too strong," in light of history recent-enough for someone Donald Trump's age to remember, economic principles, and analogous cases. His last paragraph serves as an apt summary: This should also serve as a wake-up call for anyone who thinks Trump's business acumen or cabinet picks reveal him to be the antidote we need to decades of central "planning" and intrusive government.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Is Free Speech under Attack? Join Steve Simpson and Flemming Rose on Jan. 24 and Feb. 1

    ARI Media Feed
    By ARI Media Feed,
    Free speech is a bedrock principle throughout the Western world, but increasingly it is being challenged — on college campuses, among intellectuals and in politics — in the name of preventing “hate” speech or offensive speech or protecting allegedly “marginalized” groups. Link to original

    Reblogged:Toxic Humor (DE Wave)

    Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.
    By Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.,
    “Many a truth is said in jest.” But where does joking end, and emotional abuse begin? One of the most common complaints I hear about people from family members or friends is that, “He pretends that he’s joking, but I know he’s not.” Years ago, I knew a man who was constantly “joking” with his family. He’d make fun of his daughter’s hair, his wife’s work habits or his son’s performance in school. They would tell him that his remarks were neither constructive nor helpful. When I confronted him about it, he said to me, “Is there anything wrong with constructive criticism?” I told him no, but that he had to be careful that he was actually constructive about it. It was obvious that he was well aware that his “jokes” were much more than that. He went on to say, “I think my family is too thin-skinned. There’s nothing wrong with a little humor.” Humor, I replied, is contextual. There’s no point to a joke if the other person isn’t laughing. If they don’t think your humor is funny, then you stop and share it later with someone who does. He had no reply. And he continued to “joke” with his family in a way that resulted in their long-term resentment and bitterness. Of course, some people ARE too thin-skinned. They’re resentful about the slightest thing, and they hate being criticized, even constructively. But there are situations where just the opposite is true. Humor is used as a way to sneak in criticism and condemnation — with the “humorist” not having to take responsibility for what he’s doing. I call this “stealth humor.” Instead of saying, “Here’s why I think you’re wrong,” the attacker gets to make fun of you for free. Stealth humor is cowardly. It’s better to “own” your criticism than to hide behind the excuse that “I was only joking.” Psychological abusers employ stealth humor because they know their criticisms aren’t valid. And that’s beside the point anyway, because the verbal abuser isn’t trying to help anybody. His veiled disapproval is meant to make you feel bad so he can feel better about himself. Stealth humor is perfect for anyone who is too spineless to criticize openly and stand behind his opinions. Stealth humor isn’t always deliberate, and sometimes the “humorist” is afraid to make his or her point openly. He or she tries to “lighten the mood” while still trying to make a point. It confuses the situation to introduce humor when you’re trying to make a serious point, and the point is lost anyway in the needless hurt it caused. Some who engage in stealth humor absorb it over the years from parents or others, and it becomes so second nature that it seems natural — to them. I once knew a woman who, while smiling and laughing, would snidely convey her disapproval. I could never quite figure out why she did this until I spent time with both her and her mother, who did the very same thing to her. Bingo! It all became clear. “Many a truth is said in jest” should not be taken literally, because the “truth” is not always true. Criticism isn’t always reasonable, and truth may not always be the motive. Like physical abusers, subtle abusers are trying to gain a sense of personal power and control. And none of this has anything to do with humor. Joking definitely has its place; some of the most effective people use wit and intelligence to blend the relaxing posture of laughter with serious matters. It’s most definitely an art as well as a skill. But I have watched, in horror, the development of a society in which people have become so thin-skinned and self-important that they cannot tolerate the slightest joke or criticism about anything or anyone. Humor, like any powerful force, can be used constructively, or it can be downright toxic. Follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael  Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1   The post Toxic Humor (DE Wave) appeared first on Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D. | Living Resources Center. View the full article @ www.DrHurd.com

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