The Death of Neoconservatism: Six Questions for C. Bradley Thompson @ Harpers

1. At the core of your book is the notion that neoconservatism is dead. But consider that Politico recently published an analysis of Obama’s Middle East policies in which ten of eleven persons quoted were neocons (the eleventh was a Palestinian). The Washington Post’s editorial page is rapidly becoming a neocon fortress. Is it really time to talk about the “death” of neoconservatism?

2. What do the neocons mean by “governing philosophy,” and how does this affect the way they engage in politics in America?

3. Irving Kristol’s argument for capitalism is, you conclude, remarkably luke-warm. Where do neocons part company with advocates of a pure market economy?

4. You link the neoconservatives closely to the writings of Leo Strauss, and particularly to his book Natural Right and History, which you say “may very well be one of the most profound and deadly philosophic assaults on America ever written.” What do you mean by this?

5. Leo Strauss’s 1933 letter to Karl Löwith, in which he acknowledged his adherence to “fascist, authoritarian, imperial” principles has drawn a lot of attention lately. Strauss adherents treat it as a sort of aberration. Are they right to push back in this way?

6. You suggest that a willingness to prepare for and wage wars lies right at the heart of neoconservatism. Has this affected American foreign policy in the last decade?

Read the answers at Harpers.

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Richard Salsman @ Forbes: A Golden Decade Of Government Failure

The past decade was “golden” for investors — but only for those who actually held gold and avoided such typically touted holdings as stocks or bonds. Even as finance professors kept insisting that investors “hold stocks for the long run,” one could observe gold’s price increasing by 410%, while U.S. stock prices declined 10%. More amazing perhaps, especially for today’s stock-obsessed advisors, gold has registered gains for ten consecutive years — a performance consistency that U.S. stocks have never achieved.

The only way to have prepared oneself to benefit from this decade-long golden performance was to distrust government’s more invasive role in the economy — a premise as rare today as gold itself. Most policymakers, economists, investment  advisors and journalists applaud a larger government role in the economy, which is one reason that Keynes — who rationalized statist policies — has made a comeback after being discredited in the prior three decades.

Read the rest…

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Event: Summer Conference 2011 at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism

Every summer The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism hosts a three-day conference for undergraduate and graduate students. Students attend lectures, participate in small group discussions, and have free time to discuss and debate the ideas presented in the formal sessions. Throughout the three days of sessions, students have ample opportunity to speak one-on-0ne with faculty and ask them questions in a more informal setting. The summer conferences, held on the campus of Clemson University, provide a unique opportunity for students to study with leading professors from around the country, to meet top students from around the world, and to study capitalism in a challenging, engaging environment.

The Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism is pleased to accept applications for its fourth annual summer conference for college students. We invite you to join us for an exciting three-day program of lectures, seminars, and discussions. Students will arrive on May 26th and depart on May 30th, with the main event running on May 27th through May 29th.

Exciting Programs:
Students will participate in an intensive and exciting program exploring the moral foundations of capitalism and Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. Students will attend lectures, participate in small-group seminar-style discussions, and question and answer sessions. Outside of class, students can relax and socialize on Clemson’s campus. Evening activities will include a barbecue dinner, a meet and greet with the faculty, and a career advice discussion.

Full Scholarships: All admitted students will receive a full scholarship, including reimbursement of travel expenses up to $500. All housing and meals will be provided on the campus of Clemson University, and reading materials will be provided

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Insight into the Logical Leap

Physicist David Harriman has started an online site where he gives insight into his excellent book, “The Logical Leap.” Sample articles include:

Writes Harriman, “The Logical Leap is written for anyone who wants a deeper understanding of how we discover generalizations. When we generalize from observed cases, how do we know that we’re right? My book tries to answer this question for the field of physical science, but the basic points of method can be applied to any field. It’s a “self-help” book (albeit on a more philosophic level). I will use this blog to elaborate on interesting topics in epistemology and in history of science. Also, I may give some background on how the book developed and what I learned while writing it. And, occasionally, I’ll comment on reactions to the book (positive and negative).”

Definitely worth a visit.

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Six Myths and Realities About Oil

Over at Fox News Alex EPSTEIN writes about “The 6 Myths About Oil”:

Every American consumes an average of three gallons of oil a day. Republicans and Democrats call this reliance on oil an “addiction”—an irrational, self-destructive habit that must be broken as soon as possible. This year’s BP oil spill disaster is only making the chorus to “end our addiction to oil” louder. But if we examine the most common arguments for this idea, we see that they are myths. Oil is a vital, viable, and desirable part of our energy future.

He goes on to list 6 myths (and their corresponding realities):

  • Myth #1: America’s reliance on oil is an “addiction”—an irrational, self-destructive habit. Reality: America’s use of oil brings indispensible value to our lives.
  • Myth #2: There are “green” technologies that are just as good, or better, than oil. Reality: There is zero evidence that any “renewable” can replace oil in any foreseeable future.
  • Myth #3: Because oil is finite, it will inevitably run out. Reality: There’s a lot more oil than you think—and if we have a free market in energy we will ensure that we find superior substitutes long before we run out.
  • Myth #4: Because oil is mostly in other countries, they can cut us off at will and create an economic catastrophe. Reality: International trade makes our energy supply more secure—and far more affordable.
  • Myth #5: Because oil money funds hostile dictatorships (Iran, Saudi Arabia) by using less oil we can make them poorer and make ourselves more secure. Reality: Direct threats to America must be fought through direct and decisive military action—not through multi-decade, sacrificial schemes to lower oil prices.
  • Myth #6: Because the burning of oil produces CO2, oil is a deadly pollutant that must be severely capped. Reality: Carbon-caps, not carbon emissions, are the real deadly threat to human life.

Read the whole discussion here…

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Video: The Government Can

The hilarious Tim Hawkins’ take on the Candyman can.

(Hey everybody! Gather ’round! I’m here to give you anything you like! You want a car, money, mortages?! Whatever you like! You have come to the right place! Why? I’ll tell you why!)

Who can take your money? (Who can take your money?)
With a twinkle in their eye? (With a twinkle in their eye?)
Take it all away and
Give it to some other guy

[Chorus]
The Government (the Government)
The Government can! (The Government can!)

Who can tax the Sun rise? (Who can watch the Sun rise?)
Who can tax the trees? (Who can touch the trees?)
Let you run a business and
Collect up all the fees

[Chorus]

The Government can ’cause
They mix it up with lies and
Make it all taste good! (Make it all taste good!)

The Government takes
Everything we make
To pay for all of their “sollutions”
Healthcare, Climate Change, Pollution
(Throw away the Constitution)

Who can give a bailout? (Who can give a bailout?)
Tell us to behave? (Tell us to behave?)
Make the Founding Fathers
Roll over in their graves

[Chorus]

The Government takes
Everything we make
They’re power hungry
And malicious

The economics are fictitious
Soon we’ll have to eat our dishes
Mmm! Delicious!

Who can be a failure? (Who can be a failure?)
In so many ways? (In so many ways?)
Instead of getting fired, HEY!
We’ll give ourselves a raise!

[Chorus]

The Government can ’cause
He mix it up with lies and
Make it all taste good! (Make it all taste good!)
And your Uncle Sam can ’cause
He mixes it with lies and
Makes it all taste good! (Makes it all taste good!)

And I feel so good
Because the Government
Says I should! Oh!…

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Peikoff Thanksgiving Podcast Features Excerpt From His Forthcoming Book

Every week, Dr. Peikoff answers questions about Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. The podcasts focus on human relationships, career, moral issues – not technical philosophy or practical politics.

This week’s question: Given the desperate state of the United States today and the future we seem to be heading toward, do we still have anything to be thankful for?

Hear the answer at www.peikoff.com which includes an excerpt from hisupcoming book “The DIM Hypothesis”

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