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01 August 2014
   The Cynical Optimist
   Bryan Caplan

So how can I think this and remain an optimist? Because optimism, as I practice it anyway, is an attitude and a strategy, not a description of the world. As an optimist, I try not to dwell on boring careerists and derivative claptrap. Instead, I seek out the exceptions to the rule and appreciate what I find. Just because the average is low doesn't mean that you can't personally consume high quality. And even when the quality I consume is far from ideal, I try to mentally change the subject to another dimension where I have blessings to count.
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31 July 2014
   Labor Unions are Anti-Labor
   George Reisman

To anyone who understands the role of the productivity of labor in raising real wages, it should be obvious that the unions’ policy of combating the rise in the productivity of labor renders them in fact a leading enemy of the rise in real wages. However radical this conclusion may seem, however much at odds it is with the prevailing view of the unions as the leading source of the rise in real wages over the last hundred and fifty years or more, the fact is that in combating the rise in the productivity of labor, the unions actively combat the rise in real wages!
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30 July 2014
   How governments break the "circle of trust"
   Troy Camplin

How do you destroy trust? One way is to get neighbors to inform on each other. The simplest of laws can do this. Laws that regulate what you can and cannot do on and with your own property create a situation where people can call and complain about you to the local government. How many stories have we read about local governments shutting down kids’ lemonade stands? The focus is typically on how ridiculous it is that the local government came down on some kid selling lemonade – and it is ridiculous that the laws exist that would allow local governments to do this – but rarely does anyone focus on the fact that there was someone in that neighborhood who actually called to complain. It was the complaint that got the police to show up, and that complaint came from a neighbor.
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29 July 2014
   Rand, Egoism and Rights: To Be Clear
   Jason Brennan

Ethical egoism, by definition, cannot allow you to value other people as ends in themselves. As soon as you endorse the statement “Others are ends in themselves, not merely means to my own ends, and not merely constitutive of my self-interest,” you reject egoism. Egoism implies that other people can at most only have 1) instrumental or 2) constitutive value to you. Suppose, to be charitable, that Rand is right about what constitutes a person’s self-interest. She might then be able to show that in most cases, the rational egoist will have reason to respect people’s rights. However, that’s not good enough. As Huemer points out, it’s easy to imagine a scenario in which 1) another person has neither instrumental nor constitutive value to an Objectivist egoist, and 2) the Objectivist’s objective self-interest would best be served by killing that person. In this case, egoism implies that the Objectivist *must* (or *may*, in a non-maximizing version of egoism) kill that person. Since that’s false, egoism is false. Huemer’s thought experiment is not incoherent or metaphysically impossible.
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28 July 2014
   Green Moral Exhibitionism
   James Knight

When you look closely at the Green Party, you find that they are quite unlike normal, rationally minded people – their obsession with climate and the environment would be an astonishingly unusual thing if it were not for the fact that green obsession is one of the few remaining political identities on which one could base a party and sustain some electoral territory. Without the need for this green obsession to hold themselves together as an alternative party, what they actually subscribe to is quite bizarrely alien to the ordinary human mental constitution.
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by L. Neil Smith

WE, THE UNDERSIGNED Witnesses to the Lesson of History now establish and provide certain fundamental Precepts measuring our Conduct toward one another, and toward others.
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