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Reprised—Betraying the self. Betraying a heroine.

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-02-01 07:35

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? - Mark 8:36

What makes someone give up their soul? In the decade after the publication of her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand was at the very top of her game and she began preparing another, final, novel, To Lorne Dieterling, in which she hoped to dramatise the answer to that very question. Unfortunately for all of the fans of Rand’s earlier novels, a real life drama got in the way.

Recent Comments:
PARC — by Brant Gaede on Sat, 2017-08-26 15:29
Filling in the blanks, laying it to rest — by Jmaurone on Thu, 2017-08-24 23:57
Neil — by gregster on Thu, 2017-08-24 08:22

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Frank Lloyd Wright: Sprawl Is Good

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-02-01 00:55

"Urban sprawl is one of the greatest enemies of good urban design," say some. I don't agree. Lack of choice created by a lack of freedom is the greatest enemy -- 'sprawl' gives people choices: the alternative is mandatory slums. Frank Lloyd Wright's 1932 concept of the 'Broadacre City' -- while somewhat nebulous, and by no means a libertarian vision; it includes for example the idea of benevolent architectural dictators -- shows at least that sprawl is not the enemy. Lack of choice, and lack of imagination are. Wright's concept of the 'disappearing city' represented an abundance of choices of how to live.

"Wright's pattern is closer to today's sprawl than it is to a city, but it is not the same as today's sprawl."

There should be as many kinds of houses as there are kinds of people and as many differentiations as there are different individuals. A man who has individuality (and what man lacks it?) has a right to its expression in his own environment. Wright 1908

[The houses in Broadacre City] would be especially suited in plan and outline to the ground, where they would make more of gardens and fields and nearby woods than now, insuring perpetual unity in variety. Wright 1932, 8-9

Recent Comments:
Hi Peter,I'll try to — by Andrew Bissell on Wed, 2006-02-01 07:44
Pictures fixed — by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 22:34
Pictures — by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 21:27

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Cue Card Libertarianism - Harmony of interests

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 22:31

As I said here recently, no man is an island and neither should we be. In a free society, we each gain an incalculable boon from the existence of others. Just some of the benefits of living in a free society are the following:

  • the learning and knowledge we may glean from others -- being able to stand on the shoulders of geniuses underpins all subsequent scientific, technological and artistic advances;
  • the love, friendships and artistic gifts we may share with each other;
  • the 'seed capital' produced from prior production that may be made available to us for our own projects;
  • the abundance of wealth and technological progress made possible by capitalism which makes our existing lives happer, healthier and longer than they would otherwise be.

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Do you have a people?

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 22:27

Some people define themselves by what they call 'their people.' Do you have a people? 'Professional Maori' Willie Jackson says he's spent his life looking out for "his people" -- when resigning as a Labour MP Tariana Turia declared "it came down to a question of integrity and I had to act for my people" -- her present Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples said in his maiden speech to parliament that "the hurt to my people" in being called "haters and wreckers" by [Prime Minister] Helen Clark was "very deep."

So Willie, Tariana and Pita seem to think they have 'a people,' and they're basing it on their race. They are making a virtue of their skin colour, about which they have no choice, but because of which they demand special 'race-based' favours. Such is the mistaken value of ethnicity:


ETHNICITY: The elevating of one’s racial identity and associated cultural traditions to a position of supreme importance – a racist version of collectivism, under-pinned by post-modernism in philosophy, and still very fashionable in academia.

How about you then? Do you have 'a people'? If so, on what basis do you decide who that 'people' is. Think about it for a minute, and while you do, let me ask you a question and offer you a proposition.


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Saving those whales with good hard sense

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 22:23

There's nothing like an argument about whales to make everyone lose their marbles.

One local blogger, for example, has posted various thoughts on morality and animal rights, and on her former membership of Greenpeace, and how that pertains to Greenpeace's opposition to the Japanese whalers presently in the South Seas. 'Go Greenpeace' she says:'Stop the hand-wringing and break out those guns.' (I paraphrase, of course) Unfortunately, she offers no argument for her position, just simple assertion and a quote from Jeremy Bentham, who was himself not even in favour of rights for human beings ("nonsense on stilts" is what the stupid man called the idea).

The simplest short explanation why animals don't have rights is that they don't understand them -- as PJ O'Rourke pointed out you can tell the lion all you like that it's wrong, but he's still going to rip the guts right out of Bambi. And what do you do when that happens? If Bambi has rights, then you have to throw the lion in jail And if animals really do have rights, what happens when you tuck into Daisy the cow? Should you get thrown in jail with the lion? Who's going to tell the lion about your rights?

Fact is, and much as we may wish it otherwise, rights pertain not to animals, but to species that use their conceptual faculty to produce and to plan long range, and who need the protection of law to do so. As far as is presently known, ours is the only species that does so; if whales or any other species want their rights recognised, then let them show up in court and argue for them. It's not like whales don't talk to each other enough -- all that bloody singing that they do all day.

No, much as we may wish it otherwise, animals have rights only by virtue of our ownership over them -- kill my cat and I'll see you in court (and probably outside as well). But kill a stray cat, and all we can do is judge you by what you've done. How we treat animals is one way to judge a person. And maybe, in all the moral indignation about the whales, we forget that New Zealanders ourselves aren't too bad at slaughtering animals for food (as I pointed out the other day). Writing in The Dominion however, former MP Stephen Franks reminds us:

We are lathered in moral indignation about whaling. Yet as a nation we live off the proceeds of slaughtering up to 40 million cuddly young animals a year. Japanese think lambs are impossibly cute.

The Green Party blob objects that Franks "has missed the point. New Zealand has a huge industry in farming sheep. As we all know sheep are generally bred for either their wool or their meat. They are not an endangered animal. Whales on the other hand are."

There are two responses to make here. Minke whales, which the Japanese are hunting, are not endangered. Numbers in the Southern Ocean are in dispute, and are probably not as many as the 760,000 claimed in 1990, but even if much less that is not the sort of order of magnitude one sees if a species is dying out.

But some whales are endangered. True. The second point to make is that perhaps if whales were farmed, they wouldn't be so endangered. I've mentioned this point here many times (just check out some of my posts on Conservation) but developing a property right in whales is perhaps the best way to ensure they don't die out. As a headline describing the work of conservationist and crocodile farmer Dr Graham Webb once summarised: "Eat Them. Skin Them. Save Them." Or, as you might say if you're a Kaikoura whale tourism operator, 'Watch Them, Photograph Them & Save Them.' Pay your money and make your choice, and all that's needed then is a legal and a technological breakthrough, and a change in attitude.

As I say above, there is no case for protection of animals on the basis of their rights, but there is a strong case to be made for the protection of animals based on human rights -- specifically on the real, human property rights of ownership. As Dr Graham Webb has long argued, "The proposition that wildlife conservation can sometimes be enhanced through allowing and even promoting the harvesting of wildlife is a sensitive issue," but it is a necessary one to consider.

There is a very good reason that cows and lambs are not endangered, but kiwis, kakapo and some species of whale are: the value of the former is recognised and protected in law, and that protection is in favour of those to whom the animals are a real tangible value, and who own them. The notion of the 'intrinsic value' of animals is not required since real value is protected, and the bogus notion of 'animal rights' is not needed as real, human property rights are protected. As that headline says, 'Eat Them, Skin Them, Save Them.'

Graham Webb's discussion of the proposition makes the point that recognising a property right in animals makes for 'sustainable conservation' [PDF download]:

...An increasing body of conservationists believe local people should not be treated as the enemy of conservation (Hutton and Dickson 2000). They should be active partners, at the frontline. To achieve and sustain this, they need to receive tangible, sustainable benefits for their efforts. In most cases, the only sustainable way of providing those benefits is through using wildlife for economic gain. That is, conservation through sustainable use (CSU).

Graham's own crocodile park outside Darwin is a great example of one way this can work. The private conservation projects here in NZ and the various Southern African private wildlife parks are other good examples of private 'sustainable conservation' that succeed by eschewing vague ideas of non-existent 'intrinsic values' or of animal rights or of simply wishing we'd all just be nice to God's creatures , and instead by answering the question, "Of value to whom, and for what?" and then proceeding to protect the property rights of those to whom there is a recognised right and a clear value.

And if it's just whales you want to protect, then Zen Tiger has yet another solution. Like Ruth, he's on the side of the whales too, only unlike Ruth he's come up with a viable plan: Eat more McDonalds:


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Still flowing. Still in the zone.

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 22:22

More information here on the concept of Flow - what sportsmen call 'being in the zone,' and what psychologists call a state of being in focused attention (about which I previously wrote here): here's a short interview with Mikhail Csikszentmihalyi (Dr Mike), answering questions on his work with Flow and a few more of its applications, this time for education. Money quote:


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"Drug Use Is Not a Victimless Crime"

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 21:59

"Drug use is not a victimless crime" argued a friend recently. Drug users harm themselves and other people too, said my friend; they are all victims.

Well, as I've explained before, yes it is a victimless crime. Drug use may well make of the user a 'victim,' but as long as nobody initates force against another, no crime is involved. As I explain here, a crime is when somebody does initiates force, or its derivative fraud, against someone else:
Cue Card Libertarianism - Force

Recent Comments:
The Law — by Ashley on Wed, 2006-02-08 02:58
None at all — by Jason Quintana on Tue, 2006-02-07 22:03
Drugs & Kids — by sjw on Tue, 2006-02-07 21:09

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NZ businessmen preparing to shrug?

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 21:39

Is Ayn Rand at work in the Southern Pacific? At least one local commentator is wondering that New Zealand businessmen will 'shrug,' or perhaps even go on strike? "The danger is they simply put their cheque books away, they stop investing in capital, they stop hiring people and we could get to a point where we have a very good and very resilient economy that just stops." So says ANZ chief economist John McDermott, as quoted by a worried Chris Trotter, a lifelong socialist worried at the loss of those who really keep the country running -- and I don't mean the politicians. "To hear the idea of tax cuts dismissed [by the Finance Minister] as an 'ideological burp' was almost certainly the final straw for many [local] business people," says Trotter.

And why wouldn't that be enough to break a camel's back? As economist Gareth Morgan points out, the impact of 'ideological burps' has been to radically change the behaviour of taxpayers. And as I argued here at the time, cutting envy taxes makes us all rich. Keeping the shackles on the highly-productive only hampers the productive and the entrepreneurial -- who could blame them if they decided to go on strike.

Whatever the case with local producers, it's clear from a record-high NZ dollar that foreign investors clearly aren't shrugging at all in their enthusiasm to invest in the New Zealand economy-- they're positively frothing at the mouth to get a piece of the local action. High interest rates and confidence in the local economy are attracting foreign investment by the boatload, and pushing up the NZ dollar to record highs. Gareth Morgan points out that investor's enthusiasm for the New Zealand economy is in contrast to the pessimism of Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard. Worse: Bollard's pessimism-fuelled interest rate hikes are in fact fuelling the investment/borrowing orgy that has Bollard so worried, and at the same time revealing as illusory the idea that the governor has the tools with which to control inflation.

To sum up. If those supplying capital to this debtor nation do not concur that there are serious economic imbalances to worry about, the central bank is extremely limited in its ability to control inflation. This limitation is all the more severe if there are lending institutions beyond the sphere of influence of the Reserve Bank.


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A morning constitutional

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 21:37

I've been a fan of a constitution for some time, for one very specific reason: an effective constitution is the very best way to tie up a government.

Why is a constitution needed? Because in essence, good government is like a guard dog: it's there to protect us from being done over by others. However, if that dog is badly trained and it gets off the chain, we can be badly savaged -- more so sometimes than we would have been without the dog.

A constitution is our means of chaining up the government, and training it to act only in our protection.


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Some cultures deserved to die out

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 21:35

Not every culture is worth saving or preserving. There are some cultures that deserved to die out -- the Maya were just one, and on this as so much else Jared Diamond's book Collapse has it wrong again. As a tragic loss, they weren't, and Roger Sandall is right on the money. "I don’t care if the Maya civilization did collapse," says Sandall. "I don’t think we should shed a single retrospective tear":


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Coromandel mining exposes "a clash of values"

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-31 21:29

The recent decision to enforce overturn blanket mining ban across New Zealand's beautiful Coromandel Peninsula "exposes a clash of values," said Green MP Nandor Tanczos recently--and of course he's right. It does.


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Machan's Musings - Teacher Watch!

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Mon, 2006-01-30 01:37

Machan's Musings - Teacher Watch!

by Tibor R. Machan

Here is my imaginary scenario: A black student alumni organization hears
that some teachers are making racist remarks—advancing racist theories and
conclusions—in, say, a sociology course. But they have no proof, so they
offer to pay a student to take the risk of wearing a wire in class to make
sure the report is accurate. Turns out it is and the teacher is caught on
tape doing just what he had been suspected of doing, advancing racist
theories in his class.

It is doubtful that anyone but the racist professor would complain too


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Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

JulianD's picture
Submitted by JulianD on Sun, 2006-01-29 01:12

I having been intrigued by the case developing in the United States against RIM, the supplier of the mobile data device - Blackberry.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/a...

I have never understood the degree to which people are addicted to them given that PDA's exist which do the same - and more...but what has been interesting to watch over the last 6 months is how the alleged theft of intellectual property in the form of a Patent Violation might soon impact the lives of millions of people.

The legal complexities are obviously many - and someone out there might have more insight than I into the truth about the claims of a patent violation. But it appears that patent violation has occured and it is indeed reassuring to see that the US justice system is being somewhat objective in threatening to punish a company - for theft. The impact that a closure would have on a large number of its customers should not be - and it appears will not be - an issue the court will entertain.

Recent Comments:
Interesting — by sjw on Wed, 2006-02-08 04:48
I don't think I'm expressing — by Duncan Bayne on Wed, 2006-02-08 03:52
Copyrights & Patents — by sjw on Tue, 2006-02-07 23:14

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Lindsay Perigo's Wikipedia entry

Charles Henrikson's picture
Submitted by Charles Henrikson on Thu, 2006-01-26 16:54

Although there is a link to it from the libertarianz page, Lindsay Perigo's Wikipedia entry is non-existant.

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inde...

Recent Comments:
The fun doesn't stop there ... — by Luke H on Wed, 2008-06-25 01:38
Luke — by Lindsay Perigo on Wed, 2008-06-25 01:15
Great. Good work — by Kasper on Wed, 2008-06-25 00:32

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Passion for Fun and Profit

Andrew Bissell's picture
Submitted by Andrew Bissell on Tue, 2006-01-24 06:14

No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Thanks to some very generous donations, SOLOPassion is happy to announce that we can now offer a cash payment of US$30 for articles published exclusively on the site. Since we are committed to exploring the frontiers of the cutting edge of the emerging possibilities of technological newfangledom, we will transfer the money using Paypal, so you’ll have it the moment your article goes up. Here’s your chance to retire some of those outstanding gambling debts (use your digits to save your digits), or eat a meal that offers greater nutritional value than Ramen noodles! 

Recent Comments:
Length & Scrutiny — by Lindsay Perigo on Fri, 2006-02-03 21:04
Is there a minimum length — by Kenny on Thu, 2006-02-02 17:49
I think that recipes should — by Robert on Thu, 2006-02-02 05:56

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President Bush Speaks at KSU

Robert's picture
Submitted by Robert on Tue, 2006-01-24 05:57

President Bush gave a speech at Kansas State University in Manhattan KS today. It was part of the Landon Lecture Series and is available for your viewing pleasure here. This is for those overseas members who don't often get to see Dubbya unedited.

He talks here about the decisions he has made and continues to make in defence of the USA.

Navigate to http://ome.ksu.edu/lectures/la...

Click video or audio as is your wont.


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Machan's Musings - Writer vs. Reviewer: Sunstein's Bifurcation

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Sun, 2006-01-22 07:18

The University of Chicago Law School’s Cass Sunstein is now nearly as prominent a modern liberal-Left legal scholar as is Harvard Law School’s Lawrence Tribe--just the other day I heard someone mention him as the equivalent on the Left to Samuel Alito on the Right, someone who might be nominated for the Supreme Court by a Democratic president.

In a detailed review he wrote for The New Republic (1/10/06) of UC-Berkeley Law Professor John Yoo’s The Powers of War and Peace: The Constitution and Foreign Affairs After 9/11 (Chicago, 2006), Sunstein argues pretty effectively against Yoo’s idea that, as far as the Founders, Framers, and the Constitution are concerned, the President has the legitimate power to make war without a Congressional declaration.


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Store - Free Radical

administrator's picture
Submitted by administrator on Sat, 2006-01-21 04:21
The Free Radical subscription page has been moved here: http://store.freeradical.co.nz/

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Machan's Musings - Cooper on Rand and Aristotle

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Wed, 2006-01-18 20:57

Cooper on Rand & Aristotle

Tibor R. Machan

At the December 2005 meeting of the Ayn Rand Society, the chair of the
session titled Ayn Rand as Aristotelian was the renowned Aristotle scholar
and philosopher John M. Cooper of Princeton University. In his closing
remarks he explained how Rand's attraction to Aristotle's thinking had a
curious origin, namely, in Albert Jay Nock's mistaken rendition of
Aristotle's view of the nature of fiction. Instead of thinking, as Nock
and later Rand did, that fiction is about what human beings might and
ought to be, Aristotle actually believed fiction is about the great

Recent Comments:
Cooper on Ayn Rand — by Glenn I Heppard on Thu, 2006-01-19 06:24
As usual, good points — by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-01-19 02:54

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Jean-Baptiste Say's Law of Markets: A Fundamental, Conceptual Integration

younkins's picture
Submitted by younkins on Wed, 2006-01-18 05:32

John-Baptiste Say (1767-1832) is one of the most important and insightful thinkers in the history of economic science. Say was a major proponent of Adam Smith’s self-directing economic system of competition, natural liberty, and limited government. He frequently praised the Scotsman’s work, publicized it, and described his own work as mainly an elaboration of Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. In fact, however, the economic doctrines and analysis of this “French Adam Smith” went further than, and departed from, Smith’s ideas on some important points. For example, he stated that Smith’s The Wealth of Nations was without a method; was obtuse, unclear, and unconnected; and included far too many digressions and divergences.

Recent Comments:
Ed, that's a great essay on — by Mark Humphrey on Mon, 2006-01-23 01:13

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Stratfor analysis of Iran's latest machinations

Pete L's picture
Submitted by Pete L on Wed, 2006-01-18 04:42

The for-profit geopolitical intelligence firm, Stratfor, has come through again with cutting edge analysis of Iran's recent behavior. This particular piece explores how the Sunni/Shia rift impacts Islamic radicalism, and why Iran seems to be doing everything it can to bring on a US or Israeli attack.

Iran's Redefined Strategy
By George Friedman

The Iranians have broken the International Atomic Energy Agency seals on some of their nuclear facilities. They did this very deliberately and publicly to make certain that everyone knew that Tehran was proceeding with its nuclear program. Prior to this, and in parallel, the Iranians began to -- among other things -- systematically bait the Israelis, threatening to wipe them from the face of the earth.


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Machan's Musings - What Does "Unalienable" Mean?

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Tue, 2006-01-17 09:43

It would really be extremely valuable for today’s children to understand what is meant for a right to be unalienable. But it isn’t likely they will be taught about this much in today’s school—from elementary to graduate ones, in fact. That’s because, if they realized that the American Founders understood every individual to have unalienable rights to, among other things, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, they would begin to wonder, well, how is it that their city, country, state, or federal governments fail to heed this fact.

For a right to be unalienable means it cannot be lost by a human being, unless his or her humanity itself has been lost. So, for example, if a person no longer can be conscious as a rational being—is brain  dead—that would suffice to alienate his or her rights, but short of that nothing will do.

Recent Comments:
Machan's Musings - What Does "Unalienable" Mean? — by Melior on Sat, 2006-01-21 09:45

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Thomas Aquinas' Christian Aristotelianism

younkins's picture
Submitted by younkins on Mon, 2006-01-16 18:02

Thomas Aquinas' Christian Aristotelianism, by Edward W. Younkins

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), the dominant thinker of the middle ages, combined the science and philosophy of Aristotle with the revealed "truths" of Christianity. Holding that Aristotelianism is true but is not the whole "truth," he reconciled the philosophy of Aristotle with the "truth" of Christian revelation. Aquinas was a committed disciple of Aristotle but was an even more sincere disciple of the Church. He reconceived Aristotle’s ideas to a new context, was able to make distinctions that Aristotle did not formulate, and never hesitated to go beyond Aristotle. The 13th century rediscovery and revival of the corpus of Aristotle’s teaching and Aquinas’ synthesis of it with the tenets of Christian faith effected a dramatic change in medieval political thought. Through his writings, Aquinas provided a solid bridge from the ancients.

Recent Comments:
Photo? — by Duncan Bayne on Fri, 2006-01-20 10:33
Tee-hee! — by Lindsay Perigo on Tue, 2006-01-17 02:41
"truth" — by younkins on Mon, 2006-01-16 15:11

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'Frontpage' Exclusive - Erika Holzer Discusses her Relationship with the Author of 'Atlas Shrugged'

Erika Holzer's picture
Submitted by Erika Holzer on Mon, 2006-01-16 02:56

'Frontpage' Exclusive - Erika Holzer Discusses her Relationship with the Author of Atlas Shrugged

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Erika Holzer, lawyer-turned-novelist (Double Crossing, 1983, and Eye for an Eye, 1993) who is the author of the new memoir, Ayn Rand: My Fiction-Writing Teacher.

FP: Erika Holzer, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Holzer: I love being here, Jamie. I’m a big fan of your Frontpage interviews.

FP: What inspired you to write this memoir?

Holzer: Three things, really. An article I wrote in celebration of Ayn Rand’s Centennial brought back a lot of memories of my personal relationship with Ayn back in the mid-60s. This in turn got me thinking about a couple of questions I was asked over and over down the years when I was doing book tours for my novels. Everybody wanted to know what kind of a teacher/mentor she was – and how she’d influenced my own fiction-writing. I realized I wanted to explore the answers to those questions in much more depth than was possible in an article.


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Machan's Musings - Tyranny Taught at Yale Law School

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Mon, 2006-01-16 02:39

Machan's Musings - Tyranny Taught at Yale Law School

Tibor R. Machan

Yale Law Professor Kenji Yoshino wrote a piece for The New York Times magazine, “The Pressure to Cover” [01/15/06], that’s a frightening
diatribe in favor of a police state that. Its ideas pretty much match the
worst portions of the Right Wing’s Patriot Act—another piece of evidence
that Left and Right are mostly two sides of the same coin.

This man proposes that everyone who is dissatisfied with any condition in
his or her life has the civil right to seek relief—e.g., be accepted by


( categories: )

The Great Caruso

Derek McGovern's picture
Submitted by Derek McGovern on Sun, 2006-01-15 02:19
Recent Comments:
New Mario Doco — by Lindsay Perigo on Tue, 2006-01-17 09:26
Derek, I have the Hong Kong — by Titan on Sun, 2006-01-15 18:50
DVD — by Derek McGovern on Sun, 2006-01-15 08:27

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Epicurus on Freedom and Happiness

younkins's picture
Submitted by younkins on Sat, 2006-01-14 17:58

Epicurus (341-270 BC), a major philosopher of the Hellenistic period, largely relied upon Democritus for his materialistic and atomistic theory of nature. However, he does modify Democritus’ metaphysics because of its skeptical and deterministic implications. Epicurus based his physics on Democritus's foundations, but discovered that Democritus had no distinguishing ethical doctrine and, therefore, Epicurus had to formulate his own objective ethics. He went on to formulate a self-centered moral philosophy in which the individual person is the realm of moral enterprise.

Metaphysics


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Machan's Musings - Predictability and Free Will in Economics

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Wed, 2006-01-11 06:02

At the beginning of each term I mention an apparent problem for students taking my business ethics course in our school of business and economics: While economists tend to approach their discipline with the understanding that human beings are relentless utility maximizers, in business ethics that idea would be very odd. The reason is that business ethics assume economic agents to be free to choose what they will do and holds them responsible to do the right thing.

The late Nobel Laureate George Stigler of The University of Chicago put the widely embraced economists’ stance quite succinctly when he said, “. . . Man is eternally a utility-maximizer—in his home, in his office (be it public or private), in his church, in his scientific work—in short, everywhere.” In contrast, the position of business ethics teachers could best be expressed as Professor M. van Swaay of Kansas State University puts it: “Because ethical behavior implies free choice, it cannot be captured in rule. The standard of reference for what is ethical has to exist 'outside human definition,' and therefore cannot be open to human negotiation. Some may know that standard as Human Rights, some may know it as the Seven Virtues, some may know it as the Ten Commandments, and some may know it by yet another name. It is impossible to force adherence to that standard: the notion of coercion itself is foreign to it. But individually we can make a promise to abide by it....” Ethics and, in particular, business ethics assumes that human beings can choose what they will do, what they will pursue in life, how they will conduct themselves.


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Machan's Musings - Woody Allen the Subversive

removed's picture
Submitted by removed on Mon, 2006-01-09 02:58

By now there are actually books about Woody Allen’s philosophical
ideas—for example, by my former colleague Professor Aeon Skoble. (Indeed,
you might find interesting his single-author and edited books about
Seinfeld and even The Simpsons.) This isn’t all that surprising to those
of us who are fans of Allen, albeit sometimes disappointed ones. His work
does often contain fascinating themes, among which the most recent one,
explored in his well-received movie Match Point, is the phenomenon of luck.

Unfortunately Allen drives home the point so obviously and with so little

Recent Comments:
Tibor got unlucky with the theme — by Marcus on Mon, 2006-01-16 00:29
I took a course on Woody — by Andrew Bissell on Fri, 2006-01-13 05:33
Woody Allen — by seddon on Thu, 2006-01-12 09:22

( categories: )

A Call to Articles

Andrew Bissell's picture
Submitted by Andrew Bissell on Fri, 2006-01-06 10:34

Greetings, SOLOists! We can now say of SOLO’s first month in these new premises: “Stick a fork in it, it’s done!”

The first weeks have seen SOLO: The Bigger Badder Sequel off to a roaring start, despite a season that left many (including yours truly) in the depths of holiday malaise. Linz finally caved in to demands for a “SOLO Thrust,” where resident horndogs Jody and Ross have set up shop. (Demands from the Phunny Pharm that the new feature be named “SOLO Dinner and a Movie and Maybe Something Else Later but We Won’t Go Into That Sinful Business” went unheeded.) MSK has laughed his last LOLOL, helpfully putting SOLO right on track to meet The Management’s new “Purge One a Month” policy. And as always, all the world’s troubles, from energy policy to FAA regulations, were considered and solved in short order by the brain trust that inhabits the forums.

Recent Comments:
Queue? — by Peter Cresswell on Tue, 2006-01-10 23:55
Ross-Good point about Solo — by Jody Gomez on Sat, 2006-01-07 00:58
Jody!?! Defend yourself, — by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2006-01-06 23:26

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