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Found 5 results

  1. Brant, some areas of biology are more complicated than flip one-liners ... I think you do well understand that there is variation in genitals. I have explained this before at length here. Please review the 'spectrum' of real-world and recurring cases of babies born with indeterminate external genitalia. It is relevant and not all that complicated in principle: the X and the Y have jobs to do as chromosomes. In a normally developing fetus, their job is done to the norm. It is the not norm I think we are concerned with. You cannot norm an XXY 'girl' pre-puberty. The chromosomal 'sex' type does not always predict the Dick. You should know this, Brant; it is relevant, and it makes your pithy saying unhelpful -- the saying is just an arbitrary assertion if it cannot be supported, and it can be contradicted by reality. That works for me and you. But the function of a restroom is not gender-division, it is to take away wastes and allow cosmetics to be applied while checking out the dog-face beside you. And washing hands after touching yourself down there. The function of a child's bathroom can be divved up by gender and it is the world over, but the bathroom has almost nothing to do with sex in the schools we are 'worried' about. Sex, meaning sexual behaviour, sexual activity, sex. Sex school. We run the risk of distorting reality if we aren't familiar with the ins and outs of actual 'intersex' or otherwise physically/mentally incongruent people, and if we gloss over disconfirming details. Brant, I might ask you to consider a Lesbian in a Ladies Room. Or a Gay Man in a Men's room. Or a couple copulating in an airline restroom. Or a sex crime committed in a locker room or ancilliary single-gender environs. The harms are where? The harms are in the crime. The crimes are in the cover-ups, and abuse of human beings as sexual ends. Thus Jerry Sandusky and the procession of disgusting Catholic abusers and coverups. Thus the concern about hidden abuse of children in the privacy of their homes, but their caregivers. Thus the horrors of badly-run foster and 'care' systems. Thus sexual abuse of minors ... sexual abuse of children, sexual abuse of adolescents and pre-pubescents. That rings dark and true. What doesn't sound as darkly is the harm in Jazz taking her shit with where she wants to? She isn't some hairy Peter Taylor in drag wanting to periscope up widdle gurls skirts or manhandle them. That is on the Hairy Peter. That is his imaginary crime. Brant, if you have ever been the target of Faggot Attack, or been intimate with someone gay or bi who has been beat up, or if you know some 'Trannnnnnnneeee' who has been beaten, beaten to death, contrast that with the Bathroom Crime bullshit being ushered into law in Trailer Park states. The law has penalties. I would like you to go read the text of the laws promulgated to Prevent GayScaryHairyTransRape ... and then give me a one-liner or two. If we are united in anything beyond our interest in reason, it is in our rejection of ignorance. I can always be less ignorant, I can be ready to take on more information. And so can you. When was the first time you Looked At Another Boy's Penis with lust in your loins, Brant? I mean, in a bathroom. When do you use a bathroom to stalk victims? Oh. Tell me that the law should be that Jazz must go squat in the Boy's Room. FFS.
  2. The libraries at the University of Texas at Austin shelve 83 volumes by Ayn Rand. Of them, 30 have been stolen. Of those, eight are marked in the catalog as “Missing.” In other words, they left the shelves without being checked out. The others were just not returned by the last borrowers who effectively got away with their crimes. I identify these facts as evidence of a deeper political problem, first posited 2500 years ago by Sophocles in his drama, Antigone. More recent, and known well to admirers of the works of Ayn Rand, are the trial scenes from The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Not so famous, but cutting more deeply into the fabric of law is Ayn Rand’s courtroom drama, Night of January 16th. The question is whether or not you have a duty to obey the law. It is important to understand, first, that Ayn Rand was opposed to duty. Obviously, for some admirers of the works of Ayn Rand, the prospect of a free copy of one of her books was stronger than any irrational duty to the public order. However, it is also true that Rand’s dictum above must be placed in its proper context because she was far more eloquent in her condemnation of “looters” and substantially incisive in her praise for their antithesis, the producers. Moreover, the moral and political aspects of her philosophy of Objectivism were primarily about the positive virtues of production, creation, and active reason, against which are revealed the negative, destructive, and empty actions of the irrational and non-productive. The primary concern is not whether the owner of the bookstore sends her children to a government-subsidized daycare center, but where you got the money with which you bought the book. If you did not buy the book at all, if there was no earned money exchanged, then the failure was yours long antecedent to the gross action of mere acquisition of the book. he essential question here is: “What justifies stealing from the public library?” It leads to a far wider set of questions and actions. I assert that if it is acceptable to steal Atlas Shrugged from the library, then it is acceptable to take a tree from a public park, or a computer from city hall, or the President’s limousine from the White House. And, ultimately, it would be acceptable to take anything from anyone who accepted any public benefit, whether a social security check, “land bank” payments for not growing crops, sending their children to public schools, or (of course) borrowing books from the public library (and returning them). Some libertarians claim that it is moral to steal from the library, or any other government entity, because their assets all come from taxation, and taxation is theft. When you steal a library book, you only take back what was yours in the first place. This also applies by extension to stealing back what was yours from any business that benefits from government subsidies, whether General Motors or Tesla, Inc., a local hospital, or the florist whom you spot coming from the library. Moving right along, for a philosophical Objectivist (or simply an “admirer” of the works of Ayn Rand) such justifications, extend to their irrational mystical altruist collectivist neighbors. Their theory is that anyone who goes to church or votes for Democrats is fair game, especially when the risks are very low. Your neighbors who are tax looters or welfare moochers stole from you first; you are just taking back what was yours. If you can get away with it, why not? Among the many accurate and precise tools of logic that Ayn Rand employed in her expositions was identifying the error of context dropping. In terms of the social consequences of personal morality, it is the error of moral equivalency. It also a powerful tool in Objectivism that moral success begins in metaphysics and epistemology. So the moral failing of the looter of the library begins with errors in metaphysics and epistemology. Ayn Rand called it “reifying the zero” i.e., attempting to make a “something” out of nothing. (See “Axiomatic Concepts” in Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology.) Stealing a copy of Atlas Shrugged from the library is not the moral equivalent of buying one from a bookstore. In Sophocles’ Antigone, the heroine was so outraged by the desecration of her brothers’ bodies, whatever their crimes against the city, that she disobeyed the commands of the tyrant Creon, in full acceptance of the consequences. In The Fountainhead, Howard Roark is prepared to go to prison if his appeal to the creative spirit fails. In Atlas Shrugged, Hank Rearden refuses to hand over his metal and tells the government that he cannot stop their trucks and guns if they come to take it. And he is willing to go to prison rather than to acquiesce in the theft of his property. In Night of January 16th Karen André has committed or conspired in so many crimes that the play does not even come close to a bill of indictment. She makes no appeal to a higher law or a greater good or a better morality. She does not explain herself at all: no outsider’s opinion is consequential to her. On the other hand, the hooligan who steals a copy of Atlas Shrugged from the public library makes no public statements, issues no manifesto, and stands not in defiance of authority but slinks away with loot. It might be informative for a bold privateer to wheel several shelving carts out the door while distributing leaflets condemning the philosophical and economic fallacies of “public goods.” (And when the campus police arrive, he should have a clever cloaking device unless he intends to go to jail for his beliefs.) But that is not the case. Instead, other people whose taxes have paid for goods and services are deprived of the benefit of their bargain by a third party. We call that theft. "Rand fans" are not the only people given to "crimes of conscience." The Roman republican martyr Cato the Younger (Marcus Porcius Cato,Uticensis) became a symbol for Christians and ultimately republicans of the Enlightenment. But, again, Cato the Younger took his own life rather than submit to Gaius Julius Caesar. It remains that the jihadi who kill themselves while they kill others in suicide attacks claim obedience to a higher law, also. The actions are not morally equivalent because the consequences are not morally equivalent. Do you have a duty to obey the law? In the explicit sense identified by Ayn Rand, that a duty is an obligation that supersedes self-interest, you do not. But that begs the question: What is self-interest? Rand devoted herself to answering that question. If you do not understand why productively earning the money with which to buy a book is in your self-interest while the easy pickings of the public library are not, you need to do some reading. It is a common error in our common education that we want even our “story problems” to be short, when in fact, the most important aspects of living well require more than a slogan to explain. (This article originally appeared on my blog, NecessaryFacts.)
  3. [http://wsscherk.hostingmyself.com/trumpAbortionTalk.htm] QUESTION: Hello. I am (inaudible) and have a question on, what is your stance on women's rights and their rights to choose in their own reproductive health? DRUMPF: OK, well look, I mean, as you know, I'm pro-life. Right, I think you know that, and I -- with exceptions, with the three exceptions. But pretty much, that's my stance. Is that OK? You understand? MATTHEWS: What should the law be on abortion? DRUMPF: Well, I have been pro-life. MATTHEWS: I know, what should the law -- I know your principle, that's a good value. But what should be the law? DRUMPF: Well, you know, they've set the law and frankly the judges -- I mean, you're going to have a very big election coming up for that reason, because you have judges where it's a real tipping point. MATTHEWS: I know. DRUMPF: And with the loss the Scalia, who was a very strong conservative... MATTHEWS: I understand. DRUMPF: ... this presidential election is going to be very important, because when you say, "what's the law, nobody knows what's the law going to be. It depends on who gets elected, because somebody is going to appoint conservative judges and somebody is going to appoint liberal judges, depending on who wins. MATTHEWS: I know. I never understood the pro-life position. DRUMPF: Well, a lot of people do understand. MATTHEWS: I never understood it. Because I understand the principle, it's human life as people see it. DRUMPF: Which it is. MATTHEWS: But what crime is it? DRUMPF: Well, it's human life. MATTHEWS: No, should the woman be punished for having an abortion? DRUMPF: Look... MATTHEWS: This is not something you can dodge. DRUMPF: It's a -- no, no... MATTHEWS: If you say abortion is a crime or abortion is murder, you have to deal with it under law. Should abortion be punished? DRUMPF: Well, people in certain parts of the Republican Party and Conservative Republicans would say, "yes, they should be punished." MATTHEWS: How about you? DRUMPF: I would say that it's a very serious problem. And it's a problem that we have to decide on. It's very hard. MATTHEWS: But you're for banning it? DRUMPF: I'm going to say -- well, wait. Are you going to say, put them in jail? Are you -- is that the (inaudible) you're talking about? MATTHEWS: Well, no, I'm asking you because you say you want to ban it. What does that mean? DRUMPF: I would -- I am against -- I am pro-life, yes. MATTHEWS: What is ban -- how do you ban abortion? How do you actually do it? DRUMPF: Well, you know, you will go back to a position like they had where people will perhaps go to illegal places. MATTHEWS: Yes? DRUMPF: But you have to ban it. MATTHEWS: You banning, they go to somebody who flunked out of medical school. DRUMPF: Are you Catholic? MATTHEWS: Yes, I think... DRUMPF: And how do you feel about the Catholic Church's position? MATTHEWS: Well, I accept the teaching authority of my Church on moral issues. DRUMPF: I know, but do you know their position on abortion? MATTHEWS: Yes, I do. DRUMPF: And do you concur with the position? MATTHEWS: I concur with their moral position but legally, I get to the question -- here's my problem with it... (LAUGHTER) DRUMPF: No, no, but let me ask you, but what do you say about your Church? MATTHEWS: It's not funny. DRUMPF: Yes, it's really not funny. What do you say about your church? They're very, very strong. MATTHEWS: They're allowed to -- but the churches make their moral judgments, but you running for president of the United States will be chief executive of the United States. Do you believe... DRUMPF: No, but... MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no as a principle? DRUMPF: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment. MATTHEWS: For the woman? DRUMPF: Yes, there has to be some form. MATTHEWS: Ten cents? Ten years? What? DRUMPF: Let me just tell you -- I don't know. That I don't know. That I don't know. MATTHEWS: Why not? DRUMPF: I don't know. MATTHEWS: You take positions on everything else. DRUMPF: Because I don't want to -- I frankly, I do take positions on everything else. It's a very complicated position. MATTHEWS: But you say, one, that you're pro-life meaning that you want to ban it. DRUMPF: But wait a minute, wait a minute. But the Catholic Church is pro-life. MATTHEWS: I'm not talking about my religion. DRUMPF: No, no, I am talking about your religion. Your religion -- I mean, you say that you're a very good Catholic. Your religion is your life. Let me ask you this... MATTHEWS: I didn't say very good. I said I'm Catholic. (LAUGHTER) And secondly, I'm asking -- you're running for President. DRUMPF: No, no... MATTHEWS: I'm not. DRUMPF: Chris -- Chris. MATTHEWS: I'm asking you, what should a woman face if she chooses to have an abortion? DRUMPF: I'm not going to do that. MATTHEWS: Why not? DRUMPF: I'm not going to play that game. MATTHEWS: Game? DRUMPF: You have... MATTHEWS: You said you're pro-life. DRUMPF: I am pro-life. MATTHEWS: That means banning abortion. DRUMPF: And so is the Catholic Church pro-life. MATTHEWS: But they don't control the -- this isn't Spain, the Church doesn't control the government. DRUMPF: What is the punishment under the Catholic Church? What is the... MATTHEWS: Let me give something from the New Testament, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." Don't ask me about my religion. DRUMPF: No, no... MATTHEWS: I'm asking you. You want to be president of the United States. DRUMPF: You told me that... MATTHEWS: You tell me what the law should be. DRUMPF: I have -- I have not determined... MATTHEWS: Just tell me what the law should be. You say you're pro-life. DRUMPF: I am pro-life. MATTHEWS: What does that mean? DRUMPF: With exceptions. I am pro-life. I have not determined what the punishment would be. MATTHEWS: Why not? DRUMPF: Because I haven't determined it. MATTHEWS: When you decide to be pro-life, you should have thought of it. Because... DRUMPF: No, you could ask anybody who is pro-life... MATTHEWS: OK, here's the problem -- here's my problem with this, if you don't have a punishment for abortion -- I don't believe in it, of course -- people are going to find a way to have an abortion. DRUMPF: You don't believe in what? MATTHEWS: I don't believe in punishing anybody for having an abortion. DRUMPF: OK, fine. OK, (inaudible). MATTHEWS: Of course not. I think it's a woman's choice. DRUMPF: So you're against the teachings of your Church? MATTHEWS: I have a view -- a moral view -- but I believe we live in a free country, and I don't want to live in a country so fascistic that it could stop a person from making that decision. DRUMPF: But then you are... MATTHEWS: That would be so invasive. DRUMPF: I know but I've heard you speaking... MATTHEWS: So determined of a society that I wouldn't able -- one we are familiar with. And Donald Drumpf, you wouldn't be familiar with. DRUMPF: But I've heard you speaking so highly about your religion and your Church. MATTHEWS: Yes. DRUMPF: Your Church is very, very strongly as you know, pro-life. MATTHEWS: I know. DRUMPF: What do you say to your Church? MATTHEWS: I say, I accept your moral authority. In the United States, the people make the decision, the courts rule on what's in the Constitution, and we live by that. That's why I say. DRUMPF: Yes, but you don't live by it because you don't accept it. You can't accept it. You can't accept it. You can't accept it. MATTHEWS: Can we go back to matters of the law and running for president because matters of law, what I'm talking about, and this is the difficult situation you've placed yourself in. By saying you're pro-life, you mean you want to ban abortion. How do you ban abortion without some kind of sanction? Then you get in that very tricky question of a sanction, a fine on human life which you call murder? DRUMPF: It will have to be determined. MATTHEWS: A fine, imprisonment for a young woman who finds herself pregnant? DRUMPF: It will have to be determined. MATTHEWS: What about the guy that gets her pregnant? Is he responsible under the law for these abortions? Or is he not responsible for an abortion? DRUMPF: Well, it hasn't -- it hasn't -- different feelings, different people. I would say no. MATTHEWS: Well, they're usually involved. Anyway, much more from the audience here at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay. We'll be right back.
  4. Good morning. Exceptional circumstances brought me back to OL. The simple fact is we're getting older, all of us. With sadness, I noted the passing of Barbara Branden and was glad to see her charm and resilience recorded in a pretty wonderful Atlas Society video. Speaking personally, I'm on the same mortal coil with far less credit to my account and far fewer friends, of course. Be that as it may, a sense of approaching decline prompted me to gather up some material into an orderly presentation of my life's work. Two separate motives for doing so: I am an extremely stubborn person -- and I continue to believe that there was and still is a gap in the Objectivist canon pertaining to constitutional law. Libertarians are worse in this regard because they wrongly maintain that a categorical imperative of ethics (non-aggression) is a full solution, provided that you sign a contract of some sort. How this explains parenthood or law enforcement or national defense baffles me. I will try to come to the point as quickly as possible, but first an important disclaimer: The goal of my work has been to define and articulate a laissez faire system of government and public justice, with due regard for received wisdom. Unfortunately, in the haystack of U.S. political history and legal thinking there was damned little wisdom and a great deal of tripe. I'm sorry to say that my attitude toward certain characters became contemptuous. In the restatement and clarification of my work, you'll find that nothing much has changed in that regard. I'm still me. Here follows a canned press release about the new book. ---------- "I don't mind writing for posterity, but it's going to be mighty damn difficult for posterity to find what I wrote." HOUSTON, May 21, 2014 -- Iconoclastic author Wolf DeVoon announced today that his latest book on laissez faire law, entitled The Constitution of Government in Gult's Gulch, will be available at Amazon and other online stores next week. The 168-page book compares utopian fiction presented in Atlas Shrugged with the actual experience of living in a private community beyond the reach of government. It covers theory and practical real-world aspects of liberty, property, and constitutional law in a fully free society. The Constitution of Government in Galt's Gulch also presents a surprising proposal to fund national security by private enterprise that does not rely upon taxation. In a long section on property, DeVoon concludes that wealth is a moral office of responsibility to advance the general welfare by offering employment. The book is addressed to libertarians and Objectivists, and it offers a new theory of value and moral virtue based on individual character, personal ambition, and risk of change. Discussion of constitutional law includes loyalties beyond the law, fundamental rights, due process, and persistent presumption of innocence. Author "Wolf DeVoon" is the pen name of a reclusive novelist, inventor, businessman and controversial advocate of capitalism. He was a high profile insider and officer of Laissez Faire City in Costa Rica, who served as general counsel and proxy for its embattled CEO and wrote The Freeman's Constitution in an attempt to save Laissez Faire City from destroying itself. DeVoon says that his new book completes a 30-year personal quest to identify and articulate a coherent theory of constitutional law in a free society, based on an idea set forth in The Freeman's Constitution, that justice is the armed defense of innocent liberty. "Liberty is an unpopular idea," DeVoon said. "There isn't a square centimeter of Colorado to hide behind a heated layer of air in Galt's Gulch, without EPA Region 8 and DHS poking their noses and missile-firing drones into it. The best hope for a free society today is in expatriate communities in loosely governed, corrupt host nations like Costa Rica, Panama, or perhaps Argentina," he said. "The goal of my work is to define the rule of law for folks who are living effectively outside the control of regular governments." Apparently his new book is the last one that DeVoon intends to publish. A 2007 title, Laissez Faire Law, was almost entirely ignored by libertarian and anarcho-capitalist scholars. "I don't blame anyone for pushing the established canon of live and let live," Devoon explained. "The rule of law with compulsory production of evidence, summons to appear and jury duty is an absolute pain in the butt for traditional anarchists and libertarians. I don't mind writing for posterity, but it's going to be mighty damn difficult for posterity to find what I wrote." The Constitution of Government in Galt's Gulch, ISBN 978-1499550450, $8.99 http://www.amazon.com/The-Constitution-Government-Galts-Gulch/dp/1499550456/ ---------- I'm not asserting copyright. One cannot own a constitution, nor an argument in favor of its ratification. If you'd like a pdf of the text, please send me a PM with your email address. Alternatively, perhaps MSK will arrange a method of storing the material and making it available. I'll log in from time to time if you have any questions. In 1974, I set out to fix a problem. Feels good to have finally fixed it. =========================== EDIT FROM MSK: You can get a free PDF version of Wolf's The Constitution of Government in Galt's Gulch here. It is in a zip file.
  5. If you aren’t familiar with the phenomenal podcast series available at www.econtalk.org, I highly recommend selecting an episode or two from the archive and listening during your daily commute or exercise. One could select virtually any of the podcasts as a rich starting point for discussion, but one episode in particular had a profound impact on my intellectual framework, and I would like to share it here: www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/01/david_rose_on_t.html In this episode, economist/author David Rose discusses some of the central themes of his book, The Moral Foundation of Economic Behavior, with host of the program Russ Roberts. It’s best to listen to the hour-long podcast for yourself if you have the time, but here is the main idea of his argument: “This book explains why moral beliefs can and likely do play an important role in the development and operation of market economies. It provides new arguments for why it is important that people genuinely trust others-even those whom they know don't particularly care about them-because in key circumstances institutions are incapable of combating opportunism. It then identifies specific characteristics that moral beliefs must have for the people who possess them to be regarded as trustworthy. When such moral beliefs are held with sufficient conviction by a sufficiently high proportion of the population, a high trust society emerges that supports maximum cooperation and creativity while permitting honest competition at the same time.” (Source: Amazon.com) Before adopting Rose’s framework of evaluating economic behavior, I was much more influenced by utilitarian principles such as those espoused by legal theorist/economist Richard Posner. To take an example, Posner’s “efficient breach of contracts” theory – arguably the dominant view in modern jurisprudence - holds that one party should be legally (and morally) free to breach a contract and pay damages to the other party if the overall outcome is more efficient. In the amoral view of contracts, the ends justify the means of the breaching party. Simply evaluate the likely outcome of breach, and if the benefits outweigh the costs, then the actions were justified. Everyone wins in such situations, right? Rose argues that there is no such thing as this free lunch. The costs of Posner ‘s utilitarianism are less easily quantified than the benefits, but nevertheless the costs are very real in the form of eroded social trust. A society in which people act according to a principled moral foundation, Rose explains, is more efficient because individuals will engage in a wide variety of economic behaviors they otherwise could not have in a utilitarian culture because of fear of being sacrificed to a “greater good” or prohibitively high transaction costs. This is one reason why I reject utilitarian tolerance of skyrocketing social security disability fraud as the easiest way of "buying off" individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to find employment. I believe - and I think Rose would agree - that tolerating this deceitful behavior fosters a culture in which individuals will breach trust and cheat each other as long as they can identify some benefit outweighing those costs. It’s also why I reject utilitarian platform elements integral to the Progressive movement, such as affirmative action. If individuals fear they are in danger of being sacrificed to a greater good by the elite, they will no longer place trust in the system and they will instead engage in defensive, protectionist behavior with high social and economic costs for everyone. In a world where promises are categorically kept, there is a much lower need for government protectionism. This is why I feel Rose’s position is more in line with libertarian and objectivist principles than Posner’s, and why we should reject progressive utilitarianism and its view that individual eggs are expendable in creating a more perfect social omelet.