Issue CCCVI

December 13, 2011

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Culture
The True Exception Is Not America
G. Stolyarov II

December 13, 2011

For a term coined by Joseph Stalin in 1929, “American exceptionalism” is surprisingly popular among certain elements of the American Right. The idea has certainly elicited ample agreement and praise from numerous politicians of the Republican Party of late. But the exceptionalist mindset often misses the very point of the attributes it considers exceptional. Mr. Stolyarov explains that what is exceptional is not America, but rather the universalizable Enlightenment ideals that led to America's prosperity. 

Against the Second-Class Treatment of Atheists: A Reply to Luke Sanders
G. Stolyarov II

December 13, 2011

Luke Sanders might think that his November 11 Hillsdale Collegian article “Church and state, inseparable entities” constitutes a sensible and prudent approach to the relationship between religion and government. Mr. Stolyarov disagrees. Mr. Sanders’s positions are only prudent by the standards of the institutional ideology at Hillsdale College. To a more cosmopolitan observer, they showcase the vestiges of one of the last accepted prejudices in contemporary American society: the reflexive perception of nonreligious people as second-class persons.

Economics

Euro Crisis Destabilizing the Dollar
Ron Paul

December 13, 2011

In response to pressure from Wall Street, the White House, and central banks in Europe, the Federal Reserve last week drastically cut interest rates for currency swaps to benefit troubled European banks.  This will flood world markets with more dollars and will soon mean rising prices for every American at the grocery store.  This extra liquidity will temporarily ease the cash crunch for irresponsible bankers, but Rep. Ron Paul warns that in the long run it will make the situation much worse for consumers all over the world. 

Ethics
Creating a Virtues-Based Business
Edward W. Younkins

December 13, 2011

Virtue ethics can contribute importantly to a comprehensive theory of business and supply a context in which actions can be taken to attain the mission of a particular business. At the same time, the virtues can play a pivotal role in establishing a corporate culture (and related climate) that provide meaning and purpose for the company’s employees. Virtuous leaders, managers, and other employees can take actions that lead to, and create, a strong, focused business that is moral and financially successful. Dr. Edward Younkins outlines some promising approaches toward creating a virtues-based business.

Politics
Illiberal Belief #8: Morality Must Be Enforced
Bradley Doucet

December 13, 2011

Between social conservatives on the right and tobacco prohibitionists on the left, it sometimes seems as if everyone wants to impose his or her version of morality on everyone else. After all, if it makes sense to protect us from things like murder, assault, and theft, why shouldn't our representatives in government also protect us from other sinful or harmful activities like pornography and smoking? These self-righteous souls have a clear vision of the good life, and they want you and me to share that life, whether we like it or not. Bradley Doucet does not know whether they have good intentions or not—whether they are motivated by a desire to help others or merely by a desire to control them, or by some combination of these and other impulses—and Mr. Doucet doesn't much care. What matters is whether what they are saying makes sense, and whether the results of their actions are actually good. It doesn't, and they aren't.

The Folly of Sanctions
Ron Paul

December 13, 2011

Many people have the misconception that sanctions are an effective means to encourage a change of behavior in another country without war.  However, writes Rep. Ron Paul, imposing sanctions and blockades are not only acts of war according to international law; they are most often the first step toward a real war starting with a bombing campaign.  Sanctions were the first step in our wars against Iraq and Libya, and now more sanctions planned against Syria and Iran are leading down the same destructive path.

No Mandatory Mental-Health Screening for Children!
Ron Paul

December 13, 2011

Rep. Ron Paul recently reintroduced the Parental Consent Act of 2011, HR 2769, which prohibits federal funds from being used to establish or implement any universal or mandatory mental health or psychiatric screening program.  The previous administration pushed hard for this type of federal intrusion into the medical decisions of families through its wildly misnamed "New Freedom Commission on Mental Health."  Everyone interested in parental rights and true health freedom must fight to make sure the commission's findings and dubious psychiatric science are never used as justification to force mental-health screening on American kids at school without their parents' consent.

Videos
Hillsdale College Speech - The Perils of Cultural Homogeneity
G. Stolyarov II

December 13, 2011

On December 1, 2011, Mr. Stolyarov delivered this speech - a greatly expanded version of Mr. Stolyarov's essay, "The Perils of Cultural Homogeneity" - to the Hillsdale College Classical Liberal Organization via a remote webinar presentation.

This presentation is adapted to a Hillsdale audience by using additional historical examples and highlighting the threat of cultural homogenization at Hillsdale College, in particular with regard to the administration's recent policy regulating sexual conduct among students and its forthcoming imposition of a mandatory theology course on all future Hillsdale students arriving after a certain time.

More generally, Mr. Stolyarov outlines the extreme dangers of enforced cultural homogeneity - and there is no other kind of cultural homogeneity possible. In doing so, he hopes to provide a defense of *genuine* cultural diversity, a concept he hopes to rehabilitate from its current misuse by the political Left.

Mr. Stolyarov also answers questions from the audience following his speech.

Download the MP3 file of this presentation here

References:
* "The Perils of Cultural Homogeneity" - Essay by G. Stolyarov II -
* "The Foundations of Liberal Policy: Tolerance" (1929) - Ludwig von Mises 
* "On Liberty" (1869) - John Stuart Mill 

Economic Effects of Life Extension - Video
G. Stolyarov II

December 13, 2011
Mr. Stolyarov discusses how indefinite human life extension will bring about numerous economic benefits to human beings and human civilization. He approaches the subject from the standpoint of the idea of time preference and the time horizons that would be greatly expanded for humans who live much longer. Furthermore, indefinite human longevity will enable humans to confront major existential threats - such as the threat of a meteor impact or a new ice age - that are beyond the timeframe of the individual lifespan today.

References:
* "Austrian Economics and Time Preference" - Essay by G. Stolyarov II 
* "The Economics of Immortality" - Video featuring Aubrey de Grey 

Thoughts on Hitchens's "Trial of the Will" and Sidney Hook's Views on Death - Video
G. Stolyarov II

December 13, 2011
Mr. Stolyarov responds, from the perspective of an advocate of indefinite human life extension, to Christopher Hitchens's recent Vanity Fair article "Trial of the Will".

Hitchens's general thesis, that Nietzsche was wrong to say that whatever does not kill a man makes him stronger, is sound. Furthermore, Hitchens is to be commended for his courageous and intellectually active demeanor in the face of his terrible esophageal cancer. However, Mr. Stolyarov does not concur with the position taken by Sidney Hook, whom Hitchens quotes favorably in his article, with regard to some suffering being less desirable than death.

 "The obligations of our representatives in Washington are to protect our liberty, not coddle the world, precipitating no-win wars, while bringing bankruptcy and economic turmoil to our people." 
~ Ron Paul