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A Friday Hodgepodge

1. "Why Can't Professional Philosophers Get Rand Right?," by Mike Mazza (New Ideal):
What's going on here? To many twentieth-century philosophers, the gold standard for assessing philosophical merit was a concise deduction with informally defended premises. Especially in ethics, these informal defenses attempt to get the reader to accept that a premise is "intuitive" (or the implication of a deeper, intuitively true assumption). So, it's understandable that philosophers educated in this tradition would attempt to interpret someone outside of it as making gold-standard arguments; it's what they're comfortable with and trained to look for. Notice that Rachels and Rachels's first premise states a fact and then attempts to draw from it a common-sense or intuitively plausible implication: the individual is "of supreme importance." But Rand does not argue like this at any point in her case for egoism.
Mazza indicates that parochialism, of which the above is only a type, is a problem even for those few non-Objectivist academics who have been sympathetic to Rand, and is right to call out professional philosophers, of all people, for falling into it.

2. "Selfish Randsday to All," by Harry Binswanger (Value for Value):
Randsday [the anniversary of Ayn Rand's birthday --ed] is for reminding ourselves that pleasure is an actual need, a psychological requirement for a human consciousness. For man, motivation, energy, enthusiasm are not givens. Psychological depression is not only possible but rampant in our duty-preaching, self-denigrating culture. The alternative is not short-range, superficial "fun," but real, self-rewarding pleasure. On Randsday, if you do something that you ordinarily would think of as "fun," you do it on a different premise and with a deeper meaning: that you need pleasure, you are entitled to it, and that the purpose and justification of your existence is: getting what you want -- what you really want, with full consciousness and dedication.
I especially recommend visiting this post for the excerpt from Rand's The Fountainhead, which powerfully demolishes the trite, but deadly and wrong sentiment that it's easy to be selfish.

3. "Portraying CEOs as Cartoon Villains," by Jaana Woiceshyn (How to Be Profitable and Moral):
Image by J.J., via Wikimedia Commons, license.
When we see the news headlines about online sexual exploitation of children, experience daily the stubbornly high food prices, and witness job cuts, it is easy to take the governments' accusations at face value. No wonder the public distrust of corporations is high. But are the accusations based on evidence? Are corporate CEOs real villains, or are politicians just portraying them as cartoon villains, like the cold-hearted Scrooge McDuck or the conniving Mr. Burns in The Simpsons who stop at nothing to maximize profits?

I argue the latter. Politicians are scapegoating corporate CEOs for the problems that ultimately the governments created.
This dishonest practice has always been a hallmark of the left, but the right has moved from failing to even pretend to stand up for business to joining in.

Indeed, such phrases as corporate media -- once a shibboleth of the left -- now get bandied about as if we're all communists now.

4. "Has the Right Been Eviscerated by Trump?," by Peter Schwartz (PeterSchwartz.com, 2019):
[Trump's] core constituency supports him unquestioningly. He calls them "my followers," and they attend his rallies, vote for the candidates he endorses and give him the adulation he desperately seeks. They have helped him co-opt the right. The better Republicans have been driven out and the worst ones entrenched. The few, isolated defenders of a free market have nowhere to turn for political support. There is no significant faction fighting against Trump's war on trade. Today, the right -- the intellectual leaders and the mass followers -- consists predominantly of nativists, who want to "make America great" by expanding the power of the state and regressing to the tribalism of centuries past.
This post is even more relevant now than when I read it in 2019.

And if the above isn't disturbing enough, news from the latest CPAC will more than underscore Schwartz's point.

-- CAV

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