Saturday, October 16, 2010
- "The Resignation of John McCaskey: The Facts," by Paul and Diana Hsieh
- "Best Approach to Disputes in a Movement?," by Burgess Laughlin
As Objectivism continues to grow and to gather momentum as an intellectual movement, Objectivist thinkers will necessarily grapple both with complex philosophical questions outside of Objectivism, such as the theory of induction -- and with non-obvious applications of the philosophy to other areas, some of them new, or difficult to investigate for some other reason. In each case, there can sometimes be lots of room for honest disagreement, unlike in the case of fundamental philosophical principles. This dispute, as well as some non-philosophical disagreements I have recently had with other Objectivists, makes this issue starkly apparent to me.
In a past job, a coworker explained to me our boss's practice of raking people over the coals during lab meetings. "Would you rather have him ask the hard questions now, among friends, or would you rather get them at a conference?" This is what we Objectivists must do for each other when we can on these new frontiers. I have nothing to say one way or the other about how this book was critiqued before it was released, but suppose, for the sake of argument, that it is flawed. I'd rather see another Objectivist be the first to point that out.
My naive sense of this dispute is that there has been at least some kind of misunderstanding on the order of the etiquette necessary to handle such disagreements. (I claim no particular expertise in that department.) And even if I am completely wrong about that, the issue remains that sometimes the best way to support a colleague is to challenge what he says.
Whether or not my impression is correct, this dispute has helped me see that there is an important issue here that isn't going to go away any time soon.
"... 87% of individual investors throw away their proxy statements, which is unfortunate considering how – as Western’s gutsy activism demonstrates – those votes directly impact how companies and funds are managed." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "The Case for Shareholder Activism" at Smart Money
"[T]he silent killer would take its toll in the form of additional expenses $5,000 more -- each year -- larger than their entire medical budget. Had they known this, they would have begged the president to forget about ObamaCare and get this relentless and remorseless killer out of their lives." -- Gus Van Horn, in "Government Regulation of the Economy Is the 'Silent Killer'," Pajamas Media
Comment of the Week
This one's over at Pajamas Media: "I am an entrepreneur. As little as 5 yrs ago I would tell myself it cost $50k to create a 'Sam' job. The number is now $100k and rising rapidly, especially with ObieCare." -- Ben Cook
From the Vault
Around this time in 2007, I quoted the following from the '92 platform of a major U. S. political party. It seems remarkably apropos now, with the midterm elections fast approaching:
Freedom of education, being an essential of civil and religious liberty ... must not be interfered with under any pretext whatever.... We are opposed to state interference with parental rights and rights of conscience in the education of children as an infringement of the fundamental ... doctrine that the largest individual liberty consistent with the rights of others insures the highest type of American citizenship and the best government.No. Were we so lucky that this had been in the Republican platform! This is from the Democratic platform ... in 1892. I'd be happy to see something like this in at least one of the major parties' platforms ... on the way towards a pledge to realize laissez-faire capitalism.
A Triumph of Capitalism
Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal writes about the pivotal role of the profit motive in the dramatic rescue of the Chilean miners.
The Center Rock drill, heretofore not featured on websites like Engadget or Gizmodo, is in fact a piece of tough technology developed by a small company in it for the money, for profit. That's why they innovated down-the-hole hammer drilling. If they make money, they can do more innovation.It was nice to see an article like this after seeing "greed" blamed for the miners' predicament several times on the news.
This profit = innovation dynamic was everywhere at that Chilean mine. The high-strength cable winding around the big wheel atop that simple rig is from Germany. Japan supplied the super-flexible, fiber-optic communications cable that linked the miners to the world above.
A remarkable Sept. 30 story about all this by the Journal's Matt Moffett was a compendium of astonishing things that showed up in the Atacama Desert from the distant corners of capitalism.
That said, a newscast I watched did grudgingly report that a Bolivian miner rebuffed an offer of free (confiscated?) land from leftist president Evo Morales: "The miner has agreed to visit Bolivia next week. But his family says he wants to remain in Chile – a setback to Morales, who promised to bring Bolivia's most famous miner home with him."