Miscellany

Movie Review: APOLLO 11

You wouldn’t think that a movie about the Apollo 11 mission that consists simply of footage shot at the time of the event could present a compelling, inspiring story. Yet this film does just that. This is a documentary that shows, rather than tells. And what it shows is the enormity of the achievement— not …

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Has the Right Been Eviscerated by Trump?

Once upon a time the left and the right were political opposites. The left condemned capitalism and sought to expand government’s role in our lives; the right defended capitalism and endorsed limited government. Over the years, although the right became less and less committed to individual freedom and capitalism, it nonetheless presented a discernible alternative to the collectivism of the left.

Cato Institute, Anarchism and Principles

I’ve long argued that the modern libertarian movement was born out of a visceral hostility to the state rather than an intellectual opposition to statism. Over the years, part of that movement has “mellowed,” so that its anarchist leanings are no longer openly manifested. . . .

Multiculturalism as Tribalism

Multiculturalism is the demand that no ”culture” be elevated above any other. It is the demand that all beliefs held by various groups be regarded as equally valid and equally good.

The Assault on Objectivity

Our postmodernist intellectuals claim that no objective reality exists; there is only the subjective world we create, shaped by the social class to which we belong. While this may seem like an ivory-tower issue

The Ideology of Violence

The incidence of ideologically motivated violence is growing. From campus talks to political rallies, the conveyors of certain viewpoints are being met with physical force. Why? Because of the tacit approval by many of our intellectual leaders. People are being taught that such a response is not only morally acceptable, but morally desirable. That is, …

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Fact-Checking the Fact-Checkers

Journalism’s fact-checking process is supposed to identify errors, or outright lies, by presenting clear, undeniable facts that contradict someone’s statement. Instead, however, the process has become a means of blurring the line between fact and opinion — between easily demonstrable truths and more abstract, more challengeable viewpoints. For a striking example, consider this recent N.Y. Times story …

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Defying the Islamic Totalitarians—
Follow-up

The argument with Bosch Fawstin (and others) over the use of such terminology as “Islamic totalitarianism” is one I’m actually pleased to engage in. This is an unusual instance of a strong dispute that stems from a fundamental agreement on the underlying issue. Let me try one more time to name what I think is …

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Follow-up
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Defying the Islamic Totalitarians

Last week’s “Draw Mohammed” contest in Garland, Texas, which two Islamic gunmen tried to attack, is eliciting much criticism. Pamela Geller, the event’s organizer, is being accused of provoking the violence. Critics are saying that the event was staged as a gratuitous insult. But it was not gratuitous, nor was its purpose to convey an insult. …

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Libertarianism vs. Liberty

Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul has been drawing criticism from his libertarian followers. A recent op-ed in the New York Times, for instance, chastises him for being insufficiently libertarian. His critics are particularly upset over his “hawkish” foreign policy, accusing him of abandoning the ideal of individual liberty. The reverse, however, is true: it is the …

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Man vs. Fish

Environmentalists are typically viewed as seeking to protect human life from such health hazards as dirty air and polluted water. But that’s a superficial assessment. The essence of environmentalism is the belief that nature must be protected, not for man, but from man.  One of the more recent illustrations of this philosophy is provided by the current …

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Libertarianism and Objectivism

Is the term “libertarian” an accurate description of the Objectivist politics? If we were coining an entirely new concept, “libertarian” would be ideal. However, since that word has long been in circulation, two factors determine what its actual referent is. The first is the spread of an ideology now held by a significant number of …

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Religion, Freedom
and the “Moderate Muslim”

Is there a causal connection between religion and the use of force? Yes. In that connection, is there a significant difference between Christianity and Islam? Yes—but it lies in the distinction, not between the Bible and the Koran, but between today’s Christians and Muslims. In the Medieval era, when the authority of the Catholic Church …

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and the “Moderate Muslim”
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Libertarian Mindlessness

In the 19th century the term “liberal” was transformed into the opposite of its original meaning, from pro-liberty to pro-statism. A similar corruption occurred in the late 20th century with respect to the term “libertarian.” What once stood for a defense of individual rights came, unfortunately, to stand for its antithesis—a mindless hostility to government …

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A Follow-up on Snowden

In light of some comments I received about my previous post, “Snowden and the NSA,” here is an elaboration on my evaluation of Snowden: If Edward Snowden truly valued individual freedom, here is how he would have proceeded. He would recognize that America, when compared with the rest of the world, is a haven of …

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Snowden and the NSA

What the National Security Agency (NSA) has done in spying on Americans is reprehensible—and what Edward Snowden has done is worse. The government is entitled to act against someone only when there is a valid reason to believe that he poses a physical threat to others. Once such evidence exists, of course, the government must …

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Why Is The Tea Party “Extremist”?

When the Tea Party calls for real cuts in our welfare state, it is typically denigrated by the left as a practitioner of “extremism.” It would be a mistake though, to regard this response as mere name-calling. It is far more significant—and dangerous. This smear is an instance of a widespread technique regularly employed to undermine …

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Reason vs. Faith

[This was published in the Chicago Tribune, November 2, 1998] In today’s industrial civilization, people recognize the difference between the secular and the religious. Even those who believe in the Bible, for example, would generally not proclaim Scripture to be science–any more than those who faithfully read their horoscopes would declare astrology to be part of …

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Man vs. Nature

[This was published in the Sacramento Bee, April 23, 1999] For the first time in American history, the government is ordering the destruction of a dam—for environmental reasons. This July, Edwards Dam, a small hydroelectric facility on the Kennebec River in Augusta, Maine, will be torn down by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Its crime? …

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The Racism of “Diversity”

[This was published in the Providence Journal, Feb. 11, 2003; the Hartford Courant, March 26, 2003; the Detroit Free Press, March 28, 2003; and the Orange County Register, December 19, 2003.] Texas A&M president Robert Gates should be praised for announcing that race will no longer be a factor when applications are considered, and that …

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Faith and Force

By Peter Schwartz (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, January 6, 2005) America’s war on terrorism is being undercut—by the administration’s efforts to inject religion into politics. Our enemy in that war is the ideology of Islamic totalitarianism—an ideology which holds that one’s life is to be lived entirely in service to Allah, that the dictates of the mullahs …

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Moral Values Without Religion

By Peter Schwartz (Post-Tribune, IN, June 2, 2005) Does morality depend upon religion? Most people believe it does, which is a major reason behind the appeal of the religious right. People believe that without faith in a supernatural authority, we can have no moral values—no moral absolutes, no black-and-white distinctions, no firm demarcation between good …

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Mob Rule Comes to Washington

By Peter Schwartz (Providence Journal, April 13, 2009) In dealing with AIG [American International Group], why are people pussyfooting around? They believe that the bonus money was stolen from the public and must be retrieved by any means possible. So why not bypass the niceties and just send in some well-armed “enforcers” to confiscate the …

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