Celebrating those charming Easter rituals

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-12 20:26

Every year at Easter we celebrate sacrifice with time-honoured rituals that go to the heart of who we are as a society. This year will be no exception.

Recent Comments:
mmmm...sacrilicious.... — by JoeM on Sun, 2006-04-16 14:32
Closed — by Kenny on Sun, 2006-04-16 13:44
Shop Trading Restrictions are a Human Rights Issue — by Sandi on Fri, 2006-04-14 01:11

Is it true that the government that governs best, governs least?

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-12 20:18

'The Government that Governs Best, Governs Least.' That's true, but it's not the whole truth -- which just shows you how reliable bumper-sticker philosophy can be. What's missing from that analysis is what gets too many libertarians confused.

Recent Comments:
Size is important — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 13:48

Meeting Nathaniel Branden

William E. Perry's picture
Submitted by William E. Perry on Wed, 2006-04-12 16:03

The first time I met Nathaniel Branden was at the 1998 Summer Seminar of what was then called the Institute for Objectivist Studies. IOS later became The Objectivist Center. George H. Smith took me to an area of the common room in which Branden was talking to a few people. He introduced me to him.

I had recently read Judgment Day. At that point his revised version was about to be released as My Years with Ayn Rand. I asked Branden why he had to revise the book. He told me that he had made mistakes as to details, and that others had corrected him. He felt the need to make those corrections. I found out later that many of the corrections had come from Barbara Branden.

Recent Comments:
Correction: Authors of emails not known — by 0 on Mon, 2008-01-14 10:56
'masks', Disorders...and gossip — by Rowlf on Fri, 2006-04-21 08:02
Sub-personalities — by eg on Thu, 2006-04-20 23:49

( categories: )

Self-Love as a Prime Mover

Dan Edge's picture
Submitted by Dan Edge on Wed, 2006-04-12 00:25


I love my life. And I don't just mean life in general, but my life in particular. I love my name, the particulars of my body, my voice, I love the fact that I'm a man, my taste in music, my hometown, my local football team, pretty much everything that makes me distinctly who I am. I would not want to trade my face with anyone, even someone better looking than me. I love my consciousness, and my body's particular physical manifestation in reality.

All of these distinguishing characteristics are morally neutral. It is no more ethical to be male or female, to root for the Panthers or the Redskins, to have green eyes or brown eyes, to be from Greenville, SC or somewhere else. One may ask: On what basis can one value his particular distinguishing characteristics more highly than any other possible combination? There are no absolute standards of judgment in this morally optional realm. My simple answer: Self-love is a prime mover.

Recent Comments:
Football — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 20:50
Washington Capitals for me — by Lanza Morio on Wed, 2006-04-12 07:28

A nation of lawbreakers

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Tue, 2006-04-11 20:27

This article is reprised from my personal homepage, which I am shutting down.

"One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. ... create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt." (Dr. Ferris, in Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand).

Recently, I've been wondering if Helen Clark has been reading Atlas Shrugged - and then mistakenly taking inspiration from the villains, instead of from the heroes.

Evil and Evil-doers

Rick Giles's picture
Submitted by Rick Giles on Tue, 2006-04-11 14:15

I believe in evil, you should too, here's why.

All our actions are goal-directed actions. Open the window because you want some fresh air. Go to work to earn some money. But what goal does fresh air and money achieve? Is there some final goal that all the little actions and little goals are a means to? Yes there is, and that's living. Living is an end in itself for us.

Recent Comments:
For sure — by Rick Giles on Wed, 2006-04-12 07:43
I, personally, am very much — by Andrew Bissell on Wed, 2006-04-12 07:20

Immigration Plus Welfare State Equal Police State

George Reisman's picture
Submitted by George Reisman on Tue, 2006-04-11 12:20

Illegal immigrants are overwhelming the resources of the Welfare State: government–funded hospital emergency rooms are filled with them; public schools are filled with their children. On the basis of such complaints, many people are angry and want to close the border to new illegal immigrants and deport those who are already here.

They want to keep new illegal immigrants out with fences along the border. It is not clear whether the fences would contain intermittent watchtowers with searchlights and machine guns. The illegal immigrants who are already here would be ferreted out by threatening anyone who employed them with severe penalties and making it a criminal offense not to report them.

Recent Comments:
I agree — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 21:02

Come on, TOCians! :-)

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Tue, 2006-04-11 05:30

Getting KASS commentary out of you may be blood-out-of-stone territory, but at least LEARN TO SPELL!

My attention has been drawn to your updated Links. My spelling corrections and other helpful suggestions are in square brackets:


The Cato Institute -- The primier libertarian think tank. [That's "prEmier," darlings!]

Institute for Justice -- An activist group that goes to court to defend individual liberty.

Competitive Enterprise Institute -- Free-market activists who focus on regulations and environmental policy.

The Bidinotto Blog -- Run by The New Individualist editor Robert Bidinotto. [Objectivism's primier guttersnipe-buster! Wheeeee!]

Recent Comments:
SOLO conference suggestion — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 13:37
Blimey! — by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2006-04-12 16:08
Revisions to Links — by James Heaps-Nelson on Wed, 2006-04-12 15:08

My mother is not Evil

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Tue, 2006-04-11 00:16

My Mother is a good woman, and I love her very much. She is one of the best and nicest people I know. She is for the most part rational, very intelligent, benevolent, possessed of incredible strength of conviction, and she's a great parent, too.

She is also an environmentalist.

Recent Comments:
Oh yes she is — by Rick Giles on Wed, 2006-04-12 22:39
Duncan — by Lanza Morio on Wed, 2006-04-12 19:41
Who we're referring to — by Rick Giles on Tue, 2006-04-11 03:05

A reminder that we're still at war with barbarism

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-04-09 20:44

Death to Marxism! Death to Fascism! Death to Islam! Death to all forms of tyranny over the minds of men! And shame on those who would appease or apologise for the evils these disgusting and barbarous ideas represent.

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for cowards to appease it - and Islam is the locus of evil in the contemporary world." If that statement from The Free Radical's Lindsay Perigo is not true, then the death and destruction of September 11 did not happen; then Theo van Gogh was not murdered; then the Danish cartoonists are not in hiding in fear of their lives; then hordes of stone-age barbarians did not take to the streets in reaction against those cartoons to say "Europe, you will have your own Holocaust soon," "Behead those who would insult Islam" and "God Bless Hitler"; then Bali, Madrid and London were not bombed by maggots who show those threats need to be taken very seriously indeed.

It's still not clear to some people that war was declared in the name of Islam some five years ago by representatives from the dark ages who hate the West for its wealth, for its happiness and for its material success. This post is yet another reminder for those people.

Recent Comments:
I'm all ears — by Rick Giles on Sun, 2006-04-16 04:20
Spoon Feeding, Rick Giles — by Wayne Simmons on Sat, 2006-04-15 18:27
Muslims from your "Muslims" — by Rick Giles on Sat, 2006-04-15 03:10

Perigo smeared

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Sun, 2006-04-09 20:44

A local blogger has attacked Lindsay Perigo's 'Death to Islam' editorial as "bigotry" and "hate speech."

Recent Comments:
Well it's obvious the real — by gregster on Tue, 2007-07-10 04:52
Wow — by Andrew Bissell on Mon, 2006-04-10 01:55
You have at best — by Utility Belt on Mon, 2006-04-10 00:45

( categories: )

Binswanger on Immigration

AdamReed's picture
Submitted by AdamReed on Sun, 2006-04-09 20:32

Harry Binswanger has posted to his blog a superb clarification of the ethical and legal issues in immigration. In view of the unhealthy reticence with which this issue is treated by many "libertarians" and wanna-be-"Objectivists," here and elsewhere, go read.

Recent Comments:
We already have open immigration... — by atlascott on Mon, 2007-08-13 16:24
A hypothetical question — by Erik Christensen on Mon, 2007-08-13 03:28
Actually, the Atlasphere Isn't an "Affiliate" of Anyone — by Joshua Zader on Thu, 2006-04-13 19:51

A Libertarian Critique of the Interim Constitution for Iraq

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Sun, 2006-04-09 01:09

I wrote this critique prior to changing my mind regarding the liberation of Iraq, but my analysis is still perfectly valid, and unfortunately, events have since proved my fears regarding the Interim Constitution well grounded.

It is entirely possible that the people of Iraq, being liberated from Hussein's yoke, may well yet vote themselves into the hellish nightmare of an Islamic theocracy - with the full support of their new Islam-based Constitution - and the Interim Constitution set the scene for that.

Recent Comments:
Sandi, Islam is a religion — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-04-13 17:25
Islam is a Mafia. — by Sandi on Wed, 2006-04-12 03:22

The Ghost of Thomas Jefferson (reprised for Thanksgiving)

Ross Elliot's picture
Submitted by Ross Elliot on Sat, 2006-04-08 10:14

[The Ghost of Thomas Jefferson first appeared on SOLOHQ & in The Free Radical.]


President John Thomas Jefferson Smith turned to his uneasy secret service agents and waved for them to go away, outside, back into the night. He wanted to be left alone, in this dimly lit memorial, in this quiet place.

Recent Comments:
Have you ever tried to get — by Duncan Bayne on Wed, 2006-04-12 05:01
Whoa-eth! — by Prima Donna on Wed, 2006-04-12 04:59
Ah! — by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2006-04-12 04:26

( categories: )

Aquinas and Kant on Masturbation

seddon's picture
Submitted by seddon on Sat, 2006-04-08 02:04

A spectre is haunting the philosophy of sex in the writings of Aquinas and Kant. It is curious, very curious, that Aquinas, Rand’s second favorite philosopher, and Kant, Rand’s least favorite philosopher (he was after all the most evil man in the northern part of southeast Koenigsburg) share a position (no, not the missionary)—masturbation. They’re against it. And there arguments are almost identical. Sex is made for procreation and no matter how good you get at wacking off, you’re not going to procreate. That’s the hard truth. Be erect, and take it like a man. Masturbation is a no-no.

Recent Comments:
Gavin — by seddon on Tue, 2008-08-12 14:29
Gilson — by Gaven on Tue, 2008-08-12 13:14
Gavin — by seddon on Mon, 2008-08-11 15:25

Kant on Belief in God

seddon's picture
Submitted by seddon on Sat, 2006-04-08 01:21

On pp.2-3 of Manfred Kuehn's book KANT: A BIOGRAPHY we read,
"Scheffner [an old friend of Kant's] was only too much aware of Kant's belief that there was nothing to be expected after death. Though in his philosophy he had held out hope for eternal life and a future state, in his personal life he had been cold to such ideas. Scheffner had often heard Kant scoff at prayer and other religious practices. Organized religion filled him with ire. It was clear to anyone who knew Kant personally that he had no faith in a personal God. Having postulated God and immortality, he himself did not believe in either. His considered opinion was that such beliefs were just a matter of "individual needs." Kant himself felt no such need."

Recent Comments:
Neil — by seddon on Mon, 2006-04-10 02:17
Fred — by Neil Parille on Sun, 2006-04-09 23:57
Jefferson — by PhilipC on Sun, 2006-04-09 21:35

Machan's Musings—Teaching versus Preaching

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Sat, 2006-04-08 01:08

After having taught college for nearly forty years, I can report that a great many teachers use their class rooms to preach, not to teach. (The same is reportedly the case in secondary schooling but I am not qualified to speak to that.)

In the tradition of liberal education, which is what is supposed to guide the profession of teaching, when professors enter the classroom, they are supposed to present to their students facts about the subject matter and, where appropriate, the variety of viewpoints that have gained prominence concerning it. The former approach is mainly associated with the natural sciences, the latter with the humanities and social sciences. Of course, facts are involved in both and even where there are different viewpoints afoot, it doesn’t mean they are all equally sound. But because they have all gained respectability, the professor is not supposed to take sides. He or she is supposed to familiarize students with these prominent perspectives and leave it to the students to decide which position is the most reasonable.

Miniskirts: The Fashion of Freedom takes on Progressive Education

Marnee's picture
Submitted by Marnee on Sat, 2006-04-08 00:40

What does the fashionable and freedom loving girl wear to a protest? Well, take a lesson from 10 year old Zoe Hinkle of Pittsburgh.

This little Dagny Taggart is making a bold fashion statement about her freedom to make choices. But the oh so Progressive School Board says no!

Recent Comments:
Im not advocating young — by Richard Wiig on Sat, 2006-04-08 07:58
Progressives & My Hyperbole — by Marnee on Sat, 2006-04-08 06:02
I know Gene. It was a great — by Jody Gomez on Sat, 2006-04-08 04:53

Open vs. Closed System Theory

Dan Edge's picture
Submitted by Dan Edge on Fri, 2006-04-07 20:32

Open vs Closed System

I am an advocate of Objectivism as a "closed system" of philosophical thought. I've considered this issue from many different angles and degrees of complexity over the years, but now the answer seems surprisingly clear to me. Several years ago, I asked myself the questions: "If I view Objectivism as an open system of thought, then how exactly do I define the term 'Objectivism?' What are the referents of 'Objectivism' in reality?" Based on the open system theory, I found these questions to be unanswerable.

One must have epistemological precision with his concepts, particularly in the study of philosophy. I have found that one of the best ways to deepen my understanding of a subject is to go back and more precisely define concepts relating to that subject. The closed system perspective makes this possible with respect to Objectivism. Assuming a closed system, I can define exactly what Objectivism is, and what its referents are in reality. Objectivism is the philosophy of Ayn Rand.

Recent Comments:
Mike_M said: Imagine that, — by ValueCritic on Sun, 2010-04-11 17:11
'names', Proper-names, and concepts — by Rowlf on Sun, 2006-04-16 05:51
ok then! — by Mike_M on Wed, 2006-04-12 05:06

Linz on Radio & TV

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Fri, 2006-04-07 03:42

Radio Live: Fri April 14, 10am - 2pm; Sunday April 16, 12pm - 4pm; Monday April 17, 2pm - 6pm; NEWSFLASH!! - every Sunday thereafter, 12pm - 4pm!

TVNZ, Eye to Eye: Saturday, April 22, 8am, against Hone Harawira, MP, on his proposal to ban smoking altogether!

Recent Comments:
"Well you did poke her ..." — by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2006-04-26 14:08
Well, you *did* poke her — by Ross Elliot on Wed, 2006-04-26 11:16
Did the cameras .. — by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2006-04-26 08:59

( categories: )

Is This What They Teach at the Ayn Rand Institute?

Robert Campbell's picture
Submitted by Robert Campbell on Thu, 2006-04-06 15:01

Since Diana Hsieh is remarkably quick to impugn the scholarship of her "detractors," I thought it might be worthwhile to go through one of her own recent public statements about Objectivist scholarship, to see what standards it actually meets.

Recent Comments:
See my new blog entry — by Robert Campbell on Mon, 2006-08-07 15:07
Generally speaking — by eg on Sat, 2006-08-05 00:47
Two Inaccuracies — by DianaHsieh on Fri, 2006-08-04 21:34

( categories: )

First, Witchcraft Trials; Now, Impending Health Insurance Fiasco: Massachusetts Leads the Way

George Reisman's picture
Submitted by George Reisman on Thu, 2006-04-06 14:09

Having just read today’s New York Times’ lead page-one article titled “Massachusetts Sets Health Plan for Nearly All,” I think I know what it must be like to live in some place like Caracas and participate in a popular celebration of the joyous wonders wrought by La Revolución. That’s certainly the spirit of the article.

Recent Comments:
From within the fiasco — by Stephen K. on Tue, 2006-04-11 04:12
This won't fail. It won't be — by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2006-04-07 04:47
I hope this is seen as a failure very quickly. — by Jason Quintana on Thu, 2006-04-06 14:39

Barbara Branden and TOC

William E. Perry's picture
Submitted by William E. Perry on Thu, 2006-04-06 13:50

I think that the invitation of Barbara Branden to speak at The Objectivist Center summer seminar was inappropriate based on her recent conduct. I attempted to stop the invitation based upon judgment of her by the standards of David Kelley in _The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand_. Although my views on judgment are far different than Kelley’s I was attempting to function within the context of the organization and its views.

Recent Comments:
Ciro, — by Casey on Wed, 2006-04-12 08:05
Ciro — by eg on Wed, 2006-04-12 05:04
Mr. Valliant, what if BB — by Ciro D Agostino on Wed, 2006-04-12 04:39

( categories: )

Vote for BBC "Moving Words"

Scott Wilson's picture
Submitted by Scott Wilson on Thu, 2006-04-06 07:59

On the BBC website there is a poll for the most Moving Words quoted in English for all time. The poll is here:

The results so far are:

Results so far:
1: Woody Allen: To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition
2: Dalai Lama: You can't shake hands with a clenched fist
3: Sir Isaac Newton: If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants
4: Saint Augustine: Better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.

Recent Comments:
Of Those Listed.... — by Dan Edge on Sat, 2006-04-08 02:46
~~ Since 'The List' doesn't — by Rowlf on Sat, 2006-04-08 02:40
Yeah! — by Fraser Stephen-Smith on Fri, 2006-04-07 15:35


Rick Giles's picture
Submitted by Rick Giles on Thu, 2006-04-06 03:23

Click here for their homepage Click image for link to Frontline's website

We don't know how lucky we are. We don't know how proficious are the circumstances, Kiwis.

I know that since I've been away Paul Homes left TVNZ, and for a while there were three post-news current affairs shows. But thankfully we in Enzed have not yet devolved to the state of presenting and consuming tabloid news shows among ourselves.

Recent Comments:
Ain't no doubt — by Rick Giles on Fri, 2006-04-07 04:43
Frontline was brilliant. As — by Ross Elliot on Thu, 2006-04-06 06:29

One more nail in the ID "theory" coffin.

Jody Gomez's picture
Submitted by Jody Gomez on Thu, 2006-04-06 02:20

Though as we know, ID is a modern euphemism designed to make creationism more stealth-like, so I'm not sure if nailing the coffin shut will ever silence this living-dead creature.

transitional life forms

The Bigger the Better?

JulianP's picture
Submitted by JulianP on Wed, 2006-04-05 23:23

No, this is not for SOLO Thrust... Smiling It's an interesting study recently published by Swiss researchers:

The Bigger the Better? Evidence of the Effect of Government Size on Life Satisfaction around the World

This paper empirically analyzes the question whether government involvement in the economy is conducive or detrimental to life satisfaction in a cross-section of 74 countries. This provides a test of a longstanding dispute between standard neoclassical economic theory, which predicts that government plays an unambiguously positive role for individuals' quality of life, and public choice theory, that was developed to understand why governments often choose excessive involvement and regulation, thereby harming voters' quality of life. Our results show that life satisfaction decreases with higher government spending. This negative impact of the government is stronger in countries with a leftwing median voter. It is alleviated by government effectiveness - but only in countries where the state sector is already small.

Recent Comments:
If this is true, then look — by Pete L on Wed, 2006-04-05 23:59

Getting no (musical) satisfaction?

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-05 01:02

Reading a puff-piece the other day about the Rolling Stones' impending world tour, a piece of research was quoted that suggested our 'cultural choices' (or some such phrase) are all made between the ages of fifteen to thirty, following which we all apparently seek to recapture and reprise the thrill first felt in the first flush of adulthood.

This, said the journalist about the research, explains such phenomena as the constant repackaging and re-selling of CDs and albums of arthritic rockers, the $umpteen squillion Jimi Hendrix Rock'n'Roll Museum in Seattle (paid for with Paul Allen's Microsoft winnings), and the bland dreck played on expensive sound equipment emanating from the car windows of too many highly-paid middle-aged middle executives - 'life in the fast lane' - 'I can't get no satisfaction' - 'all in all we're just another lame-brain in the wall' - bleecch.

Recent Comments:
James V:I "hear" sincerity, — by Lanza Morio on Wed, 2006-04-12 07:45
Sincerity — by James S. Valliant on Sat, 2006-04-08 13:40
Hey James... — by Lanza Morio on Sat, 2006-04-08 05:02

Why Gareth Morgan is wrong to give his money away

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-05 00:59

Gareth Morgan is wrong to give his money away. Here's why.

There are some people who are so productive they almost can't help creating wealth. These aren't just wealth creators, they're walking machines of production, able to turn a dollar into ten, into a hundred, into a thousand, into seven hundred million... purely on the basis of a good idea, a lot of hard work, and an understanding of the way the world works.

Gareth's son Sam Morgan is such a man.

Recent Comments:
Yikes! — by Rick Giles on Wed, 2006-04-05 12:17
As was said elsewhere:Have — by Capitalist on Wed, 2006-04-05 07:14
Wrong? — by Rick Giles on Wed, 2006-04-05 03:48

Suppressing information. A challenge to free speech?

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-04-05 00:57

The use of suppression orders in recent New Zealand trials has come in for much debate, not least in two trials involving and alleging gang rape, the latest being the suppression orders from the Louise Nicholas/Clint Rickards (et al) trials just finished, and currently being informally challenged. A commenter here asked for my opinion on the various breaches of the suppression order in the recent rape trial: "PC," said Yalnikim, "I'm looking forward to your thoughts on "free speech versus information suppression." So here they are.

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