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. The complete set of journal articles in mp3 format, from 2010 to the present, is available with a Premium or Audio subscription to our quarterly, The Objective Standard.

Altruism: The Fuel of Jihad

Craig Biddle
TOS Blog, 7:22 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

In “Terrorism, Altruism, and Moral Certainty,” the Afterward to my book Loving Life, I explain that “Islamic terrorists are religious altruists: They selflessly commit human sacrifices for the sake of a supernatural ‘other’—an alleged God.” A Muslim professor at the Islamic University in Gaza recently acknowledged this too. (Blog post originally published June 24, 2014.)

Economists’ “Subjective Value” and Ayn Rand’s Objective Value Reconciled

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 7:54 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Unfortunately, when some economists think of values as “subjective,” they assume that there is no objective standard for determining moral value; they assume that value is only a matter of personal opinion. (Blog post originally published June 22, 2014.)

Dave Brat on Church and State

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:13 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Dave Brat—who recently upset Eric Cantor in a Virginia congressional primary—says he is heavily influenced by free-market thinkers, including Adam Smith, Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek, and (to a lesser degree) Ayn Rand. More encouraging, a paper that Brat wrote in 2011 indicates that he endorses the separation of church and state. (Blog post originally published June 18, 2014.)

Ayn Rand Was Right: Cats Are Objectively Valuable

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:47 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Although Marina Galperina rejects the idea that a pet can be objectively valuable to a person, in fact it can be. As a cat owner myself, I can attest that cats are playful and cuddly, they often do amusing things, and they provide companionship. My owning my cat objectively—that is, factually—contributes to my life and happiness. (Blog post originally published June 15, 2014.)

Dave Brat, Ayn Rand, and Purpose in Political Commentary

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 6:13 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The most important issue was not the influence of Rand on Brat—that was widely reported and thus abundantly obvious—but the differences between the views of Rand and Brat. That was the point that was not obvious to many people, and that is the issue that is crucially important for advocates of Rand’s ideas to clarify. (Blog post originally published June 14, 2014.)

Check Your Statist Privilege

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 2:30 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Although it is senseless to campaign against so-called “white privilege,” one sort of pervasive privilege is real, it is evil, and it should be not only checked but ultimately abolished. It is the privilege government grants to some people to violate the rights of others. Call it “statist privilege.” (Blog post originally published June 13, 2014.)

Dave Brat and Ayn Rand on Rights and Government

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 6:31 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Although Dave Brat largely supports free markets, he does not consistently support them, as Rand did; he disagrees with Rand on important philosophic issues; and he himself recognizes that his views are not Rand’s. As examples, Brat parts ways with Rand dramatically when it comes to immigration and the source of individual rights. (Blog post originally published June 12, 2014.)

“White Privilege”: Myths and Facts

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 6:50 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

By ‘white privilege,’ the left means (among other things) that individuals are to be judged, not by their words, deeds, actions, and character, but by their skin color and by their adherence to leftist narratives regarding racism. (Blog post originally published June 8, 2014.)

No, Denver Post, Businessmen Should Never “Put Moral Judgments Aside”

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 5:06 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

It is absurd to suggest that opening one’s business to the general public somehow obligates one to serve every individual who walks through the doors, regardless of context. Must a cake baker bake a “God Hates Fags” cake for the bigoted Westboro Baptist Church, or a swastika cake for a neo-Nazi group? (Blog post originally published June 6, 2014.)

On the Right Not to Bake a Cake

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:14 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The so-called Civil Rights Commission did not rule that “the baker was wrong” (he was in fact wrong); rather, it ruled that government will punish the baker if he does not bake cakes for gay couples. There is a world of difference between a private individual condemning some action as immoral, and the government punishing that action. (Blog post originally published June 4, 2014.)

Rand’s Ethics and Say’s Law

Craig Biddle
TOS Blog, 2:42 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Whereas rational ethics holds that if you want the values on which your life and happiness depend, you must take the actions necessary to gain and keep those values; rational economics holds that if you want to trade value for value in the marketplace, you must first produce value with which to trade. (Blog post originally published June 2, 2014.)

The California Murderer’s “Selfishness Without a Self”

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:28 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

A rationally selfish individual, far from ‘living’ (or killing and dying) by the opinions of others, lives by his own independent judgment and for his own self-achieved happiness, creating values and trading value for value with others. (Blog post originally published May 31, 2014.)

Leftists Shamefully Exploit California Murders on Behalf of Collectivism

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:57 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The California murderer-an archetype of what Ayn Rand called a ‘second-hander’-was so preoccupied with trying to manipulate the opinions of others that he failed to pursue an independent, value-rich life for which he might have justly respected himself and for which others might have justly respected him. (Blog post originally published May 29, 2014.)

Lincoln and Race

Alexander V. Marriott
TOS Blog, 9:32 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Granting that Lincoln offered some morally compromised concessions to Douglas’s relentless race-baiting, to justly judge Lincoln we must also consider the courage and skill with which Lincoln responded to Douglas’s attacks by promoting truly radical anti-slavery ideas. (Blog post originally published May 29, 2014.)

Egalitarianism vs. Rational Morality on Income Inequality

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 9:42 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Egalitarianism demands that wealth producers feel guilty about their wealth and self-sacrificially serve others as penance for having wealth. A rational morality counsels wealth producers to take pride in their productive achievements and to seek ever-higher productive achievements for selfish gain. (Blog post originally published May 24, 2014.)

Lincoln Versus the “Monstrous Injustice of Slavery”

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:29 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Slavery was a blot on America’s soul and a blatant contradiction of the principles expressed in the Declaration of Independence. In any debate regarding Lincoln and the Confederacy, one cannot rationally ignore the essential fact that Confederate leaders explicitly endorsed slavery and fought for the “right” of states to institutionalize the vile practice. (Blog post originally published May 21, 2014.)

Government Victimizes and Favors Tesla by Violating Rights of All

Michael A. LaFerrara
TOS Blog, 3:45 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

To protect individual rights equally for all manufacturers, dealers, and car buyers, government must end subsidized business loans and the like, lower and ultimately eliminate taxes on all car sales, and enable car manufacturers to freely contract with consumers in whatever way they judge best. (Blog post originally published May 20, 2014.)

The Illegitimacy of Pope Francis’s “Legitimate Redistribution” of Wealth

Natalie Ogle
TOS Blog, 4:17 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

If lovers of liberty want to effectively counter the pope’s (and others’) calls for coercive wealth redistribution, we must challenge his Bible-based morality and repudiate the false notion that we are our brother’s keeper. (Blog post originally published May 18, 2014.)

How to Attack Common Core—and How Not to

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:38 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Every major conservative who has commented on Common Core, pro or con, agrees that government should operate schools and establish curricula for those schools. They disagree only about the proper mix of involvement by federal, state, and local governments, and about the proper content of those standards. (Blog post originally published May 16, 2014.)

Environmentalists: Peak Oil and No Peak Oil, Equally Bad

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:59 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

“Peak oil” was always a sham, although it was, for environmentalists, a useful tool for scaremongering the naive into embracing government restrictions on fossil fuels and government subsidies of windmills and solar plants (such as Solyndra, which, unsurprisingly, failed massively at taxpayer expense). (Blog post originally published May 14, 2014.)

Richard Salsman’s Plan to Immediately End Social Security

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 5:00 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Whether or not government ends Social Security, rational morality (not to mention basic economic sense) demands that it do so. Individuals have a moral right to use their wealth as they judge best, to invest (or not) according to their goals and values, and to use sound investment instruments (as opposed to government transfer programs) to plan for retirement if they wish to do so. (Blog post originally published May 12, 2014.)

Consistent American Christians Endorse Putin’s Soviet-Style Censorship

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 6:56 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Russia, under Putin, has vastly expanded government censorship of speech—and more American Christians have endorsed Russia’s censorship. (Blog post originally published May 9, 2014.)

Two Paradoxes of Capitalism, Resolved

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:52 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Morality consists not in sacrificing values but in pursuing values in order to live and prosper. Because human beings survive fundamentally by using their reasoning minds to produce values, they need the freedom to act in accordance with their judgment; therefore they need a government that protects them from the only thing that can stop them from acting on their judgment: initiatory force. (Blog post originally published May 8, 2014.)

Thank Goodness Few Religionists Are as Religious as Franklin Graham

Natalie Ogle
TOS Blog, 2:37 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Although it is not surprising that a thug such as Putin would want forcibly to silence speech he opposes, it may surprise some that a revered “gentle” Christian such as Graham seeks to do so too. However, Graham’s support for censorship is consistent with the tenets of his religion. (Blog post originally published May 7, 2014.)

Dave Kopel: Bill of Rights Safeguards “Pre-Existing Human Rights”

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:48 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The Bill of Rights does not grant government permissions to people; rather, it recognizes and protects people’s rights that are antecedent to government. (Blog post originally published May 6, 2014.)

Mike Rowe’s Excellent Career Advice

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:11 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

As Rowe suggests, the key to finding happiness at work is not finding a job without any frustrating or “dirty” aspects—such a job does not exist-but rather embracing the challenges of a job and working productively toward ever higher achievements and success. (Blog post originally published May 5, 2014.)

The Heritage Foundation’s Collectivist Call to Ban Marijuana

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:15 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The government’s proper action with respect to marijuana is the same as its proper action with respect to guns, restaurants, sugar, and every other item or substance: Government should protect the rights of consenting adults to decide what to do with their bodies, what to do with their property, and how to trade with others, intervening only to protect individuals from initiatory force or fraud. (Blog post originally published May 4, 2014.)

Republicans and the Immorality of Minimum Wage Laws

Stephen Bourque
TOS Blog, 3:38 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Minimum wage laws are immoral because, like all government price controls, they violate the moral rights of individuals to act on their own judgment for their own purposes. (Blog post originally published May 3, 2014.)

Kitchen Supplies that Enrich Our Lives—and the Men of the Mind Who Produce Them

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:44 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Some things are seemingly so mundane, and we use them so routinely, that we scarcely notice how important they are to our lives. Take, for example, common kitchen supplies. Pause for a moment to consider how businesses developed four essential products-and how important those products are to our daily food preparation. (Blog post originally published May 3, 2014.)

Austrian Steelmaker’s Texas Plant Highlights Value of U.S. Fracking and Property Rights

David Biederman
TOS Blog, 2:07 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

If European producers wish to have access to cheaper energy, they must do more than beg for more fracking-they must demand that government begin to recognize private property rights in subsurface resources. (Blog post originally published May 1, 2014.)

The National Day of Prayer versus Fidelity to Reason

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:42 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

When people pray to God for political guidance and then act on what they allegedly hear from Him, they in fact act on their feelings. They pretend that an all-powerful supernatural being provides infallible guidance; then, they promote their political programs all the more exuberantly because they supposedly have God on their side. (Blog post originally published May 1, 2014.)

Pledge Fight Illustrates Inherent Conflicts of “Public” Schools

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:22 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Government-run schools are inherently rights-violating. So long as they exist, they will create unending conflicts such as the one over the Pledge. The fundamental problem is not that the “wrong” faction controls government-run schools; the problem is that government-run schools exist. (Blog post originally published April 30, 2014.)

Feds Gamble with Americans’ Rights

Michael A. LaFerrara
TOS Blog, 2:27 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Adults have a moral right to spend their money as they see fit, and gambling companies have a moral right to offer their services as they see fit. So long as those gambling or offering gambling services do not violate rights, government has no moral right to interfere. (Blog post originally published April 29, 2014.)

The Pope and the Root of Social Evil

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:20 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

By calling inequality evil regardless of context-such as who earned what and who didn’t-the pope calls indirectly for the initiation of government coercion. The evil here is not inequality but the pope’s sanction of force. (Blog post originally published April 28, 2014.)

Parents Narrowly Avoid Jail after Enrolling Daughter in Less-Bad Government School

Michael A. LaFerrara
TOS Blog, 3:38 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Government funds its schools by forcibly confiscating wealth from individuals, in violation of their moral right to decide for themselves how to use their money. An inevitable consequence is that government seizes wealth from many people who do not benefit from or approve of the government schools they are forced to finance. (Blog post originally published .)

Should Government Force Walgreens to Employ Salespeople Who Refuse to Sell Its Products?

Natalie Ogle
TOS Blog, 4:32 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Pharmacist Philip Hall is suing Walgreens, alleging that the company violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act when it fired him for refusing, on religious grounds, to sell the birth-control drug Plan B. But Walgreens is a pharmacy; the notion that it should be forbidden to require its employees who are hired to sell pharmaceuticals to actually sell pharmaceuticals is absurd. (Blog post originally published April 27, 2014.)

Cliven Bundy, the Dishonest Left, and the Welfare State

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 4:45 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The problems of troubled black neighborhoods are the result of cultural breakdowns exacerbated by bad government policies. That perpetual welfare dependency encourages self-destructive behavior among many individuals-many of whom happen to be black-is clear. (Blog post originally published .)

Cliven Bundy Cattle Standoff Is a Consequence of Illegitimate Government Claims on Land

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 6:26 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The fundamental problem is that the government is unlawfully maintaining possession of the lands in question and failing to recognize legitimate property rights over those lands. (Blog post originally published April 26, 2014.)

George Will Is Thinking in the Right Direction about Rights

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:29 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

As George Will writes in a recent op-ed, the Founders’ purpose in drafting the Constitution was not to establish unlimited democracy; rather, it was largely to restrain democracy in order to preserve individual liberty. (Blog post originally published April 25, 2014.)

Obama Administration Continues to Thwart the Keystone XL Project

David Biederman
TOS Blog, 2:19 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The federal government should stop impeding development of the pipeline. The developers have a moral right to use their minds, to develop technologies, and to offer their products in the marketplace, so long as they do not violate rights. (Blog post originally published April 24, 2014.)

Death by Faith: The Venomous Consequences of Religious Irrationality

Natalie Ogle
TOS Blog, 3:05 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Jamie Coots, the Kentucky pastor of a snake-handling congregation featured on the National Geographic reality show Snake Salvation, died recently from a rattlesnake bite. The surprise is that some people who recognize the irrationality of Coots’s beliefs nevertheless praise him for acting on those beliefs. (Blog post originally published April 24, 2014.)

Zach Braff Is No Liberal

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:26 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Those who seize other people’s wealth by force—or advocate policies involving wealth confiscation—have no rightful claim on the word liberal. They should call themselves what they are: rights-rejecting statists. (Blog post originally published April 23, 2014.)

Libertarians Fiddle while Rome Burns

Craig Biddle
TOS Blog, 12:51 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

If we want to defend rights—and thus liberty—we must embrace the morality of egoism and the philosophy of reason. (Blog post originally published November 17, 2013.)

FDA Has No Moral or Legal Right to Ban Trans Fats

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:32 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

People have a moral right to eat hydrogenated fat if they want, and producers have a right to sell it or include it in their products, so long as they don’t do so fraudulently. (Blog post originally published February 9, 2014.)

Ayn Rand’s Reality-Based Philosophy vs. Cass Sunstein’s Fantasy

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 3:36 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

Cass Sunstein’s claims notwithstanding, Rand explicitly dismissed the possibility of so-called a priori truths and recognized that all knowledge derives from perceptual observations of reality and proceeds by means of conceptual abstractions and logical inferences therefrom. (Blog post originally published November 8, 2013.)

Colorado “Personhood” Measure Would Outlaw All Abortions and More

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 6:41 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

A Colorado ballot measure would outlaw not only all abortions—even in cases of rape, incest, fetal deformity, and risks to the woman’s health—but all forms of birth control, in vitro fertilization, and stem-cell research that might kill an embryo. (Blog post originally published October 5, 2013.)

Answering Sam Harris’s “Moral Landscape Challenge”

Ari Armstrong
TOS Blog, 10:36 minutes

Podcast MP3 link

The principles of morality do not arise from the need to maximize the well-being and minimize the suffering of all conscious beings; the principles of morality arise from the need to further one’s own life, as the kind of being one is: a human being. (Blog post originally published February 9, 2014.)

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

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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

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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

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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.)