Podcasts and More for January 26

Weekly podcastsThree weeks in a row being able to find time to listen to these podcasts. I find them very helpful in thinking about how the principles of Objectivism can be applied to everyday situations ranging, as seen this week, between sex and office parties.

Peikoff.com Episode 357 – This week Dr. Peikoff posted a 30 minute segment from a talk he gave about 30 years ago in which he answered questions dealing with sex and relationships. In this segment he answers questions about:

  • the difference between “faking it” and fantasy
  • friendship vs. love
  • being in love with multiple people
  • and more

You can get the full talk on the Ayn Rand e-store.

Philosophy in Action – Every week Dr. Diana Hsieh and Greg Perkins give in depth answers to questions on how to apply rational principles to everyday life. This week they were only able to get two main questions in along with a “rapid fire” question, which gets a more off-the-cuff answer. This week they discussed:

  • regulating ultrahazardous activities (i.e. those with the potential to harm bystanders) – This was a fascinating question that is relevant to a lot of issues including GMO products. They make the point that it is highly counterproductive to ban or regulate new technologies just because they are new and draw a line between cases where the danger was known and where it is not.
  • declining gift solicitations – They had an interesting discussion on how to deal with the pressure you can often feel to participate in non-work related things at work, i.e. contribute for birthday gifts or parties and etc.
  • As the hazardous activities question took the bulk of the hour, 40 minutes, they had only time for 1 rapid fire question, should prisoners have a the right to vote.

The Yaron Brook Show: My State of the Union – In this episode of his weekly two-hour show, Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute covered a lot of ground. The first hour was largely taken up with talk about President Obama’s state of the union address last week, the history of the state of the union (briefly) and what his, Yaron’s, state of the union address would look like if he was president, including what is going well in the country, what is going badly (which almost never gets talked about) and specific proposals he would be sending to Congress. I loved his first bill, the End Cronyism Bill which would immediately end all subsidies to every business while at the same time cutting the corporate tax rate to 0. This would remove a lot of the reason why businesses lobby Congress in the first place, to get tax breaks and or subsidies.

He also discussed, though more briefly, the recent elections in Greece (not good news for the Greeks) and the change in policy of Switzerland to no longer peg the Swiss franc at 1.2 euros. This was seen as necessary due to the decision by the ECB to implement their version of quantitative easing, buying $1 trillion worth of bonds over the next 18 months. This would have made it impossible for the Swiss to keep to the 1.2 ratio given how many more euros would be flooding the market. The problem was that just days before this change in policy, the Swiss central bank reaffirmed their commitment to that ratio. Yaron mentioned an article on the We Hold These Truths website about the situation in Switzerland. The article gives a good summary of what happened and why it was handled the way it was.

Yaron finished up the second hour with a discussion of his impressions of the movie, American Sniper, which he liked but did not feel was a great movie qua movie, and some of the criticisms of it.

Don’t Let it Go Unheard – I have not listened to very frequently to this podcast in the past, but this week’s edition caught my attention a providing a good book-end to Yaron’s. The purpose of the podcast, as Amy states at the beginning of the episodes is to “discuss news, politics and sometimes culture from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy.” In this week’s episode Amy and her co-host cartoonist Bosch Fawstin basically shred President Obama’s state of the union address, dissecting it point by point. Elements of this address “combined with a number of stories that make our prospects for privacy seem bleak, indicate that the world of 1984 is getting uncomfortably close.”

I really enjoyed the style of the show and hopefully I can make it a more permanent part of my podcast listening.

Other Listening

In addition to the above podcasts, I have also listened to a newly purchased lecture from Peter Schwartz titled “Our Culture of ‘Package Dealing‘” in which he discusses what package deals are, some examples would be the ideas of ‘stakeholder’ and ‘judgmental’, as well as how to recognize and how to ‘unpack’ them to see and explain why they are invalid concepts. I found this lecture very interesting and once you know to look for them, you can see package deals are quite common today.

I also listened to, though I need to listen to it again as I was not in the most focused state of mind, part three of Leonard Peikoff’s course on the Ayn Rand Campus titled “Eight Great Plays.” Each of the eight plays are discussed in terms of literature and philosophy rather than as plays as such. This third part was on Pierre Corneille’s play Le Cid, which I have never read. Based on the discussion of it, I did get a Kindle version of it, now I just need to find the time to read it.


I am still reading Winning the Unwinnable War: America’s Self-Crippled Response to Islamic Totalitarianism by Elan Journo, Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein. The more I read, the more amazed I get at the foolishness and vileness of the ideas underlying the use of our troops in the Middle East, where the government sees the life of one Iraqi civilian as more valuable, more worth saving than that of an American soldier.