Shayne Wissler
“… to understand is, above all, to unify.” – Albert Camus

False alternatives in political philosophy: David D. Friedman debates George H. Smith (1981)

December 16 2018

This debate explores the question: What should be the foundation of a proper political philosophy – Economics, or Ethics?

If we were to conclude that reason can’t solve moral problems in an ultimate sense[1][2], then what should we do?

Friedman: Let’s see about solving economic problems and just use our gut to guide us about ultimate moral aims. Analyzing why our gut is leading us where it doe…

Johnathan Haidt’s “The Rationalist Delusion” Delusion

January 28 2018

“The irrational separates us, the rational unites us.”

— Bertrand Russell paraphrasing Aristotle

“I have very low standards.”

— Johnathan Haidt

One of the most vile things an academic can do is to observe the popular but wrong opinion and then repeat it back to the populace with an air of authority. The professor is not supposed to be the mouthpiece for fools, he’s supposed to be a source of wisdo…

Objectivist bans the phrase ‘Crony Capitalism’

January 20 2018

An Objectivist acquaintance of mine posted yesterday about how people in our society don’t trust markets, and I replied that “There’s a lot of crony capitalism out there, and most people lack an imagination about how else things might work.”

A different Objectivist chimed in that “there’s no such thing as crony capitalism…” I thought that surely this fellow had not come up with this obtus…

On preventing mass murder

October 04 2017

Once we get past the initial shock of yet another mass murder, those of us with an ounce of wisdom cringe at reflecting on what police-state encroachments leftists will push for next. We of course cheer courageous and intelligent people such as Ben Shapiro pushing back against unhinged leftist nonsense, but the question remains: how do we prevent such atrocities?

Short of the type of police state tyranny that would make North Korea blush, there’s no way that the bru…

Why is there Something rather than Nothing?

September 25 2017

One thing many juvenile questioners don’t understand is that getting answers isn’t some kind of philosophical entitlement program where all you have to do is show up and stick out your hand. If you are going to ask questions and expect rational answers, then be prepared to answer why your question makes any sense.

Regarding the question “Why is there Something rather than Nothing?”, pay special attention to the term “Why…

Are we living in a simulation?

April 14 2017

“[Many philosophers of the Academy], in their efforts to puzzle the minds of their hearers, resort to such paradoxes, and are so fertile in inventing plausibilities, that they wonder whether or not it is possible for those in Athens to smell eggs roasted in Ephesus, and are in doubt whether all the time they are discussing the matter the Academy they are not lying in their beds at home and composing this discourse in a dream… From this excessive love of…

Will Durant: Philosophy as Disintegrator (book excerpt)

March 19 2017

The rise of philosophy, then, often heralds the decay of a civilization. Speculation begins with nature and begets naturalism; it passes to man – first as psychological mystery and then as a member of society – and begets individualism. Philosophers do not always desire these results; but they achieve them. They feel themselves the unwilling enemies of the state: they think of men in terms of personality while the state thinks o…

The problem with Objectivism

February 11 2017

draft; not perfect yet

“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” -– Vince Lombardi

It’s a reasonably obvious tenet that, for human beings, perfection is a path, not a destination.

Ayn Rand, aghast by what she saw as bumbling incompetents presuming to be able to speak for her, did the equivalent of dynamiting Cortlandt (see The Fountainhead) to her “philosophy of reason”, particularly qua moveme…

Moral Chaos vs. Rational Unity

September 24 2016

The moral chaos of our era stems from the fact that people think they can think about moral problems, without actually knowing how to. Tell someone that they lack the math skills to solve a given math problem and they readily admit deficiency; but tell someone that they lack the skill for properly considering moral problems and their reply will be self-righteous indignation.

“… things that are true and things that are just have a natural tendency to prev…

“Shut up and calculate”

August 17 2016

Regarding the ongoing brouhaha about physics vs. philosophy, I think most normal intelligent people are going to easily come to the conclusion that those scientists who have declared philosophy irrelevant are only making fools of themselves. Obviously philosophy is relevant, and these scientists could easily prove that to themselves by considering the fact that the very dispute at hand is a philosophical dispute: once you say “I think philosophy is irre…

The Strong Artifical Intelligence myth

August 08 2016

I recently found an excellent article by Bobby Azarion on why a strong AI based on digital computers[1] will never happen (much of this is a concise summary of the arguments of philosopher John Searle). Here are a few more points:

[link]Induction is not deduction[link]

From a philosophical point of view, we know that strong AI is impossible because induction is not deduction. Computers (including neural networks) are, at best, merely deductive engines: every output is merely …

Carnival of Impunity

August 04 2016

If impunity were a form of entertainment, modern civilization is one giant carnival of impunity. Everywhere you look someone is getting away with something extremely wicked, and what’s worse, it’s often officially sanctioned! Indeed, we have to wonder whether our current practice of government aims at systematically manufacturing impunity for various and sundry beneficiaries.

Some of this has gone so far that we need an ancient perspective to begin to recognize it…


July 31 2016

No one whose insight is keen can ever be happy with the political candidates that are produced by the contemporary culture, because the candidates at hand are never more than the chaotic emissions of brew consisting of countless corrupted ingredients: the dark manipulations of power-mongers, the morons on parade, the morass of confused journalistic and educational institutions, the babbling gossipy anti-intellectualism of partisans, etc.

Because our sordid culture has no intellectual integri…

Lions of Liberty Podcast Ep. 43: Shayne Wissler on Against Anarchism

July 17 2014

On July 8, 2014 I was interviewed by Marc Clair at Lions Of Liberty:

In this episode of the Lions of Liberty Podcast, I welcome Shayne Wissler back to the show, to discuss the concepts laid out in his essay, “Against Anarchism.” Shayne explains why he believes it’s vital for advocates of individual liberty to work out differences in their philosophy, and describes the contradictions he sees with the anarchist viewpoint. Sha…


December 16 2013

For those who take any interest in history, philosophy, or politics, it is worth noting that by “State”, Plato and Aristotle meant city-state, i.e. a small and politically independent town. They did not mean the megalomanical nation-states that now dominate our planet.

For Plato, the ideal size of a “State” was around 5000 citizens/families[1]. This is a number he picked not because he was provincial, but because it was a number large enough such that the city-s…

Lions of Liberty Podcast Ep. 2: Shayne Wissler

September 26 2013

On September 25, 2013 I was interviewed by Marc Clair at Lions Of Liberty. Marc writes:

The second episode of the Lions of Liberty Podcast is up!

In this edition, I speak with Shayne Wissler, the author of “Reason and Liberty” and “For Individual Rights”. We discuss why using reason to achieve a consistent philosophy is important to the advancement of the ideas of liberty.

I feel the ideas discussed in this podcast are very important. It is essen…