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  1. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog I normally don't watch the news, but while working out last Sundaymorning I saw a FoxNews segment discussing the value of praying to Godto make gasoline prices drop. I couldn't find a transcript... http://ObjectivismOnline.com/archives/003576.html
  2. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged with a free public lecture by Andrew Bernstein Saturday, Nov. 10 in Greenville, S.C. hosted by the New South Objectivists. Dr. Bernstein... http://ObjectivismOnline.com/archives/002945.html
  3. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog Dear Friends of the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism, On Wednesday, March 14th, the Institute will present a public lecture on: "What Went Wrong with the Republican Revolution?" Stephen Moore, the Wall Street Journal 364 Sirrine Hall, 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ***Free PIZZA lunch at 12:30 p.m. *** What is the state of American Political Right in 2007? What happened to the idea of limited-government conservatism? Have conservatives been corrupted by power, or is there something in their basic philosophy that has led them to embrace big government? Is there any meaningful difference today between liberals and conservatives? In answering theses questions, Mr. Moore will discuss how, when, and why Republicans became the party of Big Government and lost their revolutionary fervor to downsize government. Stephen Moore is Senior Economics Writer for the Wall Street Journal editorial page and a member of the Journal's editorial board. Moore is also a commentator for CNBC TV, CNN and FOX networks and National Public Radio's marketplace. It will be tough, but I may be able to swing this. No, not for the free pizza. You just think you know me that well. I think at the root of the "Big Government" problem that Mr. Moore will discuss is the same issue with respect to environmentalism -- cowardice. (Deeper than that is conservative acceptance of mysticism and altruism.) http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002322.html
  4. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist, cross-posted by MetaBlog Lee Sandstead called and then followed up with the following. He wants to make sure that all of our friends in the Carolinas are aware of the following. I am planning on attending. If you make a reservation be sure to mention Lee's name. The rate is only $35 per night. *** Hello my friends! You are invited for a weekend get-away to Founders College at our beautiful 1,200 acre Berry Hill location in South Boston, Virginia on the weekend of March 3rd. Bring yourself, your friends, your family�”bring anyone interested. On Saturday, March 3, there will be a great deal of discussion by Dr. Gary Hull and Tamara Fuller of our vision, including the particulars of our revolutionary curriculum and business model. An exact agenda will be delivered to you shortly. The price to stay for the weekend is $35 per night per room�”that is an 80% discount. So come early and stay late! For $35, I’ll probably be staying on the property myself! Oh, and did I mention that we are only 30 miles from Red Hill, the last plantation and burial place of Patrick Henry? And that we are only 50 miles from Poplar Forest, the summer home of Thomas Jefferson? Let’s go visit! And in the spirit of the weekend, Edward Cline, author of the widely-popular “Sparrowhawk” series will be on site to sell and autograph your books. To reserve a space at this event, please RSVP by telephone (to Ray Weiss at 202.438.6104) or go here by February 22. Here are some relevant links: Official website for Founders College Official website for the Inn at Berry Hill My pictures of Berry Hill Official website for Patrick Henry Official website for Thomas Jefferson’s summer home Official website for Edward Cline
  5. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog Jonathan Hoening is Managing Member of Capitalistpig Asset Management and regular panelist on Fox News "Cashin' In". He shared his efforts to oppose increased SEC regulation of hedge funds. My... http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002278.html
  6. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog Well, we really haven't had that spirit here since 1775. In the final installment of his Sparrowhawk series of novels, Ed Cline writes: In Mecklenburg, North Carolina, the provincial congress on May 31 adopted resolves that suspended the power of all royal authority in North Carolina, and sent them to its delegates at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. The colony thus earned the distinction of being the first to declare its independence from Britain, more than a year before the United Colonies -- or, as Patrick Henry preferred to refer to them, "The United States" -- declared their independence. [Sparrowhawk Book Six: War, Cline, p.193] Is there any remnant of that spirit here in Mecklenburg County? Or in North Carolina? The spirit which lead the independence away from Britain and towards the free United States of America. I don't see it. Instead there is a growing dependence upon government and against freedom. Examples include: 1. A government funded arena which voters rejected 57% to 43%, but the powers that be built anyway. 2. A light rail system which few will ride, attempts to force people to live in certain areas, continues to grow beyond double its original cost, and boosted our sales tax over 8% -- all in the face of evidence which shows every light rail system in the country has failed. 3. Recent news that Charlotte is once again the most highly taxed city in North Carolina. There are more examples -- how could I forget Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools? The point is that governnment-initiated force against individuals continues to rise in Charlotte Mecklenburg. The spirit in 1775 represented a trend in the complete opposite direction -- setting the proper role of government as the protector of individuals from those who initiate force. Government is now the criminal in Charlotte Mecklenburg. There is some controversy about the existence of the Mecklenburg Resolves. Here is the opening as published in the Raleigh Register in 1819: 1. Resolved, That whosoever directly or indirectly abetted, or in any way, form, or manner, countenanced the unchartered and dangerous invasion of our rights, as claimed by Great Britain, is an enemy to this County, to America, and to the inherent and inalienable rights of man. 2. Resolved, That we the citizens of Mecklenburg County, do hereby dissolve the political bands which have connected us to the Mother Country, and hereby absolve ourselves from all allegiance to the British Crown, and abjure all political connection, contract, or association, with that Nation, who have wantonly trampled on our rights and liberties¬and inhumanly shed the innocent blood of American patriots at Lexington. Notice the focus upon rights. There is more evidence of The Tryon Resolves, from Tryon County, North Carolina. They were drafted and signed a few months later on August 14, 1775: The unprecedented, barbarous and bloody actions committed by British troops on our American brethren near Boston, on 19th Apriland 20th of May last, together with the hostile operations and treacherous designs now carrying on, by the tools of ministerial vengeance, for the subjugation of all British America, suggest to us the painful necessity of having recourse to arms in defense of our National freedom and constitutional rights, against all invasions; and at the same time do solemnly engage to take up arms and risk our lives and our fortunes in maintaining the freedom of our country... It is clear that this region was full of revolutionary spirit with a focus upon freedom. Is there a chance that could ever return? Can the people of Charlotte Mecklenburg perform a 180 degree turnaround? I think it is possible and I am more than hopeful. The seeds are in the ground here in the Carolinas. It may take a few decades, but there is promise. http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002270.html
  7. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog Well, we really haven't had that spirit here since 1775. In the final installment of his Sparrowhawk series of novels, Ed Cline writes: In Mecklenburg, North Carolina, the provincial congress on... http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002270.html
  8. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog The Super Bowl really is about goal-achievement: But how can heroic stature arise from a perfectly useless act like carrying a football across a goal line? The answer is that the non-utilitarian nature of sporting goals provides a limited, safe context in which everyone's focus can be on the process of goal-achievement as such, not on the particular nature or value of the goal. Much more from Tom Bowden here. Go Bears! http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002245.html
  9. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog It looks like I foresaw a split in the environmentalist camp. Last week, while writing about Al Gore's "Inconvenient Interview" I noted: Maybe the fact that even the United Nations, which one would think would lead the hysterical global warming charge, has a view different from Gore's has him a bit shaken. If Gore is truly right, why wouldn't he spread his message unabashedly to all listeners. It looks like he has something to hide -- knowledge. And that behavior by itself doesn't prove Gore is wrong, but it sure is motive for doubt about his claims. At The Reference Frame, physicist Lubos Motl: Just like in the case of the Catholic Church and Protestants, the environmentalist church of consensus is going to split. Everyone in the church agrees that there is a 100% consensus among all experts but unfortunately the two equally strong groups of experts disagree what the consensus says. and... The IPCC report is going to say that Antarctica won't see any significant difference even if CO2 levels continue to grow. In fact, Antarctica has seen some cooling and increased precipitation is raising the total amount of ice mass on this continent, as the IPCC report also mentions. The frequent readers of this blog also know that Greenland has cooled down in the last 70 years, too. Its ice mass seems to be increasing there as well. Lubos notes that some are protesting the IPCC's view because it gives the wrong "impression": The goal of a scientific report is apparently to "give the right impression". Without "impression", there would be no environmentalist movement. "Impression" is an important philosophical term and extremely applicable to the global warming hysteria. "Impressions" have their root in Democritus' materialist, atomist epistemology. Democritus did not support an objective reality which you and I perceive with our senses and then seek to understand through concept formation and logic. Instead, Democritus thought that we can not really know reality through thought. We have only "impressions": ...t follows that thought, which knows the true real, can be explained only from an impression which this truly real makes upon the fiery atoms, -- explained therefore itself only through the efflux of such images. As a psychological process, therefore, thought is the same as perception... Odd and fantastic as this sounds, the indications are yet all in favour of the supposition that Democritus drew this conclusion from the presuppositions of his materialistic psychology. This psychology knew no independent, internal mechanisms of ideas or conscious states, but only an arising of ideas through the motions of atoms. Hence it regarded ideas that were evidently deceptive as also "impressions" and sought for these the exciting images. [Windelband, p.114 - 115]. The environmentalist movement clearly supports this epistemology and bombards you and me with atomistic images in order to make an "impression". Instead of making a scientific case based upon hierarchy and context, we are indundated with pictures of floating icebergs and dripping water in order to make an impression. Two thousand years later, David Hume carried on the idea of impressions: Only in characterising Hume's doctrine, it must not be forgotten that this absolutely certain matter-of-fact quality, which belongs to impressions, is solely that of their presence as mental states. In this meaning and restriction intuitive knowledge embraces not only the facts of inner experience, but also those of outer experience, but at the price of recognising that the latter are properly only species of the former, -- a knowledge, that is, of mental states. [Windelband, p. 472] Translation: "Sure you can attain certainty, but not certainty based upon reality, but a certainty based upon what you make up in your head." Thus, scientific knowledge based upon reality and built hierarchically and in context is not important. You can just be certain of what you have made up in your head. And what is in that head? Just impressions of contextless melting glaciers. The result is the explanation for the success of the global warming religion -- materialist and skeptic view that we can't really know reality ("I just can't or don't want to know") coupled with an intrinsicist "I just know based upon whatever I feel." This is why both liberals and conservatives support environmentalism -- and why science is dismissed. The growth in religious belief over the past two decades is both a reflection of the increased intrinsicism in the culture and an aid to those who wish to believe in environmentalism. I, however, am not "impressed" with either. http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002244.html
  10. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog Yesterday in my thoughts about Robert Tracinski's "What Went Right?" essay, I noted: But there do have to be fundamental ideas, someone needs to package them into a system, and someone needs to advocate them -- or else they won't spread. That someone is a philosopher -- whether it is Augustine, or Plato, or Aristotle, or Aquinas, or Kant, or Democritus, or Ayn Rand or whomever. And it is those systems of ideas which have both identified and driven the history of the world with varying consequences -- from the splendor of ancient Greece to the Dark Ages to the Englightenment to the horrors of the 20th century and now who knows where in the future. If you wish to spread ideas, the value of pointing to a philosopher makes the job easier. The key word is integration. To the greater degree that a philosopher can provide an integrated philosophy, the more important the philosopher. One may not like Kant, but one can not discount his integrated approach -- and his influence. From personal experience -- prior to becoming aware of Ayn Rand, I was an implicit "believer" in reason. Religion was not an important factor and in fact I had told my girlfriend in 8th grade that I thought I was an atheist. I couldn't explain why other than religion didn't make sense. That didn't keep me away from religion as I participated in various groups, mostly for the social aspects, over the next few years. But most important to me was understanding "why" and what was real. I remembering listening to adults and wondering where they got their opinions. Why did some ideas make sense? Why did some ideas some crazy? How would I ever decide what to say? Politically, I endorsed "capitalism" without a definition. I knew it produced prosperity. I knew communism was bad because of the experience and stories of my Russian grandparents. In the end, I was a "secular capitalist" (as Andy Bernstein once told me). But as you can see, I held a hodgepodge of ideas all loosely connected but unknown as to how by me. I spent several years "shopping" for the connection. Was it religion? Conservatives? Libertarians? Liberals? None of them could provide a case that was both integrated and made sense. Until I read "Atlas Shrugged" and followed up with other works by Ayn Rand. Now I had the tools to determine on my own what was right and wrong -- and most importantly why. I could see that ideas connected. Metaphysics to epistemology to ethics to politics -- it all made sense. I was able to begin to judge the good and bad ideas I held and the keep the good and toss the bad. That is the value of a philosopher -- to provide an integrated view of life at all levels. Philosophers build systems of thought -- not random catch-alls. Thus, when Robert Tracinski says the following, he is incorrect: Unfortunately, that has been an implication of the common Objectivist interpretation of the role of ideas in history. In this view, all important intellectual trends begin in books written by philosophers and are then propagated downward into a culture's political ideas, its art, its sense of life. Of course, good ideas (such as reason) can be passed from person to person implicitly and without the knowledge of the important philosophers. Without a doubt that happens everyday. But the risky result is individuals and cultures won't have a clue as to the essentials of what they know and why they are important. Without an integrated view individuals and cultures can easily lose the good and their confidence. Ideas are important. They are sacred to human life. They must be defined carefully and integrated with other ideas in order to provide value to human life and to be preserved. Individuals need to be able to access explicit abstract ideas in order to use them. And that is what philosophers are important. http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002169.html
  11. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog Originally posted on HBL. *** The Pope recently made a distinction between Christianity and Islam. His primary message was the god of Islam is completely transcendent and has no interaction with us. The message is that we are to simply follow the will of Allah. On the other hand, God of Christianity is connected to us. The link, the Pope says, is "reason". At first this sounds interesting. It seems the Pope advocates reason. Is it possible that Pope Benedict is a modern-day Thomas Aquinas? Reviewing the Pope's statement, I doubt he is speaking of reason as Objectivists do. He criticizes "modern reason" as limited through a 3-step process he terms "dehellenization." Steps 1 and 2: Behind this thinking lies the modern self-limitation of reason, classically expressed in Kant's "Critiques", but in the meantime further radicalized by *the impact of the natural sciences*. Step 3 is stripping the Greek spirit from the New Testament. That Greek spirit is Platonic. The Pope's solution is to remove these limitations upon reason and to expand reason. He calls for "the right use of reason," "reason as a whole," "breadth of reason." This is achieved: if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the *empirically verifiable* . . . A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. I think the "non-deaf" reason is Philo's "logos" as described by Wilhelm Windelband: The Logos is Reason as coming forth from the deity ("uttered Reason") . . . With this Logos doctrine the first step was taken toward filling the cleft between God and the sensible world. (Windelband, p. 241--242). Throughout, the Pope refers to "logos": The courage to engage the whole breadth of reason, and not the denial of its grandeur--this is the programme with which a theology grounded in Biblical faith enters into the debates of our time. 'Not to act reasonably (with *logos*) is contrary to the nature of God', said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great *logos*, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. And: ...the truly divine God is the God who has revealed himself as logos and, as logos, has acted and continues to act lovingly on our behalf. Certainly, love "transcends" knowledge and is thereby capable of perceiving more than thought alone (cf. Eph 3:19); nonetheless it continues to be love of the God who is logos. And: In the beginning was the logos, and the logos is God, says the Evangelist. "Logos" has many meanings. But, in this case it is Philo's. Kant and the Pope are two sides of the same coin. They both present a distorted view of reason. Objectivists should oppose the Pope's efforts just as they do Kant's. Originally posted by Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist, ReBlogged by Meta Blog http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002168.html
  12. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002167.html
  13. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog Martin Lindeskog says: As an American in spirit, I have entered the green card lottery. Let's hope he gets his card. I don't think there is anyone in Europe more deserving. http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002152.html
  14. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog There is always a scam behind every hysteria. The global warming hysteria masks a fascist/socialist agenda. The bird flu hysteria is no different. From Reuters: Global efforts to fight bird flu need $1.2-1.5 billion extra funding over the next two to three years, the World Bank said on Monday, advocating more effective compensation for poultry farmers caught in the front line. In a report prepared for distribution at a conference this week in the West African country of Mali, the Bank outlined funding needs over and above $1.9 billion pledged in January in Beijing, including an extra $466 million for Africa alone.... ...The report noted the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu strain had killed 76 people already this year, almost matching the death toll from the previous three years. The disease had spread to 55 countries, compared with just 16 at the end of 2005... "Experience suggests that compensation schemes are particularly susceptible to fraud, error and abuse," it said. Oh, let us not forget the scare tactics: But it said the sums were a fraction of the potential $1.5-$2 trillion costs of a severe human influenza pandemic. Scientists fear the deadly virus could mutate into a version able to pass between people, triggering a global pandemic which could potentially kill tens of millions of people. The United Nations has no moral right to loot or distribute these funds. That is the primary moral argument. Practically, why is it that 250 million birds have died, but only 200 or so humans over the past 4 years or so? I would like to know what these idiots who are dying of bird flu are doing with these birds. It is next to impossible to get this virus into a human being. Wait a minute...Stars & Stripes has the answer. This is not a potential pandemic -- this is morons not washing their hands. People also should practice good hygiene habits, including washing their hands, Lund said. and... Lt. Col. Eric T. Lund, 18th Medical Command preventive medicine consultant, said Wednesday that military community members across the peninsula should be "be aware of it, but not worried." Most cases of infection result from direct contact with the poultry, their feces or with discharges from the birds' mouths and beaks, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Another threat is from eating or handling undercooked or raw poultry products. Lund said people should not avoid eating chicken or eggs, as long as the food is well cooked. "No pink chicken, no runny yolks," he said. Bottom line: Easy way to save several billions dollars...Wash your hands like yo' momma told you, cook your food, and for God's sake stop playing with bird feces and beak discharges.</em> http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002147.html
  15. By Andy from The Charlotte Capitalist,cross-posted by MetaBlog Islam, 1984, & Moderates Ed Cline at Rule of Reason: It is not possible to win the "hearts and minds" of dedicated, or even semi-dedicated Muslims. Islam is one of the most "heartless" of religions. It tolerates good will among only Muslims, and even then it is conditional. As for kaffirs and other non-believers, it is open season on them at the whim of Islam's clerics and rulers. And as for "minds," Islam is more hostile to them than is Christianity. It is a "God says so because Mohammad said so" faith from top to bottom. This is why one rarely hears from "moderate" Muslims. They are caught between allegiance to the rational and allegiance to the utter irrationality of Islamic tenets and dictates, their convictions divided between remaining loyal to Allah and heeding Mohammad and being loyal to some semblance of wanting to live on earth (just as many Christians are, but much more pathologically). He compares Islam to Orwell's 1984. Check it out.</b></em> http://ObjectivismOnline.com/blog/archives/002150.html
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