Friday, May 09, 2008

Quick Hits

Stella posts a story indicating that less risk capital is being allocated to medical research due to regulatory risk. On a personal level, I too have decided to shy away from such investments for the same reason. Additionally I've recently cut back my medical insurance to a bare-bones disaster policy and am putting away the difference in premium in what I call my "medical tourism account". I'm pretty convinced that by the time I need real medical care (say 20 - 30 years down the road), I'll be seeking it in Singapore or Bangkok not in North America.

Paul has an encouraging post showing the effect FIRM is having in Colorado. Intellectual activism can produce results!

C. August posts on Yaron Brook's talk at the Ford Hall Forum (a video of a similar talk given here in Irvine is available on the ARI site). I found this portion of the Q&A interesting (if you had asked me the same question, my initial thought would have been that the public is less and less interested in ideas, but I like Yaron's take much better):
One other really interesting bit happened near the very end of the Q&A. An older gentleman stood up and said, basically "I've been coming to these talks for 30 years, and I'm saddened to see how few people there are in the hall tonight. What has happened?" It was a valid question, because I remember when the Forum was hosted at Northeastern in the mid-90's and there were many hundreds of people in attendance.

Dr. Brook laughed and said "Well, for one thing, I'm not Ayn Rand." The audience laughed, but then he went on. Again, to paraphrase, he said "Think about when she gave her lecture in 1969. She could fill a 1,500 person hall. People would travel across the country for the Ford Hall Forum, because if you wanted to hear an Objectivist speak, that was it. In contrast, look at where we are now. This is my third talk in the Boston area this week, and I'll give two more in the coming days. Universities across the country regularly host Objectivist speakers, and in California we have at least one lecture a month. We're planning a new center in Washington D.C." and he went on and on, describing the many opportunities people now have to hear these ideas. Dr. Brook is on TV many times a month, and is published in Forbes magazine regularly. The key, he said, is that we are laying the foundations for a philosophy of reason and individual rights to be considered as a viable and expected alternative to the widely held ideas of the day. "You won't be able to turn on a news program without those ideas being put forth."

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