Join me tomorrow for another episode of my live webcast, where I discuss news and politics from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism. The platform I use requires you to register if you want to attend live, but it allows for participation via text and voice (if you have a usb headset/mic attached to your computer or call in via phone).
Topics I have planned so far: Superman renounces his United States citizenship; Iran considers legislation that would ban dog ownership; a Pennsylvania court enforces a will which calls for the distribution of assets in accordance with Sharia law. More to come, and feel free to suggest topics here as well.
Topics: Criticisms of Ayn Rand in the wake of the release of Atlas Shrugged, Part I. The jailing of koran-burning pastor Terry Jones because of his planned demonstration outside a mosque in Michigan. And more.
If you were unable to attend live and would like to hear this week’s webcast/podcast, click here, or you can access it, either later today or tomorrow, via iTunes (link on the right-hand side of this web page >>>>>> ).
Approximate time line:
Recent criticisms of Ayn Rand: 3:04 – 23:40
Jailing of Terry Jones: 23:40 – 52:09
Miscellaneous round up: 52:09 – end
Thanks to all who participated live in this week’s webcast. Use the comments portion of this post to leave comments, and to suggest topics for next week. Also, if you are enjoying the podcasts, don’t forget to “Like” the show’s page on Facebook (link on the right-hand side of this web page >>>>>), plus leave ratings and reviews in iTunes.
If you would like to register to attend next Sunday’s webcast live, click here.
As you may have heard, controversial koran-burning pastor Terry Jones was jailed this week in Dearborn, Michigan, because of his plans to demonstrate outside the largest Islamic Center in the United States. He and an associate were apparently released on $1 bond each, on the condition that neither go within some specified distance of the Center for three years!! Eugene Volokh is following the story on his blog, providing periodic updates along with Constitutional analysis.
What does this mean for us? As Ayn Rand has said, free speech is the litmus test issue by which we judge whether we are still able to speak, to persuade our fellow man to adopt views consistent with individual rights. Now, even at the time she was writing about this issue, in the 1960’s, there were some restrictions on speech. So it’s not the case that one more restriction necessarily means we’ve gone over the precipice towards totalitarian dictatorship. But here we have what Constitutional scholars call a “prior restraint” on speech, one that Eugene Volokh predicts (at link above) should clearly be found unconstitutional. And yet it happened. Here.
In addition, this is distinctly unlike restrictions on obscenity or profanity. The ideology of Islam, if adopted and practiced consistently, does appear, from everything I know about it (I plan to learn more, soon, starting with my Koran reading group), to be a threat to our way of life. Freedom to protest against it is as important as freedom to protest against any politician, political party, or political ideology. This is not an issue of defending one’s right to produce or consume tasteless pornography, simply as a matter of principle, so that we can preserve our right to political speech. In my mind, this is an unjustified restraint on political speech itself. What do you think? Join in the discussion during my live webcast tomorrow and let me know (here’s the link to the Facebook event with more information, or you can go directly to register here).
[Update: Terry Jones apparently plans to sue the prosecutor’s office in Michigan for what they have done to him. Let’s hope he wins and that this sets a precedent for any other prosecutors that would prevent us from exercising our freedom of speech!]