Ellsworth Toohey’s collectivism: Answer to a question on Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”

July 1, 2019 by · Comments Off on Ellsworth Toohey’s collectivism: Answer to a question on Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead” 

On June 30th, on the public Facebook group “Ayn Rand“, a person fairly new to Ms Rand’s works posted the following passage from Rand’s “The Fountainhead”, highlighting (among others) the parts that below appear in red text. The person in question asked something akin to “Please explain”. I did so, but it appears that the person deleted her post (and all responses to it). Rather than letting my answer/effort go to waste, I post it below the quoted passage. Read more

Love my substratum: A philosophical note on Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”

March 6, 2019 by · Comments Off on Love my substratum: A philosophical note on Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” 

In the history of philosophy, there are at least two famous instances of positing the existence of an entity having no identity: Aristotle’s “prima materia“, and John Locke’s “substratum“.  In her novel Atlas Shrugged, author Ayn Rand concretizes the problem associated with the idea of an entity lacking an identity by way of a passage concerning love. Read more

The Lexicon of Government

January 15, 2019 by · Comments Off on The Lexicon of Government 

{The following are my notes, drafted in preparation for my January 14, 2019 video, The Lexicon of Government, available on my youtube channel, and embedded at the bottom of these notes.}

The other day, I was watching an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A session by Dave Rubin on his youtube channel, The Rubin Report. One of his viewers asked him what he thought about minarchism?  Not having pronounced the word correctly, it seems pretty clear that this was the first time he had come across the concept of minarchism.  Now, if you’ve seen the Rubin Report, you will know that Dave Rubin has been on journey of political development, and that he only recently discovered himself not to be the leftist he used to think himself to be.  In fact the whole purpose of Dave’s show is to challenge one’s beliefs and to improve oneself in the process.  So it’s not all that surprising that he hadn’t heard of minarchy before.

However, the term minarchy is – at the very least – problematic, and the incident on Dave’s show reminded me of a topic that I’ve been meaning to write about for almost two decades.  That topic is: The Forms of Government, and How to Name them.  And that is my topic today. Read more

An Open Letter to Ontario’s MPPs, from Paul McKeever

September 12, 2018 by · Comments Off on An Open Letter to Ontario’s MPPs, from Paul McKeever 

Dear Honourable Member:

Re: Notwithstanding Clause and Bill 5 (Better Local Government Act, 2018)

Today, you will face howls of protest from a Toronto Establishment that has suddenly found it convenient to cast you in the role of enemy of justice and democracy. Specifically, they seek to demonize anyone who votes in favour of a bill that would use the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms‘ notwithstanding clause to immunize it from potential mis-application of the Charter. As the leader of the Freedom Party of Ontario, and as a practising lawyer of some 21 years, I am writing to explain to you why the demonizers are in the wrong, and why voting in favour of the legislation actually will render you the better defender of individual freedom and democracy, as well as a defender of the reputation of the administration of justice. I will enumerate my arguments for easy reference. Read more

What’s Wrong with Dave Rubin’s “Classical Liberal” Infomercial

July 12, 2018 by · Comments Off on What’s Wrong with Dave Rubin’s “Classical Liberal” Infomercial 

In a new, two minute infomercial, Dave Rubin provides his viewers with an answer to the question “What is a Classical Liberal?”. Sadly, the bright and affable host of The Rubin Report gives his viewers an answer that deliberately strips away so much distinguishing philosophy as to leave the term “classical liberal” little more than a term used to refer to a desired but elusive big, inclusive collective of unprincipled and intellectually disarmed dreamers. Read more

Doug Ford flip flops on private pot: wants government monopoly, would favour prohibition

March 16, 2018 by · Comments Off on Doug Ford flip flops on private pot: wants government monopoly, would favour prohibition 

If you thought Doug Ford was promising a free market for cannabis sales, Doug has some disappointing news for you: that dream is now officially up in smoke. Yesterday, Ford told Alan Carter, the host of Focus Ontario that, for the foreseeable future, he is in favour of the Wynne government’s planned government monopoly on cannabis distribution and sales. Ford even says that, if he had it his way, cannabis would not be legalized at all. Read more

Depression: A few words for relief

March 9, 2018 by · Comments Off on Depression: A few words for relief 

Heart broken, now alone, you feel your life slow to a stop. Looking out two windows – tunnels? – life all around you continues rushing along to the music of light hearted banter, smiles, or worries about deadlines. Your anxiety is heightened by the feeling that everyone sees your despair; sees you spiraling down a hole; is watching you like a rubber-necker watching the scene of a 3-car pile-up.

Eventually, the horror sets-in: upon closer inspection Read more

A scary but pleasant sense of the size of my life…and of yours

March 8, 2018 by · Comments Off on A scary but pleasant sense of the size of my life…and of yours 

I remember life in the early 70s. The whole world was so very different then – more than any 70’s movie could explain.

I was/am a factory-worker’s son. Mom was mostly work-at-home. Houses were much smaller and much less pretentious.

Buddy Holly’s music was only 15 years old, but Zeppelin was on the shelf. Read more

27 Valentines

February 14, 2018 by · Comments Off on 27 Valentines 

I herein recount, in regrettably sparse detail, the morning of February 14, 2018.

I stood with my wife and youngest, and a number of similarly-aged university students, on a strip of thinly wooded land between two bodies of water. It was cold. The grass was the colour of straw, and there were no leaves on the maples. Team leaders – like camp counselors – were explaining that the plan was to paddle from our current destination to the university on the river. Read more

Defamation Laws and the Mythical “Right to Freedom of Speech”

November 11, 2017 by · Comments Off on Defamation Laws and the Mythical “Right to Freedom of Speech” 

2017-11-11-word-gunDespite loose talk to the contrary, there is no moral “right of free speech”. It is only when one sets up a “right” of “free speech” that one then has to somehow explain how defamation laws – which involve making a liar pay damages to a person about whom he has told a lie – are not a violation of the “right of free speech”. Typically, the explanation ends up involving another made-up “right” that must be “balanced” against the “right” of “free speech”, or that somehow constitutes a exception to the “right of free speech”. The result of such explanations, inevitably, is that someone asserts that the “right” of “free speech” is “not absolute”. This devolves further into a greater, and more harmful generalization: that “rights are not absolute”. The end game is something akin to s. 1 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which states that “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society“. In other words, one ends up with constitutional laws that say you have rights, but that they’re not absolute. More succinctly: that you have no rights at all.

It therefore comes to me as a disappointment that none other than the Director of Legal Studies at the Ayn Rand Institute, Steve Simpson (who is usually a great advocate of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism) has defended defamation laws by asserting that one has a “right” to the value of one’s own reputation: Read more

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