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    • Michael Stuart Kelly

      Major Update to OL (please click to open)   02/09/2016

      Sorry for the inconvenience, but we had to update OL and there have been some serious changes made by IPB. The real bad news is that they had to merge User Names and Display Names. This meant that I had to choose between bad and bad. I opted to keep the log-on information the same, so you can get on OL like you always did, but now your User Name is displayed. If your User Name and Display Name were the same, you will not feel the change. If they were different, you are probably irritated right now. I will figure out how you can change this so you can revert to the Display Name you used before if you like, however this may entail a change in how you log-on. The good news is that OL is now searchable from the very beginning. This means all the old posts from the A-Team in Objectivism (and everybody else) will finally show up when you search for something. I will keep changing this announcement as we adapt to these new changes. It's a pain, I know, but after looking around the backend for a bit, I believe the benefits will far, far outweigh the current irritation. They changed things in a hamhanded way and I don't like that, but I can't do anything about it. Benefit-wise, they actually did a good job, so please bear with us. In addition to this change, many good things are coming over time. You are the reason OL exists and I am sorry you have to go through this. Think of it like birth pangs... (All right, all right, that's forcing it.  ) Michael
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Ed Hudgins

Happy Birthday Thomas Jefferson and Christopher Hitchens!

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Happy Birthday Thomas Jefferson and Christopher Hitchens!
By Edward Hudgins

April 13, 2012 -- What an interesting coincidence! The author of America’s Declaration of Independence and Christopher Hitchens, the late journalist, intellectual, and author of a book on Jefferson, share an April 13th birthday!

In this election year, all candidates and voters should recall Jefferson’s words, that we are endowed “with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness—That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed.” To what extend do any candidates today hold to the founders' philosophy?

Jefferson, a deist, also was the author of the Statute of Virginia for religious freedom. He believed that government should not be involved in religion and religion should not be involved in government.

Yet in this year’s election the watchword of Rick Santorum’s campaign was “faith.” He not only pontificated about his religious views on birth control and other matters; he has been explicit in rejecting Jefferson’s ideal of “freedom to be left alone” and to pursue individual happiness in favor of “the freedom to attend to one’s duties—duties to God, to family, and to neighbors.”

Newt Gingrichhas also pandered to religious voters. He’s whipped them up over alleged attempts to “drive religion from the public square.” Never mind that individuals are still free to worship as they please, go to church, temple, or mosque, produce religious books, broadcast programs, websites, or whatever.

Mormon Mitt Romney has run into the problem of many evangelicals seeing him as not a real Christian and thus opposing him for that reason rather than over policy views over which they might disagree.

This brings us back to Hitch. He was a leftist who changed politically when many of his fellow travelers reacted to the Islamist terrorist attacks not by standing up for the principles of open, secular societies but, rather, condemning those societies has imperialistic, repressive, and the like. Hitch thus found himself on the same side as many conservatives, including religious folks, opposing the Islamist threat.

But Hitch traced the concept of a “wall of separation” between church and state to Jefferson. So on their shared birthday, let’s remember that, echoing conservative icon Ronald Reagan’s rhetoric on another matter, Hitch declared, “Mr. Jefferson, build up this wall!”

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