Archive for November, 2006

Economist Milton Friedman dies at 94

Associated Press report @ Newsmax that Milton Friedman has died:

Milton Friedman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who advocated an unfettered free market and had the ear of Presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, died Thursday. He was 94.

Friedman died in San Francisco, said Robert Fanger, a spokesman for the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in Indianapolis. He did not know the cause of death.

In more than a dozen books and in his column in Newsweek magazine, Friedman championed individual freedom in economics and politics.

His theory of monetarism, adopted in part by the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations, opposed the traditional Keynesian economics that had dominated U.S. policy since the New Deal. He was a member of Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board.

His theories won him a Nobel in economics in 1976.

“He has used a brilliant mind to advance a moral vision – the vision of a society where men and women are free, free to choose, but where government is not as free to override their decisions,” President Bush said in 2002. “That vision has changed America, and it is changing the world.”

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ZGeek.com post on union and employer privileges

My post on the ZGeek forum on what’s wrong with granting legal privileges to unions and companies: HERE

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I’m a Freemason!

Last night I was initiated into the Freemasons.

I’m now a member of Hearts of Oak Lodge, Brighton, Victoria, Australia.

This is a nautical lodge with a high portion of members with some sort of seafaring background or interest. Its members tend to be rowdy, fun-loving, irreverent rum drinkers of the nicest kind.

Some of my greatest heroes were Masons: Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Adam Smith, John Locke.

My wife’s grandfather, Foreman White (to whom I dedicated this song) was a Mason for 80 years. He died at 102 years of age (1898 – 2000).

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Rush Limbaugh on why Republicans lost

Here are some excerpts from a Newsmax article giving Rush Limbaugh’s views on why the Republican Party lost the election, how he feels about it, and what the Republicans need to do:

… The root of the problem, Rush said, is that

“our side hungers for ideological leadership and we’re not getting it from the top.

“Conservatism was nowhere to be found in this campaign from the top. The Democrats beat something with nothing.

“They didn’t have to take a stand on anything other than their usual anti-war positions. They had no clear agenda and they didn’t dare offer one. Liberalism will still lose every time it’s offered.

… “The Democratic Party”, Rush went on to say, “is the party of entitlements; but the Republicans come up with this Medicare prescription drug plan that the polls said that the public didn’t want and was not interested in. That is not conservatism.

Conservatives do not grow the government and offer entitlements as a means of buying votes. But that’s what the Republicans in Congress had to support in order to stay in line with the Party from the top.

… “It is silly to blame the media; it is silly to blame the Democrats; it is silly to go out and try to find all these excuses, Rush said. “We have proved that we can beat them … we have proved that we can withstand whatever we get from the drive-by media.

“Conservatism does that — conservatism properly applied, proudly, eagerly, with vigor and honesty will triumph over that nine times out of 10 in this current political and social environment.

“It just wasn’t utilized in this campaign.”

… Rush also said that the elections liberated him.

“I feel liberated, and I’m going to tell you as plainly as I can why,” Rush said. “I no longer am going to have to carry the water for people who I don’t think deserve having their water carried. Now, you might say, ‘Well, why have you been doing it?’ Because the stakes are high. Even though the Republican Party let us down, to me they represent a far better future for my beliefs and therefore the country’s than the Democrat Party and liberalism does.”

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SOLID VOX: Australian Ayn Rand fan Sonja Bernhardt presents the Screen Goddess IT Calendar!

The latest PRODOS Worldwide interview on the SOLID VOX Network is an interview with the irrepressible Sonja Bernhardt, creator of the Screen Goddess IT Calendar.

An image from Ayn Rand fan, Sonja Bernhardt's Screen Godess IT Calendar

Listen, download, or podcast this interview HERE

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Leonard Peikoff: Unreal and loving it?

From LeonardPeikoff.com (Seen on Thursday, 09 November, 2006)

Q: I am writing to inquire about your sentiments on the current state of America and the world.

A: I now read only the front page of the New York Times, dropping each story when it is necessary to turn the page. That way, what is happening does not become too real to me.

Huh?

Has someone hacked Leonard Peikoff’s website?

It’s one thing to be detached from the world, but to flaunt it like this is sick. Especially for a professional philosopher and teacher of Objectivism.

Maybe reading the New York Times does this to people.

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Rebutting Leonard Peikoff’s position that voting for the Republican Party will move America towards theocracy in less then 50 years

My second post critical of Leonard Peikoff’s position – that American Objectivists should vote for the Democratic Party no matter what – is online here.

In that post I also challenge the view that the Bible advocates coercion.

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Ayn Rand on Christianity in America

Stephen Speicher has transcribed an answer Ayn Rand gave about religion in America.

This is from the Q & A after her 1961 speech, The Political Vacuum of Our Age, to The Matrix Table banquet of the National Fraternity for Women in Journalism Columbia Club, Indianapolis, Indiana.

In other words, you feel that religion is very instrumental in spreading altruism among people, and we cannot fight against altruism without fighting against the power of religion. Is this your question?

Well, I would say this. particularly in America, religion is very non-mystical.

Religious teachers predominantly in America, compared to Europe, are good healthy materialists. They would go with common sense. They would not stand in the way, er, if you want my impression of the general run, the majority of religious people in this country, they would not make an issue of mystic faith out of the idea of jumping into a cannibal’s pot and giving away your last shirt to the backward people in the world. A great many religious leaders are teaching this today, but it is because their own politics are leftist.

It is not intrinsic to religion, or, rather, there is a great many historical and philosophical connections between the altruist morality and most religions, but, that is not the real function of religion in this country, and you would not find too much opposition and, even among some individuals, you will find support (as I was very pleased and astonished to hear today, and the gentlemen knows whom I am acknowledging).

There are rational religious people.

I would personally say, no, if you wanted to be a full Objectivist you could not reconcile this with religion. But that does not mean that religious people cannot be individualists and cannot fight for freedom. They can, and this country is the best proof of it.

[...]

But, so long as a country is not under a dictatorship, a trend, an intellectual trend, can be turned peacefully, particularly in a country like the United States, which was fundamentally based on the ideas of freedom.

It would be harder in Europe, where they are traditionally statist, where freedom is a kind of exception, where the basic subconscious values are all statist in one form or another.

Not here, and I would take the last election as proof of it. Here people bear too much, too innocently and too naively.

But I don’t think any totalitarian dictatorship would ever hold here. Because under all their errors the American people’s basic premise is freedom. That is the unspoken emotion, the emotional sense of life atmosphere in this country.

And traditionally, historically, the American people can be pushed just so far, and then they stop it.

That was 45 years ago. Has the American spirit changed significantly since then? Does what Ayn Rand said back then still apply today?

From what I observed, speaking with Christian Americans during my 2 trips to the USA, I believe it does.

Many fellow Objectivists, however, including Leonard Peikoff, believe otherwise and are urging Objectivists to vote for the Democratic Party.

They say that voting for the Republican Party which supposedly “stands for religion” would “push the U.S. toward disaster, i.e., theocracy, not in 50 years, but, frighteningly, much sooner”.

I have yet to see any evidence to support this.

Ayn Rand still rules.

I urge American Objectivists to vote for the Republican Party on Tuesday.

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Leonard Peikoff is wrong. Vote Republican!

Dr Leonard Peikoff advocates that Objectivists should vote for the Democratic Party at the forthcoming election.

I’ve posted some criticisms of his position here on the 4AynRandFans Forum.

There is a lengthy and quite interesting thread debating Leonard Peikoff’s position at that forum starting here.

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Andrew Bolt writes “Backing a Bigot”

Herald Sun columnist, Andrew Bolt, has delivered another powerful article in today’s paper: Backing a Bigot.

And excerpt …

Excuses over. The disgraced mufti of Australia set Muslims a test last month and they failed.

That test couldn’t have been easier: make Sheik Taj el-Din al-Hilaly pay for preaching that unveiled women invited rape.

Prove that Muslims can’t be led by a man who says raped women must be “jailed for life”.

Prove we have nothing to fear from your faith.

Simple?

Yet yesterday 34 Muslim groups signed a petition backing this bigot, while others were planning a big rally for Sydney tomorrow, denouncing not Hilaly but the non-Muslims who criticise him.

The results are in: Islam here – as represented by many of its leaders – is now a threat.

What’s more: our culture of self-hate makes us too weak to properly resist.

Last week when I read the various reactions from Muslim leaders and spokespeople, I mentioned to colleagues that the manner of their seeming disapproval of Hilaly was not an actual condemnation of the Sheik’s ideas, but merely embarassment that what he’d been preaching and they had been accepting for a couple of decades had just been exposed.

It’s not enough for Muslims to say they don’t like what Al Hilaly said or to merely state they disagree with it or even to say that “in Australia” such things don’t apply. Muslims need to rebutt the Sheik using Islam. They need to show that what Al Hilali has said contradicts Islam.

Al Hilali’s later clarification about rape – attempting to prove to the world he couldn’t possibly believe that rape could be blamed on the woman or that the rapist could be excused in any way just demonstrates further how far removed this man is from civilised principles and common law:

Islam does not instruct rape … I will say it briefly and very clearly. As one would say, first of all: Let me clearly state for the record, for the history, that rape in our religion … is considered a crime whose punishment is execution. News.com.au

Execution? Why is rape a capital crime?

It’s also interesting how Hilali’s statement reveals that Islam is not just a religion – leaving ultimate judgement to Allah.

It apparently also does the work of law and government, prescribing specific punishments for specific offences.

And another bit of Sheik Speak:

This does not condone rape, I condemn rape … Women in our Australian society have the freedom and right to dress as they choose, the duty of man is to avert his glance or walk away.

Why should a man avert his glance or walk away? What would happen if he didn’t do this?

If a man looks at a sexy-looking woman or approaches her does this increase the chance that he will rape her?

What kind of an unthinking, animal-savage view of males, females, sexuality, and sex does this reveal?

And what sort of ignorance does Islam have about rape? Since there are LOTS of sexy-looking women around where I am, here in Melbourne’s inner suburbs, why aren’t lots of them all being forcibly ravaged?

When the Grand Mufti of Australia tells us that a moral man should not gaze upon a sexy woman, he’s just told us yet again that women are meat and men are animals – that the raw meat/animal combination had better be kept apart … or else!

The Sheik hasn’t rebutted any “misapprehsions” about his original point. He’s reinforced his barbaric viewpoint!

And how does Hilaly explain the inclusion of the following statement from his Raw Meat Speech ?

In his literature, scholar al-Rafihi says: ‘If I came across a rape crime — kidnap and violation of honour — I would discipline the man and order that the woman be arrested and jailed for life.’

It’s hard to reconcile this scholarly Islamic reference from within Al-Hilaly’s speech with the Sheik’s later coments.

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