Welcome to the Spring 2020 issue of The Objective Standard.
The issue has been published online, the ebook and audio versions will be posted by Tuesday, and the print edition will be mailed in the first week of March. You can subscribe or renew your subscription here. (Back issues can be purchased here.)
This issue begins TOS’s fifteenth year of publication, and I’ve never been more in love with this journal or what it represents or the work that my team, our writers, and I get to do.
I want to extend a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who makes this vital publication possible. Thank you TOS employees, contractors, writers, and editors for your part in this complex, sometimes grueling process. Your thoughtful work, enthusiasm, and persistence make TOS the shining light that it is. And thank you subscribers and donors for supporting our work and backing our mission. Without your patronage, TOS could not exist—and with it, the journal continues to thrive. My hat is off to each and every one of you.
Now, to the articles at hand . . .
First up is a remarkable piece by Tim White titled “Justice for Michael Jackson.” If you were, as I was, deeply saddened by the accusations that Jackson molested young boys, and if you refused, as did I, to draw any conclusions on the matter given that you hadn’t seen any credible evidence in support of the claims, you will be relieved—perhaps even delighted—by this revelatory article. White’s deep dive into the case is not only an act of justice for the King of Pop; it is also an exercise in objectivity regarding such allegations.
Next up, in “Zora Neale Hurston, Undefeated,” Timothy Sandefur tells the story of this heroic individualist and brilliant writer. “Hurston polished virtually every sentence in her books to a shine that often verges on poetry,” writes Sandefur. “But more than this, her work expressed a steadfast individualism that sets it apart from the collectivist—even communist—writings of her Harlem Renaissance colleagues.”
Often scorned and rejected in her own day, she was a pioneering writer who looked beyond the controversies of her time and sought to articulate a lasting vision of life—one free of bitterness or pettiness and full of grace and beauty. Her independence came at a cost, but it was one she happily paid . . .
Read Sandefur’s article and be uplifted.
Next, in “Enrich Your Life with Poetry,” Lisa VanDamme demonstrates her method for analyzing poems and enjoying them for all they’re worth. As she explains, “I think the reason most people don’t consume poetry regularly is actually the very reason it is so fulfilling if you do: It is so dense with value that the value is not readily and immediately accessible.” VanDamme then shows us how to make poetry accessible so that it “can inspire us with ideals, reveal the depth beyond the surface, burnish our lives with beauty, turn the simple into the sacred, and make us aspire past what things are to what they might.” Enjoy this powerful essay. And, as always when reading VanDamme’s work, have a box of tissues on hand. You’ll need it—in a good way.
In “Social Media and the Future of Civil Society,” Jon Hersey examines the raging controversy over social media, “social responsibility,” allegations of censorship, and calls for increased government regulations on social-media companies. This is a sober analysis of a complex matter with massive implications for the future. Check it out. Share it with friends. And take to heart Hersey’s sage advice, which includes: “If we want to safeguard civilization, we might start by looking at our own behavior online and ensuring that we are not a part of the problem. Indeed, we can be part of the solution by modeling civil discourse—and by defending the rights that separate civil society from the ‘brave new world’ now rising around it.”
Next is my interview with Bosch Fawstin on “Combating the Evil of Islam.” Fawstin is the tireless ex-Muslim cartoonist who won the first Mohammad cartoon contest and was targeted for murder by two jihadists at a Mohammad art exhibition in Garland, Texas. Thankfully, the jihadists were shot dead before they were able to murder anyone—and Fawstin lives to draw another day and to tell us about his continuing efforts to expose Islam for what it is. As he puts it, “Although I have no regrets, and I will defend free speech to the death, the path I’ve chosen comes with loss, in a number of ways, and it has made my life more difficult. But I can’t imagine doing anything else.” Enjoy the interview, and check out Fawstin’s cartoons and books here.
The shorts in this issue are:
- “My Sixth-Grade Socialist Indoctrination,” by Julian Markowitz;
- “The ‘Purely Musical’ Madison Cunningham,” by Jon Hersey;
- “Dorothy Fontana Was ‘a Damn Good Writer,’” by Timothy Sandefur;
- “The Benevolent Spirit behind Spongebob Squarepants,” by William Nauenberg; and
- “How Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth Saved My Life,” by Tim White.
If you’ve not yet registered for TOS-Con 2020: Philosophy for Freedom and Flourishing, be sure to register soon. The conference will be in Boston, Massachusetts, July 29 through August 1. We’ve announced the speakers, program, and descriptions of the presentations. And early-bird pricing is in effect through March 20. (On March 21, prices increase by 20 to 50 percent.) Visit TOS-Con.com for details and to register.
I hope to see you at TOS-Con. In the meantime, enjoy the new issue of TOS, keep fighting the good fight, and keep living the great life. —Craig Biddle