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Archive | May, 2011

What is The Best Single Book To Learn About Ayn Rand’s Philosophy of Objectivism?

Ayn Rand’s philosophical ideas are spread through hundreds of fiction and non-fiction works, radio addresses, taped and untaped lectures, seminars, and discussions.

Until the publication of Leonard Peikoff’s magnum opus Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, there was no single book, the interested student of philosophy could turn to, that presented Rand’s philosophy as a single integrated whole.

Thanks to Dr. Peikoff this is no longer the case.

Leonard Peikoff’s *Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand* covers every philosophical topic that Ayn Rand held as important–from the objectivity of concepts and the metaphysical nature of man, to the virtue of selfishness and the purpose of art, this book covers it–and more.

Whether you are a scientist seeking to ground the principles of physics in reality, or an artist who wishes to understand the nature of art, or a philosopher puzzled over the problem of universals, or a teenager wondering about the meaning of life, or a historian wishing to grasp the link between the events in Nazi Germany and Ancient Greece, or a journalist seeking to grasp the cause of the slaughters in Bosnia and the cause of the slaughters in the schools of America, or a mother who wants to teach her child when one should and should not lie, or a businessman engaged in the virtue of making money, or a psychologist wishing to understand the relationship between the emotions and thought, or a college student in search of earth shattering ideas for a graduate thesis, or a teacher wishing to understand the way the mind works, or a priest searching for a rational basis for morality — Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand will have something of immense value to offer you — intellectually, morally, practically, and personally.

It is clear (Peikoff is a lucid writer), organized (the book presents Rand’s philosophy from the ground up, thus showing how her philosophical statement that capitalism is the moral system is inseperably tied to the metaphysical observation that A is A), and tightly written (Peikoff focuses only on essentials).

If you ever had any questions on the philosophy that Ayn Rand presented in her novels, or on the subject of philosophy in general (college students take note), this book has the answers you are looking for.

You may not agree with everything in the 494 pages this engrossing book. You will agree that it was worth reading.

Highly recommend. Required reading for all individuals interested in understanding Ayn Rand’s ideas.

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Sneak Preview Film Screening Event: Dystopia Now? The World of “Atlas Shrugged”

From Objectivist Summer Conference 2011:

Sneak Preview Film Screening Event: Dystopia Now? The World of “Atlas Shrugged”
Saturday, July 2, 2011; 9–10:45 PM 

Come join us for a sneak preview of the soon-to-be-released feature documentary Dystopia Now? The World of “Atlas Shrugged.” Producer/Director Chris Mortensen will screen his controversial 90-minute film on the genesis, impact and continued relevance of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

This extensively researched film includes enlightening interviews with Rand biographers, scholars, prominent businessmen, journalists and others, as well as never-before-seen footage of Ayn Rand. Don’t miss this chance to see the almost-completed film before this fall’s official release. Registration information for this event is available on our Registration Options and Pricing page.

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Objectivist Politics Podcast: Patriot Act Provisions

Download Amy Peikoff’s latest podcast on current political issues from an Objectivist perspective at Don’t Let It Go…Unheard #15. Topics covered include: The Patriot Act provision extensions, Rand Paul’s proposed amendments to the Patriot Act, and the main-stream media’s coverage of it all; The Trade Adjustment Assistance Program; Egypt reopens its border with Gaza; and more.

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How to Save Israel

From Ron Pisaturo:

This call for 1967 [border] lines, along with the qualification about swaps, illustrates the absurd extreme to which Obama will push his evil premise … that the solution to the problem between Israelis and Palestinians should be based on “the needs of both sides.”

For Obama and a long line of American Presidents before him, right and wrong, good and evil, earned and unearned are irrelevant considerations; what counts is need. Since Palestinians need just as much land and wealth as Israelis do, and since Israelis currently have more of these things, it is Israel that must make concessions.

See the full post at Ron’s blog.

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I Am John Galt Reviewed in Capitalism Magazine

Professor Harry Binswanger gives his thoughts on I Am John Galt over at Capitalism Magazine:

Given the book’s title, and given that the authors are not known Objectivists, I expected pretentiousness and ignorance. I was wrong; I’m pleased to say it is neither. Despite its shortcomings, the book has two great virtues: 1. it exhibits a far better understanding of Atlas Shrugged and Objectivism than I can recall seeing from anyone outside “the movement,” and 2. the writing is supple and first-handed, gliding you comfortably along a 300-page journey. 

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Salsman: Kill The Un-American Patriot Act

Richard Salsman over at Forbes.com in Kill The Un-American Patriot Act: makes the case for repealing this monstrous act:

[...] The misdirection and dishonesty so emblematic of the Act is dramatized
by its acronym, “USA PATRIOT,” which stands for “Uniting and
Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to
Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.” No law that so violates Fourth
Amendment rights can be said to “unite” or “strengthen” America. The Act
effectively jettisons that long-cherished principle of civilized
criminal law and American jurisprudence: that one is presumed innocent
until (and unless) proven guilty. Under the Act we’re all assumed to be
guilty unless we prove our innocence
. What could be more un-American than that?

[...] Americans have been made no safer since 9/11, even though the PATRIOT
Act has dramatically enhanced the prerogative and power of the CIA, FBI,
DHS, DEA, IRS, ATF, TSA and the police to search phone records, e-mails
and medical documents, or to issue search warrants absent judicial
pre-approvals. The Act also has expanded the Treasury’s power to invade
financial privacy and transactions.

The Act has significantly broadened the arbitrary discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities to detain and deport even legal immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts or financing. With the TSA, perfectly innocent American travelers are subjected to horrible and invasive treatment which if experienced at their workplace would be deemed unlawful sexual harassment. In the end, absolutist governments are staffed by officials just like these – those who operate above and beyond the law which others must abide.

That quintessential American, Benjamin Franklin, wrote correctly, in 1759, that “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Indeed, without liberty we must lack the prosperity and righteousness needed to defend our security. These principles are embodied in the U.S. Constitution, specifically in its Fourth Amendment, which is supposed to ensure that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The PATRIOT Act and its auxiliary measures work slowly but surely to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment.

[...] By definition, anyone who dares to oppose the PATRIOT Act is presumed to be “un-patriotic.” In fact, by opposing it we oppose an American police state. That’s precisely where this horrid Act inexorably moves us, especially given the open-ended nature of the so-called “war on terrorism,” which is an unwinnable war aimed at a tactic which involves no specific end date yet also no specific place on earth where it might not occur. This irrational, self-defeating scheme of “security” entails an eternal and ubiquitous state of emergency – a setting which only empowers government to impose “extraordinary measures” to curb and quash our rights and liberties, without end or limit. It’s well known that today’s conservatives care little for our Fourth Amendment rights, but what about those hypocritical civil libertarians, who were right to protest and fight when Mr. Bush violated rights with the Act, but now stand by silently as Mr. Obama does the same thing?

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If Obamacare is so great, why do so many people want to get out from under it?

Writes Michael Barone at the Washington Examiner:

[...] If Obamacare is so great, why do so many people want to get out from under it? More specifically, why are more than half of those 3,095,593 in plans run by labor unions, which were among Obamacare’s biggest political supporters? Union members are only 12 percent of all employees but have gotten 50.3 percent of Obamacare waivers.

[...] Punishing enemies and rewarding friends — politics Chicago style — seems to be the unifying principle that helps explain the Obamacare waivers, the NLRB action against Boeing and the IRS’ gift-tax assault on 501(c)(4) donors. [Obama skirts rule of law to reward pals, punish foes]

 

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I Am John Galt

I Am John Galt is a hymn to free men, free minds and free markets. It’s a loving look at the heroes who are living those values and moving the world forward. It’s also a crushing no-holds-barred indictment of the parasites who are trying to destroy our world of freedom and prosperity.” — Don Luskin

We are kind of excited about this book because of the interview with John Allison — former CEO of the successful BB&T (a bank that did not need but was forced to accept bailout funds against their will — more on that in a future post). His description “The Leader: John Allison as John Galt, the man who walked away after building America’s strongest bank.”

“From John Allison you can learn not only to live your own life in accordance with Rand’s values, but to teach them to others you work with. At Allison’s bank, Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T), every one of the 30,000 employees has been trained in Rand’s value system—from the executive suite to the teller line. Self-evidently, it works.’

“Are you looking for a concrete plan to put the value system of Rand’s heroes to work in your own life? Allison has written one for you, by identifying and articulating BB&T’s 10 core values. You don’t have to work there to put those values to work in your life. Do it on your own, and then put yourself through the ongoing process that all BB&T employees experience: Every six months, give yourself a rigorous self-evaluation based on how you’ve measured up to the values.”

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Dr. Michael Hurd’s New Book — Now Available!

Dr. Hurd’s third book is finally available for sale! Autographed copies of “Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)” are available directly from DrHurd.com.

In his new book, Dr. Hurd shows people how to avoid the dangers of most contemporary therapies and how to rely on your own judgment when facing emotional problems. It is an indispensable guide to choosing a therapist who can produce the best results for you.
Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference) also includes a foreword written by none other than celebrated clinical psychologist Stanton Samenow, Ph.D.

Click here to get your autographed copy of Dr. Hurd’s latest book.

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Objectivism Politics Podcast: Obama vs Israel and More

Here’s a link to the broadcast of Amy Peikoff’s Don’t Let It Go Unheard — webcast to talk on politics and politics from an Objectivist perspective.  This is the best podcast on politics from an Objective perspective so it is definitely worth a listen if you could not attend the live broadcast. Issues discussed: The (Non) Rapture; Obama’s call for Israel to use pre-1967 borders as starting point for “peace” negotiations; Obama’s reaction to GOP Senators’ request that he adhere to the War Powers Act with respect to Libya; What to do about Pakistan; The Obama Administration’s brand of “transparency”; and Planking.

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