Fall 2014 • Vol. 9, No. 3

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From the Editor, Fall 2014

Welcome to the Fall 2014 issue of The Objective Standard. As the pro-liberty movement across America (and the world) continues to expand—especially among college students and young adults—and as more and more intellectuals, pundits, and politicians grapple with the ideas associated with the movement, the importance of identifying and upholding the moral foundations of liberty becomes increasingly clear. Is liberty morally correct? If so, why? What exactly is the moral case for it? Is there more than one moral case for it? Is each argument for freedom equally sound, equally observation-based, equally noncontradictory? Do moral objectivity and logical consistency even matter in defense of liberty—and are they possible? Such questions, and the corresponding answers supplied by advocates of liberty, will determine the future of freedom in America and across the globe. Thus, it is vitally important that we who care about liberty get the answers right. Toward this end, I seize every opportunity to discuss these ideas with the best and the brightest people in the liberty movement. Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure to discuss them with Max Borders, editor of The Freeman and director of content for The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE).. . . Continue »

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Cover Article


Donna Hassler on the Sculptures of Daniel Chester French

Joseph Kellard August 20, 2014 AudioPDF

Joseph Kellard interviews Donna Hassler about the works of Daniel Chester French, the great American artist perhaps best known for his sculpture of Abraham Lincoln housed at the Lincoln Memorial. Ms. Hassler is executive director of Chesterwood, which was French's summer home and studio in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and which is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.



Auberon Herbert: Advocate of Reason, Individual Rights, and Limited Government

Craig Biddle June 26, 2014 PDF

Auberon Herbert (1838–1906) was a 19th-century British political philosopher and a member of Parliament, who recognized that each individual has inalienable rights to direct his own mind and body, and to keep and use the product of his own effort. In defense of these rights, Herbert advocated a strictly limited, voluntarily funded, rights-protecting government.

Lincoln and Race

Despite his retrospective missteps, Lincoln repeatedly responded to Douglas’s racist tauntings by turning back to his avowed purpose in the election—to remind voters that “the old principle of Washington, Jefferson, and Madison” was that slavery was wrong and should be placed on a path to extinction.

Rand’s Ethics and Say’s Law

Craig Biddle June 2, 2014 PDF

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.

On the Right Not to Bake a Cake

Ari Armstrong June 4, 2014 PDF

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.

“White Privilege”: Myths and Facts

Ari Armstrong June 8, 2014 PDF

When today’s leftists speak of “white privilege,” their goal is not to abolish overtly racist laws—those were abolished in part by Lincoln and his supporters in the Civil War and virtually in full within a century of the Civil War. Nor is the left’s goal to eradicate private bigotry—which today is big news precisely because it is rare (e.g., Donald Sterling).

Check Your Statist Privilege

Ari Armstrong June 13, 2014 PDF

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.”


Altruism: The Fuel of Jihad

Craig Biddle June 24, 2014 PDF

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.

Lincoln versus the “Monstrous Injustice of Slavery”

Ari Armstrong May 21, 2014 PDF

It can be perfectly appropriate to discuss Lincoln’s flaws and errors. What is not rationally defensible is to demonize Lincoln by quoting him selectively and ignoring relevant historical context and facts, such as the critical fact that the Confederacy fought to preserve and strengthen the most horrifically evil institution in America’s history.

The California Murderer’s “Selfishness Without a Self”

Ari Armstrong May 31, 2014 PDF

As Rand points out, the tribal lone wolf mentality has nothing to do with genuine, rational, life-promoting selfishness. 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.

Dave Brat on Church and State

Ari Armstrong June 18, 2014 PDF

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.

Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby Decision: Good Outcome, Mixed Reasoning

Ari Armstrong July 1, 2014 PDF

The Supreme Court delivered an important but substantially mitigated victory to advocates of individual rights by throwing out the ObamaCare requirement that business owners pay for health insurance when doing so violates their religious convictions. At issue was whether the federal government could force businesses to provide health insurance that covers forms of birth control.

Rights-Respecting Immigration Policy and Muslims

Ari Armstrong July 9, 2014 PDF

Open immigration does not mean that government must let in criminals and terrorists. And our alternatives obviously are not limited to letting in criminals and terrorists or keeping out rights-respecting people who want to move here. The alternative consistent with individual rights is a policy under which immigration is open to all and only rights-respecting, non-rights threatening individuals.

Kristen Bell’s Spoonful of Coercion

Ari Armstrong July 29, 2014 PDF

Actor Kristen Bell recently portrayed a left-wing activist version of Mary Poppins in a Funny or Die video calling for a higher federal minimum wage. But a minimum wage violates the rights of employers to operate their businesses as they see fit, including their rights to offer terms of employment that they judge best for their businesses.

The Environmentalists’ War on People

Ari Armstrong August 4, 2014 PDF

Although environmentalists sometimes couch their policies in terms of improving the world for human benefit, fundamentally the environmentalist movement regards humankind as a blight on the earth whose productive activities are inherently immoral. Most recently, the Guardian reports a “plan to engineer a shorter, smaller human race to cope with climate change.”


Government Properly Protects Freedom of Religion and Freedom from Religion

Ari Armstrong August 6, 2014 PDF

Theocrat Rick Santorum is the CEO of the Christian film production company EchoLight, as the Heritage Institute reports. Unsurprisingly, judging from its trailer, one of the company’s forthcoming films, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty,” substantially distorts the meaning and significance of the First Amendment’s language about religion.

Book and Film Reviews