Welcome to the Spring 2013 issue of The Objective Standard.
This issue begins our seventh year of publication, so let me begin by thanking all of our subscribers and donors for making TOS possible. Without your business and support, we simply couldn’t do what we do. From all of us at TOS: Thank you! With your continued support, we will not only deliver many more years of top-notch philosophic journalism; we will also continue expanding our output and reach in myriad ways—including videos, media appearances, conferences, books, and debates—all focusing, as TOS always does, on fundamentals.
Speaking of debates and fundamentals, on February 8, 2013, Christian apologist Dinesh D’Souza and Objectivist philosopher Andrew Bernstein met at the University of Texas–Austin to debate the question “Christianity: Good or Bad for Mankind?” (The event was co-hosted by The Objective Standard and the University of Texas Objectivism Society, and paid for by TOS.) This subject is so important—Christianity is by far the most influential philosophy today, and Objectivism is the only philosophy that holds the requirements of human life as the standard of moral value—and the debate was so rich that we decided to publish the complete transcript in this issue of the journal (see p. 40). Although a video of the debate is available on TOS’s YouTube channel, the written transcript enables people to better scrutinize and more easily quote the ideas presented. If you haven’t seen the video, I encourage you to watch it and share it with your friends. But by all means read the transcript. It is enlightening and occasionally jaw-dropping.
I’d like to extend special thanks to graphic artist Bosch Fawstin for his cover illustration of the debaters along with their respective philosophic mentors, Jesus and Ayn Rand. Thank you, Bosch!
In “The End of Central Banking, Part I,” Richard M. Salsman argues, via a mountain of evidence, that the ultimate purpose of central banking is not to “correct market failures” or “prevent financial crises” or the like, but to finance fiscally profligate governments and welfare states. Whereas Part I discusses the “end” of central banking in terms of its purpose, Part II, which will be published in the Summer issue of the journal, discusses the “end” of central banking in terms of its termination. You’ll want to share both parts of this essay with your conservative and libertarian friends, and, especially, with any free-market economists you know.
In “Why ‘Big Government’ is Not the Problem,” Eric Daniels surveys various problems inherent in focusing on the non-essential characteristic of government’s size rather than on the truly essential characteristic of whether and to what extent government protects or violates individual rights. This is another article to share with conservative and libertarian friends, and anyone else who believes that the problem with the government is its bigness.
In his interview with TOS (conducted by Ari Armstrong), Robert G. Natelson, author of The Original Constitution: What It Actually Said and Meant, discusses (among other things) state-driven amendments to restrain federal spending, the processes of proposing and passing or rejecting such amendments, the safeguards in place for preventing a “runaway convention” that might fundamentally alter the U.S. Constitution, and the “original intent” theory of constitutional interpretation.
Movies reviewed in this issue are: Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal (reviewed by Andrew Bernstein); FrackNation, written and directed by Phelim McAleer, Ann McElhinney, and Magdalena Segieda (reviewed by Earl Parson); and Jiro Dreams of Sushi, directed by David Gelb (reviewed by Daniel Wahl).
Books reviewed are: Beyond Politics: The Roots of Government Failure, by Randy T. Simmons (reviewed by Ari Armstrong); The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills, by Daniel Coyle (reviewed by Daniel Wahl); and The Island at the Center of the World, by Russell Shorto (reviewed by Joseph Kellard).
In addition to reading our quarterly journal, be sure to visit TOS Blog, the source for daily commentary from an Objectivist perspective. And if you’ve not yet joined TOS on Facebook and Twitter, join us today for a steady stream of interesting links and intellectually stimulating conversation. See you there! —Craig Biddle