Welcome to the Spring 2016 issue of The Objective Standard.
With this issue, we celebrate our ten-year anniversary; so let me begin by extending a huge thank-you to all of the subscribers, supporters, and writers who have made possible the continuation and expansion of this publication. From all of us at TOS: Thank you! We could not have done it without you. And we do not take for granted your part in this vital effort.
Given the increasingly nightmarish political situation we face in the United States, I am all the more convinced that TOS’s move away from a primary focus on politics and toward a primary focus on deeper philosophic issues is the right thing to do. Because people’s choices in the realm of politics are driven by their deeper moral and philosophic views, the political situation is effectively on autopilot. It’s playing out as it must given the ideas and motives controlling it from beneath the surface, and we can do little to improve things politically in the short term. If we want to make substantial and lasting political change, we must help people to understand the moral and philosophic truths that warrant and necessitate such change. And to do so, we must reach people before their minds have been thoroughly crippled by mysticism, skepticism, pragmatism, and altruism.
Toward that end, TOS will continue producing materials aimed at communicating and clarifying the principles of reason and egoism, and making them accessible to young adults, even interested teenagers. This issue is a case in point.
First up is “The Teenager’s Guide to The Morality of Self-Interest,” which meets teens at their context and concerns, and shows them why they should be selfish, what this means in the various areas of life, and why both self-sacrifice and sacrifice of others are unselfish.
Next up is Andrew Bernstein’s “A Mini-Renaissance in Film?,” which surveys a number of recent movies and identifies what appears to be “an upsurge in films celebrating genius, achievement, and moral stature—and mocking the dark premises of modernist culture.” In the midst of the cultural decay we’re witnessing in other areas on a daily basis, if Dr. Bernstein is correct about the trend (and I think he is), it is a welcome discovery and worthy of celebration. Check out his article and the movies he recommends, and let us know what you think.
In “Implicit Egoism in Project Runway: Junior,” my lovely wife, Sarah, discusses the people and aspects of this show that make it “delightful in practically every respect” and “a microcosm of what egoism looks like in practice.” Sarah and I watched the first season together, and I loved it for the same reasons she did. Don’t miss her article—or the show. Both are fuel for the soul.
Betsy Speicher’s article, “The WHYS Way to Understand Causes,” comprises chapters 3, 4, and 5 of The WHYS Way to Success and Happiness, her new book about how the question “why?” is essential to good thinking and good living. Having read Ms. Speicher’s book, I’m happy to share these chapters with TOS readers. If you enjoy them, as I did, consider purchasing the book through Amazon.com, where it is available in print, Kindle, and Audible editions.
The final feature article in this issue is Stuart Hayashi’s, “Donald Trump and the Anti-Reason Essence of Conservatism,” which examines some of the means by which conservatives and Republicans, for decades on end, have paved the way for the political rise of the likes of Donald Trump. “Brother, you asked for it!” comes to mind (as does “Buckley, you asked for it!”).
The books reviewed in this issue are The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, by Steven Pinker (reviewed by Daniel Wahl); New York New York, by Richard Berenholtz (reviewed by Joseph Kellard); and Bedtime Math: A Fun Excuse to Stay Up Late, by Laura Overdeck (reviewed by Daniel Wahl).
Finally, our section From TOS Blog includes “Tortured Language for Evading Truths about Islamic Jihad”; “Theist Embraces Ayn Rand’s Theory of Rights, Urges Others to Do So Too”; “Facebook’s Dishonesty Regarding Jews, Muslims, Israelis, Palestinians”; “PLO Savagery Knows No Bounds” (all four by me)—and “Louisiana Demonstrates Problem with School Vouchers” (by Michael A. LaFerrara).
If you’ve not done so already, be sure to join us on Facebook and Twitter for a steady stream of interesting links and engaging conversation. And let your friends know about the journal for people of reason. (For a limited time, subscribers are receiving a complimentary copy of our new ebook, Objectivism: Ayn Rand’s Philosophy for Living and Loving Life. For details, visit the subscribe page on our website.)
Enjoy the new issue, and have a delightful spring! —Craig Biddle