Here is a link to a recent article in the LA times comparing Adam Smith and Charles Darwin by Robert H. Frank. Frank recently appeared on NPR to talk about his new book, The Darwin Economy: Liberty, Competition, and the Common Good.
Archive for the ‘Political Theory’ Category
Jon Stewart on the unabashed Republican and Fox News bias against Ron Paul. Congressman Paul’s conspicuous treatment (or lack thereof) at the hands of conservative pundits and the conservative media is especially curious considering the popularity of the so-called Tea Party. Ron Paul, perhaps more than any other politician, has indefatigably and consistently argued for the well-established merits of the free market and the implementation of greater fiscal discipline in government operations & a revision of the Federal tax codes, causes to which Tea partiers have paid much lip service. As Stewart says, Ron Paul is Tea Party ‘patient zero’ who ‘planted the seed of the grass root movement.’ (I would argue that the Tea Party is no more libertarian than George W. Bush, but whatever.) It is only after the (what I consider) empty popular uprising termed the ‘Tea Party’ have politicians like Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, and Mitt Romney, to name only three, jumped on the limited government bandwagon.
Media bias is to be expected; in fact, I think, given the varied sources of information available, media bias is beneficial; but the mistreatment of Ron Paul by the conservative media is pernicious. Paul is by far the most- indeed, the only- ideologically consistent politician of the two primary parties, yet he is a man without a home, so to speak. As a libertarian (I would wager I am probably more militant in my libertarian political philosophy than Paul- at the end of the day, I self-identify as an anarcho-capitalist), I can empathize with Paul here. Libertarian social policy is, if consistent with its starting principles, far more ‘liberal’ than its progressive counterpart’s, while libertarian economic policies are far more consistent with free markets than the economic policies of social conservatives, and thus libertarians are often erroneously identified as ‘conservaitve’. Hence, social conservatives are apt to view libertarians as too liberal and liberals are apt to view libertarians as too conservative. Nevertheless, insofar as the media do not present Paul, despite his obvious popularity, on an even platform, they are snuffing out what ought to bloom into a fruitful philosophical discussion: broadly, the nature and proper role of government. Representative Paul does not equivocate, alter his views per the whim of his audience, and does not shy from poignant discourse. His counterparts, however, run the standard politician line and provide one empty slogan and ambiguous catchphrase after another. What the media are doing is unethical and really ought to be denounced.
Just when talk of Google Gods and C.A.R.s seemed odd enough, here’s some more food for thought that’s prima facie weird, yet possibly true (but nevertheless interesting).
I think it’s fair to say that the path our country is on fiscally is just outright stinky. Doom and gloom is where’s it’s going — and it’s going there at an uncomfortable rate. This has caused many to be angry at our government officials. That’s understandable — and I’m certainly in that boat.
One would think that this should lead to change. If it’s broken — it must be fixed. If something doesn’t work — then try something else. If one option fails — then try another.
And (ethically) I’d think that the suffering that would come to the many from this downward trend isn’t something that could be justifiably upheld (unless you’re a politician).
So it would seem that the right thing to do would be to try to instill change.
This week’s post comes on the heels of something a fellow contributor mentioned in the comments of a previous post, which you can find here.
The words in question? These: “I also think this has something to do with why religion is so huge in the States but thats a topic for another post…”.
Fear of no central authority (C.A.R. — hence the title) seems to be prevalent among humans, which can explain why a system like anarchy is seen so negatively now and in the past. From the monarchies of the past, we have only relatively recently started on the path towards less centralized rule. Yet this path is still just a recently started one because, even with so-called democracies, there still is centralized power, only, this time, in the hands of the relatively few organized into central “organizations” where this power is put to use.
Here’s another post that’ll probably place me in the “You’re weird!” category. Yet I can’t help but wonder whether political history has been a little unfair to this system. Perhaps this is due to something Hume famously suggested in his philosophy — that the minds of men, while similar, are confused about such topics because of the lack of clarity in the terms used.
You’ve probably heard of anarchy as something completely negative, as a system built upon disorder, chaos, and violence. Indeed, this is the first image that all of the political mumbo-jumbo of the past century has tried to infuse into people. And it’s worked.
But that’s the problem: the term, philosophically speaking, isn’t about that.
Posted in General Interest, Political Theory, Teaching Philosophy, tagged bell curve, Education, elementary school, high school, Louis William Rose, merit pay, school vouchers, tenure on March 25, 2011 | 48 Comments »
Originally published in the Jacksonville Observer
Education is not the business of government. This is why we have a school board separate from the county government. It is the duty of the school board to decide how the school system shall operate and what the curriculum will be. They are supposed to make the decisions, not the state, and not the federal government. They are to be influenced solely by the voters in their county who elect them.
Consequently, the school board has no business taking money of any kind from the state or from the federal government because these funds come with stipulations, and curriculum demands that take virtually all of the power to make decisions away from the school board. All funds for a school system should rightly come from local taxpayers. All you have to leave to your children are your views about life. What you believe about how life should be lived, about how government should conduct itself, and about our relationship to God. Don’t let the state steal your legacy and your children by indoctrinating them with a philosophy you do not subscribe to. We need less government assistance and interference in our school system, not more.
What we have in common on this blog is an appreciation for market mechanisms, for voluntary social cooperation, for property rights, and for individual liberty. But we appreciate those things, in large part, because of the way they contribute to important human goods – and especially the way in which they allow some of society’s most vulnerable members to realize those goods.
As the U.S. naval presence off the coast of Libya increases, and U.S. military intervention seems increasingly likely (the French and Brits are currently in the process of enforcing a No-Fly zone), there is a deafening silence from the American left. Unlike Bush’s military actions in Iraq, there are no cries of ‘blood for oil;’ no accusations that Obama is in the pocket of ‘Big Oil,’ which is especially ironic since Libyan oil production plays a much greater role in U.S. energy demands than does (or did) Iraq.
In a nut, Europe currently buys most of Libya’s crude stock and if the supply is interrupted, Europe will bid up prices for Algerian, Angolan, and Nigerian oil, three of our ten largest suppliers of oil and petroleum products, and thus increase the cost of our oil consumption.
To Obama’s credit, and unlike Bush, he has expressed a desire to abstain from (and does not appear eager to engage in) a military occupation, or for that matter a sustained military intervention which may involve the use of ground troops, but he has specified in no unclear terms:
“Gaddafi must stop his troops from advancing on Benghazi, pull them back from Ajdabiya, Misrata and Zawiyah, and establish water, electricity and gas supplies to all areas. Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya … “Let me be clear, these terms are not negotiable … If Gaddafi does not comply … the resolution will be enforced through military action.”
Hello Fellow Student Philosophers!
The following is something I wrote down a few weeks ago, forgot about, and then, just recently, found on one of my father’s computers in his office. Re-reading this has re-spurred by interest in the topic, so I figured I’d post it here to see what you guys think.
George (“The Meager Weakling”)
Following up on our earlier discussion of the morality of secession, it appears that some in Arizona are considering seceding from the state. Would there be anything morally objectionable about such a move?
If a nation only has two people to choose from as leaders is it truly a democracy?
If a nation has two parties that control politics, and those parties demand that their candidates are almost doctrinal or policy clones, isn’t this like having only two leaders?
If the masses vote based on psychological tricks, isn’t it the case that the masses are in a dictatorship where empty persuasion takes the place of force?
If all this is the case, isn’t it the case that we are in a dictatorship ruled by two rulers who rule by persuasion rather than force?
Do we really live in a true democracy? If not, Why, is this bad or good, and, if it is bad, what is the solution ? If we do live in a democracy, how so, is this bad or good, and, if it is bad or good, what are the reasons for it being so?
This is not an argument, but a starter for conversation, so please dig in!!
Avoid preaching; make arguments!!!!
I hope this engenders an open discussion about meta-ethics in general.
According to NPR, “Southern Sudan’s referendum commission said Sunday that more than 99 percent of voters in the south opted to secede from the country’s north in a vote held earlier this month.” The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the move was not only supported but facilitated by the U.S. government:
The Obama team … offered to ease restrictions if [northern Sudanese leader Omar] el-Bashir permitted elections in the south, called for in a 2005 cease-fire treaty but endlessly delayed. After a string of high-level visits and talks, the deal was struck. The north would allow the vote, all but certain to yield succession because of long-standing grievances in the south. In exchange, the White House would lift restrictions and ease the way for expanded relations.
I suspect that many U.S. citizens view the actions of the southern Sudanese and of the U.S. government as morally permissible, if not morally preferable — or, perhaps, even morally obligatory. Given the history of the U.S., however, these events raise an interesting question: Under what conditions is it morally permissible for citizens to secede?
From the Ayn Rand Institute:
ARI 2011 Summer Internship Program
The Ayn Rand Institute is now accepting applications for its 2011 summer internship program. This three-week program (June 6-24) is aimed at beginner students of Ayn Rand and combines seminar courses on Ayn Rand’s ideas and their applications, one-on-one tutorials with professional Rand scholars, and office work in ARI’s Academic Division for a one-of-a-kind educational experience in Southern California.
First, I apologize for the delay in postings and I hope this hastily written post will foster some interesting discussion. (The 20 credit hour semester is difficult for proper Philosophizing!)
Political Libertarians face some problems. The majority of the problems come from attacks made by the political left but also by those on the political right. These problems are significant, but I do think that libertarians can hold their ground quite well. However, and perhaps much more of a problem, another problem for libertarians comes from within the movement itself. It might even be accurate to say that most of the people who call themselves political libertarians are not libertarians at all, they are merely small government statists. The real libertarians are the anarcho-capitalists. Only theirs is a political philosophy that is fully consistent and complete.
Transcript of the the remarks* given to the Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday, September 28, 2010, by Louis William Rose regarding the proposal to increase taxes.
Thank you Mr. President and members of the council. My name is Louis William Rose and I stand for Liberty and the Republican Liberty Caucus.
Today I’d like to talk to you briefly on the idea of liberty and taxes. (more…)