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18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule : zen habits

 Golden Rule  Comments Off on 18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule : zen habits
Jun 282016
 

thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself., Leviticus 19:18

One of the few rules I try to live my life by, and fail every day trying, is the Golden Rule.

I love the simplicity of the Golden Rule, its tendency to make I interact with happier and its tendency to make me happier as well.

Its true: the rule of treating others as you would want to be treated in their place will ultimately lead to your own happiness.

Lets say that you apply the Golden Rule in all of your interactions with other people, and you help your neighbors, you treat your family with kindness, you go the extra mile for your co-workers, you help a stranger in need.

Now, those actions will undoubtedly be good for the people you help and are kind to but youll also notice a strange thing. People will treat you better too, certainly. Beyond that, though, you will find a growing satisfaction in yourself, a belief in yourself, a knowledge that you are a good person and a trust in yourself.

Those are not small dividends. They are huge. And for that reason not even considering that our world will be a better place if more people live by this rule I recommend you make the Golden Rule a focus of your actions, and try to live by it to the extent that you can.

I will admit that there are strong arguments against the Golden Rule, that there are exceptions and logic arguments that the Golden Rule, taken to extremes, falls apart. Im not concerned about that stuff. The truth is, on a day-to-day basis, living by the Golden Rule will make you a better person, will make those around you happier, and will make the community you live in a better place.

With that in mind, lets take a look at some practical tips for living the Golden Rule in your daily life:

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18 Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule : zen habits

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World Scripture – The Golden Rule – Unification

 Golden Rule  Comments Off on World Scripture – The Golden Rule – Unification
Jun 282016
 

World Scripture THE GOLDEN RULE The Golden Rule or the ethic of reciprocity is found in the scriptures of nearly every religion. It is often regarded as the most concise and general principle of ethics. It is a condensation in one principle of all longer lists of ordinances such as the Decalogue. See also texts on Loving Kindness, pp. 967-73.

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.

Not one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.

A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.

Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.

One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire.

Tsekung asked, “Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?” Confucius replied, “It is the word shu–reciprocity: Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.”

Comparing oneself to others in such terms as “Just as I am so are they, just as they are so am I,” he should neither kill nor cause others to kill.

One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.

One who you think should be hit is none else but you. One who you think should be governed is none else but you. One who you think should be tortured is none else but you. One who you think should be enslaved is none else but you. One who you think should be killed is none else but you. A sage is ingenuous and leads his life after comprehending the parity of the killed and the killer. Therefore, neither does he cause violence to others nor does he make others do so.

The Ariyan disciple thus reflects, Here am I, fond of my life, not wanting to die, fond of pleasure and averse from pain. Suppose someone should rob me of my life… it would not be a thing pleasing and delightful to me. If I, in my turn, should rob of his life one fond of his life, not wanting to die, one fond of pleasure and averse from pain, it would not be a thing pleasing or delightful to him. For a state that is not pleasant or delightful to me must also be to him also; and a state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?

As a result of such reflection he himself abstains from taking the life of creatures and he encourages others so to abstain, and speaks in praise of so abstaining.

A certain heathen came to Shammai and said to him, “Make me a proselyte, on condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot.” Thereupon he repulsed him with the rod which was in his hand. When he went to Hillel, he said to him, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah; all the rest of it is commentary; go and learn.”

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

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World Scripture – The Golden Rule – Unification

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Houston Offshore Engineering – Marine Engineering, Naval …

 Offshore  Comments Off on Houston Offshore Engineering – Marine Engineering, Naval …
Jun 282016
 

Joey E. Lopez

Manager of Design

Thirty years experience, design projects include TLPs, FPSOs, Spars, Semisubmersibles, jack-up drilling rigs, pipe laying barges & fixed platforms.

Philip B. Poll

Manager of Projects

Sixteen years experience in offshore engineering and engineering management.

Jun Zou

Manager of Naval Architecture

Over ten years as a Principal/Senior Naval Architect, five years as a Research Assistant, & five years as a Project Engineer.

Chuck Brown

Senior Principal Piping Designer

35 years of diversified domestic & international experience in platform layout/ arrangement, Piping design, & project management.

H.T. Chen

Senior Principal Naval Architect

Over 30 years project experience with Tension Leg Platforms, Semi- submersibles, Spars, FPSOs, Barges, & other production systems.

When-Yen Tein

Sr. Principal Structural Engineer

Over 18 years structural analysis & design experience in offshore & onshore engineering; Deck Structural Lead of major deepwater projects.

Shan Shi

Manager of Riser Systems

Specialized in complex top-tensioned and flexible riser system design/analysis. Expertise in coupled dynamic analysis for offshore deep-water systems.

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Houston Offshore Engineering – Marine Engineering, Naval …

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Offshore Theater | Free HD Surf Cameras California Hawaii

 Offshore  Comments Off on Offshore Theater | Free HD Surf Cameras California Hawaii
Jun 282016
 

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Offshore Theater | Free HD Surf Cameras California Hawaii

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Best Nootropics – Top Nootropic Drugs & Supplements Online

 Nootropics  Comments Off on Best Nootropics – Top Nootropic Drugs & Supplements Online
Jun 282016
 

Welcome to NootropicsInfo.com

NootropicsInfo.com lets you explore the world of nootropics. It’s an exciting area, as there are many regular users. We will provide you with the information you need to achieve the results you want with nootropics. Once you’re more familiar with the types of nootropics and what they do, you can begin to build your own regime.

You will find the benefits, side-effects, method of action, administration directions, history, and much more regarding a wide variety of nootropics. Once you have obtained this vital knowledge, you will better understand the processes involved. You can then choose the best nootropic supplements for you and your needs.

Since the 1950s, advances have been made in the field of neuroscience, targeting cognitive abilities. Cognition is all of our mental abilities and processes that relate to knowledge. Nootropics tend to target these areas and processes, improving; memory, attention, reasoning, problem solving, comprehension, and more.

‘Nootropics’ or ‘smart drugs,’ are natural or synthetic compounds that improve cognitive functioning. Most commonly, users see improvements in their ability to focus and learn, while memory and motivation are improved.

Many have probably seen the movie ‘Limitless.’ The gentleman in this film took a pill and miraculously became a cognitive superhuman. He had higher intelligence and was much more efficient. This was Hollywood, and nootropics do not affect us in such a way.

Nootropics do not provide users with mental abilities. Instead, these nootropics enhance the mental strength that you have already built. Our mental abilities are generally formed through studying, engaging in mental exercises, and discipline. These nootropics give you a boost, allowing you to improve cognition.

Many work with our brain’s natural neurotransmitters, as well as oxygen levels in the brain. Many degenerative conditions have a depletion in neurotransmitters. This is the main target for a variety of nootropics. Acetylcholine, glutamate, dopamine, and serotonin are some of the neurotransmitters involved. Once levels are increased, positive benefits are experienced.

People are naturally interested in how nootropics actually work. Although one simplified answer would be ideal, this is not the case. There are various different nootropics, as well as methods involved.

In order to fully grasp nootropics, you need to have a thorough understanding of the different types available. Some groups have a concrete history, while others have been released in the past few years.

If youre new to the world of nootropics, youre probably wondering what a stack is. A nootropic stack is when two or more nootropics are combined to achieve a desired effect.

The main reasons most users take nootropics, are due to the positive effects they have on both cognitive functioning. Although nootropics differ, you can stack multiple to achieve higher levels of attention…

Many people take nootropics to combat poor mood, while benefiting from a variety cognitive improvements and improved brain health. Depression and anxiety is a growing concern, affecting millions of people.

The term nootropics is fairly vague, as there are many different supplements available. Each substance yields its own unique effects, taking different methods of action. Although they differ, there are some general benefits that are experienced.

Memory

Many of the nootropics have a positive effect on one’s memory. Regardless of your age, memory is a crucial aspect of your cognition. Many nootropics were designed and developed to target degenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.

It is not just these individuals that benefit. There are many casual users that benefit as well. For example, students are able to retain more information when they’re taking certain nootropics. Piracetam is a common memory enhancer, it is also the oldest racetam.

Focus and Attention

Think about some mornings. It can be hard to get motivated and focused. What do many of us do? We reach for a coffee, caffeine to be specific. Many nootropics provide this advantage, with less side-effects than caffeine. Focus and attention are heightened, as well as a sense of clarity.

Improved Mood

Some individuals experienced heightened cognitive functioning due to improved mood and reduced stress. When you’re less stressed, you tend to perform better mentally. This has been seen through numerous studies.

Energy Levels

Many nootropics prevent fatigue by blocking certain receptors or producing more energy. When users are less tired, they can work more efficiently. This is often seen through an increase in oxygen uptake and glucose metabolism. Glucose is essentially fuel for the brain. When energy levels are increased, motivation and attention also improve.

When you combine compounds, this is known as ‘stacking.’ When nootropics are stacked, they can increase benefits, while decreasing side-effects. If you’re beginning, the following are some safe and easy stacks to try:

Caffeine + L-Theanine: This will help you improve your focus, motivation, and even mood. A ratio of 2:1 works best. Take 200 mg of L-Theanine and 100 mg of caffeine.

Piracetam + Choline: This is a common stack, as it is highly beneficial. Piracetam was the first nootropic to be discovered, as it increases acetylcholine uptake. Choline is essential to synthesize acetylcholine, which is why a choline supplement works so well with a racetam. When taken together, memory has been seen to improve, and headaches are diminished. You can start with around 1500 mg or Piracetam, and approximately 250 mg of a choline supplement. Alpha GPC is recommded.

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Best Nootropics – Top Nootropic Drugs & Supplements Online

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Evolution – definition of evolution by The Free Dictionary

 Evolution  Comments Off on Evolution – definition of evolution by The Free Dictionary
Jun 282016
 

evolution (v-looshn, v-) n. 1.

a. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.

b. A result of this process; a development: Judo is an evolution of an earlier martial art.

a. Change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, often resulting in the development of new species. The mechanisms of evolution include natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, mutation, migration, and genetic drift.

b. The historical development of a related group of organisms; phylogeny.

3. Astronomy Change in the structure, chemical composition, or dynamical properties of a celestial object or system such as a planetary system, star, or galaxy. Evolution often changes the observable or measurable characteristics of the object or system.

4. A movement that is part of a set of ordered movements: naval evolutions in preparation for battle.

5. Mathematics The extraction of a root of a quantity.

[Latin volti, voltin-, from voltus, past participle of volvere, to unroll; see evolve.]

evolutional, evolutionary (-sh-nr) adj.

evolutionarily adv.

2. a gradual development, esp to a more complex form: the evolution of modern art.

3. (Chemistry) the act of throwing off, as heat, gas, vapour, etc

4. a pattern formed by a series of movements or something similar

6. (Military) military an exercise carried out in accordance with a set procedure or plan

[C17: from Latin volti an unrolling, from volvere to evolve]

evolutionary, evolutional adj

n.

1. any process of formation or growth; development: the evolution of the drama.

2. a product of development; something evolved.

a. change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation by such processes as mutation, natural selection, and genetic drift.

b. the development of a species or other group of organisms; phylogeny.

c. the theory that all existing organisms developed from earlier forms by natural selection; Darwinism.

4. a process of gradual, progressive change and development, as in a social or economic structure.

5. a motion incomplete in itself, but combining with coordinated motions to produce a single action, as in a machine.

6. a pattern formed by a series of movements: the evolutions of a figure skater.

7. Math. the extraction of a root from a quantity.

8. a military training exercise.

9. a movement executed by troops in formation.

ev`olutional, evolutionary, adj.

ev`olutionally, ev`olu`tionarily, adv.

Did You Know? Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection assumed that tiny adaptations occur in organisms constantly over exceptionally long periods of time. Gradually, a new species develops that is distinct from its ancestors. In the 1970s, however, biologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould proposed that evolution by natural selection was a far more bumpy road. Based on types of fossils that exist around the world, they said that evolution is better described through punctuated equilibrium. That is, for long periods of time, species in fact remain virtually unchanged, not even gradually adapting. They are in equilibrium, in a balance with the environment. But when confronted with environmental challengessudden climate change, for exampleorganisms adapt quite quickly, perhaps in only a few thousand years. These active periods are punctuations, after which a new equilibrium exists and species remain stable until the next punctuation.

the theory of evolution by natural selection of those species best adapted to survive the struggle for existence. Darwinian, n., ad).

a principle or theory of evolution. evolutionist, n., adj.

the theory of organic evolution advanced by the French naturalist Lamarck that characteristics acquired by habit, diseases, or adaptations to change in environment may be inherited. Lamarckian, n., adj.

the theory that maintains natural selection to be the major factor in plant and animal evolution and denies the possibility of inheriting acquired characteristics. Neo-Darwinist, n., adj. Neo-Darwinian, n., adj.

a modern theory based on Lamarckism that states that acquired characteristics are inherited. Neo-Lamarckian, n., adj.

the theory advanced by Darwin, now rejected, that each part of the body is represented in each cell by gemmules, which are the basic units of hereditary transmission. pangenetic, adj.

the history of the development of a plant, animal, or racial type. phylogenist, n. phylogenetic, adj.

a devotion to the conditions which existed at the beginning of creation.

the ability of one species to change into another. transformist, n.

1. the theory that chance is involved in evolution and that variation within a species is accidental. 2. the belief that chance rather than mere determinism operates in the cosmos. Cf. uniformitarianism.

1. Philosophy. a doctrine that the universe is governed only by rigid, unexceptionable law. 2. Geology. the concept that current geological processes explain all past geological occurrences. uniformitarian, n., adj.

Change in the characteristics of a population of organisms over time.

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Evolution – definition of evolution by The Free Dictionary

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PayPal Founder Peter Thiel Continues to Tout Anti-Government …

 Seasteading  Comments Off on PayPal Founder Peter Thiel Continues to Tout Anti-Government …
Jun 282016
 

Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, is sick of paying taxes, and hes not going to stand for it any more. Rather than unilaterally secede from the government and face the indignity of being hauled to court as a tax-defying sovereign citizen, however, the super-rich hedge fund manager plans to start his own country.

Thiels no dummy: He knows that all the land on earth is already controlled by some nation or another.

Thats why he plans to establish his new country on the high seas. Thiel is an avid fan of seasteading, an ultra-libertarian concept in which autonomous ocean communities stationed in international waters would experiment with different forms of governance, competing for citizens fealty and wealth.

I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible, Thiel wrote in a 2009 manifesto published by the libertarian Cato Institute. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians have rendered the notion of capitalist democracy into an oxymoron. Bemoaning the fate of the smartest libertarians who, he claims, were so bummed out by the state of capitalism that they escaped not only to alcohol but beyond it, he outlined a vision of the future free from the quixotic desires of the poor, stupid, and X-chromosomed among us.

The driving ideal of PayPal, he wrote, was to create a new world currency, free from all government control and dilution the end of monetary sovereignty, as it were.

Seasteading, he continued, is merely another means of achieving freedom from government control.

Seasteading is the brainchild of Patri Friedman, a former Google software engineer whose grandfather, Milton Friedman, was the Nobel Prize-winning free market economist. In 2008, Thiel provided the seed money to found, along with Friedman, the Seasteading Institute, which according to its website envision[s] a vibrant startup sector for governments.

The world needs a place where those who wish to experiment with building new societies can go to test out their ideas, it says. All land on Earth is already claimed, making the oceans humanitys next frontier.

In other words, seasteading would allow experimentation with all kinds of cool governments. Always wanted to live on an anarcho-syndicalist commune? How about a benevolent dictatorship? Or maybe your ideal is something like the Principality of Outer Baldonia, a now-defunct micro-nation off the coast of Nova Scotia whose declaration of independence endowed fishermen with inalienable rights including the right to lie and be believed, and the right of freedom from questioning, nagging, shaving, interruption, women, taxes, politics, war, monologues, cant and inhibition. Outer Baldonia even had its own currency the Tunar, named for a game fish abundant in its waters.

With seasteading, all this and more would be possible.

Thiel already is helping to fund one floating utopia Blueseed, a proposed vessel to be anchored in international waters 12 miles off the coast of Silicon Valley. Blueseed, which plans to launch by early 2014, intends to circumvent U.S. immigration law and be a haven for the boldest, brightest, and most talented tech entrepreneurs from around the world.

The Seasteading Institute has even bigger plans. Last November, it released a location study for larger, untethered ship-based and large-scale city scenarios, which took into account the factors that would be required for more elaborate autonomous ocean communities.

Seasteading isnt the only sci-fi idea Thiel has invested in. In 2009, the quirky libertarian pledged up to $3.5 million to the Methuselah Foundation, a nonprofit group that funds research on Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS). In 2004, Aubrey de Grey, the foundations gaunt and long-bearded founder, told the BBC he thinks the first person who will live to 1,000 could be 60 already.

At 44, having invested in avoiding both death and taxes, Thiel must be feeling ahead of the game.

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PayPal Founder Peter Thiel Continues to Tout Anti-Government …

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Personal Empowerment Solutions.com | All about Personal …

 Personal Empowerment  Comments Off on Personal Empowerment Solutions.com | All about Personal …
Jun 282016
 

The human mind is complex it perceives things differently according to our beliefs and thought patterns. This unique part of our body gives us the insights and mental prowess to go through life by utilizing our own abilities to survive and adapt. But if you want to live life to the fullest then you better let your creative juices flow to come up with great ideas for self-improvement in both your personal life and career. Everyone has the capacity to be creative, as long as they dont put a limit to their capability to think and to accept new ideas from the outside. But there are certain hindrances that stop the flow of creative juices on our brain and here are some ideas on how to burst the dam and let the creative you show itself to the world. Get Rid Of Your Stress Stress is one of the hindrances in letting your creative juices flow out of you. In most cases, our problems, fears, inhibitions, physical exhaustion, or even our emotions can become a hurdle that stops our mind from thinking anything beside the problem. Stress management can help get rid of this problem and let your mind relax to boost your creativity. It also helps you focus your eyes on an object that gives you comfort or that can help you relax. You might also want to indulge in your favorite activities to help you get rid of negative thoughts that stop your brain from being creative. Expand Your Repertoire Using your own stock knowledge may not be enough to guarantee a fresh flow of creative juices to run through your head. If you want to get some good ideas then you better get out of your hiding-hole and look at your surroundings to get some good

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This was sent to me by a dear friend. I thought it was interesting enough to share with you. Best Regards Selva A theology professor was teaching about Anger; He asked his students, Why do we shout in anger? Why do people shout at each other when they are upset? The students thought for a while. One of them said, because we lose our calm, we shout for that. But why shout when the other person is just next to you? asked the professor. Isnt it possible to speak to him or her with a soft voice? Why do you shout at a person when you are angry? The students gave some other answers but none satisfied the professor. Finally he explained, When two people are angry at each other, their hearts psychologically distance themselves. To cover the distance, they must shout to be able to hear each other. The angrier they are, the stronger they will shout to hear each other through that great distance. Then the professor asked, What happens when two people fall in love? They dont shout at each other but talk softly, why? Because their hearts are psychologically very close. The distance between them is very small. The professor continued, When they love each other even more, what happens? They do not speak, only whisper and they even get even closer to each other in their love. Finally they even need not whisper, they only look at each other and thats all. So next time you shout to a loved one, know that you are creating distance between your heart and that persons heart.

You may be surprised how some individuals act on certain occasions. Your integrity and response largely depend on your character and how it was honed for years. The decisions and choices you make are triggered by your background and your own created values and virtues. The way you were raised and your experiences will lead to how you relate with other people and the world as a whole. Here are some ways to build good character. 1. Define Character First of all, you have to understand the meaning of character. It is the total of traits and qualities that will define a certain individual or group of people. It describes the ethical and moral strength of the individual, as well as attributes and abilities that will ultimately correspond to their life choices. Character defines the person and his or her actions, with the possibility of these being positive on how to become a better you. Character is closely related to integrity, which is defined as consistent adherence to strict moral or ethical code. People who have integrity can be defined as complete, unimpaired and sound. Integrity, as a whole, can be defined as performing the right things for the right reasons, regardless of the conditions and circumstances. 2. On Values If you want to build good character, you have to select as set of principles and rules that you will abide by for the rest of your life. The actions you take to follow these guidelines will ultimately lead to a happy and contented life, which in turn, will reflect your positivity and support toward creating a better world and environment for everyone. You can effectively follow the ethics of a certain group or religion. You can also develop your own ideals, based on your beliefs, experiences and personal opinions.

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NeuroHacking – YouTube

 Neurohacking  Comments Off on NeuroHacking – YouTube
Jun 262016
 

Harvard’s Ellen Langer and Psychology Hacking by Relabeling New Research on Stress, Anxiety, DNA, and the Likelihood of Getting Sick Barbara Fredrickson: Positive Emotions Open Our Mind Barbara Fredrickson: Positive Emotions Transform Us Neurohacking: rewiring your brain | Don Vaughn | TEDxUCLA Neuro-Hacking 101: Taming Your Inner Curmudgeon Les neuro-rvolutionnaires – Laurent Alexandre, l’USI Hacking yourself: Dave Asprey at TEDxConstitutionDrive Le dfi de la complexit – Edgar Morin, l’USI Que nous apprennent les neurosciences sur les tats modifis de conscience ? Shauna Shapiro: Mindfulness Meditation and the Brain Etudier autrement | Laurene Castor | TEDxGrenoble A Brief Introduction to the Default Mode Network Dan Harris: Hack Your Brain’s Default Mode with Meditation Risk Taking: The Hardest Growth Hacking Concept to Teach Le rapport collaboratif – 1 Minute Guide NeuroHacking [SYDOSPEECH 2015] – Laurne Castor – Les 4 boosters de l’apprentissage NeuroHacking Blog, Neuroscience, Psychologie Positive et Dveloppement Personnel Cycle d’action – PDCA – Guide Neurohacking Muse in 45 seconds. Difficulty with meditation? Ariel Garten: Know thyself, with a brain scanner Ariel Garten Shows Off the Muse Headset at LeWeb Paris 2012 LeWeb 2011 Ariel Garten, Interaxon Connect your computer to your brain update LeWeb 2010 – Thought Controlled Computing – Ariel Garten, CEO, Interaxon – Tech & Innovation Thought Controlled Computing is Here -Cause/Action: Ariel Garten at TEDxSanDiego 2012 Hack Your Flow: Understanding Flow Cycles, with Steven Kotler Ariel Garten at The Chopra Center Sharon Salzberg: “Real Happiness at Work” | Talks at Google Meditation for Beginners – Featuring Dan Harris and Sharon Salzberg STOP La mthode simple de Mditation de la Pleine Conscience – Mindfulness – 1 minute Mditation de la compassion / bienveillance – 10 minutes Vipassana Meditation and Body Sensation: Eilona Ariel at TEDxJaffa 2013 How Meditation Can Reshape Our Brains: Sara Lazar at TEDxCambridge 2011 E.O. Wilson: Science, Not Philosophy, Will Explain the Meaning of Existence Stress Response: Savior to Killer [Private Video] 4 Cls pour grer son stress efficacement Pico Iyer: The art of stillness STOP: A Short Mindfulness Practice

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NeuroHacking – YouTube

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Transhumanism in fiction – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Transhumanism  Comments Off on Transhumanism in fiction – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 262016
 

Many of the tropes of science fiction can be viewed as similar to the goals of transhumanism. Science fiction literature contains many positive depictions of technologically enhanced human life, occasionally set in utopian (especially techno-utopian) societies. However, science fiction’s depictions of technologically enhanced humans or other posthuman beings frequently come with a cautionary twist. The more pessimistic scenarios include many dystopian tales of human bioengineering gone wrong.

Examples of “transhumanist fiction” include novels by Linda Nagata, Greg Egan, Zoltan Istvan, and Hannu Rajaniemi. Transhuman novels are often philosophical in nature, exploring the impact such technologies might have on human life. Nagata’s novels, for example, explore the relationship between the natural and artificial, and suggest that while transhuman modifications of nature may be beneficial, they may also be hazardous, so should not be lightly undertaken.[1] Egan’s Diaspora explores the nature of ideas such as reproduction and questions if they make sense in a post-human context. Istvan’s novel The Transhumanist Wager explores how far one person would go to achieve an indefinite lifespan via science and technology.[2] Rajaniemi’s novel, while more action oriented, still explores themes such as death and finitude in post-human life.

Fictional depictions of transhumanist scenarios are also seen in other media, such as movies (Transcendence), television series (the Ancients of Stargate SG-1), manga and anime (Ghost in the Shell), role-playing games (Rifts and Eclipse Phase) and video games (Deus Ex or BioShock).

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Transhumanism in fiction – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Myths of Individualism | Libertarianism.org

 Libertarianism  Comments Off on Myths of Individualism | Libertarianism.org
Jun 262016
 

Sep 6, 2011

Palmer takes on the misconceptions of individualism common to communitarian critics of liberty.

It has recently been asserted that libertarians, or classical liberals, actually think that individual agents are fully formed and their value preferences are in place prior to and outside of any society. They ignore robust social scientific evidence about the ill effects of isolation, and, yet more shocking, they actively oppose the notion of shared values or the idea of the common good. I am quoting from the 1995 presidential address of Professor Amitai Etzioni to the American Sociological Association (American Sociological Review, February 1996). As a frequent talk show guest and as editor of the journal The Responsive Community,Etzioni has come to some public prominence as a publicist for a political movement known as communitarianism.

Etzioni is hardly alone in making such charges. They come from both left and right. From the left, Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. argued in his book Why Americans Hate Politics that the growing popularity of the libertarian cause suggested that many Americans had even given up on the possibility of a common good, and in a recent essay in the Washington Post Magazine, that the libertarian emphasis on the freewheeling individual seems to assume that individuals come into the world as fully formed adults who should be held responsible for their actions from the moment of birth. From the right, the late Russell Kirk, in a vitriolic article titled Libertarians: The Chirping Sectaries, claimed that the perennial libertarian, like Satan, can bear no authority, temporal or spiritual and that the libertarian does not venerate ancient beliefs and customs, or the natural world, or his country, or the immortal spark in his fellow men.

More politely, Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) and David Brooks of the Weekly Standard have excoriated libertarians for allegedly ignoring the value of community. Defending his proposal for more federal programs to rebuild community, Coats wrote that his bill is self-consciously conservative, not purely libertarian. It recognizes, not only individual rights, but the contribution of groups rebuilding the social and moral infrastructure of their neighborhoods. The implication is that individual rights are somehow incompatible with participation in groups or neighborhoods.

Such charges, which are coming with increasing frequency from those opposed to classical liberal ideals, are never substantiated by quotations from classical liberals; nor is any evidence offered that those who favor individual liberty and limited constitutional government actually think as charged by Etzioni and his echoes. Absurd charges often made and not rebutted can come to be accepted as truths, so it is imperative that Etzioni and other communitarian critics of individual liberty be called to account for their distortions.

Let us examine the straw man of atomistic individualism that Etzioni, Dionne, Kirk, and others have set up. The philosophical roots of the charge have been set forth by communitarian critics of classical liberal individualism, such as the philosopher Charles Taylor and the political scientist Michael Sandel. For example, Taylor claims that, because libertarians believe in individual rights and abstract principles of justice, they believe in the self-sufficiency of man alone, or, if you prefer, of the individual. That is an updated version of an old attack on classical liberal individualism, according to which classical liberals posited abstract individuals as the basis for their views about justice.

Those claims are nonsense. No one believes that there are actually abstract individuals, for all individuals are necessarily concrete. Nor are there any truly self-sufficient individuals, as any reader of The Wealth of Nations would realize. Rather, classical liberals and libertarians argue that the system of justice should abstract from the concrete characteristics of individuals. Thus, when an individual comes before a court, her height, color, wealth, social standing, and religion are normally irrelevant to questions of justice. That is what equality before the law means; it does not mean that no one actually has a particular height, skin color, or religious belief. Abstraction is a mental process we use when trying to discern what is essential or relevant to a problem; it does not require a belief in abstract entities.

It is precisely because neither individuals nor small groups can be fully self-sufficient that cooperation is necessary to human survival and flourishing. And because that cooperation takes place among countless individuals unknown to each other, the rules governing that interaction are abstract in nature. Abstract rules, which establish in advance what we may expect of one another, make cooperation possible on a wide scale.

No reasonable person could possibly believe that individuals are fully formed outside societyin isolation, if you will. That would mean that no one could have had any parents, cousins, friends, personal heroes, or even neighbors. Obviously, all of us have been influenced by those around us. What libertarians assert is simply that differences among normal adults do not imply different fundamental rights.

Libertarianism is not at base a metaphysical theory about the primacy of the individual over the abstract, much less an absurd theory about abstract individuals. Nor is it an anomic rejection of traditions, as Kirk and some conservatives have charged. Rather, it is a political theory that emerged in response to the growth of unlimited state power; libertarianism draws its strength from a powerful fusion of a normative theory about the moral and political sources and limits of obligations and a positive theory explaining the sources of order. Each person has the right to be free, and free persons can produce order spontaneously, without a commanding power over them.

What of Dionnes patently absurd characterization of libertarianism: individuals come into the world as fully formed adults who should be held responsible for their actions from the moment of birth? Libertarians recognize the difference between adults and children, as well as differences between normal adults and adults who are insane or mentally hindered or retarded. Guardians are necessary for children and abnormal adults, because they cannot make responsible choices for themselves. But there is no obvious reason for holding that some normal adults are entitled to make choices for other normal adults, as paternalists of both left and right believe. Libertarians argue that no normal adult has the right to impose choices on other normal adults, except in abnormal circumstances, such as when one person finds another unconscious and administers medical assistance or calls an ambulance.

What distinguishes libertarianism from other views of political morality is principally its theory of enforceable obligations. Some obligations, such as the obligation to write a thank-you note to ones host after a dinner party, are not normally enforceable by force. Others, such as the obligation not to punch a disagreeable critic in the nose or to pay for a pair of shoes before walking out of the store in them, are. Obligations may be universal or particular. Individuals, whoever and wherever they may be (i.e., in abstraction from particular circumstances), have an enforceable obligation to all other persons: not to harm them in their lives, liberties, health, or possessions. In John Lockes terms, Being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions. All individuals have the right that others not harm them in their enjoyment of those goods. The rights and the obligations are correlative and, being both universal and negative in character, are capable under normal circumstances of being enjoyed by all simultaneously. It is the universality of the human right not to be killed, injured, or robbed that is at the base of the libertarian view, and one need not posit an abstract individual to assert the universality of that right. It is his veneration, not his contempt, for the immortal spark in his fellow men that leads the libertarian to defend individual rights.

Those obligations are universal, but what about particular obligations? As I write this, I am sitting in a coffee house and have just ordered another coffee. I have freely undertaken the particular obligation to pay for the coffee: I have transferred a property right to a certain amount of my money to the owner of the coffee shop, and she has transferred the property right to the cup of coffee to me. Libertarians typically argue that particular obligations, at least under normal circumstances, must be created by consent; they cannot be unilaterally imposed by others. Equality of rights means that some people cannot simply impose obligations on others, for the moral agency and rights of those others would then be violated. Communitarians, on the other hand, argue that we all are born with many particular obligations, such as to give to this body of personscalled a state or, more nebulously, a nation, community, or folkso much money, so much obedience, or even ones life. And they argue that those particular obligations can be coercively enforced. In fact, according to communitarians such as Taylor and Sandel, I am actually constituted as a person, not only by the facts of my upbringing and my experiences, but by a set of very particular unchosen obligations.

To repeat, communitarians maintain that we are constituted as persons by our particular obligations, and therefore those obligations cannot be a matter of choice. Yet that is a mere assertion and cannot substitute for an argument that one is obligated to others; it is no justification for coercion. One might well ask, If an individual is born with the obligation to obey, who is born with the right to command? If one wants a coherent theory of obligations, there must be someone, whether an individual or a group, with the right to the fulfillment of the obligation. If I am constituted as a person by my obligation to obey, who is constituted as a person by the right to obedience? Such a theory of obligation may have been coherent in an age of God-kings, but it seems rather out of place in the modern world. To sum up, no reasonable person believes in the existence of abstract individuals, and the true dispute between libertarians and communitarians is not about individualism as such but about the source of particular obligations, whether imposed or freely assumed.

A theory of obligation focusing on individuals does not mean that there is no such thing as society or that we cannot speak meaningfully of groups. The fact that there are trees does not mean that we cannot speak of forests, after all. Society is not merely a collection of individuals, nor is it some bigger or better thing separate from them. Just as a building is not a pile of bricks but the bricks and the relationships among them, society is not a person, with his own rights, but many individuals and the complex set of relationships among them.

A moments reflection makes it clear that claims that libertarians reject shared values and the common good are incoherent. If libertarians share the value of liberty (at a minimum), then they cannot actively oppose the notion of shared values, and if libertarians believe that we will all be better off if we enjoy freedom, then they have not given up on the possibility of a common good, for a central part of their efforts is to assert what the common good is! In response to Kirks claim that libertarians reject tradition, let me point out that libertarians defend a tradition of liberty that is the fruit of thousands of years of human history. In addition, pure traditionalism is incoherent, for traditions may clash, and then one has no guide to right action. Generally, the statement that libertarians reject tradition is both tasteless and absurd. Libertarians follow religious traditions, family traditions, ethnic traditions, and social traditions such as courtesy and even respect for others, which is evidently not a tradition Kirk thought it necessary to maintain.

The libertarian case for individual liberty, which has been so distorted by communitarian critics, is simple and reasonable. It is obvious that different individuals require different things to live good, healthy, and virtuous lives. Despite their common nature, people are materially and numerically individuated, and we have needs that differ. So, how far does our common good extend?

Karl Marx, an early and especially brilliant and biting communitarian critic of libertarianism, asserted that civil society is based on a decomposition of man such that mans essence is no longer in community but in difference; under socialism, in contrast, man would realize his nature as a species being. Accordingly, socialists believe that collective provision of everything is appropriate; in a truly socialized state, we would all enjoy the same common good and conflict simply would not occur. Communitarians are typically much more cautious, but despite a lot of talk they rarely tell us much about what our common good might be. The communitarian philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, for instance, in his influential book After Virtue, insists for 219 pages that there is a good life for man that must be pursued in common and then rather lamely concludes that the good life for man is the life spent in seeking for the good life for man.

A familiar claim is that providing retirement security through the state is an element of the common good, for it brings all of us together. But who is included in all of us? Actuarial data show that African-American males who have paid the same taxes into the Social Security system as have Caucasian males over their working lives stand to get back about half as much. Further, more black than white males will die before they receive a single penny, meaning all of their money has gone to benefit others and none of their investments are available to their families. In other words, they are being robbed for the benefit of nonblack retirees. Are African-American males part of the all of us who are enjoying a common good, or are they victims of the common good of others? (As readers of this magazine should know, all would be better off under a privatized system, which leads libertarians to assert the common good of freedom to choose among retirement systems.) All too often, claims about the common good serve as covers for quite selfish attempts to secure private goods; as the classical liberal Austrian novelist Robert Musil noted in his great work The Man without Qualities, Nowadays only criminals dare to harm others without philosophy.

Libertarians recognize the inevitable pluralism of the modern world and for that reason assert that individual liberty is at least part of the common good. They also understand the absolute necessity of cooperation for the attainment of ones ends; a solitary individual could never actually be self-sufficient, which is precisely why we must have rulesgoverning property and contracts, for exampleto make peaceful cooperation possible and we institute government to enforce those rules. The common good is a system of justice that allows all to live together in harmony and peace; a common good more extensive than that tends to be, not a common good for all of us, but a common good for some of us at the expense of others of us. (There is another sense, understood by every parent, to the term self-sufficiency. Parents normally desire that their children acquire the virtue of pulling their own weight and not subsisting as scroungers, layabouts, moochers, or parasites. That is a necessary condition of self-respect; Taylor and other critics of libertarianism often confuse the virtue of self-sufficiency with the impossible condition of never relying on or cooperating with others.)

The issue of the common good is related to the beliefs of communitarians regarding the personality or the separate existence of groups. Both are part and parcel of a fundamentally unscientific and irrational view of politics that tends to personalize institutions and groups, such as the state or nation or society. Instead of enriching political science and avoiding the alleged naivet of libertarian individualism, as communitarians claim, however, the personification thesis obscures matters and prevents us from asking the interesting questions with which scientific inquiry begins. No one ever put the matter quite as well as the classical liberal historian Parker T. Moon of Columbia University in his study of 19th-century European imperialism, Imperialism and World Politics:

Language often obscures truth. More than is ordinarily realized, our eyes are blinded to the facts of international relations by tricks of the tongue. When one uses the simple monosyllable France one thinks of France as a unit, an entity. When to avoid awkward repetition we use a personal pronoun in referring to a countrywhen for example we say France sent her troops to conquer Tuniswe impute not only unity but personality to the country. The very words conceal the facts and make international relations a glamorous drama in which personalized nations are the actors, and all too easily we forget the flesh-and-blood men and women who are the true actors. How different it would be if we had no such word as France, and had to say insteadthirty-eight million men, women and children of very diversified interests and beliefs, inhabiting 218,000 square miles of territory! Then we should more accurately describe the Tunis expedition in some such way as this: A few of these thirty-eight million persons sent thirty thousand others to conquer Tunis. This way of putting the fact immediately suggests a question, or rather a series of questions. Who are the few? Why did they send the thirty thousand to Tunis? And why did these obey?

Group personification obscures, rather than illuminates, important political questions. Those questions, centering mostly around the explanation of complex political phenomena and moral responsibility, simply cannot be addressed within the confines of group personification, which drapes a cloak of mysticism around the actions of policymakers, thus allowing some to use philosophyand mystical philosophy, at thatto harm others.

Libertarians are separated from communitarians by differences on important issues, notably whether coercion is necessary to maintain community, solidarity, friendship, love, and the other things that make life worth living and that can be enjoyed only in common with others. Those differences cannot be swept away a priori; their resolution is not furthered by shameless distortion, absurd characterizations, or petty name-calling.

Myths of Individualism originally appeared in the September/October 1996 issue of Cato Policy Report.

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Myths of Individualism | Libertarianism.org

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800 Gambler – Gambling Problem Hotline in NJ | Gambling …

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Jun 242016
 

Problem (also called compulsive) gambling is not a hopeless condition. Gambling addiction, whether it happens in an Atlantic City casino or Monmouth living room, is a treatable illness, and hope and help are available to those who are struggling with it and want to learn how to stop, as well as to their families and significant others. Help for gambling addiction in New Jersey is within reach when problem gamblers or their loved ones call our helpline at 1-800-GAMBLER. This number is operated by the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey (CCGNJ), and is a free and confidential 24/7 hotline offering support, treatment, and hope to the disordered gambler, as well as to their friends and family members. The goal of this helpline is to create a single point of contact for those who are struggling with addiction and feel that life is starting to become unmanageable. We aim to get them the help they need so that they can learn how to stop gambling and stay on the path of recovery.

When a person calls the hotline, a brief intake is conducted and the caller is referred to a combination of twelve-step program, treatment provider, and/or in-patient facility within NJ. With respect to the twelve-step program, the caller is typically encouraged to regularly attend Gamblers Anonymous meetings in NJ, while the family member or loved one is encouraged to join Gam-Anon. It has been found that joining a twelve-step program can greatly increase the chance of recovery for those struggling with problem gambling. Loved ones who attend Gam-Anon meetings can also recover from the emotional aftershock of their friend or family members gambling problem, and can become a valuable part of that persons support network. Meetings happen regularly all throughout the state of New Jersey, from Atlantic City to Freehold and Marlboro Township.

In addition to the helpline, the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey offers the ability to text 1-800-GAMBLER directly, as well as a feature where anyone who wants to learn how to stop gambling can Click to Chat and communicate online with a representative to help find the best support, treatment, and hope in NJ. Problem gambling is a progressive illness that only gets worse, never better. This can lead to a full-blown addiction that can destroy relationships, sink finances, and tear apart families. Dont wait until its too late. If you think you or someone you love is struggling with this disease, call the 800-GAMBLER helpline. Help is available for problem gamblers of all types and ages, anywhere in the state of New Jersey, whether they struggle with casino gambling in Atlantic City or sports gambling in Atlantic City, Marlboro Township, Monmouth, Freehold, and anywhere else in the state. For additional information about how you can help yourself or a loved one learn how to stop gambling and start living, call 1-800-GAMBLER at any time of day or night.

Mission Statement: The Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose primary purpose is to represent the best interest of disordered gamblers and their families, recognizing that problem or disordered gambling is a treatable illness. The Council focuses on educating the general public, training professionals throughout the State, referring those struggling and their families in treatment, and advocating for increased treatment services for those struggling and their families.

The Council also advises the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, provides the executive and legislative branches of State government with relevant data on all aspects of the problem, and provides assistance to those private or public agencies in the State who request it. The Council neither opposes nor endorses legalized gambling. However, the Council may take positions on various issues when the members believe that taking a stand is in the best interest of those we are trying to help.

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800 Gambler – Gambling Problem Hotline in NJ | Gambling …

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Problem and Compulsive Gambling

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Jun 242016
 

CMHC Business Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm Phone: (512) 471-3515 – Student Services Building 5th Floor Topics How to tell if gambling is a problem Alternatives to gambling What if a friend has a gambling problem? Where can I find help? Resources

One of the biggest problems related to gambling and other addictions is that the person engaging in the addictive behavior may be the last to realize there is a problem. You may have sought out this website because you wondered about your own gambling or the gambling habits of someone you care about. We’re glad that you had the courage to do so, and hope the following information will increase your understanding of this issue.

Gambling can include betting on sporting events, playing on-line or video poker, playing cards, betting on games of skill, buying lottery tickets and many other activities.

Some people can gamble occasionally without it affecting their lives seriously, but many can’t. A recent study estimates that three quarters of a million young adults in the United States engage in problem gambling. Closer to home, a study by the Texas Council on Problem and Compulsive Gambling found that teenagers and young adults are at much greater risk for developing serious gambling problems than are adults.

Gambling addiction is a disease, similar to alcohol addiction, in that gamblers often lose control over their behavior and face serious consequences. For many people, gambling problems may increase in severity gradually. Over time, gambling may:

According to the Texas Council on Problem and Compulsive Gambling, “problem gambling” is an early stage of the disease, characterized by personal and relationship problems related to gambling. “Compulsive gambling” is the advanced stage and involves behavior that is out of control.

If you think a friend has a gambling problem, show your concern. Don’t avoid the topic. Do avoid lectures and verbal attacks. Don’t continue the conversation if you begin to feel impatient or angry. You may encounter defensiveness and denial. Don’t take this personally, but make it clear you’re concerned and tell the person how his or her gambling behavior affects you. You may have to set limits with the person. Don’t be persuaded into excusing, justifying, overlooking, enabling or participating in the person’s self-defeating behaviors. Helping a friend pay a debt may seem to temporarily alleviate the problem, but it can actually perpetuate the problem by contributing to a feeling of invincibility that some gamblers develop.

If the person agrees that he or she has a problem, try to:

Gamblers Anonymous International (GA) Consult this site for a list of meetings worldwide. Contact them at 213-386-8789 for more information. The Austin Chapter of GA will be able to tell you where and when meetings are held locally: 512-860-2958.

UT’s Counseling & Mental Health Center (CMHC) Call 512-471-3515 for information on setting up an appointment with a counselor. CMHC also offers the CMHC Crisis Line: dial 512-471-CALL for a telephone counselor.

Helpguide.org A website with additional information on problem and compulsive gambling.

Born to Lose: Memoirs of a Compulsive Gambler by Bill Lee The compelling autobiography of a man who struggled with gambling in many forms before learning to understand his addiction.

Gam-Anon.org A website with information on a twelve-step program for problem gamblers’ spouses, family members, or close friends.

Your First Step To Change Your First Step to Change is an interactive website to help you gauge the impacts of gambling behavior and consider how to change it.

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Problem and Compulsive Gambling

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Gambling | Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Jun 242016
 

Older handicap horses bring real fun to horse racing

Its the handicap horses that in past years were the sports major heroes. Horses such as Kelso, Forego and John Henry were geldings that returned year after year in Grade 1 races and in doing so built a loyal following.

State gaming regulators gave approval Thursday to a proposal from long-time gaming veteran Vic Salerno that is expected to lead to the return of daily fantasy sports betting in Nevada as early as August.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is gambling on Las Vegas, finally signing off on the deal to put the first major league franchise on the Strip. The specter of dealing with legal sports wagering no longer seems to be a problem.

The Cubs, who lead the majors with a 47-21 record and a plus-170 run differential, are so popular with the betting public that Las Vegas bookmakers are forced to root against them.

A week ago, it was only a matter of time until Golden State was crowned as a repeat NBA champion. But LeBron James flipped the script for Cleveland.

Westgate oddsmakers set props for the Cavaliers LeBron James at 32.5 points and 20 total rebounds and assists in Game 7.

The Golden State Warriors are 5-point favorites over the Cleveland Cavaliers and the total is 206 in Sundays Game 7. Las Vegas Review-Journal staff members, other media, oddsmakers and professional handicappers give their predictions.

Long shot Shane Lowry has become the 5-2 favorite and Dustin Johnson is the 3-1 second choice going into Sundays play at the U.S. Open.

The NBA Finals is headed for Game 7. LeBron James has pulled the Cleveland Cavaliers out of the grave and put the Golden State Warriors record-breaking season on the brink.

Only nine players completed Thursdays rain-shortened first round of the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. Andrew Landry has a one-stroke lead, and the betting windows remain open.

Jockey Russell Baze, horse racings all-time leader in wins, announced his retirement Sunday after the 10th race at Golden Gate Fields. The 57-year-old won 12,842 races in his career.

DraftKings and FanDuel are downplaying media reports this week that the two biggest daily fantasy sports companies could team up. But given their swift change of fortune this past year, industry watchers say the timings right for a deal.

Professional handicapper Wes Reynolds is using a mythical bankroll of $250 to bet the U.S Open futures board at the Westgate.

Westgate oddsmakers posted Jason Day as the 13-2 favorite for the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pennsylvania.

Deep roughs, fast greens and wet weather await the field of 156 players in the U.S. Open. Jason Day is the betting favorite at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania.

While polls show the U.K.s Brexit vote poised on a knifes edge, bookies remain fairly confident the nation will stay in the European Union.

LeBron James is facing his fifth defeat in seven NBA Finals appearances, and its tough to put a positive spin on that record. Golden State leads Cleveland 3-1 going into Game 5.

Former Las Vegas Sports Book Director Micah Roberts rates the 2016 Sprint Cup drivers.

Exaggerator is the Belmont favorite. But Wynn race book director John Avellos pick to win is No. 4 Suddenbreakingnews at 10-1 morning-line odds.

The Belmont Stakes drew 13 horses, which tells me no one is afraid of Exaggerator. They should be. He is the fastest horse in the race, yet many believe he is not as good on a fast track as a muddy surface.

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Gambling | Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Ayn Rand (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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Jun 242016
 

1. Introduction 1.1 Ayn Rand and Philosophy

In Rands own words, her first and greatest love, her life purpose, was the creation of the kind of world that represents human perfection, while her interest in philosophical knowledge was only for the sake of this purpose (Journal entry for 4 May 1946; in 1997: 479).[1] Nevertheless, her interest in philosophical knowledge continued long after she had created this world in her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, her last work of fiction. In her non-fiction, Rand developed a conception of metaphysical realism, rationality, ethical egoism (rational self-interest), individual rights, laissez-faire capitalism, and art, and applied her philosophy to social issues. She wrote polemical, philosophical essays, often in response to questions by fans of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead; lectured on college campuses; and gave radio and television interviews. In her own words, her 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. (Rand 1957 [1992]: Afterword)

Capitalism, the unknown ideal, is for her the only political-economic system compatible with this philosophy because it is the only system based on respect for human beings as ends in themselves. The free-market libertarian political movement, though largely disowned by Rand, drewand drawsgreat inspiration from her moral defense of the minimal state, that is, the state whose only raison dtre is protection of individual rights.

Whereas Rands ideas and mode of presentation make Rand popular with many non-academics, they lead to the opposite outcome with academics. She developed some of her views in response to questions from her readers, but never took the time to defend them against possible objections or to reconcile them with the views expressed in her novels. Her philosophical essays lack the self-critical, detailed style of analytic philosophy, or any serious attempt to consider possible objections to her views. Her polemical style, often contemptuous tone, and the dogmatism and cult-like behavior of many of her fans also suggest that her work is not worth taking seriously.[2] Further, understanding her views requires reading her fiction, but her fiction is not to everyones taste. It does not help that she often dismisses other philosophers views on the basis of cursory readings and conversations with a few philosophers and with her young philosophy student acolytes. Some contemporary philosophers return the compliment by dismissing her work contemptuously on the basis of hearsay. Some who do read her work point out that her arguments too often do not support her conclusions. This estimate is shared even by many who find her conclusions and her criticisms of contemporary culture, morality, and politics original and insightful. It is not surprising, then, that she is either mentioned in passing, or not mentioned at all, in the entries that discuss current philosophical thought about virtue ethics, egoism, rights, libertarianism, or markets. (Readers may also find the entry on Nozicks political philosophy to be of interest.) We present specific criticisms of her arguments and claims below, in the relevant sections of this entry.

Ayn Rand was born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, to a bourgeois Jewish family in St. Petersburg, Russia, on 2 February 1905. A witness to the Russian Revolution and civil war, Rand opposed both the Communists and the Tsarists. She majored in history, but the social science program in which she was enrolled at Petrograd State University included philosophy, law, and philology. Her teachers emphasizedas she herself later didthe importance of developing systematic connections among different areas of thought (Sciabarra 1995). Rands formal philosophical education included ancient philosophy (especially Plato and Aristotle), logic, philosophical psychology, Marxism-Leninism, and non-Marxist political thought. But she was evidently also exposed to Hegelian and Nietzschean ideas, which blossomed during this period (known as the Russian Silver Age), and read a great deal of Friedrich Nietzsche on her own. After graduating from Petrograd State University in 1924, an interest in screenwriting led her to enroll in the State Institute for Cinematography. On the literary side, she studied the great Russian novelists and poets, but fell in love with Victor Hugo, to whose influence she owes the Romantic Realism of her novels.

In 1925 Rand succeeded in obtaining permission to visit relatives in the United States; hating the Soviet system, she left with no intention of returning. After six months with relatives in Chicago, she made her way to Hollywood where, on her second day, a fortuitous encounter with Cecil B. DeMille led to a job as a script reader, and later as a screenplay writer. The next week she had another fortuitous encounter, this time with the actor Frank OConnor, whom she married in 1929. She was married to him till his death in 1979. She adopted the pen name Ayn Rand to (it is thought) protect her family back in Russia, although she also told the New York Evening Post in 1936 that Rand was an abbreviation of her Russian surname.

Rand and her husband moved permanently to New York City in 1951, where she became involved with, and was influenced by, the circle of mostly New-York-based intellectuals involved in the revival of classical liberalism, such as the economic journalist Henry Hazlitt, the Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, and the Canadian-American novelist, literary critic, and political philosopher Isabel Paterson. Rand also studied, and was a great admirer of, the Lockean philosophy of the American founding. Rand lived and worked in New York City until her death in 1982.

Rand holds that philosophy, like all forms of knowledge and achievement, is important only because it is necessary for living a good human life and creating a world conducive to living such a life. Philosophy supplies the most fundamental cognitive and normative abstractions which, respectively, identify and evaluate what is. Everyone, according to Rand, needs a philosophy and is guided by at least an implicit one (1982a: ch. 1). Her novels express her belief that if our philosophy is more or less correct, our lives will be more or less successful, if our philosophy is wildly off the mark, our lives will be disastrous. Philosophy thus has an urgent, practical importance. But unlike Marx, her philosophical and political antipode, Rand thinks that social change has to start with a moral revolution within each individual and the spread of the right ideas and ideals through rational discourse and the inspiration of art.

Rands ideal human being appears, in varying degrees of development, in all her novels; her ideal world appears in Atlas Shrugged. Her novels feature striking, complex plots with subtle psychological explorations of her characters emotions and thoughts, and philosophical reflections that rarely lose sight of the dramatic context. Like many famous Russian novelists, especially Dostoevsky, whom she recognized as a great psychologist, Rand also uses long speeches to lay out her philosophy, a device that has both its supporters and its detractors. She described Atlas Shrugged as a stunt novel and a murder mysterythe murder of the human soul by a collectivist culture. By soul, however, she meant not an immortal substance that survives the death of the bodyshe is not a dualist in any aspect of her philosophybut the mind, or the human spirit that celebrates life on this earth. She took a familiar phenomenon and literary tropea workers strikeand turned it on its head to show what happens when the men of mindscientists, philosophers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, writersthe prime movers of a societygo on strike. It also purports to show how the wrong metaphysics can lead to the wrong ethics and thus to disastrous personal choices and a disastrous political and economic system, and how the right philosophy is needed for the rebirth of the soul and the rebuilding of the world. Her protagonists are not knights on white steeds rescuing damsels in distress, or swordsmen who can fight off a dozen enemies single-handed, but men and women in the mid-20th century industrial America of steel mills, skyscrapers, and glimmering highways: women who run transcontinental railroads and men who revolutionize architecture or (long before clean energy became a cause clbre) build a motor powered by static electricity to produce limitless, clean energy. Her novels show the importance of striving to be the best we can be:

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but never have been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible. (Atlas Shrugged, 1957 [1992]: 983).

Her novels inspire readers because they present heroes of unbreached integrity, heroes who lead colorful and remarkable lives and succeed not in spite of, but because of, their uncompromising virtue. This estimate of their virtue is not, of course, shared by all: many readers find her characters wooden, her writing stilted, and her ethical and political views misguided.

Rand paid tribute to Aristotle, whom she considered the greatest of all philosophers, in the titles she gave to the three Parts of Atlas Shrugged (Non-Contradiction, Either-Or, A is A) and to one of the chapters (The Immovable Movers). While she differed sharply from Nietzsche on many issues, including rationality, free will, and individual rights, his influence is evident in her provocative, often aphoristic, point-counterpoint writing style, as well as in her transvaluation of traditional values and her powerful affirmation of life and joy and the spirit of youth. In the Introduction to the 25th Anniversary edition of The Fountainhead, she stated that the novels sense of life is best conveyed by a quotation from Nietzsches Beyond Good and Evil: The noble soul has reverence for itself. (For The Fountainheads partly sympathetic and partly critical engagement with Nietzsches ideas, see Hunt 2006.)

Fundamental to Rands outlookso fundamental that she derives the name of her philosophical system, Objectivism, from itis a trichotomy among three categories: the intrinsic, the subjective, and the objective (ITOE: 5254; Rand 1965: 1323). An intrinsic phenomenon is one whose nature depends wholly on factors external to the mind; a subjective phenomenon is one whose nature depends wholly on the mind; and an objective phenomenon is defined, variously, as that which depends on the relation between a living entitys nature (including the nature of its mind) and its environment, or as that which depends on the relation between a properly functioning (rational) mind and extramental reality. Commentators are divided over the best way to interpret Rands views on this issue.

Rand holds that there is a widespread tendency to ignore the third category or to assimilate it to the second, thus setting up a false dichotomy between the intrinsic and the subjective. On Rands view, many of the fundamental questions of philosophy, from the existence of universals to the nature of value, involve fruitless debates over the false alternative intrinsic or subjective? in cases where the phenomenon in question is neither intrinsic nor subjective, but rather objective.

If ethics is the branch of philosophy concerned with practice, then in a sense all of Rands philosophy is ethics, for Rand stresses the supremacy of actual living over all other considerations, and insists that philosophy needs to be brought up to the realm of actual livingadding I say intentionally brought up to it, not down (Journal entry for 15 May 1934, p. 72; in Rand 1997: 73). Consequently, Rand regularly concerns herself with the practical implications and social relevance not only of moral and political philosophy, but likewise of the seemingly more arcane strata of metaphysics and epistemologyas when she identifies errors in concept-formation as one of the roots of racism, or mind-body dualism as a root of the dichotomy between economic and personal freedom. This approach likewise reflects Rands emphasis on integrating each piece of information into the total context of ones knowledge, and her consequent hostility to compartmentalization.

Rands conviction of the vital practical importance of abstract theory may help to explain the passionately polemical nature of her philosophical writing, which some readers find inspiring and others hyperbolic and off-puttingthough Rands admiration for Nietzsche, as well as her having been educated in a Marxist-Leninist atmosphere, may also play a role. Rand also tendedperhaps owing in part to the same two influencesto regard philosophical errors as revelatory of the psychological flaws of their authors.

For a more in-depth presentation of Rands views on epistemology and metaphysics, please see the supplement on Epistemology and Metaphysics

Ethics

is a code of values to guide mans choices and actionsthe choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of his life. (1961b: 13)

Before we can decide which code of values we should accept, we need to ask why we need a code of values at all. Rand claims that no philosopher before her has provided a scientific answer to this question, and so none has provided a satisfactory ethics.

Rand starts by describing value or the good, in classical fashion, as the object of pursuit: that which one acts to gain and/or keep (1961b: 16). Thus, the concept of value presupposes the concept of an entity capable of acting to achieve a goal in the face of an alternativeand the basic alternative facing any living entity is life or death (1961b: 16). It is the conditional nature of life that gives rise to values, not just human values, but values as such. As she puts it:

Metaphysically, life is the only phenomenon that is an end in itself: a value gained and kept by a constant process of action. (1961b: 18)

Survival is the organisms ultimate value, the final goal or end to which all [its] lesser goals are the means, and the standard of all its other values: that which furthers its life is the good, that which threatens it is the evil (pp. 1617). The same, suitably modified, applies to human beings. Life is the standard and goal of all genuine human values, in the sense that all of themfrom food to philosophy to fine art to ethicsmust be explained and justified as requirements of human survival. Ethics is an objective, metaphysical necessity of mans survival (p. 24). Thus,

[t]he standard of value of the Objectivist ethics is mans life, or: that which is required for mans survival qua man, (1961b: 25)

that is,

the terms, methods, conditions and goals required for the survival of a rational being through the whole of his lifespanin all those aspects of existence which are open to his choice. (1961b: 27)

To choose to live is to accept ones own life as ones ethical purpose.

Rands metaphysical arguments make two points central to her axiology and ethics. (1) Values are not just a human phenomenon but a phenomenon of life: life necessitates value. Thus, values are neither intrinsic properties of things, nor subjective, neither free-floating Platonic entities, nor mere matters of desire or preference, culture or time. Rather, values are relational or objective, dependent on the nature of the valuing entity and the nature of its environment. (2) An entitys values are determined by the requirements of survival for entities of its kind, and ethics is a requirement of human survival.

Rand seeks to bolster this claim by arguing that the concept of value entails the concept of life:

epistemologically, the concept of value is genetically dependent upon and derived from the antecedent concept of life. (1961b: 18)

She supports it by asking us

to imagine an immortal, indestructible robot, an entity which moves and acts, but which cannot be affected by anything, which cannot be changed in any respect, which cannot be damaged, injured or destroyed. (1961b: 16)

Such an entity, she concludes, cannot have values.

Critics raise two objections to this argument. (i) It begs the question by assuming what is at issue, namely, that a non-living entity cannot be harmed (Nozick 1971). Unlike the robot of this example, real robots can be damaged or destroyed, not only by external events, but also by a failure to perform their functions well, that is, by their own actions or inactions. Hence they can, quite straightforwardly, be said to have values.[3] (ii) Even if one were to accept that the concept of value entails the concept of life, one could consistently regard ones survival as a means to a certain kind of life: a life of dedication to the greater glory of God, the common good, the environment, and so on (Mack 1984).

Rands naturalism, and her rejection of intrinsicism and subjectivism in favor of objectivism, anticipate recent naturalisms and echo Aristotles argument, against both the Platonist and the subjectivist, that the good must always be good-for-something. Her conception of the function of morality is notable both for its affinity to, and its difference from, Thomas Hobbes conception: like Hobbes, Rand sees morality as a necessary means to long-term survival, but unlike Hobbes, she does not see morality as requiring a contract or even as a fundamentally social affair. The need for morality, according to Rand, is dictated by our nature as creatures that must think and produce to survive; hence we would need morality even on a desert island. There is, however, no duty to survive; morality is based on a hypothetical imperative: if you choose to live, then you must value your own long-term survival as an ultimate end, and morality as a necessary means to it. (The much-debated question of whether the choice to live is a moral choice (Mack 1984, 2003; Long 2000; Rasmussen 2002, 2006) or a pre-moral one (Peikoff 1991; Gotthelf 1999; Smith 2000, 2006), and the implications of either position for the objectivity of Rands Objectivist ethics must, unfortunately, be left undiscussed.) If asked why the choice to live commits you to your own long-term survival rather than some other ultimate end (such as, for example, the greatest happiness of the greatest number (Nozick 1971), or becoming worthy of eternal life in heaven), the answer is: because any other ultimate end, if consistently adhered to, would lead to death.

Rands ethics is thus firmly teleological, this-worldly, and foundationalist. Virtue is the act by which one gains/and or keeps values in light of a recognition of certain facts (1961b: 27, 28); it is not an end in itself not its own reward (1957 [1992]: 939). A fact central to a scientific ethics is that reason is the chief indispensable human tool of survival, and we exercise reason by choice. Hence rationality is the fundamental moral virtue, a virtue implicated in all the other virtues, including productiveness (Section 2.4 below).

Rand is widely credited by Objectivists (Peikoff 1991; Binswanger 1990, 1992; Kelley & Thomas 1999see Other Internet Resources; Gotthelf 1999; Smith 2000, 2006) with having solved the is-ought problem by showing that morality is essential for long-term survival as a rational being, and so anyone who chooses to live ought to be moral (1961b: 19). But if the choice to live is itself a moral choice, in the sense that we ought to choose to live, then the argument proceeds from an ought to an ought, not from an is to an ought. On the other hand, if the choice to live is a non-moral choice (an idea thats hard to reconcile with Rands general view that all significant choices are moral choices), then suicide can never be wrong, even if it is done for cowardly, irresponsible, or unjust reasons, a view that seems incoherent (King 1984 and Narveson 1998 criticize this and other aspects of Rands moral views). Even more problematically, if morality is needed only for long-term survival, and choosing suicide is not immoral, then a suicide-bomber does no wrong in killing innocent people.

Relatedly, how should we understand the idea of survival as a rational beingthe life proper to a rational being (Rand 1961b: 27). Is a life proper to a rational being a necessary means, and only a necessary means, to literal, long-term survival? Or is such a life also, in part, the ultimate goal, something to be created and preserved for its own sake? Again, what are we to make of the many passages in which Rand states that the ultimate goal is ones own happiness?

Rand herself thought that she had only one, consistent metaethical view: the ultimate goal is the individuals own survival; the only way to survive long-term, i.e., over a complete life-span, is to live by the standard of mans life as a rational being, which means: to live morally; and happiness is the psychological result, reward and concomitant (p. 32) of living thus. Many of Rands commentators follow her in holding that there is only one consistent view, while disagreeing on the right interpretation of it (Den Uyl & Rasmussen 1978; Machan 1984, 2000; Peikoff 1991; Bidinotto 1994see Other Internet Resources; Hunt 1999; Kelley & Thomas 1999see Other Internet Resources; Gotthelf 1999; Smith 2000, 2006). Others (Mack 1984, 2003; Badhwar 1999, 2001; Long 2000) argue that Rands writings actually allow of two, if not three, mutually incompatible views of the ultimate goal, and our task is to see which of these is the dominant or most plausible view. The three views are: survival, survival qua rational being, and happiness in the ancient Aristotelian sense of flourishing or eudaimonia. In the rest of Section 2, we will present the textual evidence for each of these views of the final goal, and the common objections to them, in turn.

The survivalist view holds that just as literal survival is the ultimate value for other living entities, so it is for human beings (Kelley & Thomas 1999; Gotthelf 1999; Smith 2000). Survival is the source and final goal of all the actions of an entity, that which gives point to all its other values. For human beings, happiness, intellectual and artistic pursuits and rationality/morality are all means to survival. The vicious can achieve their goals [only] for the range of a moment, as evidenced by any criminal or any dictatorship (1961b: 26). Even those whose vice consists of imitating others rather than looting them live a precarious existence because they are likely to follow any destroyer who promises to be their savior (1961b: 25).

Non-survivalists make the following objections:

Like Hobbes, Rand rightly points out that if everyone or most people were to start preying on each other, then no one would survive for longliterally, and that generations of predators would end up destroying or driving away the producers, and thus destroying themselves (Anthem and Atlas Shrugged). But this doesnt show that a few predators in a society of producers cannot survive by predation. Indeed, Rand herself sometimes acknowledges that evil people can survive by free-riding (hitch-hiking, as she calls it) on rational, productive people:

If some men attempt to survive by means of brute force or fraud it still remains true that their survival is made possible only by their victims, only by the men who choose to think and to produce the goods which they, the looters, are seizing. (1961b: 25)

In Mans Rights, Rand explains an individuals right to his own life as

the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (1963b: 93 and 1967a: 32122)

Life here is explicated in terms of not only continued survival but also the enjoyment proper to a human being.

For all these reasons, a more plausible interpretation of Rands view is that morality is required for surviving qua human being, that is, for living a life proper to a human being.

Just as the standard of value is survival qua human being, so the ultimate goal is ones own survival qua human being. To accept this standard and goal is to accept (i) the three cardinal values of reason, purpose (or purposiveness) and self-esteem as not only the means to but also the realization of ones ultimate value, ones own life (1961b: 27), and (ii) the three corresponding virtues of rationality, productiveness, and pride. These values are means to ones life insofar as they further ones life as a rational being, and they realize it insofar as they express the value we place on our lives.

What it means to value survival qua human being turns on the relationship of the three cardinal values to the three virtues. Rand often states that virtue is only a means to value. But when she explains how the three cardinal values correspond to their three virtues, she does not provide a means-end analysis (Badhwar 1999, 2001). Thus, she says:

Productive work is the central purpose of a rational mans life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive workpride is the result. (1961b: 27)

The virtue of productiveness becomes the central example of purpose (one of the three cardinal values), reason (another cardinal value) becomes its source, and the virtue of pride becomes its result. Rand also defines rationality, which is the basic virtue, in terms of

the recognition and acceptance of reason as ones only source of knowledge and ones only guide to action. (1961b: 28)

By this definition, being rational means valuing reason in thought, word, and deed, and realizing reason in ones life means being rational: the virtue and the value entail each other.

This point generalizes to all the virtues and values. Further, since the (cardinal) values are both the means to and the realization of ones ultimate value (1961b: 27), it follows that the (cardinal) virtues are also both the means to and the realization of ones ultimate value: long-term survival qua human being. On this interpretation, to survive qua human being is none other than to lead a virtuous life in which one has realized ones potential.

Both survivalists and eudaimonists, however, point out that this conception of the final end contradicts Rands oft-repeated claim that Virtue is not an end in itself. In addition, eudaimonists make the following objections:

Eudaimonists hold that the dominant and/or more plausible view expressed in Rands writings is that happinessa happy lifeis the ultimate value, where a happy life is understood as a life of emotional fulfillment in worthwhile goals and activities. Happiness in this sense necessarily involves virtue, but is not identical with virtue (Den Uyl & Rasmussen 1978; Machan 1984, 2000; Mack 1984; Badhwar 1999, 2001; Hunt 1999; Long 2000).[4]

Happiness is the existentially and psychologically successful state of life (1961b: 27). As an emotion it is not simply a positive subjective state, as on some contemporary views, but an emotion that meets certain normative standards: a state of non-contradictory joya joy without penalty or guilt, achievable only by

the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions. (1961b: 32)

Happiness is also a form of life-affirmation:

the feeling of ones blessing upon the whole of the earth, the feeling of being in love with the fact that one exists and in this kind of world. (1957 [1992]: 1056)

Thus, happiness is an objectively worthwhile and emotionally positive state of life.

Rand holds that the pursuit of happiness is inseparable from the activity of maintaining ones life through the rational pursuit of rational goals (1961b: 29, 32). A virtuous life is, thus, essential to happiness. It is also a shield against soul-wracking unhappiness. Just as even great misfortunes dont throw Aristotles virtuous individual into misery, they dont throw Rands heroes into misery. Even at the worst of times, the virtuous individuals pain only goes down to a certain point (1943: 344), never touching the core of her being: the self-esteem that consists of the conviction that she is worthy and capable of happiness.[5]

In keeping with their richer conception of the final end, Rands novels also employ a richer conception of virtue as an integrated intellectual-emotional character trait to think, feel, and act in certain ways, rather than simply as an act in light of a recognition of certain facts (Badhwar 1999, 2001). Her characters reveal their souls not only in what they say or do, notice or fail to notice, focus on or evade, on this or that occasion, but in their cognitive, emotional, and action dispositions, their style of being in the world. Their actions show not only an intellectual commitment to the right but a wholehearted love of rectitude (1957 [1992]: 512).

This basically Aristotelian view of virtue goes hand-in-hand with a basically Aristotelian view of emotions. Rand rejects the reason-emotion dichotomy as stemming, ultimately, from a false mind-body dichotomy. Emotions are neither raw feelings nor inherently irrational but automatized value-judgments:

estimates of that which furthers mans values or threatens them lightning calculators giving him the sum of his profit or loss. (1961b: 27)

Emotions provide instant guidance when circumstances do not permit reasoning everything out anew. But our emotions are only as good as our reason, because they are programmed by our reason. Hence they can only be corrected by conscious reasoning, and in a conflict between reason and emotions, one must always side with the former.[6]

Eudaimonists argue that Rands vision of a virtuous and happy life in her novels can be understood only as a form of eudaimonism, even if she often makes statements inconsistent with this vision. The chief objection to eudaimonism is that, by defining a happy life partly in terms of virtue, it employs an unconvincing conception of happiness. The philosophical literature on happiness in this sense (usually called well-being) makes and answers many such objections (Badhwar 2014).

The chief Objectivist virtues are rationality, integrity, honesty (with self and others), justice, independence, productiveness, and pride. Rationality,

ones total commitment to the maintenance of a full mental focus in all issues, in all choices to the fullest perception of reality within ones power, (1961b: 28)

is the basic virtue of which the other virtues are aspects or derivatives. The virtues are thus united or reciprocal. Each virtue is defined partly in terms of a recognition and whole-hearted commitment to some fact or facts, a commitment understood by the agent to be indispensable for gaining, maintaining, or expressing her ultimate value. For example, integrity is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake your consciousness (1957 [1992]: 936), a recognition that is expressed in loyalty to ones rational values and convictions, especially in the face of social pressures to surrender them (1961b: 28; 1964a: 52, 80); honesty is the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake existence, a recognition that is expressed in truthfulness in thought and speech (1957 [1992]: 93637); and justice is

the recognition of the fact that you cannot fake the character of men as you cannot fake the character of nature, that every man must be judged for what he is and treated accordingly. (1957 [1992]: 937)

Conspicuous by their absence from Rands list of the cardinal virtues are the virtues of benevolence, such as kindness, charity, generosity, and forgiveness. Rand states that charity is not a major virtue or moral duty (1964b); likewise, presumably, kindness, generosity, and forgiveness. Whether, and how much, one should help others depends on their place in ones rationally defined hierarchy of values, and on the particular circumstances (whether they are worthy of help, what the likely consequences are of helping them, and so on). The greater their value vis–vis ones rational self-interest, the greater the help that one should be willing to give, ceteris paribus. What is never morally appropriate is making sacrifices, that is, surrendering something of value to oneself for the sake of something of less or no value to oneself. Thus, it can never be moral to knowingly risk ones life for a stranger (unless, of course, ones life is no longer worth living) or to court unhappiness for the happiness of another, whether stranger or friend. It is appropriate to help a stranger only in an emergency, and only when the risk to our own life or well-being is minimal (1963c: 4345). This should not be taken to imply that helping a stranger is morally optional, regardless of the strangers plight. Indeed, people who are totally indifferent to anything living and would not lift a finger to help a man or a dog left mangled by a hit-and-run driver are psychopaths (1963c: 4345) Rand makes even more concessions to common sense morality when she states that its good to help a neighbor going through a hard time till he can get back on his own feet, if we can afford to and if we have no reason to think that he is undeserving. Charity understood thus is a virtue because it is an expression of the generalized good will and respect that all normal people have towards others as creatures who share with them the capacity to value (1963c: 4647). Nathaniel Branden tries to reconcile charity with a narrow act-egoism by declaring that the former stems from a species-identification with another, such that, in revering others, people are revering their own life. By acting charitably, people actualize this sense of kinship, without sacrificing their own well-being.

This last is true, but the desire to reduce all motivations to act-egoistic motivations leads Branden (and Rand and many Objectivists) to ignore the fact that charity is first and foremost profoundly other-regarding, prompted by anothers plight rather than concern for ones own self-actualization The same is true of trying to rescue a dog mangled by a hit-and-run driver, where the egoistic motivation is even weaker, since here there is no species-identification, but rather only a genus-identification with another sufferer.

At any rate, the argument from identification can also be used to justify charity towards strangers in non-emergency situations, for example, for those who are permanently disabled and unable to care for themselves (Badhwar forthcoming-b). Rand concedes as much in What is Capitalism? (1965) where she argues that people who are unable to work must rely on voluntary charity, thus implying that it is proper for those who can afford it to support strangers in non-emergency situations.

The question arises why Rand thinks that charity, kindness etc. are not major virtues when they meet all the conditions of appropriateness: the recipient is worthy of help, one can afford to help, it is in ones rational self-interest (or not contrary to it) to help, and so on. Perhaps Rand thinks that they are minor virtues because we are not obligated to act on them at all times, the way we are obligated to act justly and honestly at all times. A deeper reason, however, might be her conception of people as essentially agents rather than patients, doers rather than receivers, self-sufficient rather than dependent. Nevertheless, Rands view of the unity of the virtues dictates that, even if we are not obligated to act on charity, kindness etc. at all times, they are just as important to possess as the other virtues. Moreover, in keeping with her emphasis on the importance of goodwill towards others and the benevolent universe premise, Rands heroes are often extraordinarily (and almost always appropriately) kind and generous, not only to those they love but also to mere acquaintances, and even sometimes adversaries (Badhwar 1993bsee Other Internet Resources). Striking examples include, from The Fountainhead, Howard Roarks unsought-for attempt to give hope and courage to Steven Mallory, the gifted young sculptor whose failure to get work has driven him to the verge of a spiritual and physical collapse; Roarks unreproachful help to his erstwhile adversary, Peter Keating, when Keating falls on hard times; and from Atlas Shrugged, Dagnys support to a heart-broken and despairing Cheryl Taggart who, in the past, has treated Dagny with scorn; and Hank Reardens generosity towards his exploitative family before he realizes their exploitativeness.[7] By contrast, Rands villains lack genuine goodwill towards others and, thus, lack true kindness or generosity.

Just as rationality, a focus on reality, is at the heart of every virtue, so irrationality, evasion of reality (including self-deception), is at the heart of every vice. Rands villains are all master evaders motivated by a desire for power, social status, fame, or unearned wealth, and resentment of the good. They are second-handerspeople whose primary relationship is to other people rather than to reality. Between the virtuous and the vicious are the innocently wrong, people who adopt wrong moral principles or make wrong choices, not through evasion but through an error of judgment (Rand does not explicitly recognize any moral category other than virtue, vice, and moral error, although her novels portray characters that do not easily fit into any of these categories). Hank Rearden, in Atlas Shrugged, is the great innocent living under a burden of unearned guilt because of his mistaken sense of honor and his charity towards a family interested only in manipulating and using him. Cheryl Taggart is killed by the too-sudden revelation that the man she loved and admired as the embodiment of her ideals is a fraudand that the world is full of such frauds.

As already indicated, Rand justifies virtue in both instrumental and non-instrumental terms, though without distinguishing between them. The instrumental arguments show the existential and psychological rewards of virtue and costs of vice. Virtue creates a sense of inner harmony and enables mutually beneficial interactions with others. Evasiveness, by contrast, traps one in a tangled web of rationalizations and pretenses. The evader who deceives others is either eventually caught, or lives in fear of being caught, becoming dependent on others unconsciousness. He is a fool, says a character in Atlas Shrugged, whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling (1957 [1992]: 945). Further, like Sartre, Rand holds that no evasion is completely successful, because the truth constantly threatens to resurface. Hence, the evaders diseased soul is in a state of constant inner conflict and anxiety as he tries to suppress his awareness of uncomfortable truths while maintaining his hold on others. His lack of integrity and of esteem for reality results in a lack of self-love or self-esteem and, indeed, of a solid self. (It is noteworthy, however, that her portrayal of Gail Wynand in The Fountainhead is closer to Aristotles portrayal of the vicious man in Book III of the Nicomachean Ethics as someone who is unconscious of his vice, than to her own stated view of the evader.)

These views are familiar from the history of philosophy, but many readers find their expression in Rands novels to be of unusual psychological depth and conviction. Nevertheless, the views are subject to the well-known objection that the complexity and variability of human psychology and society allow only for the most part generalizations about the existential and psychological benefits of virtue or costs of vice. Thus, it is possible for a small injustice to lead to great rewards, especially since others are willing to shrug off or forgive occasional transgressions. It is also possible for poor introspection, forgetfulness, or self-acceptance to allow one to evade something without any need for supporting evasions or damage to ones self-esteem. Again, even if every wrongdoing carries psychological costs, these might sometimes be outweighed by the long-term costs of doing the right thing (as Rand herself suggests in her portrayal of the embittered Henry Cameron and Stephen Mallory in The Fountainhead).

The non-instrumentalist justification of virtue in Rands novels is largely immune to these objections (though subject to the objections noted in 2.4 above). To compromise morally is, necessarily, to compromise ones own (objectively conceived) happiness, because no existential loss can compare to the loss of moral integrity. Rectitude is partly constitutive of genuine happiness because it expresses the right relationship to reality: to existence, to oneself, and to others. For the same reason, it is partly constitutive of a self worth loving, an ideally human or rational self. Like Plato and Aristotle, Rand argues that virtue necessarily creates inner harmony and certitude. Any value gained at the price of rectitude is only the simulacrum of genuine value. In a variety of conceptually interconnected ways, then, virtuous individuals are necessarily better off than those willing to take moral short-cuts. In its structure and much of its content, Rands ethical egoism is thus of a piece with the egoism of ancient eudaimonistic theories.

An objection often levied against egoistic theories is that they give the wrong reason for acting in other-regarding ways: justly, kindly, etc. My act is not really just if I give you your due because it is good for me rather than because you deserve it; it is not really charitable if I help you for my own benefit rather than yours. A common reply is that the egoists justification is egoistic but not her motivation, a reply that itself invites the charge of moral schizophrenia. Rand does not address the wrong-reason objection, but its unlikely that she would accept this dichotomy between justification and motivation. So insofar as her view is instrumentalist and act-egoistic, the problem remains. The non-instrumentalist strand in her theory, however, implies that the objection itself is mistaken, because giving you what you deserve/merit is partly constitutive of my rational interests; there is no conflict between your rational interests and mine (cf. 1964a: 5765).

Rand regards goodwill towards others, or a generalized benevolence, as an offshoot of proper self-love, with no independent source in human nature. There is only one alternative to being rationally self-interested: sacrificing ones proper interests, either for the sake of other people (which she equates with altruism) or for the sake of the supernatural (which she calls mysticism) (1982a: ch. 7). Kants ethics is a secularized mysticism insofar as it rests on categorical commands and duty for dutys sake, which is to say: regardless of any earthly desire or interest (1970). An altruistic ethics equates right action with self-sacrifice for the sake of others good and immorality with selfishness, while saying nothing about the standard of the good (Introduction, 1964a: iii; 1974). It thus fails to answer the prior question of what code of values we should follow and why, and provides no motivation to be moral other than guilt over selfishness. When taken to its logical conclusion, altruism does not simply tell us that it is selfish to pursue our own desires, but also that it is selfish to uphold [our own] convictions, [that we] must sacrifice them to the convictions of others (Rand 1957 [1992]: 943; Galts Speech, Rand 1961a: 142). In foreign policy, altruism is used to justify and gain support for Americas intervention in other countries (1966a). Altruism is also the reason why so many sympathize with, or even praise, bloody dictatorships that proudly proclaim that the sacrifice of the individual is a necessary and noble means to the goal of the collective good (Rand 1966a).

As a moral code, altruism is impractical, because its requirements are contrary to the requirements of life and happiness, both the agents and other peoples. As such, it is also profoundly immoral. Altruism leaves us without any moral guidance in our everyday lives and gives morality a bad name.

What, then, is the psychological explanation for the widespread equation of altruism with morality? Rand suggests various explanations reminiscent of Nietzsches analysis of the psychology of altruism. The theorists and preachers of altruism are motivated largely by a desire to control and manipulate others by playing on their guilt. Those who accept their teachings typically do so either because of guilt over their own superior achievements, or because, lacking any intellectual integrity, love of truthor a passionate dedication to an idea, they have nothing much worth saving, and so do not mind sacrificing themselves (Selfishness Without a Self, 1973b; 1982a). Some altruists are altruists because their mentalities are still frozen in a tribal past when survival required the sacrifice of some for the sake of others (1973b). Rand herself rejects a zero-sum picture of human relationships, so long as everyone in the relationship acts rationally.

Rands defense of selfishness and rejection of altruism are part of the reason both for her popularity with the general reader, and her unpopularity with philosophers and other intellectuals, although some would no doubt agree with her rejection of abject self-sacrifice and her recognition of proper concern with the self as moral (Falk 1963; Gilligan 1982; Hampton 1993; Badhwar 1993a). The general reader who responds positively to Rands work finds, for the first time, a moral justification for pursuing a life of her or his own and a liberation from unearned guilt. The philosopher who responds negatively to her work finds many biased and simplistic interpretations of philosophers and philosophical doctrines, including her claim that she is the first to consistently defend a morality of rational self-interest, all other philosophers having defended either altruism or mysticism (Pojman 1995). Her critics also challenge her equation of altruism with abject self-sacrifice (Rachels 2000, Flew 1984), and her claim (explained below) that there is no conflict between peoples rational interests (Flew 1984). An adequate interpretation of her views, however, requires attention both to the fact that, in the absence of special obligations created by bonds of love, contract, or family, she regards others needs as making no claim on us, and to the fact that she is an uncompromising defender of justice, honesty, and respect for others as ends in themselves.

Rands moral society is a society of independent individuals who respect each others natural rights to life, liberty, and property, and who trade value for value, materially and spiritually. They live, in her words, by the trader principle. Individual (natural) rights and the trader principle are both dictated by the fact that, as rational, independent beings, we need to think and act for our proper survival (1961b: 31). Both are required by respect for individuals as ends in themselves, not mere means to others ends.

Rights are a moral conceptthe concept that provides a logical transition from the principles guiding an individuals actions to the principles guiding his relationship with othersthe concept that preserves and protects individual morality in a social contextthe link between the moral code of a man and the legal code of a society, between ethics and politics. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law. (1963b: 92).

These natural rights are basically rights to actions, not to things or outcomes, and they can be violated only through the initiation of force or fraud. Hence, all natural rights are negative, that is, claims on others non-interference, and not claims on them to provide one with certain goods or outcomes.[8] The fundamental right is the right to life: the right to take the actions necessary for sustaining the life proper to a human being.

The right to life meansthe freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.). (1963b: 93)

The right to liberty is the right to act (including to write and speak) on ones judgment; the right to the pursuit of happiness is the right to pursue goals for ones own fulfillment; the right to property is the right to gain, to keep, to use and to dispose of material values (1963b: 94). Like the mind-body dichotomy, the common dichotomy between human rights and the right to property is a false one, because to own ones life is to own ones actions and their fruits (1962b: 91).[9] Just as there is a causal and logical connection between the virtues, so there is between these rights: a government that violates human rights also violates property rights. Thus, for example, in violating the right to freedom of expression by banning obscene speech on TV, the government violates the property right of the owners of the TV station to use their property as they see fit. Like other libertarians, both right (market) and left (egalitarian), Rand opposes state regulation of morality, as well as forced service to the state, whether military or civilian. She criticizes both conservatives and liberals (as these terms are understood in American politics) for wanting government to control the realm they regard as important: the spiritual or moral realm in the case of conservatives, and the material or economic realm in the case of liberals (1981b). Both sides thus betray a lack of understanding of the fact that human beings need to be free in both realms to be free in either.

There is much that is of great value here, especially Rands insight that we would not have rights if we did not need them for our survival and happiness (Miller & Mossoff forthcoming; Badhwar forthcoming-a). But critics point out that grounding all rights in the right to take the actions necessary for proper survival entails that one has no right to take actions that are contrary to proper survival: blindly following a guru instead of thinking for oneself, living off others because one prefers the life of a couch potato to fending for oneself, wasting ones property instead of using it wisely, or, most obviously, committing suicide (Mack 1984; Zwolinski forthcoming; Badhwar forthcoming-a). Yet the freedom to do only that which is morally good or rational is not a freedom at all. But this is not Rands consistent position. For example, she also says that, as fallible creatures, human beings

must be free to agree or disagree, to cooperate or to pursue their own independent course, each according to his own rational judgment. (1965: 17)

Some commentators rely on this statement to argue that Rand is not restricting rights to actions that are necessary for proper survival (Miller & Mossoff forthcoming). But it would be more accurate to say that, while this position is the one that is compatible with her deep-seated commitment to liberty and a minimal government, she also often makes statements that entail the opposite.

Rand argues that the only just social-political system, the only system compatible with our rational nature and with the right of individuals to live for their own sakes, is capitalism (1965, 1967b), that is,

laissez-faire capitalismwith a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church. (1961b, 1964a)

State regulation of the market, she argues, is responsible for corrupting both state and market institutions, just as political regulation of religion (or religious regulation of politics), wherever it exists, corrupts both state and religious institutions. Regulation creates the opportunity for the trading of favors between politicians and religious leaders, and politicians and businesses. Atlas Shrugged offers a complex and compelling depiction of the economic, political, and moral corruption spawned by cronyism between government and business. Laissez-faire capitalism is the only [social] system that bans force from social relationships domestically and abroad, because the trader and the warrior are antagonists (Rand 1966a). Rands conception of capitalism is, thus, more radical than the mainstream conception, and her defense of it significantly different both from the utilitarian defenses given by most economists, and the religious defenses given by many conservatives (see Den Uyl & Rasmussen 1984b; Machan 1984). She does, of course, praise capitalism (or semi-capitalism) for creating widespread prosperity, but this feature is itself explained only by the fact that it leaves individuals free to produce in peace. In Atlas Shrugged, Rand distinguishes between the few business people who earn their money through honest effort, without seeking favors from the government, and the vast majority who are members of the aristocracy of pull (crony capitalists, in contemporary terminology) and get rich only through such favors, a situation that she thinks prevails, and has always prevailed, in the real world (Rand 1964c). She holds that for a short period in the nineteenth-century America came closer to a laissez-faire system than any other society before or since, but that capitalism remains an unknown ideal. Some critics complain, however, that in her non-fiction (1961c) Rand does not always recognize the aristocrats of pull in the real worldbusiness leaders who lobby politicians for subsidies for themselves and restrictions on their competitors (Rothbard 1968; Johnson 2006).

Rand rejects the criticism that unregulated, laissez-faire capitalism would lead to a concentration of power in a few hands and undermine equality of opportunity because laissez-faire capitalism requires the rule of law, a well-defined system of property rights, freedom of contract, and, as a corollary, a government that abstains from all favoritism.

Rand holds that there is no conflict between one persons rational interests and anothers, hence that respecting other peoples rights is perfectly compatible with advancing or preserving ones own interests. Is it true, however, that rational interests cannot conflict? It seems that whenever two people have an interest in one good, for example, a job, and are equally qualified to have it, their rational interests conflict, Perhaps what Rand has in mind is that rational interests dont necessarily conflict, that is, that it is not in their nature to conflict. Their conflict is due to external factors, such as only one job for two qualified people. But is such conflict compatible with rights in an egoistic framework? And can rights be defended within an egoistic framework? Critics object that respect for others rights cannot be justified only as a means to ones ultimate value, whether this be survival or happiness (Mack 1984; Flew 1984). For under perfectly realistic scenarios, ones ultimate value can require one to violate anothers right to life or property. In her justification of rights we see the same unresolved tension between the instrumentalist strand and the deontic strand that we do in her justification of morality in general (Mack 1984, 2003). The eudaimonist strand in Rands justification, however, allows her to respond that respect for others rights expresses our recognition of the fact that others are ends in themselves, a recognition that is required by justice, and that justice, along with the other virtues, is necessary for leading a happy life.

Rand defines government as

an institution that holds the exclusive power to enforce certain rules of social conduct in a given geographical area. (1963a: 125)

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Ayn Rand (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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What’s a Conservative Ideology and What’s a Liberal Ideology?

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Jun 242016
 

Updated on February 9, 2011

I used to carpool with an old, blind professor to the small college I attended and he use to tell me, paraphrasing Gore Vidal, that politics came from two words: poli, meaning many, and tics, meaning blood sucking vermin. Unfortunately, his somewhat suspect etymology, while proving technically untenable, has turned out to be largely correct in principle.

In American politics, where power has become everything, ideology has become a bastard step-child. American politicians think more about how they can fool the masses or get around popular democracy to further their ends than they do about what they truly believe in, if they actually believe in anything?

Of course, it is not my intent to sweep every single politician under the bus with a broad brush, so for this hub it must be understood that I am speaking in general terms.

There are two major ideologies in American politics. Understanding these helps us understand each other politically and enables us to make sense of what at times seems senseless. These ideologies are labeled conservative and liberal. Although these terms have changed definitions over the years, I will use them as they are currently defined.

If you took a strip of paper that was blue on one end and gradually changed colors until it was red at the other end, you would end up with a spectrum of colors. At some point toward the center of the strip you could get into a few arguments as to whether the color was red, purple, or blue. It is that way with the liberal and conservative ideologies, so I will be concentrating on the ends of the strip, so to speak, and not the middle.

At the core of it, Conservatives base there ideology on what they see as reason and logic and it is individualistic by nature, whereas a liberal’s ideology is based on emotion and ideals and is collective by nature. A liberal is interested in curing society’s ills by social engineering. A conservative is interested in curing society’s ills by individuals exercising their own choices to better themselves. Because of this, conservatives view centralized power with deep suspicion. Liberals on the other hand see centralized power as an opportunity to affect great change for good.

Because of the fundamental differences in the way conservatives and liberals approach the solutions to society’s challenges, it should come as no surprise that they have radically different views on the role of government.

The Liberal View

A liberal wants the government deeply involved in our lives. It is often seen as a parent to us allor the big tent. They believe that the government can force society to confront its ills and legislate and enforce the cures. A liberal point of view diminishes the individual’s responsibility and believes people are victims or victimizers. This point of view does not see individuals as having power to rise above their circumstances in large numbers and therefore a savior must be found to “level the playing field.”

They point to the example of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Without government intervention, they argue, the rights of minorities would never have been acknowledged nor would there be equal rights for all. In fact the civil rights movement is the basis of the modern liberal’s political ideology, and proof that it is essentially correct.

This conviction motivates them to use all means available to impose their vision of goodness on the masses. If they can’t get the populous to support their agenda then they will get the courts to legislate it. This is because they firmly believe that their agenda is for the greater good of society.

Liberalism is naturally sympathetic with socialism and suspicious of individualism and even though it shares the same long-term goals as conservatism it’s approach, as you can see, is radically different.

The Conservative View

Even though the conservatives share with liberals the desire for a better society, they differ sharply in what role the government should play. In a nutshell, conservatives view the role of government as “the less the better.” Since they see the combined strength and sufficiency of the individual as the only honest cure for society they believe that the role of government should be restricted to functions that support and protect individual liberty. They are very suspicious of government interference in individual rights, and they do not see differences in socioeconomic groups as a bad thing since, in their view, it is every individual’s right to change those circumstances by choice and action.

They view the government’s attempts at redistribution of wealth through its tax codes, its interference in commerce by regulations, and its welfare entitlements as enabling individuals to shirk responsibility for their own lives and rely on the government to take care of them. They reason that the more the government takes responsibility for his or her well being away from the individual, the weaker and more dependent society will become.

At this point in American politics the two ideologies have taken a back seat to power, but if they were brought to bear on our government which would be the best: Socialist Democracy, or an independent go-it-alone capitalist democracy? I would submit to you that the extremes of both ideologies are dangerous and would deepen problems in American society and that one, tempered with the other, might be the best ideology of all.

For example: if we have a struggling class in America, we could provided training opportunities for people who wanted to succeed and would put forth efforts on their own behalf instead of entitlement programs that accomplish nothing and consume copious amounts of money? Along with such programs would also come the responsibility for the recipients to put forth efforts on behalf of their own welfare.

We need to have a heart that includes tough love and foresight, one that looks at America’s opportunities and does not retreat into a defensive posture from the world around it. One that can realize the true nature of the threats against America and America’s way of life. Not a vision that feels good at the thought of America sinking down to the level of the third world, but instead one that forges on a head and shows the way for the third world to follow.

America must continue to provide unparalleled opportunities, but not bend to whiners and self proclaimed victims who want to short-cut the system and reap benefits they never earned. We must in sympathy try to teach fishing, quit giving fish and realize that poverty is not always the rich or the government’s fault. But we must not march on, leaving people behind who, with a little instruction and help, can become productive and successful. In doing this we must also have the heart firm enough to leave those behind who refuse all help and demand instead to be fed from the public coffer’s without a contribution of their own.

We must leave classism, racism, and bigotry behind, regardless if it is the old-school-hard-hearted variety wacky right, or the soft feel-good, guilt-washing, variety of the wacky left. No class of Americans should be punished or be held back based on the color of their skin in order to “even the score.” We need to let go of power and take hold of responsibility; quit giving the media oracle status, and get the job done.

So you go out and finally spend the dough on a weed whacker and after figuring out how to assemble it, you fuel it up, after doing a short chem lab on fuel mixing, and then you move briskly into the aerobics section of…

The face, jaws, and neck are one of the places on our bodies that people view to get an impression of who we are so it is important to reduce fat from your face and here’s how…

Obama’s rise to power was nothing short of spectacular. It was so rapid that it left many of people playing catch up as to just who he was, but it is no longer difficult to understand where Obama is coming from…

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What’s a Conservative Ideology and What’s a Liberal Ideology?

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Liberalism and Conservatism – Regis University

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Jun 212016
 

Dr. Jim L. Riley Regis University Denver, CO

1990

Moderate Ideologies along with moderate political viewpoints may be correctly seen as occupying positions between the more extreme wings of the spectrum. In terms of the extent of power of the State moderate ideologies strike a balance between individual rights, freedoms and obligations and the coercive power of the State to mandate or prohibit certain behaviors by people. This “balanced” view brings forth various implications regarding governmental structure, electoral procedures, the rule of Law, economic concerns, and other important issues present in all organized societies. Likewise considerations regarding time help define the boundaries of moderate ideologies.

Change is inevitable in society, in governmental arrangements and relationships, in leadership, in public policies and throughout the political world. Ideologies of the moderate varieties seek change at a pace that enables progress to occur but neither so fast that the destruction of stability and order in society becomes more likely, nor so slow as to foster stagnation and status quo permanence. Clearly then, there is considerable room for disagreement and dispute over what is the proper balance in all of these concerns. These disputable arenas contribute profoundly to struggles among those who support different moderate ideologies.

Liberalism has occupied an important position in the moderate varieties of political ideologies for well over two centuries. Although its dimensions differ from society to society (where it is permitted to endure), there do exist core elements which can be identified, examined and understood. At the outset let it be noted that common parlance often misapprehends and violates the reality of liberalism. Calling someone a “bleeding heart liberal” is worse than an insult, it is largely meaningless insofar as conveying accurate information. Describing one public policy or another as “liberal” sheds precious little light on the nature of governmental activities.

The first glimmerings of liberalism may be discovered in the expansive political role being sought by increasingly large numbers of individuals and, more significantly, discreet groups of people with identifiable common interests. In the latter part of the 18th Century great forces were at work undermining existing political arrangements in Europe. Whereas the British had been experiencing a gradual expansion of the rights of ordinary citizens as well as the landed nobility as against the Monarch, such forces were largely held in check in France until the Revolution of 1789. Unlike in France the British had no central instrument of oppression such as a centrally controlled standing army ready to do the bidding of the monarch. British liberalism sought not to overthrow the Monarchy but to reign in its powers by expanding the role of the representatives of the people.

Certainly it was John Locke (1632-1704) who best expressed the principles of Liberalism in the British (and American) tradition. His Two Treatises of Government (first published in 1690) constitutes a most important statement on the liberal political philosophy that has so much influenced politics in succeeding centuries. At the center of his writings are basic values that today remain as under girding for the entire liberal view. Government exists to serve the people and community it governs. Its power is limited by concepts of natural rights of individuals and moral or natural law. Among these natural rights was the concept of the right to acquire and dispose of property. “Life, liberty and estate” belonged to individuals quite apart from any grant from society or its instrument Government.

The basic duty of government is to protect the common good and private rights which were seen to be inextricably related if not the same thing. Individuals agree to limits on their behavior by granting to government certain limited powers but only if the government rules on behalf of the common good and in the protection of private rights. For reasons of convenience and mutual benefit people enter into a compact whereby they willingly relinquish some of their freedom of action and in return gain security and stability in their daily lives. As Locke wrote: “Men being, as has been said, by Nature, all free, equal, and independent, no one can be put out of this Estate, and subjected to the Political Power of another, without his own Consent.”

The only way whereby any one divests himself of his Natural Liberty, and puts on the bonds of Civil Society is by agreeing with other Men to join and unite into a Community for their comfortable, safe, and peaceable living amongst another, in a secure Enjoyment of their Properties, and a greater Security against any that are not of it. (Locke, Two Treatises of Government, NY: New American Library, 1963, pp.374-75.)

Should government become tyrannical and deviate from this Compact with the people, then the people had the right of revolution to overthrow the government which had broken the Compact. This right of revolution is based solidly on the notion that people may, when confronted with injustice, take actions to bring about basic changes in government. Society and government were separate entities and the dissolution of the latter did not imply the destruction of the former. Governments were bound by laws just as were individuals. Moreover, these laws, could not legitimately violate principles of natural justice; indeed if a contravening of principles of natural justice were was done then the actions of the government were not laws in the true sense of the term.

For Locke principles of natural justice were grounded in a right to own and dispose of property. Debate over what constitutes these principles has continued to the present time. In France the development of liberalism took decidedly different turns. A corrupt and parasitic nobility sought to maintain its grip on power at all costs and with no recognition of the rights of the populace at large. The demand for equality as part of the concept of liberalism was an invitation to complete rejection of the ancien regime and to do so in an uncompromising and violent manner.

A revolution devoted in 1789 to principles of individual rights degenerated by 1793 into the dictatorship of the Jacobins and the accompanying terror of mob rule. At this point in time the ideology supporting the French Revolution became extremist rather than moderate and laid the foundation for the eventual success of Napoleon Bonaparte who offered stability and order in place of the chaos of post-revolutionary France.

Because of common ethnic, cultural, legal, political and even geographic factors, liberal development in the United States initially took more from the British than the French. While the early stages of the American Revolution did borrow heavily from British political thought subsequent development had more in common with the French. Thomas Jefferson certainly was influenced by developments in both countries. The Declaration of Independence written by Jefferson in 1776 contains concepts developed by Locke and others in the British liberal tradition. However, following his tenure as Ambassador to France during the 1780’s Jefferson was evidently deeply influenced by French political thought and attempted to channel American liberal political development in directions parallel to those in France. These views contained a greater emphasis on popular control of government, deeply ingrained suspicions of institutionalized power, a decidedly anti-clerical orientation and in general an almost fanatical faith in the common people and their wisdom.

These initial successes of liberal movements had, as the name itself implies, a fundamental purpose: to liberate people from oppression. While the methods of liberation, as well as the sources of the oppression may be quite different depending on the time and the place in question, liberation is inevitably the fundamental purpose of liberal political thinking and liberal political movements.

To seek such a goal certain assumptions, not necessarily provable, had to be made. Natural rights as expanded upon by Locke is the first of these. As Jefferson wrote, there are “inalienable” rights that each individual has that may not be legitimately denied by government or any other instrument of society. Initially these rights were to be protected primarily from governments whose tendency it was to diminish, ignore or abuse these rights. Restraints on government in the form of Constitutions or other devices were necessary to the goal of individual freedom. Among the early restraints on government were those protecting largely unfettered rights to acquire and dispose of property, both real and personal. These so-called “economic freedoms” were supplemented with a host of political freedoms including rights to express controversial political views and to organize political opposition to the prevailing group in power.

Natural rights and limited government are corollary concepts. The acceptance of one concept necessarily implies acceptance of the other. Whenever there is a parent there is a child; whenever there is a husband there is a wife. Similarly, whenever there is a right belonging to an individual there is a duty on the part of some other entity — government or person — to respect and/or protect that right. If people have the right to freely express their ideas then it necessarily follows that government cannot legitimately suppress such expression or punish those who utter unpopular remarks or otherwise offend government officials. Not only is government power to restrain and to punish limited, but government also has the duty to protect those who, because of their unconventional views, may be in danger from non-governmental threats.

In Europe by the late 19th Century and in the United States by the early 20th Century liberalism began to shift its emphasis from protecting individuals from oppressive governments to using government as a device to enable individuals to achieve a more meaningful and rewarding life. Government was seen as a positive force in shaping human affairs and society, but only if it was used properly and controlled by the people. Liberalism had come to recognize that powerful institutions in society had to be controlled and regulated by the instrument of the people if true liberation was to occur.

In particular the growth of vast economic empires in the hey-day of capitalism generated a widely held view that only government could reign in these powerful enterprises and provide the citizenry with the means to deal with them effectively. Rights to form labor unions for the purpose of collective bargaining were among the major liberal goals. Regulations were promulgated regarding safety rules, wages, maximum hours, minimum wages and working conditions generally. The liberal credo thus shifted dramatically from a call for less government to cries for more government but in the name of empowering people to deal effectively with the vast powers of modern society.

Faith in the potential reasonableness and goodness of people runs as another constant thread throughout the liberal ideology. This is not to say that the liberal view rested on the assumption that all people were reasonable and good, but that it is the responsibility of society in general and government in specific, to adopt structures and policies that maximize this potential. Taken to its ultimate conclusion this position reaches the absurdity of a totally rationalistic society where all is planned carefully and with perfect premeditation.

Rationality constitutes a similar if not identical cornerstone of liberal philosophy. This emphasis on mankind’s rational potential supports quite well the modern liberal position calling for the use of government to solve social, political and economic problems. Government is viewed as the only representative agent of people capable of bringing to bea both rational problem solving techniques and the authority to carry such policies out at the societal level. Social development ought not to be left to chance but planning and governmental power must be brought to bear on problems that are too large, too intractable, or too complex for the private or non-public sector to deal with effectively and/or equitably.

Capitalism or the free market economy runs counter to this Twenthieth Century version of liberalism. A free market, by definition, is uncontrolled by government and is, therefore, in opposition to the modern liberal emphasis on rational social planning. The original liberal orientation toward freedom from social, economic, religious and governmental institutions fit much more comfortably with capitalism than does the modernist version of liberalism.

It must be remembered that liberalism and capitalism were products of roughly the same period of history: the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Each had as its core the concept of liberation. What were called the “excesses” of capitalism — massive concentrations of wealth in the hands of a relative few individuals and corporations, urban blight, worker alienation and exploitation, environmental degradation, etc. — became targets for liberal rationalists.

These social maladies demanded, in the liberal view, governmental remedies. Uncontrolled economic activity was thus viewed as a new form of oppression and thereby in need of regulation, restraint and control by government. The nature and scope of the limits on government have inevitably been and will continue to be a source of never ending debate and disagreement. Students of politics have a never ending dispute over what constitutes the proper balance between necessary governmental power and restraints needed to protect individual rights.

In general, the Twenthieth Century liberal view has been to stress the need for governmental restraints in the “political” realm such as freedoms of expression, but to seek expansive governmental powers in “economic” and “social” arenas in the name of protecting the disadvantaged and powerless groups who otherwise find themselves at the mercies of entrenched institutions criticized for running roughshod over hapless and helpless adversaries. Corporations must be controlled. The economy must be regulated. Moneyed interests must be tightly restricted. Private discrimination against individual members of minority groups that have been traditionally borne the brunt of societal bigotry must be outlawed and vigorously pursued by governmental agents. Thus, governments must be selectively limited in this modern liberal view.

The initial liberal concept that the government which governs least, governs best has been discarded by liberals and, ironically, claimed, at least in part, by conservatives. Government itself, in the liberal view, must be popularly controlled and directed. While modern liberal purists might opt for direct democracy in which each adult member of the citizenry takes a personal hand in making policies, the existence of governmental units with populations in the millions makes this impracticable if not undesirable. Even Locke did not support “direct democracy.” Indeed, he would have denied the right to vote to the poor unpropertied segments of society.

The modern liberal position is that representatives, chosen in freely contested elections permitting universal adult participation, should act in the name of and on behalf of the people. Majority rule through popularly elected representatives is imperative for a legitimate government to exist. People would be morally obliged to follow the limited dictates of the majority dominated government but only if its policies observed the rights of the people.

One of the most important political rights is that of the minority to criticize government polices and to try and become the majority. Minority rights are part of the concept of majority rule in the liberal view. The nature of these rights is subject to change over time as has been seen. Change in society is warmly embraced by liberal supporters. A brighter day can be obtained by combining the various precepts discussed above. Society is constantly evolving. Thoughtful and responsible people should nurture and guide this process in the name of human liberation and progress. That which exists is not sacred nor perfect. Nothing is protected by divine intervention. Through careful analysis, using mankind’s rational capabilities institutions, beliefs, and values can be consciously shaped and molded to produce a better world.

In summary, liberalism has embraced several fundamental but imprecise elements. Moreover, at different points in history the liberal ideology has emphasized different aspects of its basic principles. Those elements which have appeared as fundamental to liberalism may be seen as: 1. the idea of a compact between the people and their government 2. the right of revolution if the compact is violated 3. natural rights as belonging to all people 4. faith in and support of human rational potential 5. limited powers of government 6. majority rule tempered by minority rights 7. support of change in society

Frederich Hegel’s (1770-1831) view was that the process of dialectics constitutes the mechanism by which ideas change. Out of each thesis (or idea) necessarily arises an anti-thesis (or challenging idea) which inevitably becomes a synthesis of the two. Whether this is indeed the driving force in human intellectual development may never be known, but the development of conservatism bears a close resemblance to this process.

Whereas liberalism sought to liberate mankind from oppressive institutions (be they governments, religious institutions, oppressive social customs and traditions, or vast economic enterprises), conservatism developed as a reaction to what was perceived as dangerous tendencies within the liberal movements toward radicalism and a wholesale rejection of the past as valuable. There was and is an element within conservatism that holds the past in reverence and views with skepticism most change, particularly if it was planned change. If, however, conservatism means nothing more than a rationale’ justifying the maintenance of the status quo then it cannot be correctly adjudged an ideology for it would be content neutral. Conservatism could, in that instance, be used to support political systems ranging from democratic to communist to fascist to anarchistic.

A closer examination of conservatism does reveals a more meaningful doctrine than merely conserving that which exists. Whereas liberalism embraces societal and governmental change as both necessary and desirable, conservatism does indeed adopt a much more doubtful view of the desirability of altering proven institutions and societal values. Respect for authority, custom, and tradition permeate a conservative value system. In particular, changes in the moral ordering of society are seen as very suspicious and probably harmful. Aside from this ingrained suspicion of change there are at rock bottom values within the conservative tradition that remain constant.

Once again it is an Englishman who first expounded the moderate political doctrine in question. Edmund Burke (1729-97) did not create conservatism but as Locke did for liberalism, became its most eloquent spokesman and advocate. In numerous pamphlets this scholar-politician put on paper what was to become the anti-thesis to liberalism run riot (in Burke’s view). Throughout his long and lustrous career within the British political system Burke expressed a profound admiration for the success of the British “Glorious Revolution” of 1688-89 in which the Parliament asserted its power as against royal prerogatives.

The Bill of Rights was adopted which limited the power of the Monarch and protected itself from arbitrary royal enactments. His was a passion for justice, sound governmental administration, devotion to religion and unrelenting opposition to tyranny. For over twenty-five years he was the leading intellectual force in Whig party politics in Great Britain. As a Member of Parliament he supported the American independence movement largely on practical grounds. He continuously advocated policies that produced peace and prosperity.

What galvanized Burke most intensely was the French Revolution. In his work Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790) ideas were set forth that shaped political thinking down to the present time. His intense opposition to and condemnation of the French Revolution as destructive to French society did irreparable damage to his political career and caused estrangements with old friends. Ultimately the Whig party itself was split asunder over this issue.

Burke had long be reluctant to engage in a discussion of the general principles of his ideas. He initially felt that broad abstractions were to be avoided. The French Revolution, however, forced his basic views out in the open. In his refutation of the justifications of the French Revolution Burke attempted to destroy the logic behind the revolutionist reliance on reason and logic as tools guiding social change. Human beings did have rights, Burke did readily admit, but they were conventional not natural. These rights were organically related to society and could not be divorced from it.

People need to have a sense of belonging to something larger than themselves; something that will endure beyond their own short lives. Base feelings of love and loyalty bind members of society together giving them a sense of purpose that permits and encourages self-sacrifice for the larger purposes of the community. Deep emotional attachment will nurture a sense of duty and responsibility that ultimately produce a better society for all. Society is not held together by abstract principles such as a “social contract” but by people bound together through a sense of history, shared experiences and common beliefs. The role of irrationality in society can be ignored only at the risk of misunderstanding a most important inherent characteristic in all mankind. Human institutions have evolved over time and are not the product of rationally constructed plans of action.

Society is indeed a contract. Subordinate contracts for objects of mere occasional interest may be dissolved at pleasure — but the state ought to be considered as something far better and more significant “than a partnership agreement in a trade of pepper and coffee, calico or tobacco, or some other such low concern.” The State us not to be taken as something of a little temporary interest, and to be dissolved by the fancy of the parties. It is to be looked on with other reverence. . . “It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a partnership in every virtue, and in all perfection. . . . Each contract of each particular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal society, linking the lower with the higher natures connecting the visible and invisible world, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by the inviolable oath which holds ass physical and all moral natures, each in their appointed place.” (Reflections 1790, Works, Vol. II p. 368)In this statement Burke makes little distinction between state and society.

The overall message is crystal clear: that which binds humans together is far more than any commercial contract which is subject to abrogation at will. No well-reasoned rationale’ can justify overturning what time immemorial has produced. Moreover, reason running rampant becomes raging radicalism inevitably destined to destroy much of what generations of human experience has produced.

The religious foundations of society almost inexorably come to support conservative political doctrine. Burke himself exhibited a devotion to religion and to the religious foundations of the just state. Government, the State and society in general were all part of a divine order though which God’s will exhibits itself. This religious orientation in Burke’s conservatism may be found in most, if not all, conservative movements. Regimes that call themselves “Marxist” have been seen to resort to religious-like defenses when confronted with serious challenges. Stalin urged Soviet citizens in the second world war to come to the defense of “Mother Russia.” More commonly those espousing a conservative position refer to some “divine” purpose inherent in their society and state. At best this places moral obligations on the state to follow policies that are just and fair (however these terms may be defined). At worst this “divine” purpose becomes a justification for domination of peoples outside the “chosen” ones. Without this religious anchor the development of some “special” social cause or purpose becomes very difficult to maintain.

Just as mankind’s need to have some transcendental system of belief in an ordered universe was seen an necessary, so too was a government which emphasized order, custom, and tradition. Order is needed to reign in mankind’s ingrained selfish tendencies and proclivity toward savagery. The state, which is the enforcement arm of society, must rule in a strong and resolute manner providing swift, sure and harsh punishment for those who violate the law. Proper respect for the roles and responsibilities of private institutions must be observed by government and support should be provided. Custom and tradition should receive their due for they are the outgrowth of generations of experience. Reverence for that which has stood the test of time is ignored at the risk of instability, disorder and social disintegration. A sense of community that is both broad and deep is needed if long-term adherence to social values is to be obtained. This sense of community is no conscious, voluntary and rational decision that one chooses to accept. Society is no debating group says the conservative.

Moreover, people must feel they are a part of something larger and more important than themselves. Pride in and love for the institutions and traditions of one’s society go beyond mere knowledge and willful acceptance of these things. From the earliest childhood and continuing throughout life individuals need to be made a part of the great traditions of his/her people. Accomplishments in the arts and sciences, cherished customs, linguistic uniqueness, religious traditions, economic practices, and especially established human relationships including marriage and family values must be embraced and supported with fervor. Symbols need to be revered and treated with the utmost respect for they represent the very basic elements of society.

The nature of humanity, according to conservative doctrine, is far less admirable than seen in the liberal view. All humans are essential self oriented and in pursuit of their own best interests as they see those interests These irrational drives and self-serving tendencies must be tempered by social control mechanisms that are the outgrowth of centuries of experience. In addition to this selfish characteristic of humans, conservatives believe that the concept of equality is both inaccurate and undesirable. People are not equal in their abilities or value to society. Those who are more able and who contribute more to the well being of their community are deserving of greater rewards. These rewards include not only enhanced material wealth, elevated social status but also a greater role in the governance structure. While traditional conservative doctrine supported the notion of a hereditary aristocracy, modern conservatives support what might be called an aristocracy of talent and morality. Societies leaders should be chosen from those individuals who have by their own talents demonstrated superior abilities through recognized achievements.

But even they cannot properly be given unlimited powers because like all humans they are flawed and cannot be trusted to do what is right. They too must be restrained in their powers by the same institutions and customs operating to maintain stability in society. Just as great societal changes (industrialization, organization, technological innovations, and modernization generally) forced liberalism to alter its stance regarding the proper role of government in economic matters, so too has conservatism changed its position in the face of such great forces. Regarding the important question of the proper relationship between government and the economy conservative doctrine has taken the somewhat ambivalent position of supporting government actions that simultaneously encourage and yet does not control or even closely regulate business activities. This often amounts to a “hands off” policy insofar as government regulation is concerned, but a “helping hand” policy regarding such matters as favorable taxation rates, beneficial tariffs (legislation protecting home business from foreign competition), price supports and countless other schemes.

As liberalism began to espouse the need for increased governmental regulation of business enterprises conservatives, particularly during the depression years in the United States, adopted increasingly anti-regulatory positions. Cries of “creeping socialism” were raised against liberal efforts to increase governmental control over the economy. Aside from questions of economics conservatism has retained, and in recent years emphasized, its original emphasis on maintaining traditional values and institutions. Social maladies that seem to accompany Twentieth Century intensive urbanization (family disintegration, drug and alcohol abuse, soaring street crime rates, and a general loss of a sense of safety) are seen by conservatives as clear evidence of a need to return to basics: faith in God, hope for a better future, love of country and family, instillation of self-discipline in the young, willingness to sacrifice immediate gratification for future goals, industriousness, and a sense of belonging.

Exactly how these values are to be implanted remains controversial even among conservatives but the goal of returning them to their proper place in society drives conservatives to offer a wide range of governmental policies: swift and harsh punishment for criminals, “no frills” education with strict discipline in schools, governmental protection of institutions devoted to maintaining traditional values (including churches), elimination of welfare programs believed to encourage immorality and indolence, expansive (and expensive) military policies ostensibly protecting the home country from foreign threats and a host of other proposals.

In summary, conservatism does contain basic beliefs and values beyond a mere mistrust of change. Certain core concepts remain throughout the long spectrum of the conservative ideology. They may be seen as: 1. high value on existing institutions as produced by custom and tradition 2. a belief in mankind’s essential base and irrational nature 3. faith in some supernatural force guiding human affairs 4. acceptance of human inequality and the attending consequence of social hierarchy 5. recognition of the need for a sense of community among individuals that will bind them emotionally to their society.

It has been said that no one who has a heart can resist being a liberal and that no one who has a brain can avoid being a conservative. Like most aphorisms this one contains a trace of truth wrapped in a maze of misperceptions. These two political ideologies offer to government leaders, policy makers, and thoughtful citizens a set of guides permitting some semblance of coherent conclusions regarding compelling social, economic and political issues.

Their common features include rejection of radicalism and its attending violent uprooting of established institutions and practices, acceptance of the need for restraints on the powers of government, advocacy of balance in society regarding individual rights and societal powers, and ultimately some root concerns for individual dignity. Most certainly disagreement abounds between the two ideologies when the outlines of such values are given clarity, but support of such basic principles enables supporters of each doctrine to work within the same governmental framework. This agreement to disagree in a civil manner surely constitutes one of mankind’s most noble political achievements.

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Learn Liberty | What is Libertarian?

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Jun 212016
 

Learn Liberty On Demand offers you a series of videos on new and exciting topics in the world of policy and ideas that you can watch any time, anywhere, on your schedule. Have you wondered what distinguishes the ideas of minarchists and anarchists, or the economists of the Austrian and Chicago Schools? If so, this is the place for you.

Youve heard the phrase but what exactly does it mean to be libertarian or classical liberal?Ah, the question of the sages, like Locke and Smith. (Not to mention newer sages like Hayek, Friedman, Rothbard and Nozick!) Now hear it best from one of Learn Libertysown classical liberal sages Dr. Nigel Ashford. Join him in eightengaging videos as he explains the origins, basic tenets and philosophies of classical liberalism like the Austrian School, the Chicago School, Public Choice, Natural Rights, Anarcho-Capitalism and more. Because the more you know what its about the more you can do with it to make the world a better place.

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Learn Liberty | What is Libertarian?

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Health insurance helps you manage your health care costs …

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Jun 212016
 

No individual applying for health coverage through the individual Marketplace will be discouraged from applying for benefits, turned down for coverage, or charged more premium because of health status, medical condition, mental illness claims experience, medical history, genetic information or health disability. In addition, no individual will be denied coverage based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, personal appearance, political affiliation or source of income.

References to UnitedHealthcare pertain to each individual company or other UnitedHealthcare affiliated companies. Dental and Vision products are administrated by related companies. Each company is a separate entity and is not responsible for another’s financial or contractual obligations. Administrative services are provided by United HealthCare Services, Inc.

Products and services offered are underwritten by Golden Rule Insurance Company, Oxford Health Insurance, Inc., UnitedHealthcare Life Insurance Company.

All products require separate applications. Separate policies or certificates are issued. Golden Rule Short Term MedicalSM plans are medically underwritten. Related insurance products offered by either company may be medically underwritten see the product brochures and applications. Healthiest You is not an insurance product and is provided by HY Holdings, Inc., d/b/a Healthiest You. Travel Health Insurance and Pet Insurance are underwritten by different companies that are not related to the UnitedHealthcare family of companies. Product availability varies by state.

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Health insurance helps you manage your health care costs …

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South Florida Events & Restaurants – southflorida.com

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Jun 192016
 

The parade and street festival drew tens of thousands of people in honor of the Stonewall Riots of 1969 on Saturday, June 18.

Cena Modern Italian Restaurant recently started a happy hour from Tuesday to Thursday, just in time for summer.

The self-professed seasonal, sustainable and locally sourced restaurant is now in Delray Beach.

Scarfone’s Coal Fired Pizza is now Big Rooster’s Southern Table.

Ben Crandell

Pioneering hip-hop trio announces new concerts with release of single ‘Cuba Isla Bella.’

Ben Crandell

Tribute band Brit Floyd does not shy away from iconic art-rock band’s ambitious excesses.

Ben Crandell

Pop-culture icon brings music from No. 1 album ‘The Life of Pablo’ on his first U.S. tour in three years.

Phillip Valys

The top things to do, see and hear in South Florida June 13-19.

‘Children of Hangzhou’ exhibit presents glimpse of Chinese culture through kids’ eyes.

CityWrights offers workshops, panels and sessions in downtown Miami from June 23 to 26.

Sharon Potts’ Miami-set novel ‘Someone Must Die’ exposes a fractured family.

The fifth annual contest is looking for the city’s best comedian, singer, bartender, dessertmaker and drag queen.

Next season will involve teams representing four South Florida cities.

Guide to gambling at Seminole Hard Rock, The Isle, Gulfstream and more

The arithmetic of comedy is not that difficult. If you produce logically linked laughs every five minutes in a feature film you have created a classic. Deliver random chuckles every 10 minutes and your movie is pretty good. Provide the best fun in a pile of outtakes shown in the end credits and…

Hollywood thrillers promise a few hours of escapist adventure. But that pales in comparison to the long and arduous adventure of growing up. In “Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made,” directors Jeremy Coon and Tim Skousen tell the story of a group of boys who spent eight summers…

Starting Sunday, Facets Cinematheque on West Fullerton begins a monthly film series titled “Silent Sundays,” and the first one’s a dooz. I was late in making my first encounter with the 1924 French silent “L’Inhumaine,” a riot of cubist, surrealist and freshly minted art deco influences. At this…

The weirdly touching documentary “De Palma” is catnip for cinephiles, at least those who haven’t written off its subject, filmmaker and eternal provocateur Brian De Palma, decades ago as a hopeless, unrepentant, voyeuristic, Hitchcock-addicted perv. Now 75, De Palma more or less owns up to that…

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