If the Objectivist theory of politics had to be summed up in one word, that word would be: individual rights. The theme of this term's meetings is the importance of individual rights. Through a series of audiotapes, videotapes, and a live speaker, we will examine just which rights individuals have (e.g., the right to abortion and the right to free speech, among others), while refuting modern attempts to trivialize rights (e.g., "animal rights" or a "right to health care").
LUSO meetings occur every Thursday night at 7:00 PM, beginning on April 16th, in the Media center. Please note that the specific room varies from week to week:
14. April: "Pro-Choice is Pro-Life: The Philosophical Basis of a Woman's Right Right to an Abortion",
Andrew Bernstein, Ph.D. Adjunct Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pace University (Pleasantville, New York).
7:00 PM, Main Hall 109; reception to follow
Sponsored by LUCC
This is an unequivocal defense of the moral right to abortion. Dr. Bernstein argues that the only one entitled to invoke the "right to life" is the pregnant woman, who ought to freely decide how her life is to be lived. He also examines the errors in the scientific claims of anti- abortionists. This hard-hitting talk will unsettle both conservatives and liberals.
16. April: "An Introduction to Objectivism", (videotape), Dr. Leonard Peikoff. Media Center 124.
A step-by-step introduction to Ayn Rand's philosophy for Objectivists and non-Objectivists alike. In this lecture, Dr. Leonard Peikoff deals with fundamentals such as why one should care about philosophy in general or any philosophy in particular; what is philosophy; what are philosophy's five branches and how they relate to each other; why one cannot escape philosophy; and why, in one way or another, everyone has some view of a philosophical nature. Dr. Peikoff then goes into a lengthy discussion of Objectivism and its unique views on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and esthetics. (40 min., with Q & A).
23. April: "Debate: Do Animals Have Rights?", (videotape), Dr. Edwin Locke vs. Steven Sapontzis. Media Center 126.
Objectivist professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Edwin Locke, debates an advocate of animal rights. Dr. Locke argues that only man possesses rights.
30. April: "Medicine: The Death of a Profession", (videotape), Dr. Leonard Peikoff. Media Center 124.
How government intervention in medicine [and the alleged "right to health care"] is leading to the eventual unavailability of competent medical care in America. (90 min., with Q & A).
7. May: "The Philosophic Death of Free Speech", (audiotape), Robert Garmong. Media Center 126.
Today, freedom of speech is under widespread assault, by conservatives and liberals. How did this crucial right -- the core of a civilized society -- become so weakened? Robert Garmong presents a brief history of free speech from ancient Greece to modern times. He examines the philosophic premise upon which free speech depends. And he shows why the philosopher generally accepted as the paramount champion of free speech is actually its arch-enemy. This talk will give you a better understanding of the precarious state of the principle of free speech. (100 min., with Q & A).
14. May: "Ayn Rand and the History of Individual Rights", (videotape), Dr. John Ridpath. Media Center 124.
Dr. Ridpath traces the development of individual rights from the ancient Greeks, through the Enlightenment, to its erosion in the 19th and 20th centuries. He ends by briefly discussing Objectivism's role in reversing the tide of collectivism. (2 hours, with Q & A).
21. May: "The Declaration of Independence", (audiotape), Dr. John Ridpath. Media Center 124.
The Declaration of Independence not only represented a political watershed, but also embodied the deeply held values of America's founding fathers. This lecture covers both aspects of this crucial document. It examines: the historical background of the decade prior to 1776; the process by which the Declaration was written and ratified; and the subsequent fate of both the Declaration and some of its heroic signers. [The emotional tone of this lecture] makes vividly clear why Ayn Rand once wrote: "If it is ever proper for men to kneel, we should kneel when we read the Declaration of Independence. (90 min., with Q & A).
28. May: "A Utopia of Greed: Ayn Rand's Moral Defense of Laissez- faire Capitalism", Dr. Richard Salsman. Media Center 124.
Utopias have motivated men for centures -- but these utopias have always advocated the sacrifice of the individual. In practice they have caused mass murder -- yet no one has challenged their morality. Until Ayn Rand. She rejects the morality of traditional utopias, as well as the cyncicism of those who reject idealism as such. Ayn Rand offers both a moral and a practical utopia that is based on rational selfishness, individualism, and laissez-faire capitalism. In this talk, Richard Salsman explains why Ayn Rand sees capitalism as an "unknown ideal," and how she makes known, in unmistakable terms, its history, its moral basis, and its ideal nature. (75 min., with Q & A).
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