The New Clarion

The New Clarion header image 4

Towards an Unfrozen Politics

January 25th, 2013 by Jim May · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

“How should men best live together?” — Aristotle, The Politics This is the basic question that Aristotle took to be the beginning of politics, the first and basic question which gives rise to the field.  Until recently, I thought so as well — until I realized the error involved.  There is another question that comes […]

[

By Grace of “Amazing”: How Cory Doctorow is Helping to Destroy His Own Professed Values

November 9th, 2012 by Jim May · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

  The men who are not interested in philosophy need it most urgently: they are most helplessly in its power. The men who are not interested in philosophy absorb its principles from the cultural atmosphere around them—from schools, colleges, books, magazines, newspapers, movies, television, etc. Who sets the tone of a culture? A small handful […]

[

Let’s Turn This Bucket Around

July 21st, 2012 by Jim May · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

The goal of the “liberals”—as it emerges from the record of the past decades—was to smuggle this country into welfare statism by means of single, concrete, specific measures, enlarging the power of the government a step at a time, never permitting these steps to be summed up into principles, never permitting their direction to be […]

[

Yes, That IS All They’ve Got

April 30th, 2012 by Jim May · 26 Comments · Uncategorized

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” – attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt   As many Objectivists, myself included, are the geeky sort, today’s XKCD has already become the subject of some discussion, particularly at Jenn Casey’s place.  The following is a refined version of the comment I left there. Randall […]

[

Trojan Horse: On “Discrimination” and Individual Rights

January 6th, 2012 by Jim May · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

In my previous post fisking Jonathan Chait, commenter Michael asks: “How do you reconcile individual rights with something like private discrimination?” “Discrimination”: 1 a : the act of discriminating b : the process by which two stimuli differing in some aspect are responded to differently 2 : the quality or power of finely distinguishing Source. […]

[

How Small an Enemy: Jonathan Chait edition

January 4th, 2012 by Jim May · 73 Comments · Uncategorized

“Take a look at them now, when you face your last choice—and if you choose to perish, do so with full knowledge of how cheaply how small an enemy has claimed your life.”  — John Galt, from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand   At New York magazine, Jonathan Chait posts an example of the kind […]

[

Authoring Ourselves: On Ideological versus Physical Causation

November 15th, 2011 by Jim May · 19 Comments · Uncategorized

Every hand’s a winner, And every hand’s a loser. –Kenny Rogers, The Gambler Just this morning, the following items came across my radar. Can you detect the basic alternative that is common to all of them? At the New York Times, Eddy Nahmias asks: “Is Neuroscience the Death of Free Will?” (A very good read […]

[

The Tragedy of Theology

November 9th, 2011 by Jim May · 37 Comments · Uncategorized

“Here is the tragedy of theology in its distilled essence: The employment of high-powered human intellect, of genius, of profoundly rigorous logical deduction—studying nothing. In the Middle Ages, the great minds capable of transforming the world did not study the world; and so, for most of a millennium, as human beings screamed in agony—decaying from […]

[

The Twenty-Five Tents

November 6th, 2011 by Jim May · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

Features distorted in the flickering light, The faces are twisted and grotesque. Silent and stern in the sweltering night, The mob moves like demons possessed. Quiet in conscience, calm in their right Confident their ways are best. The righteous rise With burning eyes Of hatred and ill-will. Madmen fed on fear and lies To beat […]

[

Lords of the Flies in Oakland

October 20th, 2011 by Jim May · Comments Off on Lords of the Flies in Oakland · Uncategorized

Ideological causality usually operates over the span of years, in a man and in a society. Usually.   Sometimes, however it can cover ground damn fast. From the source: One Oakland police supervisor said that the participants first appeared to him as “freethinking activists” but have since devolved into something more sinister. He said it […]

[

From Dust to Dust

October 18th, 2011 by Jim May · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

When they turn the pages of history When these days have passed long ago Will they read of us with sadness For the seeds that we let grow? — from “A Farewell to Kings“, by Neil Peart of Rush.   In discussing conservatism’s peculiar emphasis on local and state-level power, often under the rubric of […]

[

The Ackbar Spectrum

October 18th, 2011 by Jim May · 70 Comments · Uncategorized

On the OActivists list, Rick Kiessig linked this post at his blog 12 Know More, where he proposes a way to “fit” the idea of individual rights into the prevailing “Left-Right model” of politics.  As readers of my posts will know, I do not believe this is possible, and would lead to the same sort […]

[

Where My Nose Begins

August 3rd, 2011 by Jim May · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

At Noodlefood, Diana Hsieh asks the following question: “Does the Right to Life Trump Property Rights?” Diana rejects the notion implicit[*] in that phrasing, that “trumps” implies a conflict between these two rights — a notion which Objectivism flatly rejects, for reasons explained by her and by Dr. Leonard Leikoff in quotes supplied by Diana.  […]

[

No Dog in That Fight

July 23rd, 2011 by Jim May · 30 Comments · Uncategorized

A very common meme amongst religionists is the charge that atheism is itself a sort of faith, that the statement “there is no God” is as much an act of faith as the declaration that there is a God.  I haven’t fisked it, largely because it’s pretty much self-fisking.  In addition to its easy vulnerability […]

[

Ayn Rand Speaks to Bono

June 25th, 2011 by Jim May · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

“Even though altruism declares that “it is more blessed to give than to receive,” it does not work that way in practice. The givers are never blessed; the more they give, the more is demanded of them; complaints, reproaches and insults are the only response they get for practicing altruism’s virtues (or for their actual […]

[

The Murder of the American Experiment

June 18th, 2011 by Jim May · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

“One of the methods used by statists to destroy capitalism consists in establishing controls that tie a given industry hand and foot, making it unable to solve its problems, then declaring that freedom has failed and stronger controls are necessary.” — Ayn Rand At Pajamas Media, there is an appalling post declaring that “the American […]

[

A Portrait, in Links, of Philosophical Panic

June 8th, 2011 by Jim May · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

A Portrait, in Links, of Philosophical Panic (Built from Randex links, OActivists posts and a Google search, with apologies to Tennyson.)

[

Fighting the Fire, while Feeding the Flames

May 30th, 2011 by Jim May · 19 Comments · Uncategorized

Today is different And tomorrow the same It’s hard to take the world The way that it came Too many rapids Keep us sweeping along Too many captains Keep on steering us wrong It’s hard to take the heat — It’s hard to lay blame To fight the fire — While we’re Feeding the flames […]

[

It’s a Trap! The Conservative Triangle

May 29th, 2011 by Jim May · 7 Comments · Uncategorized

  In my previous writings on the topic of ideological causality, I have emphasized the “end of road” of an idea and/or of ideologies, as determined not by one’s intentions, but by the logic and flow of these ideas.  Even a completely passive-minded individual does not sit still; he will still drift slowly, “downhill”, towards […]

[

“Why Won’t they Fight Me?”

March 24th, 2011 by Jim May · 18 Comments · Uncategorized

At Cato Unbound, C. Bradley Thompson is in the middle of an unfair fight.  He is defending the thesis of his book, “Neoconservatism: An Obituary” against multiple opponents, in a series of essays — and encountering no actual intellectual opposition (if “actuality” here is measured by reference to “dealing with ideas”) from the defender of […]

[