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Sunday
September 1, 2013
Commentary
Maternal Martyrs
by Joseph Rowlands
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There's been a number of times where a friend told me about a strained relationship with his or her parents. The similarities are interesting, and it points to a common philosophical perspective. What happens is the mothers talk to my friends as if they hate them. They talk about how much they had to sacrifice... (Read more...)
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Sunday
August 25, 2013
News
Governor Christie’s Demagoguery
by Tibor R. Machan
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In his put down of Senator Rand Paul for the latter’s defense of limited governmental powers in foreign policies, Governor Chris Christie has not produced arguments but engaged in demagoguery. Bringing up the grieving of relatives of 9/11 victims amounts to just that. (Read more...)
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Monday
August 19, 2013
Commentary
Minimizing Knowledge
by Joseph Rowlands
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A well-known question among children is when will they ever need to know algebra. Why study the subject unless they're going to do math for a living? One of the students in my school actually asked the teacher that question, and the teacher replied that you won't actually ever need algebra, but you have to learn it a... (Read more...)
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Wednesday
August 14, 2013
Commentary
Shopping in communism versus capitalism
by Tibor R. Machan
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In a narrative portion of his latest (and characteristically riveting) novel the author has written the following sentence that prompts me to wag my finger at him a bit. “Now it was a Western-style shopping mall stuffed with all the useless trinkets capitalism had to offer...” Daniel Silva, The English Girl (2013). (Read more...)
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Saturday
August 10, 2013
Commentary
Problems with Instrumentalism
by Joseph Rowlands
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Instrumentalism is a idea in the philosophy of science that says a scientific theory should be evaluated on how well it allows predictions. This is in contrast to other views, including that a theory should be judged based on how accurately it describes reality. As long as the theory provides a basis for making accur... (Read more...)
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Monday
August 5, 2013
Commentary
Too Many Un-American Americans
by Tibor R. Machan
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Let us remember a simple yet revolutionary idea associated with America, indeed one that has made the country exceptional among all major and minor political associations. This is the basic, natural right to individual liberty! (Read more...)

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Tuesday
July 30, 2013
Commentary
Accusations of Pragmatism
by Joseph Rowlands
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When someone brings up the costs and benefits of making a choice with moral implications, it is common to have some people make the accusation of pragmatism. The thought seems to be that the act of considering costs and benefit means that they are not being guided by moral principles and are just doing what's practica... (Read more...)
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Thursday
July 25, 2013
Commentary
Without a proper plan
by Tibor R. Machan
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The realm of the private is far broader in a free society than most people realize, so private choices and preferences have a greater scope. Which can be a very benign influence over the society as well as introduce some not very admirable ones. This, however, is the implication of taking the right to liberty really seriously instead of cherry picking liberties that one likes and are uncontroversial. (Read more...)
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Monday
July 22, 2013
Commentary
Cost-Benefit Analysis
by Joseph Rowlands
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When it comes to certain moral choices, the thought of someone doing a cost-benefit analysis is horrifying to many people. Take an example of the choice to murder someone or not. The conventional thinking is that this shouldn't even be an option, and morality is best when it demands that this be taken off the table. ... (Read more...)
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Tuesday
July 16, 2013
Commentary
Machan's Archives - Fourth of July Reflections
by Tibor R. Machan
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For some people the Fourth of July is the most important holiday in America. Sadly, not for all, especially not just now when most of the leadership of the country has made it clear that principles do not matter. What matters is what is expedient or practical, which is something very unstable. (Read more...)
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Friday
July 12, 2013
Methodology
Learning versus Formulating Concepts
by Joseph Rowlands
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Ayn Rand described the process of concept formation in her book Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. The process focuses on how concepts are originally formed. It involves finding similarities between units, differentiating them from other things, integrating them through measurement omission, providing a name f... (Read more...)
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Monday
July 8, 2013
Intellectual Ammunition
Ethnicity is Obsolete
by Tibor R. Machan
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In the United States of America ethnic distinctions are especially impossible to maintain with a straight face. Who are the Native Americans? The blacks? The whites? The Hispanics? These are entirely accidental categories, having to do with attributes that hardly remain stable over the lives of individuals, let alone across generations. (Read more...)
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Thursday
July 4, 2013
Commentary
Productiveness Revisited
by Joseph Rowlands
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The Objectivist view of productiveness focuses on a specific kind of productiveness. It aims at productive work. Rand described productive work as "the central purpose of a rational man's life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values" [italics in original, The Virtue of ... (Read more...)
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Monday
July 1, 2013
Heroes
Thank you Scientists and Technologists
by Tibor R. Machan
Sanctions: 29Sanctions: 29Sanctions: 29 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
There is so much that scientists have discovered that makes our lives rich and rewarding that it may seem pointless to call attention to it all. But I am very fond of the saying, “Notice the good and praise it,” over and over again. (Read more...)
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Monday
June 24, 2013
The Good Life
Virtue of Loyalty
by Joseph Rowlands
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Loyalty is traditionally viewed as a virtue. And yet it my experience, Objectivists tend to reject loyalty as a kind of irrationality. That's not particularly surprising. Loyalty is often viewed as sticking by someone's side no matter how irrational they are or improper their behavior. It is thought of as turning a... (Read more...)
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Monday
June 17, 2013
Commentary
The Evil of Prior Restraint
by Tibor R. Machan
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NSA’s excuse for snooping on innocent citizens -- namely, that it can prevent serious harm to us, might even save lives -- is spurious. If you incarcerated us all, that, too, might do all that. (Read more...)
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Thursday
June 13, 2013
The Good Life
A Virtue of Optimism
by Joseph Rowlands
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One of the characteristics that is common to most of the Objectivist virtues is an identification of things that have the possibility of getting in the way of acting effectively and rationally. Honesty, for instance, points out how acting on the unreal is counterproductive, and that only a focus on what's real can lea... (Read more...)
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Saturday
June 8, 2013
Commentary
My Pleasures, My Vices
by Tibor R. Machan
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I am not in the habit of airing my dirty laundry, so this will be a rare case. I feel the urge to confess that I have some guilty pleasures, ones that actually have political implications. (Read more...)
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Monday
June 3, 2013
Commentary
Does New Knowledge Invalidate Old Knowledge?
by Joseph Rowlands
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One of the more interesting epistemological arguments made by Objectivists is that new knowledge does not invalidate old knowledge. When you learn that a chair is made of individual atoms, it does not negate your previous knowledge about the chair. You would still understand that it is furniture, designed for people ... (Read more...)
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Tuesday
May 28, 2013
War for Men's Minds
Barbaric Conduct in London
by Tibor R. Machan
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The apparent murderer in London declared on a video that "The only reasons we killed this man ... is because Muslims are dying daily," he said in video aired by CNN affiliate ITN. (Read more...)
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Thursday
May 23, 2013
Commentary
Causation in a Complex System
by Joseph Rowlands
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What is the right way to analyze a complex system? A complex system can have many variables with complex interactions, leading to complex effects that have many different attributes. Some examples of complex systems are economies, biological systems, climate, and child development. Each has an enormous number of fac... (Read more...)
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Saturday
May 18, 2013
Commentary
Back to Basics Please
by Tibor R. Machan
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The idea that occurs to me when confronted with the mess is that those who have even the mildest concern for rhyme and reason should press the Obama people on one central topic: Do the rights of individuals concern this government in the slightest? (Read more...)
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Sunday
May 12, 2013
Commentary
Selfish Altruism
by Joseph Rowlands
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There is an inconsistency among people who support altruism. They can't quite decide whether altruism should be practiced because it benefits them or in spite of the fact that it benefits them. (Read more...)
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Tuesday
May 7, 2013
Commentary
More Environmentalist Confusions
by Tibor R. Machan
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The New York Observer reported in its April 15, 2013, issue (B 1) that Leonardo DiCaprio is teaming up with Christie’s in New York City, to hold a “major philanthropic auction.” I am not interested in the details, which appear to me a kind of kiss up to fellow celebrities on the political/cultural Left. But the following statement from the actor is quite instructive: (Read more...)
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Thursday
May 2, 2013
Commentary
Economic Power and Intervention
by Joseph Rowlands
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A common view of economic relationships is that a person isn't really free if they have no real choice in a decision. When the stakes are high and the options are limited, a person will have to take the most attractive option. He has no choice. And if he has no choice, it really isn't freedom. Even though no coerci... (Read more...)
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