Archive for February, 2012

Lesbian Mountain

by Jason Stotts

The female version of Brokeback Mountain just wouldn’t be the same…

See more at CollegeHumor

 

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The Undercurrent

by Jason Stotts

The new edition of the Undercurrent is out!  Check out their release below.

The newest edition of The Undercurrent is now available to order, and will arrive on your doorstep in the middle of March! In this issue, we will look at issues ranging from the effect of government involvement in education to the recent surge in revolutionary movements.

With regards to the latter, Valery Publius offers an analysis of what makes revolutions desirable and successful, and why movements like Occupy Wall Street are ultimately destined to fail to bring about positive change. Noah Stahl examines the tendency of social and political debaters to focus on superficial aspects of issues, and argues that we need to instead encourage a focus on fundamentals. Nicholas Marquiss asks about education: what is fundamentally important in creating an effective school system? He argues that government involvement, far from being a core necessity for high-quality and widely-available education, is fundamentally destructive to those aims. Finally, Alex Hrin shows why restrictive government policies on energy like cap-and-trade fail to consider just how deeply important energy is to human life.

Place your order here http:/the-undercurrent.com/order/ or e-mail your name, address, and the number of copies you would like to contact@the-undercurrent.com.

The final day to order copies is March 5th, so get yours today!
The Undercurrent is sold at or below cost to print and ship the paper. Here are the prices for the Spring 2012 issue (including shipping and handling):

250 copies $30.00

500 copies $60.00

750 copies $85.00

1000 copies $115.00

1500 copies $165.00

If you would like to hand out copies but cannot afford to do so, please let us know. We may be able to find a donor to sponsor your distribution efforts. Don’t hesitate to send a request by e-mail to: contact@the-undercurrent.com.

On the other hand, if you have no time to distribute, we would greatly appreciate a donation. We’ll use your donations to fund student distributors in your local community or region of the country, or to support deserving distributors in other locations. You can find more information about donating to TU here: http://the-undercurrent.com/donate/, or by e-mailing us at contact@the-undercurrent.com.

Last year was a remarkable year for both TU and Objectivist movement generally. Over 49,000 copies of TU were distributed and over 440,000 copies of Atlas Shrugged were sold in 2011. With your help we hope to do even more in 2012!

Best Regards,

Victoria Genther
victoria@the-undercurrent.com

 

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Assorted News

by Jason Stotts

1. You May be More Transparent than you Think

 One study from Duke University estimated that habits, rather than conscious decision-making, shape 45 percent of the choices we make every day, and recent discoveries have begun to change everything from the way we think about dieting to how doctors conceive treatments for anxiety, depression and addictions. (NYTimes)

Much of our behavior is formulated at a below-conscious level and we are not actively aware of it.  However, new research is letting retailers understand us better than we understand ourselves.  After reading this article, I am definitely going to look more closely into that psychological research and consider how it may factor into ethical analysis.

2. Legalization of Drugs is not only Moral, it’s Practical

Drug warriors often contend that drug use would skyrocket if we were to legalize or decriminalize drugs in the United States. Fortunately, we have a real-world example of the actual effects of ending the violent, expensive War on Drugs and replacing it with a system of treatment for problem users and addicts.

Ten years ago, Portugal decriminalized all drugs. One decade after this unprecedented experiment, drug abuse is down by half. (Forbes)

The proper function of the government is to protect individual rights.  As long as people taking drugs aren’t harming others, then the government should leave them be to make their own choices in life.  Not only that, making them illicit makes people more likely to do them, not less likely.

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Erosophia Podcast #2 Part 2

by Jason Stotts

Welcome to the second episode of the Erosophia Podcast!

This is part 2 of 2 (the Q&A) of my recent SoCal Objectivists talk entitled “Love, Sex, Relationships, and Happiness” that I presented on February 11th.I want to thank the SoCal Objectivists for inviting me to talk and Andrew Zey for the audio work and for making the recording sound great.

If you like the Erosophia podcast, please help support it!  The more support the podcast has, the more likely I am to continue doing it and the more frequently it will come out. You can donate money via the PayPal button on Erosophia, send a PayPal or Amazon payment to Jason(at)JasonStotts.com, or contact me to arrange to send a check or gifts. You can also simply write a nice reviews on your blog or on iTunes.  I could also use a jingle.

If you have questions you want me to address, please leave them as a comment here, email me, or send me a message on facebook or twitter. If you want to contact me, my email is Jason(at)JasonStotts.com.  You can find me on the web at www.JasonStotts.com.  I’m also on twitter: @jstotts.

Podcast Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/jasonstotts/podcast/

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-erosophia-podcast/id491628521

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Erosophia Podcast #2 Part 1

by Jason Stotts

Welcome to the second episode of the Erosophia Podcast!

This is part 1 of 2 (the main lecture) of my recent SoCal Objectivists talk entitled “Love, Sex, Relationships, and Happiness” that I presented on February 11th.I want to thank the SoCal Objectivists for inviting me to talk and Andrew Zey for the audio work and for making the recording sound great.

If you like the Erosophia podcast, please help support it!  The more support the podcast has, the more likely I am to continue doing it and the more frequently it will come out. You can donate money via the PayPal button on Erosophia, send a PayPal or Amazon payment to Jason(at)JasonStotts.com, or contact me to arrange to send a check or gifts. You can also simply write a nice reviews on your blog or on iTunes.  I could also use a jingle.

If you have questions you want me to address, please leave them as a comment here, email me, or send me a message on facebook or twitter. If you want to contact me, my email is Jason(at)JasonStotts.com.  You can find me on the web at www.JasonStotts.com.  I’m also on twitter: @jstotts.

Podcast Feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/jasonstotts/podcast/

iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-erosophia-podcast/id491628521

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Follow-up to Contra Peikoff on Rape

by Jason Stotts

Amy Peikoff has now weighed in on Leonard Peikoff’s statement about rape from his recent podcast and I agree with her assessment.  She also says she finds it interesting that no one has commented on the rest of what he said about rape.  I know that for me, there was no reason to do so, because I agreed with the rest of his analysis.  It is the part where he explicitly says that there are contexts in which rape is permissible that is the problem.  Apparently, he intends to clarify his position in his March 4th podcast and so we shall see then what he actually thinks.  Hopefully, he will recant his position and state unequivocally that he thinks rape is immoral in all contexts.

Now, on to Amy’s final comments about my original post where I said:

I think that Leonard Peikoff has done some great things for Objectivism, he is like a demi-Aquinas, but when he talks about sex and sexual issues, it makes me really sad.  Frankly, his position on rape is both disgraceful and disgusting. I don’t know how anyone of good moral character or intelligence could actually advocate what Peikoff advocated.  It is made much worse because Peikoff is someone I respect and I did not expect him to hold such a reprehensible view of rape.

I want to point out that I said, and maintain, that advocating rape is disgraceful, disgusting, and reprehensible.  This is a statement about a position, not a person. It is true that saying that “no one of good moral character or intelligence could actually advocate rape” is perhaps in poor taste, but I still maintain it.  I hope that Leonard Peikoff will explicitly say that he does not advocate rape at all and then my statement would not encompass him.  There are, however, people who do advocate rape in the world and this statement is intended for them.

The thing is that I have a really hard time not geting emotional about something so serious as rape.  When I analyze ideas, I try to concretize them and look at all of their angles.  Try to concretize rape in your mind.  It should make you furious.  Our emotions are automatic responses to our value judgments and the proper emotional response to someone  advocating rape is anger and revulsion. It is hard for me to elaborate just how terrible I think rape is and how passionately I am against it.

Finally, some people have commented that I make references to Peikoff only in order to increase my traffic or because I like to take “pop-shots.”  These are groundless accusations.  I have made exactly 5 references to Leonard Peikoff in as many years, two negative (“Contra Peikoff on Swinging” and “Contra Peikoff on Rape“), two positives (“Formspring: Puritanical Objectivists” and “Formspring: Sex without Love“), and one recommending his podcast as a good source of information.   So, I’m not sure why people are making that criticism.  I think that Leonard Peikoff has done a lot of good for Objectivism and that he has been the best expositor that Objectivism could have asked for.  Nonetheless, that doesn’t give him license to now advocate rape, even in delimited contexts, and I hope that he will soon make it clear that he does not.

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On Valentine’s Day

by Jason Stotts

Some people think that Valentine’s Day is not a real holiday; that it is simply a “Hallmark Holiday,” constructed to bring in money for cards.   They think that they shouldn’t have to show their love on just one day and as long as their partner knows that they love them throughout the year, that having this one extra day is superfluous.  I must admit, that there were times in the past that I, too, thought that Valentine’s Day was unnecessary, but not too long ago changed my mind.

My wife knows I love her.  She knows because of how I treat her, because I do things for her, because I help her to achieve her goals, and for a myriad of little reasons.  But does this mean I shouldn’t also tell her I love her?  No, it doesn’t.  Just because she knows that I love doesn’t mean it’s not valuable to still explicitly tell her so. There is a value in the explicit reaffirmation that saying “I Love you” brings.  This can be overdone and I think we’ve all seen the couples that say it so frequently that it loses all meaning.  Nevertheless, if you don’t tell your partner that you love them, then that is communicating something as well.

So, you might be thinking, that if I already tell my partner I love her and show this in my actions, why do I need to have a day to focus on this?  Putting emphasis on something that is important to you is very valuable.  All too often, especially after we have been in relationships for a while, we forget to tell our partners that we love them as much as we do, we let the stress of our jobs and other obligations come between us, and we don’t give our partner and our relationship as much attention as they deserves.  Thus, Valentines Day is a way for us to take some time out of our busy schedules and to put that extra emphasis on our partner and our relationship.  Valentine’s Day is a time for us to tell our partner how much we value them and show them this as well.  In short, it’s a day where we check in on our relationship and make sure that’s it’s going well.

And what do we do once we do this?  Then we celebrate!  Valentine’s Day is a reaffirmation of our love and relationships and we should celebrate these things because they are very important to life.  I firmly believe that love, sex, and relationships are part of what is necessary to live a good life for a person and if we are achieving these things, we should celebrate their value in our lives.  Furthermore, we should celebrate our relationships and our shared lives together with our partners.

No matter its origins (and really is an irrational basis in religion somehow better than a constructed holiday to celebrate something important?) Valentine’s Day is a worthwhile holiday and one that should be embraced by rational men and women as it serves to help us to enrich our lives and make them better.

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SoCal Objectivists Lecture

by Jason Stotts

Just a reminder for everyone that my SoCal Objectivists lecture is this saturday night!  If you want to see me speak live for free, this is your chance!  We do ask that you RSVP, instructions and details can be found here.

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