Diversity is important for movies. The whole world watches Hollywood movies, and our films should include a great variety of talented actors, regardless of race or gender. Traditionally, American television and movies have been less than stellar at casting people of color or women for parts that could be portrayed by any ethnicity or gender. The raunchy comedy South Park, even shamelessly goes after this trend in television and movies by having one African American character who is named “Token”.
If a new movie is released and it isn’t based on older movies, or history, then Hollywood should strive to bring more diversity to their cast. For example, take a science fiction movie like Edge of Tomorrow. The film takes place in the future and involves battles between humans and aliens. Hollywood can and should cast a diverse team for these original movies, as it’s new territory not built on past franchises.
The real diversity that matters — whether in schools, work, sports, or movies — is intellectual (performance), not racial.
ARI is happy to announce the launch of a new version of Ayn Rand Institute Campus, ARI’s online education website includes several exciting new features, including almost sixty complete essays by Ayn Rand and Leonard Peikoff, and more than 140 hours of audio-visual content across sixteen courses, including updated videos and new quiz content.
In addition to the video lectures that form the backbone of our lessons and courses, ARI Campus offers a wealth of articles, written by Ayn Rand and other scholars, that you can read online. Another great resource is The Ayn Rand Lexicon, which features extensive quotations from Rand’s writings, organized by topic. And be sure to visit our philosophical blog, where the discussion continues.
Ayn Rand advocated unequivocally for laissez-faire capitalism, a system in which the individual rights of everyone — rich or poor, lazy or productive — are sacrosanct and there is a complete separation of state from economics. She did not, contrary to Mr. Margolis’ inaccurate piece, believe that public policy should “tilt” in favor of any group, and she decried corporate welfare and cronyism as she did other welfare-state programs.
With the government removed from the realm of economics, any real unfairness would be eliminated as there would be no ability to grant favors to anyone (e.g., the ethanol subsidy), create market distortions that benefit some at the expense of others (e.g., solar power companies) and confiscate/redistribute the wealth of all according to whatever formula panders to the most voters.
The headline of Mr. Margolis’ piece references a “fair shot,” and I surmise that is where the real issue lies, for Mr. Margolis clearly has redefined the concept of “fair” to preclude anything but a system in which the economic class he favors gains at the expense of the ones he does not — a far cry from an actually fair system in which all individuals are able to benefit from the fruits of their own labor.
[I]n a speech Friday evening at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said that while he’s flattered to see Denmark discussed in a widely watched US presidential debate he doesn’t think the socialist shoe fits. “I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism,” he said. “Therefore, I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy.” In Rasmussen’s view, “The Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security to its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish.”
Here is Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark addressing the John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on a range of Nordic solutions and challenges affecting the state of Denmark.
It began as a stunt intended to prove that hardship and poverty still existed in this small, wealthy country, but it backfired badly. Visit a single mother of two on welfare, a liberal member of Parliament goaded a skeptical political opponent, see for yourself how hard it is. It turned out, however, that life on welfare was not so hard. The 36-year-old single mother … had more money to spend than many of the country’s full-time workers. All told, she was getting about $2,700 a month, and she had been on welfare since she was 16.
[…] Denmark’s long-term outlook is troubling. The population is aging, and in many regions of the country people without jobs now outnumber those with them. Some of that is a result of a depressed economy. But many experts say a more basic problem is the proportion of Danes who are not participating in the work force at all — be they dawdling university students, young pensioners or welfare recipients like Carina who lean on hefty government support.
[…] Denmark has among the highest marginal income-tax rates in the world, with the top bracket of 56.5 percent kicking in on incomes of more than about $80,000. But in exchange, the Danes get a cradle-to-grave safety net that includes free health care, a free university education and hefty payouts to even the richest citizens.
[…] But few experts here believe that Denmark can long afford the current perks. So Denmark is retooling itself, tinkering with corporate tax rates, considering new public sector investments and, for the long term, trying to wean more people — the young and the old — off government benefits. “In the past, people never asked for help unless they needed it,” said Karen Haekkerup, the minister of social affairs and integration, who has been outspoken on the subject. “My grandmother was offered a pension and she was offended. She did not need it. “But now people do not have that mentality. They think of these benefits as their rights. The rights have just expanded and expanded….”
[…] Robert Nielsen, 45, made headlines last September when he was interviewed on television, admitting that he had basically been on welfare since 2001. Mr. Nielsen said he was able-bodied but had no intention of taking a demeaning job, like working at a fast-food restaurant. He made do quite well on welfare, he said. He even owns his own co-op apartment. … “Luckily, I am born and live in Denmark, where the government is willing to support my life,” he said.
“Mohammed cartoons don’t inspire Islamic violence. Islamic violence inspires Mohammed cartoons.” That is what Bosch Fawstin tells me. And he knows whereof he speaks.
Fawstin is the award-winning cartoonist thrust into international notoriety in May when he won a “Draw Muhammad” contest in Garland, Texas — a contest that became the first terrorist target of the Islamic State on American soil.
The event was intended to be less a competition than a celebration of free-expression principles. Because those principles undergird Western civilization, they have become the prime target of Islamic supremacists. And when we talk about Islamic supremacists, we are not talking only about violent jihadists, such as the two ISIS-inspired terrorists who were killed in a firefight with police while attempting a mass murder of Fawstin and his fellow contestants.
….why the Garland event has been widely misunderstood. With Obama and Clinton working with anti-American Islamists to attack free speech, it is no surprise that the administration’s slavish media are portraying Islam’s critics as wild-eyed bigots, and their “Draw Muhammad” contest as an exercise in gratuitous insult — the kind of expression that even free-speech advocates often shy from defending.
The narrative betrays ignorance of Islam’s blasphemy proscriptions. Insulting speech barely scratches the surface of all that is forbidden. Classical sharia prohibits all artistic expression that depicts animate life — deeming it an offensive imitation of Allah’s creative act. Far beyond insult, moreover, sharia forbids speech that subjects Islam to any objective examination that could result in negative criticism. Also forbidden are words that imply unbelief; that could be taken to rebuke Allah or Mohammed (even if gently or in jest); or that appear to deny a principle established by authoritative sharia scholarship. Islamic supremacists would apply prohibitions to non-Muslims as well as Muslims, because they believe that Allah has commanded them to impose sharia on the unwilling. And as for Muslims, speech that announces or implies apostasy is punishable by death.
This is what drives Fawstin’s work. “I draw Mohammed,” he says, “because the enemy tells me I can’t.” In Garland, that meant not just a rendering, but a rendering of the act of rendering. Describing his winning cartoon, he explains: “I draw myself drawing Mohammed, and Mohammed with his sword in hand, yells at me, ‘You Can’t Draw Me!’ to which I reply (in a word balloon), ‘That’s why I draw you.’”
Donald Trump holds a dominant position in national polls in the Republican race in no small part because he is extremely strong among people on the periphery of the G.O.P. coalition.
He is strongest among Republicans who are less affluent, less educated and less likely to turn out to vote. His very best voters are self-identified Republicans who nonetheless are registered as Democrats.
In many of these areas, a large number of traditionally Democratic voters have long supported Republicans in presidential elections. Even now, Democrats have more registered voters than Republicans do in states like West Virginia and Kentucky, which have been easily carried by Republicans in every presidential contest of this century. As recently as a few years ago, Democrats still had a big advantage in partisan self-identification in the same states.
But during the Obama era, many of these voters have abandoned the Democrats. Many Democrats may now even identify as Republicans, or as independents who lean Republican, when asked by pollsters — a choice that means they’re included in a national Republican primary survey, whether they remain registered as Democrats or not.
Mr. Trump appears to hold his greatest strength among people like these — registered Democrats who identify as Republican leaners — with 43 percent of their support, according to the Civis data. Similarly, many of Mr. Trump’s best states are those with a long tradition of Democrats who vote Republican in presidential elections, like West Virginia.
Mr. Trump’s strength among traditionally Democratic voters could pose some problems for his campaign. Many states bar voters registered with the other party from participating in partisan primaries. Other states go further, not allowing unaffiliated voters to vote in a primary; in the G.O.P. race, for example, that would mean restricting the electorate to those registered as Republicans — one of Mr. Trump’s weakest groups. This group of states includes many favorable to Mr. Trump, like Florida, Pennsylvania and New York.
According to Professor Ben Bayer the blog’s editor:
I will work to allow the contributors to this blog—all professional philosophers or aspiring professional philosophers—to share their own scholarship on Rand and their observations about the relevance of her ideas to contemporary philosophical debates. Some of these philosophers have already contributed to the rising tide of secondary literature on Rand in the last decade; others of us aspire to contribute in the future.
In either case, we are especially eager to raise awareness among philosophers about the actual content of Rand’s ideas. All too often, both philosophical and popular sources misrepresent and caricature Rand’s views. We seek to combat these inaccuracies whenever they appear in venues of note. At the same time, this blog will not shy away from considering fair-minded criticisms of Rand’s ideas.
The name of this blog traces back to the words of Francisco d’Anconia in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged: “Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises.” “Check your premises” would eventually become Rand’s motto as a cultural and political critic. In the 1960s, she ran a regular column in her periodicals by the same name.
Rand’s motto expressed her conviction that our actions are motivated, ultimately, by the implicit or explicit philosophical principles she thought we all hold. In her view, whether we form these premises on our own or accept them uncritically from others, it is the task of philosophy to check the truth of these premises and integrate them into a comprehensive view of reality. Rand thought everyone needs such a comprehensive view to flourish.
I presume that all who post to this blog, whether they agree with Rand or not, will share this overall attitude toward philosophy.
Half-Off Discount for Objectivist Summer Conference 2016 Ends December 31
There are only two days left to take advantage of the huge discount ARI offering for OCON 2016. If you want to take part in the discussion on Objectivist Movement 2.0 and save money, now is the time to sign up. You’ll receive a 50 percent discount on your pass if you buy before December 31. Be sure to check out our OCON 2016 Facebook page to see the latest news from ARI and others who will be in the Greater Seattle area July 2–7, 2016.
In a remark that drew muted gasps in the courtroom, Justice Antonin Scalia said that minority students with inferior academic credentials may be better off at “a less advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well.”
The case, Fisher v. University of Texas, No. 14-981, was brought by Abigail Fisher, a white student who says the University of Texas denied her admission in 2008 because of her race. She has since graduated from Louisiana State University.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. questioned the value of diversity in at least some academic settings. “What unique perspective does a minority student bring to a physics class?” he asked.
‘Affirmative action’ is racism — and those who advocate it are racists. There I said it. Such collectivist approaches make the problem worse for disadvantaged American black and Hispanic students as they do not change the systemic problems — ghetto culture, broken homes, lousy public schools, etc.– which hurt students of all colors. Funny how certain minorities — Asians, Koreans, Nigerian immigrants etc. — who are foreigners and can whose parents can barely speak English end up in one generation doing better then whites.
The real diversity you need in college is intellectual.
….when it comes to being able to tell a moderate from a radical in Islam, you can’t.
You really can’t tell until the moment before they pull the trigger, who is moderate and who is jihadi. Tashfeen has broken our moderate backbone, by revealing that she lived among us, unnoticed, normal, experiencing motherhood, enveloped in our secure community and yet, had radicalized.
And that’s the problem, that there are many others like her with exactly the same beliefs, who may not have been ignited yet by a radical cleric, but if the opportunity presented itself, they would follow. They’re like a dormant stick of dynamite, waiting for the fuse to be lit. The TNT is already in there.
What’s it made of? Not the 5 pillars, belief, charity, prayer, fasting and pilgrimage. Not the sayings of the prophet as to how to lead a good and just life. Not the celebration of Eid ul Fitr.
I went deep into the Midwest, wore a hijab for a year and lived there for 8 years. In that time, I attended ISNA gatherings, met with educated, professional people like myself who were also asking the same questions.They were looking to their faith for answers. And sure, there were efforts made to modernize Islam, but they were only superficial. We couldn’t do it. We couldn’t do it because there is a logical dilemma at the core of Islam. And that is, that the Quran is the last word of God, that it is perfect and unchangeable. And to even suggest such a thing is blasphemy and apostasy.
And so, to understand the moderate mind, you have to envision it on a continuum from radical to middle, but the closer you get to liberal, there is a wall. It creeps up on you, in the condemnation of homosexuality, in the unequal treatment and subjugation of women, but it’s there. Beyond that wall that they are afraid to look over, for fear of eternal hell fire and damnation, is where the answer lies though. So being a Muslim moderate these days is like running a race with a ball and chain attached to your feet. A handicap. Unless you can imagine what the world beyond that wall looks like, you can’t really navigate it. If you’re so terrified of blasphemy that you refuse to look over, you’re forever stuck. Right here. And behind you is the jihadi horde, laying claim to real Islam, practicing it to perfection, as it is laid out in the Quran. A veritable rock and a hard place. I feel your pain. I’ve been there. And it was untenable.