Saturday, May 21, 2011

Objectivist Roundup & Rationally Selfish Webcast

By Diana Hsieh

As part of Modern Paleo's weekend schedule of blogging on Objectivism on Saturdays and free market politics on Sundays, I like to post some fresh links related to Objectivism from around the web for anyone interested in learning more about the philosophy.

Objectivism is Ayn Rand's philosophy of this-worldly reason, egoism, and capitalism. Ayn Rand is best known as the author of the epic novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. As she explained:

My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute. ("About the Author," Atlas Shrugged)
So where can you find some fresh readings from an Objectivist perspective on the web?

The Objectivist Roundup is a weekly blog carnival for Objectivists. Contributors must be Objectivists, but posts on any topic are welcome, including posts on food and health.

The Playful Spirit hosted this week's Objectivist Roundup. If you're interested in seeing the latest and best from Objectivist bloggers, go take a look!

My own Rationally Selfish Webcast -- where I answer questions on practical ethics and living well -- will be tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8 am PT / 9 am MT / 10 am CT / 11 am ET. You can submit and vote on questions, as well as watch the live webcast and join the chat, from this page: Rationally Selfish Webcast. Here are the questions that I'll answer this week:
  • Question 1: Subpoenas in a Free Society: Why are subpeonas justified but not compulsory juries? In your May 15th webcast, you contrasted your position on jury duty with that of Dr. Peikoff's, saying that jury duty constituted the initiation of force. My understanding is that Ayn Rand's position was that subpoenas and the jury selection process was entirely consistent with justice, as Peikoff mentions in this podcast. Juries are selected using subpoenas. How would you reconcile being for subpoenas but against jury duty? And, does this also mean that you disagree with Ayn Rand's view of justice?
  • Question 2: Office Romances: What advice do you have about dating coworkers? A romantic interest, who is a sort of coworker of mine, is concerned about the effect on her reputation (she's new), as well as conflicts of interest, should we decide to date. If this is the reason she gave for declining a date, does it make sense to ask again after a period of friendship and to suggest we keep our relationship secret? On the other hand, it might be hard to maintain such a secret.
  • Question 3: The Morality of Lending Books: Is it moral to lend a book to a friend? Given the intellectual property issues regarding downloading music, movies etc... would lending a book, say Atlas Shrugged, to a friend or relative be considered a violation of the rights of the intellectual property holder?
  • Question 4: Developing Expertise in the Objectivist Ethics: How do I become an expert on the Objectivist ethics? I want a complete understanding. I want to be able to prove it to myself and others. How do I get there most effectively? Can you recommend any material other than the most popular books out there?
  • Question 5: My Personal Art Recommendations: Can you give some art recommendations? Specifically, what would say would be your two or three favorites in the following categories, and why? (1) fiction/literature, (2) paintings/sculpture, (3) music, and (4) movies/television.
  • Question 6: From Objectivist Answers: Wealth and Responsibility: Doesn't greater wealth entail greater responsibility? If you have amassed a great fortune, don't you also have to shoulder a greater responsibility to society and your fellow man than others? After all, success in business doesn't occur in a vacuum: it always depends on the community to some extent. People like Michael Bloomberg or George Lucas know that they would not be where they are today without some pretty significant assistance from others. So shouldn't they assume more responsibility for their fellow man than others?
If you're unable to attend the live webcast, you can listen to these webcasts later as NoodleCast podcasts by subscribing in iTunes to either the enhanced M4A format or the standard MP3 format.

For in-depth commentary on culture and politics from an Objectivist perspective, I heartily recommend perusing The Objective Standard, a quarterly journal. Check out its current issue and past issues for articles on individual rights and law, philosophy, science and technology, business and economics, foreign policy and war, and more. Each issue offers one article for free, and I'd definitely recommend a subscription.

For regular commentary on free market medicine -- and the perils of government controls and welfare -- visit Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine (FIRM). Check out its blog, We Stand FIRM and its extensive array of published articles.

For more commentary on the politics of medicine from an Objectivist perspective, check out Americans for Free Choice in Medicine , The Lucidicus Project, and The Black Ribbon Project.

For discussions of parenting by Objectivists, visit the joint blog and podcast of Modern Paleo contributors Jenn Casey and Kelly Elmore: Cultivating the Virtues. You can also find them on my OGrownups @ OList.com e-mail list.

Finally, Ayn Rand Institute offers some unique resources on Objectivism. It hosts some free essays by Ayn Rand, such as The Objectivist Ethics and Man's Rights, as well as a huge library of recordings of Ayn Rand. You can also find commentary on current events by Objectivist intellectuals.

That should keep you busy!

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