The Theory and Dangers of “The Commons”


Since Roman times, it has been held that certain resources, such as air and water, cannot and should not be privately owned, but instead held “in common.” While the idea of “the commons” is plausible—applying property rights to moving resources is complex—“the commons” is a package deal that attempts to unite disparate concretes. Today’s commons movement equates the man-made with the metaphysical, including such values as infrastructure, software, and education as a part of “the commons.” The goal of the movement is the obliteration of property rights.

On November 17, 2012 I delivered a talk to the Houston Objectivism Society titled “The Theory and Dangers of ‘The Commons’.”






The Message the Republicans Don’t Get


I happened to hear Rush Limbaugh on Friday. He sarcastically chastised the pundits and “really smart people” who argue that the Republican party must be more inclusive. We should reach out to women, he said, by being pro-abortion. We should reach out to gays, he said, by supporting same-sex marriages. We should reach out to Hispanics, he said, by favoring amnesty for illegals. We should reach out to the young, he said, by supporting the legalization of drugs.

What Rush, and Republicans in general, don’t understand, is the concept of individual rights. If they did, they would drop this whole notion of trying to appeal to certain groups and appeal to individuals.

The Declaration of Independence, which Rush is fond of citing, states that all men (read humans) possess certain inalienable rights, among these being life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We, like Rush, have heard these words since childhood. But what do they mean?

The right to life means that you own your life. I own my life. Each individual owns his life. The right to liberty means the freedom to act as you judge best, for your life. The right to the pursuit of happiness means the freedom to pursue the values that you want.

These rights, like all rights, pertain to freedom of action—the freedom to act according to one’s own judgment.

This means that individuals—including women—have a right to do with their body as they choose. This means that individuals—including gays—have a right to marry the person of their choosing. This means that individuals—including Hispanics—have a right to live where they choose. This means that individuals—including the young—have a right to ingest the substances of their choosing.

Supporting individual rights does not mean being pro-abortion or pro-drugs. It means supporting the right of individuals to live as they choose.

If the Republicans hope to become relevant again, that is a lesson that they must learn. And that is the message that they must deliver.

Texas Patriots Talk


On September 4 I spoke to the Texas Patriots PAC on “Individual Rights and the Tea Party.”