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John Stossel Airs Program on Atlas Shrugged

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2010-01-06 00:32:30. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Ayn Rand's sign.
Image via Wikipedia

John Stossel, the respected reporter who in October last year joined Fox Business after quitting his affiliation with ABC as an anchor on the popular “20/20” news program, will be airing a program discussing topics from Ayn Rand‘s great work “Atlas Shrugged.”  The program will air this Thursday, January 7 at 8:00 PM Eastern on Fox Business.

For those familiar with this work, John has published a poll on his blog asking who do you believe Wesley Mouch, one of the leading characters in the book, most resembles in today’s administration. Visit the pool at:

http://stossel.blogs.foxbusiness.com/2010/01/04/updated-atlas-shrugged-poll/

If you don’t receive the Fox Business Channel, I believe John’s program will stream live on their web site at:

http://live.foxbusiness.com/fblive.

I encourage readers to go to the Ayn Rand Institute site to check out the many references to her work and learn more about the revival of her philosophy of Objectivism. Click on the corresponding image below.

Update after program was aired:

John Stossel’s program on Atlas Shurgged, watch it here in 6 parts:

Part 1 of 6

Part 2 of 6

Part 3 of 6:

Part 4 of 6:

Part 5 of 6:

Part 6 of 6:

Ayn Rand's sign.

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It’s All About Common Sense

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-09-01 22:54:29. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Thomas Paine.
Image via Wikipedia

August 23, 2009

Each and every day a child is born into a world of truths and lies, rights and wrongs, haves and wants.  From its first breath, it is conditioned to understand the forces of action and reaction, the relationship between wanting and getting, and how to manipulate the circumstances to best serve its needs. Whether it’s crying to receive its milk or copping a smile to get a hug, the child quickly begins to understand how to acquire material and non-material things.

Our mind is conditioned to think in terms of acquisitions and possessions. It is human nature and, just like with any other emotion, there too is an emotion attached to one’s possessions. The value of one’s possessions (regardless of whether they are material, like a home or a car, or non-material, like professional respect or rich family traditions) is directly related to the effort exerted in obtaining them. The depth of the emotion attached to these possessions is similarly directly correlated to this effort, as well as their value.  The three form an inextricable triad which is deeply rooted in human nature and natural law. From this simple observation, a basic conclusion about the human condition can be summarized as follow:

Your happiness is directly related to the value of the wealth (material and non-material) you’ve created and the effort you’ve contributed in creating it.

When we are first taught to play in the sandbox, we are told not to take the other children’s toys. Why? Because first of all those toys don’t belong to us – we haven’t earned the right to have them. Secondly, it would make the other children sad, since that for which they likely had to do something to get (i.e. earn it), would be unjustly taken away from them. It’s just common sense, isn’t it?

value-effort-happiness

But some time very soon after the sandbox stage in a child’s development, these nascent links and deep-rooted relationships between ownership, effort and happiness begin to be eaten away. In the home this happens through parents who too easily accept the commercial media version of the world and who are not willing (or intellectually able) to espouse the basic principles of natural law and individual responsibility onto their offspring.   Outside the home the society takes over with incongruent representations of the real world, manifested in attitudes such as:

  • debt is good (and you don’t really have to pay it all back)
  • your mistakes are everyone else’s problem
  • less capable does not mean less deserving
  • every effort is just as good as any other, and should deserve the same outcome (i.e. it’s the effort that counts)
  • opportunity should not be equally apportioned, but instead should be skewed toward those who need it most, even (or particularly) if at the expense of those who can produce a better outcome from such opportunity

Does that make sense? Is a society which has these as its principles efficient, fair, equitable and sustainable?

Clearly, the answer must be “no,” since each violates one or more basic laws of human behavior and indeed common sense. Yet over the better part of the 20th century the American society has adopted and inculcated each of these values into its daily life and its government, media and cultural centers continue to promote even greater departures from the basic principles which make up the human behavioral DNA.

A modern society which is based on principles of liberty and freedom cannot at the same time be one which imposes unnatural laws and ordinances on its citizens. It is not, as most progressive liberals would like to see, a place and time where all are guaranteed an equal outcome, regardless of their individual contribution.  It certainly cannot be one which irresponsibly uses its financial and human resources and violates the most basic principles of supply/demand economics.

Like the sea farer that knows the immovable nature of the stars and how they provide him guidance to navigate the stormy waters, so too a modern society must have its anchor in tried and tested core founding principles. And this is particularly true in a world where change is occurring at increasing speed and where losing its national compass, a society risks eternal disorientation in the sea of conflict and divergence.

In his 1776 political pamphlet “Common SenseThomas Paine looks at the political systems of his time, the monarchy, the British parliament, commons and constitution and questions many of the prevailing ideas of the role of government and its relationship to the citizens. In so doing he applies a rigorous discipline of logic and of common sense, and exposes nonsensical laws and political traditions. Most constitutional historians agree that this scrutiny and deep analysis of the British system of government at the time made a significant impact on the writing of the United States Constitution.

We could say that much common sense was applied by the authors of the American Constitution in formulating the principles of our founding. We know that because of its common sense it has withstood the test of time.

Each time we step away from these guiding principles, we lose one more star in the sky to guide us by.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Article may be published with attribution to the author and the NakedLiberty.com web site

Article is Copyrighted (c) 2009, XCIOS, LLC

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On the Court Holding Up the Chrysler Sale to Fiat

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-06-08 14:37:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Could it be that finally a ray of hope has peeked through the dark clouds of insanity that was the initial decision about re-ordering creditor priorities in the Chrysler settlement? And of all places, from the left-leaning court?

It would indeed be a breath of fresh air to see someone at least paging through our Constitution to understand what our laws state in these matters. Let’s hope this is not just a momentary relapse but a first step toward righting the original decision to comply with our long-standing and time-proven bankruptcy laws.

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On the Precipice

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-09-27 21:11:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Ronald Reagan's signature

September 27, 2009

I was fortunate recently to receive a gift from a close friend of a marvelous work of biographical documentary by Lou Cannon, an authority on the life and work of Ronald Reagan. The illustrated portfolio of Reagan’s contributions to America is truly an inspiring piece of literature, as well as a powerful historical reference of his accomplishments. The accompanying audio CD containing excerpts of his speeches, including the famous “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Berlin speech of June 12, 1987, is a stimulating flashback to the times when American strength and influence was able to change the world in dramatic ways.

Moving page by page through this exceptional work one finds it difficult to not return in one’s mind to the culminating years of the 20th century and remind oneself of the edge of the precipice on which the world stood in those days. The escalating arms race between the USSR and the United States was truly the one event in world history which, had it not been ultimately conquered, might have lead to our annihilation; the end of our civilization and as a human race.

Our options were limited but remarkably clear. Succumbing to the influence of Soviet domination would have changed, and indeed destroyed our way of life as a free society. This was not an acceptable option. Movements to appease the Soviet aggressor were growing, emanating both from within the US and many countries with liberal-leaning democracies. Cries of “better dead than read,” the rallying cry of anti-communist forces within the US were being elsewhere reversed, and “better red than dead” was increasingly heard around the world. It seemed as if the US was the last and only obstacle to the Soviet’s imposition of their social and economic order on the world. Yet still many around the world naively believed that, if only left alone and not challenged, the Soviet Union would necessarily do the same and retreat to its ancient borders and withhold further communist encroachment into their countries.

Reagan, however, saw this as it truly was – a war of ideas where in the end there had to be a victor and there had to be a defeated. He stated it very clearly – “Peace is so easy to achieve. I can give it to you in one second. All you have to do is surrender.”

The war had to be won. The consequences of anything other than victory were unthinkable. Astute in recognizing the perfectly aligned circumstances of the support of Pope John Paul II, the Solidarity uprising in Poland, and an opening presented by a slightly more realistic than his predecessors General Secretary Gorbachev, Reagan fearlessly confronted the Soviet regime and at the perfect moment dealt the final blow. His words of defiance against the Soviet empire, like a match, lit the fire of counter revolution throughout Eastern Europe, and the Soviet regime soon collapsed of its own weight and inability to defend its flawed ideals.

With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, most of the countries previously under its communist vice have since become prosperous market societies, and the American principles of freedom and liberty spread widely across these newly emerging free market democracies. Reagan left behind a legacy of a world much safer and economically viable. Bells of liberty and freedom had been made to ring louder and clearer than ever before. With his legacy we were also reminded of the power of liberty over tyranny and conviction over appeasement.

And here we are, no more than 20 years later faced with circumstances ominously similar to those during Reagan’s presidency. Though there may no longer be a Soviet Union, yet today’s Russia is increasingly becoming emboldened to act with the same dictatorial patterns as the Bolsheviks of half a century years ago. Socialism (or in reality a contorted and deformed version thereof) has been adopted by a number of dictatorial regimes like Venezuela’s Chavez and is spreading to other countries not far from our doorstep (Honduras). Islamic terrorism continues to be an unresolved threat and in fact may be strengthening its roots across the world.

But this time the United States lacks the leadership and conviction it did during the Reagan presidency. Indeed, our ideological infrastructure has been so severely infected with socialist principles and ideology that we cannot even be certain whether we are opposed to the progressive encroachment of hard core collectivism and government control into our way of life. Voices of mainstream political figures uttering words such as “we must accept the increased role of government in our lives” and “it takes a village to raise a child” all point to our increasing acceptance of government as a paternal figure in our lives. This is in complete conflict with our founding principles. It repaints our country with an ideology that is foreign to the core of our beliefs and in many ways invalidates the experiment that had created our country in the first place.

It is important to understand the chain of events that the world socialist envisions. It begins at an individual and national level, where the abandonment of personal liberties leads to the socialization of the society within the respective nation. Once enough individual societies have succumbed to the socialist ideology, this in turn becomes the seed toward globalized socialism, where individual nations forgo their national individuality and interests for the benefit of the global order.

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While troubling within the context of our nation, the ramifications on the future of our world are extremely profound.  If America is absorbed into the “community” defined by the world-wide socialist agenda, its leadership role will cease, leaving the world to be led by a dysfunctional conglomerate of nations. As evidenced by the total ineffectiveness of the United Nations, the resulting inaction at a global level can be nothing less than terrifying.

Imagine a world without leadership, with the United States playing an equal partner role with all other countries of the world. A true “to each according to their needs, from each according to their abilities.” Equal sharing of all resources. No conflict. No wars. No boundaries.

Utopia, you say? I say absolutely. Then I add. No food. No progress. No innovation. No invention. No individual – only the collective.

To create a world society which completely uproots and ignores the basics of the human behavioral DNA is excellent material for science fiction, but in the real world it is folly. By natural law man strives to become more than what he is. He does so because he anticipates this will improves his life. When he does, by so doing, he contributes to the progress of society.

Man is flawed (thank our Creator for that) and desires more than what he needs. And greed is as much a part of his character as is his need to breathe. Man is also benevolent, and once his needs are generally met, he gladly shares of his goods, first with family, then with others of his choosing.

You can no more remove these traits from man than you can make him refuse food or water. To remove them is to devoid him of the desire to create and improve.

The United States is at the crossroads of determining the shape of its future. While the socialist agenda has been active here for the better part of the 20th century (Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal), at no time has the pace of radical change been so rapid as during the first 9 months of Barack Obama’s presidency. As if realizing that inconvenient truths must sooner or later catch up with his agenda, the breakneck speed of socialist reforms undertaken by him are intended to reach as far as possible before the electorate realizes the consequences of his  actions.

With each such reform the relevance of the individual fades further and the objective of the statist is closer to being realized.

While no credible single leader has emerged in opposition to this agenda, the electorate is clearly catching on and beginning to establish beachheads in pushing back on many of the reforms. But the voice of a leader in the tradition of Ronald Reagan is yet to be heard.  When he/she emerges, the battle will extend to winning back the statist’s gains and aiming our attention on the world stage, where America’s leadership desperately needs to be reestablished.

The United States has earned the right to be the dominant nation. It has done so by succeeding where others have failed, by creating a society and system of government which recognizes and aligns with man’s desire for freedom and liberty. By so doing it has created great prosperity and a standard of living for its citizens unmatched throughout the world. It has earned the right to lead because of its benevolence toward less prosperous nations, having provided more positive influence and material support for them than any other country and, in fact, more than all other nations under the United Nations banner.

Now our future is far from clear, our destiny far from being secure. The strength and effect of the mounting opposition to Barack Obama’s agenda will determine how far our nation swings in the direction of collectivism and how reversible (if at all) these effects will be. What is at stake is nothing less than the heart of our national identity, the principles of our 200+ year old democracy and the success of the experiment that is the United States of America.

Will history show the era of Ronald Reagan to be just a temporary relapse in the statist’s march toward the eventual imposition of socialist order upon the world? Or will it serve as a lasting testament of the power of conviction and the strength of our ideals that we once again now need to exhibit in defense of our liberty, freedom and national identity?

The answer may very well determine the course of our next 200 years as either Americans or as citizens of the world.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Let’s Not Confuse Equality and Fairness

Posted on 10 April 2011 by Editor

Originally posted 2009-06-13 19:56:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

With this opening statement in our nation’s Declaration of Independence, its 56 signers, represented by such great minds as Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and John Adams, established a core founding principle for what was to become a new nation; a nation different in its beliefs, values and government structure than any other at the time.

As is the case with many words in the English language, the word “equality” lacks certain precision and has historically been interpreted through different lenses. For example, mathematical equality assures sameness in quantity, but does not ascribe value to the equal results. An equal amount of rain having fallen over a rain forest and over a desert, although mathematically equivalent in volume, does not produce an equal effect. Nor is the magnificence of Niagara Falls’ cascade of water the same as that of a lazy river flowing through the plains, though again the volumes of water may be equal.

Equality as a doctrine in the 18th century was indeed a revolutionary concept. Not since the ancient Greek and Minoan cultures has equality been written into a societal code of beliefs. So therefore, the opportunity to build a new nation on such beliefs was in and of itself a revolutionary step forward.

In order to understand the intentions of our founding fathers, we have to understand the psychology of the times in which this concept of equality was being presented. Indeed, we need to use the prism of an 18th century intellectual to affix the proper meaning to the word. In particular we know that such prism would filter out any notions of equality in the context of modern day social systems such as welfare or affirmative action.

A reasonable and arguably most credible interpretation of the founding fathers intended meaning of equality is one where the goal of equality is defined as one of opportunity and not necessarily of results (or outcome). This is fundamental, in that it underscores the principle of giving each individual an equal opportunity to improve his own state but does not mandate that the results of such efforts be held to the same standard of equality as for others. In fact, an argument can be made that enforcing equality of results is fundamentally unfair in that it unjustly rewards low performance and is eerily akin to Marx’s “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs” formulation, which would not be written until 100 years later (1875, Critique of the Gotha Program). The distinction between opportunity and results equality was recently taken up and extensively discussed by British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson at the 2009 Fabian Conference at the Imperial College in London.

In our modern society we can observe countless examples of divergence from the principle of equality of results.

  1. Affirmative action, previously mentioned, is perhaps the most glaring example of the up-side-down interpretation of equality, where results trump all other objectives – a starkly Marxist construct indeed
  2. Progressive taxation, though widely accepted as fair and equitable, in fact is not ubiquitously fair as it creates disincentives to higher productivity and redistributes the output of the individual’s labor to those who have not contributed to its creation
  3. Compensation pay grade systems such as within the government and many older companies, where rewards are defined within pay scale boundaries, regardless of the value of an individual’s contribution

A society which does not respect equality of its citizens is frail and cannot sustain itself indefinitely without the degeneration of its social fabric, inevitably leading to massive resentment of government and eventually social unrest. By misinterpreting our founders’ meaning of equality, we are at risk of steering our social policies toward the statist objectives of government welfare and control over our means and our lives. Our Constitution is a finely tuned and time proven instrument of democratic government with ideals interwoven such that in concert they support and amplify each other’s meaning and value. A misinterpretation or misapplication of one of these fundamental ideals not only diminishes its individual value, but also jeopardizes the document’s role as a compilation of our guiding values.

Next time you’re engaged in a discussion with someone who is justifying their position with arguments of equality, make sure to ask them: “What do you mean?”

* * * * *

We welcome your comments and suggestions, either directly inline, or via email to editor@nakedliberty.com. If you would like to have your article published in Naked Liberty, please contact the editor at the above email address.

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