Question: Is it wrong to root for antiheroes in movies? I often root for characters like Daniel Ocean (of Ocean's 11, 12, etc.), Erik Draven (of The Crow), Harry Callahan (a.k.a. Dirty Harry), and "Mad" Max. Should I instead seek out movies with more consistently good heroes?
Question: What should we think of the results of the 2012 election? Many free-market advocates are despairing over the election results, particularly the re-election of President Obama. They claim that America has sunk to a new low in re-electing an openly socialistic and egalitarian hater of America. Do you think that such despair is warranted? Also, how can intellectuals, activists, and others effectively promote individual rights over the next four years?
Subjects Discussed: * The nature of work, energy, and power * The purpose of the energy industry * The history of the energy industry and its benefits * The moral evaluation of the energy industry * How to think about "the environment" * Pollution versus rights * The power of morality in thinking about environmental concerns * Natural versus unnatural * The law of pollution, including respecting context * Why the energy industry doesn't defend itself – and how it should defend itself * How the US should have dealt with nationalization of oil wells in foreign countries * About CIP, including the upcoming debate and how to support CIP.
Subjects Discussed: * Evaluating the past * What life was like in early America * Cultural changes in America, including for women and marriage * Federal versus state and local governments now and then * The 14th Amendment * Improvements in the law, including marriage law, morality regulations and cultural mores, blasphemy law, and obscenity law * The American north versus south * Andrew Jackson's duel * The caning of Charles Sumner * Today's Republicans and Democrats * The value (or lack thereof) of voting.
Question: Why do so many cultural commentaries condemn the evil rather than praise the good? The virtue of justice, properly understood, means that praising good is more important than condemning evil. As Leonard Peikoff says in Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand: "The conventional view is that justice consists primarily in punishing the wicked. This view stems from the idea that evil is metaphysically powerful, while virtue is merely 'impractical idealism.' In the Objectivist philosophy, however, vice is the attribute to be scorned as impractical. For [Objectivists], therefore, the order of priority is reversed. Justice consists first not in condemning, but in admiring – and then in expressing one's admiration explicitly and in fighting for those one admires..." (pg 284). Despite that, the majority of cultural commentaries, including those written by Objectivists, focus on exposing and condemning evil, rather than praising the good. Why is that? Is it a mistake?
Question: What were Ayn Rand's shortcomings in her understanding and/or practice of Objectivism? After having listened to a number of Rationally Selfish Webcast episodes, some passing statements make it sound like Ayn Rand had a complete understanding and perfect execution of Objectivism. I'm attracted to Objectivism as a rational approach to morality and philosophy but bothered by how untouchable Ayn Rand appears to be. To compare, Isaac Newton did wonders for the world of physics, but if we hadn't evolved his theories, our world would be far less advanced. Maybe a better question would be: What progress in understanding has been made by Objectivists since Ayn Rand's death?