Ethics 1

This is my latest short video based on The Objectivist Ethics by Ayn Rand (from The Virtue of Selfishness).

It’s definitely better to watch a larger YouTube version than the one here, though, which you can do by clicking the YouTube link in the control bar at the bottom of the screen below.

If a larger screen doesn’t open automatically, click the rectangle icon on the lower right that says “Theatre mode” when you hover over it.

The Semi and the Butcher


This is a parody in the style of Ayn Rand by Brett Holverstott. As i have tremendous respect for Ayn Rand’s work, this is not meant to dismiss it, but i post the story because it’s both absurdly humourous—to those familiar with Ayn’s work—and unwittingly touches on themes related to both this blog and my book (Society VX).

I’ve changed the version i found slightly to correct minor errors (eg spelling), and to try to make the second-last paragraph clearer.


Ayn Rand answers the question which has plagued philosophers and the general public for centuries: “Why did the chicken cross the road?” She proposes that throughout the history of poultry, chickens have been offered two false alternatives: to either die as roadkill or submit to The Butcher. With ground-breaking symbolism paralleling Nietzsche’s Apollo vs. Dionysus, Rand argues that each alternative is a reciprocal manifestation of the same ideology—and proposes a third alternative consistent with her Objectivist philosophy of living on Earth.

Continue reading The Semi and the Butcher

Gary Francione’s Moral Realism

In the Introduction to his 2000 book Introduction to Animal Rights, Gary Francione says:

Moral judgments may not be certain in the same way that mathematical statements are, but moral judgments do not require such certainty in order to be persuasive and compelling. If one moral view is supported by better reasons than others, then that moral view is presumably the one we should adopt—until some other moral position with even better reasons in its support comes along. If an argument in favor of a moral position is valid—that is, the conclusion of the argument follows from the premises in such a way that if the premises were true, the conclusion must also be true—then any such argument should be accepted over an argument in which there is no such relationship between the premises and conclusion. If a moral position “fits” more comfortably with other considered moral positions that we hold, then we ought to accept that moral position over another that does not so fit.

Measure of value

Steve Best says that “the only measure of value in capitalism is exchange value, not the intrinsic value of life.”

Exchange value enriches life. It makes travel possible; enables us to buy food at the supermarket; to communicate across the world by email; and even to work at universities decrying capitalism.

As i mentioned in my last post, Ayn Rand tells us in The Objectivist Ethics, that “The principle of trade is the only rational ethical principle for all human relationships, personal and social, private and public, spiritual and material. It is the principle of justice.”

As such, a measure of value in capitalism is certainly exchange value, whether that’s of tyres or tofu.

But is exchange value the only measure?

No. In fact, to arrive at capitalism as a social system, and to arrive at morality before that, there must be an ultimate standard of value. And that ultimate standard of value, contrary to Steve, is life.

Any action that disregards the value of life is not capitalism, but a flawed understanding of it.