The Rational Egoist

Welcome to my blog. My name is Steve Giardina. I consider myself to be a student of the philosophy of Objectivism, and these are my many thoughts. Feel free to leave comments, as well as your opinions.

"In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours. But to win it requires your total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is a sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence of that which is man: for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that yours is the Morality of Life." Ayn Rand


Happy 100th! [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 3:14 pm

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first amazing flight.

Today marks the 100th anniversity of the Wright Brothers first flight, and what an achievement it is. However, the great spirit of American innovation that brought about this original flight is being destroyed today. Not only is the aviation industry dominated by government controls, government agencies, irrational safety standards, etc., but much of the awe surrounded by aviation is gone.

Check out this ARI op-ed written by Heike Berthold: America Has Grounded The Wright Brothers

Today, we seek to escape the responsibility of judgment while demanding that progress be risk-free. New products are expected to be instantly perfect, to last forever and to protect us from our own failings—or else we sue. By the late 1970s, general aviation accidents reached their lowest point in 29 years—yet liability lawsuits were up five-fold, and manufacturers were sued for even such obvious pilot errors as running out of fuel. Companies like Cessna were spending more to defend themselves in court than on research—and production of small planes dropped from almost 20,000 planes in 1978 to under 1,000 by the late 1980s.
With reliance on one’s independent judgment goes an unwillingness to be coddled by an over-protective nanny-state. Aviation was born in a culture that valued the entrepreneurial spirit of its pioneers, and respected their right to pursue their work unhindered by government controls. The Wrights and the innovators who followed them—giants like Boeing, Cessna, and Lear—were motivated by more than just the challenge of overcoming scientific obstacles: they sought to make money and profit from their achievements. Courts protected the pioneers’ intellectual property rights—granting the Wright brothers a broad patent for their invention—and government left the field of aviation free to innovate. Prior to 1926 there were no pilot’s licenses, no aircraft registrations, not even any rules governing the carrying of passengers—and the aviation industry took off. By 1927, the year Lindbergh made the first non-stop transatlantic solo flight, Wichita, Kansas, alone could boast of more than 20 airplane companies.
In this climate of political freedom, airplanes evolved from wooden, scary deathtraps to capable traveling machines. The pace of innovation was rapid as planes improved, in under 25 years, from the Wright brothers’ rickety contraption, which flew 852 feet, to Lindbergh’s plane, which crossed an ocean.
Yet by the 1930s the government had begun regulating the airlines, master planning route structures and suppressing competition. Today, innovation has ground to a halt under the weight of government control. Unlike the first 25 years of flight, the last 25 have seen few major advances—and regulatory barriers suppress the adoption of new technology. For instance, most FAA-certified aircraft today are still the same aluminum-and-rivets construction pioneered more than 50 years ago, while for at least a decade non-certified experimental aircraft builders have preferred composite materials, which make their aircraft stronger, roomier, cheaper, and faster at the same time.

Also notice this insane op-ed written by George Monbiot: A Weapon With Wings

They will probably be commemorating the wrong people in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, tomorrow. Five months before the Wright brothers lifted a flying machine into the air for 12 seconds above the sand dunes of the Outer Banks, the New Zealander Richard Pearse had travelled for more than a kilometre in his contraption, without the help of ramps or slides, and had even managed to turn his plane in mid-flight.

But history belongs to those who record it, so tomorrow is the official centenary of the aeroplane. At Kitty Hawk, George Bush will deliver a eulogy to aviation, while a number of men with more money than sense will seek to recreate the Wrights’ first flight. Well, they can keep their anniversary. Tomorrow should be a day of international mourning. December 17 2003 is the centenary of the world’s most effective killing machine.

The aeroplane was not the first weapon of mass destruction. The European powers had already learned to rain terror upon their colonial subjects by means of naval bombardment, artillery and the Gatling and Maxim guns. But the destructive potential of aerial bombing was grasped even before the first plane left the ground. In 1886, Jules Verne imagined aircraft acting as a global police force, bombing barbaric races into peace and civilisation. In 1898, the novelist Samuel Odell saw the English-speaking peoples subjugating eastern Europe and Asia by means of aerial bombardment. In the same year, the writer Stanley Waterloo celebrated the future annihilation of inferior races from the air.

None of this was lost on the Wright brothers. When Wilbur Wright was asked, in 1905, what the purpose of his machine might be, he answered simply: “War.” As soon as they were confident that the technology worked, the brothers approached the war offices of several nations, hoping to sell their patent to the highest bidder. The US government bought it for $30,000, and started test bombing in 1910. The aeroplane was conceived, designed, tested, developed and sold, in other words, not as a vehicle for tourism, but as an instrument of destruction.

This horrible perversion of the Wright Brothers and the ridiculous pacificism of this individual sickens me. His argument is identical with claiming that cars are evil because someone can use them wrongly, or that baseball bats are evil because they can be used as a weapon, etc. Give me a break!

While this wacko’s opinion is not dominantly held (mainly because most individuals still maintain some semblance of rationality today), it is still a sad indication of how the industry of aviation is being attacked. My thought is that such attacks are a mere symptom of a deeper hatred for capitalism, selfishness, and that which benefits man as such. Disgusting.

On this day, let us reject this anti-capitalism, anti-man attitude in favor of a view of man and capitalism that admires innovators and producers like the Wright Brothers as two of the greatest heroes in American history.

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The Corner Shot [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 5:17 pm

American and Israel forces have developed a gun that can effectively shoot around corners!

TEL AVIV (AFP) - A new weapons system was unveiled in Israel which enables armed forces to fire guns around corners and could revolutionize urban warfare around the world.

The patented “Corner Shot” provides protection to the soldier by enabling him to shoot down a street, through a window or a door frame with maximum accuracy while keeping out of the line of fire.

The system consists of a rod and a mobile end section which can be adjusted with any type of combat handgun and includes a camera allowing the soldier to scan the targeted area and aim while maintaining cover.

Russian soldiers during the bloody World War II siege of Stalingrad first had the idea of bending the barrels of their rifles to shoot around corners and their Nazi opponents developed a purpose-built attachment fitted with a periscope which they called the krummerlauf.

The Israeli-US developed Corner Shot is the latest improvement on a series of devices invented over the past two decades by the FBI (news - web sites) and the French army which left at least the combatant’s hand exposed.

“This system was put on the market three months ago and we have already sold it to 15 countries,” said Amos Golan, a retired lieutenant colonel who served in Israeli anti-terror units and invented the Corner Shot.

The device costs between three and five thousand dollars and has been sold to the US, Russian and several European armies, said Golan, also joint CEO of Corner Shot holdings.

“I believe that the Corner Shot weapon system can be extremely beneficial in the global war on terror,” Golan said Monday.

Aren’t the results of the freedom of the mind under capitalism (in this case semi-capitalism) great?

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We Got Him! [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 3:06 pm

Saddam Hussein has been captured!!!

Saddam Hussein has been captured, TIME magazine has confirmed. “It’s true,” said a U.S. intelligence official in Baghdad about the arrest of the former dictator. The official wouldn’t give any more details except to confirm that the former dictator had been detained the night before. He did say the suspect had been positively identified as Saddam Hussein. Ambassador Paul Bremer is calling together the Iraqi Governing Council to tell them this afternoon, he said.

Celebratory gunfire erupted across Baghdad as the news of the fallen Iraqi president’s arrest spread across the town. Iraqis showed their joy that the brutal leader had been detained by firing bursts of automatic weapons fire into the air.

Hell yeah!

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Suggested Xmas Reading [Suggested Reading] — Steve Giardina @ 4:22 pm

Since I will be going on winter break soon, and since I recently ordered a large list of great books, I figured I’d list the books that I have ordered and those that I have requested for Xmas.

1. James Madison: Writings
2. Debate on The Consitution edited by Bernard Bailyn
3. Thomas Jefferson: Writings
4. Benjamin Franklin: Writings
5. Thomas Paine: Writings
6. The Complete Sherlock Holmes: All 4 Novels and 56 Short Stories
7. Newton’s Philosophy of Nature by Newton
8. The Revolutionary Writings of John Adams by C. Bradley Thompson
9. The Birth of a New Physics by I. Bernard Cohen
10. The Killing of History by Keith Windschuttle
11. The Shadow University: The Betrayal of Liberty on America’s Campuses by Alan Charles Kors
12. The Enemies of Christopher Columbus by Thomas A. Bowden
13. Discoveries and Opinions of Galileo: Including the Starry Messenger
14. The Classical Mind by W.T. Jones
15. Virtue Ethics: An Introduction by Richard Taylor
16. An Introduction to Logic by H.W. B. Joseph
17. The Greeks by H.D.F. Kitto
18. Grow Up America! by Dr. Michael J. Hurd
19. The Dream of Reason: A History of Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance by Anthony Gottlieb
20. A History of the United States and Its People by Edward Eggleston
21. Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
22. John Adams and the Spirit Liberty by C. Bradley Thompson
23. On Ayn Rand by Allan Gotthelf
24. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Knowlton K. Zinsse
25. Heart of a Pagan: The Story of Swoop by Andrew Bernstein
26. History of Philosophy by Wilhelm Windelband

If anyone is interested in buying any of these books, or any books in general, please contact me. While I do not believe that I will be able to set it up in time for the holiday season, I will soon be creating a marketplace of links to books you can get at For every book that is bought from the result of a link on my site, I get a little bit of money. Yeah capitalism!

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The Communist Manifesto [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 3:27 pm

It’s truly frightening how some of the stated goals of the Communist Party in The Communist Manifesto according to Friedrich Engles are so similar to the stated goals as well as the actions of the politicians in America today. Here are 12 steps that Engels lists which he believes are intermediate steps towards the proletariat seizing control of private property and the government:

1. Limitations of private property through progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes, abolition of inheritance through collateral lines (brothers, nephews, etc.), forced loans, etc.

[The Founding Fathers of our country envisioned a land of very limited taxation and small government. Currently, under our present government, there exists progressive taxation, heavy inheritance taxes, income taxes, property taxes, etc.]

2. Gradual expropriation of landowners, industrialists, railroad magnates and shipowners, partly through competition by state industry, partly directly through compensation in the form of bonds.

[In the 19th century the railroad industry was nationalized in America. Additionally, countless numbers of businesses in many different industries have been subsidized (given government money). The result of such government action has been the creation of government run monopolies in many industries such as utilities, the railroads, ownership of radio and television waves, etc.]

3. Confiscation of the possessions of all emigrants and rebels against the majority of the people

4. Organization of labor or employment of proletarians on publicly owned land, in factories and workshops, with competition among the workers being abolished and with the factory owners, insofar as they still exist, being obliged to pay the same high wages as those paid by the state.

[The history of labor organizations in America does not need to be documented here. Minimum wage laws anyone? Equal and “fair” working conditions?]

5. An equal obligation on all members of society to work until such time as private property has been completely abolished. Formation of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.

[Private property has been slowly abolished for over 100 years now through an ever increasing government intrusion into the ownership and control of property.]

6. Centralization of money and credit in the hands of the state through a national bank operating with state capital, and the suppression of all private banks and bankers.

[The creation of the Federal Reserve Bank, the abolition of the gold standard under Nixon, and the ever increasing government control of the economy.]

7. Expansion of the number of national factories, workshops, railroads, ships; bringing new lands into cultivation and improvement of land already under cultivation–all in proportion to the growth of the capital and labor force at the disposal of the nation.

[Examples of this include the nationalization of many industries such as railroads, utilities, radio, television, etc, as I mentioned earlier. Also under this branch is the environmentalist movement and its reprecussions in government action.]

8. Education of all children, from the moment they can leave their mothers’ care, in national establishments at national cost. Education and production together.

[Sounds like government indoctrination to me the likes of which Plato would have never dreamed of. Anyway, we already have this occuring with our public education system and more and more cries from government officials to increase the scope of the system.]

9. Construction, on public lands, of great palaces as communal dwellings for associated groups of citizens engaged in both industry and agriculture and combining in their way of life the advantages of urban and rural conditions while avoiding the one-sidedness and drawbacks of each.

10. Destruction of all unhealthy and jerry-built dwellings in urban districts.

[Anyone know anything about urban renewal projects in urban cities such as Chicago? Under such projects, tenants would essentially be kicked out of their homes and businesses in order to make way for the vision of a city that some power-hungry mayor (such as Richard Daley of Chicago) had in mind, regardless of who owned such property and what they themselves wanted to do with it.]
11. Equal inheritance rights for children born in and out of wedlock.

12. Concentration of all means of transportation in the hands of the nation.

[Examples of this include, again, the nationalization of the railroads, the government monopoly on highways and other roads, public transportation in major cities, the proposed nationalization of the airline industry after 9-11, etc.]

There you have it. I advocate a return to the views of our Founding Fathers. Freedom, justice, equality before the law, and the right to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. Let us listen to the wisdom of the likes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Locke, Thomas Paine, George Washington, John Adams, and Ben Franklin. Let us also reject the blatant statism of the likes of Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton, etc.

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I’m Back [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 3:26 pm

A few days ago, the host for this site went MIA. D’oh! After a long break I am back and I have a lot to say. However, I’m right in the middle of finals week and I have so much work! I have written one post as the result of my reading The Communist Manifesto for my political ideologies class which you can see above. Finals week will be over on the 18th so after that expect plenty of entries!

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Bush Will Repeal Steel Tariffs [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:21 pm

Bush will repeal most of his tariffs on imported steel.

The Bush administration has decided to repeal most of its 20-month-old tariffs on imported steel to head off a trade war that would have included foreign retaliation against products exported from politically crucial states, administration and industry sources said yesterday.

The officials would not say when President Bush will announce the decision but said it is likely to be this week. The officials said they had to allow for the possibility that he would make some change in the plan, but a source close to the White House said it was “all but set in stone.”

European countries had vowed to respond to the tariffs, which were ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization, by imposing sanctions on up to &dol;2.2 billion in exports from the United States, beginning as soon as Dec. 15. Japan issued a similar threat Wednesday. The sources said Bush’s aides concluded they could not run the risk that the European Union would carry out its threat to impose sanctions on orange juice and other citrus products from Florida, motorcycles, farm machinery, textiles, shoes, and other products.

Good, but there are two problems.

1. ALL of the tariffs should be repealed, not just most of them.
2. It seems that this decision made by President Bush was not the result of both moral and practical considerations (which in my view are one in the same), but rather it was the result of pragmatic (or “practical” as it used in common usage) considerations. Bush was too afraid of alienating members of the European Union as well as countries such as Japan than and therefore made the decision to repeal the tariffs, instead of choosing to repeal the tariffs because they represent a violation of the free market.

Nevertheless, it is good that these tariffs are being repealed, despite the incorrect motivation for their repeal, because they represent a violation of the free market.

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Economy Booming [Posts] — Steve Giardina @ 1:13 pm

Reuters reports that U.S. factory activity has reached its highest pace since 1983.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. factory activity rocketed to its fastest pace since 1983 in November and construction spending hit another record high the prior month, according to reports on Monday showing the economy’s rapid growth is reversing three years of job losses.

The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index jumped to 62.8 in November, the highest since December 1983, from 57.0 a month earlier. That easily beat the forecasts of Wall Street economists.

With growth so strong and new orders still flooding in, factories hired workers for the first time in 37 months, according to the survey. The ISM figures also suggested little slow down in coming months, with factory owners struggling to keep up with demand for goods.

“It’s pretty eye-popping. If you look at the components, everything is very positive,” said Stephen Stanley, senior markets economist at RBS Greenwich Capital.

That good news comes means government data to be released on Friday could show an even bigger rise in November payrolls than the 135,000 gain forecast by economists, after an increase of 126,000 in October.

“People have really underestimated the speed and improvement in the labor markets,” Stanley said.

In another report, similar conclusions are reached.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US manufacturing activity unexpectedly shot to a 20-year record in November as factories hired workers to belt out goods for the runaway economy, a survey showed.

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) purchasing managers’ index, based on a survey of supply executives, leapt to 62.8 points in November – far above expectations – from 57.0 in October.

It was the fifth consecutive month of growth.

Any figure above 50 points indicates expanding activity.

“The manufacturing sector enjoyed its best month since December 1983,” said survey chief Norbert Ore.

Factories finally took on workers after more than three years of job cuts, bucking up the overall industry barometer.

Manufacturers – the hardest hit sector of the US economy, shedding nearly 2.8 million workers since July 2000 – appeared finally to be catching the tailwind of the breakneck recovery.

Only last week, revised government figures showed US economic growth exploded in the third quarter to hit a 19-year record annual pace of 8.2 percent, ignited by business and consumer spending,

Factories were racing to supply the economy’s needs, the latest industry survey showed.

Among key findings:

– Output accelerated, with the production index soaring 5.7 points from October to 68.3 in November, the seventh month of growth.

– New orders soared, with the index leaping 9.4 points to 73.7 in November, the highest since December 1983. The backlog of orders index jumped 5.5 points to 59.0.

– Jobs grew, reversing 37 consecutive months of decline, with the employment index up 3.3 points to 51.0.

“Based on this data, it appears that the recovery is gaining momentum,” Ore said.

“Indications are that the manufacturing sector is ending 2003 on a very positive note, and all of the indexes support continued strength into 2004,” he said.

Yet another example of how less government intervention in the economy has triggered economic growth.

The principle of why this occurs is simple:
1. Wealth does not exist ready-made in the world but must be created through the use of one’s mind and the manipulation of the environment around them.
2. Human beings possess a volitional consciousness, which means they must choose to use their mind or not to.
3. Choice is incompatible with force. To the extent that an individual is forced to act (for example by giving up money to income taxes, succumbing to arbitrary antitrust law, etc.), an individual will be unable to use their mind properly and unable to create wealth as well as they could if they were not forced.
4. Thus, freedom is a necessary requirement for the proper use of one’s mind, and thus freedom is the necessary requirement for economic prosperity.

The economic boom we are currently experiencing (see 8.2% increase in third quarter GDP) is the result of the extent to which President Bush has decreased government intervention in the economy. That is not to say that he has been perfect in doing so. For example, he has created the biggest expansion of Medicare in history, has up until now supported tariffs on imported steel (see above for that story) and many other such government intrusions into the economy. However, with his tax cuts and other such economic policies, Bush has allowed for this economic boom to occur.

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