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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 Donald Trump Dangerous?

    DonAthos
    By DonAthos,
    I'm not a huge fan of following ongoing political cycles. In my experience, not much seems to change between one election and the next (on the whole, though I'm sure that there are large differences for some, depending on specific policies), and I generally find it tedious and depressing. While just about every political candidate that our current culture will support is "dangerous," I created this thread because a quote from Donald Trump in a recent Yahoo interview caught my eye. Do I take Donald Trump seriously as a candidate? I don't know. Do I take Yahoo seriously as a news medium? I don't know. But as I say, this quote caught my eye: This seems pretty bold to me, and worrisome. But maybe there's no real cause for worry here, or no cause above and beyond what is typical politician bluster in 2015 America. But what do y'all think? ETA: article link

    Katherine Johnson, the "human computer".

    dream_weaver
    By dream_weaver,
    Wikipedia provides a few pertinent details off the bat: Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson (born August 26, 1918) is an African American physicist, space scientist, and mathematician. She made fundamental contributions to the United States' aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. Particularly compelling to me was the oral history capture there: At first she worked in a pool of technical women performing math calculations, known as computors. Katherine has referred to the women in the pool as virtual "computers who wore skirts." Their main job was to read the data from the black boxes of planes and carry out other precise mathematical tasks. Then one day, Katherine (and a colleague) were temporarily assigned to help the all-male flight research team. Katherine's knowledge of analytic geometry helped make quick allies of male bosses and colleagues to the extent that "they forgot to return me to the pool." While the racial and gender barriers were always there, Katherine says she ignored them. Katherine was assertive, asking to be included in editorial meetings (where no women had gone before.) She simply told people she had done the work and that she belonged. Like pain and/or failure in Atlas Shrugged, she regarded it as inessential. Particularly telling to the same mindset as highlighted in the last two sentences—from the Digg article linked from Vanity Fair: “In math, you’re either right or you’re wrong,” she said. Her succinct words belie a deep curiosity about the world and dedication to her discipline, despite the prejudices of her time against both women and African-Americans. It was her duty to calculate orbital trajectories and flight times relative to the position of the moon—you know, simple things. In this day and age, when we increasingly rely on technology, it’s hard to believe that John Glenn himself tasked Katherine to double-check the results of the computer calculations before his historic orbital flight, the first by an American. The numbers of the human computer and the machine matched.   It's not difficult to relate to a comparable article regarding the number of scientific errors found relying on computerized programs. . . . researchers note that Excel isn't the only spreadsheet program with overly aggressive autoformatting issues — the same errors crop up in open-source programs like LibreOffice Calc and Apache OpenOffice Calc too. I've noticed Excel switch the field type when not wanted. I've encountered other programs that do not match the results for the same problem solved on paper with pencil. In many lines of work, an undetected error in a computer output may result in additional costs to correct it when it is discovered during its physical implementation. John Glenn tasked Katherine Johnson to double-check the computer output for the upcoming launch. To discover an computer error during the physical implementation of that flight could cost John his life. He was astute enough to recognize Katherine's exceptional talents and call upon her to use them.

    Reblogged:The Generation that Isn’t Growing Up: What’s Going On?

    Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.
    By Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.,
    In an article on children, philosopher Stephen Hicks makes an interesting case against homework for school-aged kids. Less interesting than the argument itself are the reasons Hicks provides. He writes: Everyone says that they want children to grow up able to live independent lives and pursue their self-chosen careers passionately. But that aspiration does not fit with a traditional practice of education that teaches children above all to follow instructions without questioning the why. What kind of education will prepare students only for order-following and self-stultifying jobs? One in which rigidly defined school projects are assigned by their authorities. When kids do the schoolwork primarily because they have been told to do so, homework then becomes merely an additional imposition. Kids learn that life is about doing tasks, whether they like it or not, and following orders. In the latter system, most children will learn to accept and go along, hopefully grudgingly, and to that extent let subside their potential for a life fully lived. Only a few will fight to preserve their potential for self actualization by rebelling — often obnoxiously because of their youth — against their teachers, parents, and other perceived representatives of the system. Excellent points. We seem to have created a generation of children whose aspirations and expectations are immensely high, but whose initiative and follow-through are way behind. More young people are living at home with their parents than at any time since the 1930s. Yes, some of this is economic and due to high student loans bills. But it must go deeper than that. As a therapist and a writer, I hear stories every day from people, either about their own kids or their friends’ or relatives’ kids. When I began training as a family therapist in the late 1980s, I never heard of kids living at home with their parents, lacking direction and purpose, unless there was some kind of obvious medical illness or, more frequently, a drug or alcohol addiction. Today, it’s different. I routinely hear stories of people whose kids (or whose friends’ or relatives’ children) are home well into their 20s and even their 30s. They’re not ill, and they don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. Many of them completed college. They’re not particularly irresponsible. But they do seem frightened and insecure while—oddly, and seemingly in contradiction—entitled to a level of comfort and success which nobody can attain as easily as they seem to assume. Even when grown kids are moved out and working, it’s typical and normal for me to hear complaints from the older generation that we didn’t used to hear in the past. “My son [or daughter] has such grand expectations. He can’t understand why he’s not making a million dollars so quickly.” It seems that ambition and expectations young people have of themselves have never been higher, while initiative and follow-through have never been weaker. Of course this is not always true, and I’m not suggesting it’s even the norm (at least yet). But it’s truer than it was several decades ago, and perhaps ever was before. What gives? Here’s a theory. Schools for recent and current generations do it the old way, but with a new twist. The old way was to create passivity and ultimately resentment, by authorities in a command-and-control school system, as Stephen Hicks talks about when he criticizes homework. But in more recent decades, added to that uninspiring approach to education has been an emphasis on self-esteem badly defined. The prevailing definition of self-esteem has been (and still is) to make someone “feel good” about themselves. When you use a subjective standard to define self-esteem, you convey to kids unrealistic ideas such as, “You can be anything you want to be,” or “You’re entitled to be happy.” While some young people challenge and abandon this silliness for the Pollyanna phoniness it is when they reach young adulthood, many internalize and come to believe it. The result is that they expect huge levels of wealth and achievement pretty quickly, but they lack the follow through required to make it happen. They want ends without means; results without effort. To some extent all people (of any generation) are subject to this problem, but in the present generation this appears to have reached epic proportions. Hicks brilliantly sums it up when he says: So we should listen carefully and read between the lines, so to speak, when our children start saying self-assertive things like; “You’re not the boss of me!” And we should reply, “Damned straight, kid. You are the boss of your own life, and our job as adults is to help you become better at it.” Exactly. Kids should be encouraged to be their own persons, not told what to do. Everything about our current approach to education is command-and-control, one-size-fits-all and reign from above. This prepares children for a world in which they follow orders, lack initiative, creativity and skills of innovation. We’re squelching the best within them, and then scratching our heads when they grow up wanting to be instant millionaires without following through on anything other than a video game or looking at the latest pictures on Instagram. You get what you pay for, right? The tragic thing is that taxpayers are pouring billions of dollars a year into public education and what they’re getting for it are an uncertain, confused and oddly overconfident generation who votes for socialism (a means without ends ideology) without even knowing what it really is. It doesn’t bode well for the future, does it? Homework is the least of the problem. I’m not sure where society goes from here. Course corrections are always possible, within individuals as well as whole societies. But it’s hard to instill such deep rooted values and traits as independence, authentic self-esteem and initiative in people who lack these things. Our best hope lies in the small number of people who really do think for themselves to drive and push the world along. We had better reestablish economic freedom, along with individual liberty, as quickly as possible, if future generations are to have a chance. 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 Check out Dr. Hurd’s latest Newsmax Insider column here! The post The Generation that Isn’t Growing Up: What’s Going On? appeared first on Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D. | Living Resources Center. View the full article @ www.DrHurd.com

    Reblogged:Environmentalism Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

    Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.
    By Michael J. Hurd Ph.D.,
    The massive coal-fired plant in Boardman, Ore., is just four years away from being shut down for good – at that point, Oregon coal production will be no more, after the state became the first in the nation to completely ban coal power. The mandate, signed into law earlier this year, was the result of an environmentalist-fueled push by the Democrat-controlled legislature. Under the plan, coal production will end once the Boardman plant shutters in 2020 – utilities would still be able to buy coal power from out of state for another 10 years, until a 2030 deadline to end coal use entirely. But the phase-out already has groups warning that residents are headed for big rate increases and brownouts. The great thing about being an environmentalist? You have no accountability for your actions. Coal, although declining in market demand, is still a major supplier of power. It’s responsible for one-third of electricity in Oregon alone. If rate increases and brownouts occur because of environmentalist rules making coal illegal, environmentalists get to say, “Well, that’s profit-making capitalism for you.” Of course, the environmentalists have interfered in the profit-making market. Public utilities are not private sector entities; they are government-protected monopolies. If you want lower prices for energy, you liberalize and open up the market for energy, not constrain it as environmentalists do. Environmentalists put some industries out of business, which maintains demand for fewer sources of power. Economics 101 tells us that this will raise the costs of power, since shrinking supply while maintaining demand always increases prices. No worries, for the environmentalists. They still get to claim they only care about the environment, and they can turn their attention to minimum wage laws, free health care or free college tuition. (Interestingly, environmentalists are virtually always socialists.) “This is basically a wind mandate,” said the Cascade Policy Institute’s John Charles, while suggesting alternative energy sources won’t be able to meet the state’s needs. “There’s no way wind can physically power the grid because days, weeks on end, wind produces zero.” The problem? Wind power cannot survive in a free market. Even by shutting down coal, wind will probably not survive. It’s minimally effective as a means of energy. How do we know that? Millions have not flocked to it. Wind power would not need protection by the government, and it would not require politicians to shut down competing industries, if mass numbers of people really wanted it. When Steve Jobs first launched the iPhone, millions of people flocked to this new kind of technology. They did so willingly. It has literally and visibly changed the culture as we know it. Markets tell us what works and what does not. Consumers are not infallible, because nobody is. But consumers, exercising their choices in markets, bring us closer to the truth, and more quickly, than any other means available. And certainly quicker and more effectively than self-anointed stewards of the environment who have nothing on their side other than government coercion propped up by voter naiveté, neurotic guilt for living in a prosperous society, or just plain ignorance. Being an environmentalist means never having to say you’re sorry. It also means never having any accountability for anything. Environmentalism is nothing more than urban religion for sophisticated elite progressives, along with the hapless independents they usually get to go their way. Some poor sap in Oregon looks at the beautiful mountains, trees and birds and thinks that by eliminating coal, these trees and birds will all somehow be safer. When it comes time to endure the brownouts or higher costs of heat, air conditioning or fuel, this love of nature will suffer a setback. Why? Because when you’re uncomfortable or poor, nature isn’t such a pretty or glorious thing. Environmentalism only works as an urban religion when you’re well off and comfortable. The minute those things disappear, you’re back where the pioneers were when Oregon, like all of pre-industrialized America, was nothing more than a wilderness. It’s easy to long for the wilderness when you’ve never had to live in one. Environmentalism is a destructive force, not a productive or progressive one. Environmentalism seeks to control, outlaw, eliminate, wipe out and ultimately restore the planet to its natural state, a state completely hostile to human needs and interests. If you sign on for environmentalism in the name of protecting human life as we know it, then you’ve signed up for the wrong cause. In the battle of man versus nature, environmentalism is unequivocally on the side of nature. 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 Check out Dr. Hurd’s latest Newsmax Insider column here! The post Environmentalism Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry appeared first on Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D. | Living Resources Center. View the full article @ www.DrHurd.com

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