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The Game is Afoot…

7 Dec
A libertarian e-pen pal warns me that Randians are plotting to use Cato to convince people that the human race is more important than other concerns:

I’m surprised that you don’t appear to believe that Cato is Objectivist. 

Ever since Ed Crane bit the hand that fed Cato Institute, Cato has been becoming more and more aligned with Randian idealism. It’s no secret that the Koch brothers are Objectivists, and John Allison has even been quoted as saying he has every intention of making Cato more Objectivist. David Boaz inadvertently pointed out why this was fundamentally such a bad idea in his essay Objectivists vs Libertarianism. A political philosophy shouldn’t be attached to a way of life. Look at the clusterfuck the Republican party has become since it allowed the Christian extremists to take over. A philosophy that weighs classist hierarchy over personal freedom has no business judging who is permitted to have the right to personal liberty or freedom. 

Instead of skirting these ideals with political reasoning, Cato has turned full force into linking some sort of pseudo-scientific rationality as to why something isn’t factual. Objectivism is about intellectual conquest, of which they believe savages lack an inherent right. Hence their unflagging devotion to war, conquest or even how we should be free to destroy the environment on the basis that we’re sentient over trees or plants. Based on Objectivism, how can Man possibly be at fault since it is fundamentally within our Darwinian right to survive as the fittest entity in the first place?

I don’t believe that Objectivists are any more Libertarian than Christian Tea Partiers. Liberty isn’t convenience, it’s inherent. The Cato Institute is now a zombie voice for the Koch Brothers, and frankly it does a disservice to the Libertarian party and obscure’s the publics understanding of it. 

We finally found one person who is NOT willing to appropriate the word "libertarian" for herself!

7 Jul

Objectivism Versus Libertarianism

Q&A Radio: Sunday, 9 June 2013, Question 1

I answered a question on Objectivism versus libertarianism on Philosophy in Action Radio on 9 June 2013. You can listen to or download the podcast segment below – or check out the whole episode.

Are Objectivism and libertarianism allies in the struggle for liberty? Libertarians have long claimed that Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism (or just its politics) is a form of libertarianism, but Objectivists rejected that. More recently, however, notable Objectivist John Allison assumed the presidency of the thoroughly libertarian Cato Institute with the support of the Ayn Rand Institute, and he claimed that “all objectivists are libertarians, but not all libertarians are objectivists.” Is that true? What is the essence of libertarianism? When, if ever, should Objectivists ally or collaborate with libertarians?

My Answer, In Brief: Objectivists are not libertarians: the libertarian movement is premised on philosophical relativism and merely wanting “smaller government.” Objectivists should work with libertarians just as they do with liberals and conservatives – meaning, on an ad hoc basis.

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Objectivist philosopher Diana Hsieh on Libertarianism

31 Mar
On today’s “Philosophy in Action” internet radio show, Objectivist philosopher, blogger, and radio talk show host Diana Hiseh answered questions on gay marriage and buying goods from China, and also one on whether Randian John Allison is now a bad “open Objectivist” because he is consorting with Libertarians and calling Objectivists “Libertarians.”

Hsieh answers that Allison is not a bad guy, but that he is, like many Objectivists, mistaken about the evil nature of libertarianism, especially its anarchists, and that she will be blogging about that in the near future.  She also opined that Allison’s waywardness hardly matters, given that the “Objectivist movement has imploded anyway.”

On Sunday’s Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I will answer questions on replying to intrusive inquiries, changing minds on gay marriage, dealing with overzealous ideologues, buying from Chinese companies, and more. I thought that the question on changing minds on gay marriage might be of particular interest. That question is: 

How might social conservatives be convinced to support gay marriage? Rob Portman, a Republican Senator from Ohio, recently decided to openly support gay marriage after his son came out to him and his wife. What can be done to help other conservatives see gay marriage in a new light – as a matter of liberty and individual identity?

This episode of internet radio airs at 8 am PT / 9 MT / 10 CT / 11 ET on Sunday, 31 March 2013, in our live studio. If you miss that live broadcast, you can always listen to the podcast later. 

To join the live broadcast and its chat, just point your browser to Philosophy in Action’s Live Studio a few minutes before the show is scheduled to start. By listening live, you can share your thoughts with other listeners and ask us follow-up questions in the text chat. 

If you miss the live broadcast, you’ll find the podcast from the episode posted in the archive: Radio Archive: Q&A: Protecting Privacy, Gay Marriage, Chinese Goods, and More. It will be posted on Monday morning, if not sooner. You can automatically download that and other podcasts by subscribing to Philosophy in Action’s Podcast RSS Feed:

I hope you join us on Sunday morning! 

Philosophy in Action Radio applies rational principles to the challenges of real life in live internet radio shows on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

— Diana Hsieh (Ph.D, Philosophy) 
    Philosophy in Action

Bad history, worse policy: How a false narrative about the financial crisis led to the Dodd-Frank Act – Economics – AEI

16 Feb
Bad history, worse policy: How a false narrative about the financial crisis led to the Dodd-Frank Act – Economics – AEI

About This Event
Since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010, US economic growth has slowed. When the Volcker Rule is finalized, state and local governments will experience increased borrowing costs. The largest financial institutions will dominate the market, with funding advantages over their smaller rivals. The adverse effects of Dodd-Frank will seriously outweigh its benefits. Why did a law with these deficiencies pass in Congress?
Peter Wallison’s new book “Bad History, Worse Policy: How a False Narrative about the Financial Crisis Led to the Dodd-Frank Act,” (AEI Press, January 2013) provides the answer: the act was based on a false narrative about the causes of the financial crisis. This book release event will examine how a mistaken view of an event leads to bad policy decisions.
Copies of Wallison’s new book will be available at the event.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
11:45 AM
Registration and Buffet Lunch

12:15 PM

Peter J. Wallison, AEI


Wayne Abernathy, American Bankers Association

John Allison, Cato Institute

Hester Peirce, Mercatus Center at George Mason University


Alex Pollock, AEI

1:45 PM
Coffee Reception and Book Signing
Event Contact Information
For more information, please contact Lori Sanders at, 202.862.7172.
Media Contact Information
For media inquiries, please contact, 202.862.5829.