Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gates and Freedom of Speech

Cross-Posted from Gus Van Horn

Glenn Reynolds points to a lengthy analysis of the Skip Gates affair in Forbes by Harvey A. Silverglate, who considers it from a legal perspective and concludes that the arrest was unconstitutional on First Amendment grounds. I found the article interesting and unsatisfying at the same time, but definitely worth reading.

One of the best points of the article is that it does a good job reminding the reader of how dangerous government "restrictions" on freedom of speech can be, and in a way that anyone following this story can appreciate.

Conceding that the Harvard professor made an ass of himself on the day he was arrested, Silverglate paints a more sympathetic picture of Gates by noting that he has in the past opposed aspects of the various campus speech codes that threaten higher education across the country.
Indeed, Professor Gates, to his enormous credit, has parted ways with the ubiquitous speech police on his own and other campuses. In September 1993, Gates wrote for The New Republic a powerful critique of campus "harassment codes" that outlaw unpleasant speech. Gates was dealing with a typical university speech code, such as the one in force at the time (and still in force on campuses all around the country) at the University of Connecticut, that banned "treating people differently solely because they are in some way different from the majority, … imitating stereotypes in speech or mannerisms, … [or] attributing objections to any of the above actions to 'hypersensitivity' of the targeted individual or group."

Gates labeled this hypersensitivity provision "especially cunning" because "it meant that even if you believed that a complainant was overreacting to an innocuous remark, the attempt to defend yourself in this way could serve only as proof of your guilt." In other words, self-defense against claims of uttering "harassing" speech only furthered the culpability of the accused in the Orwellian world of academic censorship.

Under Gates' own analysis of the University of Connecticut "harassment" speech code, neither Officer Crowley's words to Gates, nor the professor's responses, nor the officer's replies to those responses, should prove the guilt of either. There was no violence. There were only words, some of which might have been insulting and otherwise unpleasant. And in a free society, verbal expression--even if disagreeable--should never lead to clamped handcuffs.
Indeed, during discussion pursuant to Monday's post, it became evident that (aside from this problem), the arrest looked pretty dubious even according to the disorderly conduct law under which -- I, no legal expert, think -- it was made!

First, a charge of disorderly conduct would appear to be valid only (rightly or not) if there was actual concern for a riot breaking out. That was obviously not a concern here.
Behavior that might cause a riot. Massachusetts courts have limited the definition of disorderly conduct to: fighting or threatening, violent or tumultuous behavior, or creating a hazardous or physically offensive condition for no legitimate purpose other than to cause public annoyance or alarm. (The statute, however, just says "idle and disorderly persons," a formulation that is, on its own, patently unconstitutional.) Violators may be imprisoned for up to six months, fined a maximum of $200, or both.

The stilted language in the Gates police report is intended to mirror the courts' awkward phrasing, but the state could never make the charge stick. The law is aimed not at mere irascibility but rather at unruly behavior likely to set off wider unrest. Accordingly, the behavior must take place in public or on private property where people tend to gather. While the police allege that a crowd had formed outside Gates' property, it is rare to see a disorderly conduct conviction for behavior on the suspect's own front porch. In addition, political speech is excluded from the statute because of the First Amendment. Alleging racial bias, as Gates was doing, and protesting arrest both represent core political speech.
The one objection I still would have had then also seems to have been answered: Crowley is required by law to identify himself, and he needn't be able to be heard to comply. (I do wonder whether this would leave him no way to defend himself if whether he did so came up in a court case and there was only audio evidence.)

Crowley merely had to display his identification:
Section 98D. Each city or town shall issue to every full time police officer employed by it an identification card bearing his photograph and the municipal seal. Such card shall be carried on the officer's person, and shall be exhibited upon lawful request for purposes of identification.
That said, it is clear to me -- and feel free to correct me if I have made an error here -- that Crowley should not have arrested Gates. They were, to answer my own question, both wrong.

All this said, I remain unsatisfied with the overall analysis. Yes, freedom of speech is protected by the Constitution, and, yes, the mere fact that someone is a government official does not grant him the arbitrary power to punish the rude. But I am concerned that the discussion was not a principled one.

Men living in a society have an inalienable right -- whether a government recognizes it or not -- to freedom of speech. Furthermore, the sole proper purpose of government is to protect that, and all other individual rights we possess. More to the point, our rights are not granted by the government or have any other origin than our nature as rational animals and the context of our living within a society.

Silverglate's analysis seems to suffer at times from a lack of clarity on this point. Below, I consider a couple of examples.

First, while it is true that universities, as government-owned or government-controlled entities, have no business restricting freedom of speech, such government control should be phased out and abolished. First, such control is wrong because it violates property rights. Second, it is impractical since, among many other things, it hamstrings universities from making decisions like, "Do we teach the science of evolution as fact, or will the state force us to teach creationism as science alongside it?"

In other words, Silverglate fails to notice that, although Gates may have been well-intentioned in his opposition to campus speech codes, the problem ultimately arises from the government violating property rights wholesale. This leads it to violate freedom of speech, be it in the name of protecting minorities or in the name of not promoting any ideology during conduct of business legitimate for a private entity, but not for the government.

Second, I thought the following passage also suffered from the same problem.
Today, the law recognizes only four exceptions to the First Amendment's protection for free speech: (1) speech posing the "clear and present danger" of imminent violence or lawless action posited by Holmes, (2) disclosures threatening "national security," (3) "obscenity" and (4) so-called "fighting words" that would provoke a reasonable person to an imminent, violent response. [links dropped]
This may be an accurate legal picture, but how does one make sense of this or determine whether the law adequately protects freedom of speech? (Why do we have these exceptions? Are they all valid? Are they really exceptions?) By way of thinking in terms of principles -- in this case, by noting that we do not have the right to interfere with the exercise of someone else's rights through the initiation of force, the threat thereof, or by helping others do so. (The spoken or written word can do nicely for the last two of these.) Had Silverglate done this, he would have also noticed some more "exceptions."

Take the prohibition against endangering national security. Babbling state secrets can make it impossible for the government to serve in its role as protector of our rights from foreign aggressors. This is why such speech is not legally protected and, more importantly, why we don't have a right to it in the first place.

Considering this principle further, might there be cases where someone's saying something might interfere with the work that the police ought to be doing? This possibility came up as we discussed the case here, and it would appear that the charge of "disorderly conduct" may be an expedient, unprincipled way of addressing this problem which is often used tactically and often abused.

The issue of freedom of speech is certainly important in the Gates affair, but also important is that it exposes a widespread lack of appreciation for the role of government in protecting our individual rights and its underlying cause: a culture-wide failure to appreciate the importance of principles in guiding our thinking, and therefore, our actions.

Barack Obama may soon attack freedom of speech, thanks to the urgings of his friend and advisor, Cass Sunstein. In such a context, I don't know whether to count his and Gates's preoccupation with racial ancestry as a blessing or a curse (i.e., as a distraction or an excuse to them). Whatever the case may be, principles are no luxury to men who would like to remain free.

-- CAV

[Editor's Note: I encourage those interested in commenting to join the discussion at Gus Van Horn.]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


[Editor's note: I am still on blog "vacation"... I will write a new post on workflow later on this week and then I will be "quiet" during the rest of the week. I will do some microblogging that you could follow via my FriendFeed on the blog.]

I want to give a shout-out to my guest bloggers. Keep up with your great work! :)

"Hall of fame":

Anita Campbell - Blogger profile. [Editor's note: Anita, Thanks for all your support during these years! Please read Anita Campbell's post, BLOGGING TRENDS -- GOOD AND BAD.]

Allen Forkum - Blogger profile. [Editor's note: Allen, Thanks for all your cartoons during these years! Please listen to my interview with Allen Forkum on Solid Vox.

New guest blogger?

I have sent an invitation to John Cox...

T-Shirt Idea - Capitalism Rocks.

Time for some additional blogrolling...

I have added the following new blogs to my blog list:

I have also added Kendall J's RSS feed of Objectivist Bloggers.

I have added the following sites to my blogroll:

Breitbart blogs. [Editor's note: Breitbart has started to pick up EGO blog posts. Example: Andy Clarkson's post, Are Conservatives Going To Save Socialism Again?]

Forbes Business & Finance Blog Network. [Editor's note: Forbes has started to pick up EGO blog posts. Example: Cindy King's post, Where Is The Best Country To Have A Small Business? I have to check with Adify regarding the Forbes badge link that is not working at the moment.]

My Alltop - Lyceum. [Editor's note: This is my selection of sites. Please come with your tips and suggestions.]

Lego Blogger PictureImage by minifig via Flickr

I am thinking of adding new page elements to the template in the future, so the right column (width 120 px) could appear on the same level as other column (width 160 px). How about a search box, poll, newsreel, video bar or some other gadget?
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cat is Cat

Cats' diets are jacked up and anti-cat, just as ours are jacked up and anti-man. Grains and sugars are killers for both man and cat.

We need to get our cats on a better diet. I have a lot to learn on this topic, but here is some reading I am going to start working on (I'm just mentioning it; I have not read it so cannot recommend it):



Cat Blog

Feline's Pride (cat food company)

Nature's Variety (cat food company)

Feline Future Cat Food Company

Raising Cats Naturally (book)

Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life (book)

Are any of the above irrational in some way (anti-industry, anti-capitalism, anti-man, etc.)? If you find out, let me know please!!

Any other ideas? What can we do to keep our cats healthy by the standard of cats and carnivores?

Update (7-31-09, 5:05 PM CST): Yup. has some good information, and I recommend reading it -- but the writer, the vet Dr. Lisa Pierson, has an anti-man streak. She says: "Not all that long ago (1980s) cats were going blind and dying from heart problems due to Man's arrogance. It was discovered in the late 1980s that cats are exquisitely sensitive to taurine deficiency and our cats were paying dearly for Man straying so far from nature in order to increase the profit margin of the pet food manufacturers."

Then, um, she goes on to "arrogantly" say what man, what reason, has found out about cat health and nutrition; she goes on to "arrogantly" make recommendations for how we, "man," should take care of our cats.

This idea of "the arrogance of man" is an old one, going back to the beginnings of Christianity, if not earlier. Did not Christianity preach against the "arrogance of the eyes" when Galileo and others developed the telescope and microscope?

Fact is, it was error and ignorance that "led to" the deaths, not "arrogance of man." This "arrogance of man," Mrs. Pierson needs to learn, is self-correcting and life-sustaining.

I'd say "If this be arrogance, make the most of it!"

How the World Should Be

If we lived in a more rational world, admiration would go to true heroes, as (almost shown) in this Intel commercial.

Relaxed in North Carolina

Every now and then it's a good idea for everyone to take a bit of time to take inventory, process their current life, clear the mind, and re-charge the batteries. It's good for the soul.
I've been doing just that in North Carolina this year. It's wonderful to catch up in person with my now incredibly tall nephews and brothers wife (who by the way is one of my best friends... is she ever WITTY). :)

Hopefully everyone has the same kind of opportunity to re-charge in 2009.

And by the way, here is an excellent spinach salad recipe by Heidi, my sister in law. (We really should have taken a picture of the gigantic bowl she made because it was sooooo pretty!)

Spinach Salad
1 lb. bacon
2 10 oz. packages of fresh spinach
1/2 pkg. stuffing
6 eggs (hard boiled - optional)
Sauce over spinach - 1/3 cup oil, 1/3 cup vinegar
2/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. peppers, 3 heaping tbsp. dry yellow mustard. Pour over above.
(cross posted from my blog. Indeed this is mixing it up a bit, Martin :) )

Saturday, July 25, 2009


[Editor's note: I will continue my blog break next week. I am very happy with my guest bloggers and I have enjoyed reading their posts. Please feel free to add more comments to their posts. I will write another post in the near future. It will be on the "evolution of my workspace." Thanks to Stephen Smith for the suggestion.]

I will start to write more posts on the culinary industry, gastronomy and other food related topics. My long-range goal is to write an e-book on the Good Life, e.g., tea, wine, chocolate and chile pepper. I am on the quest to find special "hot & spicy" places all around America. I have already mentioned my planned trip to The Big Apple - New York City.

Plant with ripe datil peppersImage via Wikipedia

I want to visit the nation's oldest city, St. Augustine in Florida and test the Datil pepper. It would be interesting to compare this place with Jamestown, Virginia.

I will explore the following things in more detail in the near future:

Food for thought material:

Related: My post, CARNIVAL OF THE RECIPES. [Editor's comment: Do you know about the status of this carnival?]

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Friday, July 24, 2009

For Your Health, For Your Life, For Your Mind

The Gary Taubes lecture "Big Fat Lies" is excellent. It was given, the Website where it is found says, on 02/06/08 at the Stevens Institute of Technology. The video is 1 hour and 11 minutes long. The video is described as follows:
Gary Taubes, an award-winning writer for Science, the New York Times Magazine and other publications, came to Stevens to discuss his controversial new bestseller, Good Calories, Bad Calories which argues that much of what we have been told about the relationship between body weight, diet and exercise is wrong.
Update (7-25-09; 7:30 AM CST): Thanks, Martin, for the heads-up about writing "heatlh" in the title of this post instead of the correct "health!" It was late and I was going on two days of four hours of sleep!


I had to pay a short visit on my blog after I read Andy (Exalted Moments) Clarkson's post, Are Conservatives Going To Save Socialism Again?

I saw a Project Wonderful ad by on my blog. I have to get this classical political t-shirt: Goldwater Periodic Table - Au (Aurum - Gold) & H20 (Hydrogen x 2 & oxygen - Water), i.e., Goldwater. [Editor's comment: You probably know my interest in gold (Aurum). I will tell you more about my new interest in water later on...]

Image source:

Talking about t-shirts, please check out the following sites by Charlie Bloom:

Three of my t-shirts:

Related: My post, LIVE FREE OR DIE.

Are Conservatives Going To Save Socialism Again?

Based upon what I am reading, it looks like ObamaCare is in serious trouble. Here is a sample from Jennifer Rubin at Pajamas Media:

The air seemed to go out of the ObamaCare balloon Thursday. He was greeted by scathing reviews of his mediocre press conference the night before. Then the House Energy and Commerce Committee for the third time canceled its mark-up on the health care bill, a sure sign the votes just weren’t there. the same time the Intrade futures on "A federal government run health insurance plan to be approved before midnight ET 31 Dec 2009" are in a three week uptrend.

As I write this, Intraders are saying that there is a 49% chance of approval. I think the markets are saying there is a rising chance that the Republicans and conservative Democrats will be the ones to "get something done".

Let us not forget that it was conservative Mitt Romney who got health care done in Massachusetts. Said Romney in a 2006 Wall Street Journal piece:

BOSTON--Only weeks after I was elected governor, Tom Stemberg, the founder and former CEO of Staples, stopped by my office. He told me, "If you really want to help people, find a way to get everyone health insurance." I replied that would mean raising taxes and a Clinton-style government takeover of health care. He insisted: "You can find a way."

I believe that we have. Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance and the costs of health care will be reduced. And we will need no new taxes, no employer mandate and no government takeover to make this happen.

Only a mystic can come up with a something-for-nothing quote like that. USA Today reported recently on the Massachusetts plan.

Three years after mandating that residents get health insurance and requiring employers, insurers and taxpayers to chip in, Massachusetts has yet to control soaring costs that are eating up half its budget....

Dealing with cost and quality has proved trickier. Higher health care costs fueled a combined $9 billion gap in the state's 2009 and 2010 budgets that had to be closed last month, leaving less for education, public safety, the environment and other services...

Conservatives are a bigger enemy than Obama.


Be sure to visit my blogs "The Charlotte Capitalist" and "Exalted Moments"

Thursday, July 23, 2009


On my recent trip to Budapest, a new shop in the Castle of Buda caught my eyes:

Located in royal and private wine cellars from the medieval era that had been closed to the public until now, the Royal Wine House has a museum presenting, among other things, Hungary's 22 wine regions, the "Wine Orders," and the Grape Culture of Medieval Buda. You can talk to the sommelier and choose a set of wines you'd like to taste, and there is also a store where you can purchase wines.

I've already been to the nearby House of Hungarian Wines a couple of times. It looks like they've got a competitor now!

[Editor's note: Could this be one of the places Martin and I are going to visit together the next time he comes to Hungary?]

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How Education Should Work

Education should not be anti-intellectual, pragmatic, experiential (in the sense of being concrete-bound), etc. It should teach students to reason. It should follow Dr. Leonard Peikoff's definition of education, which he presented in his Philosophy of Education lecture series.

It should receive comments like these (which came to me from a parent and a student):

"So what do you think Ryan said in the car on the way home today? After I asked him how he liked class? 'I really like how I have to think about the "how" and the "why" of the problems. I've never really been asked to think like that before.' Wow. It gets better, though, with 'and it just makes so much more sense that way'. You only get the kid a few hours a week so you might not get to see the difference you make, but I get to hear these little gems almost daily. Cool." --Helene G, parent

"You taught me where it all comes from and the importance of the fundamentals. You were always prompt, well-prepared, and thorough." --Laurie P, student (college)

We need to give more attention to education -- if people cannot reason, cannot reason well, and don't care, then intellectual activism we engage in will be wasted; it will fall on deaf ears.

Michael Gold, B.S. Mathematics and B.A. Philosophy, is owner of, a math tutoring service. He has been involved in education for over fifteen years, teaching in public and charter schools before starting his own private tutoring service. He also blogs on education and related issues at

Letter to Senators and a Representative on the Health Care Bill

Scott McDonald said in an email communication:
the following [letter] was sent to my representatives urging them to vote no on the health care bill:


The Healthcare legislation currently being considered by the Congress is an affront to the founding principles of the United States. We are a nation where individuals are to be left alone to succeed or fail on their own. The legislation before the Congress violates this principle not only by making me my brother’s keeper, but by explicitly denying me the right to be my own keeper.

-This legislation denies me the right to my own life by putting care decisions in the hands of efficiency boards.

-This legislation denies me the right to my own liberty by denying me the ability to choose my own healthcare insurance.

-This legislation denies me the right to property by extorting my taxes to pay for the care of others.

-This legislation denies me the right to pursue my own happiness, because it makes me a ward of the state.

This legislation is morally wrong. I will actively vote against, and encourage others to vote against, any of my representatives who vote for it.


Scott McDonald

Nice work, Mr. McDonald.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Law of Seed in Social Media Marketing

The Law of Seed is a reality which has long been forgotten. This is a life lesson ought to be learned yet taken for granted.

Now, how the Law of Seed does relates to Social Media Marketing?

Well, we couldn’t answer that question unless we clearly identified to ourselves what the Law of Seeds really wants us to learn. The lesson of the seed is simple – we should reap our harvest after we have done our work.

Say for example, literally, we dig the soil, plant the seed, then water it. This initial process indeed requires a lot effort. Of course, a seed doesn’t naturally grow in a snap of a finger so we have to wait for a while before we can actually pick fruits from what we planted.

From the example above, it gives us a very simple and true equation of -- Effort + Patience = Results. It’s a law applicable to all walks of life thus is also true in social media marketing.

Social Media Marketing according to wiki’s definition is also known as social influence marketing which is the act of using social influencers, social media platforms, online communities for marketing, publication relations and customer service. Common social media marketing tools today includes Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube and a whole lot more.

Understanding the definition alone, we can already grasp how much effort you should expect to invest in. True that social media marketing is one of the most innovative ways to market and build your business’ brand online but that does not mean everything will be easy when you get your feet wet in social media marketing. It requires small business owners a lot of effort and patience before to see the results.

I’ve thought of a very simple example which would relate to reaping what you sow in social media marketing. Take Twitter for example. Twittering about your business has indeed become one of the most lovable social media techniques. In fact a lot has already written their reasons why they love Twitter. I even have written my list of Twitter tips which I am actually inspired to continue sharing about what I learned from Twitter when invited the readers to share their Twitter tips.

But I’m telling you that Twitter won’t be friendly to your business if you don’t have tons of relevant followers reading your updates. Unless you build your followers effectively and you build relationships with other Twitter tweeps, you will surely say, Twitter is just a waste of time for me and for my business.

You see what I mean? It requires a lot of effort and patience before you will see the results. Still from beginning to end, the Law of Seed applies.

Mary Grace Ignacio is an aspiring ITpreneur and a hobbyist traveler. She is the Editor of her own business blog which you can find @ InternetBizNez.Blogspot.Com. Connect with her on Twitter @girlopinion.

Want Excellence in Education? Return to Reason

It is well documented that there is a problem with mainstream modern American education: many high school grads are unprepared for college level work; illiteracy in our culture has been increasing for decades; standardized test scores are up while the difficulty level is dumbed down; many are ignorant of basic science and history; many high school grads record poor writing skills, an index of poor thinking skills; businesses report that they are getting more and more people out of school who do not have the math, writing, reading, thinking and communication skills needed for the job.

To save education and the country, President Obama and Congress are pumping millions into education via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve the infrastructure of education, “reform” education, and get “better” teachers into teaching.

Another reformer, Alex Klein, writing in Education Week (“What I Want When I Teach,” June 11, 2009), proposes saving education through “merit pay”. Mr. Klein argues on the basis that “studies over the past 15 years have conclusively and consistently shown that the largest determinant for student success is teacher quality.” He suggests measuring “merit” with National Assessment of Educational Progress tests “coupled with...district- or school-level human evaluations.”

These proposals sound nice, but they hinge on the mainstream of education improving itself. Its track record, however, through all the other decades of “reform,” strongly indicates that it will hire and promote more of the same methods, ideas and curricula -- all of which it is holding onto with a passion -- that have gotten us where we are today. Teachers colleges, likewise, will continue to train teachers in the methods, ideas and curricula that have gotten us where we are, but with increasing vigor, since “reform” is ringing in the air.

The National Council of Teachers of English will continue to include sequencing a series of pictures in their definition of grammar; the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics will continue to de-emphasize or dispense with teaching proof in geometry and method in algebra; logic, induction and causality will continue to be absent from history, science, and the demands of writing; and “critical thinking” will continue to be used as smoke and mirrors to hide the absence of intellectual rigor in education as a whole.

All President Obama, Congress, Klein, and similar reformers will accomplish is funding ideas that have already failed.

The “reforms” we’ve heard so far have been superficial or of secondary importance, have drawn our attention away from the irrelevant and irrational ideas misdirecting modern education, and have drawn our attention away from what education is really about.

When we look at the results of mainstream modern American education -- poor writing skills evidencing poor thinking skills; illiteracy; historical and scientific ignorance; and more -- the evidence is overwhelming that, unfortunately, contrary to what we want to believe and to what we hear many educators say, we have a cultural and educational flight from reason: from grammar, induction, logic, proof, evidence. We need to get back to the basics.

We need to identify and promote the idea that the role of education -- contrasted with the myriad other institutions and activities in society and human life -- is to train the young to reason and to teach them the knowledge they need for work and adult life: literature, language, history, science, and mathematics. The rest is fluff.

Saving American education demands that we teach reasoning in the tradition stretching from Aristotle to Francis Bacon to Galileo Galilei to Maria Montessori to Ayn Rand. We must demand it of our educators.

We should teach, in all subjects, rigorous writing, grammar, logic, and proof.

Their importance, universality, and power is illustrated in the education of Abraham Lincoln: training in geometric, mathematical proof made him the thinker and writer he was in law and politics. He spent untold hours studying and memorizing the geometric proofs in Euclid’s Elements, a logical, structured presentation of geometry that has not been equaled since it was written in ancient Greece over 2,000 years ago. Via the Elements, geometric proof also had a profound influence on science, being a critical tool of thought for Galileo’s and Newton’s revolutionary work in physics.

And their great value and power over and above spoken and pictorial communication is identified by Dr. Walter J. Ong in "Orality-Literacy Studies and the Unity of the Human Race" (Oral Tradition, 2/1 (1987): 371-82): “ All science needs writing in order to achieve the tight, sequential, linear, ‘logical’ organization that science requires.” In “Literacy and Orality in Our Times,” Dr. Ong writes “Writing is an absolute necessity for the analytically sequential, linear organization of thought such as goes, for example, into an encyclopedia article. Without writing...the mind simply cannot engage in this sort of thinking, which is unknown to primary oral cultures.... Without writing the mind cannot even generate concepts such as ‘history’ or ‘analysis’... In the world of the creative imagination, writing appears necessary to produce” novels and stories with plots.

History is clear in demonstrating that when education focuses on reason, it works wonders. Ancient Greece, Renaissance Europe, and early America provide a plethora of examples. And the Middle Ages, Soviet Russia, Red China, the Khmer Rouge and human history before there was any education solidify the demonstration by contrast.

It is only when we return to the ideal of education as rigorous training in reasoning that the educational system of America will improve. Then we will have clear-cut standards for student performance, required subjects, testing, pedagogy, and teacher merit. Then we can “throw” money at education and have it improve. But then, we won’t need to.

Michael Gold, B.S. Mathematics and B.A. Philosophy, is owner of, a math tutoring service. He has been involved in education for over fifteen years, teaching in public and charter schools before starting his own private tutoring service. He also blogs on education and related issues at

(c) 2009 Michael Gold

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Via Cosmic Log (hat tip to Martin):

Every five years, the three men of Apollo 11 get together to face the cameras [...] Now it's been 40 years since that historic touchdown on July 20, 1969, and the spotlight is once more shining on the famous trio.


The main event takes place Sunday night, when Aldrin takes his place alongside Apollo 11 crewmates Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins for a lecture at the National Air and Space Museum. Apollo flight director Chris Kraft and former senator-astronaut John Glenn are also due to attend. Although the event is sold out, you should be able to catch it on the NASA TV Webcast.

See the original post for many more links. Also, visit the mission page on NASA's website and check out their anniversary features, including an interactive animation of the entire landing site.

And while you are there, don't miss this related item from the Current Missions section:

NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has returned its first imagery of the Apollo moon landing sites. The pictures show the Apollo missions' lunar module descent stages sitting on the moon's surface, as long shadows from a low sun angle make the modules' locations evident.

Although these pictures provide a reminder of past NASA exploration, LRO's primary focus is on paving the way for the future. By returning detailed lunar data, the mission will help NASA identify safe landing sites for future explorers, locate potential resources, describe the moon's radiation environment and demonstrate new technologies.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Grammar Follow-Up

You can download a pdf of A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1927) by H.W. Fowler on the Website of the Internet Archive.

This is the book recommended by Ms. Rand in The Art of Nonfiction.

You can purchase a copy of the book on But if you do so, do not get the third edition -- the editor of Nonfiction, Mr. Robert Mayhew, recommends strongly against the third edition.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Where Is The Best Country To Have A Small Business?

The Challenges Of Small Businesses Making Money In France

When I first started working in France over 20 years ago now, many multinationals had their European headquarters based in Paris. In the mid-1980’s I witnessed a definite trend. These multinationals were relocating their European headquarters to other European countries outside of France. Even with the expense of relocation, these companies got out of France to save money.

It is expensive to have a company in France. The big companies knew that 20 years ago and things have not really changed. They actually got worse with the advent of the 35 hour work week.

So why did I start a very small company here in France a year and a half ago?

Administration Mess

After spending last week sorting out errors made by the French administration, this is the question I’m asking myself today.

Small business owners do not have time to waste no matter where they live. We all work very long hours. So it is annoying when you have to drop everything to respond the representatives of the law who… well… made the mistake in the first place.

It is not politically correct here in France to complain about the errors made by the French administrative employees.

I’m not sure if it is politically correct to treat all company owners as money-hungry capitalists with distain… but it is common here in France and something I encounter frequently.

An Employee’s Society

This past week’s experience reminded me of a conversation I had with a French businessman of Arab descent who I met at the Paris Twestival earlier this year. Arabs have a different business outlook than French people. The conversation was interesting.

This gentleman said that “France is a country that promotes employees. Everything is set up to help and support the employees… to the detriment of the employers and business owners of all sizes”.

You do not need to live here long to see that business owners are not respected by the general French public. The French cultural hang-ups about being embarrassed of “making money” start to kick in. It is just not socially acceptable to acknowledge that you want to make money here in France.

The only way a business owner can get out of this embarrassing situation is to say that he wants to “create jobs”. This is noble… and sort of acceptable. But there is still a problem. You can still feel the undercurrents of distain towards people that want to make money.

Cultural Barriers

I remember when I lived through my first train strikes in Paris. You would never hear anyone on the news complain about the trains being on strike for long periods of time. The people interviewed would put on smiles and state their support of the strikers.

In recent years, I have noticed a few tight-lipped acknowledgments on the evening news that small businesses were forced to close down as a direct result of the prolonged train strikes. But this was still within a general atmosphere of camaraderie supporting the strikers.

In Search Of Small Business Paradise

It is not easy for small businesses everywhere. In France there are additional cultural hurdles for the small business owners compared to those in other countries.

Listening to friends with similar small businesses in England and Canada, the grass definitely looks greener over there.

The problem is that I have already lived in England and Canada.

  • England was a fantastic experience professionally. But I got tired of the extremely limited choice of fresh fruit and vegetables available in the grocery stores during the winter months. And I worked right next to the 2 expensive department stores on Oxford Street that sold imported fresh produce!
  • Coming from the Bahamas, the Canadian winters are more than a bit too much for me.

France does have a wonderful lifestyle to offer. But it is much better to experience France as an employee, with its:

  • 5 weeks vacation
  • 35 hour work weeks
  • Laws of all kinds to protect the employees
  • Fantastic social security system with long paid maternity leaves financed through the employers
  • Almost 2 years of unemployment benefits if you are laid off

The hassles of having a small business in France takes up so much time, that I sometimes wonder if that is the government’s strategy to combat unemployment: to incite all businesses, big and small, to hire someone to deal with them.

So here is my question to you…

Where Is The Best Country To Have A Small Business?

If I were to relocate my small business, where would you suggest I relocate?

Here are the particulars: My business is location-independent, so I do not need a thriving local economy. Internet and banking services are very important as I have international clients. And that’s it.

Please let me know where you would set up your small business and why.

Vegetable Market In Dieppe, FranceImage by bestfor / richard via Flickr

Cindy King is a Cross-Cultural Marketer & International Sales Strategist based in France. She uses her dual background in sales & marketing to help businesses improve their international sales conversion and develop country-specific international sales guides. Connect with her on Twitter @CindyKing.

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Herding Cats Project Management and Productivity

“Herding Cats” is an expression used often in Project Management. It refers to a task that is extremely difficult, or impossible, to do because of people, or variables, constantly in flux and uncontrollable. There is a popular EDS commercial on YouTube with modern “cat herders”.


Project Managers often have to deal with things that should be straightforward, but they become unbelievably difficult due to the people-factor.

Here is an example: you need to get someone to sign a piece of paper to get something done. Everything has been approved by those on high and all that is needed is one single signature by a finance dweeb. But he refuses. Fear of making a mistake? An uncontrollable desire to prove that he can control time and space? It could be anything.

It's like trying to stand cooked spaghetti on end.

Controlling Email

In personal productivity a great example is email. There are hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands… well… there is at least more than one book that will teach you how to get control of your work email. Not those jokes that get forwarded, not the links to great YouTube videos, like the one above, and not pictures of the family. Real work email.

The Four D’s

I use the Delete, Delegate, Defer, or Do empty-email-inbox-process. I keep my inbox empty except for those emails that still need an action. Everything else has been deleted, or at least most of them, delegated to the right person, deferred or moved into a to-do file or to the appropriate project file or it falls into the “do” category.

“Do” means that you either reply to the email or take the action required by the email. This is best if the action required takes only a moment or two, or if it is actually urgent and important.

When you go through your email and do one of these four actions quickly and properly, you will never spend more than one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. And you will have an empty email box no matter how much work you have.

Cat Herding Emails

How is this like cat herding, I hear you ask. Well, if you are like me, you have more than one urgent and important email that comes in. And it seems as if urgent emails bounce back and forth just after you finish repling to one.

Urgent, urgent, urgent – in an infinite loop.

If you want to avoid this trap, program your email to be sent an hour after you begin. All of them.

Begin working on you email at 9am, send them all at 10am and then log off. When something actually important comes up, let people know that they can call you – but only if it is really important (and don't be afraid to use your voicemail).

Managing Unstable Environments

“Cat herding” is managing extremely unstable environments through practice and persistence. You have to put it in place and stick with it.

How do you handle your “cat herder” situations? What kind of “cat herder” are you?

by Richard McLaughlin, a guest blogger helping Martin make it through summer.

A Means of Learning Grammar and Writing: Study Great Writings and Great Writers

First off, sorry this is long and pushes posts down ten feet. Blogger does not have a "read more" function that I'm aware of, and that Martin is aware of, else I'd use it.

As Ayn Rand pointed out, anyone who takes reason and rationality seriously should take grammar and writing seriously. Besides studying grammar texts and Rand's The Art of Nonfiction to learn to write well, we should read and study great writing: Rand, Hugo, Jefferson, Madison, Aristotle, Peikoff...

Two pieces of great writing in particular are the Declaration of Independence
and the Federalist Paper No. 10, both of which are pregnant with content, grammar, structure, and stylistic elements we could learn from, and both of which I excerpt below.

I'd also recommend highly
The Stylistic Artistry of the Declaration of Independence by Stephen E. Lucas. I have not read the whole article -- I hope it does not have some distasteful ideas in it -- but I have read parts of it, so I know it has some good, useful information in it. I provide an excerpt below.


Excerpt from The Federalist No. 10

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

The latent causes of faction are thus sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. So strong is this propensity of mankind to fall into mutual animosities, that where no substantial occasion presents itself, the most frivolous and fanciful distinctions have been sufficient to kindle their unfriendly passions and excite their most violent conflicts. But the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property. Those who hold and those who are without property have ever formed distinct interests in society. Those who are creditors, and those who are debtors, fall under a like discrimination. A landed interest, a manufacturing interest, a mercantile interest, a moneyed interest, with many lesser interests, grow up of necessity in civilized nations, and divide them into different classes, actuated by different sentiments and views. The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation, and involves the spirit of party and faction in the necessary and ordinary operations of the government.


Excerpt from The Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.


Excerpt from The Stylistic Artistry of the Declaration of Independence by Stephen E. Lucas

Like the introduction, the next section of the Declaration--usually referred to as the preamble--is universal in tone and scope. It contains no explicit reference to the British- American conflict, but outlines a general philosophy of government that makes revolution justifiable, even meritorious:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

Like the rest of the Declaration, the preamble is "brief, free of verbiage, a model of clear, concise, simple statement."(11) It capsulizes in five sentences--202--words what it took John Locke thousands of words to explain in his Second Treatise of Government. Each word is chosen and placed to achieve maximum impact. Each clause is indispensable to the progression of thought. Each sentence is carefully constructed internally and in relation to what precedes and follows. In its ability to compress complex ideas into a brief, clear statement, the preamble is a paradigm of eighteenth-century Enlightenment prose style, in which purity, simplicity, directness, precision, and, above all, perspicuity were the highest rhetorical and literary virtues. One word follows another with complete inevitability of sound and meaning. Not one word can be moved or replaced without disrupting the balance and harmony of the entire preamble.

The stately and dignified tone of the preamble--like that of the introduction--comes partly from what the eighteenth century called Style Periodique, in which, as Hugh Blair explained in his Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, "the sentences are composed of several members linked together, and hanging upon one another, so that the sense of the whole is not brought out till the close." This, Blair said, "is the most pompous, musical, and oratorical manner of composing" and "gives an air of gravity and dignity to composition." The gravity and dignity of the preamble were reinforced by its conformance with the rhetorical precept that "when we aim at dignity or elevation, the sound [of each sentence] should be made to grow to the last; the longest members of the period, and the fullest and most sonorous words, should be reserved to the conclusion." None of the sentences of the preamble end on a single-syllable word; only one, the second (and least euphonious), ends on a two-syllable word. Of the other four, one ends with a four-syllable word ("security"), while three end with three-syllable words. Moreover, in each of the three-syllable words the closing syllable is at least a medium- length four-letter syllable, which helps bring the sentences to "a full and harmonious close."(12)
c 1989 by Stephen E. Lucas
Stephen E. Lucas is professor of communication arts at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. The present essay is derived from a more comprehensive study, "Justifying America: The Declaration of Independence as a Rhetorical Document," in Thomas W. Benson, ed., American Rhetoric: Context and Criticism (1989).


I am in awe of the Declaration and the Federalist No. 10. The more you read and study them, the more you get out of them.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn.

As I mentioned previously, a trip out of the country caused me to miss the first half of this year's OCON, although it took place in Boston, where I now live. I also decided -- correctly, I still think -- that diving into a full schedule of activities on the heels of that trip and a cross-country move would be a little too much, and went for a relatively light schedule of (mainly afternoon/evening) activities and socializing.

But that doesn't mean I don't wish I could have attended the entire week. I really enjoyed the conference at Telluride two years ago and see that several bloggers who attended this year wrote about their experiences. For my own convenience and for that of any who didn't attend, I present this roundup of information on the conference.

If you have further posts or interesting links I haven't included, feel free to write me about them or mention them in the comments.

1. Not tweeting (yet?) myself, I nevertheless will start by mentioning that Diana Hsieh and others used Twitter to post short notes about the proceedings, often in real time. I do wonder whether Twitter is making roundup posts like this superfluous, but will slog ahead anyway...

2. Kendall J of The Crucible, kept a near-daily log of his experiences: OCON – Day 1 & 2, OCON Days 3,4 & 5, OCON Day 6 & 7, and OCON Final Days. Kendall helpfully breaks his posts down into course-related and social sections. From his post on the final days of the conference:
Diana's OBloggers dinner was a success, with such notable bloggers attending as C. August of Titanic Deck Chairs, the husband and wife duo of One Reality and 3 Ring Binder, Gus Van Horn, TOS's Craig Biddle, and new blogger Rational Egoist's Jason Crawford in addition to Paul (GeekPress) and Diana (Noodlefood). We burned the midnight oil back at the hotel discussing all sorts of topics! [minor edits]
I definitely enjoyed that event and would like to thank Diana for organizing it. This was a very fun group of people to spend time with, and it was my first good chance to become better acquainted with the other Boston-area bloggers.

Speaking of whom, ...

3. C. August attended on a somewhat scaled-back basis, but kept good notes: OCON - Day 2, OCON - Days 3 & 4, and OCON - Day 5. This comes from his first entry, about the second day of the conference.
Onkar Ghate spoke on the separation of church and state, its political/philosophical underpinnings, and the threats it faces from the religious right and secular left. It was a fantastic talk.

At the end, Harry Binswanger prodded Onkar to get it published soon, and Onkar responded that he had a book in the making. Harry prodded further and suggested an op-ed so the ideas would be immediately available, which got a big round of applause. I'd actually like to see something in The Objective Standard, with extensive footnotes, because Onkar referred to many works by John Locke and other Enlightenment figures, and it would be a valuable resource.
I definitely agree with that sentiment.

4. Like C. August, I missed seeing the Boston Tea Party, which benefited from a strong presence of ARI speakers and OCON attendees, but Paul Hsieh posted pictures.

5. Returning to the Boston bloggers... Husband and wife duo SB and LB had lots of worthwhile posts on the OCON. SB's diary consisted of the following posts: OCON Update - July 4 through 6, 2009, OCON Update - July 7 through 9, 2009, and OCON Update - July 10 and 11, 2009. From the last of these:
In a general lecture called "Free Minds and Free Markets," Peter Schwartz pointed out the inextricable connection of liberty and capitalism. As Ayn Rand put it, "A free mind and a free market are corollaries." Mr. Schwartz elaborated upon this with his typical brilliance and intensity, and he illustrated his points with many examples, including some execrable quotes from Nicholas Kristof, David Brooks, and Cass Sunstein.
This was one of the two general sessions I attended. The other, also superb, was delivered by John Allison. If I'd ever heard Peter Schwartz speak, it was long-enough ago that I didn't remember just how good a speaker he is.

LB, besides nicely summarizing the social atmosphere of OCON, makes me really wish I'd felt up to attending more of OCON, specifically John Lewis's course:
One of the most immediately motivating things I learned at OCON this week regards the light that lyric poetry of Archaic Greece shines on that important period in the advancement of thought. Dr. John Lewis' presentation of this period was enlightening and inspiring. I will be exploring this period through poetry further, but for now, offer a link to a later bit of interpreted poetry describing the key differences in the archaic poets Homer and Hesiod.
6. I also spent some time catching up with other friends from across the country and over time. Besides being pleasantly surprised to run into a couple of good people I hadn't seen in ten and fifteen years, I walked around the harbor area one afternoon with a friend from Houston. My camera is still MIA, but he had his camera and he's a better photographer than I am anyway. I hope he remembers to send me pictures of the beautiful tall ships that graced the concurrent Sail Boston 2009 event nearby. I may post some of them here later on if he does.

7. Commenter JG notes that Yaron Brook's speech to the Boston Tea Party has been posted to YouTube in two parts.

-- CAV

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ayn Rand on Grammar

Ms. Rand believed grammar was important, very important -- I'd say, an essential part of reasoning, and therefore, I'd add, of being objective and practicing the Objectivist virtues.

Read these excerpts (from pp. 99-104 of The Art of Nonfiction by Ayn Rand, ed. Robert Mayhew, a Plume Book, Penguin Publishers, (c) Estate of Ayn Rand, 2001), think about what Peikoff's OPAR says, and see if you agree with my claims:
One of the most important applications of the Objectivist attitude toward reason is grammar. The ability to think precisely, and thus to write precisely, cannot be achieved without observing grammatical rules.

Grammar has the same purpose as concepts. The rules of grammar are rules for using concepts precisely. ... The grammar of all language tells us how to organize our concepts so as to make them communicate a specific, unequivocal meaning.
[B]y the time you reach college, you should realize how important [grammatical] rules are. Therefore, if you know why we should fight for reason, and for the right view of concepts, then let us -- on the same grounds -- have a crusade for grammar.
The difficulty here is that most of you today [meaning most Americans in 1969...and therefore, I'm sure, a fortiori to Americans today. (See Ms. Rand's comments on p. 99.) -- MG] are so used to a subjective shorthand that you lose the distinction between your own inner context and an objective statement.
If you have forgotten your grade school lessons, get a good primer on grammar -- preferably an old one -- and revive your knowledge. You will be surprised how much more important it appears to you now than it did when you were a child.
If you want to express your ideas, particularly ideas based on Objectivism, learn clarity -- and that means concepts, grammar, punctuation.
We should study writing and grammar each for our own selfish interests, but if we are going to engage in activism, there is all the more reason to master writing and grammar.

Here are some recommended books:

The Art of Nonfiction

Writing and Thinking by Foerster and Steadman

Rex Barks by Phyllis Davenport (sentence diagramming)

A Dictionary of Modern English Usage by H.W. Fowler (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1926) -- recommended by Ms. Rand in Art of Nonfiction; Mr. Mayhew says to avoid the third edition. Wikipedia has information on the book and its editions.

You can also find some of these books on or I know Fowler's Dictionary is on Abe -- I just purchased four copies.

Forgot to mention and recommend Principles of Grammar by Dr. Leonard Peikoff!!

Rational Standards of Health

Protagoras said: man is the measure of all things.

True -- in context of an objective metaphysics and epistemology. Which then allow you to properly use the Protagorean principle in the science of health.

And you should want to, to be egoistic and selfish...which this blog is about. But we must keep in mind, it is only on an objective metaphysical and epistemological basis that you'll get egoism right.

Ayn Rand pointed out:
The Objectivist ethics holds that the actor must always be the beneficiary of his action and that man must act for his own rational self-interest. But his right to do so is derived from his nature as man and from the function of moral values in human life—and, therefore, is applicable only in the context of a rational, objectively demonstrated and validated code of moral principles which define and determine his actual self-interest. It is not a license “to do as he pleases” and it is not applicable to the altruists’ image of a “selfish” brute nor to any man motivated by irrational emotions, feelings, urges, wishes or whims.

This is said as a warning against the kind of “Nietzschean 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 it is intended for one’s own benefit. Just as the satisfaction of the irrational desires of others is not a criterion of moral value, neither is the satisfaction of one’s own irrational desires. Morality is not a contest of whims . . . (“Introduction,” The Virtue of Selfishness, ix.)
But how to apply the Protagorean principle to health, so you can egoistically live your own life to its fullest and best? How to apply it, so you can better raise children? How to apply it, so you can provide rational principles of health to friends, so their lives can be better, too?

We have to appeal to the special sciences and evolution, as Dr. Michael Eades does in his blog post "Hard Wired to the Past."

After discussing in his post some quotes from a Scientific American article on cats and a poem about cats by J.R.R. Tolkien, Dr. Eades says:
We, ourselves, like cats, walked “in thought unbowed, proud, where loud roared and fought [our] kin, lean and slim, or deep in den in the East [and] feasted on beasts” in a time long past. And just like fat cats on mats everywhere, we remember, too, those “fierce and free” primal days, if not in our conscious brains, at least in our DNA. We are hardwired to gobble meat with “huge ruthless tooth in gory jaw.” If you don’t believe me, take a look at this YouTube of chimps, our nearest genetic ancestor hunting and eating meat.
We’ve developed our large brains and our social instincts as a consequence of meat eating. I’m planning a post on this subject in the near future, so you can see how our very humanness arose because we developed a taste for meat. We are carnivores to our very cores – were we not, we would still be roaming the savannas with brains the size of grapefruits.
We are not, by nature, grain eaters. We were not conditioned and have not evolved to eat grains, table sugar, lots of salt, etc. -- those are practices and recommendations based on desperation (early societies needing to feed lots of people, or die) and a mismeasure of man. We learn this, not by arbitrarily attacking agriculture, capitalism, and human pleasure, but by applying the rigorous, objective methods of science to study man's health and well-being.

We should also be careful to not follow false arguments or premises like 'if it's healthy, it will be harsh and rigidly disciplined' or 'if I eat healthy, I'll be missing out on a lot of things I like.' Eating right -- it may surprise us only if we suffer under false, unchecked premises -- is easy, enjoyable, and pleasant.

You should at least cut back, way back, on your pizza, bread, hamburgers, and candy. True, you give them up, and you are missing them and the pleasure they give. But turn that around. Since you can only eat so much, since we are finite and limited, when you eat candy and pizza and all, you are missing out on eating more beef tenderloin, lobster, goat cheese, cantaloupe, nuts, strawberries, blueberries...none of which attack your body as do candy and flour, which are long-term self-destructive. What's more, pleasure as such is not a value; it needs to be put in context, it needs to be evaluated in terms of human life and cause and effect. Some pleasures are rational, some are not.

If we are to have man -- man qua rational animal, considered across the whole of his life span -- as the standard of value in our lives, we should then eat not as whim dictates, but as our nature dictates. Following our nature, after all, is what makes us successful in life. And it feels good, and it makes us happy.


In The Anti-Industrial Revolution, Miss Rand comments on the complaints about noise pollution:

Would you regard the following as an expression of love for man? This deals with another alleged pollution created by cities: noise. "Nor can the harried urban inhabitant seek silence indoors. He merely substitutes the clamor of rock music for the beat of the steam hammers, the buzz of the air conditioner for the steady rumble of traffic. The modern kitchen, with its array of washing machines, garbage-disposal units and blenders, often rivals the street corner as a source of unwanted sound."

Consider the fate of a human being, a woman, who is to become once again a substitute for washing machines, garbage-disposal units and blenders. Consider what human life and suffering were like, indoors and out, prior to the advent of air conditioning. The price you pay for these marvelous advantages is "unwanted sound." Well, there is no unwanted sound in a cemetery.

I have never really found it difficult to deal with the noise of my appliances: What I usually do is put a load into the washing machine and the dishwasher, start them, grab a book, and head out into a park to do some reading. After an hour and a half, I'm back, and my clothes and dishes are clean. Today, for example, I read three chapters of Eli Goldratt's It's Not Luck--an activity that is certainly much more pleasant, and also more productive, than washing all my stuff by hand.

On my way back, I noticed a cute little kitten hanging about by the roadside. "Hey," I thought as I slammed on the brake, "here's my chance to follow in the footsteps of Martin and Elizabeth!" It was only then I that realized I didn't have my camera with me. But another "source of unwanted sound," my cellphone, saved the day for me. I'll still need to improve my technique of luring the cat into a proper position relative to the sun, and obviously, I'll have to remember to have my real camera with me next time--but still, I can proudly proclaim that, as of today,

I have made my entry into the world of catblogging!