Welcome to the Summer 2019 issue of The Objective Standard.
Reason, purpose, dual sovereignty, federalism, privatization of public lands, wine appreciation, and more—there’s something here for everyone!
Religionists have long claimed that moral purpose comes from God, and this message is being trumpeted more loudly than ever today by Ben Shapiro, Dennis Prager, Rick Warren, and other people of faith. In “Purpose Comes from Reason, Not Religion,” I examine their claims, exposing them as demonstrably false and contrary to the requirements of human life, and I show how and why moral purpose comes instead from rational thinking in pursuit of a life of happiness. Even if you already know this stuff, I think you’ll enjoy the new formulations and find the article worth sharing—especially with young people. God knows they need answers to religionists’ claims on this front. This article provides them.
Next, in “John Marshall: Dual Sovereignty, One Republic,” Timothy Sandefur brings to life the legacy of this little-known but enormously important American founder. Beginning with his defense of the Constitution during Virginia’s ratification convention and culminating with his thirty-four-year career as a Supreme Court justice, Marshall was a steadfast voice in support of the principle of dual sovereignty. Sandefur’s study is a window into the minds of Marshall and his contemporaries that can help us think more clearly about American politics—then and now.
In “Liberating Public Lands,” Jon Hersey shows the ways in which public lands are a drain on American citizens and a barrier to the production of life-serving values. Working from the ground up (literally), he shows that if we want to stop wasting money on the shoddy use and maintenance of public lands, and start tapping into their enormous potential to enrich our lives, we must privatize them. Coupled with Hersey’s earlier article, “Public Land’s Collectivist Roots” (TOS Winter 2018), this essay helps to clarify one of the muddiest aspects of improper government and provides a clear path forward.
Next, Stephanie Bond interviews architect and author John Gillis on “Romantic Realism in Architecture.” Their discussion is a fascinating blend of philosophy and the arts. “Architects can add much to human happiness,” says Gillis, “if they actively adopt a design philosophy that projects a good, bright view of the world while holding a heroic view of people.” He explains his approach to architecture and discusses various architectural schools, including Romantic Realism, Idealism, and Deconstructionism; and architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, Le Corbusier, and Mies van der Rohe.
Next up, in his interview with Jon Hersey, wine expert Adam Edmonsond discusses “How Wine Appreciation Can Enrich Your Life.” Among many illuminating aspects of the interview, Edmonsond sheds light on the role of philosophy in understanding this rich field. “Like other man-made products,” he says, “wine is created to serve a specific set of purposes, and facts about the wine in relation to facts about man’s body determine whether the product can fulfill its purposes, and to what degree.” If you like wine, I think you’ll enjoy this interview—and perhaps enjoy wine all the more for reading it. And if you think the language of wine connoisseurs is just hocus-pocus, this interview may change your mind.
If you’re sober enough to keep reading . . . the shorts in this issue are:
- “Salk and Sabin: The Rivalry That Killed Polio,” by Tim White;
- “How Jamie Dimon Should Have Answered Representative Katie Porter,” by Michael Dahlen;
- “Flying Is Safer Than Eating,” by Timothy Sandefur; and
- “The Hard-Won Wisdom of a Former Bigot,” by Jon Hersey.
The books reviewed are:
- John Locke and Natural Philosophy by Peter Anstey (reviewed by Jon Hersey);
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (reviewed by Jonathan Townley);
- Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker (reviewed by Timothy Sandefur);
- Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport (reviewed by Jonathan Townley);
- Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson (reviewed by Joseph Kellard).
Finally, if you’ve not yet registered for TOS-Con 2019: Philosophy for Freedom and Flourishing, be sure to reserve your spot soon! This year’s conference will be in Park City, Utah, and speakers include:
- Alex Epstein
- Andy Bernstein
- Bryan Larsen
- Chad Morris
- Craig Biddle
- David Crawford
- Jon Hersey
- Lisa VanDamme
- Mark Pellegrino
- Richard Salsman
- Robin Field
- Tal Tsfany
- Tim Chermak
- Timothy Sandefur
If you’re a student or young adult, age 18 to 29, you’re eligible to apply for a “Think, Strive, Thrive” scholarship (worth $1,055) to attend the conference. The deadline for applications is June 10, so apply today. To apply or register, visit TOS-Con.com. I hope to see you there! —Craig Biddle