Friday Hodgepodge

Friday, September 07, 2018

Blog Roundup

1. Last month, Dollars and Crosses noted that all of Leonard Peikoff's lectures at Boston's Ford Hall Forum are available for viewing online:

There are fourteen lectures for you to explore, including ... "The Sanction of the Victims." This talk, written by Ayn Rand and presented movingly after Rand's death by Peikoff, also includes his recollections of Ayn Rand's final weeks, and his views on Objectivism's future. Listen to Peikoff -- Ayn Rand's foremost student and today's leading expert on Objectivism -- deliver these landmark talks and apply Objectivism to such topics as education, medicine, the religious right, the fall of communism, art, crime, the O.J. verdict, America's response to 9/11 and others. [bold omitted]
The brief post also notes that Ayn Rand spoke at Ford Hall Forum nearly every year for over twenty years.

2. Over at the blog of the Texas Institute for Property Rights is a brief introduction to fossil fuels advocate Alex Epstein's Human Flourishing Project:
Alex Epstein, who describes himself as a practical philosopher, recently announced The Human Flourishing Project. Epstein started the "project to tackle the problem I care about most: human beings lack reliable access to the knowledge we need to flourish."

In his introductory podcast, Epstein notes that, despite the material abundance in the world today, there are many challenges to flourishing. One of the biggest challenges is the fact that humans don't automatically know what to do to flourish. We must acquire the necessary knowledge. [links in original]
I have noticed that even regarding topics one has taken time to study, Epstein can help clarify one's thinking, anyway. So this project comes as doubly-welcome news.

3. There is an interesting post over at Master Resource about environmentalist rent-seeking at Enron back in the 1990's. The post starts with the following couple of quotes from Enron Ascending: The Forgotten Years, and goes on to elaborate:
Before its unreliable accounting came to light, this outfit was promoting unreliable energy. (Image via Wikipedia.)
Under [Ken] Lay's direction, Enron would restart the solar industry [in 1995], rescue the US wind industry [in 1997], and help legitimize the climate issue.

Enron saw green in green energy. Wind and solar as primary energies had new public policy rationales and powerful political constituencies. Specifically, global warming from fossil-fuel usage (via the enhanced greenhouse effect) was the new neo-Malthusian scare, and post -- Gulf War concerns over energy security put petroleum on the defensive. Even more than this, renewables had public cachet for an energy company, particularly one that prized publicity and promoted a momentum stock.
In other words, before the left used its fraudulent accounting practices as a cudgel to further regulate the financial sector, Enron was an active partner in expanding central planning in the energy sector.

4. At Value for Value, Harry Binswanger argues that the Food and Drug Administration is "the Federal Death Agency":
The immorality of the FDA lies in its forbidding individual judgment. The FDA exists solely to arrest anyone who acts without permission. The FDA does not exist to provide expert opinion on medical substances and practices: private, non-governmental voluntary certification does that. What the FDA adds is the power to arrest and imprison those who dare to disagree with its medical opinions.

And that takes us to the deepest point. The necessary result of throttling private judgments is: mass death.

I don't mean just the deaths of those millions of diseased individuals who cannot get the life-saving drugs. Much worse is the fact that outlawing private judgment means a drastically shorter life-span for every one of us.

Let me try to concretize the extent of this tragedy. If America had continued through the 20th century the nearly laissez-faire system of the 19th, it's a good bet that Ayn Rand would be alive today at age 113, and would still be in good health. [bold added]
This may sound like wild speculation, but Binswanger backs up his claim. This he does by considering technological advances in other fields in light of "'that which is not seen' -- the progress that was not made [which] is invisible to the public," that pertains to medicine.

-- CAV


Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, for something completely different, here's a bit of Lovecraftian-Trumpian humor for you. I tried to parse out which official wrote it, but the very fact that it doesn't mention the shoggoth in the Rose Garden leads me to suspect it's just a not-so-clever fake meant to stir the pot.

Gus Van Horn said...