Ed Hudgins

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

0 Neutral

About Ed Hudgins

  • Rank

Previous Fields

  • 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

Contact Methods

  • Website URL
  • ICQ

Profile Information

  • Gender
  1. Atlas Society Art Contest! The Atlas Society has launched an art contest offering prizes up to $5,000! In the current phase we welcome especially works in visual media including paintings, drawings, photos, and sculptures on the theme of “The Entrepreneur: Risk and Reward.” But we are pretty welcoming of any representation that you might have, including ones portraying “Atlas Shrugged” or “Fountainhead” themes! You can enter as many times as you like. Submit something today and more later as you produce them! For details, terms, and conditions, check out our Atlas Art Contest page.
  2. Good points. Too many people are habituated to say "There ought to be a law." Asking questions a different way does often get different results.
  3. I fear that the description“meddling with nature and crosses a line we should not cross” as "we'll get the state to keep you from crossing." Also, the report shows 42% have heard "not at all" about gene editing while 48% have heard only a little. And 61% have heard "not at all" about brain chips while 32% have heard a little. And 77% have heard "not at all" about synthetic blood while 19% have heard a little.
  4. Public Opposition to Biotech Endangers Your Life and Health By Edward Hudgins July 28, 2016 - Do you want to be smarter, healthier, and live longer? Remarkably, a new Pew survey found that most Americans answer “No!” if it requires using certain new technologies. This is a wakeup call for scientists, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, transhumanists, and all of us who value our lives: we must fight for our lives on the battlefield of values. Worries about human enhancement We all understand how information technology has transformed our world with PCs, smartphones, the Internet, and Google. Nanotech, robotics, artificial intelligence, and, especially, genetic engineering are poised to unleash the next wave of wealth creation and improvements of the human condition. But a new Pew survey entitled U.S. Public Wary of Biomedical Technologies to “Enhance” Human Abilities found that “Majorities of U.S. adults say they would be ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ worried about gene editing (68%), brain chips (69%) and synthetic blood (63%),” technologies that in years to come could make us healthier, smarter, and stronger. While some say they “would be both enthusiastic and worried … overall, concern outpaces excitement.” Further, “More say they would not want enhancements of their brains and their blood (66% and 63%, respectively) than say they would want them (32% and 35%).” Simply a reflection of individuals making decisions about their own lives, as is their right? Not quite. Their concerns about technology are already causing cultural and political pushback from left and right that could derail the advances sought by those of us who want better lives. The Pew data reveals two ideological sources of opposition to new technologies. Religion and meddling with nature The survey found that 64% of Americans with a high religious commitment say “gene editing giving babies a much reduced disease risk” is “meddling with nature and crosses a line we should not cross.” Are you stunned that anyone could prefer to expose their own babies to debilitating or killer diseases when a prevention is possible? And 65% with such a commitment have a similar opinion of “brain chip implants for much improved cognitive abilities.” Better to remain ignorant when a way to more knowledge is possible? Obsession with inequality of abilities When asked if “gene editing giving babies a much reduced disease risk” is an appropriate use of technology, 54% answered “Yes” if it results in people “always equally healthy as the average person.” But only 42% approved if it results in people “far healthier than any human known to date.” Similarly, 47% approved of synthetic blood if it results in physical improvements in individuals “equal to their own peak ability,” while only 28% approved if it results in improvements “far above that of any human known to date.” Here we see the ugly side of egalitarianism. Better for everyone to be less healthy than for some to be healthier than others. A disappearing digital divide We saw this inequality concern in the 1990s when desktop PCs and the Internet were taking off. Some projected a “digital divide.”... (Continue reading here.)
  5. What Would Ayn Rand Think About Americanism Today? By Edward Hudgins June 30, 2016 -- Seventy years ago Ayn Rand, thankful for finding refuge in the United States from the totalitarian Soviet Union, wrote a short essay series entitled “Textbook of Americanism.” As we mark the 240th anniversary of this country’s birth, we can ask, “What would Ayn Rand think about Americanism today?” and “What lessons can her work offer us?” 1940s Hollywood in love with communism “Textbook” first appeared in 1946 in The Vigil, which was published by the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. At the time, Rand was becoming well-known for her novel The Fountainhead. But Hollywood was becoming well-known for its Communist sympathies. Rand’s novel from 1937, We the Living, was set against the backdrop of the horrors of communism. It was not well received in Hollywood where she returned to work in the mid-1940s. So she saw a need to define exactly the principles on which America was founded and that made it a great country. Individualism vs. collectivism Her “Textbook” essays focused mainly on politics, so to the question of what she would think of the political situation in America today, a thesaurus would be necessary to extend the equivalents of “disgust” and “horror.” But her “Textbook” also helps us understand the sad nature of our political situation and points to a positive road ahead. The “Textbook” is organized around a dozen questions. To the first, “What Is the Basic Issue in the World Today?” Rand answers that it is “between two principles: Individualism and Collective.” It was then and it remains so now. Individualism, she tells us, holds that “each man exists by his own right and for his own sake... (Continue reading here.)
  6. How Hungarian Milk Explains Brexit By Edward Hudgins June 24, 2016 -- A conversation I had a dozen years ago in Hungary about that country’s milk helps explain why the British voted to leave the European Union. As part of the Hungarians’ efforts to transform their economy after communism, they planned to join the EU, which they saw as a more free-market-oriented alternative to the collapsed Soviet bloc. But some policy folks I met with told me that one of their challenges concerned locally produced milk. It did not meet EU standards, so their dairies would have to go through a not-insignificant transformation. Furthermore, Hungarians liked their milk the way it was. Were there health issues? Were people dropping in the streets of Budapest from lactose-related illnesses? No! It was just that the EU wanted uniform standards for products across countries. Why not just label it “Magyar Milk”? I asked. Why not let consumers in Hungary, France, Italy, and elsewhere choose whether or not to buy “Magyar Milk”? Because Brussels said “No!” EU free trade vs. ruling EU elites The economic attraction of the earlier, postwar European Common Market was that it was creating a single market for goods and services. It eliminated tariffs and other barriers to commerce. But the Hungarians were finding out that they were trading unelected masters in faraway Moscow for unelected regulators in faraway Brussels. And the British people, fed up with decades of such regulators, have now said, “Enough!” Most Brits backing Brexit no doubt understand that the EU is not a free trade zone... (Continue reason here.)
  7. Thanks for the warning! I'm looking forward to it!
  8. Are Pre-School Grad Celebrations Going Too Far? By Edward Hudgins A mere five years after holding my newborn fraternal twin girls in my arms, I’ve just watched them graduate pre-school. When I was young, we marked the transition out of high school, college, and that was it. Has our culture—and I—gone too far with celebrations? Motivations for celebrations When I was a kid, celebrations of birthdays and other personal milestones were modest. Family, a few friends, a few gifts, fun. But now I see parents of kids who haven’t reached kindergarten renting out kiddie-playland gyms and inviting dozens of children and families for big parties. I see elaborate Bar Mitzvah bashes and sweet-sixteen shindigs. Celebrations for graduations at almost every academic level are added to the calendar. I hear complaints that parents are going overboard, being too commercial or materialistic. Are such celebrations good or bad? It depends. If the goal of parents is to show off to other parents, the answer is “Bad!” Or if parents somehow equate monetary expenditures with loving their children, again, their values are mixed up to say the least. If, on the other hand, the parents just want to see their children delighted, well, I cannot think of a more delightful thing than that! In the case of my girlies’ pre-school graduation, my motivation was more multifaceted. I wanted to celebrate their achievement and to instill in them the value of achieving. Child-rearing: raising human beings In Atlas Shrugged the heroine Dagny Taggart encounters a young woman and her husband who have retreated from the world with their two young sons. The boys “had the open, joyous, friendly confidence of kittens” and a “non-boastful sense of their own value.” They had “the eager curiosity that would venture anywhere.” The woman explains that she seeks “to bring up my sons as human beings. I would not surrender them to the educational systems devised to stunt a child’s brain, to convince him that reason is impotent, that existence is an irrational chaos with which he’s unable to deal, and thus reduce him to a state of chronic fear.” My wife Talia and I put our daughters in a small co-op school. That meant we and the other parents were not only investing our money but also our time and effort into our kids’ education. Parents would help in classrooms and assist with fundraising and other school activities. My wife especially came to know the other parents as well as the children who had become our daughters’ friends. And we parents, from America, India, Japan, Korea, Jordan, Colombia, and all over the world, were united in the goal of seeing that our children learn. Education for the love of learning Over the past two years, we have watched our daughters’ love for learning... (Continue reading here.)
  9. Why Don’t Voters Care About Candidates’ Sins? By Edward Hudgins June 9, 2016 -- A recent poll found that 71% of Democrats think Hillary Clinton should still run for president even if she’s indicted. And Donald Trump hurls crude playground insults, which we discourage in our eight year olds, at the appearance or ethnicity of opponents, yet his supporters never flag in their enthusiasm. Why do these voters seem unconcerned about the serious moral failings of these seriously statist candidates? And what can be done in the future to stop the moral and political decline of the country? The worst possible candidates This year the major political parties nominated the most corrupt and thuggish candidates we can imagine. Hillary’s unfavorable rating is 37%. She epitomizes the term “sleazy politician.” Her foundation raked in huge donations from foreign governments when she was secretary of state. She raked in millions in speaking fees from corporate donors and kept those speeches secret as she assured voters she would not bow to corporate influence. Her excuses about hiding her emails fooled no one, and her lies surrounding the Benghazi deaths were a disgrace. Yes, Bernie Sanders supporters were put off, but the majority of Democratic voters and political insider Super-delegates were just fine with her. Trump’s unfavorable rating is 53%. Throughout the primaries, commentators kept predicting that his latest slur about the face or menstrual cycle of female opponents or his smearing of entire ethnic groups would drive disgusted voters to anyone but him. But his support grew. Know your audience In the case of Trump, we failed to understand just how disgusted voters are with all politicians. Uber-Christian Ted Cruz, an iconoclast himself, thought that evangelicals would flock to him rather than to the thrice married Trump who has bragged about his affairs and who defends Planned Parenthood. Cruz was wrong. Free-market oriented candidates thought Republican voters would disavow Trump for his anti-free trade policies and his promises to vigorously use government power rather than limit it. They were wrong. These failures certainly demonstrate the importance of “Know your audience.” Do you want to persuade someone of something, like why they should vote for you or your candidate? You need to tune in to their priorities, values, assumptions and expectations. Not yours. Theirs. Trump tuned-in to their anger. None of the other candidates effectively tuned-in to their positive hopes... (Continue reading here.)
  10. As you know, I've been hammering on the exponential tech theme for a while! That's why I mention the appeal to transhumanists in my piece. And that's why the moral revolution to promote the value of human achievement in our culture is so urgent.
  11. I think the House can only vote for candidates that have carried at least one state. If that's the case, Johnson would have o bag New Mexico to be in the running. But I need to check details.
  12. On Viewing Forbidden Planet on Its 60th Anniversary By Edward Hudgins June 2, 2016 -- Science fiction reflects our hopes and fears for the future and, at its best, it offers an elixir of inspiration. On viewing the 1956 film Forbidden Planet on its 60th anniversary, you can see in its intelligent story, special effects, design, sounds, and message why this classic that has stood the test of time. Monsters and dystopias of ‘50s science fiction Science fiction films in the 1950s often offered giant bugs, mutant monsters, and cheesy effects. Some featured visits to Earth by space aliens that were malicious (War of the Worlds), indifferent (It Came from Outer Space), or serious in their warnings that the Earth must abandon its warlike ways or be destroyed (The Day the Earth Stood Still). Unlike those films or the many dystopian sagas that followed, Forbidden Planet is set in a peaceful 23nd century, during which “mankind began the conquest and colonization of deep space.” Forbidden Planet: Tempest on another world The story is roughly modeled on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which centers on a ship that is wrecked on an isolated island inhabited by the wizard Prospero and his beautiful daughter Miranda. Forbidden Planet opens on spaceship, United Planets Cruiser C-57D commanded by Captain J.J. Adams (Leslie Nielsen). It has been on a year-long voyage to discover the fate of settlers who had traveled two decades before to the isolated planet Altair 4. They have not been heard from since. The ship lands. Adams and his officers meet Dr. Edward Morbius (Walter Pidgeon as a sci-fi Prospero) in his house that seems designed by an interstellar Frank Lloyd Wright. (I wanted that house!) Morbius explains that all the other settlers save his wife were killed within a year of their arrival by some invisible planetary force (Caliban?) that tore them limb from limb. Mrs. Morbius died of natural causes but not before giving birth to Altaira (Anne Francis as a mini-shirted Miranda), now a beautiful young woman. Adams must jerry-rig a system to communicate with far-off Earth for orders concerning this unexpected situation. But soon he finds equipment sabotaged. Has the planetary force returned? “Prepare your minds” Morbius then reveals the mystery he has tried to solve for 20 years. The planet was inhabited by the Krell, a race that was a million years ahead of humans. But on the eve of some crowning technological achievement, one the Krell hoped would free them “from any dependence on physical instrumentality,” ... (Continue reading here.)
  13. Can the Libertarian Party Actually Make a Difference? By Edward Hudgins May 31, 2016 -- The Democratic and Republican Parties are in disarray and poised to nominate their most unpopular presidential candidates in decades. The Libertarian Party could become a true political force, but only if it transforms itself from a debating society seeking protest votes to a party that builds coalitions seeking to actually elect candidates. The Republican Party is dead The context, of course, is the collapse of the GOP. It has always been an uneasy coalition of factions. Still, it had been a vehicle, albeit an imperfect one, for limited government policies. Establishment Republicans merely wanted to tweak the welfare state. Extreme social conservatives often gave priority to limiting liberty, for example, banning same-sex marriages. And libertarians and constitutionalists have actually wanted to roll back the welfare state and limit federal power. The civil war within the GOP left it impotent to stop President Obama’s government-growth agenda. Add to that his attacks on America’s achievement culture and you can see how, in disgust, voters turned to Donald Trump. Even though Trump is hardly a social conservative or limited-government advocate, and thus not really a Republican Reagan that would recognize, he is a self-styled strong man who promises to “Make America great again.” Whether or not Trump wins in November, the GOP of the past is gone. Enter the Libertarian Party. Failures and opportunities for Libertarians Libertarian ideas have gained political currency in recent decades. But since its founding in 1971, the LP has not been able to boast much success. Its members too often have spent their time arguing over who represents the “true” libertarian position. And they’ve never built local party organizations like Democrats and Republicans have done. While some of its presidential candidates, notably the late Harry Browne, have been articulate spokesmen for liberty, still, in four and a half decades only a dozen local candidates have succeeded at the polls under the party’s banner. This year the LP nominated as its presidential candidate its 2012 standard-bearer, former New Mexico GOP governor Gary Johnson. Former Massachusetts GOP governor Bill Weld received the LP VP nod.... (Continue reading here.)
  14. Memorial Day: Honoring Warriors and Stopping Wars By Edward Hudgins May 27, 2016 -- On Memorial Day, Americans honor those who died in their country’s wars. But the key to stopping deaths in wars—and the wars that regimes wage on their own citizens—is victory in the war of ideas. The casualties of war The number of brave American soldiers who have died in war throughout the country’s history is sobering and appalling. The Civil War was the worst, with 630,000 dead. World War II saw over 400,000 Americans killed, followed by 116,000 in World War I, 58,000 in Vietnam, and 36,000 in Korea. For America, the price of freedom seems to be at least one and a quarter million lives and counting. And freedom always seems to be under threat. Regimes today, as in the past, imprison, torture, and execute people for personal or religious beliefs, usually for just wanting to live their lives as they wish. The dead from dictatorial regimes surpass even the deaths in wars. The Chinese Communists caused the deaths of 60 million of their subjects. Soviet Communists killed at least 20 million. In addition to the 6 million Jews Hitler murdered, the Nazi regime systematically liquidated at least 4 million others such as gays and gypsies. Memorial Day: The individuals behind the numbers Memorial Day in America is important because it goes beyond such numbers, reminding us that each of these deaths is of an individual. Some took up arms at Lexington and Concord. Some stormed the beaches of Normandy. Some fought al Qaida in Afghanistan. A billion tears of family and friends have been shed over these honored dead. And the best way to honor them is to fight the real battle... (Continue reading here.)
  15. How to Celebrate “Be a Millionaire Day.” By Edward Hudgins May 20, 2016 -- I don’t know who determined that May 20 should be “Be a Millionaire Day,” though it is a good idea. I do know that most people’s ideologies wreck their chances to earn big bucks. Be a millionaire: the how-to part The way to become a millionaire many times over—a million really isn’t that much these days—is to invent some breakthrough tech or app, or to start and grow a business that has the customers lining up for what you have to offer. A more mundane way that should be on most people’s lists is to save and invest. You all know Moore’s Law, that semi-conductor capacity doubles every two years? So increases aren’t 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 but, rather, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128. Compound interest from investments sort of works that way, too. Not quite that fast, but if you put several thousand dollars, tax free, into an IRA or 401K when you’re young, and you keep at it, you’ll probably be set for a financially comfortable future. If you’re young, do it now. I’m serious. Do it now. Presidential roadblocks to prosperity That said, here’s what can land you and pretty much everyone else in the poor house: the anti-success, pro-envy ideologies that are dominating our culture and that result in wealth-destroying public policies. Let’s say Hillary Clinton becomes president. And let’s say she and her similar successors continue with crony handouts and welfare state entitlements. More and more, who gets what will be determined by political power. Government debt will pile up. With interest it will grow: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128. Today, the government debt is around $16 trillion. Perhaps the Federal Reserve will need to inflate the money supply, another way of saying that your dollars will be diluted and $1 million today might only be worth a few thousands when you retire. Or let’s say Donald Trump becomes ... (Continue reading here.)