I’ve started a new series of tweets. I’m calling it “Answering AOC,” and I’m tweeting in response to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is emerging as the leading proponent of socialism in the United States. I’m distributing the tweets not only on Twitter, but also on Instagram and Facebook. So if you’re on any of these platforms, and you’d like to help me spread the message, please do. There are three in the series so far, and I’m pinning this one:
This week we learned of a beautiful, courageous, independent woman who had the initiative to escape her abusive, traditional Muslim, Saudi Arabian family. She was en route to Australia, tourist visa in hand, and ended up being detained by the Thai authorities, who–under pressure from Saudi Arabia–intended to send her back to her family. But did she give up? No. She barricaded herself in her airport hotel room, where she was told to wait for the next flight back to Kuwait. And she started tweeting. Soon the whole world became aware of her plight, putting enough pressure on the Thai authorities that they had to refrain from forcibly deporting her, and allow the United Nations to intervene.
Elan Journo has a informative interview with Boaz Arad, from the Ayn Rand Center Israel, about his activism to end military conscription in Israel.
Boaz’s solution is a volunteer army which is justified in a two part argument “one part moral, one practical.” According to Boaz:
The moral case, echoing Ayn Rand’s view, is that it’s a violation of individual rights to conscript people into the military. In a free society, it’s wrong for the government to coerce your time, which is irreplaceable, and put you, against your will, in life-threatening situations.
The second component is a practical point: A volunteer army works much better. You need professional soldiers who are highly trained and skilled. Today’s military is so high tech and sophisticated that you need specialized people in key roles, those who have, say, 10–15 years’ experience. It’s not cost-effective to train conscripts to do such a job and to have them do it for one or two years, at which point they move on.
That wastefulness is bound to get worse. Given current birth rates and the typical annual intake of conscripts, in a few years, Israel will have a glut of military personnel. The army could grow to something like half a million to a million soldiers. There would be way more people than really needed to serve national security, and some will end up, as they do today, in non-essential positions like entertainment. Young men and women are conscripted into the military and, literally, end up doing magic tricks or singing as part of their military duty.
“The financial crisis of 2008-9 — accompanied by the Great Recession, a doubling of the U.S. jobless rate (to 10 percent), and a plunge in major stock-price indexes (−53 percent, peak to trough) — was caused by government intervention, mainly in mortgage finance and the housing sector. Unfortunately, that’s not the conventional interpretation, so no subsequent policy change has been adopted to correct the problem; in fact, still more intervention has occurred, via the Dodd-Frank Act (2010) and Federal Reserve capital policies and controls on bank dividends. Since the lesson of 2008-9 has not been learned, further crises are likely, but with still more severe consequences, given the accumulation of still more powers of state intervention.”
To celebrate Christmas, [New Ideal] asked Jeff Britting, former curator of the Ayn Rand Archives, to supply us with images and text from an article he wrote that originally appeared in the Ayn Rand Institute’s newsletter, Impact, in 2010. The article was devoted to anecdotes about Christmas visits, letters from Ayn Rand’s family in Russia about Christmas, images of Rand and her husband, Frank O’Connor, at Christmas and Christmas cards she and Frank gave and received (some with their pet names for each other, “Fluff” for her and “Cubbyhole” for him).
One observation that stands out to us is Miss Rand — America’s greatest defender of Capitalism — attitude towards gift-giving:
As to gifts, Miss Rand preferred to exchange presents only among very close friends and special business associates. And given that many of her friends were of modest means, she insisted that gifts not be burdensomely expensive. This challenge often resulted in flights of ingenuity. The artists and musicians among her circle often produced handcrafted ornaments, jewelry and recordings.
Overall the entire article for Ayn Rand fans is a joy to read. Merry Christmas!