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).
In May, at a conference cosponsored by FEE and the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism (CISC), Max and I debated the question, “Moral diversity: asset or liability for the liberty movement?”—and the discussion was, by all accounts, profoundly interesting. We present in this issue of TOS the transcript of that debate, which the moderator, C. Bradley Thompson (director of CISC) calls “the model of what a debate ought to be and what a serious, high-minded conversation should be.” I hope you enjoy the discussion and find it as fruitful as I did.
Next up, and on a lighter note, is an interview with 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. The interview, which includes images of French’s works, was conducted by Joseph Kellard.
The books reviewed in this issue are The Dictionary of Human Form, by Ted Seth Jacobs; The Rape of the Masters: How Political Correctness Sabotages Art, by Roger Kimball (both reviewed by Daniel Wahl); and The Martian, by Andy Weir (reviewed by Ari Armstrong). The films reviewed are Edge of Tomorrow, directed by Doug Liman; and Star Trek: First Contact, directed by Jonathan Frakes (both reviewed by Ari Armstrong).
In the section From TOS Blog, we offer a sampling of our daily commentary from the past several weeks. In particular here, I urge you to read “Auberon Herbert: Advocate of Reason, Individual Rights, and Limited Government.” Herbert was a 19th-century British political philosopher who, as you will see, was one of the most thoughtful and eloquent advocates of liberty ever to lift a pen. Other highlights in this section include “Richard Salsman’s Plan to Immediately End Social Security”; “Lincoln and Race”; “Rand’s Ethics and Say’s Law”; “On the Right Not to Bake a Cake”; “‘White Privilege’: Myths and Facts”; “Check Your Statist Privilege”; “Economists’ ‘Subjective Value’ and Ayn Rand’s Objective Value Reconciled”; “Altruism: The Fuel of Jihad”; “Myths and Facts about a Rights-Respecting Immigration Policy”; and much more. (If you’d like to receive our weekly blog digest, simply join our email list via the website.)
In addition to reading The Objective Standard and TOS Blog, be sure to join us on Facebook and Twitter for a steady stream of interesting links and stimulating conversation; and check out our YouTube channel, where you’ll find my Reason at Large videos and much more.
From all of us at TOS, have a fun and fabulous fall! —Craig Biddle