Objectivist and radio talk show host, Amy Peikoff, “The Logical Atheist” debates Fox News’s Tucker Carlson about a study that purported to show that atheists are more closed-minded than religious people.
(Tucker inaccurately labels Peikoff a feminist, a more accurate description would be an individualist or, even more definitively, an Objectivist).
Who used to be a socialist and became a “liberty-loving capitalist” when he found the American dream?
TheBlaze contributor Yaron Brook introduced himself on the first episode of “The Yaron Brook Show,” sharing his story of being born and raised in Israel and knowing from age 16 that he wanted to move to the U.S. Yaron was once a socialist and collectivist who believed that individuals needed to sacrifice for the good of society, but not anymore. He now describes himself as a “freedom-loving, liberty-loving capitalist.”
He explained that the new show will offer his “unique perspective, particularly on the Middle East and what is happening there.”
Yaron is the executive chairman of the Ayn Rand Institute and the co-author of “Equal Is Unfair: America’s Misguided Fight Against Income Inequality.”
On June 13, 2017, CPIP Founder Adam Mossofftestified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet. He and other witnesses testified about the impact of the Supreme Courts recent decision in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC on innovators and the possibility of future changes to patent law.
In his opening statement, Professor Mossoff primarily described how patent owners—particularly individual inventors and small businesses—will now be required to file multiple lawsuits all across the country to enforce their rights. This will drastically increase the cost of protecting their property from infringers, which for many innovators will be cost prohibitive. Professor Mossoff mentioned one such inventor, Bunch-o-Balloons inventor Josh Malone, who is being seriously harmed by the inability to protect his invention from rampant infringement. Together with the litany of other recent disastrous changes to our patent system, innovators are now in a precarious position when deciding to rely on patents to protect their inventions.
Professor Mossoff emphasized that Congress’ first priority should be “do no harm.” Rather than make another attempt to pass legislation further restricting patent owners’ rights, it would be better for Congress to simply do nothing. However, Congress could make the patent system better for innovators. One step already being discussed that would be a positive improvement is the suggestion to amendSection 101 to limit the scope of the judicial exceptions to subject matter eligibility. At the hearing, Professor Mossoff astutely noted that the first patent ever issued in the United States—being held up at that moment by Chairman Darrell Issa—would likely be invalidated under current patent eligibility standards.
Many questions directed at the witnesses asked for them to propose specific solutions to either perceived venue abuses or broader patent law issues. Professor Mossoff stressed that systemic changes to the patent system will not just affect a few bad actors, but all of the individual inventors, small businesses, universities, licensing companies, and R&D-intensive high-tech and bio-pharma companies who rely on the patent system to protect their innovations. These types of companies have been the fountainhead of the U.S. innovation economy for more than 200 years. “Reform” that only addresses the concerns of accused infringers, but not the costs to patent owners, is doomed to do more harm than good.
Professor Mossoff’s written testimony can be found here. Video of the hearing can be found here.
Syria poses little danger to the United States. But there are demonstrable threats to us elsewhere, such as from North Korea and Iran. A genuine act of self-assertiveness would be to eliminate those threats, which for a long time we have not only tolerated but actively abetted.
When a country’s foreign policy rests on no clear principles—when it’s an unpredictable and indecipherable hash of emotionalism, altruism and ad hoc machinations—when no firm guidelines exist to determine when we will or won’t use force—then “red lines” sprout up everywhere. And if America has an obligation to take action against “any and all who commit crimes against the innocents anywhere in the world,” then any failure to do so becomes evidence of weakness. If every evil committed by some vicious dictator is an assault against “America’s interests,” then inaction against such dictators shows a lack of will to uphold those “interests.”
If, however, we had a principled foreign policy, our government would understand that politically Americans have only one fundamental interest: their freedom—and that our policymakers’ sole task is to protect that freedom. When facing a situation like the one in Syria, therefore, they would morally condemn Assad’s tyranny while remaining true to the principle that we use force only when the liberty of Americans is threatened. They would refuse to treat Americans as selfless servants to the needs of the world. And they would make sure to employ force decisively against those who actually threaten us.
The Moral Case has been reviewed favorably by dozens of publications (including the WSJ), it has a 4.7 rating across hundreds of reviews on Amazon (very unusual for a book this controversial), it was an NYT and WSJ bestseller, and one of the most respected political commentators of the last 25 years named me “most original thinker of the year” because of my reframing of the climate issue.
Almost no opponents challenge *The Moral Case* because they don’t want to *confront a good argument*. Their interest is not the discovery of the policies that will advance human flourishing, it is the status/approval they get by being leaders of a mainstream crusade.
Since the publication of The Moral Case, whenever opponents have tried to refute me in live situations, whether through debates or hostile interviews, it has gone badly for them.
I have no idea what happened in this latest case (because he didn’t have the character to tell me) but it wouldn’t surprise me if some YouTube browsing made him conclude that he would be better off attending to “urgent” business far away from the debate hall.
There is still an empty slot to debate me at Collision Conf next Tuesday–if we can fill it with a big name. (Otherwise I will do a full event on the moral case). If Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Nye The Science Guy, or (the latest “scientific” fossil fuel attacker) Neil deGrasse Tyson is willing to step up, I will happily pay for their First-Class fare. Leo, since I know you prefer to fly private jet when it’s time to go attack fossil fuels, I will pay $2000 of your (fossil) fuel.
Signed in 1861 on a sunny Atlantic island, it tied an exiled French genius to an upstart Belgian house, resulting in the printing of that perennial masterwork, Les Misérables. In a new book, The Novel of the Century: The Extraordinary Adventure of ‘Les Misérables’, the professor and translator David Bellos condenses tranches of research into a gripping tale about Victor Hugo’s masterpiece.
The deal, Bellos points out, was pathbreaking on several levels. First, Hugo earned an unprecedented sum: 300,000 francs (roughly $3.8 million in today’s money) for an eight-year license. “It was a tremendous amount of money, and since it entitled the publisher to own the work for only eight years, it remains the highest figure ever paid for a work of literature,” Bellos writes: “In terms of gold it would have weighed around ninety-seven kilos [213 pounds]. It was enough money to build a small railway or endow a chair at the Sorbonne.”
Second, the neophyte Belgian publisher Albert Lacroix was the antithesis of a Penguin Random House. At the time, the twenty-eight-year-old Lacroix had cut his teeth at his uncle’s printing press, and he didn’t have so much as a sou to his name. Determined to sign Hugo on, he set up his own firm—Lacroix, Verboeckhoven & Co—and borrowed the entire amount for Hugo’s advance from the Oppenheim bank in Brussels, where he had contacts. Bellos marks it as “probably the first loan ever made by a bank to finance a book,” which means “Les Misérables stands at the vanguard of the use of venture capital to fund the arts.”
Third, Lacroix signed on knowing full well that his client was a political outcast….
A Dearth of Eagles is a fast-paced fictional work tells the story of Bulgarian freedom fighters during Communism’s final years, of their valiant attempts to smuggle dissidents to freedom in the West, and of their desperate battles with the Durjavna Sigurnost, the Bulgarian secret police who seek to kill them. It tells also of a parallel conflict, of one of the freedom fighters—a member of the tiny band, an émigré, a writer living in New York City—who engages in the story’s fiercest struggle, seeking to publish serious stories about these dauntless men in a Western literary culture that rejects heroism for anti-heroism.
My brief remarks at CPAC were based on my decade-plus research on the natural rights justification for patents and other IP rights (see here, here, here, here, and here), and on how this theory was applied in the uniquely American approach to securing patents as property rights (see here, here, and here). To take but one example of this American approach, a Supreme Court Justice said in 1845 that “we protect intellectual property, the labors of the mind, . . . as much a man’s own, and as much the fruit of his honest industry, as the wheat he cultivates, or the flocks he rears.”
On the basis of this classic moral justification for all property rights — that people should have the fruits of their productive labors secured to them as their property — early American legislators and judges secured stable and effective property rights to innovators and creators.
This was part-and-parcel of American exceptionalism. The U.S. was the first country to protect true property rights in inventions and creative works. It was also the first country to recognize patents and copyrights in its Constitution, and to provide for their protection.
As the Founding Father James Madison wrote in 1792, the right to property “embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right,” and “Government is instituted to protect property of every sort.” As Madison and most early American judges recognized, the natural right to property was never limited—as Mr. Holt claims—to only physical land and other tangible goods. Even John Locke recognized in 1695 that copyright is property (see here).
Wilders has called for banning the Quran. He wants to close mosques and ban the building of new ones, and he has proposed a change to the Dutch Constitution that would outlaw faith-based schools for Muslims but not for Christians and citizens committed to other religions and life philosophies.
As a justification for his position on Islam, Wilders often quotes Abraham Lincoln’s words from a letter written in 1859: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.” But one could turn Lincoln’s words against Wilders himself. By calling for a ban on the Quran and for the closing of mosques and faith-based schools for Muslims, he insists on denying freedom of speech and religion to Muslims.
Wilders’s support for the First Amendment was based on the fact that it would protect his own speech, but when he found out that the First Amendment would also provide a robust protection of the freedom of speech and religion for Muslims, he was reluctant to support it.
In doing so, he failed the acid test for the support of free speech in a democracy. It was first formulated by the legendary Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, who issued a famous dissenting opinion in 1929: “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”
Freedom for the speech that we hate. That’s the acid test. This principle embodies the essence of tolerance. You do not ban, intimidate, threaten or use violence against speech that you deeply dislike or hate.
Wilders thinks only speech that he approves of should be uncensored. He is no friend of free speech. For a real defense of free speech check out Fleming Rose’s book, The Tyranny of Silence, along with Steve Simpson’s book, Defending Free Speech.
It’s Presidents Day in America and below I offer a list of the five best and five worst among the 44 men who’ve served in the office since 1789. My standard is this: how closely did the president hew to the U.S. Constitution (as required by oath) and how much did he preserve individual rights, a free economy, and national security.
I believe the five best U.S. presidents were Washington (1789-1797), Lincoln (1861-1865), Grant (1869-1877), Coolidge (1923-1929), and Reagan (1981-1989). Runner-up: Cleveland (1885-1889 and 1893-1897).
In contrast, I contend that the five worst presidents were Madison (1809-1817), Wilson (1913-1921), FDR (1933-1945), LBJ (1963-1969), and Nixon (1969-1974). Runner-up: Hoover (1929-1933).