Archive for January, 2012

SoCal Objectivist Lecture

by Jason Stotts

For anyone who is in the Southern California area and who wants to hear me speak, I’ll be giving a live lecture in two weeks, on Saturday February 11th, in Riverside California.  Details can be found at

Objectivist Blog Carnival

by Jason Stotts

Welcome to the January 26, 2012 edition of the Objectivist Round Up and the 17th time Erosophia has hosted!

Today’s quote is from Jean-Baptiste Say:

Alas, how many have been persecuted for the wrong of having been right?

If you have never read Say, he is worth reading and is a clear writer, even for those without a background in Economics.


Burgess Laughlin presents Making Progress: An Activist’s Choices posted at Making Progress, saying, “Who is an activist? What are the choices an activist faces once committed to activism? The answers are as varied as the personal values and individual abilities of the activists.”

Santiago and Kelly Valenzuela presents Give Thanks posted at Mother of Exiles, saying, “Short and sweet, but I love this image and the message it conveys!”

Rational Jenn presents Brain Dump posted at Rational Jenn, saying, “In this post, I give my views about several parenting posts that have recently made the rounds on Facebook and Twitter. The last link and commentary especially will be relevant and, I hope, interesting to Objectivists.”

Rational Jenn presents ATLOSCon Speaker Proposals! posted at Rational Jenn, saying, “ATLOSCon 2012 will be in Atlanta on May 24-27. We are soliciting proposals for classes. The deadline is FEBRUARY 1, so get your proposal in soon!”

Jim Woods presents U.S. Troops in Uganda? Blame Congress, Not Obama posted at Words by Woods, saying, “When Obama sent troops to Uganda in October, many wondered why.”

Paul Hsieh presents Repealing CO Health Insurance Exchange posted at We Stand FIRM, saying, “Here is my invited written statement to the CO state legislature supporting a good bill to repeal last year’s bad law establishing a state health insurance “exchange”.”

Earl Parson presents Sam Maloof Exhibit at the Huntington posted at Creatures of Prometheus, saying, “Iconic furniture craftsman Sam Maloof would have been 96 this week. As part of my ongoing ‘Birthdays of the Great Ones’ series, I reviewed the current exhibition of his work at the Huntington in Pasadena. Maloof developed a highly individualized style over the course of his long career – he was a man with a truly unique vision. Enjoy!”

Diana Hsieh presents On Some Recent Controversies posted at NoodleFood, saying, “Here are my thoughts on how the Objectivist movement might and ought to deal with disagreements, as well as some background on current criticisms of me.”

Edward Cline presents “Strike” One at The Rule of Reason


That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of objectivist round up using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

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The Big Bad Wolf

by Jason Stotts

This video is just…the most…disturbing…interesting…strange…nsfw?…video ever. I’m sorry I’m showing it to you, you will not be able to unwatch.  I warned you.

I’m so sorry I did that to you, I hope you can forgive me in time.

Minimum Wage Laws

by Jason Stotts

This short video does a very good job of explaining the problem of minimum wage laws.

One problem that it does not address is this: let’s say under market conditions you employ 100 low-level workers each for $1 per day.  In order to rectify this “social injustice” a minimum wage law is passed such that th enew minimum wage is $2.  Ceteris paribus, you can now only employ 50 workers, since the total expenditure on this amount of labor cannot exceed $100.  Thus, the effect minimum wage law was to give 50 workers extra income and to deprive 50 workers of all of their income.  This is hardly better for the 50 workers who now have zero income instead of their $1 per day wage.  In fact, in Economics it is considered an obvious truth that minimum wage laws create a minimum level of unemployment and all of it at the lowest income levels, harming only the poorest workers.

This example, among countless others, should give people pause when the gesticulate for their to be a law for something that they feel is wrong, even though they don’t understand it.  When the government tries to manipulate the market, instead of doing it’s proper function which is to protect the rights of individuals, then there are always negative repercussions: like poor Simon.

The Logical Necessity of the Oxford Comma

by Jason Stotts

I detest when people don’t use the “Oxford Comma,” which, sadly, is no longer used even by Oxford.  For those who don’t know, it’s the last comma in a set before the “and.”

Let’s say you want to talk about three separate things, you would write it thus: A, B, and C. Logically, you’d be talking about the set of the three where each is independent of the other {A,B,C}.  Now, you could also talk about three things where not all three are separate and you would write it thus: A, B and C.  Logically, you’d be talking about the set {A,B&C}, where A is discrete while B and C are conjoined.  This is not the same thing at all!

What if A, B, and C were all themselves sets of two variables?  I would write it: A and Z, B and Y, and C and X. Which is logically {A&Z, B&Y, C&X}  Without the Oxford comma, I’d have the mess of: A and Z, B and Y and C and X.  This is, perhaps, because who really knows, represented as: {A&Z, B&Y&C&X} and since in logic you can transpose variables that are conjoined, A&B is the same as B&A, I might be talking about {A&Z, B&X&Y&C}.  This is all logically the same.  But if we put values onto those variables, you can imagine the problems that might arise!  Thus, the Oxford Comma is logically necessary.

Commas are very important and they shouldn’t be treated lightly, otherwise you could end up with:

Let’s eat mother!

Instead of:

Let’s eat, mother!

Or, to use a problem that the Oxford Comma might create:

And if you don’t understand the problem, please stop reading my blog.  It is much too advanced for you.

Reminder: SoCal Objectivists Meeting #5

by Jason Stotts

One final reminder that the next meeting of the SoCal Objectivists is Saturday!  The meeting is at 7:30pm at the China Palace Restaurant (13444 Newport Ave, Tustin, CA 92780).  We’re hosting Alex Epstein, former Ayn Rand Institute fellow and founder of the Center for Industrial Progress, for a Q&A on Objectivism and his work on Energy.

Please make sure you RSVP to the event so that we can make an accurate reservation at the restaurant.  You can RSVP by emailing Earl [Earl(at)], or RSVPing via our Facebook event. We do ask that you RSVP by noon on Friday to make sure we have an accurate headcount for the reservation with the restaurant.  Please do also specify if you are bringing a guest or guests.

The event is free and open to anyone who wants to come and listen or ask questions.  Alex is a very smart guy and he’s very knowledgeable about Objectivism and energy, so I’m sure the Q&A will be great.

Also, make sure you come prepared to ask Alex questions!

More CollegeHumor Goodness

by Jason Stotts

I just recently got done watching the Battlestar Galactica series and while some of it was really interesting, it was overshadowed by way too much religion and mysticism driving the plot (in fact that’s all that drives the plot).  This video sums up how I feel about BSG:

This video “Why Sex is Magic” I think highlights a funny point: that some things that are amazingly sexy and fun when you’re turned on are completely different when you’re not.

Presidential Candidates and Liberty

by Jason Stotts

As the caucuses (cauci?) and debates heat up, it is important to look through the political rhetoric and to remember to think in principles.  To that end I want to suggest that people take a look at the ACLU’s “Campaign Report Card,” where they rank each of the Republican and Libertarian candidates based on their criteria for civil liberties.  Happily, Gary Johnson comes out as the clear winner if what one wants is freedom.  If you want a more detailed discussion of the candidates, take a look at Diana Hsieh’s Philosophy in Action Webcast, where she does an excellent job discussing the Republican candidates (and Gary Johnson, who was still a Republican at that point).

I’d like to make it clear that I think Gary Johnson is the best candidate in the race and that he would be the first candidate that I would ever have the pleasure of voting for, instead of casting a vote their way against another.  In other good news, Johnson is polling at 9% nationally, so he may still have a good shot at the White House yet.  For more of why I support Gary Johnson, see my earlier essay “Gary Johnson.”