Ronald Rodash reviews Mary Grabar’s Debunking Howard Zinn in Howard Zinn: Fake Historian over at the Law&Liberety blog. Writes Rodash:
Zinn tries to blame organized labor strikes right before and during WW II on labor militancy that could not be contained. Grabar first shows these strikes were limited and of brief duration. She discusses the June 1941 strike of workers at the North American Aviation plant in Inglewood, California and notes that the CPUSA-led union kept other non-strikers from going to work, using threats and actual beatings by union thugs to maintain the strike. President Roosevelt’s decision to send in 2,500 soldiers to restore order and open the factory was greeted with cheers by most of the workers, who wanted the strike ended so that they could return to work. Grabar does not mention that the strike was ordered by the Central Committee of the American Communist Party on Moscow’s orders. Because it took place during the Nazi-Soviet Pact, Stalin wanted to harm war production in the United States. It was not militancy by locals that caused this famous strike, but an order from the Kremlin. For years, pro-Communist writers and historians have blamed the Cold War on America’s desire to dominate Europe and avoid détente with a peaceful Soviet Union. Zinn, Grabar shows, ignored the very real threat the Soviet Union posed to Western Europe, rooted in Stalin’s desire to dominate it as he did the Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe. Zinn was, Grabar aptly puts it, “a propagandist for the Soviet Union’s ‘peaceful intentions.’”
Now available on Amazon: Mary Grabar’s Debunking Howard Zinn
Writes Scott Holleran at Pittsburgh Quarterly Magazine in Bridging Ayn Rand and Pittsburgh:
“From the parkways, to the old, vertical houses on steep hillsides, to the slums, with narrow, cobblestone streets — then the sudden view of the river and the blurred silhouettes of skyscrapers — the rise to the triumphant goal and spirit of the place, of the great effort that made it.” Rand’s admiration for Pittsburgh was, in at least one important instance, reciprocated — Pittsburgh Press critic Bett Anderson’s glowing review of Rand’s 1943 novel “The Fountainhead.”
“I don’t expect you to remember that review,” Anderson wrote to Rand in care of her publisher in 1948 while requesting an inscribed copy of “The Fountainhead,” which was about to be adapted as a movie starring Gary Cooper. “But I was wildly enthusiastic about the book and still am. I have read it literally dozens of times and have told many people about it. I hope that the picture is as good as the book. I don’t see how it could be.”
Anderson had reported that the epic about an architect who does manual labor in a quarry and is forced to reclaim rather than compromise his creation “gives the reader a new set of values by which to judge not only the building but also the builder… She has set up a temple of words dedicated to all that is good and noble in man. She has written a book that is magnificent and bitter and challenging.” Rand would later write that Anderson’s article was…”
Read the rest of Bridging Ayn Rand and Pittsburgh
From A Lawless Political Assassination, by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano:
The Constitution provides only two means for the federal government to kill a human being. The first is pursuant to a declaration of war, which only Congress can do. That permits the president to use the military to kill the troops of the government of the country against which war has been declared. Congress has not declared war on Iran. The second way that the Constitution permits federal government killings is pursuant to due process. That means that the person to be killed is lawfully in custody, has been properly charged, lawfully tried and fairly convicted of a capital crime, and the conviction has been upheld on appeal.
Think about it. If the American president can kill an Iranian government official in Iraq because of fear of what he might do — without a declaration of war or any legal process — can the Chinese president kill a Mexican government official visiting in Texas or an American intelligence agent encouraging revolution in Venezuela for fear of what they might do? This is not a fanciful or academic argument. It not only goes to the fidelity to the rule of law that we require of our leaders in order to maintain personal liberty and limited government, it also goes to our safety. We have laws to prevent wanton killings, lest killers turn on us.
In contrast, Attorney Dershowitz Says Targeting Soleimani Was Constitutional, But Impeachment Is Not:
“I am an expert on the use of targeted killings and a strong supporter of targeted killings of terrorists and ongoing terrorist situations. But it’s not something the president discussed with me. I wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal yesterday, and I’ve been talking about what I believe is the strong case for the legality. I don’t take a position, particularly on the long-term wisdom of the action. But I think the legality is not even a close question. I think it was more legal, if anything, than the killing of Osama bin Laden, because the Osama bin Laden killing was not preventive. It was vengeance. It was getting even with a massive criminal that was justified, but it was justified on different grounds. The Soleimani case is a much stronger case for preemptive or preventive targeted killing.”
On whether Trump made the right decision by ordering the killing of Soleimani “I think that’s reasonable. People could disagree about that. But I don’t think anybody should conflate the policy arguments with the legal arguments, and many people do that. Something could be illegal and good policy and something could be legal and bad policy.” [Here & Now]
U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman in the WSJ notes that former President Barack Obama ordered drone strikes and “[h]e did so without specific congressional authorization, and without significant Democratic opposition.”
Writes Larry Elder on Iran vs Trump: How Did Trump Become the Villain?:
Of the numerous reasons Trump haters offer for their hatred of the President, the criticism over his withdrawal of the Iran deal is among the most difficult to follow. That these critics blame Donald Trump for Iran’s recent aggressive behavior is even more bizarre.
Iran attacks oil tankers and bombs Saudi Arabian oil facilities and Trump becomes the villain?
On the recent U.S. response to Iran see After Years of Appeasement, America Acts Morally Against Iran by Scott Holleran.
From Iranian Americans rally in SF to celebrate killing of Iranian general – SFChronicle.com:
Wearing red and waving large Iranian flags, demonstrators bid farewell to a man they said is responsible for the bloodshed of thousands of people in the Middle East and during the decades-long oppression of citizens in Iran. Mitra Rahmat, of Cupertino, couldn’t stop dancing as she held a poster with Soleimani’s picture that read, in part, “rot in hell.” Rahmat, who grew up in Tehran, said her best friend was tortured and killed by the Iranian regime at 16 during student demonstrations in 1981. She called Soleimani’s death the “best gift” she has received in 40 years. “I’m celebrating the death of this criminal that killed so many children in Syria, so many children in Iran and Iraq and Afghanistan, Lebanon, you name it,” she said. “We’re so happy that he’s gone, and we know that peace is going to come to the Middle East because he’s not there.”
Writes Allen C. Guelzo in Preaching a Conspiracy Theory:
The 1619 Project is not history: it is polemic, born in the imaginations of those whose primary target is capitalism itself and who hope to tarnish capitalism by associating it with slavery. Slavery made cotton profitable; but profitability is not capitalism. Profit-seeking has been around since Abraham bought the cave at Machpelah in the book of Genesis. If profitability were capitalism, then the Soviet Union’s highly profitable sales of natural gas and other commodities would surely make it one of the great success stories of capitalism – which, of course, it was not. Ask any worthwhile Marxist: capitalism is about the creation of class, and especially the bourgeoisie. And one thing the South never developed was a bourgeoisie. Which is why no single American, North or South, before 1861 ever imagined that slavery and capitalism were anything but mortal enemies. The proslavery apologist, George Fitzhugh, frankly declared that slavery was a form, not of capitalism, but feudal socialism; the antislavery president, Abraham Lincoln, explained the war on slavery as a war on behalf of free labor.
Philosopher Onkar Ghate a senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute explicates the Objectivist theory of free-will.
For a systematic presentation of Ayn Rand’s philosophy pick up a copy of Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.
[A]chieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. . . . You seek escape from pain. We seek the achievement of happiness. You exist for the sake of avoiding punishment. We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Don Watkins has an essay, Atlas Neutered: Ari Armstrong’s Straw Man Attack on Objectivism, that explores some of the confusions in Ari Armstrong’s book What’s Wrong with Ayn Rand’s Objectivist Ethics.
What Ari doesn’t mention is that the very works he quotes from make the point that Rand’s ultimate value of life recognizes that values aren’t only a means to life but that which life consists of: for life to be an end in itself, in Rand’s view, means that values are ends in themselves.
Rand’s conception of life as an end in itself is grounded in certain facts about life. For our other values, our ability to see them as values depends on our ability to see them as means to some further value. We value our shoes for running, we value running for our health. Life can serve as an ultimate value because it is the only end that is a means to only itself. It preserves the teleological nature of values while also recognizing that there must be an ultimate value since “a series of means going off into an infinite progression toward a nonexistent end is a metaphysical and epistemological impossibility.”
But life, for Rand, is the values that constitute it, each of which can be valued for its own sake as well as its role in furthering the process of pursuing values. Thus specific values — completing a crucial project at work, playing with your kids, an electrifying conversation with a friend — can all be experienced as ends in themselves: they are in a literal sense the stuff that life is made of. But the proof they are legitimate values rests not in our emotions but in certain facts about their relationship to life.
So how does Ari, having sundered “value” from “life,” decide what values really are ends in themselves? We just know it. Reality, in effect, dumps in our laps a bunch of ends in themselves, which cannot be questioned or analyzed, and all we can do is try to make them integrate.
Onkar Ghate refutes Sam Harris’ misconceptions about free-will by explaining that free-will is primarily not about the reasons for choosing one’s actions (content), but fundamentally about the choice to think or not (process): to focus one’s mind on grasping reality or not. He then shows how to properly conceptualize the self-evident fact of free-will in a causal universe.