Saturday, June 10, 2006

Welcome to the Third Carnival of the Objectivists!

Without any further adieu, let me kick off the 3rd Objectivist blog Carnival.

The crisis with Iran is clearly on many Objectivist’s minds these days.

» Thrutch

Rob Tarr rips the West’s stance on Iran :

[L]et's do a quick recap:
- Iran is clearly trying to develop a nuclear bomb. Everyone knows it; no one disputes it (besides Iran).
- Iran is an indisputable enemy of the West. Weekly prayers include "Death to America" chants. Its president openly calls for the destruction of Israel, and openly expresses his goal that Islam should rule the world.
- Iran would use a nuclear bomb. Iran is ruled by Islamic fundamentalists with a messianic vision about the coming end of the world. These are not rational people. They "love death", as they openly tell us (and as Islamic suicide bombers prove weekly). They would be exhilirated by the chance to martyr themselves, as long as they could take us with them. A strategy of "nuclear deterrence" doesn't work with irrational people who think death is great.
- "Diplomacy" with an irrational life-hating dictatorship is dishonest and self-defeating. It is grotesquely irrational and immoral to seek to reward someone in exchange for not killing us. Isn't it blatantly obvious what behavior that encourages?
- Nothing we say or promise is going to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons in any case. There is nothing in this world we could give them, or that they would want, that could persuade them to cease and desist. They don't care about "this world". Their focus is on the "next world"--which, according to their beliefs, a nuclear bomb will help to bring about.

Bottom line: Iran wants to destroy us. We don't want to be destroyed (well, I guess I can't speak for the Europeans). There is no middle ground here. There is nothing to discuss, debate, or negotiate.

There is only one "diplomatic message" that needs to be sent to Iran: Stop developing nuclear weapons, or we will destroy you. And we mean it.

» Armchair Intellectual

Here, Gideon Reich takes a look at Michael Ledeen’s recent essay Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's and Iran. Reich ends his post with a call to arms.

Sadly we are still wasting time treating the Iranians with kid-gloves when open warfare has long been overdue. As the elimination of Zarqawi shows, this war is winnable, these murderers are not invincible, our military is more than capable of destroying them. All that is required is that we commit ourselves to American self-defense.

» Liberty and Culture

Continuing the Islamic theme, Jason Pappas offers the following observation about failure to call a spade a spade:

Mainstream political and intellectual writers are unable, on principle, to face the barbarian nature of the enemy’s culture. Instead, they blame America. Both Democrats and Republicans argue over who can engineer a better world in Iraq and win “the hearts and minds” of the Islamic world. It’s we that have to change, not Muslims. We’re the problem, according to this analysis. If they haven’t embraced the liberal democracy that we’ve patiently and generously offered, we must have did something wrong. (Too few troops, too many troops, not enough U.N. troops, too much humiliation, too little force, too soon, too late, etc.)

The complete blindness to the inherent failure of Arab societies is captured in Colin Powell’s quip on Iraq: “we broke it, we own it.” If Saddam’s Iraq was Colin’s idea of a working nation, let’s hope we never have Powell as a President.

» Mike's Eyes

Mike also doesn’t like what he is seeing in the recent negotiations with Iran:

So we are trying to get Iran to give up its nuclear bomb intentions by giving it a guaranteed supply of nuclear fuel! No wonder Iran is willing to "study" the package. They probably can't believe it either. That's like the homeowner offering the thief a guaranteed supply of crowbars in the hopes the thief will use them for "peaceful purposes."

Of course, the homeowner (West) refuses to identify the fact that such a policy will result in all other thieves (thugs) noticing what works and presenting the same demands to the homeowner (West) until one day he discovers that his money and silverware (freedom) and whatever else he had to negotiate away, are gone. Such is the logical result of ignoring the existence of, and compromising on, principles.
What I find laughable is a nation sitting upon a massive underground lake of oil claiming it “needs” to develop nuclear energy. Yeah, right—like Antarctica needs to develop ice.

» Charlotte Capitalist

Here, Andy Clarkson looks at news reports on the “The College of Rational Education,” a project involving Eric Daniels and Gary Hull. Is this yet another “best kept secret” in Objectivism, because until I heard it from Andy, I knew nothing of it.

» Cox & Forkum

No Objectivist round-upo would be complete without including the pen of Cox and Forkum. As always, their latest speaks for itself:

» Gus Van Horn

Two good posts from the always good to read Gus: the first is on a recent call that Google be regulated by the government because it is so “large”— made none other than by a conservative lobby group, and the second describing Huey Long, Louisiana’s infamous populist governor, and the many parallels to his reign today.

» NoodleFood

Pity the Poor Objectivist Center, now attempting to recast itself as the “Atlas Society” in a seeming attempt to be less Objectivist and more Objectivish. Diana Hsieh eviscerates them accordingly:
This change of name is good news -- and not just because it's yet another highly
visible example of the organization's incompetent floundering. The name change
distances the organization from Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. After all,
the symbol of Atlas refers to far more than Atlas Shrugged. Given the
origin of the symbol in Ancient Greek myth, the name "The Atlas Society" does
not necessarily imply Ayn Rand.

Of course, this new "Atlas Society" will still claim to represent Ayn Rand's philosophy -- at least for a while. They've been explicitly distancing themselves from that prickly philosophy of Objectivism for some time now; it's just too uncompromising for Ed Hudgins. The new name will allow them to do that so much more easily. I wouldn't dignify that shift by calling it more honest, but it will be more accurate.

» Acid Free Paper

Here, “Toiler” contemplates a brilliant Greek masterpiece photographed by art historian Lee Sandstead.

This has to be my favorite sculpture. Even in a photograph, I cannot look at it for long without being moved to tears. The woman reaches up for love. She touches him tenderly, bare of soul. He lifts her head to his lips, and they unite in a circle beneath his hopeful gaze. An exalted human experience, love and passion triumphant!
I agree. I recall that earlier this spring Sherri Tracinski attacked a similar sculpture by Daniel Chester French because it had wings and was allegedly named after a passage in the Holy Bible (a point that seems to be a matter of debate among art historians). Tracinski’s position was that French’s sculpture was an unreal representation of romantic love—and that no artist, save for Sandra Shaw has been able to accurately capture love in their art.

Um, yeah, right. If you look at art such as that depicted in the photo and all you see is an attack on existence, you need to tone it down a notch. A pair of wings ain't the enemy in art . . .

» Quent Cordair's Studio

Artist Brian Larsen describes his latest painting.

Although this was a relatively quick and somewhat experimental painting, I have to admit that I love the end result. It will take some time for the thick white paint in the brighter areas of the fireworks to dry completely so that the painting can be varnished and professionally photographed, but hopefully at that point I can make a better image available. Until then, enjoy New Year's Eve and please send in any last comments or questions.
For his age, Larsen is a deeply talented artist. He’s also a man seriously in love with portraying people’s back-sides. I think Larsen will take his art to the next level when he is able to master the human face—and can portray a face that is alive, intelligent, and shows the viewer things like that magnetic form of engagement that we see when we witness the greatest and the beautiful, or a heart that has found serenity. I think if he wants it, it's his for the taking . . .

» The Ivory Tower

Amanda Carlson recently celebrated the reasons for her love for Art Nouveau and Art Deco:

The wonderful thing that I think best characterizes both Nouveau and Deco is that it is functional art. They enliven menial everyday items with inspirational art, not by pasting art on top of things, but by making the style an integral/natural part of the structure of the things one creates. Nouveau does it in a flowing, curvy, often described as "whiplash" style (usually busy). Deco does it in a geometric, angular, bare-bones sort of way. But the same glorious idea that I adore applies to both: beauty and elegance are necessary in the structure of living, and not to be added as an after-thought.

» The Dougout

Grant Jones smells a grammatical rat infecting the immigration debate:

“Border crossers,” is I guess that is the new, official PC term of evasion. They used to be called wetbacks, but that was judged to harsh and even “racist.” After all Americans wouldn’t want to hurt the feelings of those who flaunt our laws and national sovereignty. So, the new term became “illegal alien.” While it was an increase to two words and four syllables to say the same thing as one word, it was still accurate.

Accuracy was still a problem for the arbiters of language. Accordingly, the new, new term became “undocumented workers.” Now we are up to seven syllables to say nothing. “Undocumented,” as if the main problem with these invaders is a paper work hang-up. While shorter, “border crossers” is even more absurd. Millions cross our southern border legally every year. The purpose of the new PC term is to evade the distinction between the law abiding and the law breaker.
You almost have to admire it—the ability to reframe the debate by recasting the terms.

» Principles in Practice

Just in case you missed it, Principles in Practice is the blog of The Objective Standard. There, Alan Germani writes about on several women in Saudi Arabia who had female to male sex-change operations.

Not being able to drive cars or move freely are minor examples of the oppression women face in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic theocracies. Arranged marriages, domestic abuse, and honor killings are regular aspects of Muslim women's so-called lives. When their alternative is to become a man or to suffer a lifetime of psychological and physical abuse, the big surprise is that more Muslim women haven't had sex-change operations.
I’d suspect if you are in a position to change your gender, you’re in a position to leave the country. What I would like to know is the number of women who attempt to flee Saudi Arabia in seach of better environs.

» American Renaissance

At American Renaissance, Steven Brockerman offers a short biography of Ken Iverson, CEO of Nucor and pioneer of the American mini-steel mill.

Nucor planners, engineers, contractors and workers gather. A monumental struggle begins. Seemingly insurmountable obstacles arise, followed by spectacular failures—mounds of capital are expended at an alarming rate—a growing doubt spreads among Nucor investors—naysayers are popping off in the press left and right—and, silently, America’s industrial tycoons for which steel is their companies’ life blood wait in agonizing suspense.

Then: heroic perseverance—brilliantly ingenious solutions—increasing successes—a muted but steadfast and growing determination—and, in the end, glorious, magnificent triumph! And above it all the while, leading the way—tough, certain, unflappable, his eyes ever focused on the goal—stands Kenneth Iverson.
Read the whole thing.

» The Primacy of Awesome

While some Objectivist blogs are cool, this one is awesome, and here Mike rips a religionist’s attempt to say that the Ayn Rand Institute supports genocide. You’ll just have to see this one for yourself.

» Truth, Justice and the American Way

David Vekslar reports that chemistry sets model rocketry is about to become illegal in the name of "Homeland Defense."

This is a sad development indeed, as many of America’s great inventors got into technology experimenting with chemicals and home-made fireworks.
Indeed. I for one loved my model rockets as a kid, and I look forward to introducing my future children to them and other “dangerous’ hobbies as well—that is if the Congress doesn’t get in the way first.

» Capitalist Paradise

Here’s a new quazi-blog that’s been brought to my attention. Here the “inspector” takes on the death tax:

Consider the very idea of a Death Tax, for a moment. The deceased has already paid whatever taxes were demanded in the first place when he earned his wealth. If he wanted to bequeath this money while he was still alive, he wouldn’t have to pay a tax on it first. (although unfortunately, the recipient might)

So why does he have to pay extra for being dead? Is there something wrong with dying, that it has to be punished or something? No, the answer is far more sinister: in the eyes of the taxman, he’s just collecting what was his all along.

You see, your property was never yours at all. “Your” property, and by extension your life, belonged to the state. They were just letting you use it. Everything you have is, in the end, their property.
Well, not if I can help it . . .

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And there you have it—the third Objectivist blog carnival! Happy trails to you . . .

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