Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Standard That Doesn't Disappoint

Although my copy of The Objective Standard hasn't arrived yet through the mail, (like Diana's) I have managed to devour it just as fast. All four articles were highly enjoyable to read, although I didn't read them in the order presented by the journal.

Given the sense of urgency created by Bush's failed policy towards Islamic totalitarianism, the lead article was a must read and my first choice. "The 'Forward Strategy' for Failure" is by far the most clear and concise argument put forth for a true policy of self-defense. It explains why the Bush administration insists on pursuing contradictory goals of spreading democracy and defending American lives. That they need to delude themselves in saying altruism is the moral and the practical even though the results demonstrate otherwise. As to Bush's new solution to the problem by deploying some twenty thousand additional troops they write,

Although characterized as a change in strategy, this is just a change in means, not ends. Spreading democracy remains the unquestioned, self-delusional end, for which more troops and a push for security are the means. Before the war, Saddam Hussein’s regime was the obstacle that had to be removed so that Iraqis could have democracy. Now, it is the utter chaos of insurgency and civil war that obstructs the realization of an Iraqi democracy. In both cases, American men and women in uniform lay down their own lives for the sake of Iraqis. Amid the inevitable results of a democracy’s mob rule and the predictable sectarian war, the Bush administration looks on with purposefully unseeing eyes and rededicates America to a “surge” of senseless sacrifices. The multiplying evasions enable Bush and other advocates of the strategy to fool themselves, and any remaining Americans who still believe in the strategy.
Until Americans recognize the need to wage a real war, one in which our hands aren't tied behind our backs, the end result will be the death of our soldiers. If Bush continues to diminish American's view of self-worth, I would agree that the best course of action is to retreat. At least that way we'd be saving countless numbers of Americans lives that surely would have died as a result of Bush's policies. But of course it's easy to see the logic of such action. By removing ourselves from the battlefield we would be enabling future attacks on our soil. It would only be a matter of time. So given our current options it's either die now or die later. This doesn't seem like an inviting course of action. So why not dispense with the whole lot and fight a war by doing what is necessary. We should demand nothing less than victory!

After that I continued with Diana Hsieh's "Egoism Explained". This being Diana's first article from TOS, I was very eager to read her assessment of Dr. Smith's book, Ayn Rand’s Normative Ethics: The Virtuous Egoist. I personally haven't gotten around to reading her book yet so I was hoping to get some interesting analysis to keep in mind when I do start. The article opens very strong as does its conclusion. The only problem I had while reading it was that it seemed more like a summary of the book itself with not much substance discussing Smith's ideas themselves. The only exception to this being her analysis of the status of productiveness as a virtue in a given context. Of course I'm willing to admit to "shooting the gun" in my judgment since Diana does explain in her previous post, "In editing my review, Craig did rightly excise some substantial discussions of side-issues." So it could just be that we weren't able to see the review in full.

Following along, I then read Dr. Mayhew's article, "The Rise and Fall of Ancient Greek Justice: Homer to the Sermon on the Mount". Mayhew starts out by describing two different murders, one in which the murderer was killed for his offense the other embraced with open arms by the victims relatives. What brought about such a perversion of justice? Mayhew argues that it was the introduction of Christian morality epitomized by the Gospel of Matthew and Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. In essence it tells us to not make moral judgments, which leads to rewarding evil because it is evil.

I left David Harriman's article, "Induction and Experimental Method" as something to look forward to as an ending. Given my background in science, I knew I'd enjoy a philosophic discussion on the subject. Harriman explains in simples words the essential experiments performed by such scientists as Galileo and Newton. Through analysis of their work and the resulting discoveries, Harriman identifies the unifying theme connecting it all: that man gains knowledge about the world using a conceptual framework of induction. Doing otherwise, by making arbitrary assertions, leads to intellectual stagnation and ultimately skepticism. My only question is, when do his books, The Anti-Copernican Revolution and Induction in Physics and Philosophy come out? They're definitely going on my shelf when they do.

All and all, the Spring 2007 issue was a great addition from the scholars at The Objective Standard. If you don't have a subscription to this journal, I highly recommend it. You can subscribe today and if you're a student they offer discounted rates.


Myrhaf said...

I'm in the middle of Dr. Mayhew's piece on Greek justice, and it is fascinating. If the Objective Standard can maintain the standard (no pun intended) of its first five issues, it will become a tremendous resource, one that scholars will be looking back at centuries from now.