Columbia International Affairs Online: Journals

CIAO DATE: 01/2010

From the Editor

The Objective Standard †

A publication of:
The Objective Standard

Volume: 4, Issue: 4 (Winter 2009/2010)


Full Text

Merry Christmas readers! And welcome to the Winter 2009-10 issue of The Objective Standard.

As politicians in Washington are crafting legislation concerning the American health-care industry, Americans should be aware of the actual meaning of the law that might soon be foisted on them. To that end, in "What the ‘Affordable Health Care for America Act,' HR 3962, Actually Says," John David Lewis asks ten crucial questions regarding the proposed law; examines what the proposed legislation actually says with respect to these questions; and evaluates the bill accordingly, showing that, if passed, it would massively expand government power over the health-care industry, virtually eliminate the remnants of freedom left in this market, and thus increase the U.S. government's violations of individual rights by orders of magnitude.

Americans should also know who, other than politicians, is advocating such socialist legislation, why they are advocating it, and why they too will suffer the consequences of the statist policies they advocate. To this end, in "Pharmacide: The Pharmaceutical Industry's Self-Destructive Effort to Loot America," Cassandra Clark provides an illuminating view of the pharmaceutical industry, showing that industry executives have advocated and continue to advocate rights-violating legislation through which the companies gain revenue taken coercively by the government from American taxpayers-and further showing that the pharmaceutical industry's advocacy of such legislation is killing . . . the industry itself.

While statist legislators and pull-peddling, suicidal businessmen are busy forcibly redistributing wealth and destroying American medicine, the Obama administration is ramping up for a fortified assault on businessmen in general. In "Antitrust with a Vengeance: The Obama Administration's Anti-Business Cudgel," Eric Daniels zeros in on the arbitrary, rights-violating nature of antitrust law; surveys the Obama administration's efforts to bolster antitrust enforcement; considers the unprincipled arguments put forth by today's most vocal opponents of antitrust; and calls for Americans to take a principled, rights-based stand-not only against the administration's reinvigorated antitrust assault, but against antitrust law as such.

Whereas the federal government is increasingly violating rights at the national level, state and municipal governments are increasingly violating rights at the state and local levels. In "The California Coastal Commission: A Case Study in Governmental Assault on Property Rights," Paul Beard surveys the history and nature of the Coastal Commission; examines three recent cases showing how the Commission violates property rights; points to similar agencies that are violating rights in similar ways in other states; and indicates what Americans must do if they want to put an end to this assault on their property rights.

While governments at all levels are assaulting Americans at home, the U.S. government is failing to protect Americans and their interests from pirates abroad, such as the Somali pirates, who are increasingly attacking American ships and those of our trade partners. In "The Barbary Wars and Their Lesson for Combating Piracy Today," Doug Altner examines the key events surrounding the Barbary Wars (two wars the United States fought in the early 19th century to end North African piracy), zeros in on the reasons why the First Barbary War failed to end the pirate attacks but the second succeeded, and draws from this remarkable and clarifying history a vital lesson for the United States today.

Underlying all these political problems is a cultural and ethical problem: the widespread misconception of the nature of moral values. In "Objective Moral Values" (which is chapter 4 of my book Loving Life: The Morality of Self-Interest and the Facts that Support It), I zero in on the nature of objective, life-serving values; demonstrate that man's most fundamental value is his faculty of reason; and show that both physical survival and spiritual health require keeping one's thinking tied to reality (via reason) so that one's ideas, values, actions, and emotions correspond to reality, too.

The books reviewed in this issue are: Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, by Jennifer Burns (reviewed by Robert Mayhew); Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science, by Ian Plimer (reviewed by Gus Van Horn); Red Hot Lies: How Global Warming Alarmists Use Threats, Fraud, and Deception to Keep You Misinformed, by Christopher C. Horner (reviewed by Daniel Wahl); Islamic Imperialism: A History, by Efraim Karsh (reviewed by Andrew Lewis); and The Israel Test, by George Gilder (reviewed by Daniel Wahl).

Enjoy the issue-and the holidays-and have a wonderful 2010!

-Craig Biddle