Archive for August, 2006

Discover Capitalism: Ayn Rand’s, The Establishing of an Establishment

At the weekly Discover Capitalism meeting here in Melbourne last night we studied Ayn Rand’s 1972 essay, The Establishing of an Establishment.

In this essay, Ayn Rand discusses how it’s not only Government censorship which causes intellectual stagnation in a culture. Governmental encouragement – through funding – does it too. It’s not a direct effect, however.

Ayn Rand details the mechanisms involved, focusing on a particular example: The funding of the Behavioralist School of psychology – B F Skinner – author of “Beyond Freedom and Dignity” – being its best known proponent at the time.

One of the problems with government funding/encouragement, especially in the social sciences, is that it makes politicians and beauracrats arbiters of thinking and ideology.

This has been one of my concerns in the recent complaints made against Australia’s taxpayer funded TV and radio network, The ABC.

The gripe has been that ABC presenters and shows are heavily biased towards leftist views. Anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-capitalist, etc.

The proposed solution has been to do something like find a “Phillip Adams of the Right” or get more “conservative” presenters and shows. This is a bad move which I believe will make things worse than they already are.

Why? Because it sets up government officials as arbiters of ideology. What is “conservative” or “right wing”? How will the right “mix” of viewpoints be determined? Who will decide this? How will they decide it? It can’t be done and it shouldn’t be done – or even attempted.

It’s bad enough the state funds this idiotic enterprise which undermines the values of liberty, private property, individual rights. To now try to micro-manage its ideology, steps way over the bounds of the proper role of government.

This proposed “solution” reminds me of another counter-productive idea that is now entrenched. Namely, work-for-the-dole. This has to be one of the dumbest ideas I’ve ever come across.

Since it is government which maintains unemployment by restricting the labour market by such measures as minimum wage laws and so-called “unfair” dismissal laws, then the government has some responsibility to provide a safety net of some sort. i.e. the dole. As long as the government restricts labour market flexibility and freedom, the dole is valid.

What the labor market needs is not another layer of bureaucracy in charge of forcing people to work in bogus jobs. We need deregulation. We needs the free market.

And, as for The ABC, privatize the bastard.

Report This Post

Problem with display of characters

Several PRODOS Project websites are not displaying characters correctly.

For instance, the Greek translation of the Bernstein Declaration is all gobblydegook. Also, some characters within items at The PRODOSPHERE are presenting incorrectly.

I’ve got someone looking into it. The problem seems to be with the configuration of the PRODOS server. It may have “forgotten” a few settings when it crashed last time.

[Later update, Friday September 01: My Italian colleague, Davide Villani, has helped me fix the problem of how characters were displayed for the Bernstein Declaration translations. We are now working on misformatted characters on other PRODOS sites.]

Report This Post

MYprodos specs delivered

I’ve delivered the first batch of specifications for the new MYprodos membership management system to my coder/programmer to look over.

The MYprodos system will allow anyone who is registered to any PRODOS project to easily manage their membership details (new email address, joining or leaving a project, etc.)

I’ve been working on this system for over a year. An earlier version was built some time ago, but I felt it was too awkward to use and didn’t have enough flexibility. So I’ve come up with a completely new approach that I hope can be built and tested over the next few weeks.

Over the next couple of days I hope to complete the specs for the PRODOS Project application forms which will be integrated into the MYprodos system and will send them through to the programmer to evaluate.

Report This Post

SOLID VOX: The Zigory Show interviews composer, M. Zachary Johnson

This is a very interesting interview that Greg Zeigerson has done with M. Zachary Johnson. It probes the way this unique composer approaches his music and many of the concepts which shape his thinking. I believe that M. Zachary Johnson is an Objectivist. He certainly seems to have a thorough understanding of Ayn Rand’s ideas on Esthetics.

Composer, M Zachary Johnson

Greg Zeigerson is one of the new SOLID VOX presenters and this is his second interview. His work is outstanding: He’s well researched and covers issues that he’s personally, deeply interested in. And that makes GREAT radio! :)

His podcast show is @ Zigory.SolidVox.com

His blog is @ Zigory.ThinkerToThinker.com

Do recommend this interview to others!

Report This Post

SOLID VOX: Edward Cline interviewed by Egoist, Martin Lindeskog

Edward Cline, author of the Sparrowhawk adventure novels

On the SOLID VOX™ Network, EGOIST with Martin Lindeskog speaks with Edward Cline, author of the acclaimed Sparrowhawk adventure novels.

Ed Cline (pictured left) talks at length about the novel writing process, including the way he approaches background research, character and plot, and even the choosing of names for his characters.

I was most impressed by Ed Cline’s clarity of thought, expansive imagination, and dedication to the Founding Ideals of America – all of which comes together in the form of his adventure novels.

After Martin Lindeskog finished speaking with Ed Cline, I asked him: With the enormous immersion in historical and cultural facts and figures that he has to constantly do, how does he stay creative? A lot of people who have a “research type” mentality don’t tend to have a “creative type” mentality. They seem to be two distinctly different types of thinking.

This is what I got from his answer – and it’s probably mixed in with my own views on this issue:

What mattered was how the facts are treated. Each bit of information is viewed as a potential springboard or starting point.

For instance, the name “Frake” from Ed Cline’s first novel, Jack Frake, was derived from noting the early meaning of the word “freak”.

What was interesting was that a “freak” back then (probably spelt a bit differently) didn’t have the same derogatory/mocking sense that it has today. It meant a unique, distinctive person who stood out. And this was treated as good thing.

The dictionaries I’ve checked don’t know the origin of the term “freak”. But I wonder if it’s related to fracas derived from the Italian fracasso, which comes from fracassare “to shatter.”

So, when a creative person researches facts he finds what is surprising or curious about them and works on how this can be used to come up with something new. The facts are launching pads. He’s not just categorizing the facts, he’s connecting them and playing with their possibilities.

Hmm … maybe the creative person uses facts to create a fracas? :D

Listen, download, or podcast Martin Lindeskog’s interview with Edward Cline @

Egoist.SolidVox.com

Report This Post

SOLID VOX: Jim Woods speaks with Nick Provenzo on Effective Activism

SOLID VOX show, Over The Top with Jim Woods, speaks with Nicholas Provenzo from the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism on EFFECTIVE ACTIVISM.

Nicholas Provenzo, Center for the Advancement of Capitalism

Available online now @ JimWoods.SolidVox.com

Report This Post

SOLID VOX: Minimum Wage Decision of Fair Pay Commission (Australia)

Now online: PRODOS Worldwide interview with Gerard Jackson discussing the forthcoming decision on Minimum Wages by the Fair Pay Commission. And the views of Ian Harper, Professor Phil Lewis, The ACTU, and the ACCI.

Click here for more details and to listen to this mp3 file

Report This Post

Tim Warner interviewed in Australian IT

Tim Warner, Founder of the “Access Card NO WAY” campaign, opposing the introduction of the Australian government’s smart ID card, was interviewed in Australian IT yesterday. Read the article here.

Listen to my song, supporting Tim Warner’s campaign here.

 

Report This Post

Song for Tim Warner’s Access Card NO WAY campaign

I’ve recorded a song for Tim Warner’s campaign opposing the creation of the Australian Access Card:

Click here to listen

Report This Post

Another mailserver problem – but now fixed

The PRODOS mailserver stopped working for about 12 hours yesterday. It’s now been fixed.

But if during the mailserver failure, you applied for any PRODOS projects or campaigns or tried to use your THINKER TO THINKER blog notification or message board notification, those emails have been lost. :-(

Apologies for the inconvenience. I’m trying to see what can be done to ensure this doesn’t happen again as this is the second time in the last two weeks that it’s happened.

The cause of the problem was a massive increase in spamming activity.

Report This Post