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Ed Hudgins

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  • Full Name Edward Hudgins
  • Description Director of Advocacy and Senior Scholar, The Atlas Society
  • Articles New Cult of Darkness Every Day a New Year Milton Friedman: 1912-2006 Republican Election Fiasco The Pope vs. Islam: Who Stands for Reason? Happy Labor Day - We're All Workers! Gustav Mahler’s Second and Eighth Symphonies Starbucks' Fat Cup of Trouble "Atlas" Movie One Step Closer! THE INSIDE SCOOP Why We Give Gifts Policing Phone Calls and Perverting Principles Birthday Blips: Are Americans Really Free & Equal? A Cool Capitalist Atlas Forced into Early Retirement The Public Side of Private Love

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  1. Heart, yes! But I loved The Martian, as you know from my review. My favorite line was when, after outline all the impossible challenges, he said “I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this!”
  2. Michael – Thanks for your thoughts! Debate candidates indeed are in a rhetorical event and attempting to persuade audience members, some members who are honestly seeking to discover who best fits their beliefs, others who already have their minds made up and simply want to have their beliefs reaffirmed and cheer for their guy. I suggest that if candidates held beliefs similar to ours, they could use their rhetorical skills along the lines I suggest in my Republican Party Civil War book to seize the moral high ground. They could interlace with the answers these and similar points: 1) It’s your life! You should make of it what you want. You don’t need to justify yourself to government, society, your neighbors or anyone. That’s what it means to have a right to “life.” 2) We owe each other respect, not goods and services. 3) We’re responsible adults, so let’s refuse to be treated like helpless children. Aren’t you insulted by paternalist politicians who think you’re too stupid to run your own life, to wipe your nose or tie your shoes? 4) Take pride in your productive achievements. You’re a creator, whether you nurture a child to maturity or business to profitability; whether you write a song, poem, business plan or dissertation; whether you lay the brinks to a building, design it, or arrange for its financing. Treat government creeps who want to mess with your creations, the children of the best within you, the way you’d treat anyone who would mess with your real children. Tell ‘em if they lay a hand on your children you’ll tear their frigging heart out! 5) Don’t let yourself be guilt-tripped into sanctioning your would-be destroyers. Tell ‘em to go to hell! 6) Fight for a society based on a harmony of interests rather than surrender to one based on conflict and force. If candidates used this kind of moral rhetoric, they would dominate the debate, get their message across loud and clear, and leave their statist opponents stuttering, pathetic, incoherent messes!
  3. Trump-less GOP Debate Still Missing Moral Principles By Edward Hudgins January 29, 2015 -- The Iowa GOP primary debate wasn’t only missing Donald Trump—mercifully. It was also missing a discussion of the fundamental principles of government and the country’s—and Republican Party’s—real underlying moral crisis. The Donald’s absence from the stage of the January 28 matchup eliminated some of the distraction of his personal attacks on the other candidates, clearing space for more serious discussion. Sadly, the event was much like the ones that went before, part recitation of talking points and stump speech lines, part food fight. Jeb Bush for choice, Rand Paul vs. tyrannyThere were occasional bright spots. Jeb Bush was asked an odd question about a private veteran’s charity accused of wasting money and whether he, as president, would police such charities. Bush rightly highlighted the recent Veterans Administration scandals. He not only said he’d fire those responsible for the incompetence that had led to the deaths of veterans waiting for treatment. He also said he would “give veterans a choice card so that they don't have to travel hours and hours to get care if they want to go to their private provider.” Choice, what an idea! Rand Paul was asked about whether body cameras for police, especially in places like Ferguson where racial tensions are high, would protect both police and citizens. Paul not surprisingly agreed. But he added that “a third of the budget for the city of Ferguson was being reaped by civil fines. People were just being fined to death. . . . If you're living on the edge of poverty and you get a $100 fine or your car towed, a lot of times you lose your job.” Paul should be congratulated for highlighting the fact that tyranny can be found at all levels, and in many seemingly mundane government practices. Cruz vs. Rubio: immigration warThe fiercest Republican-on-Republican verbal violence came between Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio over immigration. With film clips of their past contradictory statements, the Fox News moderators provoked the fight. But it was instructive to hear the verbal gymnastics as the two GOP Latinos attempted to explain the intricacies of their evolving views on the issue, while they each claimed not to have evolved at all. Their mano-a-mano also helped explain, for better or worse, part of Trump’s appeal. There are nuances to the immigration issue. If you’re for a more open immigration policy—read Jeb Bush—you still understand the need to deal with millions of illegals who are already here. Both Cruz and Rubio made such tries in the past, but now fight with each other, trying to distance themselves from what should be viewed as past virtues in order to appear as hardcore border hawks. To some viewing this sorry spectacle, hearing Trump unapologetically—and foolishly—declare “deport ‘em all” might seem refreshingly clear. Chris Christie captured the sentiment of those trying to follow the intricacies of legislative maneuvering when he said, “I watched the video of Senator Cruz. I watched the video of Senator Rubio. I heard what they said. . . . I feel like I need a Washington-to-English dictionary.” Republicans without principlesModerator Chris Wallace introduced a segment of the debate promising questions on “the role of the federal government.” That should have been the most important discussion of the evening. It wasn’t. The questions concerned specific policies. What was missing was a discussion of the fundamental principles defining what government should and should not do... (Read further here.)
  4. The Martian -- Movie Review

    dldelanceyGlad you and your son liked the film! It really does communicate a moral message about attitudes toward life better than most philosophy essays you'll ever find!
  5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (movie review)

    Brant - Hope you enjoy the movie! I assume you've also seen the prequels. The links at the end of my review--which does not contain spoilers--are to my reviews of those earlier films. Cheers!
  6. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (movie review)

    Pretty confusing post there Brant, much more confusing than the politics of Star Wars. If you don't want to see the movie, don't. If you don't want to read my review--or any other--don't. If you don't want to post about why you don't want to see the movie or read the review, don't Or if you want to post about why you don't want to see or read or post, do. Whatever. Who cares?
  7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (movie review) by Edward Hudgins December 22, 2015 -- If you liked the original Star Wars trilogy, as I did, grab your popcorn! You’ll no doubt enjoy the sequel, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But be prepared to discover political confusion in the Star Wars universe. (No spoilers ahead.) Star Wars heroes and humor The Force Awakens recycles plot elements, scenarios, reveals, bar scenes, Death Stars, and surviving characters from the original trilogy created by George Lucas. Thus you’ll have a feeling of familiarity that might have you asking, why couldn’t director J.J. Abrams come up with something original? Fortunately, he includes most of the spirit and humor from the originals in the sequel, and it’s great to see Han Solo and Chewbacca in action again. The two new good guys, Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega), aren’t initially fighting for high ideals. They just want to survive. Rey is a poor scavenger on a desert planet who longs for her lost family. Finn is a storm trooper who, in his first battle, decides he doesn’t want to kill innocent women and children, so he defects. But these two rise to the occasion when faced with the conflicts of a wider world. Abrams’ characters here channel some of Lucas’s use of the insights of Joseph Campbell, who explained the archetypes of heroes in myth. Rey and Finn are doubly archetypical, reflecting the epic heroes of myth and the heroes of the original trilogy at the same time. Political confusion in a galaxy far, far away You don’t go to a Star Wars movie for political commentary, but politics has been central to the franchise. Unfortunately, Abrams offers confused politics and misses a chance to offer something really interesting and thought-provoking. Of course, in the prequels, Lucas wasn’t as exactly clear, either, as he traced the fall of the Galactic Republic and the rise of the repressive Galactic Empire. Secessionists wanted to break away from the Republic. But why? Their ranks included a Trade Federation, Banking Clan, Commerce Guild, and Corporate Alliance. Were they free marketeers trying to avoid Republic regulations—good guys!—or corrupt cronies—boo, hiss—who wanted to use political power to suppress competitors? What does stand out in the prequels is that the Republic falls due to the abdication of power by the Galactic Senate and concentration of power in the hands of a Chancellor—secretly an evil Sith Lord—in order to fight foreign wars or internal enemies, real or manufactured. Lucas makes parallels both to the fall of the Roman republic and the rise of Hitler in Germany. Wasn’t the republic restored? The original trilogy had clear political lines just as it had clear good guys and bad guys. The Empire was evil, ruled over by the Emperor with the aid of Darth Vader. Han Solo was a smuggler, striking a blow for free trade! The Empire is overthrown by plucky rebels who favor a republic. In Abram’s sequel, it seems like the victory of the Rebellion over the Empire at the end of Return of the Jedi never happened. It is 30 years after Luke Skywalker, Leia, Han, and the gang presumably restored the Republic. In the film’s opening crawl we’re told “Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, the sinister FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed. With the support of the REPUBLIC, General Leia Organa leads a brave RESISTANCE.” We then see First Order storm troopers, led by a Darth Vader wannabe named Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), attacking the Resistance. We later learn that the First Order wants to destroy the Republic because it supports the Resistance. What’s the relationship between the Republic and the Resistance? What’s the First Order’s real beef with the Republic? Who knows? Two archetypes of revolution Overthrowing tyrants can provide good plot fare for movies, but in the real world what comes after the revolution is even more interesting. Here we have two archetypes... (Continue reading here.)
  8. Will Banning Genetic Engineering Kill You?

    Yes, consciousness raising means promoting them to take pride in their achievements and never let themselves be guilt-tripped!
  9. Will Banning Genetic Engineering Kill You?

    I argue that we need a Human Achievement Alliance to explicitly raise achiever consciousness, celebrate achievement, promote value creation, and change policy. Achievement is undermined in the culture, in many of our institutions, and by government. We need to go on the offensive!
  10. Will Banning Genetic Engineering Kill You? By Edward Hudgins December 3, 2015 -- One headline reads “British baby given genetically-edited immune cells to beat cancer in world first.” Another headline reads “Top biologists debate ban on gene-editing.” It’s a literal life and death debate. And if you care to live, pay attention to this philosophical clash!
 Exponential growth in genetic engineeringGenetic engineering is on an exponential growth path. In 2001 the cost of sequencing a human-sized genome was about $100 million. By 2007 the cost was down to $10 million. Now it’s just over $1,000. Scientists and even do-it-yourself biohackers can now cheaply access DNA information that could allow them to discover cures for diseases and much more. Recently, for example, baby Layla Richards [at right] was diagnosed with leukemia. But when none of the usual treatments worked, doctors created designer immune cells, injected them into the little girl and the treatment worked. She was cured. Designer babies?But there have been concerns about such engineering for decades; indeed, precautionary guidelines were drawn up by a group of biologists at the 1975 Asilomar conference in California. And now, at a joint conference in Washington, D.C. of the National Academies of Medicine and Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, a cutting-edge genetic engineering tool known as CRISPR-Cas9 came under attack because it can be used to edit the genomes of sperm, eggs, and embryos. National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins argued that the children that would result from such editing “can’t give consent to having their genomes altered” and that “the individuals whose lives are potentially affected by germline manipulation could extend many generations into the future.” Hille Haker, a Catholic theologian from Loyola University Chicago, agreed and proposed a two year ban on all research into such manipulation of genomes. Others argued that such manipulation could lead to “designer babies,” that is, parents using this technology to improve or enhance the intelligence and strength of their children. These arguments are bizarre to say the least. Damning to miseryTo begin with, there is virtual universal agreement among religious and secular folk alike that from birth and until a stage of maturity at which they can potentially guide their lives by their own reason, the consent of children is not needed when their parents make many potentially life-altering decisions for them. Why should this reasonable rule be different for decisions made by parents before a child is born? And consider that the principal decisions with gene-editing technology would be to eliminate the possibility of the child later in life having Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases, cancers, and a host of other ailments that plague humanity. Is it even conceivable that any rational individual would not thank their parents for ensuring their health and longevity? Isn’t this what all parents wish for their children? Why would anyone deny parents the tools to ensure healthy children? How much continued misery and death are those who would delay genetic research or ban this new technology inflicting on parents and children alike?..... (Continue reading) --- Explore: *Edward Hudgins, “How anti-individualist fallacies prevent us from curing death.” April 22, 2015. *Edward Hudgins, “Google, Entrepreneurs, and Living 500 Years.” March 12, 2015. *Edward Hudgins, “Global Warming and Reckless Precaution.” September 20, 2013 *Edward Hudgins, “FDA Stopping the Genetics Revolution.” December 11, 2013. *Sam Kazman, “Better Never?” April 22, 2010. *William R Thomas, “Transhumanism: How Does It Relate to Objectivism?” June 29, 2010.
  11. "My All American" (movie review) By Edward Hudgins November 25, 2015 -- Sports is an arena in which individuals can excel in physical prowess and skill as well as in moral character. Both are on inspirational display in a new film, My All American, based on the true story of University of Texas Longhorns football Coach Darrell Royal (Aaron Eckhart) and star safety Freddie Steinmark (Finn Wittrock). Making the teamFreddie is a Colorado boy in the 1960s who loves sports. His father (Michael Reilly Burke), a Denver cop, could have been a great athlete if not for an earlier injury. Dad pushes Freddie hard in practice, but this is not some “father and son in conflict” story. Freddie wants to excel! He does so on his high school football team, but because of his short stature, he can’t find a college that will offer him, from a cash-strapped family, a football scholarship. But his high school coach calls him to the attention of Coach Royal who is determined to turn his Longhorns from mediocrities into champions. Freddie is flown to Austin with teammate Bobby Mitchell, who really is the big guy with the seemingly better chance of making the team. But Royal has seen films of Freddie playing. He thinks that this tough and determined young man is just what his team needs. He offers both Freddie and Bobby scholarships. When Freddie returns to Colorado and tells his father the news, we see the love and pride of a parent on full display. Making of championsTraining in Texas is grueling. Coach Royal explains that “Football doesn’t build character. It eliminates the weak.” The film follows Freddie, a rising defensive star, and his teammates as they attempt to win their way to a national championship. It also follows Coach Royal’s attempt to use a new offensive strategy, the triple option, as a path to victories. For non-football fans, think of the game as a very physical version of chess. Strategy and judgment count. Are his players smart enough as well as strong enough to pull it off?... (Continue reading here.)
  12. On Viewing 2001: The First Transhumanist Film By Edward Hudgins November 19, 2015 -- I recently saw 2001: A Space Odyssey again on the big screen. That’s the best way to see this visually stunning cinematic poem, like I saw it during its premiere run in 1968. The film’s star, Keir Dullea, attended that recent screening and afterward offered thoughts on director Stanley Kubrick’s awe-inspiring opus. He and many others have discussed the visions offered in the film. Some have come to pass: video phone calls and iPad tablets, for example. Others, sadly, haven’t: regularly scheduled commercial flights to orbiting space stations and Moon bases. But what should engage our attention is that the film’s enigmatic central theme of transformation is itself transforming from science fiction to science fact. From apes to man The film’s story came from a collaboration between Kubrick and sci-fi great Arthur C. Clarke. If you’re familiar with Clarke’s pre-2001 novel Childhood’s End and his short story “The Sentinel” you’ll recognize themes in the film. In the film we see a pre-human species on the brink of starvation, struggling to survive. An alien monolith appears and implants in the brain of one of the more curious man-apes, Moonwatcher, an idea. He picks up a bone and bashes in the skull of one of a herd of pigs roaming the landscape. Now he and his tribe will have all the food they need. We know from Clarke’s novel, written in conjunction with the film script, that the aliens actually alter Moonwatcher’s brain, giving it the capacity for imagination and implanting a vision of him and his tribe filled with food. He sees that there is an alternative to starvation and acts accordingly. The aliens had juiced evolution. Kubrick gives us the famous scene where Moonwatcher throws the bone in the air. As it falls the scene cuts ahead to vehicle drifting through space. Natural evolution over four million years has now transformed ape-men into modern technological humans. From stars to starchild In the film, astronauts discover a monolith buried on the Moon, which sends a signal toward Jupiter. A spaceship is sent to investigate, and astronaut Dave Bowman, played by Dullea, discovers a giant monolith in orbit. He enters it and passes through an incredible hyperspacial stargate. At the end of his journey, Bowman is transformed by the unseen aliens’ monolith into a new, higher life form, an embryo-appearing starchild with, we presume, knowledge and powers beyond anything dreamt of by humans. He is transhuman! Kubrick and Clarke are making obvious references to Nietzsche’s ... (Continue reading here.)
  13. Global Jihad or Islamic Enlightenment?

    Today's massacres in Paris harken back to the January Jihadist attacks and remind us that the war of the savage versus the civilized is ongoing.
  14. Brant - Blah blah was just to keep from repeating all you said. So it sounds like we might be in agreement! Ed (Cheerful, on the upper side of age, but young at heart man!)
  15. Brant - War, bad world, blah, blah, blah. Okay, but I'm not sure where you contradict my points. In any case, I like Rand Paul but don't think he'll win. The GOP will probably get a Rubio or Cruz, maybe Fiorina as VP. Trump would be bad in any case. If he doesn't win in the general election, we have Pres. Hillary. If he does win, his policies in many cases are wrong and the adverse consequences would be fast in coming. Looking for a path forward, I would hope a Republican president, other than Trump or Carson, would give priority to domestic issues where their policies are far better than the status quo. What would really constitute fundamental change in the long run is if a president made crippling the current crony system, which is supported by Republicans and Democrats, a priority. Fiorina was harping on this idea before she jumped into the race, so maybe she as VP could head up that effort. (Of historic interest: Under the generally awful Bush Sr., the Council on Competitiveness under VP Quayle actually did important work on deregulation and market liberalization. Too bad Sr. didn't make that a priority rather than raising taxes and slapping on new environmental regulations.) And, of course, a GOP president would do well to offer the optimistic vision of the world as it can be and should be that will to attract and inspire folks, especially young people, and counter the pessimism of the culture, paternalism of the Democrats, and generally old man grumpiness, "Get off my lawn you kids" kvetching of some libertarians and conservatives, some found--shockingly!--even on this very website!