Welcome to the Winter 2020 issue of The Objective Standard.
This issue wraps up TOS’s fifteenth year of publication, and I want to thank you—our customers and donors—for making our success and constant improvement possible. My hat is off to you.
In addition to keeping TOS going strong, my team and I recently created Objective Standard Institute (OSI), a 501(c)(3) educational organization dedicated to teaching people about the importance of philosophy, the principles of Objectivism, and related ideas for loving life and supporting liberty. If you’re not yet familiar with OSI, I encourage you to check out the website, ObjectiveStandard.org, where you’ll find information about its courses, podcasts, conferences, and more. I also encourage you to support OSI in its first major fund drive, which begins this week. The Institute is seeking to raise $500,000 by the end of the year to expand its offerings. If you like the idea of an educational organization that advances Objectivism with clarity, consistency, and an emphasis on personal values and independence, consider supporting OSI. (If you’d like to speak with me about the Institute and its goals, I’d be happy to chat. Just email me at Craig@ObjectiveStandard.org, and we’ll schedule a call at your convenience.)
Now, to the contents of this issue of The Objective Standard . . .
I often say, especially around the holidays, that there is a “God” and he is the geeks. No one better exemplifies this point than Blake Scholl, founder and CEO of Boom Supersonic. Scholl is not only one of the most innovative and productive entrepreneurs on the planet; he is also an Objectivist who applies the principles of Ayn Rand’s philosophy to succeed in his ventures. And his story is rich. In his discussion with Jon Hersey, Scholl reveals the reasons for his success, how he “got a big leg up from Objectivism,” and why “Rand’s identification that there’s no divide between the moral and the practical” is a guiding principle at Boom. “The opposite view,” he explains, “is widely accepted and ingrained. But it’s very powerful to know that whenever you think there’s a conflict between the two, you need to fix your thinking. That puts you in a position where, no matter what you’re doing, you feel like you can take the moral high ground. And you can do it while building an awesome business. That mind-set permeates everything we do. We’re building this massive new industrial product, and we’re really proud of it.” Check out the interview and share it with friends. It’ll inspire you and them—and help make Objectivism go boom.
Next up, in “Corporations and Political Corruption: The Curse of Cronyism and How to End It” (a follow-up to “The Assault on Corporations,” TOS, Fall 2020), Michael Dahlen demonstrates what cronyism is, why it has nothing to do with capitalism, and what must be done to get government out of business and business out of government.
In “Ex-Muslims on the Front Lines in the Battle for Civil Society,” Faith Quintero shows that “Ex-Muslims play a critical role in challenging the evil belief system that is Islam,” that they are among the best-positioned to challenge the tenets of the creed, and that their work is worthy of support.
In “HCQ and COVID-19: What Does the Evidence Show?,” Dr. Steven Kornweiss examines the arguments for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine in the treatment of COVID-19. Kornweiss’s analysis of this controversy may be the best thing you’ll read on the subject. This is how objective journalism is done.
Next up, Leisa Hart discusses “Three Symphonies to Help You Triumph.” A classical musician herself, Hart writes, “Finding music that conveys struggle and eventual triumph is difficult because, to depict true triumph, one has to study it intensely and perhaps experience it firsthand. But such music is a wonderful source of inspiration and empowerment.” She discusses works by Beethoven, Mahler, and Saint-Saëns, all of whom “had to overcome personal obstacles in pursuit of their craft.” Links to performances of the works discussed are available in the website version of this article. Simply search the article title, and the geeks will provide a link.
Tuning in elsewhere on the musical spectrum—but not completely detached from the realm of classical music—Thomas Walker discusses “Five Phenomenal Long-Form Rock Songs,” by Dire Straits, Rush, YES, Iron Maiden, and Deep Purple. These works “blend the musical complexity and long-form storytelling of classical music with catchy rock riffs and powerful electronic sounds,” writes Walker; and each is “built from several distinct movements that form an integrated whole.” Again, links to the works discussed may be found in the online version of this article.
Next, in “Life in No-Lockdown Sweden,” Walker addresses the controversial but (mostly) rights-respecting way in which Sweden is responding to COVID-19. “I visited Sweden at the end of September to sample life there for myself. Although I was aware that Sweden had had no lockdown, I didn’t realize how little impact COVID-19 had had on Swedish life,” writes Walker. “When the dust settles from this pandemic, Sweden’s example will stand as a lesson on how this kind of situation could be better handled.”
The shorts in this issue are:
- “Sweden Hasn’t ‘Failed Its People,’ It Has Protected Their Rights” by Thomas Walker (a follow-up to his article above);
- “Bullies, Looters, Mobs: The Anti-American Essence of BLM” and “We Can’t Fight Racism by Engaging in Racism” by Aaron Briley;
- “The Assault on Ride-Share Companies and Drivers” by Maggie Bird;
- “The Pattern Day Trader Rule Hinders Financial Independence” by F. F. Mormanni;
- “The Immorality of Universal Basic Income” by Angelica Werth; and
- “Thinking Critically about Climate Change” and “How Travel Can Foster a Personal Renaissance” by Joseph Kellard.
The reviews in this issue are:
- Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody by Helen Pluckrose and James Lindsay, reviewed by Timothy Sandefur;
- The Property Species: Mine, Yours, and the Human Mind by Bart J. Wilson, reviewed by Timothy Sandefur;
- Facets of Ayn Rand: Memoirs by Mary Ann Sures and Charles Sures, reviewed by Jon Hersey;
- Spotlight by Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer, reviewed by Tim White;
- Blazing Saddles, directed by Mel Brooks, reviewed by William Nauenburg;
- “Mulan (2020) Sullies the Legacy of a Heroine,” a review by Frank Olechnowicz; and
- The Death of Stalin by Armando Iannucci, reviewed by Thomas Walker.
That’s the lineup. I hope these articles and reviews sharpen your mind and fuel your soul.
From all of us at TOS, to you and all of your loved ones, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a prosperous 2021.
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