Thursday, December 25, 2008

Just Wondering..

Just wondering if there is such a thing as moderate Islam. In the same breath, is there such a thing as peaceful Nazism? Even if followers of a particular philosophy do not see the danger of the philosophy -- it does not change the fundamentals of the philosophy one bit. For instance, if I irresponsibly write software that kills people, they have the right to call me vicious -- there is no is-ought gap.

Keeps me wondering whether any Muslim who has ever read the Koran evades the teachings or..i don't know, I just cannot cannot fathom how anybody could evade at such mammoth proportions by deciding to not look at the obvious.

I find it hard to believe there are 1.5 million people on Earth to whome I have to cut some slack if I cut some slack to one Muslim . Numbers don't matter -- imagine cutting a little slack to the Nazis -- there were far too many at one point in history.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Mumbai Attack.

Although I dont have the time to write much, I could not resist posting about the Mumbai's terror attacks. JihadWatch has an excellent post echoing exactly my views on the ghastly event.

Here's the full post --

“Magnus Ranstorp, a terrorism specialist with the Swedish National Defense College, said there are ‘very strong suspicions’ that the coordinated Mumbai attacks have a link to al-Qaida....” -- from this news article

Yes, yes. We have all heard the solemn discussions about whether or not the "Deccan Mujahideen" is a new group, or an old one, or a made-up group, and whether or not there is a "link" to Al Qaeda. And this kind of focusing on the trivial, the nearly insignificant, goes on and on and on, when the real point is this: these are Muslims. They may be from within India. Or not. They may be from Pakistan. Or not. They may have been encouraged or funded by Arab Muslims. Or not. They may have links to Al Qaeda. Or not.

What matters is that they are Muslims attacking, attempting to kill, non-Muslims, in order to obtain their aims. And their aims are to weaken -- in this particular case -- India. And they wish to weaken India in order to make the government of India appease Muslims and meet their demands, whether in Kashmir or in India proper. And once those demands, whatever they may be, are met, other demands from Muslims will be made, and will have to be met, for there is no end to this. The Jihad does not have an end point. There is not a finite goal, but rather an endless series of goals, with each success feeding triumphalism.

The only time this has not happened, in the past 1350 years, is when Muslims have been stopped, either by superior military power -- as outside of Poitiers, or when the Ottomans were repulsed twice at the Gates of Vienna, or by the clear understanding that the Infidels were overwhelmingly more powerful, militarily and economically. That, through the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, was clear to all concerned.

And though Muslims on their own, because of inshallah-fatalism, could never create advanced economies, they have become rich from oil (and gas), a manna that only an accident of geology could provide. Now they enjoy trillions of dollars which, while allowing many of them lives of incredible luxury and decadence beyond anything the Western world has experienced, also helps to fund the Jihad by paying for mosques, madrasas, armies of Western hirelings, propaganda, and campaigns of Daw'a. What's more, at the same time, and quite independently, the Western world, having forgotten its own historical experience of Islam, and its elites, political and media, having lost the ability to heed its real scholars and their cassandra warnings, instead listened to the espositos, the armstrongs, the assorted MESA-Nostra defenders-of-the-faith-and-fatah-of-Islam, and allowed into the Western midst millions of Muslims. They did this without realizing that they brought with them, undeclared, in their mental baggage, an alien and a hostile creed, one that flatly contradicts the principles -- all the principles -- of advanced Western societies.

These trillions in oil revenues, and these millions of Muslims who in an act of civilizational near-criminal negligence, have been permitted to settle deep behind what Muslims themselves are taught to regard as enemy lines, explain the threat of Jihad on a global scale today.

And there is no need to waste valuable time on the radio or television pondering ponderously whether the attackers are domestic or foreign, whether they are connected to Al-Qaeda or not. That may of some interest in helping to round this particular group up. But if too much time is spent on such matters, it distracts from the pedagogic task at hand: to explain to listeners and viewers that the key element here is Islam. It is Muslims pursuing, as they have a duty to pursue, Jihad. In this particular case they have chosen to do so using terrorism, but all around us other instruments, more effective because far less attention-getting, are being used toward the same goal, the same end: the removal of all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam -- everywhere.

That's why, when any "terrorism expert" -- some are good, some are not so good, some are idiotic -- proceeds to enjoy his time on the air discussing endlessly what this group should be called, what other groups it is linked to, what its "cause" is -- it's a case of missing-the-pointness that, at this point in the history of the world, is downright dangerous.

I just wish the Indian government had half the number of balls JihadWatch does.

Busy Time...And Some Gifts Ofcourse!

I've have not posted for sometime now as I am interning in The Supreme Court Of India. It will be a few more weeks till I get back to writing. I travel for 2 hours everyday so am catching up with the podcasts of The Objectivism Seminar. I have just begun sense perception and still have a long way to go.

In the meanwhile, I would like to leave you some fitness gifts. A loong list of gifts I must say. Go here to check them out.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Soo True!

[HT -- Indexed for being so hilarious and true as usual]

Monumental Cowardice.

Here's another Islamo maniac cowardly report --

" on motorcycles attacked 15 girls and teachers with acid.

The men squirted the acid from water bottles onto three groups of students and teachers walking to school Wednesday, principal Mehmood Qaderi said. Some of the girls have burns only on their school uniforms but others will have scars on their faces.

One teenager still cannot open her eyes after being hit in the face with acid."

Jihad Watch reports that "those wearing the full-length burqa to cover themselves had been left untouched."

For some hints to who commited such a ghastly act lets look at the recent past when Taliban was in power. Consider this --

"Girls were banned from schools under the rule of the Taliban, the hard-line Islamist regime that ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. Women were only allowed to leave the house wearing a body-hiding burqa and accompanied by a male family member.

Arsonists have repeatedly attacked girls' schools and gunmen killed two students walking outside a girls' school in central Logar province last year. UNICEF says there were 236 school-related attacks in Afghanistan in 2007. The Afghan government has also accused the Taliban of attacking schools in an attempt to force teenage boys into the Islamic militia."

Yet again, for the millionth time we have another instance of cowardly Muslim believers doing exactly what the Koran tells them to. Whether the Taliban did it or some other manic did it -- the one thing we cannot do is call these attacks "unislamic" like the Afghan government would have us believe. Islam explicitly believes that men are superior to women and extols women as righteous if they are subservient and obedient to their husbands. I guess education instills in women exactly the opposite.

The only ray of hope to be optimistic about is the voice of the Afghan girl, Shamsia, undergoing treatment for the burns said from her bed at Afghanistan's main military hospital in Kabul, "I'll continue my schooling even if they try to kill me. I won't stop going to school".

It's these brave voices I wish to cheer for.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Impossibility Of a God -- Metaphysical Considerations.

I have been listening to the podcasts of Greg Perkin's Objectivism Seminar -- and it has really helped in understanding Objectivism. I'm done with metaphysics, so as an exercise, I wanted to refute the existence of God on metaphysical grounds.

Can a God exist? If not, can we say with full certainty that a God does not exist?

These are the most fundamental question to answer. To start with, can a God exist? We constantly hear the claim that God exists but just in any particular form -- like in the form of a rock or a man. He is everywhere and not limited by form. In other words, God exists but exists free of all restrictions of identity. If this is the claim, then one has to consider if it's tenable.

Ayn Rand observed some 50 years ago that to be is to be something. A thing cannot literally be and not be something – anything at the same time. It is senseless. It is impossible for any entity (including God) to exist without any features or properties. If an entity has to exist, it cannot shrug off the restrictions placed by identity like shape, color, form, properties, etc. In philosophic terms, existence is identity. This is not a mere “metaphysical assumption” but an observation so basic that anybody seeking to refute it should affirm it in his arguments. It is not merely that existence has identity -- as this implies that identity is some sort of a feature of existence but that existence is identity. Identity is not an attribute of existence which may be absent in some entities while being present in the others. To exist, an entity compulsorily has to be bound by identity.

Since we have established the fact that God has to have certain properties and that the notion of an entity without any identity doesn’t make sense – it can safely be concluded that the oft-claimed notion of an infinite, limitless God is impossible in this Universe.

If a God has to have some specific attributes and properties, then can He perform any miracles? Talking of a miracle, it’s important to understand what a miracle is. It’s not merely something we don’t understand. No, then even a magicians trick would qualify as a miracle. It has to be something more. It’s not merely something we don’t understand given our current understanding of things but has to have some sort of divine intervention which makes a thing act against its identity.

As Greg Perkins puts it in his excellent post, “Why the New Atheists Can't Even Beat D'Souza: Science vs. Miracles”

“Indeed, much of what we enjoy in our modern world would have been considered miraculous in previous times, from vaccines and medications, to cars, and the Internet and on and on. Yet none of these prove or even suggest a possibility that there is a God. No, a meaningful miracle is not merely something which would violate the laws of nature as we currently understand them, but something which would be a violation of any such law we could ever discover. That is, it would have to be a violation of lawfulness itself.”

I mean, can he literally transcend the identity of things and choose for them to act otherwise? In other words, can God bypass lawfulness itself?
Before we understand if a miracle is possible, it’s important to understand the notion of causality. Causality is best understood as – the expression of identity in action. For instance, a balloon filled with Helium rises when released. A wheel rolls because its circular in nature but a cube does not. Thus, we use wheels as tyres for our cars instead of using blocks of ice or books. The thing to note here is that an entity acts in accordance to its nature – and only in accordance with its nature. In other words, an entity cannot act contrary to its identity. It is this law that tells us that we can discover the depths of the earth as things act in accordance to its identity and this is where science plays its role by understanding the identities of entities. If things did not act in accordance to its nature’s, science would be utterly useless.

This is precisely why one has to choose between science and miracles. Science stands for causality —- things act according to their natures whereas miracles stand for contradicting identities – for a thing to be literally what it is not. Accepting the idea of science itself means rejecting the basis for miracles and to accept the basis for miracles means rejecting the basis for science.

It’s either—or.

God cannot exist if existence exists; if thing’s are what they are and act accordingly – then the possibility of an infinite being unrestricted by identity is fully wiped out.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Islam: What The West Needs To Know.

It's been awhile since I've seen things when my mind went blank. It's been awhile since my last void. It's come to me now -- at 1 am in the morning with a documentary. It's titled, "Islam: What The West Needs To Know." I cannot begin to tell you how much I recommend the documentary. By all reason, its fair to say one should be scared given the current scenario of the Islamic movement -- especially after considering its history.

Honestly speaking, I had never taken institutes such as Jihad Watch very seriously. I knew that Islam was posing as a threat to free speech but I didn't not see the larger picture. I did not see that they were out to take control of my life -- free speech was just the beginning. They want to take control of my life under serious, traditional Sharia law. They are out there preaching in their mosques and in their jihad training centers that freedom is evil -- that the cause of all good is evil. They are busy preaching that my mother and sister should be covered from head to toe -- or even could be taken as concubines if we choose not to believe in Islam. We should be relegated to a second class status paying ransom for our meager, brutish existence. I swear, in the name of the best within me, I am not lying or exaggerating one bit. This is what Islam has been preaching for the past 14 centuries, and is willing to in the next 14 centuries. Just for a minute consider that fatwa's against writers, painters have become a commonplace and more than 12000 attacks have occurred after 9/11.

Allegedly, Muslims are also allowed to lie when they are furthering the cause of Islam. The end justifies the means. I mean it is very moral for a Muslim intellectual to be dishonest when saying that Islam is a peaceful religion. The Koran, not just permits it, but glorifies such dishonesty. But all the Western intellectuals have decided to deal with such a dangerous threat explicitly by blindness. We have become a World full of cowards. We have become hypocrites -- such deep hypocrites that we don't have the balls to stand up for freedom but see no qualms in indulging ourselves with products of the free market. Shame on us! Shame on the politicians! Shame on the universities for such cowardice and hypocrisy.

This documentary is a must watch. It's going to scare the living hell out of you -- but it has to be watched for freedom to be defended. So be it.

Here's the trailer -- the full length video can be found at the link I've provided above --

Monday, November 3, 2008

Free Speech Forum Pisses Off Audience Members.

This is disgusting.

Allegedly, the members of the audience stormed out of a panel discussion hosted by the American University's Objectivists' free speech forum. The forum sought to discuss the nature of free speech and how totalitarian Islam was a threat to free speech.

An excerpt from the news report --

"While the focus of the forum was free speech, most of the audience disapproval came from the panelists' methods of addressing Islam.

Daniel Pipes, columnist for the New York Sun and director of the Middle East forum, a think tank that defines and promotes American interests in the Middle East, warned about the dangers of 'soft jihad,' such as the creation of same-sex-only swimming pools, as well as Western governments such as Great Britain's that allowed immigrants to practice polygamy. "

Yaron Brook, the executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, a non-profit think tank that promotes Objectivism, said during the discussion that Western governments were not protecting their citizens' rights to free speech and used the example of booksellers that were afraid to sell Rose's newspaper with the cartoons with Muhammad depicted in them because they were afraid of their stores being bombed, attacked or boycotted.

Brook also warned of the increasing problems of self-censorship and the desire for journalists, citizens and lawmakers to be excessively politically correct.

"It's surprising to me that we even have to have this discussion [about free speech] in the U.S.," he said. "Free speech is one of the main things that the U.S. gave this civilization, not free speech 'as long as you don't offend anyone.' The government's role is to protect our right to offend."

Flemming Rose, the editor of the Danish newspaper that commissioned the series of cartoons depicting the Muslim Prophet Muhammad in 2005, said during the forum that laws that prohibit certain types of speech like Holocaust denial laws and the current trend to ban anti-Islam speech should be abolished.

"You shouldn't criminalize opinions, even the most stupid," he said.

Sabrina Bahir, a School of International Service alumna, said she thought the things that the panelists said about Muslims were polarizing and imbalanced.

"The allegation of how totalitarianism is only exclusive to Islam and that there isn't totalitarian Judaism or Christianity I thought was very absurd," she said. "You just have to look back in history. There are 1.5 million Muslims on this earth and you can't clump them together in the same group."" (Bold Added)

This news report almost made me sick in my stomach. Imagine having such awesome panelists discussing stuff like free speech and then imagine a bunch of dicks and idiots walking out of a rational discussion and then having the audacity to scorn moral righteousness. What the fuck!!?

Apparently, Sabrina Bahir thinks that since there were 1.5 million Muslims on earth we can’t clump them together. Really? Ask them whether or not all the 1.5 million Muslims followed the Koran as a guide to their life and then talk of “clumping” them. Ask them whether or not Islam upholds the life of Muhammad as the best life any person could have. Ask them did Muhammad not personally slay hundreds of people and marry a girl named Aisha when she was six and consummated the marriage at 9. These are their beliefs – the ones they not just respect, but revere – their guide to modern life. Given such a mess, I don’t understand how on earth can such a religion claim to be peaceful and right respecting.

Consider some translations of the Koran –

As translated by Yusuf Ali of the Muslim Student Association

Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all). (Koran, 4.34)

Al-Ghazali, a central figure in the allegedly non-violent Sufi wing of Islam:

[O]ne must go on jihad at least once a year . . . one may use a catapult against them [non-Muslims] when they are in a fortress, even if among them are women and children. One may set fire to them and/or drown them . . . .

But Sabrina Bahir thinks we can’t "clump" them into the same group when this is what Islam stands for. Although its true that anything taken on faith has to be violent, including Christianity (link), an enlightenment happened in Christianity. I mean nobody sees a Christian jihad today. I am sure that no Christian would walk around doing his own version of jihad because Jesus asked somebody to kill infidels. It just pisses me off that there are so many people like this female who go around making statements – without even having a hint of what they are talking about. Let’s make no mistake about Islam. If facts do matter, then such passages cannot be ignored. There is no way Islam can be peaceful – precisely because it is inherently violent and because it doesn’t give a rats ass about rights. How many more attacks and fatwa’s on painters and authors do we need to see to make the point clearer?

But again, is it evidence we are concerned about?

HT: John David Lewis at Principles in Practice.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The American Dream -- As Possible As It's True.

Capitalism has been vindicated -- yet again. A fascinating new memoir, Scratch Beginnings, tells the story of Adam Shepard who finished grad school and went to check if the American Dream could ever really come true.

He went to Charleston, South Carolina, with a sleeping bag, a change of clothes, $25, and a made-up tale of woe. He spent the first two months in a homeless shelter while he worked as a day laborer. He later found a permanent position with a moving company, which gave him a stable income. This allowed Shepard to buy a (very) used pickup truck, rent and furnish an apartment with a coworker, and start saving. During this time, he was on a strict budget, buying clothes at Goodwill and lunching on peanut butter crackers and Vienna sausages. In ten months, he had saved up over $5000.

Adam planned his experiment in college when he read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, which argued that only government intervention and aid could help alleviate poverty. It didnt make any sense to Shepard, and what better way to test it than a first hand experience. Seeing is believing, right.

Shepard had also met many people during those times whom he found relentlessly fascinating. He explained the differences between his approach and Ehrenreich’s in a recent interview -- “She wrote about how tough and depressing poverty is. Really? Tough and depressing? Of course it is! I wanted to believe that there were people living in these tumultuous circumstances who weren’t living the life of cyclical misery that Ehrenreich was writing about,” he said. “The economics side of Ehrenreich’s story didn’t make sense to me from the beginning and she never proved her point. To me, anyway. She lived in a hotel, ate out, didn’t look for ways to really save money.”

Although critics are quick to point out the fact that he could not have pulled it off without government help, they slip not on not just one, but on two counts. As Evan Sparks points out, that "everyone Shepard encountered at the shelter and in the bad neighborhood he later lived in was already using the same services. It wasn’t the public services that lifted Shepard out of destitution—it was his own initiative. Indeed, if spending money on government services were the best way to cure poverty, it would no longer be a problem." It makes sense -- tomorrow will be determined, not by any cosmic overseer, but by the actions one chooses to take today.

Secondly, the critics also take the liberty of assuming the fact that there will be no charitable organizations in a capitalist society. If one were ever in doubt the question, one only has to compare the plight of a beggar in Africa and in the streets of New York. Nothing more is necessary to make the point any clearer.

Although any social system cannot guarantee rationality, it can, reward rationality and punish irrationality. All that there is to realize is that a person works better when he takes the responsibility of his own life. No amount of "big" money or "big" government can change that. Not if A is A.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Devil's Swimming Pool.

This is a picture of the Victoria Falls in Southern Africa on the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is one of the largest waterfall in the World at a height of 128m. During the months of September and December, one could actually swim to the edge of the waterfall without falling off. It is thus aptly named, "The Devils Swimming Pool."

I found the picture from this great site on travel. It features a lot of places and if the author has made money by has to be a lot of traveling. I plan to visit a lot of the places reviewed on the site in this lifetime.

No doubt about it!

Thanks, Diana!

I've very recently read Diana's advice on blogging. I must say, the tips were not things I didn't know earlier, but i guess most smart things are things we already know, but just not explicitly. I kept nodding my head until I finished reading the post.

It was frickkin' awesome.I am glad we have such smart people hanging around the block!

The Official Name Change.

I've decided to change the name of the blog from "Philosophy, law and life" to "Reddie Reasons". Reddy being my last name and all got me thinking about it. I started this blog to write about things instead of just blurting them out and also to develop a writing habit. I was just scrolling thorough the page and am amazed I have written so much. Well, its not much when compared to other bloggers, but what the hell..I AM WRITING! Personally, it feels great.

Anyway, I plan to do a global warming series, given the time I've spent with the environmental law bullshit. I don't know how many parts I am gonna put in it but i promise to make it great. I have approximately a few hundred students thinking global warming is man-made -- which is completely absurd. I find it hard to believe such nonsense is the normal state of affairs. I mean as a kid I always thought mistakes were mistakes, but now it’s the normal state of affairs. In fact, making sense outta things is abnormal today. It really does take a lot of courage to stare at evil and not blink if this is the state of us. I really need to make the global warming series happen!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Exams In Hibernation.

Being a IVth year law student in India is tough -- for all the wrong reasons. I have my exams and am outright bored every time i pick up any study material.

For starters, here is a list of my subjects -- direct taxes which are insistent on stealing money from hard working individuals. In fact, my tax professor has a magic word phrase which he often uses to justify taxes - "Taxes are required to raise revenue". How can anyone talk of raising revenue or whatever without first discussing the functions of the State itself. Its true that a free country needs a defense, so what are we going to do about it? Do we point a gun and then ask the people to pay protection money? Atleast from what I gather in classrooms, nobody is interested in finding out the way things work.

Company Law is so full of government regulations and procedure that one would not know where to begin taking permissions. It is also spiced up with the Competition Act (the Indian version of antitrust laws)enforcing "fair" competition. We are supposed to find the pleasure of law school with the same old crap of memorizing case laws which are decided on a case by case basis which find no problem watsoever by dispensing with fundamental abstractions.

Labor law is totally insane. I think a person without a law degree would know more of any commonsensical laws about labor than any lawyer who argues in front of labor tribunal. I mean if there is a bonafide dispute between the employer and employee, the first thing to contemplate is the terms of the contract that was agreed between them. But hell, I am yet to come across the word "contract" itself. In fact, there is a specific bar on the jurisdiction of the Civil Court.Consider who can be termed as a workmen under labour law. A worker can be classified as a "workmen" under the Industrial Dispute Act, not by looking into the nature of relationship between the employer the and the employee but on considerations such as whether the worker has any friends in the labor Union to support him. Now we have like 20 case laws which we have to memorize and apply the aforesaid theory to any problem in the exams. Does it surprise people that students don't take them seriously!!?

The worse part of the whole issue is that nobody even enjoys the subject. Idiots find pleasure, not in rational inquiry, but in suspending and blurring their conceptual faculty.

And of course, the environmentalists propaganda -- Environment law. Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient truth" was screened in class showing students the myth of global warming. Forests, animal and what not are "protected" by the government. Even though we fully well know a free market system works better, we are still stuck with this shitty system of the government calling for proactive legislations instead of leaving people alone. Its clearly not evidence that we are concerned about. Intrincism runs deep in environmental propaganda and if you want to well in law school -- don't question, just obey.

Land and Agricultural laws deals with how to confiscate the land of private, honest individuals for "public" purposes. For kicks, even its constitutionality is discussed. As if it changes the fact that it is wrong to take away the right to property for any goddamn welfare scheme proposed by the ever-proactive governments. I just don't see the point that no matter what fancy names one chooses to call stealing land, it doesn't change the fact that the beneficiary of such a policy is getting it for nothing -- forced charity!! Now, how difficult is that to grasp, really.

It makes complete sense that students find the classes boring. The laws proposed atleast wont work on Earth -- and thus fail to attract any attention of 21 year old kids who spend 5 hours a day listening to this shit. I don't think this is what any law student signed up for when they planned to enter law school. Nobody starts off wanting to be bored or to end up as a back bencher. I think most give into the irrationality because it easy -- so easy to quit thinking and substitute raw material for processed thought.

Gotta hit back to the lies, the books and the stillness of boredom.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Freedom Or Public Good - Deciding The Evaluative Primary.

Noah Stahl presents an article in The Undercurrent titled ‘Enforcing “Constructive Behavioral Change”’ talking of a raging debate between a group of college Presidents and several other groups, among them are also the Mothers Against Drunk Driving on deciding whether the drinking age should be lowered to 18, the legally recognized age of adulthood. They argue that “twenty-one is not working” because it has “not resulted in significant constructive behavioral change among our students.” Both sides agree on the fact that reduced drinking is good and both sides are debating whose empirical study has the correct findings. Noah Stahl writes,

“Leave aside for now the factual claims of either side and consider the nature of the debate itself. On one side is a group arguing that current laws do not “work”, citing only empirical studies as evidence for their position. On the other side is a group arguing that current laws should be left alone, citing only empirical studies as evidence for their position. In fact, both sides have the same motive (reducing drinking), but only differ on what the “research” tells us is the best way to achieve it.”

Such events only foster the evidence, that when government officials all over the world are considering “what works”, their mind immediately translates it to the question – “Which controls work?” It does not matter to them whether or not the government has the right to force an individual to bypass his highest individual judgment. It does not matter whether men can be treated as animals by asking them to blur their choices and suspend their judgment. As Stahl puts it, “But such questions would likely strike advocates of either position as bizarre – there are no rights under consideration here, only desired behaviors.”

This is a classic case which once again shows the inability of all legislators all over the world to grasp the causal link of freedom, which as a secondary consequence leads to real “public good”. Legislators are more inclined to increase the pubic good without recognizing the base that is the cause of all good: freedom. It is important to note here that a person’s hierarchy of values matter with regard to any issue. One has to evaluate what are ones moral primaries and which is the secondary. In other words, it is important to consider which value is the causal value which leads to all other desired values. Leonard Peikoff in his book on Objectivism illustrates this point with an example of a swimmer. If a swimmers goal is to swim a long distance, then he will keep his body as calm as possible, swim in straight lines and conserve his energy. If, on the other hand, the swimmers goal is to exercise, he will swim at a greater speed, zigzag in direction and expend a lot of energy. The point is that the cause, the “why?” is most important as the effect has its root in the cause. The question, “Why am I swimming?”(cause) is what governs the swimmers behavior (effect). If the cause is not enacted properly, then the effect fails too.

Man like all other things around him has an identity and his identity demands freedom to think and act accordingly until and unless his individual judgment infringes the rights of another individual. Since man needs to preserve and safeguard his life, man has to think and for this to happen, liberty in thought and action must be preserved. It is a matter of historical record of how freedom has effected in large scale “public good” which was unimaginable by our forefathers. It is this reason why Objectivists cannot talk about freedom neutrally as they understand that the essence of freedom is the rapture and glory of aiming for the skies and reaching it.

The modern world constantly provides new technologies and techniques which requires the law has to lay down a framework to preserve the rights of the parties. For instance,punishing hackers or to enforce international contracts. Since there is room to maneuver while framing such laws, it the cause of freedom that must be emphasized or lionized upon if its “public good” that legistlators seeks. From Adam Smith to the present, all laws have been drawn up to meet the public good of the people while grudgingly accepting freedom as a necessary evil. As a consequence, legislators have emphasized on the social effect and minimized the individualist cause. While cutting back on the cause, they cry for “some controls” and later for more controls and end up wondering why numerous policies fail in spite of big money put into such programs. If any law does not take into consideration the scientific morality of man based on his metaphysical nature, it is bound to fail no matter what economics or laws one wishes to implement. By divorcing broad philosophic guidance and methods and by ignoring mans basic identity, no proper goal can ever be achieved. Communist China could serve as proof of the above (link). If the cause is corrupt, then the effect necessarily will be corrupt too.

In this context, it would be appropriate to put forth the statement by Hank Rearden, the industrialist in Atlas Shrugged who is charged with the breaking of a regulation which promotes public good while minimizing the individual effect. Rearden states,

“I could say to you that you do not serve the public good-that nobody’s good can be achieved at the price of human sacrifices - that when you violate the rights of one man, you have violated the rights of all, and a pubic of a rightless creatures is doomed to destruction. I could say to you that you will and can achieve nothing but universal devastation - as any looter must, when he runs out of victims. I could say it, but I won’t. It is not your particular policy that I challenge, but your moral premise. If it were true that men could achieve their good by means of turning into some men into sacrificial animals, and I were asked to immolate myself for the creatures who wanted to survive at the price of my blood, if I were asked to serve the interests of the society apart from my own-I would refuse. I would reject it as the most contemptible evil. I would fight it with every power I posses. I would fight the whole of mankind, if one minute were all I could last before I was murdered. I would fight it in the full confidence of the justice of my battle and of a living being’s right to exist. Let there be no misunderstanding about me. If it is now the belief of my fellow men, who call themselves the pubic, that their good requires victims, then I say: The public good be damned, I will have no part of it!” (Bold added)

Capitalism virtue as a social system does not lie in the fact that it primarily serves the public good. Instead, its virtue rests on the cause of freedom that makes any good possible - the achievement of values. The charge that capitalism is “cruel” is true in its entirety – it forces an individual to take the responsibility of his life knowing fully well the effects of tampering with freedom.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

China Takes The Rock Bottom

In India, everybody loves comparing the progress of India and China given their rapid economic growth in recent years. Although India is sniveling in its own mystical, religious fantasies, it looks like China is in for a rock bottom pretty soon. John Maudlin in his recent E-letter tells us why. (link)
Its yet another reason why no matter what economics one chooses to implement, one cannot get away with the law of Identity. Man has an identity and his identity demands freedom for rational thought and action. Since this notion is apparently inconceivable in China, they sadly succeed only to fail..and fail at what proportions!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Enforcing Vegetarianism

An editorial was published by The Hindu, one of India's national newspapers analyzing the recent decision of the Indian Supreme Court in Hinsa Virodhak Sangh v. Mirzapur Moti Kuresh Jamat delivered on March 14, 2008. It is particularly disturbing. The question arose when the Gujarat government by an order required the banning the selling of meat for nine days during a Jain festival. The court agreed that a right to eat whatever ones wants to eat is a matter of personal liberty protected under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. However, the Court enforced the ban saying it was a justified restriction on the ban. There are several aspects of this judgment that are disturbing.

To quote the Court 'respect for the sentiments of the Jain community, which has a sizable population in Gujarat and Rajasthan'. But numbers, sentiments and religion should be irrelevant criterion to the Judiciary while deciding upon rights. Ones only tool of analyzing such issues is obvious: reason.

The whole foundation of the modern State rests on the separation of Church and State i.e. to sever the connection between political power and Religion. It means every individual has the right to believe and practice whatever he wants unless he does not violate anybody else's rights. It also means that a White man or a Brahmin should have the right to refuse a job to a Black man or a Dalit in his organization. If the individual chooses to be irrational, the State should not interfere as long as he does not violate somebody else's right. However, in a free market, if the Black man is a good worker, the irrational individual loses out on good ability of the Black man for being a racist.

The state has no right to enforce morality, whether good or bad, upon its people. If I went around the country with a gun trying to enforce Objectivism, the law would not permit me to me to do it. Similarly, the Constitution should not permit the government to enforce their view of morality. This is the essence of the separation of private beliefs (especially religion because nothing with would be lethal than applying primitive philosophy in a modern world) and political power. The only purpose of the State is to protect the rights of the individuals, not become its annihilator. The mere fact that selling of meat offends a few people in a community during the festival violates nobody rights. The only way to violate somebody's right is by using force. Even in crimes like defamation, if one can objectively prove damage, the person who wrongfully defames another's reputation is punished. The only perpetrator of force now seems to be the agents of the State themselves.

.To quote the Court, "since India is a country of great diversity, it is absolutely essential if we wish to keep our country united to have tolerance and respect for all communities and sects."(Italics mine). The word "unity" seems to be as opposed to individual rights as it seems to imply citizens as "a family" or replaceable individuals in a society but not granting them just that status which they are: distinct individuals.

Tolerance is also wished of all the individuals other than the members of the Jain community - who should instead be tolerating selling of meat during the festival. Sanctioning intolerance is no way of furthering tolerance. Moreover, tolerance is not a major virtue. Tolerance does not mean morally sanctioning everything one considers evil, it only means respecting the rights of others even when one disagrees with the other or plain non-interference. Mere non-interference is simply a negative. Non-interference doesn't show committed one is to honesty or justice or principles as such. Non – interference does not even tell which person among the tolerating individuals is right and moral or the wrong and immoral. By no means, it can be classified as a major virtue but taking steps towards validating ones values with reason, developing character and a strive for the achievement of happiness are.

The judgment is not the first of its kind. In Om Prakash v. State of U.P. (2004), a ban on sale of any meat, fish or eggs at anytime in the year in Rishikesh was upheld by the Supreme Court. In Zoroastrian Co-operative Housing Society Limited v. District Registrar Co-operative Societies (2005) the Supreme Court upheld direct religious discrimination by allowing co-operative housing societies to restrict their membership to followers of a particular religion. The trend is disturbing.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Atheism versus Religion – Identifying And Diagnosing Real Issues.

There is currently a firefight raging between religionists and the "New Atheists". The New Atheists are blaming religion for taking a large death toll from the crusades to Islamic terrorism of today. While the religionists agree that religion is in fact responsible for a deadly death toll, they quickly point out that it is the godless communist regimes that are responsible for most of the bloodshed that has ever plagued mankind. The religionists also proclaim that religions responsibility is minuscule in comparison to the slaughter of over 100 million by the atheistic regimes of the 20th century. So he contends it is obvious that "Atheism, not religion, is responsible for the mass murders of history." The New Atheists seem to be fighting a quickly losing argument.

The irony of the whole thing is that if the New Atheists had any proper grounding in philosophy, they would have blown away the religionists a long time ago. Greg Perkins blogs about the rational philosophical necessity of atheism and explains what atheism is and isn't in the Objective perspective. The post can be found here.

It's an awesome read and great food for thought.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Power cut Affair.

We were experiencing a power cut since the morning. Its 5:30pm now. I was just so tired of doing absolutely nothing. I had read The Virtue Of Selfishness for over 2 hours and the laptop had also discharged. The guy who fixes it just arrived and told us some switches had tripped and all we had to do (from the morning) was to push up the lever. The following was the only thing ringing in my head : dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb!

The power is back on now and you wouldn't believe how delighted I am. I simply can't fathom people celebrating an Earth Hour. It's completely insane. Imagine living like this – without the motor to pump water into your overhead tank, charging a cell phone would be out of question I guess (Phones obviously wont be manufactured in a total Earth Hour respecting culture). I suppose people end up taking it as a fashion. The perfect answer to them came from Keith Lockitch in his recent op–ed, "Earth Hour Sends A Deceptive Message"

"Forget one measly hour with just the lights off. How about "Earth Month," without any form of fossil fuel energy? Let those who claim that we need to stop emitting carbon dioxide try spending a month shivering in the dark without heating, electricity, refrigeration; without power plants or factories, grocery stores or hospitals; without any of the labor-saving, time-saving, and therefore life-saving products that industrial energy makes possible."

I simply love the line. Makes an awesome reply to people who have forgotten the virtue of independence a long time ago.

I LOVE ELECTRICITY and would be willing to switch places with any Westerner wanting more Earth Hours. Any day!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Exposing Altruism.

The distortions in the word “selfishness” have become necessary to provide for a philosophy guided by altruism and unreason.

Altruism as such denotes a package-deal and a deadly one at that. Any philosophy is required to answer two questions in the realm of ethics–

1. 1. What are values?

2. 2. Who should be the beneficiary of those values?

In other words, value to what and value to whome? The altruist morality defaults on the first answer by answering the second. It only defines the second by answering the beneficiary can be anybody but your ownself. You dare not go to college to learn the law or how to build and then proclaim you are moral. Instead, if you did give up your ambition, how so ever big or small to serve your parents unconditionally, then you are surely moral. The problem with such a morality is apparent. Every act of morality (every act of self – sacrifice) one commits, the more bitter he is bound to get. Imagine giving up everything you cherish to attain any moral significance within you or to show off your values, the worse it is for your well – being.

This explains people’s indifference to morality. Indifference would not be the appropriate word. The correct attitude of people towards morality is a combination of cynicism and guilt. Cynicism because people knowingly don’t practice it even though they are under obligation to do so. Guilt because they don’t explicitly or implicitly reject it. In both cases, they attempt to evade the issue of morality and thus the disastrous results.

However, the altruist morality has its own solution from sleeping under a rock. If a person takes altruism seriously and consistently starts sacrificing, they reply, “Oh, come now, be practical.” They themselves don’t endorse that altruism should be practiced consistently. The moment somebody starts taking their morality seriously, the fact that its anti – life is apparent and thus their claims asking people to relax and think practically. But this is fully inconsistent with how a morality should be practiced. Any reasoning person would say, “I take morality seriously and thus I am a good person.” The glaring contradictions between the consistent application of altruism and the requirement for survival are apparent for them to take morality seriously.

Now lets consider the effects of altruism if any thinking man with respect to all other areas of life but defaults on morality and partially chooses the altruist morality. However, he chooses it not by an active, thinking mind but chooses it by defaulting on thought by taking into popular culture. The effect would be any person walking by on the street can scowl at him for acting in his self – interest for any act, any time in his life. He has neither a defense for such an attack and is inevitably guilt ridden, guilt ridden for going to college, for being productive or even saving up money ( He definitely should have given it to the poor.)

Altruism, in simple words, is best described as the sole basis for my rights is my duty to sacrifice it to my neighbor. Such is the nature of fraud involved. Altruism is thought to be in consonance with benevolence today, but the consistent application of altruism is what would make benevolence impossible. Imagine Russia when under the rule of Communism where self – interest was evil but sacrifice to the society was considered as the greatest good. In such a situation, when everybody is poverty – stricken and guilt ridden, imagine a call for charity. I guess one would say, “Be practical, cant you see, everybody is suffering. I don’t know why you should be special to get any money while we don’t.” But consider the same call for charity on the streets of New York, where each productive person acts in his own self – interest. The stark contrast of suffering and prosperity would be so great that people with the ability to help will do so. This is the greatness of an ethic of rational self – interest.

Instead of turning to the ethic of rational – self interest when men are rebelling the ethic of altruism they are also rebelling against every rational standard too. In the Fountainhead, they were depicted by people such as Lois Cook, Gordon L. Prescott, Gus Webb and the other avant-garde artists. These people, the supposed “non – conformists” are the distilled form of altruism and should not be confused with the real rebels (the rational ones). They merely represent the other side of the altruist coin.

To quote Ayn Rand, “This is said as warning against the kind of “Nietzchean egoists” who, in fact, are a product of the altruist morality and represent the other side of the altruist coin : the men who believe that any action, regardless of its nature, is good if its intended for ones own benefit. Just as the satisfaction of the irrational desires of others is not a criterion of moral value, neither is the satisfaction of ones own irrational desires. Morality is not a contest of whims”

In other words, the Nietzchean egoists like the altruists go by the beneficiary criterion of a value only. They too, like the altruists, default on answering what is a value by answering who should be the beneficiary.

Environmentalism (based on unadulterated altruism) and altruism are an attack on self – esteem. They question you, intimidating, “How dare you assert that your life is yours to live and selfishly produce values require for your survival and then proceed to call it moral.”

To fight such an evil one has to question its basis and fundamentals and the only way of doing it is by equipping oneself with the right philosophy.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Simply Awesome Quote.

“Observe the persistence, in mankind’s mythologies, of the legend about a paradise that men had once possessed, the city of Atlantis or the Garden of Eden or some kingdom of perfection, always behind us. The root of that legend exists, not in the past of the race, but in the past of every man. You still retain a sense—not as firm as a memory, but diffused like the pain of hopeless longing—that somewhere in the starting years of your childhood, before you had learned to submit, to absorb the terror of unreason and to doubt the value of your mind, you had known a radiant state of existence, you had known the independence of a rational consciousness facing an open universe. That is the paradise which you have lost, which you seek—which is yours for the taking.”

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged pp. 968 - 969