The Objectivist Conference (OCON) and Ideas for Living Life on Earth

In Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged, the world’s hidden producers gathered for one month each summer and in part they traded the intellectual products that they had produced during the prior year. Similarly, Objectivists (those who study and apply Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism) gather for a week to socialize with their peers and trade ideas relevant to living life on Earth.

This gathering is called OCON and information about the current conference can be found at  Additionally, for those who can’t break away from producing to travel, the conference offers a LiveStream option of selected content.

If you are missing out on this opportunity to selfishly enhance your own life, the Ayn Rand Institute has shared some full presentations by leading Objectivist thinkers from prior OCONs on their YouTube channel; I have listed many below for your enjoyment. Not to worry, if this sampling only wets your appetite, MP3s of many more OCON lectures and additional materials are available via the Ayn Rand eStore.

Why should you care what Objectivists are thinking? Check out this video overview of Objectivism in Ayn Rand’s own words from her initial column in the Los Angeles Times.

If after consuming this feast of ideas, you decided that this is a value that you want to add to your life, including meeting such thinkers face-to-face, then plan to attend the next OCON and I will see you there, or watch the LiveStream and you can look for me in the audience.

Live virtuously, achieve your values, and enjoy your life, because it is your life.

Real Life Inspiration

Objectivism Championing Reason

Objectivism as a Tool for Life

Objectivism for Understanding Politics

Posted in Economics, History, Political Discussions | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Reason and Rights Republicans? To Be or Not To Be; That is the Question

Recently, Ari Armstrong recommended joining the Republican Party as a Reason and Rights Republican, which he called the ONLY solution for participation in party politics.  Armstrong is a serious thinker and experienced political activist. However, Selfish Citizenship disagrees with his recommended course of activism based upon the virtue of integrity.

Armstrong’s objective is to identify what a reasonable, liberty-loving, reality-oriented individual can do to make a difference in achieving political goals and educating the polity through engagement in party politics, if that is that individual’s objective. We agree that political activism is an optional value, which is not required, but is instead objectively based upon an individual’s selected hierarchy of values.

Based upon Armstrong’s actual experience with the Libertarian scum, he dismisses participation in a minor party as a waste of one’s resources, time, money, effort. He applies his personal lesson to the recent platform of the American Capitalist Party.

Despite loathing several factions (theocrats, anti-immigrant, and anti-market) within today’s Republican Party, Armstrong has joined that party in order to change it from within. He expects that liberty minded Independents and Libertarians becoming Republicans will shift the Republican Party’s program towards protecting individual rights.

On this, Armstrong and I have different conclusions. Should either effort amount to anything, then reality will judge who chose wisely.

In part, I am influenced by an experience with a telemarketer decades ago. He attempted to get money from me for Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD). While I objected to drunk drivers, I also objected to the political actions of MADD related to a national drinking age and draconian criminal penalties for impaired drivers. The telemarketer attempted to persuade me that I need to pay in order to influence the political policies of MADD. Armstrong is as wrong as that long ago telemarketer.

Engaging in the rhetorical flourishes that Armstrong made in dismissing any alternative idea, I am concerned that he is starting down a path towards a painful breakup; like the girlfriend who thought that she could change her incorrigible boyfriend, but instead compromises her integrity, wastes her time, and inadvertently supports negative behaviors that she had intended to oppose.

Engaging in the vulgarity of LBJ, the difference between Armstrong’s recommendation and my personal choice is…do you want to be inside the tent pissing out or outside the tent pissing in? Without a doubt, the Republicans want Armstrong in the big tent.  That 26 year old goal should give Armstrong pause to consider if he is allowing himself to be duped by the ghost of Lee Atwater.

Let’s start to chew Armstrong’s idea by identifying the nature of the Republican Party. My post-election analysis of the Republican Party, in 2013, as a hydra remains true today.  The Republican Party is an ideologically incoherent coalition of factions, which has been true since its creation, through the period of Stalwarts and Half-Breeds, and on to today. Essentially, the Republican Party is a pragmatist party that believes in stewardship as a governing philosophy. As pragmatist stewards lacking the ideas for managing political affairs, policy innovations come from the neoconservative, theocratic, and libertarian minority factions within the party. Armstrong’s recommendation is to marginally increase the ideas from the small faction of the Republican Party supporting individual rights.

What is the price to be paid for that minority influence that Armstrong seeks? To really be influential, Armstrong will need to be a “good Republican,” which means actively supporting candidates who he opposes, the pragmatists, the theocrats, and neocons. It is a package deal! You do not get the influence unless you compromise your integrity to advance candidates who you personally oppose. That is the choice Armstrong will have to make in exchange for influence.

Importantly, if Armstrong plays by the Republican Party rules, he is foolishly naïve if he thinks that the evil elements of the Republican Party will do the same. Best case scenario, Armstrong sacrifices leads to the selection of a pro-freedom Republican candidate for the general elections. He can count on the theocratic Republicans to abstain from supporting any Republican Party general election candidate that fails to promote the rights hating anti-abortion positions of the theocratic Republican faction. That has been a fact in Virginia elections where gubernatorial candidates lose for their failure to adhere to the theocrats while the lower positioned but ‘faithful’ Republican candidates for Lt. Governor and Attorney General receive move vote than the faithless candidate for Governor. It is a trick me fuck me game that Armstrong will lose after wasting his life energy supporting Republicans.

When I look locally at vile Republican scum like state Sen. Dick Black and state Del. Bob Marshall, I can’t even stomach voting Republican much less actively advocating that those troglodytes be re-elected. It is personal! Those knuckle-draggers should not be substituting their judgment, using the force of government, for my daughters’ choice when it comes to abortion and emergency contraception. Armstrong, if he really intends to be influential in Republican Party politics, would advocate that I support my political enemies who intend to violate the rights of my daughters so that I can be effective in politics. Is that really being effective? I say no, but such would be a sacrifice of my integrity.

Personally, I have not been actively involved in electoral politics besides voting and limited participation in primaries, but in the past as a then-Democrat, I did involve myself with the local party. My principle professional involvement in politics has been at implementation, including regulatory compliance issues. In my lost youth, I spent more than 20 years attempting to privatize post-secondary education finance including defending private schools from Republican regulatory sanction. On the cusp of realizing a major success in privatizing education finance, a single Act passed by the then new Pelosi Congress, without committee hearings, destroyed decades of my effort.  In the end, I recognized that I had been helping to aid those who I opposed through a ‘private-public partnership’ that was betrayed by the public. In joining the Republicans, I expect that Armstrong is making the same mistake that I had.

In fairness, I cannot take a big ol’ crap on Armstrong’s recommendation without putting forward an alternative. Currently, I remain as an Independent pissing in the tent.

I decidedly disagree with Armstrong’s judgement of third-party candidates. In doing so, his experience with the Libertarian scum is contrasted with the historical facts of third-party candidates. For more on this issue, see my video to ‘Open Letter to Gary Johnson, Libertarian for President,’ which explores how third parties candidates can be influential in changing the policy discussion. Note the correspondence between the populist messages that I identified then and the recent popularity of Donald Trump according to polls.

However, I look favorably at the example of Freedom Party in Ontario as the best option. It is a party whose activism in electoral politics changes the policy debate by concretizing political issues into platform issues that impact the lives of real people, whether it relates to blue laws, public financial support of the Pan Am games, local garbage strikes, irrational speed limits, public ownership of alcohol stores, public control of health care, or ending the self-destructive drug war.

While I have not yet explored the platform of the American Capitalist Party, I unreservedly endorse the author of its platform Dr. Andrew Bernstein. Not only is he an engaging and humorous dinner companion, but he is a brilliant thinker and writer on the subject of Capitalism. Further, at OCON 2015, he proved himself to be a passionate defender of the right of racial minorities not because they are a collective, but because they are individuals. For my black daughters, and his own adoptive Asian daughter, I celebrate Dr. Bernstein for the integrity of his argument.

What is the take away for Selfish Citizens?

  • It is for you to decide what to do based upon your own personal hierarchy of values.
  • In today’s confused political environment in which principles are called ineffective, you will hear many optional paths of action, but it will be for you to decide what is best for you.
  • The following are all good guys doing their best in a horribly contradicted environment: Ari Armstrong, Dr. Andrew Bernstein, Paul McKeever, Robert Vaughn, Robert Metz, myself, PRODOS, and one of my personal heroes Nicholas Provenzo of the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism.
  • Ultimately, the objective is to create a government based upon objective laws that will protect the rights of the individual from the opinions and whims of the collective.

I encourage each and every reader to engage constructively and lovingly with all of the individual political activists that I mentioned either through Twitter, Facebook, their blogs, or their organizations’ webpages.

The objective is a better future for each of us individually through the promotion of reason, justice, freedom, production, and achievement.

Based upon our mutual concern about this subject, I encourage Mr. Armstrong to PM me if he would like to discuss this further and productively.

Extra Point: Nothing in this post is intended to detract from the high regard that I have for Ari Armstrong as a thinker and political activist. Individuals with broad agreement on essential values may disagree upon points of application. As an example of his stellar activism, I point to his video series related to his living, eating, and making healthy choices on an expenditure amount equivalent to Food Stamps.  It is a masterful job of concretization!!!

Extra extra point: It took a lot of effort on my part to avoid asking the question “What is the difference between a Reason and Rights Republicans and a moderate Muslim?” You can examine that question for yourself in the comments, but please do so with due love for the meritorious intellectuals involve in this minor disagreement.

Posted in Election, History, Political Discussions, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Discussion: In Defense of Selfishness by Peter Schwartz

For an upcoming book discussion, I drafted the following announcement:

“Every civilized culture is shaped by some view of right and wrong…In ours it is the principle of altruism…Our society takes as a given the idea that pursuing your own welfare is morally tainted but sacrificing yourself for the benefit of others is virtuous. [This book] asks you to question that assumption.” – Peter Schwartz

Come and join us for a discussion on the core of today’s moral conflict, which is rooted in idealism versus reality.  We will be discussing Peter Schwartz’s new book In Defense of Selfishness: Why the Code of Self-Sacrifice is Unjust and Destructive. At OCON 2015, where the book was featured in several talks, Schwartz shared that his own title for the book had been The Tyranny of Need.

According to the publisher, “This provocative book challenges readers to re-examine the standard by which they decide what is morally right or wrong.”

Unlike most people, we understand that self-sacrifice is bad and that selfishness is good, so why read and discuss another book about it?

How did the last conversation go when you discussed self-sacrifice vs. selfishness with a non-Objectivist? How long ago has that been?

When you have discussions about other topics, how often does this moral conflict come up as the crux of a disagreement?

When you talk about being selfish, do people who like you try to talk you out of it based upon a genuine concern for your well-being while protesting that you do not act selfish?

More personally, are you genuinely making selfish choices in your life or have old habits and the cultural atmosphere led you into sacrificial decisions?

For a general audience, Schwartz analyzes in detail the nature and consequences of altruism; plus, he explains the nature of selfishness and choice to the reader’s life. What can we learn about effectively communicating these ideas from this book? Further, would this book make a good gift for someone about whom you care especially if that individual needs to make better choices?

C-SPAN’s broadcast of Peter Schwartz’s talk, which was delivered as a part of ARI’s Road to a Free Society tour, can be seen here.

Peter Schwartz’s interview with The Undercurrent can be read here.

The book is available in hardcover, Kindle, and audio formats.

As a selfish citizen, what could you do about this?

  • If you are in the DC area, let me know and I can invite you to our event.
  • Read the book!
  • Reuse the above (permission granted) to organize your own discussion of the book.
  • If you have a campus based organization, attempt to secure Peter Schwartz to speak at your campus.
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Question 12: Should the Government Force a Man to Pay Child Support?

Recently, via the Leonard Peikoff podcast, Yaron Brook answered the question, “Should the Government Force a Man to Pay Child Support?”

While I almost always agree with Dr. Brook, in this response, he got the answer wrong. In fairness to him, he acknowledged that this question was within the philosophy of law, in which he is not an expert. Therefore, his statement was a matter of his first blush thoughts related to the question.

In summary, his thought is that once the man consciously and affirmatively agrees to take on responsibility for the child then he is obligated, but not before then. A positive example that Dr. Brook cited was the paternal obligation in divorce cases of a couple who had chosen to have children together. In other words, and not the ones that he chose, bastards have no rights.

Dr. Brook’s processing error is that he started with a statement instead of a question. Whenever the question is asked “Should the government do this or that?” then the first step should be to answer the question, in context, “Whose rights are being defended?”

The question of child support is generally discussed as an issue of the rights of the mother; however, this is totally totally wrong! It is the rights of the child that are at risk and in need of defense by the government, if necessary. It is a legitimate function of the government to protect the rights of children even from their own parents; unfortunately, the government too frequently fails to do so appropriately and even further acts inappropriately when the child’s rights are not actually identified correctly, but that important issue is for a separate post or possibly a whole book.

I assume that it is not controversial or disputed to say that a child has a right, according to its nature, to be cared for, and not physically abused nor starved to death, by its parents. In the event, that the parents are unable or unwilling to do so personally and directly then they are still obligated, by the consequence of their choices that led to the birth of the child, to do so by other means such as adoption.

With a focus upon the rights of the child, my initial point of departure from Dr. Brook concerns when does the father incur the responsibility to his child. Dr. Brook holds that the father upon notification of pregnancy can renounce any obligation to the child; by for example, offering to pay the cost for the woman to have an abortion. Dr. Diana Hsieh has made an argument similar to Dr. Brook with reference to the contradiction of a woman having a legitimate right to an abortion by her choice while legally denying the man a chosen obligation to support the child. The conclusions of Drs. Brook and Hsieh incorrectly focus upon a conflict between the mother and father, when it is the rights of the child that are in fact in question.
In contrast, especially to Dr. Hsieh’s expansive commentary, in reality, the roles of men and women are not the same in creating a child and it is not the role of law to pretend otherwise. As such, the point at which a man can just say no to a child, and to that child’s rights, occurs earlier than it does for a woman. Yes, even for a man, the child is a choice, but that choice occurs when he entrusts his special sauce to a woman. It is not a question of fairness nor of equality, but is metaphysically given. This is not a fact of nature unfamiliar to most people as admonished by Coach Norton in the movie Saving Silverman:

“Remember, boys! STAY AWAY from women! All they want from you is your man-juice!”

A common objection, cited by both Drs. Brook and Hsieh, is that the man selecting to use birth control has chosen not to have a child. Where is this magic birth control that is always 100% effective, because my drugstore does not sell it? Men, and even boys, know that jiz in or even too near her happy place could result in pregnancy even when protection is conscientiously used. A man enjoying vaginal sex with a real live pre-menopausal woman is guilty of a massive evasion of reality if he does not recognize that pregnancy is a possibility even when proactive steps are taken to reduce that probability. This is true even when the pregnancy is accidental or not desired. Thus, that is his point of his choice (at pre-conception and not at pre-birth) and when he elects to accept responsibility for the potential child; anything different, wishes facts to be different than they actually are. In contrast, a woman has to actively choose to nurture and protect the embryo and later fetus, and can choose to terminate her support of the potentially lethal parasite before birth.

The good doctors and I likely agree that a man should selfishly choose his sexual partner such that they both share similar judgments on pregnancy and abortion. However, in my judgment, for the fucktard that sticks it into any gullible and willing female stranger, there is no credible case to be made that he was actively attempting to prevent an unwanted pregnancy as his chosen behavior screams otherwise.

In addition, I want to address the common objection of the man being the unwilling victim of an unwanted pregnancy. In the event of the woman committing some sort of fraud, by for example lying about being sterile (as opposed to the minor claim of being on the pill, which can fail), then the man’s claim is not against the child, but is instead against the woman; the child’s right is unimpaired by the rights violation committed by the mother. Instead, while the man’s financial obligation to the child remains, the man could make a separate civil claim against the fraudster mother. Cases of theft of semen or rape by the mother could be legally addressed similarly. Why does this distinction matter? Consider the rights of the child in such a case when the fraudster mother dies in childbirth or from a drug overdose; are you prepared to argue that the child has no right to support from the father?

To be clear, I am not making a conservative anti-sex and anti-abortion argument. Sex is wonderful so selfishly have a lot of it with a fabulous partner; to be clear, that includes the selfishness of selectivity, discrimination, and respect for the law of causality. Sex can result in pregnancy; if you cannot deal with that probability, even when reduced by choice, then do not have sex. It is a responsible choice to enjoy sex with a partner with whom you both explicitly mutually agree that abortion is the remedy to an unwanted pregnancy.

In summary, on the question of child support, it is the child’s rights that are relevant. Even if steps were proactively and conscientiously taken to reduce the probability of pregnancy and a child, when the man’s sexual choice results in a child, then the child has a right to support from the father. Yes, nature has placed an earlier threshold of choice upon men, and we should man-up to make choices in full consciousness of those facts of reality. The law of causality is not subject to a man’s whims when he did not intend even the well-known consequences of his actions. Bastards do have rights.

Extra Point: The life lessons from Coach Norton…

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Book Discussion: Rooseveltcare – How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance by Don Watkins

For an upcoming book discussion, I drafted the following announcement:

“ Social Security is immoral.” – Don Watkins

Come and join us for a discussion of Don Watkins’ new book Rooseveltcare: How Social Security is Sabotaging the Land of Self-Reliance. In a brief 125 pages, Watkins argues that America should liberate the productive young from being drafted into financially supporting the idle elderly as mandated by Social Security and its related wealth transfer welfare programs.

Through our government schools and the news media, young producers have been indoctrinated with the contradictory ideas that the elderly have already paid for their own future benefits AND that it is the duty of the young to pay the taxes to pay the current spending of these programs. Now, that contradiction is coming to a head as the Social Security Trust Funds have been already been spent on past federal welfare programs and taxes on the productive young MUST be raised to maintain the promised benefits to the idle elderly.

No biggie? How does paying $400k in taxes more than the future benefits received sound to you? That is the debt for old age welfare programs owed by our current infants and toddlers. Social Security…it’s like stealing a flourishing life from a baby.

How did this happen? Is there an alternative that protects the innocent victims of Social Security, both young and old? In his book, Watkins addresses these critical questions by starting with a factual review of both the history of the program and its consequential attacks upon America’s culture of self-reliance.

The book is available for purchase in both paperback and Kindle. Additionally, it is available gratis in pdf format.

For additional information on the book, check out the End the Debt Draft Campaign.

Here is a list of questions that you may want to consider as you read (or re-read) the book:

What was America like before Social Security?

Under what terms was Social Security sold to our citizens? How is that contradicted by Social Security’s actual legal terms?

What impact has Social Security and resulting additional welfare programs had upon America’s culture of self-reliance?

What are the myths that perpetuate the Social Security Ponzi scheme?

In the face of this fiscal train wreck, what can we do now? [Hint: Plenty and it starts with facing the facts!]

 As a selfish citizen, what could you do about this?

  • If you are in the DC area, let me know and I can invite you to our event.
  • Read the book!
  • Reuse the above (permission granted) to organize your own discussion of the book.
  • Take advantage of the legislative elections to voice your opposition to Social Security to your candidates and community.
  • If you have a campus based organization, attempt to secure Don Watkins to speak at your campus.
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