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What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

Friday, December 19, 2014

TGIF: Monopoly and Aggression

The concepts monopoly and aggression are intimately related, like lock and key, or mother and son. You cannot fully understand the first without understanding the second.
Read it here.

Friday, December 12, 2014

TGIF: "And the Pursuit of Happiness": Nathaniel Branden, RIP

The binding together of “perfection” (virtue, or excellence, in the Greek sense) and liberty (internal and external) with the pursuit of happiness is noteworthy.
Which brings me to Nathaniel Branden.
Read it here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I Love Loosies and the People Who Sell Them

The cops who ganged up on Eric Garner, got him into a chokehold, and mashed his face into the sidewalk didn’t intend to kill him. They intended only to show him who’s boss on the streets of Staten Island — and show him in a way he would never forget.
As a Facebook friend of mine put it, instead they showed him in a way he will never remember.
This pretty much explains the cops’ reckless disregard for Garner’s life that day, and it is what makes the grand-jury sham especially appalling.
Read it here.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Who's the Boss?

The NYC cops did not intend to kill Eric Garner. They intended only to show him who's boss in a way he would never forget. Hence their reckless disregard for his life.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Don't Pray for Peace

Something else bugs me about Wounded Warrior Project commercials -- besides their use of "warrior" as a term of honor: The song says, "Say a prayer for peace." Don't say a prayer. Find a way to act. Also, stay out of the military or refuse immoral orders. 

If prayer could change things, it would be against the law. (I'm sure Emma Goldman wouldn't have minded.)

TGIF: Tackling Straw Men Is Easier than Critiquing Libertarianism

Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but I think it behooves a critic to understand what he’s criticizing. I realize that tackling straw men is much easier than dealing with challenging arguments, but that’s no excuse for the shoddy work we find in John Edward Terrell’s New York Times post, “Evolution and the American Myth of the Individual.”
In his confused attempt to criticize libertarians (and Tea Party folks, whom I’ll ignore here), Terrell gets one thing right when he says, “The thought that it is both rational and natural for each of us to care only for ourselves, our own preservation, and our own achievements is a treacherous fabrication” (emphasis added).
Indeed it is. Unfortunately for Terrell’s case, it’s his treacherous fabrication.
Read it here.

The Logic of Resisting Arrest

One cannot resist an arrest that is not being attempted. Cops and politicians should stop arresting nonviolent people for victimless "crimes." PS: Governments should NOT be construed as the victims of free exchange in black markets.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Nathaniel Branden, 1930-2014

Nathaniel Branden, Ayn Rand's original partner in the Objectivist movement, died December 3. Branden was a complicated man, a big mixture of virtue and vice. I may write more about him later but for now, I will just say that I am thankful that I did not discover Objectivism until just after the Rand-Branden split occurred in 1968.

Here's Brian Doherty's obituary for Branden.

In 2006 I published "Szasz and Rand" in the Journal of Ayn Rand Studies (unfortunately not online), a review essay of Szasz's Faith in Freedom, which contains critical chapters on Rand and Branden.

The Not So Grand Jury

The grand jury may have begun as a check on state abuse, but it has long been a cover for state abuse -- confirming a Rothbard maxim: Principles ostensibly intended to limit government power will morph into justifications for its expansion.

The Ferguson Distraction

Ironically, the shooting death of unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown by white Ferguson, MO, police officer Darren Wilson is a distraction from the racist police brutality that ravages America.
Whether or not Wilson shot Brown unjustifiably, and whether or not Brown provoked the shooting by grabbing for Wilson’s gun, the police — and the government officials who employ and arm them — are a big problem in this country. (The Eric Garner chokehold killing has none of the ambiguity of the Brown case.)
Unfortunately, it takes a shooting such as the one in Ferguson to spotlight the problem. And that presents its own problem. The claim that the police are routinely dangerous to innocent people — mostly blacks and Hispanics — appears to stand or fall with the headline case of the week. But that can’t be the correct way to judge the bigger issue.
Read it here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Nuclear Monopolists Will Be Nuclear Monopolists

The Associated Press reports:
The U.N. General Assembly overwhelmingly approved an Arab-backed resolution Tuesday calling on Israel to renounce possession of nuclear weapons and put its nuclear facilities under international oversight.
The resolution, adopted in a 161-5 vote, noted that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country that is not party to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. It called on Israel to "accede to that treaty without further delay, not to develop, produce test or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons, to renounce possession of nuclear weapons" and put its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency.
The United States, Canada, Palau and Micronesia joined Israel in opposing the measure, while 18 countries abstained.
The US position: What's sauce for Iran is not sauce for Israel. The difference is that Iran has no nukes and has never tried to obtain or build them.

Poor Israel

Since Israel's rulers favor chaos in the Middle East -- the better to persuade Americans to forget the Palestinians and focus on the "tough neighborhood" that Israelis live in -- it's good to see a little chaos within the Israeli government.

Ferguson, continued

Any analysis of Ferguson and police brutality that falls short of anarchist is bound to be inadequate. The root of the problem is top-down centralized monopolistic (dare I say socialistic?) law making and enforcement.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Ferguson, continued

Turning the Michael Brown case into something it's not serves only to discredit the movement against police abuse and racism.