On Thursday, June 19, the subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee met to shape recommendations on payment of reparations by white Americans to black­ Americans. Specifically, the bill introduced by Sheila Jackson Lee, Democratic Congresswoman from Texas, would establish a commission to study the impact of slavery and discrimination in the American colonies, later in the United States, and “any form of apology and compensation” by whites to blacks. This question has been around for a long time. John Conyers, Jr., then a Congressman from Michigan, proposed the bill three decades ago and reintroduced it in every session of the House until 2017, when he retired. It got nowhere. But now, it offers potential for political advantage as two dozen Democratic presidential candidates vie for attention in the presidential primaries. For these members of the party of identity politics, pitting races against each other for political gain, the question of reparations has become the litmus test for Democratic candidates. Two candidates, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker, propose legislation to “narrow the racial wealth gap,” not necessarily by writing reparations checks. After a two-mile jog along the Hudson River in New York City with men and women of the LGBT “community,” Congressman Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke headed to his next identity politics...
A tragedy common to human history is unfolding in Venezuela. It’s impossible to predict how it will end or what the human toll will be. As we watch events and hope for a peaceful resolution that restores liberty in Venezuela, here are some noteworthy facts about the Land of Grace. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. While the US is the top producer of oil, its total reserves represent a mere fraction—roughly 10 percent—of Venezuela's 300-plus billion barrels of oil. (Source: UPI) In Venezuela today, the median monthly income is $8. (source: FEE) A two-pound bag of onions currently costs about $2 in Venezuela. (source: FEE) In 2016, the price of a gallon of gasoline in Venezuela was less than one cent per gallon. (source: Washington Post) Roughly 90 percent of Venezuelans today live below the poverty line. (source: The Borgen Project) In 1950, Venezuela ranked among the top ten most prosperous nations in...
MM: You have a PhD in molecular biology. You’re a scientist, you publish in your field as well as in philosophy. What prompted you to become a fiction writer? RC: In addition to my interest in science I have always had a creative streak expressed in painting and music, but had never considered fiction writing. I had started writing a philosophy column for Australian Mensa when they put out a short story competition. I had just read an essay on “The Toxicity of Environmentalism” by George Reisman, and it gave me an idea whose result was “Requiem,” my first published short story. A few other short stories followed at long intervals. Short stories basically encapsulate a single idea, but eventually I came up with an idea that had more complexity and its result was my first novella, Frankensteel. Having made that jump into more complex worlds with multiple character threads and subplots, I became interested in the wider creative options provided by full-length novels. MM: Do science and philosophy play a role in your fiction writing? RC: Definitely. Most of my novels are science fiction, not the far future kind where anything goes but near future, based on current science and reasonable speculations built on it. For example, Frankensteel deals with conscious artificial intelligence, The Geneh War with human genetic engineering, and Time Enough for Killing with cyborg (machine-organic fusion)...
Editor’s Note: Hannibal’s Witch, by Robin Craig, blends science fiction, alternative history, and a hint of fantasy into a thought-provoking epic. Angela Milton is an ordinary young woman studying history and languages. At a lavish party for Bitcoin millionaires, she encounters a heady atmosphere of tequila and dreams of New Phoenicia, a world of wealth and trade beyond borders and controls. Then she awakens in ancient Carthage, millennia before her time. As she travels with the great Phoenician general Hannibal on his epic journey across the Alps to attack the heart of Rome itself, Angela wrestles with the questions that might define or end her life. Is any of this real? Is it all just a dream, or worse, a madness she cannot escape? If it is real, can she change history, or will the attempt destroy her? And if she can change history: should she? Chapter 17 of the novel is excerpted here as part of The Writers Series – our highly popular monthly series that features the work of contemporary novelists influenced by Ayn Rand. Critonius How many of my men still live? Somehow the Carthaginian dogs have defeated our army. It is not my place to blame my commander, though his rashness was surely part of our downfall. My own maniple was cut off and decimated; after fierce fighting I and a handful of my men broke free. We...
As a soldier in the U.S. Army, it is clear to me that the guiding philosophy for a soldier should mirror that of Objectivism outlined by Ayn Rand. Knowing what I am – a soldier – and knowing where I am and what my mission is, allows for me to determine the truth of any situation and act accordingly and with integrity. In the essay “Philosophy and Sense of Life,” which Rand anthologized in The Romantic Manifesto, she put it this way,   In order to live, man must act; in order to act, he must make choices; in order to make choices, he must define a code of values; in order to define a code of values, he must know what he is and where he is – i.e., he must know his own nature (including his means of knowledge) and the nature of the universe in which he acts – i.e., he needs metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, which means: philosophy. Lack of a Guiding Philosophy In my opinion, we lack a guiding philosophy in the military. It is true that we ostensibly have a values-based system, but we do not understand the values; moreover, many prescribed values contradict one another. For example, consider the Army Values acronym: LDRSHIP. We preach Duty: Fulfill your obligations Selfless Service: Put the welfare of the Nation, the Army and your subordinates before your own (since Selfless Service is larger than just one...

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