Yaron Brook - Foreign Policy debate on Jan. 16 in Chicago

katdaddy's picture
Submitted by katdaddy on Thu, 2006-01-05 12:07

The Ayn Rand Institute announces a free live event in Chicago.

Debate on Foreign Policy:
Dr. Yaron Brook vs. Dan Slater

Monday, January 16, 2006 at 7:30 PM
University of Chicago; Chicago, Illinois
Location: Kent 107

For a map and directions go to http://maps.uchicago.edu/

( categories: )

Thanks Linz

sjw's picture

Thanks Linz, the feeling's mutual Eye

Fence Splinters

James Heaps-Nelson's picture

No, Linz. I don't agree with Kat and Michael over the Brandens issues especially their crappy biographies. Just wishing her well. I'm on page 123 of PARC and I am already greatly disturbed at what I'm seeing. Your message has been received and absorbed Smiling.



Lindsay Perigo's picture

Kat - Thanks for your efforts. I find it incomprehensible, what you're prepared to overlook in forming your judgements of people. You associate with the most disgusting slimeballs, whose vileness has been thoroughly itemised here many times, & fault ME for barfing at their perfidy. Obviously you & I had to come to a parting of the ways. Pity - I still think your heart's in the right place.

Carl - You & Jason got off on the wrong foot. He has been magnanimous in offering to start over. I hope you respond in kind. As to whether SOLO will "replace" ARI - that isn't my intention. I want SOLO to be the place where the reason/passion dichotomy is busted once & for all, even if individual posters are still trapped in it.

Jim - Those fence-splinters will get you yet.

Shayne - great posts. I am in danger of being impressed by you. In light of our history, I find this disturbing. Smiling

I quit

James Heaps-Nelson's picture


I have enjoyed your contributions and hope you will continue to post over on the RoR site. I'll see you in better weather.



I quit

katdaddy's picture

The position of Solo Illinois leader is now open. I do not wish to remain on staff here. I cannot work for a man I don't respect, one who attacks my friends and my highest value. I'm sure that some of you are very happy to see me go. To those I add my beautiful soprano voice to the chorus of, "Fuck You!"

All my best to most of you.


Shayne,If that's what you

Wes's picture


If that's what you think about people who use bulletpoints maybe you'd like to go back to our original dicussion and we can talk there. Because the only thing that was agreed on was that you're an elitist prick. There is a difference between someone asking to be "spoon-fed" something and asking to be reminded of something so they can take part in a discussion.

Take a step back Carl

Jason Quintana's picture

Spend some time reading multiple posts by people before you start attacking them. If you don't agree with me about Yaron Brook or his ideology or my use of the word "perception" in a certain context or anything else you are welcome to engage me in a discussion.

I don't think that it is wise to show up at an established group and immediately engage veteran posters as if they are Objectivist heretics after a couple of days. Take a step back and cool off a bit. And no, spewing insults has nothing to do with reasoned arguments. So take your own advice and remember that if you shovel shit at me like you did above I will fire it right back at you. Otherwise I would be happy to bury the hatchet and engage you in further non confrontational discussions.

- Jason

You don't get it

sjw's picture

Carl, you seem not to get the fact that the posters here speak for themselves. It's not Linz's job to make sure that Kat answers you or that Jason understands the perception/conception distinction.

Mr. Lindsay Perigo

Carl Reedie's picture

Well, you got me on my spelling mistake my dear man. But the essential thing here started with Katdaddy and her biased and prejudical remarks about Israel, and my reply to it. Rather than answer me in an intellectual manner, she has evaded my questions repeatedly. She made some very inflammatory remarks that could have been pulled from white racist websites. Yet, rather than answer in an intelligent manner, she wants to have me moderated instead of explaining her embarrasing post.

Have you seen her post?

And then of course the very real psychological reference to my genitalia by Jason who refers to Yaron as a "nutcase," and doesn't know the difference between a perception and a conception.

Is that what you are passing off as an alternative to bad Objectivism? Do you really think Jason is capable of an intelligent argument after reading his reply to me? And what is wrong with referring to him as a Diaper Objectivist. Have you read his posts? Have you seen the level of his reasoning and his knowledge? What do you think Ayn Rand would say to his penile reference instead of a reasoned argument.

A very inspiring message, Lindsay, about your disappointment in your early years as an Objectivist and your hope to change this with SOLO. And God bless you for ridding the world of the arch enemy of Objectivism, B.Branden, and for your support of James Vallient and Casey Fahey. But it still remains to be seen whether SOLO will be an answer to ARI, or just another haven for sloppy comments about Objectivism.

Moderating Mr. Reedie

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'll err on the side of leniency on this occasion, since Mr. Reedie has already received an apt riposte in the form of "Fuck off you little prick." Mr. Reedie, your "diaper" jibe might have been less outrageous had you spelled "epistemological" correctly. Even then, it would indeed have been in breach of the guidelines. Vigorous debate is fine; gratuitous insults are not. Behave yourself!


Thanks Jody

katdaddy's picture

Thank you Jody for your kind words of support, you know you are always welcome in my living room. I have a lot of respect for you and Jason for being bright, independent and rational Objectivists. As for Carl charging in here insulting people, I suggest that he be moderated as he is in clear violation of the posting guidelines.


What the hell

Jody Gomez's picture

Since I've been shown the door, on my way out I'd also like to yell out a hardy "fuck you" and dedicate it to Carl, king of non-sequiturs.

Fuck off you little prick

Jason Quintana's picture

Who and the fuck are you and how do you justify such a statement? I don't know the epistemological basis for Objectivism? You have no idea about the extent of my knowledge. We've had two message exchanges. Based upon your own high standards I must say that you certainly come to judgments with very little (perceptual) evidence. I will remind you that words are used contextually. Only a Randroid would demand that we use certain words exactly like they are used by Rand in ITOE at all times.


- Jason

Diaper Objectivist

Carl Reedie's picture

Jason, Do you think your intellectual ability deserves respectful treatment? For example, you refer to Yaron as a "nutcase," and you don't know the epistomological basis of Objectivism, perception versus conception. Do me a favor, when you trade your diaper in for an intellectual argument, write me an email!

Carl Reedie

Jason Quintana's picture

"Jason, Is that a perception or a conception? Or both?"

Don't patronize me.

- Jason

Thanks Kat...

Jody Gomez's picture

...for drawing our attention to this debate, and for your efforts here and elsewhere to get people interested in Objectivism, and interested in discussing it.

"Official" Objectivism

sjw's picture

Carl: The word "Objectivism" is not Ayn Rand's property.

And frankly I couldn't care less about sloppy-minded ignoramuses falling into "traps". Sure, there are plenty of people walking around in a progressive-education induced stupor, wanting "bullet list" descriptions of the philosophy spoon-fed to them because they're too damn lazy to read. All I can say is: they deserve what they get! And I don't really care. They chose to hand their critical faculty over to someone else and ask it to be filled, if you or they (or are you they?) then complain about the result, well you should have seen it coming.

You want your "official" Objectivism preached to you by "official" representatives of the philosophy? Well I gotta bridge you might want to buy too.

The debate

katdaddy's picture

Thanks, John and Pete for covering the debate. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend. Your play by play is greatly appreciated.


Objectivist Authorities

Carl Reedie's picture

Shaun, There are some extremely sloppy websites out there and while someone versed in Rand's work will not fall into the trap, novices are bound to be influenced by the tone and temper of some of these websites. I think it is a question of property and I would at least expect admirers of Rand to respect this. After all, what if I start practicing Branden's mode of psychology and called myself a Brandian, adapting his work to my style without his permission or his estate's permission? What if I started to speak for KatDaddy and made statements in her name? Have you have seen WetheLiving, the website if it is still alive? I wonder if there is a true Objectivist on the whole website, yet they refer to themselves as Objectivists. Outright fraud!!!

Jason's Perception or Conception?

Carl Reedie's picture

Jason, Is that a perception or a conception? Or both?

To answer you, I read her sloppy and very biased remarks about Israel. And of course, she has never provided the reasons for her statements that I asked her to provide. Perhaps, she can't or she is embarrassed. Or she just wants it to disappear. In any case, these remarks are not what an Objectivist would say for the reasons I listed.

Then, of course, I surfed through the website Objectivist Living to ascertain her views and I can see she has a limited knowledge of Rand and her philosophy. Here again, she has no right to use the name of Ayn Rand's philosophy for her own philosophy on life. What you have to understand is that Objectivism is the property of Ayn Rand and her estate. I think that would be obvious to people who at least are familiar with the philosophy. It is a case of property. Just as if I took your name and used it for my own purposes. This is basic Objectivism.

Further along, I see that Barbara Branden is on that falsely claimed Objectivist Living list as are many other people who are not Objectivists. I think James Vallient had it right in his book, and I think B. Branden has done more damage to Objectivism than any person on earth--the episode with Lindsay just an illustration of her childish and infantile behavior. Let them call themselves libertarians or conservatives but when they expropriate the name of Objectivism, they rob the very woman who gave them life.

Thank you

Andrew Bissell's picture

Thanks very much for this summary John. I'm inspired to set up some sort of debate on my campus this semester.

Objectivist Authorities

sjw's picture

Carl: I agree with you that Kat is no authority on Objectivism, and I sympathize with the idea that she should make it clear what thoughts are hers and which are Ayn Rand's, but really, doesn't that go without saying? I don't need an organization like ARI to tell me who is and isn't qualified to interpret Objectivism, I'm quite qualified to do that job myself.

There is certainly a problem in that some "Objectivist" is going to give the wrong impression to some careless people in the culture, people who are too lazy or apathetic to check the original sources. The right antidote for that is for ARI to encourage reading Ayn Rand in the original, not get apoplectic that someone called themselves "Objectivist" without the right credentials.

Are you going to back that statement up?

Jason Quintana's picture

What writings have you seen from Katdaddy that make her unqualified to run an Objectivist club?? Where is the evidence?

- Jason

ARI, Objectivism, and Cat Daddy

Carl Reedie's picture

Shaun, By the way, I caught your interesting discussion with James Vallient and Casey Fahey and Jason Roth. No doubt, ARI goes astray in certain areas and I think they overlook a lot of good people who could be doing positive things in the culture because they strive to overprotect Ayn Rand and Objectivism.

Yet, on the other hand, I can see their point. With the internet you have so many unqualified people using the name of Objectivism, many people who have just a cursory knowledge of Ayn Rand and her philosophy. They speak as Objectivists when they should be speaking for themselves. Many are just libertarians who should really just go their way and do us all a favor and not refer to themselves as Objectivists.

I mean this Chicago Northside Objectivist Group with Katdaddy as some type of representative of this group is the classic example of what Ayn Rand feared and what ARI has tried to avoid. I mean in what way is Katdaddy qualified to speak as an Objectivist or to even use the name for her group? Given of what I read from her, she would do well to use some type of libertarian title and not embarrass herself trying to speak for a philosophy created by someone else.

The principle of the thing

sjw's picture

Good to hear that Brook got the fundamentals right in the debate.

Regarding "slippery slope": In this context, particularly given that Brook spoke to the principle, I think it's either being used as a means to evade Brook's principled argument, or as an off the cuff reaction by Slater to a previously memorized argument that might have applied to some unprincipled libertarians but not to Brook. Brook didn't in fact argue that taxes are wrong because $5 will lead to $10 etc. so the slippery slope fallacy doesn't apply.

"Worth their Galt"

sjw's picture

What a stupid phrase. And if you think Galt would either take offense at my remarks or confuse the idea of "inferring from context" with leaping to conclusions, well you're truly on a slippery slope.

Thanks, Jody

jenright's picture

Thanks, Jody. Well, I did type it up in a hurry. And I frequently enjoy Shayne's posts, so I just wanted to clarify.

John-It was interesting to

Jody Gomez's picture

It was interesting to here his points on the matter, and thank you for taking the time to post a recap. Anyone worth their Galt could have inferred the context.

Slippery Slope

jenright's picture

Brook first made the point that the principle was the same, whether it was 5 dollars or a thousand. He made the point that it was a rights violation. I apologize for missing these points in my summary, but he had made these points, quite clearly, before the slippery slope discussion broke out. The movement, by the opponent, to a discussion of the general quality of slippery slope arguments, was a move away from the rights issue on the opponent's part. Brook replied there really were some, and went into a detailed example of the history of the income tax, which at first was a small tax on very high income people only.

The rights argument, and the "it's the principle of the thing" argument were standard, and he was clear. The slippery slope issue was different, so I thought it was interesting to hear his thoughts on the matter.

Slippery Slope

sjw's picture

Responding that "slippery slopes really do exist" confuses the actual issue, at least if that's all that's said. The argument against forcibly extracting $5 in taxes is not that they'll then take $10, $100, etc. The argument against taxes is that taxes are a violation of your rights. It is a legitimate point that if we permit $5 to be taken, then because we have violated the principle of individual rights, there is now nothing to stop all of our money from being taken, but it's individual rights that's the crux not the slippery slope. And of course, arguing for individual rights is non-trivial, but it's easy to mention that as part of the debate, and then plug Ayn Rand as offering the argument for them.

Debate Report

jenright's picture

We had a good time at the Yaron Brook v. Dan Slater debate at the U of Chicago. Dan Slater is a bright young professor who acknowledged that foreign aid often had untoward consequences, but thought it served practical purposes nonetheless. Yaron Brook was more forceful, more controversial, and more consistent. Actually, towards the end of the discussion, Dr. Slater remarked that Dr. Brook was remarkably consistent.

It was a complicated debate format. The 2 main speakers each had 15 minutes. Then volunteers from the audience gave 3 minute speeches, alternating viewpoints. Then someone who thought they were both wrong gave a 3 minute speech. Then the 2 main speakers wrapped up with final thoughts. Then the floor opened to questions, and the questions concentrated more on Yaron Brook's views. I thought he was a good advocate, and a better debater than Dan Slater.

Slater did argue that foreign aid served our foreign policy goals. Pakistan was a case in point, he said. We gave Pakistan a bunch of cash, and they give us some help with Al Qaida and Taliban people in the borderlands. Brook argued that it was a waste to give them the money, that Pakistan would have done nothing to us if we had simply gone into the borderlands with our military, because they would have been afraid to engage.

I'm not endorsing his position on how to treat Pakistan, just reporting!

On the one hand, when the topic of nuclear Pakistan came up, he granted that it does complicate things and that it was better to prevent such complications in the case of Iran, by stopping it from going nuclear. On the other hand, he still thought Pakistan could be threatened into acquiescence with an incursion into their territory by us.

He also thought we screwed up by letting Al-Qaida and Taliban people escape into Pakistan in the first place.

On the moral point, the altruists turned to the Rawlsian veil of ignorance argument in defense of international aid. Brook was having none of it.

The dramatic high point, I think, came in the case of the question: is it all right for the government to take 5 dollars from you if it saved some foreign child from death by whooping cough? Brook was asked if he would want his 5 dollars back in that case. He said yes. He said he wanted to choose for himself which charitable cause he supported, that others had no business sticking their nose in his business and that others had no idea what he might need that 5 dollars for. Moreover, he argued, if the government can take 5 dollars, why not 100 dollars, why not all your money? After all, there are probably hundreds of thousands of kids who need 5 dollars just for whooping cough.

Slater replied that was a form of the slippery slope argument, of which he disapproved. Brook replied that slippery slopes were part of real life, that the US income tax was a good example of a slippery slope in American history that had proved very slippery indeed.

The slippery slope issue came up like this:

Brook didn't introduce the metaphor of slippery slope. His opponent characterized Brook's argument as being of that form, and said he didn't respect that form of argument. At that time Brook said slippery slopes really do exist.

The matter ended there. It's an interesting topic - what does "slippery slope" mean and how do you tell slippery slopes from other sorts of gradations?

A blogger known as Ergosum attended the Yaron Brook debate and wrote up a detailed accounting too. Also, he spoke one on one with the two men.

Actually, it turns out that Ergosum was sitting in the row ahead of us, and even had a conversation with Marsha.

We also attended with another young blogger who regards himself as a Truman Democrat.  He's a political debating whiz, and even spontaneously got up to give a 3 minute counterargument against Brook.  In the end he seemed very impressed with Brook's debating skills and personality, and spent some  one-on-one time talking with Brook about Israel, about which Brook knows a lot of detail since he grew up there.

As for Israel, Brook said they were our ally, but that we should not give them foreign aid.  In his view, they were better off without it.


now i'm convinced i'm

jummy's picture

now i'm convinced i'm listening to maoists. so the idea that attention towards collateral damage stands as an unnessesary obstical to efficient warmaking actually comes from conservatives and not objectivists? that's a stunning trick those wiley neocons pulled last night. and every time leonard pietkopf opens his mouth.

ARI, Yaron Brook

Carl Reedie's picture

Jason, Actually, you are misusing the word perception. What you are talking about is your conception of ARI and Yaron Brook. If it was a perception, you would be seeing and hearing, but at that level not able to draw conclusions. When you conclude, you are conceptualizing.

Basically, I agree with some of your comments about ARI and I think they should stick to the philosophy of Objectivism and stay away from talk about using nucleur weapons. I think Tracinski is very much in this nuke and run mode, and very much in sync with conservatism and not Objectivism.

However, I can't agree with you about Yaron Brook nor would I ever use words like "nutcase" to describe him. Also, what is a statement like "an ultra agressive Likud party Arab hater" suppose to mean. Are you familiar with Likud? Do you know examples of Likud members who say they hate Arabs? Sharon was the founder of Likud, and it was Sharon who delivered the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. Benjamin Netanyahu, also a prominent Likud member, has written many books describing the Arab world, and never defamed them or hated them as a people, only their attempt to destroy Israel.

There is a big difference between hating a people collectivily and hating what the leaders of a people are trying to do to a civilized example of Western Civilization that one calls his home.

Radicals with Nukes

sjw's picture

I agree with your criticisms of Kat. There is certainly nothing anti-individualistic about supporting what is the most individualistic government in the region. They are our allies, for good reason, and it's not self-sacrifice to stand behind them. On the contrary, it'd be treason to individualism not to.

But while I agree with ARI's ends, I don't always agree with their means. Their constant call for nukes seems more for marketing effect than a well-reasoned military tactic. It's as if they think that being radical is an end in itself, so they say wildly radical things for no reason other than to appear radical (they did something similar last year with an article they published about the tsunami victims and then retracted--the fact that they published it at all demonstrates my point).

Rather than calling for nukes, they should instead be making the point that it is our moral right to use nukes if necessary, that killing innocents in this context is the moral blame of the dictatorships that we are at war with, but that it's the job of the military to decide what the best tactic is. Not ivory-tower philosophers nor others who really are quite clueless about effective military tactics (like Kat and most of us here).

ARI, Israel, the U.S.

Carl Reedie's picture

Personally, I tend to agree with your objections on many of the ARI statements on foreign policy, especially about the nuclear weapons. However, this is a different matter and what I was referring to was Kat's inflammatory statements about Israel, specifically this paragraph:

"They are putting Isreal's interests before American interests, and also ahead of individualism. Unfortunately, as an organization, ARI has become more of a political than philosophical group. They have taken the objectivity out of Objectivism. They are pro-Jewish at the cost of pro-individualism and it comes from the top of their organization. Their pro-Israel bias makes them hard to take too seriously on polical matters."

I asked her to explain in what way ARI was putting Israel's interests before American interests because this is a highly inflammatory comment. But I see nothing from her side!!

Israeli authorities and intelligence sources were never in favor of the Iraqi war, and knew the consequences of toppling Hussein. Not only has the war destabilized the whole region and proved a training ground for terrorist organizations intent on destroying Israel, but it has introduced Al-Queda into the region and the Palestinian territories, a very threatening development for the Israelis.

So I would really like to know how American interests are being sacrificed to Israeli interests. Do you think you could provide the concretes to support your assertion, Kat?

Also when she makes statements like this, one has to wonder about her: "They are pro-Jewish at the cost of pro-individualism and it comes from the top of their organization. Their pro-Israel bias makes them hard to take too seriously on polical matters."

What is being pro-Jewish? Wanting to see Israel survive? Am I pro-Christian because I want to see the U.S., Britain, Australia survive?
Where is the bias? Because they see Western Civilization as it manifests in Israel as superior to Arab mysticism, fatalism, irrationalism?

Where is the bias in choosing Israel over Palestinian culture? Say for the purpose of argument--although I don't subscribe to it--but let's just say the West Bank belongs to the Palestinians. Why not use the world forum to make your case? Why not publish books and articles? Why not unleash speakers in world forums? Yet, this is not what we see. What we see is the recruiting, training, paying and actuation of men, women and children to blow themselves up amongst civilian populations as a means of obtaining land.

Is their bias in rejecting this type of nightmare culture? What civilized person would support this? And what Objectivist would support this? Not only do the Palestinians destroy and maim Israelis they destroy and maim their own culture by recruiting some of their best and brightest young people to self-destruct?


jummy's picture

i'm glad to see the dissonance here from what seems to me to be the mainline objectivist stance. i'm here because the horror i felt watching the debate last night persists with me.

flatly put, i felt like i was listening to a maoist.

Foreign Policy debate

katdaddy's picture

Thank you Jason. You hit the nail right on the head.

Just to clarify, I support Israel as an independent country, I just feel ARI has lost its focus and has become too political and embroiled in Middle East politics. I don't agree that promoting nuclear war should be considered the Objectivist solution to the political problems over there. That is the message that they are giving to the world, and I as an Objectivist, disagree.


Just got back from the debate!

Pete L's picture

I attended the debate, and enjoyed the experience very much. It was a parliamentary style debate format where the two adversaries first gave a 15 minute speech to make their case, followed a series of impromptu three minute speeches by volunteers from the audience. The two speakers then each came back and made rebutting remarks, followed by an open Q&A session. I plan to write about it in more detail soon, but overall I thought Yaron Brook did an excellent job.

But while I agreed with Yaron's arguments because I share the basic premises that underly his opposition to foreign aid, I can't say there was a clear cut "winner" because fundamental dichotomies were left totally unresolved (altruism vs self interest and pragmatism versus principle in particular). It's hard to begin a debate on foreign aid without agreement first on those terms.

Carl Reedie

Jason Quintana's picture

I will let Kat speak for herself but here is the perception that many get when they listen to interviews and read articles with Yaron Brook or Peter Schwartz and others. There seems to be an overwhelming desire on their part to promote outlandishly agressive military operations against Arab and Iranian people. There is certainly an ethical threshold with which a contextual decision to use nuclear weapons is perfectly justified but with Yaron Brook this threshold is
dangerously low. In his interview with O'Reilly a while back I didn't get the impression that I was listening to an Objectivist but instead that I was listening to an ultra agressive Likud party Arab hater that uses Randian style arguments and terminology to make his case.

I am all for supporting Israel and I recognize the superiority of their civilization versus their neighbors. I am also in favor of ovethrowing (with force if necessary) a regime like Iran. Where I differ with Brook is that I don't favor under most contexts the wide, nonspecific targeting of civilian populations via WMDs. Yaron Brook makes the argument that we should do this as a matter of course. My perception is that he promotes this view because of his hatred of a whole collective group of people and this has nothing to do with any kind of objective judgement. I also don't think that such a policy is in the rational self interest of anyone including America, Israel and their military men though this is what the top brass at the ARI seem to believe.

- Jason

Cat Daddy Israel Remark

Carl Reedie's picture

What I see in your post is a bias of your own blanking out your credibility. First of all, in writing about Israel, it would improve your credibility to spell it correctly. Second of all, in what way is ARI putting Israeli interests before American interests? This is a highly inflammatory remark and falls in line with the dictums of the hate groups who proclaim that America is controlled by the powerful Israeli lobby. I would really like to hear you explain this.

From the email, I sense you know little of the conflict in the Middle East and would do well to inform yourself instead of casting uninformed and highly prejudicial remarks about Israel. Supporting Israel is supporting the closest thing to civilization in the Middle East and a pro-Western ally. When you support Israel you are not pro-Jewish. Many Jews do not support Israel just as many Christians do not support the United States.

Supporting Israel is a vote for the highest form of reason, individual rights and an market economy in that part of the world. It is a vote for Western Civilization. While far from perfect, Israel has gone from a barren desert to a highly civilized society in a very short period. Its technological and scientific achievements are numerous and its experiments with farming the desert and reclaiming water from the sea are the measures for all to repeat.

Conversely, a vote for a good part of the Arab countries is a vote for mysticism, faith, religious dominance of society, total lack of individual rights and economies controlled by the privileged, where the vast majority linger in poverty. In societies dominated by the belief in the will of Allah and faith in his ability to effect reality, the Arab world is absent of scientific innovation, technological improvement, and relies almost completely on the West.

On a forum that describes itself as Objectivist I would think this is self-evident.

Correction re: Location

jenright's picture

The building is SOCIAL SCIENCES ROOM 122. Social
Sciences is in the university's central quadrangle, at
about 59th & University. Its formal address is: 1126
East 59th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

The official topic is Foreign Aid. Yaron Brook will
maintain that the US has no obligation to provide it.
Dan Slater of the UC faculty will oppose him.
Tomorrow, 1/16, at 7:30p.

Hi Kat!

jenright's picture

Hi Kat!

There's a good chance I'll go. I'll try to write up a recounting and post it here. I don't know much about Slater, and I'm not sure how the terms of the debate will be framed. I'm guessing Slater will be in favor of communitarian national self-determination or something. I've seen Yaron Brook speak in person. I thought he was a little stiff when speechmaking, but brilliant in the give and take of Q&A. I conclude from this that he is good on his feet, and will probably do well in a debate.

He was certainly pro-Israel in the sense of taking Israel's side in their ongoing troubles. The last time I saw him, however, I asked him about the huge wall the Israelis were building, and he actually did not think that was a good idea, since he didn't think it would work. He thought that ultimately the Israelis would need to find a way to coexist with the Arabs that surround them. I can't quote him exactly.

Aside from the Israel issue, I didn't notice that he brought up "Jewish" issues. He spoke with some knowledge of the philosophical history of Islam.

Foreign Policy debate

katdaddy's picture

Hi John,

Are people from your group planning to attend the debate? Unfortunately, I cannot attend, but I'd love to hear what happens.

I also have issues with ARI's beating the drums of war. Why do they get so involved in all this foreign affairs business anyway when they could and should be focusing their energy and resources on Objectivist philosophy and individualism rather than promoting war?

I personally think ARI is not at all objective on foreign policy and this reeks of tribalistic thinking. They are putting Isreal's interests before American interests, and also ahead of individualism. Unfortunately, as an organization, ARI has become more of a political than philosophical group. They have taken the objectivity out of Objectivism. They are pro-Jewish at the cost of pro-individualism and it comes from the top of their organization. Their pro-Israel bias makes them hard to take too seriously on polical matters. Their political posturing does Objectivismm as a movement, more harm than good, at least in my view.


Dan Slater

jenright's picture

I'm guessing it's the Dan Slater who is listed on the faculty page of the University of Chicago Political Science department. Major areas of interest:

Authoritarianism and Democratization;
- State-Building and State-Society Relations;
- Comparative-Historical Methods;
- Southeast Asian Politics


Jason Quintana's picture

I don't know if I could bring myself to be in the same room as that nutcase Dr. Brook and his weirdo foreign policy ideas. This is after all the person who went on the O'Reilly at the end of 2004 show suggesting that the U.S. nuke Iraqi cities and turn them into dust in order to create fear in the population. Do you have any idea who Dan Slater is?

- Jason

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