• • The Problem of Political Authority by Michael Huemer
Atlas Shrugged |
There are definitely more persuasive works of libertarian political philosophy than TPPA. Atlas Shrugged and For a New Liberty immediately come to mind. Why are they more persuasive? Because they decorate their weak, question-begging moral arguments with inspiring poetry. While TPPA is extremely well-written, its arguments appeal solely to the intellect.
• • Krugman on Scientific Method
I remember, when I was 18 and was a fan of Ayn Rand (I still am, but much more critically), Ellen Moore, a woman who headed the local Objectivist group in Winnipeg (they weren’t supposed to call themselves “Objectivists,” but “students of Objectivism”) came by the University of Winnipeg and ran into my friend and mentor, Clancy Smith. Clancy invited Ellen to sit with him and the friend he was with. Ellen sat down and said hi. Clancy then introduced her to his friend and told her that his friend was a socialist. Well! Ellen then asked him, prosecutor style, “Do you think the government has a right to take people’s property?” “I’d never thought about it exactly that way, but, I guess, yes,” answered the young man. With that, Ellen got up and said, “I must leave. To sit here further and be polite would be to sanction your anti-life thoughts.”
• The Ideological Turing Test
If someone can correctly explain a position but continue to disagree with it, that position is less likely to be correct. And if ability to correctly explain a position leads almost automatically to agreement with it, that position is more likely to be correct. [....] I’d add that we should compare people in the same field: Rand’s inability to explain Keynesian economics would be no more telling than Krugman’s inability to explain Nozickian political philosophy.