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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:Best Buy, Amazon Converge

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    The Los Angeles Times carries a storyabout why Best Buy, which looked like it would succumb to Amazon only a few years ago, has returned to profitability. The strategy looks like an interesting mix of (1) better exploiting any advantages they already had over Amazon, (2) eliminating any advantage Amazon had that they could do something about, (3) learning new ways to serve customers from Amazon, and (4) devising new ways to outdo Amazon.

    One of the first moves by Hubert Joly, appointed CEO in 2012, was to match Amazon's pricing. This both eliminated one of Amazon's advantages and turned "showrooming" into an advantage for electronics customers: They could look at potential purchases and even get advice from a human being -- and then not have to wait for delivery. But Joly very wisely didn't stop there: Joly makes Amazon sound one-dimensional to me, here, and it is clear that I'm hardly the only one to have noticed. The article later mentions something I'd already been hearing about off and on lately: Amazon's forays into brick-and-mortar stores and customer service. Like Sears before it, Amazon is hardly killing retail: It and its successful competitors are revolutionizing it.

    -- CAV Link to Original

    Reblogged:Winners and Losers

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    A Wall Street Journal story about an estimated "subsidy" of $1.46 per Amazon box delivered by the U.S. Postal Service brings up the common conservative lament about the government "picking winners and losers" when it meddles in the economy:
    I agree that the government should stop "picking winners and losers," but simply enforcing a rule about the operation of an agency that shouldn't even exist isn't the way to do this. Why? Because anything the government does outside its proper purpose of protecting individual rights constitutes "picking winners and losers." When the government, in violation of the right to contract, establishes a monopoly in some enterprise, the principle that adults should be free to exercise their best judgment loses. Consequently, those who might innovate in that industry are impeded or thwarted along with their potential customers -- and those who fear competition on merit win. When government subsidizes an enterprise (like the post office), it compounds the same sins with theft at the expense of the productive -- leaving the unproductive as winners. Do note that, due to the nature of principles, there are always more losers than meet the eye (and, thanks to precedent and the fact that controls breed controls, vast potential for more losers). This pool of losers often includes the "winners," whose gains may be illusory and, in any event, are not protected by the now-violated principles. Furthermore, any material gains are wholly dependent on the continued prosperity of those now hobbled by legal parasitism. For example, I can't help but wonder, in this story, about whether this "gift card from Uncle Sam" even begins to make up for all the taxes Amazon, the "winner" in this story, is paying. (Clearly, if the author gets his wish, even that wouldn't be for long.)

    It does not matter whether Amazon lobbied in some way to continue getting this "gift card" or it is simply taking advantage of a dumb state of affairs not of its own making: Anyone truly serious about the government getting out of the business of "picking winners and losers" should question the whole premise of the government entanglement with the economy. The problem isn't that (at worst) a company that would get along fine without a "subsidy" is getting one, it's that we are being ordered around, and having our pockets picked for the privilege. Those subsidies come from somewhere, and, since money doesn't grow on trees, that means they come from someone.

    I'd happily pay a little more for the convenience of shopping at Amazon, but I suspect that shipping might actually be a lot cheaper without (for example) the government forcing us to support the Post Office or strangling new technologies, such as commercial drones, with the uncertainty of bureaucratic regulatory whim.

    -- CAV

    P.S.: For yet another equally ridiculous conservative effort to "level the playing field", please refer to my old column on "efairness". Oddly enough, Amazon is the persecuted minority there, too. Link to Original

    US Communism Survey

    Laika
    By Laika,
    The Victims of Communism memorial foundations started doing an annual survey on American's attitudes to Socialism in 2016. As its not a subject that gets much coverage, information on public attitudes is pretty sparse so I thought it would be worth sharing. here is the report: http://victimsofcommunism.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/VOC-Report-101316.pdf The raw data from YouGov is here: http://victimsofcommunism.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/VOC-Attitudes-toward-Socialism-Topline-Data.pdf As a summary here are some details of the reports findings (listed below) from the link here: http://victimsofcommunism.org/new-report-reveals-u-s-attitudes-on-socialism-communism-on-eve-of-2016-election/ Basic Knowledge of Communism is Lacking: ·      Approximately one in four Americans (26%) and one-third of millennials (32%) believe more people were killed under George W. Bush than Joseph Stalin; ·      Nearly 7 in 10 (68%) of all Americans and nearly 6 in 10 (59%) of Generation Z (ages 16-20) falsely believe that more people were killed under Hitler than Stalin; ·      A vast majority (75%) underestimate the number of people killed by Communist regimes (more than 100 million); ·      Many millennials are unfamiliar with communist leaders – Mao: 42%; Guevara: 40%; Stalin: 18%; Lenin: 33%; Putin 18% ·      Of those millennials familiar with Vladimir Lenin, 25% have a favorable view of him Younger Americans Have Sharply Different Views of Communism and Socialism than Older Americans: ·      Roughly half of millennials (55%) believe Communism was and still is a problem – compared with 80% of Baby Boomers and 91% of elderly Americans; ·      While 57% of all Americans have a “very unfavorable” view of communism, that view is shared by just 37% of millennials and 38% of Generation Z; ·      64% of Americans agreed with the classic Karl Marx statement that underpins Marxist philosophy: “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs”; ·      Nearly half of Generation Z (45%) say they would vote for a socialist; 1 in 5 (21%) say they would vote for a communist;  Turning Against Capitalism – the “Bernie Sanders Bounce”: ·      A majority of millennials (53%) believe America’s economic system works against them; ·      4 in 10 Americans call for a “complete change” of America’s economic system to ensure highest earners pay their fair share; ·      64% of elderly Americans (age 65+) held a favorable view of capitalism, versus 42% of millennials; ·      Younger Americans were far less likely to agree with ideas of capitalist Milton Friedman (Gen Z: 55%; millennials: 58%) than they were Bernie Sanders (Gen Z: 71%; millennials: 71%).  Any Thoughts?

    Reblogged:The ADA vs. Opportunity

    Gus Van Horn blog
    By Gus Van Horn blog,
    In a book review of Russell Redenbaugh's Shift the Narrative, John Tamny notes that its author, blinded during high school, might not have had much of a chance to prosper had the Americans with Disabilities Act been law shortly after his graduation: Like countless unskilled workers who are willing to compete on price and are shut out of the labor market by minimum wage laws, disabled Americans (and their potential employers) are being robbed of opportunity by being legally barred from making themselves more competitive.

    That the government feels the need to stick its nose into any contractual agreement between consenting adults (that doesn't violate individual rights) is bad enough. The fact that it does so in the name of "helping" someone with a disadvantage -- and makes things worse than they already are -- is an outrage.

    -- CAV

    P.S. In the name of even-handedness, I must acknowledge the following: So, to be fair, the ADA actually does create opportunities for some people. Link to Original

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