Below is the opening argument I made during an Oxford-style debate on public education, hosted by the New York Political Forum in New York City on February 22nd, 2017. My partner Roberto Guzman and I argued the dissenting view, with me focusing on the philosophic arguments and Rob focusing on the economic and statistical arguments. We managed to increase the number of audience members who also held the dissenting view from 2% before the start of the debate to 20% after its conclusion. (Reading time 5 minutes.)Continue reading “Debate: “It is the duty of government to educate its citizens.””
Part One: The Political Philosophy of John Locke
In his works “A Letter Concerning Toleration” (1689) and “The Second Treatise On Civil Government” (1690), philosopher John Locke created what would become the philosophical source for the founding principles of the United States. In what follows, I will summarize the central arguments presented in the Letter, followed by the arguments presented in the Treatise. Following the summaries, I will demonstrate the influence that these works had on the thinking of the founding fathers and the political documents they created.Continue reading “The Political Philosophy of John Locke and Its Influence on the Founding Fathers and the Political Documents They Created”
Karl Marx claimed that economics determines history and that one’s economic class determines one’s ideas. Ironically, he proved himself wrong, in a deadly way. The twelve-thousand-word propaganda tract written by Marx in 1848 and known as The Communist Manifesto was a concise summary of many ideas which Marx himself created. These ideas proceeded to shape the history of the twentieth century, including its political and economic history, as well as the ideas of most twentieth-century intellectuals. This history included approximately one hundred million innocent citizens slaughtered by Marxist governments, millions more enslaved by Marxist governments, international conflicts on an unprecedented scale, and an intellectual tradition that, at present, is thoroughly entrenched in the humanities and is in the process of destroying the ideas and ideals of the West. There have probably never been fewer words that have caused more misery and destruction than those written by Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto.Continue reading “The Communist Manifesto: Philosophic and Economic Ideas/Historic Consequences”
Ayn Rand was a twentieth-century novelist and philosopher who wrote two classic novels and created a new philosophy called “Objectivism.” As a novelist, her writing is full of implicit and explicit philosophic content and so illustrate, in the form of concrete characters and events, what are otherwise challenging and difficult ideas. As a twentieth-century philosopher, she was unique in rejecting the entire modern and post-modern (Kantian) tradition. Instead, she chose to correct, develop, integrate and systematize the ideas of Aristotle and John Locke to the extent of creating an essentially new philosophy filled with her own innovative discoveries. Although she was not an academic and wrote for a popular audience, she nevertheless addressed nearly all of the major issues in technical philosophy. As a result, in recent years there has been a rapidly increasing presence of Objectivist philosophers in academia.Continue reading “My Views On Philosophy”
I’m an advocate of 100% political and economic freedom, i.e., of laissez-faire capitalism.
The biggest influences on my political views (apart from current and historical observation) are the political philosophy of John Locke and the philosophic system of Ayn Rand. Locke argued that each individual possesses the rights to life, liberty and property, that these rights exist in nature prior to the formation of government, and that the only legitimate government is one whose function is limited to protecting these rights. Rand argued that man’s essential nature is to use his reason to produce the values on which his life depends, which in turn requires a government whose function is strictly limited to protecting him from the initiation of physical force by other men. Locke’s ideas were the basis for The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. Rand’s essential contribution was to give Locke’s best theory of rights a consistent philosophic foundation that eliminates any possibility of misunderstanding or misapplication.Continue reading “My Views On Politics”
I’m an advocate of the complete separation of the state from the economy, i.e., of a 100% free market.
Economics depends on politics, and politics depends on philosophy. A given political system—capitalism, communism, fascism, the mixed-economy/welfare state, etc.—represents the application of a particular set of philosophical premises, including moral premises, to the question of the proper role of government. Economics then describes the effects of a government’s activity on the production, trade, and so-called “distribution” of wealth.Continue reading “My Views On Economics”