This, the Spring 2015 issue of The Objective Standard, begins our tenth year of publication; so let me start by extending a hearty thank-you to all of our subscribers and donors who have supported our vital work over the years. In a culture largely hostile to the ideas we elucidate and apply, the success of a publication such as TOS requires financial and spiritual support from the relative few who see the value of what we do. You are that few. You have made possible everything we have done—every article, every blog post, every video, every word. Without your support, TOS would have folded long ago, as most Objectivist periodicals have. Because of your support, however, TOS has not only survived, it has established and maintained a level of quality and clarity that has made and is making a difference. Here’s an indication of the kind of correspondence we receive from people who discover TOS.
“The Objective Standard is my favorite organization in the world. Full Stop. The scope of its intellectual commentary is tremendous, and its precision, depth, rigor, layman accessibility, and selection of important and motivational topics are second to none. . . . I discovered TOS early in my Objectivist self-education program, and I hope all future Objectivists have that privilege as well.” —Mark C.
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You—TOS’s subscribers and donors—you have made the existence and continuation of this organization possible. Because of your support, TOS has reached and enlightened countless minds across America and across the globe, and we will reach and enlighten countless more. Thank you.
I also want to thank all of TOS’s writers who have produced such exceptionally clear and cogent articles and reviews, and have put up with my occasionally tyrannical editing (for which some have more colorful names). Thank you all for your contributions and your commitment to excellence.
Onward to the issue at hand . . . As you no doubt have noticed, our cover art, by the inimitable anti-jihad cartoonist Bosch Fawstin, depicts Jesus submissively laying down his sword at Muhammad’s feet. What’s going on there? For my thoughts on the matter, see the first article, “Islamic Jihad and Western Faith.”
Next up, and related, is “Islam vs. Free Speech,” by Ari Armstrong, which discusses the conflict between the two with respect to the Islam-motivated Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last month. Armstrong recounts various other Islam-motivated assaults on freedom of speech from around the world; quotes Muslim clerics and scholars to the effect that, yes, this is what Islam requires; and argues that “Muslims will continue to react violently to ‘offensive’ speech until one of two things happens . . .” See his article for his prognosis.
On a less-overtly violent subject, in “Piketty’s Rickety Assault on Capital” Richard M. Salsman dismantles and dispatches Thomas Piketty’s arguments against free markets and the principle of rights. This is a long and devastating (in a good way) article, which includes an appendix on “The Fuzzy Math in Piketty’s ‘Laws’ of Capitalism.” Poor Piketty. He won’t have a leg to stand on after this. Fortunately for him, greedy capitalists have produced all manner of high-tech wheelchairs and other devices for the disabled, and with the royalties from his best seller, Piketty can afford whichever ones he likes.
Did you know that “nontherapeutic circumcision of the infant penis is among the most commonly performed surgical procedures in America today”? And did you know that the practice is supported by nothing more than quack science and religious tradition—just as is the practice of female genital mutilation, which is routine throughout sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East? In “Circumcision in America,” Joseph R. England, MD, traces the history of and rationales for nontherapeutic circumcision, sheds medical and ethical light on this demonstrably abhorrent practice, and argues that it is high time for all Americans to take a principled stand against it.
The books reviewed in this issue are The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, by Alex Epstein (reviewed by Ari Armstrong); The Frackers, by Gregory Zuckerman (reviewed by Earl Parson); and Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape Our Modern World, by Mark Miodownik (reviewed by Daniel Wahl).
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Enjoy the issue, and enjoy your spring! —Craig Biddle