A week of Objectivist events 

Low taxes and drug legalisation are not merely uncontroversial positions among free market advocates, they’re pretty much the consensus. What is controversial, and in fact denied by most people, is the notion that such policies, or indeed any political views, are part of the philosophy we hold (whether explicitly or implicitly), and derive from our view on ethics, which in turn derives from our view of our nature and of reality.

The exception to this consensus is Objectivism, the philosophy identified by Ayn Rand, in which she shows how our fundamental view of life and the world in which we live it necessarily lead to how we think about politics, and where she presented an entire system based on acceptance of – and adherence to – the fact that our consciousness is a tool of perceiving reality and processing the evidence of our senses, not of shaping it.

This Sunday, at the Battle of Ideas in Barbican Centre in London, Dr. Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, will apply this philosophy to three issues as a participant in three different panels. The first of these will be a midday panel on the war on drugs, titled The War On Drugs: Time For A Truce? He will then take part in an afternoon panel on Tax Wars And Inequality, and will close out the conference in an evening panel titled Is Utopian Thinking Dead? Attitudes To The Future. Tickets are available on the Barbican Centre website.

For those who want to explore Ayn Rand’s philosophy further, the Adam Smith Institute will hold its annual Ayn Rand Lecture on Tuesday in Mayfair. This year’s speaker is Julie Meyer of Ariadne Capital, who’ll be speaking on the topic of “Why Society Works Best When It’s Organised Around the Entrepreneur”.

On Wednesday, Yaron Brook will be speaking to the King’s College London Libertarian Society about his latest book, Equal Is Unfair.

“Sexual Microaggressions”: Yes Means No

In an article for Fusion, feminist writer Lux Alptraum recalls her harrowing tales of sexual escapades, revealing how time after excruciating time, her encounters with men left her feeling violated and, despite having consented to the encounter, considering her subsequent regret over consenting a valid reason to put her male partners in the same moral – though admittedly not legal – category as rapists. From a boyfriend who “insinuated” he would break up with her if she didn’t sleep with him, to a date who drove from afar and “expected” sex as his reward for doing so, Alptraum repeatedly found herself wilfully participating in sexual encounters which she ended up regretting.

But rather than trying, through introspection, to understand why she makes the choices she makes, and/or why she later regrets them, Alptraum found the perfect scapegoats for her “traumatic and damaging sexual experiences”: the men with whom she slept.

In her article, Alptraum fully acknowledges that none of these encounters come anywhere near meeting the legal definition of rape. And yet, she somehow contends that the men, through “small acts of boundary-pushing and coercion”, are at fault.

Leaving aside her blatantly dishonest use of the word “coercion” in this context (since an act of sexual coercion is, by definition, rape, or at the very least sexual assault, and is certainly always criminal), and her intentional use of the highly ambiguous concept of “boundary-pushing”, Alptraum’s entire piece is an exercise in the now all-too-familiar attempt by feminists to portray all men as rapists. When a man has sex with a woman against her will, that is obviously rape. But when a man has sex with a woman who, as far as he knows (because this is what she chooses to convey to him), is as willing a participant in the act as he is, he may, unwittingly, be committing what Alptraum calls a “sexual microaggression”.

This is the feminist version of original sin: all men are sinners, and their sin is that they’re men. Whether they’re paying a woman a compliment, buying her a drink, or showing affection in a physical manner, if a man is trying to get a woman to have sex with him, he is encouraging her to make a choice she may later regret.

While claiming to advocate gender equality, feminists keep portraying women as intellectually inferior to men. A woman, by their logic, is incapable of knowing whether or not she’s making the right decision. A man, on the other hand, should not only know what’s best for him, but should also be more aware of his female sexual partner’s emotional process than she is.

I do not consider women inferior. Therefore, I am not a feminist. Despite feminists’ implications to the contrary, women are volitional beings, just like men, with the capacity to be rational (and, as Alptraum proves, irrational). And just as a woman is not at fault if a man regrets having sex with her, men should not be considered villains because some women change their mind after the act.

Avoiding Civilian Casualties is Treason

A common claim among those who try to delegitimize bombing our enemies during a time of war is that when such bombings result in civilian deaths, they constitute “murder”. This, much like every other time leftists use words, isn’t a misunderstanding of the concept represented by the word, but rather its intentional misuse, designed to cover up the left’s true agenda, and reverse the roles of victim and perpetrator.Only a monster would advocate the murder of innocent civilians. And they do. These monsters now have a presence in every major western city. But their bases are in other countries. And they have financial backers in yet other countries. These can be dealt with at any time using our far superior firepower. But we aren’t dealing with them. They hide their worst operatives and their most devastating weapons among civilians, because they know their allies in western countries will make sure they’re safe there, and accuse any country that takes the necessary action to defend its citizens in such a situation of “murder” and “war crimes”.

In every question the human mind ever attempts to answer, a valid conclusion can only be reached if the facts are dealt with within the context in which they exist. The context for the question of what actions a government should take and what actions it should avoid is the overall role of government, namely what limitations should there be on its power, if any.

In laissez faire capitalism the answer to this question is clear: government exists to protect its own citizens from force. When faced with a foreign power trying to kill its citizens, therefore, the individuals in charge of such a limited government should be limited in the scope of choices available to them. Just as they may not start a war for any interest other than the security of the country’s citizens, so they may not stand idly by while their citizens are being butchered, certainly when they have the military might needed to prevent, mitigate or end the threat.

Understanding this position also helps clarify just where those who want us to avoid killing civilians in enemy-controlled territory truly stand: firmly on the side of our enemies, no matter who those enemies are, no matter what war is being fought. Don’t let them fool you when they downplay the significance of the current wave of terrorist attacks. If we were nuked, their position on civilian casualties would be no different: we should live (or die) with the fact that our own citizens and soldiers are getting massacred by the hundreds of thousands if the only way to prevent such a massacre is to bomb a school or a hospital, and certainly if it is to nuke the enemy.

When the government faces the choice of killing civilians in enemy territory or allowing the enemy to kill its own citizens, choosing the latter is, by definition, treason.

Terror in London: What is going wrong?

Now that the recent rise in “mental illness” related attacks has reached the UK, with Wednesday’s stabbing incident in Russell Square, so have the cries of “what’s wrong with the world?” But “the world” didn’t commit any of these attacks; individuals did. And these individuals all share an ideology which, when followed consistently, results in the kind of carnage we’ve been experiencing, and the much worse devastation that is certain to come. Unless we choose to stop it, that is. But how do we do that?

We can’t expect Islamic terrorism to just go away. No war has ever been won by the attacked side pretending that it hasn’t been attacked, or that the enemy isn’t actually the enemy. Had the United States responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor by saying that Japan is a nation of peace, or by attacking Canada, they would have been defeated, and we would be living in a very different world today.

So why are we told after every terrorist attack that the attackers aren’t “real Muslims”, that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the greatest threat we face is the threat of “Islamophobia”? Why are European countries actively and knowingly importing terrorists?

I don’t know when and where this erosion of the will to actually win the wars we fight began. But seeing the way the west has handled the issue of Islamic terrorism, it’s clear to me that we have reached boiling point.

The European response to the Islamic State’s promise to flood Europe with its terrorists and to export their ideology to us – welcoming migrants from Islamic State controlled territories with open arms, and without the slightest attempt at checking whether or not they are the terrorists we were promised – is, without a doubt, treasonous. A proper response would have been to wipe out the Islamic State, a feat the air force of any major European country, and certainly the United States, can achieve within hours. But that’s not how the west fights nowadays. When western countries do go to war, they do so apologetically, with no intention of actually defeating the enemy, and with more concern for the lives of civilians on the enemy’s side then the lives of their own soldiers.

During recent military campaigns abroad we’ve heard politicians tell us that they’re doing everything they can to minimise civilian casualties, that the population in the enemy-controlled territory is not our enemy, and that the ideology in the name of which we’re being slaughtered in the streets is really a force for good.

It’s important to remember, every single time a civilian is murdered in a European country, or in the United States, or in Israel, that the government of that country had the power to save his life, that that is what governments exist for, and that the politicians deem these lives not only expendable, but less worthy of saving than the lives of civilians in enemy-controlled territories.

Understanding that the west, by its values, is morally superior to the primitive, barbaric animals against whom we’re fighting is the only way we can begin to turn the tide in this war. Unfortunately, since no one in a position of power has the guts or the conscience to name the enemy, the ambiguity politicians are so eager to maintain will only be replaced by the clarity of our loss in this war.