TOS Podcasts

tosBelow are audio versions of select journal articles, blog posts, and videos. These files are also available through TOS’s RSS feed as well as through iTunes. Audio versions of all journal articles from 2010 to the present are available with a Premium or Audio subscription to our quarterly, The Objective Standard.

Dow Chemical and Crew Illustrate Impracticality of Rights-Violating Policies

Kevin Douglas
TOS Blog, 2:59 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Dow Chemical and other corporations are calling on the government to require energy producers to prove that their sales are in “the public interest” in order to receive permission to trade. The premises here are that the so-called public interest trumps the property and liberty rights of Americans and that regulators can properly determine pricing or trade agreements. Both of these notions are false, and their acceptance is un-American and foolishly shortsighted. (Blog post originally published January 12, 2014.)

Court Violates Cake Baker’s Right Not to Serve Gay Weddings

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 2:50 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

People have a right to act on their own judgment—so long as they do not violate the rights of others—even if their judgment is wrong or flawed. (Blog post originally published December 6, 2013.)

Gun Ownership and Feckless Libertarian Arguments

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 6:07 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

A recent exchange about gun statistics illustrates the failure of libertarianism to base political freedom on anything other than personal or cultural opinion. (Blog post originally published December 3, 2013.)

The Libertarian Case for Legalized Plunder

Craig Biddle
TOS Blog, 10:00 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Whereas many libertarians ignore philosophy altogether, some libertarians deny the objective, demonstrably true philosophic foundations for liberty but embrace false philosophies and attempt to apply them to political policy. Bleeding Heart Libertarians do the latter, and the philosophy they embrace and aim to put into practice is egalitarianism. (Blog post originally published December 8, 2013.)

Jobs Celebrates Man Who Put a Dent in the Universe

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 5:03 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Despite the film’s flaws, it is a deeply moving and inspirational account of Jobs’s life. It shows how Jobs sought to make a “dent in the universe”—and proceeded to do so. (Blog post originally published January 4, 2014.)

Court Correctly Rejects Rights-Violating Net “Neutrality” Rules

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 5:04 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia “struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules, which prohibited Internet providers from blocking or prioritizing Web traffic,” Brian Fung reports for the Washington Post. Although the ruling created a furor among leftist activists, it is a victory for individual rights. (Blog post originally published January 16, 2014.)

“A Cause Greater Than Yourself”—In What Sense?

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 9:23 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The next time someone asks you to live for a “cause greater than yourself,” ask him whether he means a cause that advances your own life and values or a cause that requires you to sacrifice your life-serving values and thus damages your life. (Blog post originally published January 24, 2014.)

Why Capitalism Is Moral

Podcast MP3 link
Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 15:44 minutes

Craig Biddle addresses the question: “You’ve written and spoken at length about why capitalism is the only moral social system, and I find your arguments very convincing. But in daily conversations with people, I don’t have an hour to make the full case. What’s your 5-minute version?” (Video originally published April 18, 2013.)

Spock’s Illogic: “The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few”

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 11:09 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Far from being an expression of logic, Spock’s claim that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few is an arbitrary assertion and a restatement of the baseless moral theory known as utilitarianism, which asserts that each individual should act to serve the greatest good for the greatest number. (Blog post originally published September 12, 2013.)

Libertarianism vs. Radical Capitalism

Craig Biddle
Article, 58:50 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Examines libertarianism in the spirit of Frederic Bastiat, taking into account not only what is seen, but also what is not seen in common and seemingly unobjectionable descriptions of the ideology; exposes major problems with libertarianism; compares it to radical capitalism; shows why only the latter provides a viable defense of liberty; and emphasizes the need to keep these different ideologies conceptually distinct. (Article originally published September 12, 2013.)

Homosexuality: Moral or Immoral?

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 8:40 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Craig Biddle answers the question, “What is the moral status of homosexuality? Is it moral, immoral or neutral? And why are some people gay? Is sexual orientation inborn or a choice or what?” In answering, Biddle explains that sexual orientation per se is neither moral nor immoral and that the relevant issue is whether, given a person’s orientation, he approaches sex in a rational, self-interested, rights-respecting manner. (Video originally published November 27, 2013.)

Morality Without God

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 19:34 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Craig Biddle answers the question, “Can there be objective morality without God? In other words, can morality be both secular and absolute?” In answering, Biddle zeros in on the basic reason people need morality, which is in order to live and prosper, and he explains that objective moral principles are identifications of factual requirements of human life. (Video originally published October 18, 2013.)

“Social Justice” Is an Assault on Justice

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 19:34 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Craig Biddle answers the question, “What is the moral status of homosexuality? Is it moral, immoral or neutral? And why are some people gay? Is sexual orientation inborn or a choice or what?” In answering, Biddle explains that sexual orientation per se is neither moral nor immoral and that the relevant issue is whether, given a person’s orientation, he approaches sex in a rational, self-interested, rights-respecting manner. (Video originally published September 21, 2013.)

What the Poor Owe the Rich

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 11:40 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Craig Biddle discusses what the so-called poor owe the rich, focusing on several of the many things for which the poor should thank the rich, including the goods and services they produce, the jobs they make possible, the legitimate aspects of government they fund, and the example they provide of how great wealth is and how to achieve it. (Video originally published July 19, 2013.)

Why use “Islamist” Rather than “Muslim”?

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 9:41 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Craig Biddle answers the question, “Why do you sometimes use the term ‘Islamist’ rather than ‘Muslim’ to refer to Muslims?” In answering, Biddle points out that some Muslims take their religion seriously and thus seek to convert or kill unbelievers, and some Muslims don’t—and that this is true not only of Muslims but also of Christians and Jews. (Video originally published July 9, 2013.)

Why Choose to Live?

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 7:03 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Craig Biddle answers the question, “Objectivism holds that morality presupposes the choice to live. But why should I choose to live?” In answering, Biddle discusses the nature of the question, the reason the questioner doesn’t really need an answer to the question, and the profound nature of Ayn Rand’s principle that the only reason people need values-including answers to questions-is in order to live. (Video originally published July 7, 2013.)

Morally Judging Muslims and Other Religionists

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 9:35 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Craig Biddle answers the question, “You’ve argued that people should be intolerant of Islam. How does this apply to individual Muslims, not all of whom truly or fully embrace Islam?” In answering, Biddle discusses the need to account for the context of a given Muslim (or other religionist) and the degree to which he acts in accordance with the tenets of his religion; and he explains why all religionists should be judged as immoral precisely to the extent that they embrace faith as a means of knowledge, renounce their rational and thus moral faculty, and turn to “authorities” for moral dictates. (Video originally published July 6, 2013.)

Is Objectivism a Cult?

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 15:03 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Craig Biddle addresses the question, “If an Objectivist is someone who accepts Ayn Rand’s entire philosophy as true, how is Objectivism different from a cult?” In answering, Biddle discusses the essence of Objectivism, the nature of a cult, and the absurdity of positing that the former has anything to do with the latter. (Video originally published July 5, 2013.)

Islam, Tolerance, and Rights

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 27:27 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Craig Biddle answers a question from Amy: “You’ve said that people should be intolerant of Islam. How do you square this with the right to freedom of religion?” In answering, Biddle discusses the difference between respecting rights and being tolerant, the fallacy of package-dealing, the nature of Islam, and the fundamental reason so few Westerners are able to categorically condemn a religion that calls for their death. (Video originally published June 27, 2013.)

Why “Sacrifice” Means Loss, Not Gain

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 21:14 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Actions intended to result in a net loss, or those that result in such a loss due to lack of forethought or effort, are essentially different from those intended to result in a net gain. Properly formed concepts and definitions account for these differences. “Sacrifice,” “forfeit,” and the like refer to actions that render a net loss; “trade,” “profit,” and the like refer to those that render a net gain. (Video originally published April 6, 2013.)

The Is-Altruism Dichotomy

Craig Biddle
Reason at Large, 14:04 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The reason most secular philosophers and intellectuals—including so-called “New Atheists” and “secular humanists”—have been unable to bridge the “is-ought gap” is that they have not been trying to derive the principles of morality from the facts of reality. Rather, they have been trying to derive the principle of altruism from the facts of reality—and there simply are no facts that give rise to the need of self-sacrifice. (Video originally published January 31, 2013.)

No, Mariana, There Is No (State) Santa Claus Driving Technology

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 5:47 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Government is not like Santa Claus, who showers free wealth on people. Every cent the government spends it first seizes from productive citizens. (Blog post originally published September 24, 2013.)

Interview: Linn Armstrong on Self-Defense and Guns

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 9:20 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

In the aftermath of the horrific murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School-while various federal and state legislators have proposed numerous bills restricting the sale and possession of guns, magazines, and ammunition-many Americans have wondered about or discussed the propriety of self-defense and of gun ownership. (Blog post originally published January 10, 2013.)

The Egalitarian Assault on Free Speech

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 10:53 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

In recent years, the left’s commitment to egalitarianism in the sphere of economics has led it to support censorship in the sphere of political speech. (Blog post originally published October 18, 2012.)

Obama, Unsurprisingly, Gets Ayn Rand Wrong

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 6:44 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Barack Obama claims to have read Ayn Rand, which is hard to believe given how completely he misrepresents her views. Of course, Obama’s distortions of Rand’s ideas feed his political agenda of forcing wealth transfers and shackling producers, policies Rand certainly would have rejected as immoral and destructive. (Blog post originally published October 25, 2012.)

Ayn Rand vs. Obama: Whose Ideas are Right for Teens (and Adults)?

Craig Biddle
TOS Blog, 5:25 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The most basic of Rand’s ideas is that reality is an absolute; that things are what they are regardless of anyone’s hopes, fears, or desires; and that for our ideas to be of practical, life-serving value, they must correspond to reality. (Blog post originally published October 26, 2012.)

The Moral Integrity of Condemning Social Security While Collecting It

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 9:46 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

In an absurd act of injustice, the left routinely castigates those who criticize government redistribution programs while accepting some benefits of those programs. (Blog post originally published November 3, 2012.)

The Crucial Distinction Between Subsidies and Tax Cuts

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:15 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

It’s bad enough that government forcibly confiscates our wealth for the purpose of transferring our money to others in the form of welfare (whether regular or corporate). Adding insult to injury, pundits and politicians often speak as though letting a person keep his own money is the equivalent of handing him someone else’s money. They use the terms “tax cut” and “subsidy” interchangeably. (Blog post originally published November 23, 2012.)

When Politics Corrupts Money

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 7:48 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

To concede that “money corrupts politics” wrongly implies that the modern political system is pure and noble until it is corrupted by money. The proper way to describe the problem is that, within modern government, politics corrupts money. (Blog post originally published October 6, 2012.)

Political “Left” and “Right” Properly Defined

Craig Biddle
TOS Blog, 11:10 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The essential issue in politics is not the size but the function of government; it’s not whether government is big or small but whether it protects or violates rights. (Blog post originally published June 26, 2012.)

“You Didn’t Build That”-Obama’s Ode to Envy

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 6:50 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Obama wishes us to believe that the successful-whatever their field and scale of success-are wrong to attribute their success to applying their minds and working hard. Unfortunately for Obama, rational Americans know that his claim contradicts the facts surrounding the achievements of every productive industrialist, producer, and creator, who succeeds by thinking, planning, and working hard. (Blog post originally published July 20, 2012.)