After Drapela was fired, Dr. Gordon Fulks, another anthropogenic global warming critic, began circulating a letter in defense of Drapela. To Fulks, it seemed obvious that Drapela’s global warming skepticism was the reason behind his firing.
“We can only speculate as to how the decision to fire Drapela was made,” Fulks wrote, adding, “I would suspect that Dr. Phil Mote (Director of their Climate Change Research Institute) had a hand in the decision, because he has previously been highly intolerant of those who oppose his ideas and could potentially threaten his business empire.”
[…] To produce income for oneself and one’s family, to plan ahead and budget, to borrow only when it makes sense to do so (but not in order to consume beyond one’s current or near-future means), and to save some income, are all acts that are rational, selfish, and thus moral. None of them is an ascetic act of self-sacrifice performed from duty or a hatred for one’s life, self, health or wealth. The result of producing, saving, and investing is not the miser’s life nor the cartoonish life of Mr. Scrooge but the life of earned success, supreme comfort, and guilt-free happiness. “Austerity” seems much too harsh a name for this kind of wonderful life.
To live this way used to be called “economizing.” It was the life of the virtuous – and prosperous. Yet most economists today, Keynesians as they are, deride economizing. Saving, they insist, constitutes a “leakage” from the “spending stream;” saving allegedly drains an economy of its lifeblood, of that unaffordable gusher known as “consumer spending.” Consume! is their sole advise to all who will listen, consume early and often, consume on credit, if necessary, and “shop ‘til you drop,” then pick yourself up and shop yet again. Somehow, all of this will revive a weak economy. If it’s weak, we’re told, it’s because there’s “insufficient demand,” insufficient consuming, too little senseless shopping. Households, businesses and governments alike should spend more, say these anti-economizing economists, not save more; they should spend beyond their means, and somehow that will create the means. If all must borrow to spend beyond their means, then banks must lend more; if they don’t, they must be “induced” to lend more; if needed, they must be forced.
According to Mahatma Gandhi, revolutionaries are first ignored, then laughed at, then attacked—and then they win. Reading George Monbiot’s piece on Ayn Rand, “How AynRand became the new right’s version of Marx” (The Guardian), has made me think that Gandhi could have included an intermediary step between laughter and attack: a step where the adversaries are no longer able to laugh, yet still lack the arguments necessary to launch an attack, thus do what they can to smear.
Monbiot makes his intention clear: He claims that Ayn Rand thought that empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive, that the poor deserve to die, and that those who seek to help them should be gassed. These are lies, and Monbiot knows it.
In spite of the lies, I do have a shred of sympathy for Monbiot – for what else could he say? It becomes clearer every day that Ayn Rand’s prophecy in Atlas Shrugged was spot on. Although the railroad industry in Rand’s novel has been replaced by a financial market, the same plot is played out: a mixed economy collapses and capitalism gets the blame.
[…] Ayn Rand is capitalism’s Karl Marx. Rand is an influential philosopher and iconoclast, and her alternative to Marx’ theory of exploitation is a theory that the wealth we all benefit from – from computers and airplanes to medicines and books – is fundamentally the result of entrepreneurs’ ability to innovate. Entrepreneurs and capitalists are heroes, not villains – and in Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand explains why.
Read the rest at Forbes.
It’s been a long wait, but Bosch Fawstin’s The INFIDEL #2 is out — and it is full of surprises.
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 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.
I don’t think any college kid took on tens of thousands of dollars in debt with the expectation they would get a job working for minimum wage against tips.
At some point potential students will realize that they can’t flip their student loans for a job in 4 years. In fact they will realize that college may be the option for fun and entertainment, but not for education. Prices for traditional higher education will skyrocket so high over the next several years that potential students will start to make their way to non accredited institutions.
While colleges and universities are building new buildings for the english , social sciences and business schools, new high end, un-accredited, BRANDED schools are popping up that will offer better educations for far, far less and create better job opportunities.
As an employer I want the best prepared and qualified employees. I could care less if the source of their education was accredited by a bunch of old men and women who think they know what is best for the world. I want people who can do the job. I want the best and brightest. Not a piece of paper.
The Higher Education Industry is very analogous to the Newspaper industry. By the time they realize they need to change their business model it will be too late. Higher Education’s legacy infrastructure, employee costs /structures and debt costs will keep them from being able to re calibrate to a new generation of competitors.
The Ayn Rand Institute Campus is an all-encompassing FREE e-learning center for learning about Ayn Rand and her revolutionary philosophy of Objectivism.
“There are courses on each of her timeless literary classics: We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged; courses on specific aspects of Rand’s thought and how to apply her ideas to everyday life; and courses aimed at understanding the vast impact of Ayn Rand’s ideas on the intellectual and political landscape. For those interested in delving more into an in-depth analysis of her ideas, there are advanced courses taught by top Objectivist scholars. We’ll be adding courses on politics, law, religion, economics, science, philosophy, history, morality and more.”
Here’s a piece about the BBC’s (Bend over Backwards Corporation?) self-censorship over Islam and Muslims as an explicit, mandated policy under its current director, Mark “Run Away!” Thompson. (The nickname is mine, from the knights’ battle cry in Monty Python’s “Holy Grail” movie.) I’d like to see a similar exposé of its counterpart here in the U.S., the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (or PBS) “a private corporation funded by viewers like you,” through donation and tax dollars.
Anyone see the contradiction in that assertion? I’ve not seen a single program that portrays Islam in its true light, only programs about animals and struggling illegal aliens and global warming and bringing technology to poor countries that couldn’t sustain it anyway because they’re mired in collectivism and socialism. or just plain primitivism. We don’t have a TV license tax here, but we may as well have for all the hidden taxes that go into the purchase of a TV. The CPB is the federal government’s propaganda arm; PBS affiliates are its local branches, and the MSM its private and willing auxiliary, all hoving to the
gentleman’s agreement to “never speak ill of Islam.” — Ed Cline
Twenty one French economists stood against the political trend in Europe as their open letter was published in the The Wall Street Journal. This opinion could not have appeared sooner as monetary policy, impulsive bailouts, and woeful prospects plague the European economy. With the election battle between Nicolas Sarkozy and socialist Francois Hollande unfolding, these non-partisan economists launched an un-apologetic attack to those that, “think that one man’s life can be improved by robbing another.”
In it, they refute the practicality of finding balance between a quasi-free market system and the continuous expansion of a coercive welfare state that redistributes wealth:
Socialism has never succeeded in its extreme form, communism. As the past several years in Europe have shown, it does not work in its milder form of social democracy either. If European history teaches us anything, it is that prosperity is closely correlated to economic freedom.
Additionally, the observation is made that goods, wealth, and values are the products of man’s mind. Government’s role is not to engineer society but to preserve the ability of men to think rationally and produce:
Growth can not be decreed: It is the result of unpredictable decisions and actions by countless individuals, all capable of effort and imagination. And growth can only come if these countless individuals’ impulses are not paralyzed by regulations, taxes, or dependence on the state. That is the path down which Mr. Hollande’s socialist policies would lead us, with the support of his inevitable Communist and environmentalist allies: A France that can produce nothing but economic stagnation and ever-higher unemployment and poverty, as the debt burden becomes unbearable.
…And they conclude with this–the inescapable nature of reality:
Sadly, whatever happens on Sunday seems unlikely to deliver France from socialism—our choices range from the status quo of a statist right, to the grand visions of a more-statist left. There is only one solution to restore hope to France: Abandon socialism entirely. To let it grip us even more tightly, as Mr. Hollande promises, would be a fatal error.
Here’s hoping statism and socialism will be rejected entirely…before it’s too late.
by Harry Binswanger, Ph.D.
Now that the Arizona immigration-control law is at the Supreme Court, it’s time to analyze that law.
There are two levels: the philosophic level and the level of Constitutional law. Fortunately, they both point to the same conclusion.
The philosophical issue is my main concern. There is no dichotomy between property rights and “human rights”. Just as foreign businessmen have the absolute right to send their products to domestic buyers, foreign individuals have the absolute right to enter the country. If you support free trade, consistency requires supporting free immigration. (But granting citizenship, and the vote, is a different matter; restrictions on that are proper—and should be applied even to natural born citizens.)
And let’s go further: if you abhor the inspection of goods at the border, you should abhor the inspection of men at the border. (The premise of this entire discussion is that we are not at war and not in the midst of an epidemic or other emergency). There is no justification for inspecting parcels or persons at the border. The widespread view that government may properly “inspect for disease and criminal records” is well motivated, but mistaken. The terms of when a person may be inspected by government has nothing to do with whether the person is domestic or foreign, nor whether he is standing at the nation’s border or on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Police need probable cause (or whatever the legal standard is) in order to interfere with free movement.
There should be no visible border. The border between the U.S. and Mexico (and between the U.S. and Canada) should be exactly like the border between Connecticut and Massachusetts: you see “Welcome to Massachusetts” and otherwise you are unaware of the difference.
A logical error makes some people think a government has the right to exclude, detain, or otherwise interfere with foreigners. The error is confusing the protection of rights and the non-violation of rights. The fact that a government is limited to protecting its citizens’ rights doesn’t mean the government is allowed to violate non-citizens’ rights. The San Diego police are not authorized to enter Tijuana to start protecting Mexican’s rights, but that doesn’t mean it can enslave Tijunans (whether those Tijunans are inside or outside the U.S.).
Back to first principles: the source of government authority is the delegation of rights by the citizenry. A citizen has no right to interfere with the free movement of any individual, foreign or not, so neither does the government. You could not stand at the national, state, or municipal border and demand people stop for inspection, to prove they are not criminals and not diseased. You cannot delegate to the state a right you do not possess.
Notice that, stemming from your right of self-defense, the state certainly does have the authority to detain and inspect—or even imprison—anyone who gives specific evidence of initiating force. Contra anarchism, if a foreigner is brandishing a gun, that is full justification for police action. But that governmental authority applies in exactly the same way to citizens. It is not whether someone is Mexican or American that justifies government action, it is whether he is objectively threatening force.
Collectivism is usually involved in people’s thinking on this subject: xenophobia is a form of collectivism, and that accounts for a lot of the opposition to open immigration; but collectivism in regard to America is often involved—on both the Left and the Right. For example, people will say: “If government didn’t inspect fruits and vegetables coming in from unsanitary places like Mexico, we’d be hit with diseases, which is a form of force.” But no one forces you to buy or eat particular fruits or vegetables: they end up in your mouth by a series of voluntary transactions on the free market. A&P chooses to buy Mexican fruits and vegetables, and you choose to buy them from A&P. It is highly against A&P’s interest to sell tainted produce—from anywhere. (And food poisoning is not contagious.)
Collectivism means viewing this issue as: “Their unsanitary food enters our country.” But it is not “them” and “us”—it is a particular Mexican vendor dealing with a particular American supermarket dealing with a particular citizen. And it’s all voluntary.
Now here’s an example of collectivism from Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal. An editorial on the Arizona law refers to “the authority that Congress bestowed as part of its power to manage the nation’s borders.” There is no such proper power. The relation of Congress to the U.S. border is not the relation of an individual to his property line. Congress does not hold the U.S. as its property. Again, no individual has the right to go to some jurisdictional boundary and use force against people trying to cross it; he can do that at the border of his property (subject to the requirements of objectivity vs. anarchist vigilantism), but it is collectivism to transfer one’s thinking about property lines to border lines.
The border is a line demarcating jurisdiction not ownership. Its function is to tell the government where its authority ends (and to tell the citizen what legal jurisdiction he has entered). The only proper governmental “managing” of our borders, in peacetime, that I can think of is keeping in good repair the “Welcome to America” signs.
The legal-Constitutional side of the Arizona law is something I am not expert on, but given my limited knowledge it seems that the issue is federal vs. state authority regarding immigration. The Constitution gives that authority to the federal government. It is said that all the states are doing is enforcing federal law. E.g., the same Wall Street Journal editorial says:
[Arizona] carefully crafted a state law that is consistent with the federal immigration laws already on the books. All Arizona does is instruct state police to enforce federal immigration laws—for instance, by calling federal officials if a person they arrest can’t verify his legal status. . . . The state is simply using its own resources to execute rules set up by Congress.
These “rules” are themselves wrong, as I showed above. But let’s waive that and try to straighten out the resulting (ultimately irresolvable) mess. In a conflict between the federal government’s interpretation of how its laws should be executed and a states interpretation of that, which body should prevail? Clearly, the federal government’s. I gather that the federal government does not agree with how Arizona is executing federal law. If that’s the case, it’s sufficient grounds for the Supreme Court to void the Arizona law.
What complicates the case here is that not only is the federal law improper, the objections to how Arizona is administering it, from the little I have read, are improper. The objections seem to center around “profiling,” which is a conceptual package-deal. The proper part of the package is: it is wrong to use statistics about groups as evidence regarding the volitional choices of individuals. The improper part of the package is the reverse: it is wrong to ignore evidence about the volitional choices of an individual because he is a member of some group. If one sees a thuggish looking individual engaged in suspicious behavior, that is not to be ignored on the grounds that he is a member of some race. (This is only an indication of how to approach what can be a difficult issue in application.)
Aside from the legal issues, the symbolic meaning of the Arizona law is well understood and transcends the issue of Left vs. Right. The supporters of the law are anti-immigration; the opponents of the law are pro-immigration. As an individualist, I oppose the law.
Dr. Binswanger, a longtime associate of Ayn Rand, is a professor of philosophy at the Objectivist Academic Center of the Ayn Rand Institute. Special Offer: Dr. Binswanger moderates Harry Binswanger’s List (HBL)–an email list for Objectivists for discussing philosophic and cultural issues — a free one-month trial is available at: www.hblist.com.
Ira Stoll notes at The Future of Capitalism that Congressman Tom McClintock, a Republican of California, has made the following remarks about the “IRS Harassment of Tea Party Groups.”
It seems that Tea Party groups are now being treated very differently than their counterparts on the political Left. For the last two years, many have been stone-walled by the IRS when they have sought to register as non-profits and most recently, they have been barraged with increasingly aggressive and threatening demands vastly outside the legal authority of the IRS. Indeed, the only conceivable purpose of some of these demands could be to intimidate and harass.
A Tea Party group in my district is typical of the reports we are hearing from all across the country. This group submitted articles of incorporation as a non-profit to the state of California, and received approval within a month. Then, they tried to register as a non-profit with the IRS. Despite repeated and numerous inquiries, the IRS stonewalled this group for a year and a half, at which time it demanded thousands of pages of documentation – and gave the group less than three weeks to produce it.
The IRS demanded the names of every participant at every meeting held over the last two years, transcripts of every speech given at those meetings, what positions they had taken on issues, the names of their volunteers and donors, and copies of communications they had with elected officials and on and on.
Perhaps most chilling of all, the organizer of this particular group soon found herself the object of a personal income tax audit by the IRS….