Sunday, April 03, 2011

Machan Archives: Published Letters to The New York Times since 1986

August 3, 1986
Ayn Rand's Philosophy
To the Editor:
In his review of Barbara Branden's ''Passion of Ayn Rand'' (July 6), Peter L. Berger betrays his ignorance of Objectivism by dismissing it as simple without even a morsel of evidence or argument.
In fact, from the initial outline Ayn Rand provided, a very rich and powerful philosophy emerges - e.g., it solves such problems as science versus free will and moral responsibility, knowledge versus the fact of fallibility. Merely because Rand's ideas were not born in academe or developed in full detail by her, it cannot be concluded that they are unsound. TIBOR R. MACHAN Auburn, Ala.

November 7, 1988
Thinking in Hungarian
LEAD: To the Editor:
To the Editor:
''As any student of etymology knows,'' Debra J. Silberstein asserts, ''the words we use represent how we think'' (letter, Oct. 17). What does she say, then, about a culture, such as Hungary's, wherein male chauvinism is rampant, but the language is gender neutral? TIBOR R. MACHAN Auburn University, Ala., Oct. 17, 1988.

February 26, 1997
Evolving China Merely Resembles a Dynasty
To the Editor:
You argue (Week in Review, Feb. 23) that China is a fascist, not a Communist, system. This recalls Susan Sontag's pithy statement that ''Communism is successful fascism,'' presumably by virtue of its being more totalitarian, leaving no loopholes by which to transform itself into a democratic system.
Of course, fascism is not capitalism -- no one has the right to private property, and people own things only when the government finds this conducive to public policy. Since China was about to go belly-up economically after Mao Zedong, no wonder its leaders felt the need to open things up.
The bottom line, though, is that citizens are still treated as children, not as adults. Under capitalism the opposite is the bottom line: people's economic decisions are not dictated by the state.

Orange, Calif., Feb. 24, 1997

January 28, 1998
Why Programming Skill Is Cheap; No Discrimination

To the Editor:
Norman Matloff (Op-Ed, Jan. 26) regards hiring mostly young programmers as ''rampant age discrimination'' and notes that companies are ''focusing their hiring on new or recent college graduates, who are cheaper and can work lots of overtime.'' But age discrimination means refusing to hire solely on grounds of age. When it is a matter of salaries and greater availability of employees, that is economics, and employers owe their shareholders precisely the service of finding such employees so as to bring in better returns on investment.
While it might be nice to hire workers of any age, this is a luxury that many companies cannot afford. To regard this as age discrimination is to belittle their legitimate concerns.

Orange, Calif., Jan. 26, 1998

The writer is a professor of business ethics at Chapman University.

July 5, 2000
Black, White, Gray: America Talks About Race; The Newsroom

To the Editor:
Re ''Between the Lines, a Measure of Hurt: A Newsroom Divides After a Healing Series on Race'' (''How Race Is Lived in America,'' front page, June 29):
The dispute between the black journalist and the white journalist over the word ''niggardly'' is really about what people owe one another. If you know that someone is going to be upset by the use of a word and you can use another word with equal profit to what you want to say, it is thoughtless or even callous for you to go ahead and use it. But if you aren't aware of some particular sensitivity about a word on the part of your audience, need you go to considerable lengths to learn what words will upset them and then avoid using those?
This is a question of ethics, not race. Not every issue between blacks and whites is necessarily a racial one.

Silverado, Calif., June 29, 2000

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