Ayn Rand On Immigration

From Ayn Rand Answers:

What is your attitude toward immigration? Doesn’t open immigration have a negative effect on a country’s standard of living?

AYN RAND: You don’t know my conception of self interest. No one has the right to pursue his self-interest by law or by force, which is what you’re suggesting. You want to forbid immigration on the grounds that it lowers your standard of living–which isn’t true, though if it were true, you’d still have no right to close the borders. You’re not entitled to any “self-interest” that injures others, especially when you can’t prove that open immigration affects your self-interest. You can’t claim that anything others may do–for example, simply through competition–is against your self interest. But above all, aren’t you dropping a personal context? How could I advocate restricting immigration when I wouldn’t be alive today if our borders had been closed?

How are those “unclenched” fists working out for ya?

While the Department of Homeland Security is on the prowl for right-wingers and returning veterans, Iran has been assiduously plotting and executing a myriad of terrorist attacks.  According to the State Department:

“We are increasingly concerned about Iran’s support for terrorism and Hezbollah’s activities,” said Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief, adding that both appear to have stepped up their terrorist activity in the past year and “are engaging in their most active and aggressive campaign since the 1990s.” The U.S. views Hezbollah of Lebanon as a proxy of Iran.

The U.S. has accused Iran’s elite Quds Force of plotting to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington—Iran denied the charge—and the U.S. and other countries have accused Iran of backing recent plots against Western and Israeli targets in Azerbaijan, Thailand, India and Kenya. Israel has accused Hezbollah of a recent attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, though U.S. officials have only said the attack bore some hallmarks of Hezbollah.

Iran also has allowed al Qaeda members to move money and operatives through Iranian territory to South Asia, the report said. Iran has denied any connection with al Qaeda.

So much for engaging with the Mullahs…

 

Dodd-Frank: A Not-So Happy Anniversary

If you haven’t read it already, Jeb Hensarling has an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal lamenting the two year anniversary since the Dodd-Frank “reforms” were signed into law.  Not only does the piece properly identify what caused the housing bubble and the 2008 financial crisis but it also states components of the law that institutionalize the “too big to fail” mentality and how Obama’s favorite pet, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, now has the authority to ration credit.  The piece is as parsimonious as it is concise, making it great intellectual ammunition for the defense of free markets and damning government intervention in banking.  Here’s a sample:

Perhaps most harmful, Dodd-Frank has codified into law a taxpayer-funded safety net for institutions deemed too big to fail—the Orderly Liquidation Authority, which the Congressional Budget Office predicts will cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars. In downgrading the credit ratings of the nation’s largest banks last month, Moody’s explicitly stated that its ratings still reflect an assumption “about the very high likelihood of support from the U.S. government for bondholders or other creditors in the event that such support is required to prevent default.” So much for ending taxpayer-funded bailouts. And when we lose our ability to fail, we will soon lose our ability to succeed.

Click here to read the whole thing!

Socialism and the Meaning of Government Investment

From Ron Pisaturo:

When Obama speaks of the government ‘investing’, he is of course perverting the meaning of the word; he is really spending wealth confiscated from others. But there is a sinister way in which his use of the word ‘investing’ is revealing and apt: the government is ‘investing’ in contrast to ‘lending’. When a creditor makes a loan, the creditor obtains a promise to repay the loan with interest; in contrast, when an investor makes an investment, the investor obtains ownership and a share of the profits.

Since, according to Obama, the government ‘invests’ in you—by paying for your schooling, etc.—the government expects not a repayment of a loan to you, but rather a share of the profits in you.

See the full post at Ron’s blog.

 

Private Industry Building Infrastructure

Writes Richard Salsman on The Bullet Train Fiasco Reminds Us That California Is Our Greece – Forbes:

When America was a freer, more capitalist nation, it achieved great things in infrastructure, largely by private means. The Panama Canal was built by U.S. firms in just 10 years (1904-1914), after the French had failed over the prior two decades. The Erie Canal was dug and made navigable in only 8 years (1817-1825). The U.S. Transcontinental Railroad was built in just 6 years (1863-1869). The Hoover Dam took a mere 5 years to complete (1931-1936). The Golden Gate Bridge was erected in under 5 years (January 1933 – May 1937). Most amazing of all perhaps, the Empire State Building was built in 13 months (March 1930 – April 1931).

Krohn, Conservatism, Kant, and the Destruction of Values

Jonathan Krohn first captured the national spotlight when he authored the book Defining Conservatism and delivered a speech at CPAC in 2009.  He had accomplished all of these major feats when he was only 13 years old.  At 17, he’s now making the necessary preparations to enroll at NYU.  However, according to a recent Politico article, Krohn has made a massive ideological shift…backwards.  In fact, Krohn will neither call himself a conservative or reject the ideology outright.  As the article states, “Krohn won’t go so far as to say he’s liberal, in part because his move away from conservatism was a move away from ideological boxes in general.”

Krohn explains it this way:

“One of the first things that changed was that I stopped being a social conservative,” said Krohn. “It just didn’t seem right to me anymore. From there, it branched into other issues, everything from health care to economic issues.… I think I’ve changed a lot, and it’s not because I’ve become a liberal from being a conservative — it’s just that I thought about it more. The issues are so complex, you can’t just go with some ideological mantra for each substantive issue.”

Indeed, “conservatism” is quite similar to the concept of a mixed economy.  Where a mixed economy is a volatile mix of freedoms and controls, conservatism is a slap-dashed conglomerate of free market principles and mysticism–or an appeal to the Dark Ages.  Ayn Rand put it this way:

The most immoral contradiction—in the chaos of today’s anti-ideological groups—is that of the so-called “conservatives,” who posture as defenders of individual rights, particularly property rights, but uphold and advocate the draft. By what infernal evasion can they hope to justify the proposition that creatures who have no right to life, have the right to a bank account?

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 227

However, this doesn’t answer the fundamental question of why Krohn consciously decided to abandon the importance of principles altogether.  What Krohn reveals is most disturbing:

“I started reflecting on a lot of what I wrote, just thinking about what I had said and what I had done and started reading a lot of other stuff, and not just political stuff,” Krohn said. “I started getting into philosophy — Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Kant and lots of other German philosophers. And then into present philosophers — Saul Kripke, David Chalmers. It was really reading philosophy that didn’t have anything to do with politics that gave me a breather and made me realize that a lot of what I said was ideological blather that really wasn’t meaningful.”

Of all the philosophers Krohn lists as important to him; the one who lived and wrote before the rest, and who remains a titan in the field is–Immanuel Kant.  I’ll refer to Ayn Rand once more to elaborate why Kant is such a destructive force in the realm of philosophy:

The man who . . . closed the door of philosophy to reason, was Immanuel Kant. . . .

Kant’s expressly stated purpose was to save the morality of self-abnegation and self-sacrifice. He knew that it could not survive without a mystic base—and what it had to be saved from was reason.

Attila’s share of Kant’s universe includes this earth, physical reality, man’s senses, perceptions, reason and science, all of it labeled the “phenomenal” world. The Witch Doctor’s share is another, “higher,” reality, labeled the “noumenal” world, and a special manifestation, labeled the “categorical imperative,” which dictates to man the rules of morality and which makes itself known by means of afeeling, as a special sense of duty.

The “phenomenal” world, said Kant, is not real: reality, as perceived by man’s mind, is a distortion. The distorting mechanism is man’s conceptual faculty: man’s basic concepts (such as time, space, existence) are not derived from experience or reality, but come from an automatic system of filters in his consciousness (labeled “categories” and “forms of perception”) which impose their own design on his perception of the external world and make him incapable of perceiving it in any manner other than the one in which he does perceive it. This proves, said Kant, that man’s concepts are only a delusion, but a collective delusion which no one has the power to escape. Thus reason and science are “limited,” said Kant; they are valid only so long as they deal with this world, with a permanent, pre-determined collective delusion (and thus the criterion of reason’s validity was switched from theobjective to the collective), but they are impotent to deal with the fundamental, metaphysical issues of existence, which belong to the “noumenal” world. The “noumenal” world is unknowable; it is the world of “real” reality, “superior” truth and “things in themselves” or “things as they are”—which means: things as they are not perceived by man.

Even apart from the fact that Kant’s theory of the “categories” as the source of man’s concepts was a preposterous invention, his argument amounted to a negation, not only of man’s consciousness, but ofany consciousness, of consciousness as such. His argument, in essence, ran as follows: man islimited to a consciousness of a specific nature, which perceives by specific means and no others, therefore, his consciousness is not valid; man is blind, because he has eyes—deaf, because he has ears—deluded, because he has a mind—and the things he perceives do not exist, because he perceives them.

For The New Intellectual, 30

And there you have it.  The story of a young boy who embraced “conservatism,” with all its contradictions and logical loopholes, as a viable ideology only to discover that it’s not.  Subsequently, he has gone on to learn that attempting to understand reality and existence is merely a futile effort due to the construction of the human brain–at least according to Kant.  Krohn was right to reject “conservatism” but he has escaped flagrant contradictions only to fall for evasion (His exposure to the former helps explain his attraction to the latter as well).  Here’s hoping Jonathan will read his way to Ayn Rand soon–before the NYU faculty gets to him.

Professor John Allison will Become Cato Institute’s New CEO

Looks like Objectivist Professor John Allison will be the new CEO of the Cato Institute:

[CATO Media Press Release] The Cato Institute and its shareholders have reached an agreement in principle that would resolve pending lawsuits filed by Charles Koch and David Koch against Cato, its CEO, and several of its directors.

Under terms of the agreement, Cato will no longer be a stockholder corporation and John Allison (the former CEO of BB&T) will be replacing Ed Crane, who will be retiring as Cato’s CEO. That represents a compromise by which both sides will achieve key objectives. For a majority of Cato’s directors, the agreement confirms Cato’s independence and ensures that Cato is not viewed as controlled by the Kochs. For Charles Koch and David Koch, the agreement helps ensure that Cato will be a principled organization that is effective in advancing a free society.

Earlier this year, Charles Koch and David Koch filed two separate lawsuits seeking interpretation and enforcement of Cato’s shareholders’ agreement. Prior to October 2011, Cato was owned by four shareholders — Crane, Charles Koch, David Koch, and William Niskanen. After Niskanen’s death in October 2011, the Kochs maintained that the shareholders’ agreement left Cato with three remaining shareholders (the Kochs and Crane). Crane and Niskanen’s widow, Kathryn Washburn, challenged the shareholders’ agreement and maintained that Ms. Washburn was the rightful owner of Niskanen’s shares.

The parties will seek a stay of the court proceedings related to that dispute after formal settlement documents have been prepared and signed. Terms of the settlement include:

  • The Cato Institute will be governed by members rather than shareholders. The members will be the directors of the Institute and will elect their own successors. Initially, the Board will include 12 long-term Cato directors, including David Koch. They will be joined by three other Koch designees and Allison, who has the option to nominate one or two additional directors. Charles Koch, Crane, and Washburn will not be on the Board.
  • Crane, who co-founded the Institute with Charles Koch and served as its CEO for 35 years, will retire within six months. He will be succeeded by Allison, an expert on political philosophy and public policy and a revered libertarian, admired and respected by the Kochs and the Cato Board.
  • Crane will work with Allison during the transition period and then serve as a consultant on fundraising and other matters.

On announcing the agreement in principle, Cato chairman Bob Levy said: “This is the end of an era at Cato. From the Institute’s inception, Ed Crane has played an indispensable role — co-founding, managing and shaping it into one of the nation’s leading research organizations.”

Crane extended his gratitude to Cato’s employees, directors, and donors for their ongoing support. He welcomed Allison, whom he described as “a great champion of liberty and an outstanding choice to build on Cato’s success as the foremost non-partisan, non-aligned, independent source of libertarian perspectives on public policy.”

Allison said he was “happy to assist in resolving the pending litigation and related issues,” and affirmed that his goal is “to sustain Cato’s efforts at moving the country toward a freer and more prosperous society.”

Charles Koch applauded the agreement. “I have every confidence that John’s leadership will enable Cato to reach new levels of effectiveness. The alarming increase in the size and scope of government is undermining freedom, opportunity and prosperity for all. Effective action is required to limit government to its proper role.”

Another Panel from Bosch Fawstin’s Graphic Novel: Infidel #2

THE INFIDEL, a story about twin brothers whose Muslim background comes to the forefront of their lives on 9/11. One responds by creating a counter-jihad superhero comic book called PIGMAN, as the other surrenders to Islam. Pigman’s battle against his archenemy SuperJihad is echoed by the escalating conflict between the twins.

Bosch was kind enough to let us publish online another panel from issue #2 which gives you a feel for Bosch’s style.

Bosch Fawstin is not only a great illustrator — he is an even better story teller. If you like Frank Miller’s original Dark Knight books you will love Fawstin’s THE INFIDEL.

Visit his website to order it online for only$3.

Panel from Bosch Fawstin’s Graphic Novel: Infidel #2

THE INFIDEL, a story about twin brothers whose Muslim background comes to the forefront of their lives on 9/11. One responds by creating a counter-jihad superhero comic book called PIGMAN, as the other surrenders to Islam. Pigman’s battle against his archenemy SuperJihad is echoed by the escalating conflict between the twins.

Bosch was kind enough to let us publish online a panel from issue #2 which gives you a feel for Bosch’s style.

Bosch Fawstin is not only a great illustrator — he is an even better story teller. If you like Frank Miller’s original Dark Knight books you will love Fawstin’s THE INFIDEL.

Visit his website to order it online for only$3.

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