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  • Author: John David Lewis
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: During World War II, the prime source of information for Americans about the war overseas was the dispatches of foreign correspondents-men who put their lives on the line in war zones to report the truth. George Weller was a giant among such men. Captured by the Nazis and traded for a German journalist, Weller watched the Belgian Congolese Army attack Italians in Ethiopia, saw the invasion of Crete, interviewed Charles de Gaulle in South Africa following an escape through Lisbon, and overcame malaria to report on the war in the Pacific. He was the first foreign correspondent trained as a paratrooper, and he won a Pulitzer Prize for his report of an appendectomy on a submarine. He wrote the book Singapore is Silent in 1942 after seeing the city fall to the Japanese, and he advocated a global system of United States bases in his 1943 book Bases Overseas. After witnessing Japan's surrender on September 2, 1945, he broke General Douglas MacArthur's order against travel to Nagasaki by impersonating an American colonel and taking a train to the bombed-out city. In a period of six weeks, he sent typewritten dispatches totaling some fifty thousand words back to American newspapers through official channels of the military occupation. Under MacArthur's directives, they were censored and never made it into print. Weller died in 2002 thinking his dispatches had been lost. Months later his son, Anthony Weller, found a crate of moldy papers with the only surviving carbon copies. Anthony Weller edited the dispatches and included his own essay about his father, resulting in this priceless addition to our information about World War II in the Pacific, and the birth of the atomic age. The importance of the dispatches, however, extends far beyond the value of the information from Nagasaki. George Weller is a voice from a past generation, and the publication of his censored dispatches raises a series of deeply important issues and, in the process, reveals an immense cultural divide between his world and ours today. On September 8, 1945, two days after he arrived in Nagasaki, Weller wrote his third dispatch concerning Nagasaki itself. He described wounded Japanese in two of Nagasaki's undestroyed hospitals, and recorded the question posed by his official guide: Showing them to you, as the first American outsider to reach Nagasaki since the surrender, your propaganda-conscious official guide looks meaningfully in your face and wants to know: "What do you think?" What this question means is: Do you intend writing that America did something inhuman in loosing this weapon against Japan? That is what we want you to write (p. 37). What would many reporters today write if asked this question by bombed enemy civilians? . . .
  • Topic: War
  • Political Geography: Japan, America, Germany, Nagasaki
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 09-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Surveys the promises of John McCain and Barack Obama, shows that these intentions are at odds with the American ideal of individual rights, demonstrates that the cause of such political aims is a particular moral philosophy (shared by McCain and Obama), and calls for Americans to repudiate that morality and to embrace instead a morality that supports the American ideal.
  • Political Geography: America, Europe
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Political Geography: New York, California
  • Author: Craig Biddle
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Concretizes the selfishness-enabling nature of capitalism and shows why this feature makes it the only moral social system on earth.
  • Topic: Economics
  • Political Geography: America
  • Author: John David Lewis
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Analyzes the resounding Republican defeat and shows that the party faces a fundamental decision that will determine whether it orchestrates a comeback or stumbles into further defeat.
  • Topic: Education, Government
  • Political Geography: Taliban
  • Author: Raymond C. Niles
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: The Internet is an achievement of historic importance, arguably rivaling or exceeding the invention of the printing press in its capacity to spread human knowledge and entertainment to the farthest corners of the globe. With the introduction of his printing press in 1450,1 Gutenberg took the books from the hands of cloistered monks and put them into the hands of those who would challenge the orthodoxy of the Church-and into the hands of those who would build the free society that has produced the industrial and technological marvels we enjoy today. In the same manner, the Internet takes encyclopedic knowledge from the libraries and puts it into the homes of people all over the earth. It delivers images of artworks from the Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art to our homes. It makes the wares of locally owned boutiques available to a world of customers. It facilitates discussions between distant scholars and enthusiasts on every possible subject. And, as did the printing press, it can lead to great cultural and political change, by spreading truths that censored media around the world cannot speak. The Internet promotes the open exchange of ideas and information in an unprecedented way. What makes this open exchange of ideas and information possible? According to some, the answer is something called "net neutrality." "Net Neutrality is the reason why the Internet has driven economic innovation, democratic participation, and free speech online," claims one website. And, say its advocates, net neutrality-and thus the Internet itself-is in grave danger: The big phone and cable companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying Congress and the Federal Communications Commission to gut Net Neutrality, putting the future of the Internet at risk. . . . The consequences of a world without Net Neutrality would be devastating. Innovation would be stifled, competition limited, and access to information restricted. Consumer choice and the free market would be sacrificed to the interests of a few corporate executives.2 Such claims naturally catch the attention of people who value innovation, competition, and information. And anything that threatens to thwart the free market is certainly cause for alarm. But what exactly is net neutrality? Does it really protect these crucial values? If so, how? And if not, might it actually assault them? To answer these questions, we must first specify the exact nature of the Internet. . . .
  • Author: Gus Van Horn
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Not long ago, Alan Greenspan was widely regarded as a sort of gnome of Zurich, on whose unique, ineffable powers our prosperity depended. His famously cryptic mumblings could spook markets and spur investors, many of whom believed that his every word carried great weight. One news channel would cite the thickness of his briefcase before certain meetings as an "economic indicator." The "Maestro," as one biographer called him, even appeared on the cover of Time as part of a three-man "Committee to Save the World." And, most remarkably, Greenspan's reputation as a brilliant economist and potential savior of the world was part and parcel of his reputation as a capitalist. Indeed, he had studied under the great "radical for capitalism" Ayn Rand and had written cogent essays in defense of individual rights and free markets. But then, on October 23, 2008, media outlets around the country dropped a bombshell: Alan Greenspan, "lifelong champion of free markets," had declared capitalism dead. The financial crisis, it seems, shook Greenspan to his core and led him to conclude that free markets do not work. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported: Asked by committee Chairman Henry Waxman [D-CA] whether his free-market convictions pushed him to make wrong decisions, especially his failure to rein in unsafe mortgage lending practices, Greenspan replied that indeed he had found a flaw in his ideology, one that left him very distressed. "In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology was not right?" Waxman asked. "Absolutely, precisely," replied Greenspan, who stepped down as Fed chief in 2006 after more than eighteen years as chairman. "That's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence it was working exceptionally well." But the idea that Greenspan possessed "free-market convictions" and that those convictions are why he failed to rein in unsound lending practices is ridiculous. The very purpose of the Federal Reserve-the central bank at the heart of our troubled, government-controlled economy and the money machine that Greenspan operated for almost twenty years-is to manipulate the market. Such a "bank" would not even exist in a free market, and its precise function in our mixed economy is to engage in unsound lending practices as a means of such manipulation. As explained in The Federal Reserve System: Purposes and Functions, which is available from the Federal Reserve's website, one of the primary functions of the Fed is "conducting the nation's monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy." The document elaborates, explaining that the Fed "influences" the rate of inflation by setting the interest rate (known as the "federal funds rate") at which private banks can borrow from the various Federal Reserve banks. When the Fed lowers this rate, it thereby expands credit and increases the supply of fiat money-money that is unmoored to any commodity; money that is just printed paper representing no real value in the marketplace; money that is, essentially, worthless. This constitutes inflation and wreaks havoc on the economy. Once upon a time, Greenspan openly acknowledged the destructive nature of fiat money. "The law of supply and demand is not to be conned," he wrote in his famous 1966 essay "Gold and Economic Freedom": As the supply of money (of claims) increases relative to the supply of tangible assets in the economy, prices must eventually rise. Thus the earnings saved by the productive members of the society lose value in terms of goods. When the economy's books are finally balanced, one finds that this loss in value represents the goods purchased by the government for welfare or other purposes with the money proceeds of the government bonds financed by bank credit expansion. Again, "the earnings saved by the productive members of the society lose value . . . represent[ing] the goods purchased by the government for welfare or other purposes." In other words, Greenspan acknowledged in 1966 that one of the primary functions of the Fed is to violate property rights-yours and mine-by printing fiat money and thereby coercively decreasing the value of our hard-earned savings. The Federal Reserve-in all its anti-capitalistic glory-is by its very nature the primary generator of unsound banking. Greenspan knew this in 1966, when he wrote that article; he knew it in 1987, when he accepted his post as chairman of the Fed; he knew it during the eighteen years he manipulated the money supply; and he knows it today. . . .
  • Topic: Economics
  • Author: Brian P. Simpson
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: "We've got to go after the oil companies," says President-elect Barack Obama in response to high oil and gasoline prices. "We've got to go after [their] windfall profits." Explaining the purpose of recently proposed energy legislation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says: "We are forcing oil companies to change their ways. We will hold them accountable for unconscionable price-gouging and force them to invest in renewable energy or pay a price for refusing to do so." Calling for government seizure of private power plants, California Senate Leader John Burton insists: "We have to do something. These people have got us by the throat. They're making more money than God, and we've got to fight back-not with words, but with actions." This attitude toward energy producers, which is practically unanimous among American politicians today, is wreaking havoc not only on the lives and rights of these producers, but on the lives and rights of Americans in general. It leads to laws and regulations that prohibit producers and consumers from acting on their rational judgment with respect to energy. It causes energy shortages, brownouts, and blackouts that thwart everyone's ability to be productive and enjoy life. And it results in higher prices not only for energy, but for every good and service that depends on energy-which means every good and service in the marketplace, from food to transportation to medical care to sporting events to education to housing. Energy producers, like all rational businessmen, are in business to make money. Profits are what motivate them to exert the requisite brain power, to engage in the necessary research, and to invest the massive amounts of money required to produce and deliver the energy we need to light, heat, and cool our homes, and to power the factories, workplaces, and tools required to produce the goods on which our lives depend. Their profit motive is to our benefit. Moreover, energy producers, like all human beings, have a moral right to act according to their own judgment so long as they do not violate the rights of others. They have a moral right to use and dispose of the product of their effort as they see fit. They have a moral right to contract with customers by mutual consent to mutual benefit. In other words, they have a moral right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. And it is only by respecting these rights that we can expect energy producers to produce energy. So let us examine the assault on these producers, count the ways in which this assault is both impractical and immoral, and specify what must be done to rectify this injustice. . . .
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: America, California
  • Author: Gena Gorlin
  • Publication Date: 12-2008
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Objective Standard
  • Institution: The Objective Standard
  • Abstract: Einstein credited Isaac Newton, the father of physics and arguably the founder of scientific certainty, with "the greatest advance in thought that a single individual was ever privileged to make." The compliment is not hyperbole: In his Principia and the discoveries that preceded it, Newton single-handedly deciphered more of the universe's enigmas than perhaps any other scientist in history. He revolutionized mathematics, integrated the previously disparate fields of mechanics and astronomy, and thus opened the door to the science of force and motion as we know it. And yet, ironically, Newton himself remains an enigma to those biographers who attempt to identify the force that moved him-the motive that compelled him to strive for the discovery and validation of scientific truths on such a grand scale. Most biographers shy from examining Newton's motives, asserting that a genius and creative power of Newton's magnitude defies mundane human explanation. One scholar, however, accepted the charge. Frank Manuel, in his biography, A Portrait of Isaac Newton, attempted to diagnose the source of Newton's genius by means of what is, in effect, a retroactive psychoanalysis. In keeping with the neo-Freudian school of psychology, Manuel attempts to demystify Newton's thought and behavior by speculating about repressed insecurities and unconscious defense mechanisms that may have commanded Newton's psyche. Since the book's publication in 1968 and to this very day, biographers and Newton scholars defer to Manuel-with varying degrees of enthusiasm-on the question of what, in Newton's character and soul, could have spawned his inexhaustible passion for discovering the nature of things. Manuel's model of Newton's underlying motives stands, by default, as the definitive account of the psyche whence sprang the Principia. For example, James Gleick, in his recent biography Isaac Newton, quotes-without critique or comment-Manuel's interpretation of Newton's relationship with his niece Catherine, whom he raised and nurtured into adulthood: "'In the act of fornication between his friend Halifax and his niece was Newton vicariously having carnal intercourse with his mother?'" Such rhetorical suggestions offered in explanation of Newton's words and actions abound in Manuel. And because other Newton scholars have defaulted on the task of evaluating Newton's motives, such "suggestions" have stood unchallenged and unrefuted to this day-coloring the legacy and tainting the name of one of history's greatest scientists. It is easy to sympathize with biographers who struggle in vain to knit together the apparently disparate threads of Newton's psychological life. By common accounts, Newton was a man of perplexing contradiction-described alternately as an arrogant, self-obsessed egomaniac and then as a neurotic "recluse" crippled by "searing" self-doubt. On one hand, he is the man who proclaimed his own theory of light to be "the oddest if not the most considerable detection which has hitherto been made in the operations of nature"-which Manuel interprets as an instance of Newton's "fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience and his self-image as the perfect one." On the other hand, Newton himself, denying a friend's compliments of his preternatural genius, mused that his success is the outcome of "nothing but industry a patient thought." And in the twilight of his years Newton reflected on himself as "only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me." These are not the words of a "narcissist" or an "egomaniac" who is "completely wrapped up in himself," as is commonly postulated-but of a man wrapped up in the quest for truth, and humbled by the vastness of its terrain. Indeed, Newton's close friend John Locke described him as "a nice man to deal with and a little too apt to raise in himself suspicions where there was no ground." This seeming contradiction between Newton's supreme "arrogance" on the one hand and his apparent self-doubt on the other is what led Manuel to postulate that Newton was driven by deep-seated unconscious insecurities. But is there really any contradiction? In truth, when Newton was certain of his conclusions, he was unshakably sure of himself-and did not suffer criticism that he considered misguided, let alone dishonest. Yet when he was uncertain, he did not rest content until he copiously checked his conclusions against the facts. For instance, in 1666, he tested his theory of an inverse-square gravitational force, likely formulated in the early 1660s by deduction from Kepler's elliptical theory, against observations of the moon's motions. He found that the motions agreed "pretty nearly," but not nearly enough-and because he could not explain the discrepancy, he set aside the theory until he could amass further evidence. Whereas his fellow scientists, from Ptolemy to Copernicus to Galileo, sought nothing further than approximate agreement between their theories and the empirical phenomena, Newton was "extreme" in his demands for accuracy. In Manuel's account, such polar extremities of behavior bear the elusive signature of a "neurotic." For Manuel, Newton's apparent "swings" of extreme self-assurance and extreme self-doubt are symptoms of a deep neurosis rooted in his childhood. In true Freudian fashion, Manuel points to Newton's abandonment by his mother when she remarried and sent him to live with his grandmother. He also points to Newton's puritanical education, which allegedly inculcated in him a powerful fear of wrongdoing. These traumatic experiences, according to Manuel's account, begat a combined longing for attachment and fear of punishment that molded his scientific thought. Manuel even goes so far as to speculate that Newton's discovery of the gravitational force was inspired by his childhood anxieties: Newton "knew of the common metaphoric description of the attractive power of a magnet as love" and of the "'sociability' of liquids." Consequently, Manuel speculates, Newton's "longing for the absent ones, his dead father and his remarried mother" inspired his formulation of gravity as "a sort of an impulse or attraction." And as for Newton's vehemence in defending the certainty of his conclusions-this Manuel explains as a wall of defense against the puritanical guilt constantly clamoring to invade his mind. In one instance, Manuel cites a fervent (and thus, in his view, feverish) letter in which Newton defends his theory of light against a religiously motivated attack by a group of Jesuit scholars. The letter was penned in response to a charge by Anthony Lucas, a Jesuit who leveled a cavalier accusation against Newton's measuring accuracy, claiming that Newton had incorrectly reported the length of an image of the light spectrum. Newton had previously refrained from defending himself against the unscientific accusations of the Jesuits, writing that he did not wish to become a "slave to philosophy" (which meant, in his terms, to empty sophistic bickering) by engaging them in argument. But now, he was infuriated: Lucas had challenged the accuracy of Newton's experimental data, without bothering to supply any evidence in support of his challenge. Enraged, Newton wrote to Oldenberg, president of the Royal Society of London: "'Tis the truth of my experiments which is the business at hand. On this my Theory depends, which is of more consequence, the credit of my being wary, accurate and faithful in the reports I have made or shall make of experiments in any subject, seeing that a trip in any one will bring all the rest into suspicion." Ultimately the Royal Society duplicated Newton's experiments and formally refuted Lucas's objections, such that, in Newton's terms, he stood "convicted" by the "trial of the Royal Society." Lucas had miscalculated in groundlessly questioning the truth of Newton's calculations; his error was in underestimating Newton's reverential devotion to that truth. In Manuel's interpretation, such reverence bespeaks neurosis. Interpreting the incident, Manuel writes, "Ambivalent neurotics have a craving for certainty. Themore searing the doubt the more profound the need for a safe haven. Newton had two such refuges, a great blessing for a man in his state of everlasting tension: one was the Bible . . . the other was mathematical proof." He proceeds to explain the neurotic basis for Newton's intolerance of doubt: "Scientific error was assimilated with sin, for it could only be the consequence of sloth on his part and a failure in his divine service. For Newton a sin was not an act of human frailty that could be forgiven, but a sign that the culprit was possessed by evil." Manuel thus diagnoses Newton's preoccupation with scientific certainty and his impatience with doubt as symptoms of a psychotic insecurity, which stems, in turn, from his oppressive puritanical upbringing. But such a diagnosis seems quite peculiar if one considers that Newton is right. As is the case with his theory of light, Newton's theories do stand or fall on the truth of his evidential arguments, because true theories admit of no contradictory evidence. If an objector such as Anthony Lucas were to discover an error in Newton's empirical measurements, he would indeed cast doubt on Newton's entire theory. Thus, in vehemently defending the truth of his experiments against those who launch a frivolous attack against it, Newton reveals his "religious" devotion, not to his puritanical schoolteachers or to a wrathful God who censures his every step, but to the real, physical world-and to his understanding thereof. It is not Newton's departure from reality, then, but rather the intensity of his devotion to it that Manuel finds psychotic. Psychosis is generally defined as a state of delusion, a split from reality. A preoccupation with "divine service," as Manuel describes it, implies obeisance to an invisible God at the expense of any rational judgments grounded in this-worldly evidence. But Newton's alleged psychosis consists precisely in obeying the evidence of this world as he searches for scientific truth; the preoccupation Manuel refers to is not with an otherworldly authority, but with physical reality. Manuel does not seem to recognize this distinction, as he repeatedly lumps together Newton's reverence for the truth with his deference to God and his alleged cringing fear of divine punishment. Manuel's psychoanalytic model of the mind treats any pervasive behavior or thought pattern as symptomatic of childhood trauma or some other brand of prior conditioning. What this model does not seem to admit as a possibility is a mind not buoyed along by external circumstances, but rather governing itself, holding the truth as its sole guide and master-a mind conscientiously committed to the pursuit of truth as its primary and fundamental motive. And yet such a scenario should not seem so far-fetched, given that grasping the truth is the mind's proper and primary function. Viewed in this light, Newton's "craving for certainty" is not a symptom of illness but of exemplary mental health. Indeed, the craving for certainty is a venerable virtue-for to crave certainty is to crave the truth, and truth is infinitely valuable. Given the advances in science enabled by the certainty of Newton's laws, and the vast benefits ultimately conferred on human life by those advances, the objective value of Newton's "preoccupation" with truth is indisputable. . . .
  • Topic: History