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  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Islamic states and jihadists who attack and murder Westerners and other disbelievers are motivated to do so by their religion, Islam. Everyone paying attention knows this (including those who pretend not to).
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Charlie HebdoThat many Muslims oppose free speech—often violently—is again made obvious by this week's terrorist attacks in France. There, two groups of Muslim terrorists slaughtered sixteen people, twelve at or near the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical publication that ran “offensive” images of Muhammad.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: France
  • Author: Richard M. Salsman
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century makes an important contribution to the economic history of industrialization since the early 18th century. His collection of data on the distribution of income and wealth around the globe, drawn mainly from tax records, surveys, and national reports, is rigorous and comprehensive; no one before has collected such credible material in this important sub-field of economics. Piketty is also to be credited for presenting the data in scores of easy-to-interpret graphs and for making it available online for those wishing to verify the presentation and/or investigate alternative empirical patterns.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Joseph England
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Every year throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, between four and five million girls suffer gruesome genital mutilation at the hands of tribal “cutters” or circumcisers. Far from being regarded as barbaric criminals from whom children should be hidden, these wielders of sharpened rocks, broken glass, rusty metal, and (only sometimes) scalpels occupy a special position of power and influence in their communities. Parents voluntarily, sometimes enthusiastically, bring their young and infant daughters to be mutilated. Though methods vary in severity, in as many as 10 percent of cases, a cutter shears a girl's labia for “beauty,” excises her clitoris to deprive her of sexual pleasure later in life, and sews closed her vagina to ensure virginity until marriage.
  • Political Geography: Africa, America, Middle East
  • Author: Alex Epstein
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Who would argue that producing and using fossil fuels is not only not shameful, but also positively virtuous? Alex Epstein would. And he has done so eloquently and thoroughly in his book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Germany
  • Author: Gregory Zuckerman
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Frackers: The Outrageous Inside Story of the New Billionaire Wildcatters, the second book by Wall Street Journal reporter Gregory Zuckerman, tells the story of the development, over the past several decades, of the amazing technology by which oil and gas have been made to flow from previously unyielding stone, in quantities tallied in the hundreds of billions of barrels and trillions of cubic feet. Zuckerman's complex narrative crisscrosses the country to Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and the badlands of Montana and the Dakotas. The book is the result of (among other things) more than a hundred hours of interviews with those whose story it tells; Zuckerman often uses the perspective gained from these firsthand accounts to give the story a fly-on-the-boardroom-wall feel.
  • Topic: Development
  • Author: Mark Miodownik
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: In May 1985, a young Mark Miodownik sat on a train, with a fresh thirteen-centimeter stab wound in his back, and thought about what had just happened. Moments earlier, a man had approached him saying he had a knife and asking for money. Miodownik had decided to keep his assailant talking until the train doors were closing, and then push quickly past him to safety. That didn't work out so well. Although his assailant did not have a knife, he had a razor blade. And it had sliced through Miodownik's thick leather coat and multiple layers of clothing, severely lacerating his back.
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: This, the spring 2015 issue of The Objective Standard, begins our tenth year of publication; so let me start by extending a hearty thank-you to all of our subscribers and donors who have supported our vital work over the years. In a culture largely hostile to the ideas we elucidate and apply, the success of a publication such as TOS requires financial and spiritual support from the relative few who see the value of what we do. You are that few. You have made possible everything we have done—every article, every blog post, every video, every word. Without your support, TOS would have folded long ago, as most Objectivist periodicals have. Because of your support, however, TOS has not only survived, it has established and maintained a level of quality and clarity that has made and is making a difference. Here's an indication of the kind of correspondence we receive from people who discover TOS.
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Welcome to the Spring 2014 issue of The Objective Standard, which begins our ninth year of publication. I want first and foremost to extend an enormous “thank you” to all of our subscribers, donors, and writers, whose material, moral, and intellectual support made our first eight years possible and laid the groundwork for what is to come. Without your initial and sustained support, TOS simply would not exist. With your support, this hub of Objectivist intellectual output is not merely existing, but thriving, expanding, and reaching more and more minds with the ideas on which human life and civilized society depend. From all of us at TOS: Thank you. Now, on to the contents at hand.
  • Topic: Islam
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Author's note: The following are the introduction and first chapter of my forthcoming book, Thinking in Principles: The Science of Selfishness. The book, which will be published this December, is aimed primarily at active-minded young adults who have some familiarity with the principles of rational egoism. Its purpose is to elucidate the importance and method of thinking in principles. I hope you enjoy these early pages. —CB Introduction Your basic tool for making your life the best it can be is your mind. Your basic skill toward that end is your ability to think—to identify and integrate facts, to understand the world and your needs, to choose life-serving values and goals, to plan your days and years for maximum happiness, and to execute your plans effectively. The quality of every aspect of your life—from your career to romance to friendships to recreation to leisure time—depends on how well you think. How can you maximize your thinking skills? What are the principles of good thinking? How can you embrace and apply those principles to fill your life with values, projects, and people you love? The answers to these and related questions are the subject of this book. Whereas my first book, Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It, demonstrates that being moral consists in being selfish, Thinking in Principles: The Science of Selfishness shows what being selfish means in the realm of cognition. It is about how most effectively to use your mind in service of your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. You need not have read Loving Life in order to profit from reading this book, but reading either Loving Life or Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness before reading this book will better equip you to understand and integrate the ideas discussed herein. This book, of necessity, assumes a certain level of agreement about what is true and false, moral and immoral, right and wrong. For instance, it assumes recognition of the fact that reason (i.e., observation and logic) is your only means of knowledge, that neither feelings nor revelation nor faith is a means of knowledge. It assumes some understanding of the propriety of pursuing your own life-serving values and of the impropriety of sacrificing for others, society, or “God.” And it assumes some understanding of the morality of a social system that protects each individual's rights to live by the judgment of his own mind and to keep the product of his effort—and of the immorality of social systems that violate these rights. A reader with no knowledge of such truths will have trouble focusing on the subject at hand—the principles of thinking in principles—because he will constantly be challenged by the content and evaluations of various principles being used as concretes for discussion. We couldn't begin to discuss a science of good thinking for good living without assuming a basic understanding of what good thinking and good living consist of, and these ideas are part of such an understanding. If they are foreign to you, I suggest reading one of the above-mentioned books before proceeding. The purpose of this book is to examine the nature and need of principles; to identify and elucidate the principles of the method of thinking in terms of principles; and to integrate those principles into a systematic, scientific approach to living and loving life. Chapter 1, “What Principles Are and Why You Need Them,” discusses the nature of principles, surveys various kinds of principles, draws crucial definitions of “principle” from the survey, and shows the vital role of principles in thinking. The next six chapters identify and elucidate the principles of thinking in principles and examine various errors and fallacies that are violations of these principles. Chapter 2, “Axioms, Corollaries, and Proximate Fundamentals,” examines the principles at the very base of all thinking; shows their relationship to other principles that underlie and govern various areas of life (e.g., romance, business, recreation, parenting); considers some major aspects of the process of forming and validating principles; and briefly addresses the crusade against principles (i.e., anti-foundationalism and pragmatism). Chapter 3, “The Excluded Middle and Matters of Degree,” zeros in on the crucial role of the law of excluded middle in identifying and applying principles; addresses misconceptions of and objections to the law; clarifies the proper use of the law with respect to mixed ideas, mixed situations, and “slippery slopes”; and demonstrates the binary, either-or nature of principled thinking. Chapter 4, “Proper Classification and Definition,” surveys the basic principles of Ayn Rand's theory of concepts; shows the proper formation and use of concepts to be at once governed by principles and essential to principled thinking; examines several kinds of violations of the principles presented, including package deals, anti-concepts, and frozen abstractions; and shows why you must form and use concepts in certain ways and not others if they are to serve your life and happiness. Chapter 5, “Hierarchies of Knowledge and Values,” examines the hierarchical structures and interrelationships of conceptual knowledge, moral principles, and personal values; examines the fallacy of the stolen concept, further demonstrating why you must use concepts properly if they are to serve your life; and shows how to organize your values hierarchically and use the “math of egoism” to dramatically improve your thinking, decision making, and all-around effectiveness in pursuing and achieving your goals. Chapter 6, “Context, Knowledge, and Values,” expands on the principles of hierarchy, examining the broader relational nature of concepts, principles, and values; shows why and how these three elements properly fit together to form an integrated, noncontradictory whole in service of your life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness; and examines the fallacies of context dropping, omission of volition, and the argument from intimidation. Chapter 7, “Evidence, Knowledge, and Happiness,” examines the nature of evidence (both perceptual and conceptual); demonstrates the crucial role evidence plays in thinking, forming principles, applying them, and choosing and pursuing values; and shows the highly destructive nature of arbitrary (evidence-free) assertions, which throttle and thwart thinking in myriad nonobvious ways. Chapter 8, “The Science of Selfishness,” pulls together all of the foregoing principles, demonstrating their unity as an observation-based, integrated, life-serving system of thought; shows how this system applies to specific situations and goals; and shows how to use the principles of the system to create highly effective personalized micro-principles and standing orders to guide specific day-to-day actions, enabling you to achieve massively challenging life-enhancing goals. Chapter 9, “The Art of Selfishness,” shows how the fully formed science of selfishness applies to a broad array of real-life and hypothetical situations, from personal to social to political, demonstrating its immense power to clarify your thinking, simplify your decision making, and fill your days and years with values, projects, and people you love. If that interests you, let's dig in. Chapter One: What Principles Are and Why You Need Them “I don't have any principles. If I believe in anything, I believe in rules of thumb,” boasts an outspoken college professor. “Therefore, as I say quite often (and it's true) my forward time span is generally two hours. By that I mean I tend not to think about or worry about anything more in the future than two hours hence.”3 If this professor's claim were true, he would not be able to function as a human being. Granted, if he didn't think about anything more in the future than two hours hence he wouldn't need principles or have any to speak of. But, then, he wouldn't have a life to speak of either. Consider just a few reasons. . . .
  • Topic: Politics