He needs to believe this not only for himself but also for those that follow and place their trust in him. He declares that money is the root of all evil and that it "can't buy happiness, Love will conquer any barrier and social distance" (392). These kinds of platitudes are nice to hear but they do not pay the bills. It is extremely important that the Looters believe these concepts, however, because they keep everyone on the same level, which leads to a lack of individuality and an overall sense of nihilism. James Taggert's philosophy brings people down instead of lifting them up and encouraging a sense of importance in the world. James Taggart resists at every opportunity the realization of what he is encouraging, which is a life of emptiness and lack. Orren Boyle and Bertram Scudder reinforce this attitude and conduct. They are "men who used words as a public instrument, to be avoided in the privacy of one's own mind. Words were a commitment. Carrying implications which they did not wish to face" (393). With this, we see how these men know that what they speak is wrong. They realize that they are not equipping people to be their best but they also know they are products of the government.
Rand also explores how the Moocher and Looters destroy lives with the tramp, Jeff Allan. Dagny encounters him on the Comet when he confesses to her that he actually voted for a plan in which 'each to work according to his ability, but would be paid according to his need" (660-1). Hard work was never rewarded and those who did not work as hard made the same amount of money regardless. This system removes the incentive to work. It also removes any happiness that might be associated with work. Those who ran the company did not believe that happiness was important but he tramp, proves otherwise. The plan corrupted everyone involved, Jeff tells Dagny that the plan "turned decent people into bastards, and there was nothing else it could do -- and it was called a moral ideal!" (665). The truth lies in his question, "What were we supposed to work for? For the love of our brothers? What brothers? For the bums, for the…… [Read More]
Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand, depicts interplay of two forces: regulated economic freedom and free-market system. This paper describes the philosophy and the practical stances of both the schools of thought within the context of events that occur in the book.
Atlas Shrugged is a fictional account, which depicts the causes, the results, and the ultimate connotations attached to the moral and philosophical self-destruction that the mankind, in general, is slipping into in a gradual fashion. The most significant cause and hence the philosophy behind this moral decadence is the lack of belief in the morality of self-interest. And the vehicle through which this is perpetuated is the governmental control featuring diminishing economic freedom. Therefore the plot of Atlas Shrugged revolves around diminishing economic freedom resulting in intellectual stagnation. However there exists an opposing force that provides a directly opposite plan of action with a directly opposite belief system. Those belonging to this school of thought are intellectual and highly capable, rebelling against a society that preaches altruism, a society that teaches struggling victims that sacrifices for the sake of others is proper and moral, a society that indoctrinates its youth with a vicious, destructive skepticism. In this society, need is the most important claim to virtue, and so the most productive, capable men are forced into virtual enslavement by a vicious code of directives intended to eliminate all economic class distinctions. On the other hand, the philosophy behind economic controls is depicted to be upheld by the people of government in the form of economic regulations and controls. The plot of the book depicts these two factions by building up the story, which is continually shifting in focus between the first and the second categories. It is in the interplay of the characters and the plot, within the context of the government regulations that the philosophical motivation and the practical stances of both the schools become apparent. As the U.S. economy descends into a haze of hopelessness and corruption, malicious and greedy beings take power and seek to enslave the greatest of America's industrialists through government regulations. Dagny Taggart is one such corporate executive who is divided and hence enslaved. She is burdened by the growing influence of the regulations, but her great love for her railroad (the business that she is in) motivates her to continue her struggle. Dagny appears divided because she…… [Read More]
The events in Chapters nine and ten of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged have much in common with the real world events of recent history.
In Chapter 9, characters Dagny and Reardon find a car company which has been deserted. The Twentieth Century Motor Company factory is deserted. Everyone who was employed or who benefited from the factory has been made to suffer. The United States' government bailed out General Motors and other car companies to make sure people stayed in their jobs. Had they not done so, the real-world car companies would have found themselves in the position of the fictitious Twentieth Century.
In the tenth chapter of the book, numerous laws are being put into place which makes limitations on industry. For example, everyone is entitled to the same amount of steel even if they do not need it. No company is allowed to have more steel than any other group who makes a claim on it. Consequently, people who really need it like Reardon are forced to get materials illicitly. This brings to mind the current issue in the United States of Medicare and Obamacare. The bill demands that everyone have health insurance and punishes those who cannot afford it. People are granted access to medical care, but everyone gets the same under federal healthcare, so someone who is more sick cannot get the attention they need because all patients are entitled to the same amount of time with the doctor.
3. It is stated that the reason that Twentieth Century failed was not because of what they were making, but because of the way the company was run. People were paid based on what they claimed to need and those who worked harder had to support people who worked less. In the United States, there has been talk that the nation is turning socialist, with millions on unemployment or welfare. Instead of working to feed themselves and their family members, these individuals…… [Read More]
Likewise, Dagny's brother James doesn't so much believe that money is evil so much as he believes that money is not a natural extension of human reason. Jim's means of making money is through connections and manipulation, not through creativity and intelligence. Therefore, characters like Orren Boyle and James Taggart represent the antithesis of what d'Anconia was trying to say about money.
Like John Galt, Wesley Mouch's name is meaningful to the theme of Atlas Shrugged: "Mouch" looks and sounds like "mooch," one of the ultimate evils that d'Anconia denounces at Jim and Cheryl's wedding. Mouch becomes one of the novel's clear villains as a government bureaucrat. His dictatorial economic regime is the embodiment of evil, not money. He mooches off of others' ideas in order to accumulate capital. His appropriation of Rearden Steel is an act antithetical to d'Anconia's theory about human productivity and therefore bolster's the book's central theme. Rather than channeling innate intelligence and creativity into productivity and capital, people like Wesley Mouch and Jim Taggart seek to make money through corruption. Other sources of evil that offer counterpoints for d'Anconia's beleifs include the impotent Dr. Stadler, who falls pray to the socialist government forces and stifles his own productivity. Dr. Stadler therefore supports the book's main premise that money flows from intellectualism, science, and reason because he fails to capitalize on his own scientific prowess.
Through characters like Stadler, Mouch, and Jim, the meaning behind d'Anconia's speech is enhanced. The novel's true heroes do not succeed in their quests to extricate industry from government control. Their failure does not indicate the failure of capitalism; nor do their failures disprove d'Anconia's beliefs about money. Rather, the failed strike and the failed business enterprises of the book's central characters prove Rand's implication that socialism corrupts the human spirit and thwarts the flourishing of the human mind.
The chaos that takes place throughout the course of Atlas Shrugged also illustrates the thesis that money is the root of good, not evil. The enterprises promoted by heroes like…… [Read More]
Galt's Gulch and a strike of the mind is possible? Do we choose not to believe it or the philosophy because we might not be one of them or do we truly not believe in top down economics?
In theory a strike of the mind such as the one perpetrated by John Galt and his colleagues at Galt's Gulch seems like a logical idea; smart people would just have to get together and agree not to use their brains to help the government or those people who were in an undeserved position of power. All the members of the intelligentsia could be rounded up and unite in their refusal to participate in a corrupt status quo. They could disappear and build a utopian society based on individual responsibility. However, in the real world, such a disappearing act would be very difficult to carry out. Technology has advanced society to the point that even if someone wanted to disappear from the face of the earth, it would be relatively easy to track them down. Galt's Gulch would not be allowed to subsist in a world like the one that we live in. Secondly, the people in Galt's Gulch feel self-righteous. They believe that they are doing the right thing by stepping away from society and waiting until complete social chaos before they emerge. These are men of principles, although their opinions may be deluded and their purpose not at all altruistic. They are willing to sacrifice large paychecks in order to do what they feel is socially and morally responsible. There are not many people who would give up large sums of money, even if it meant that they were perpetrating crimes for either the government or the looters in charge or both. The next point is that people do not really believe in top-down economics. There is no guarantee that once someone has achieved financial success that they will feel any burden to spread that wealth and better the lives of their employees.
2. Why would you agree or disagree with Ragnar's methods, with his concept of striking, and his theory behind their roots?
The character of Ragnar…… [Read More]
John Galt, Ayn Rand's Ubermensch, relays his values in the poignant rhetorical question: "Which is the monument to the triumph of the human spirit over matter: the germ-eaten hovels on the shorelines of the Ganges or the Atlantic skyline of New York?" Galt's public address, delivered over the subverted airwaves, encompasses the major themes running through Atlas Shrugged. In the speech, Galt claims the triumph of reason over religion, of individualism over collectivism, of self-determination over governmental intervention. Galt's libertarian ideals are at the heart of Rand's novel, forming the basis for the author's own philosophical stance. It is not so much the buildings lining the Manhattan skyline that so inspire Galt; rather it is the motivation behind them: the desire to propel human consciousness and human society forward and to continue to expand the boundaries of human potential. Rand does not glamorize capitalism arbitrarily; the author's thinly veiled personal philosophy rests on solid bedrock of reason. For her heroes, such as Dagny Taggart and John Galt, capitalism is the manifestation of key social, political, and economic ideals. Such ideals, which include the expansion of the mind, continual progress, and individualism, form the philosophical core of Atlas Shrugged.
Furthermore, Galt's allusion to the "germ-eaten hovels on the shorelines of the Ganges" is not arbitrary. Rand carefully selected imagery from India's sacred river to denounce delusion, to criticize those who would propose that society restrict its impetus for technological and social change in favor of superstition and socialism. The Ganges River also represents the dual forces of life and death, which are examined closely in Rand's novel. The Ganges also evokes imagery of funeral pyres: images that closely mimic some of the novel's key events. For example, the destruction of industrial enterprises pervade Atlas Shrugged. From the Taggart railroads, to d'Anconia's ore industry, to Rearden's metal. Ellis Wyatt's setting fire to his own oil wells points directly to the fire symbolism that the Ganges River image invokes. The concept of death is also central to Atlas Shrugged.
Galt's quote also demonstrates Rand's willingness to liberally use symbolism in Atlas Shrugged.…… [Read More]
Capitalists of the World Unite! You Have Everything to Gain -- profit, individual excellence, and personal appeal!
In her fictional work of philosophy entitled Atlas Shrugged, one of Ayn Rand's central characters, Francisco d'Anconia, expresses outrage at the expressed ideal that "money is the root of all evil." He argues instead that money is the root of all human advancement and gain. Money provides motivation for humans to rise above the level of beasts and create unique works of human production and the imagination. Money is an objective standard of valuation, unlike airy systems of merit that are open to bias. It is for this reason, d'Anconia ominously says, why the systems of money evaluation and money production is one of the first things that are attacked by invaders, when attempting to destroy a country.
Rand's protagonist accuses those that spout "that phrase about the evil of money," as being aristocrats. She states that such an idea comes "from a time when wealth was produced by the labor of slaves -- slaves who repeated the motions once discovered by somebody's mind and left unimproved for centuries." In other words, before capitalism, individuals labored at brute tasks for no reward, other than not to be lashed to death by their masters. Even today, the only people who really despise money are those who gain it by corruption, pandering, and fraud, for if the "source is corrupt, you have damned your own existence ... Then all the things you buy will become, not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil."
But merely because an individual is rewarded with money for subordinate or slavish actions today does not mean that money is intrinsically evil. Now there is another option other than slave labor, or to labor slavishly for money -- one can become an entrepreneur, work independently and creatively, and receive remuneration for this. "The words to make money hold the essence of human morality," states this philosophical advocate of unchecked capitalism. He states the American self-made man, often despised because such an individual is an unglamorous industrialist or a shopkeeper, is in fact a hero because his money is hard and honestly won.
One of the central problems in Rand's argumentation, however, is that the love of money is…… [Read More]
Capitalism Is Moral
Questioning the Morality of Capitalism: Moral, Immoral, or Amoral?
"To trade by means of money is the code of the men of good will. Money rests on the axiom that every man is the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no power to prescribe the value of your effort except by the voluntary choice of the man who willing to trade you his effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals except to those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of the traders. Money demands of you the recognition that men must work for their own benefit, not for their own injury, for their gain, not their loss -- the recognition that they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of your misery -- that you must offer them values, not wounds -- that the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering, but the exchanges of goods. Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason; it demands that you buy not the shoddiest they offer, but the best your money can find. And when live by trade -- with reason, not force, as their final arbiter -- it is the best product that wins, the best performance, then man of best judgment and highest ability -- and the degree of a man's productiveness is the degree of his reward. This is the code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is that what you consider evil?" (Rand, 1957)
Capitalism is an economic system that is responsible for a great deal of the industrialization in the 21st century world. With the downfall of feudalism came the epic rise of capitalism over the western world. Primary elements of capitalism include wage labor,…… [Read More]
industry in America are a varied lot, ranging from self-righteous and mean-spirited individualists to community-minded altruists. The tensions among these capitalist types is as evident today as it was in the days when Ayn Rand first penned The Fountainhead. Since Rand was a Russian immigrant, it is not particularly surprising that her experiences with socialist and communist societies colored her perspective of capitalism, to a degree reminiscent of a defensive reaction formation. The protagonists in the film Atlas Shrugged engage in a capital strike that is intended to bring the economy to a standstill in order to emphasize the rightness and importance of laissez-faire capitalism. The decline of the transcontinental railway stands in for the future of America if it practices communism and upholds the values of moral relativism. The fundamental tenant of these industrialists was that they were entitled to function according to a natural order that encouraged individuals to put their own selfish interests before those of others as doing so would eventually contribute to the common good. Foremost in this effort was the desire to ensure that individual liberty and private property rights were paramount, and essentially unfettered by artificial governmental barriers and laws. While I certainly embrace the idea of supporting individual creativity and productivity, I can not support a management philosophy that does not consider solutions designed to improve the conditions and the community of the workers. The spark to work well for a company -- or for oneself -- should come from the significance of the contribution the business provides society. Sadly, the book and film portray pure economic forms, but pure systems do not exist -- any system is vulnerable to corruption by human beings, particularly those who are focused on their own happiness and self-interest above all else.
Atlas Shrugged 2. There emerges from the film the notion…… [Read More]
The actions of these collective groups lead only to frustration, a lack of responsibility, ineptitude, and inefficiency.
What sort of world does this lead to? The people who are most capable seem to be disappearing, while the least capable are left in charge. Dagny wants to know why the capable people are disappearing, and she has to find the answer to this question in order to understand what is happening throughout society. The old virtues, virtues that sustained the business community and that made America great in the past, are no longer in force. People once took pride in their work and in the act of earning their own way. These things seem to have disappeared just as have the capable workers. The consequences are all around as things keep breaking down -- systems, machinery, people.
The villains in this story are socialists, or more descriptively those who oppose individualism and free enterprise. Wesley Mouch is representative of this group. He is a collectivist who sees the need for social programs and welfare systems that in essence protect the workers from having to work at all. He sees the big factories and manufacturing plants as places whose ownership should be divided among the workers, while he views the leaders at the top as parasites who make no contribution to the general welfare. In the structure of the novel, Mouch is one of those responsible for the long slide of the economic system into torpor and decay, while Dagny and the men with whom she becomes allied fight to stop this slide and to return the economy to an individualistic base.
In the novel, Rand presents good characters as those who believe in personal achievement and individual effort, while the bad characters are those who accept collectivism and who do not value the individual as much as they do the general welfare. In Dagny's view in the beginning, the good characters are those who seem to be disappearing, while the bad characters are those left behind to inflict damage and to destroy through their own ineptitude. One set of good characters can be clearly identified by their association with the mountain community where the new free enterprise system has been created. Rand is not very subtle in the way she differentiates the good from the bad…… [Read More]
First, this viewpoint essentially discounts all abstract works from being called "art." This idea seems counterintuitive to many; numerous art critics, collectors, viewers, and even Rand (see below) consider abstract art to be art, based on the metaphysical emotions it re-creates. Rand's Objectivist philosophy does not completely accept emotions as having an existence independent of a subject, and therefore her view on non-representational art is at least consistent with Objectivist metaphysics. However, it seems that her definition of art as it pertains to music is incompatible with her dismissal of non-representational art, since she states that music re-creates reality by sound waves evoking metaphysical emotions (Rand, Vis Arts 109). It may be argued that her view of music is consistent with Objectivism if the music is combined with lyrics; however, Rand appears to be unclear on this point.
Rand's view that work of art must be judged by an "objective, rational standard" (Rand, Vis Arts 109) is consistent with Objectivism. However, it is inconsistent with many prevailing notions that the value of a work of art changes based on the beholder's opinions, which are subject to cultural norms, among other influences (Kreiner 9).
In conclusion, in this paper I have described Ayn Rand's life and background, discussed her work, especially her philosophy of art, and critiqued her work. The critique has focused on Objectivism's views of art. The critique argues that Objectivism's definition of art excludes all abstract art, which is not only a counterintuitive view, but also may be inconsistent with Objectivism.
Works… [Read More]
Existentialism: A History
Existentialism is a philosophical school of thought that addresses the "problem of being" (Stanford Encyclopedia, 2010). Existentialist questions involve the nature of man in relation to the universe, the subjective nature of "I" versus the objective "we," the creation and measure of meaning in a world with no intrinsic meaning, standards of morality in the absence of Divine Law (God), and the creation and measure of success in a world with no intrinsic standard of success. While the term "Existentialism" is often related with the European cultural movement of the 1940s and 50s, in which thinkers the likes of John Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvior rejected traditional institutions of self-description and traditional concepts of being in the world, it was the 19th century philosophers Kierkegaard and Nietzsche who inspired the reluctant "father" of Existentialism, Martin Heidegger, to first raise the question of the meaning of being (Stanford Encyclopedia, 2010).
In Being in Time (1927), Heidegger addresses the canopy theme of the meaning of being by breaking it down into the following sub-themes:
The tension of the subjective individual vs. The "public," i.e. The objective mass.
The reason for humanity's fascination with experiences of dread, fear, anxiety, and perceptions of nothingness.
The rejection of previously established institutions of understanding -- to include traditional philosophy and causality-based science -- as insufficient to address and comprehend the meaning of being for humanity.
The introduction of "authenticity" as the categorical norm of subjective self-identity.
The application of authenticity to concepts of freedom, choice, duty and commitment. (Heidegger, 1927).
Referencing Edmund Husserl's phenomenological method -- systematic reflection and analysis of the structures of consciousness -- Heidegger sought to reflect and analyze the structures of consciousness specific to human beings, which he believed to be possessed of a higher, or at any rate, different plane of consciousness than other beings. In order to understand this consciousness, and in turn answer the question of the meaning of being for human beings, Heidegger advocated the adoption of new framework of understanding, one that included aspects of traditional science and philosophy but also transcended the limitations of these traditional frameworks. Essentially, Heidegger claimed that thinking about human existence requires new categories not found in the conceptual repertoire of ancient or modern thought; human beings can be understood neither as substances with fixed properties, nor as subjects interacting with a…… [Read More]
Talents aren't things developed. One is born with talent -- a natural propensity for accuracy and efficiency in particular tasks. A knack for a certain intellectual task. Skills, on the other hand, are things learned, practiced, and known; they're the result of schooling, training, and experience. I believe that skills can be thought of, in a sense, as the theory behind reality. In other words, skills are most appropriately consolidated and built upon one's talents, and one excels at his profession when he marries the two. Conversely, one is pushed into mediocrity when she doesn't use her skills to flex her talents.
I've done the opposite. Through my formal education and my three years of experience as a retail manager at T-Mobile after graduation, I've built my skills -- creating innovative solutions to traditional problems, strong leadership capabilities, and customer care -- upon my talent -- business intuition. In other words, I consistently pursue skills that I know will enhance my natural ability to discern the correct path and make sound business decisions that will take my company to more profitable levels.
What, then, might be the best path for me to choose, if I wish to build upon what I believe is my natural talent -- efficient, decisive management? Naturally, I've come to the decision that the MBA at graduate program will greatly enhance my technical foundations in business, problem solving, teamwork, diversity, and more. The MBA, I feel, will consistently enable me to exercise my intuition, cultivating it, in a sense, among a diverse group of peers and an array of professional contexts. In sum, I believe that the MBA will widen the area that my technical foundation covers while refining my talent into a significant asset that will enable me to accomplish my goals in the way I want them to be realized.
My goals, then: immediately after the MBA at graduate program, I want to secure a position in the U.S. As an investment banker in the banking sector. I had struggled -- before considering an MFA -- to acquire a position in the U.S. banking sector; around the time…… [Read More]
Thereafter, she published her own work and lectured on the Objectivist moral ethic to which she often referred to as "a philosophy for living on earth" based on rational self-interest and the balance between the needs of the individual and moral principles based on a commitment to objective situational perception and analysis (Merrill, 1998).
In principle, Objectivism maintains that self-interest or rational egoism is a valid perspective but that the individual's perceptions must always be guided by an objective
(vs. subjectively biased) understanding of one's rights and obligations with respect to others and to society. While the main purpose of life according to Rand is self-
fulfillment, it is rational objectivity that both distinguishes appropriate from inappropriate moral actions and that establishes the role of the individual in society. Like other moral philosophers of her time, including the infamous physicist Albert Einstein and the philosopher and historian Bertrand Russell, Rand suggested that while the individual's primary obligation was to seek his own happiness, a moral imperative precluded exploiting other to achieve personal goals (Merril, 1998; Peikhoff, 1993).
Similarly, Rand shared the belief of Einstein and Russell that the most fulfilling life is that which focuses on benefiting other members of society. Finally, in that regard,
Rand also mirrored Einstein and Russell's belief that organized religion inspired more social harm and human cruelty in human societies than any purported benefit and that the psychological orientation of theism undermined the development of both independent rational perspective and a genuine self-esteem and psychological sufficiency in the individual (Peikhoff, 1993; Rand, 1964).
That point-of-view in particular inspired one of her students, Nathaniel Branden to devote his later career as a psychologist and prolific author of psychology self-help books on understanding the origin and importance of self-esteem as well the environmental causes and consequences of low self-esteem. Branden's work also prominently featured
Ayn's characterization of intellectual…… [Read More]
As if to say scientific achievement and technological advancement work together with agriculture and mining to produce. Each complements and supports the other with Integrity watching over all. There was a speech given by Ayn Rand about the New York Stock Exchange about money from Atlas Shrugged?
The interpretation was if you think money is the "root of all evil," think again. Why would someone make such a statement. Why not say "what is the root of money" instead. Money is nothing of itself, it is a tool used by men in exchange for goods and services. Money cannot exists without man. It is the principles of man that determine how money is traded. They give money power or value based on the decisions they apply to the tool. He further states that "Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil"…(Rand: Durante, 2011).
Man's wealth is produced by how they apply their minds to industry, this is how money is produced. When a person invents something of value and others are willing to purchase it, this is industry. What is evil about the application of mental effort. Is this wrong when others chose not to apply themselves and remain ignorant or unproductive. Should the ambitious be punished for their ambition and the lazy rewarded (Johnson, 2010). In the final analysis Rand states the purpose of capitalism best stating that "Money is made - before it can be looted or mooched - made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability" (Rand: Durante, 2011).
Understanding how ancient Roman contributed to the American legal system and government. Roman civilization had spread throughout Asia Minor, Israel, Egypt and Northern Africa, Europe and the western Rhine River to the Danube and Romania (Rome and Roman Empire, 2011). The lands were conquered primarily through military invasion of other lands. The Romans would adopt certain parts of the cultures such as language, local lore such as mythology and various established cultural traditions. Among them fine art, architecture and…… [Read More]
Moral Skepticism and Knowledge
Moral Skepticism and Moral Knowledge
Morality is a much debated philosophical idea, wherein the arguments range from ethical egoism being the perfect sample of moral ethics to altruism being the perfect -- and otherwise opposite -- viewpoint. Both ideas have strong followings, and ethical egoism along is broadened to even more branches within philosophical studies. There is still much reconciliation to be done between the various problems of philosophical thought and ethical egoism or lack thereof.
Ethical egoism is a particular form of egoism where one who is moral "ought" to do what is in one's self-interest. The morality behind egoism generally points toward the idea of self-interest; that a moral being's moral path is by focusing on one's self. This type of egoism should not be mistaken for psychological egoism, however. Psychological egoism makes a claim that beings act only in their self-interest. Ethical egoism plainly states a choice. In psychological egoism, a person's morality is no longer in question; it doesn't matter if one is moral or not, one acts solely for one's self-interest regardless. The ethical egoist, on the other hand, believes that one's morality is at play; the moral person acts in self-interest while the immoral one does not.
Many proponents of ethical egoism -- among them Ayn Rand, Leonard Peikoff, David L. Norton, and Max Stirner -- have argued that it would be best to act upon one's own wants and needs; they claim that this type of pursuit towards the self is the most effective method to live life at an optimal level. In fact, why attempt to pursue the wants and needs of another when there is the chance of falling short on effectiveness? It is much easier to act upon what one wants and needs than it is to figure out what the other person wants and needs. A second argument regarding the favoring of ethical egoism falls upon the ineffectiveness of altruism. To the egoists, altruism denies the chance of pursuit of happiness, that the philosophy itself calls upon the viewpoint that life is merely a sacrifice. Rand writes that "the basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to…… [Read More]
The argument being advanced is that since, the Muslim extremists were responsible for the 9/11 disaster, the construction of the Muslim religious center would inculcate the jihad teachings and dishonor to the memory of the 9/11 victims. The question one would ask is this, what about the strip clubs, bars and other activities that are zero blocks away from the hallowed ground, do they honor the victims of the attacks. Consequently, it can be argued that Politicians and anti-Muslim groups found an easier way to agitate the crowds by exploitation of their Islamophobic instincts with the aid of the media framing of the issue. In same the interview, what comes out clearly is that Pamela fights against what she perceives as Islamization of America as opposed to Americanization of Islam. She later describes the center, which she refers to as ground zero mosque as a war memorial against the Americans by Muslims (CNN, July 15th 2010).
A look at a majority of the clips indicates a figure of speech used as a framing tool. A metaphor by the CNN on November 11, 2010 is used to describe the Park 51 site as the "Cordoba House." This term has been interpreted by the critics to mean the conversion of the Church in Spain into a big mosque by the Muslims in the 12th century. This was meant to antagonize the Muslim groups with the other Americans in what Geller perceives as Islamic domination and expansion. They create a feeling that the intension of the Muslims was to conquer and convert the site into a victorious site as was done in Spain in the 12th century. The Cordoba issue has featured prominently directing the thoughts pondering and imaginations of the audiences by magnifying the America where the "triumphant" Muslims can just decide to build a "rogue mosque" with impunity and without government intervention.
Another segment of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 gave Fischer, television airtime to contribute that Islam is totalitarian and that it is anti-Christian and seeks "the extermination of Western ideology on civilization" and in yet another segment, Anderson Cooper featured Benham of prolife, anti-Islam crusade Operation Save America, where Islam was termed…… [Read More]
Islamophobia and the Media
Islam is a minority religion in America, and many Americans have never had contact with Muslims. As a result, a substantial portion of the American population relies on the media for information about Islam and related topics like the Middle East. Since September 11, but arguably before that watershed event, the news media has built a platform of fear against terrorism but against Islam in particular. Although the so-called "mainstream" media is typically criticized for being anti-Islam, smaller news outlets not necessarily owned by the corporate media conglomerates have also started to substantiate the fear mongering that perpetuates Islamophobia in the United States. However, "conservative" media sources like Fox News tend to sensationalize Islam in order to generate sensational or controversial content for their viewers. In 2010, Pew Research found evidence that indicates political conservatism is linked to holding negative views on Muslims and Islam (Ogan, 2014). The role of the media in Islamophobia cannot be underestimated. While for Fox and other corporate media sources, sensationalism and mistruth mean little more than profiteering, the media coverage has a tangible impact on the daily lives of Muslims in America. During an interview with Press TV, legislative director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Corey Saylor spoke out against U.S. media for alienating and making Muslims feel insecure in their society. Muslims are being portrayed as threats to America, and the antagonistic portrayals tend to reduce the chances for engaging in meaningful and intelligent discourse.
The Anti-Islam Media Enablers
The media, including corporate conglomerate media, independent blogs, and radio talk shows, is the proverbial fifth estate in a democratic society. Freedom of the press is a core goal and value of a liberal and free state. Yet the media has become increasingly controlled by a small number of voices with specific biases and worldviews. As a result, the media has lacked the type of credibility and accuracy that should be expected or required in the United States. Conservative or "right wing" media such as Fox…… [Read More]
Meanwhile, Dwight R. Lee (writing in The Independent Review, 2001) points to a situation where a powerful environmental group (Audubon Society) has cooperated with an energy company and both have profited. Free market environmentalism has shown the way for profits and preservation at the same time in this case. The Audubon Society (AS) owns the 26,000-acre Rainey Sanctuary in the swamps of Louisiana, and while the group is opposed to oil drilling and gas drilling in 99 out of 100 cases, the AS has "been willing to accommodate the interests of those whose priorities are different" (Lee, p. 219). Those interests include allowing thirty-seven wells to be exploited for oil and gas in the Rainey Sanctuary.
According to Lee, the AS has received royalties of more than $25 million from those 37 wells, and in the meantime the technology used in the oil and gas development has prevented any spills or other despoliation. Do not conclude that the AS has "acted hypocritically by putting crass monetary considerations above its stated concerns" for the protection of the natural world and its wildlife, Lee asserts (p. 219). Lee, Professor of Economics at the University of Georgia, views the AS -- because of its ownership of Rainey Sanctuary -- is part of an "extensive network of market communications and cooperation." This allows the AS to "do a better job of promoting its objectives by helping others promote theirs" (p. 219). "Money talks," Lee reminds readers; and indeed the consumers of the oil and gas from Rainey communicate the value they receive from those resources by paying the price the energy company charges. And those "market prices" for the oil and gas in effect are communicating to the Audubon Society -- owners of the land -- through the money the oil and gas companies are willing to pay to drill on that land.
Buy accepting $25 million from the royalties of the oil and gas the Audubon allows to be exploited from their property, the AS can then "purchase additional sanctuaries" to be preserved for habitat and the…… [Read More]