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.
Unfortunately, when some economists think of values as “subjective,” they assume that there is no objective standard for determining moral value; they assume that value is only a matter of personal opinion.
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.
Although Marina Galperina rejects the idea that a pet can be objectively valuable to a person, in fact it can be. As a cat owner myself, I can attest that cats are playful and cuddly, they often do amusing things, and they provide companionship. My owning my cat objectively—that is, factually—contributes to my life and happiness.
The most important issue was not the influence of Rand on Brat—that was widely reported and thus abundantly obvious—but the differences between the views of Rand and Brat. That was the point that was not obvious to many people, and that is the issue that is crucially important for advocates of Rand’s ideas to clarify.
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.”
Although Dave Brat largely supports free markets, he does not consistently support them, as Rand did; he disagrees with Rand on important philosophic issues; and he himself recognizes that his views are not Rand’s. As examples, Brat parts ways with Rand dramatically when it comes to immigration and the source of individual rights.
By ‘white privilege,’ the left means (among other things) that individuals are to be judged, not by their words, deeds, actions, and character, but by their skin color and by their adherence to leftist narratives regarding racism.
It is absurd to suggest that opening one’s business to the general public somehow obligates one to serve every individual who walks through the doors, regardless of context. Must a cake baker bake a “God Hates Fags” cake for the bigoted Westboro Baptist Church, or a swastika cake for a neo-Nazi group?
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.