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Wednesday
September 25, 2013
Commentary
Confusing Terms: Rights
by Joseph Rowlands
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In politics, one of the most important ideas is the concept of 'rights'. And yet, it is also a source of enormous confusion. There are a number of reasons why it can get in the way of clarity. I'll start with the one I think is most significant. The concept of rights is used in the form of something you posse... (Read more...)
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Friday
September 20, 2013
Commentary
Some Pros and Cons of a Syrian Attack
by Tibor R. Machan
Sanctions: 6Sanctions: 6 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
Why should one powerful nation attack another that is following intolerable policies -- e.g., gas its own citizens? Some argue that this is because when others act violently toward innocent people, those who can prevent this from happening have an obligation to step in and help out. We are, as Mr. Obama put it not long ago, “all in the same boat!” (Read more...)
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Friday
September 13, 2013
Praxes
Lessons from Planned Economies
by Mary Poppendieck
Sanctions: 11Sanctions: 11Sanctions: 11 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
The difference between a planned and a market economy is rooted in two different management philosophies: management-as-planning/adhering and management-as-organizing/learning. Management-as-planning/adhering focuses on creating a plan that becomes a blueprint for action, then managing implementation by measuring adherence to the plan. Management-as-organizing/learning focuses on organizing work so that intelligent agents know what to do by looking at the work itself, and improve upon their implementation through a learning process. (Read more...)
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Friday
September 13, 2013
Commentary
Involuntary Servitude
by Tibor R. Machan
Sanctions: 12Sanctions: 12Sanctions: 12 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
It is especially difficult to suppress my outrage at the fact that some of my colleagues in political philosophy hold views that literally consign my grandchildren into involuntary servitude without paying any heed to their own choices in the matter. (Read more...)
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Monday
September 9, 2013
Intellectual Ammunition
Confusing Terms: Moral and Immoral
by Joseph Rowlands
Sanctions: 12Sanctions: 12Sanctions: 12 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
I've noticed over the years that when discussing certain topics, some words don't help. They actually get in the way of a clear understanding. The use of "moral" and "immoral" are two examples that create massive confusion. One of the sources of this confusion is that "moral" and "immoral" are conclusions to a... (Read more...)
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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
Sanctions: 17Sanctions: 17Sanctions: 17 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article

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
Sanctions: 12Sanctions: 12Sanctions: 12 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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
Sanctions: 24Sanctions: 24Sanctions: 24 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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
Sanctions: 12Sanctions: 12Sanctions: 12 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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
Sanctions: 17Sanctions: 17Sanctions: 17 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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
Sanctions: 28Sanctions: 28Sanctions: 28 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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
Sanctions: 18Sanctions: 18Sanctions: 18 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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
Sanctions: 18Sanctions: 18Sanctions: 18 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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
Sanctions: 24Sanctions: 24Sanctions: 24 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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
Sanctions: 17Sanctions: 17Sanctions: 17 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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
Sanctions: 23Sanctions: 23Sanctions: 23 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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
Sanctions: 12Sanctions: 12Sanctions: 12 Sanction this ArticleEditMark as your favorite article
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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