Better late than never….
I really like the change in my posting schedule for my podcast, and more, round up. I feel like I have more time to ponder each of the podcasts I listen to and even listen to them again to sort of distill down what information was presented and my opinion on it. We’ll see how it goes.
Don’t Let it Go … Unheard (You can find Amy’s show notes here.) – I really enjoyed this week’s podcast with Amy Peikoff and her co-host Bosch Fawstin. The theme of the show was Honesty and why this seems to be as rare among politicians as unicorns. The show proceeded through roughly three steps. First they spent a fair amount of time discussing examples of the dishonesty and evasion of political figures including Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul and John Boehner. They then showed how those examples could be integrated as violations of the Objectivist virtue of honesty. Rounding it the program was a discussion of how we should view such moral failures on the part of politicians given that all the virtues are connected and to practice one virtue you need to practice them all.
After the discussion of honesty, Amy mentioned an interesting story about a company called Paperspace which will offer people a virtual computer in the Cloud. The downside to this is that just days after it was announced on Techcrunch the FCC took over the internet via their vote on net neutrality.
Philosophy in Action – Every week Dr. Diana Hsieh and her co-host Greg Perkins answer listener questions, applying rational principles to everyday life. This week, as luck would have it, the three main questions dealt with honesty, though with much different concretes than those discussed in Amy Peikoff’s podcast.
- Does fraud require deliberate deception or can it occur when both parties in a transaction are completely aware of the nature of the transaction? The example discussed was the Libertarian argument that fractional reserve banking is inherently fraudulent.
- Is Mark Twain’s quote from his Notebooks, “Never tell the truth to people who are not worthy it” true? Can people be unworthy of being told the truth?
- Deciding when it is time to cut ties with a business associate who appears to be dishonest.
Peikoff.com Epsisode 363 – This week’s podcast is a segment from his radio program from 1999 Leonard Peikoff responded to comments that he appears to take as self-evident that there is no god by asking listeners to call in with the best arguments they have heard for god’s existence. He would then give them in the most effective form he could. Arguments listeners called in with included:
- Argument from design
- Argument from miracles
- Prime mover
- and some who accepted the existence of god on faith
I hope a future episode will cover Dr. Peikoff’s answer to these arguments.
The Yaron Brook Show – In this week’s episode Yaron and his guest Elan Journo discussed the Middle East and why that part of the world has been a “basket case” for such a long period of time. They did a brief survey of the various groups vying for power in the region from ISIS to Saudi Arabia to Iran, pointing out there is not a tremendous difference between these groups. ISIS for example releases videos of them beheading their enemies for propaganda reasons while Saudi Arabia does so as part of their justice system, and in fact had beheaded 21 people in 2015 as of February 4, and both groups have similar punishments for various crimes. These groups all largely oppose each other for their own reasons even before you bring Israel into the mix.
The bulk of the show was the discussion of what is the fundamental cause of all the conflict, both in the region and exported from that region to the rest of the world: mysticism or religion and ideas. Unlike many in the West, especially our leaders, people in the Middle East actually take ideas seriously and are willing to die for them. Unfortunately, the ideas they take seriously are religious ones, accepted ultimately on faith. This reliance on faith precludes the use of reason, leaving force as the only means to deal with those who may disagree with them and so they are also willing to kill those who do not accept their ideas. The West, lead by the intellectuals, has largely abandoned ideas and principles and his is why many commentators cannot take at face value the claims of ISIS as to why they are doing the things they do. These “experts” cannot believe anyone would take ideas so seriously which leads us to look for other reasons such as poverty, oppression, lack of education or Western action despite all evidence to the contrary (e.g. Jihadi John.)
Yaron finished out the show with a number of recommendations, all dealing in one way or another with the topic of the situation emanating from the Middle East and our response to it:
- Nothing Less than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History by John David Lewis. This book is a survey of four different periods in history with a focus on the proper means of national self-defense, an aggressive projection of force into the homeland of the enemy. The book covers material which he also presented in a 4 part lecture series and, in an abbreviated form, a talk for the Ayn Rand Institute.
- Soul of Battle: Why the West has Won by Victor Davis Hansen
- Lawrence of Arabia
- Two novels by Leon Uris: Exodus and The Haj. (Both of these titles are available free as part of Kindle Unlimited.)
Most of this week I have been listening to the lecture series by John David Lewis noted above, Defensor Patriae: The Homeland Defense in History. I love history, so seeing events from history that a already knew something about from a more fundamental viewpoint was fascinating.