Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My Comment to the plan on rebuildtheparty.com

I posted this as a comment on the new plan at rebuildtheparty.com.

* * *

To identify the 800lb gorilla in the room, the Republican party is in shambles because of:

1) Drifting to the left away from the principles of individual freedom and the free market.

2) Looking towards technology, grassroots support, recruiting, and fundraising, to address the problem instead of addressing the problem (see #1)

A reason why I left the Republican party is that Republican leaders have lost the philosophical battle by default - they choose not to identify and advocate the principles that won elections in the past. In the process they conceded their values to the new ideal of "the center". A centrist is someone who tries to escape the responsibility of thinking by not taking a consistent stand on relevant issues. By doing this they also implicitly reject the concept of certainty.

Observe that politics is the application of morality in a social context. If challenged, Obama would have been unable to make a consistent moral case for his socialistic policies - but nobody challenged him on a moral basis. All it would have taken is for McCain to ask during the debate:

"Sen. Obama, what is the proper role of government?"
"Sen. Obama, how do you differentiate right from wrong?"
"Sen. Obama, how do you know?"
"Sen. Obama, by what process of reason would you convince a rational person who disagrees with you that your policies are good and proper?"

In summary: as a party *you are your principles*. Republicans need to win the intellectual battle first, to do this Republican leaders need to choose to fight it. Republicans have traditionally been the defenders of individual freedom in the United States, and will only be a viable alternative to Democrats if they understand this role with it's full ethical justification.


Matthew W. Yucha
Mentor, OH

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why I love Tony Stark

If you haven't seen the movie Iron Man I highly recommend it. Unlike many other super hero movies, the source of Iron Man's "powers" is the mind of a single man - an inventor named Tony Stark. As the story goes, Stark inherited a fortune from his father and chose not to corrupt his money. He instead decided to practice rationality and used his brilliance to become Stark Industries greatest asset. Like John Galt, Tony Stark created a machine that could produce incredible amounts of energy. While Galt used his motor to power the buildings that supported the last of the worlds producers, Stark used his technology to defeat those who initiated force against free people.

Tony Stark is a self-made individual who practices many elements of the morality proper to man. The film is centered on Stark achieving his values in the face of evil and adversity while shamelessly enjoying the fruit of his efforts. This is a consistent theme thorough the entire movie - at the end when he is encouraged to take the altruistic approach and cover up the fact that he defeated the villain, he simply responds to the press: "I am Iron Man".

In an age when I see a large segment my country's population marching to the drumbeat of self-sacrifice, intellectual stagnation, bailouts, welfare, and mediocrity as an ideal, it is inspiring to see a character like Tony Stark come out of Hollywood.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Barack Obama and Private Property

Barack Obama either doesn't understand private ownership or wants to erode it away. He holds need as a means of acquiring value. The law of causality dictates that before a value is consumed it must be produced by someone and reality does not recognize need as a valid method of production. Therefore, to acquire value based on need he must punish the best in society for the sake of the worst by taxing the top producers to the benefit of those who produce little or nothing. Observe that man's right to property is a consequence of his right to life. In other words if I can't keep the things that I earn that sustain my life then my life is disposable at the whim of whatever bureaucrat claimed ownership of my property. The real irony is that this is the same philosophical misunderstanding that allows slavery: one group taking the values produced by another by force.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The 33% Rule Part 1: Basic principles of economics

The current bad state of our financial system is a symptom of a massive disconnect with reality. In this article I would like to clarify the problem and propose the solution. Before I present the solution, I will clearly identify the principles involved with a simple rule called "The 33% rule".

Figure 1 shows a healthy economy where three producer/consumers (P/C) are participating as traders in a division of labor economy. The amount of value each individual consumes is dependent on how much value he can produce.

Observe what happens when one individual stops producing in Figure 2: the economy loses 33% of it's produced value. Now demand for the value produced increases and along with prices. This simple case demonstrates how a pure consumer (C) erodes the benefits of living in a society. Also, observe that C can only survive second-hand by the value produced and given away by a P/C.

Now let us examine the nature of production to identify why it works this way. Causality dictates that before a value may be consumed it has to be produced by someone. This fact makes it impossible to consume more than is produced. Any attempt to do so is an attempt to reverse the law of causality and will fail. Stated formally, the 33% rule is: A fictional economy of three participants is 100% efficient if all three are both producers and consumers. If one individual stops producing and turns into a pure consumer then the economy loses 33% of it's value.

Figure 3 models what is happening today in the United States and likely every other economy around the world. Each P/C produces more than he consumes which creates a surplus of value produced. The higher the surplus created by the P/C the more value produced is given to the Cs.

We must understand why P/Cs are giving value to Cs. In a free society this transfer is called charity and is left to the discretion of the P/C. Charity is both good and proper as long as all parties are participating by voluntary choice. If the number of Cs grows beyond the ability of the P/C to help then the P/C has the choice to stop giving value away which forces the Cs to either live by their own ability, exist second -hand off of another P/C, or die.

If this seems harsh then consider the the alternative depicted in figure 4. Without any P/Cs the Cs must either become a P/C or die. In part 2 I will expand on figures 2 and 3 and identify where the United States lies, how we arrived at that point, and what we need to do.

Friday, September 26, 2008

How to Identify the True Motivations of a Universal Healthcare Advocate

The problem of "universal healthcare" is not complicated when it is fully understood. Most of the complexities arise when politicians and political action groups try to figure out the best way to force me to pay for it. The only ethical way to provide "universal healthcare" is to privately fund it with the donations of those individuals who support such a cause. Anyone who wants to contribute can and will, and those that don't will not be forced to. To illustrate, the next time you are confronted with someone supporting universal healthcare, I suggest the following propositions:

  1. If they can afford it challenge them to take out a classified ad in a local newspaper offering to partially or fully fund someone else's healthcare coverage.
  2. If they cannot afford healthcare coverage themselves then challenge them to take out a classified ad in a local newspaper to appeal to a universal healthcare to advocate sponsor them.
This way, universal healthcare supporters can act immediately and contribute directly to their cause. By acting directly on the problem all roadblocks disappear. Nobody can oppose such action because everyone involved is participating by voluntary choice. There will be no debate as to the effectiveness of such action - results will be immediate and self-evident. There will be no challenges to the efficiency of such action - no overhead is necessary to pay a few extra bills for your sponsored healthcare recipients. If the would-be advocate of universal healthcare rejects items #1 or #2 then you have identified their true motivation: to loot the best in society for the sake of the worst under the disguise of charity.

Friday, September 19, 2008

On Judging Character

The following are questions I came up with a few weeks ago when I was invited to a Barack Obama campaign house meeting. My intent was challenge the local Obama campaign organizers to see how well they knew their candidate and themselves. The questions are:

  1. Identify the proper role of government.
  2. What standard(s) do you use to differentiate good from evil?
  3. How do you know the answers to #1 and #2?
  4. If a reasonable person disagreed with your answers to questions 1-3, how would you convince them that your position is correct?

The questions are designed to reveal an individual's character and validate it for consistency. They are asked in order from most abstract to most specific and are conceptually hierarchical - in other words 1 is based on 2, 2 is based on 3, and so on. The purpose of the ordering is to prevent the subject from thinking through an inconsistent viewpoint on the spot (remember my goal is to reveal the subject's character to the questioner, not for the subject to discover it for the first time). The questions correspond to the subject's views on the four major branches of philosophy: politics, ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics.

Most individuals have political opinions and can state them easily in conscious terms. Question 1 is a benchmark that is used as a consistency check for the remaining questions. Question 2 uncovers the ethical standard or standards the subject accepts as true which can be use to validate their position on the proper role of government. Question 3 is intended to identify the subject's method of knowledge, this can also be used to validate the consistency of the previously stated ethical and political positions.

Question 4 will determine if the subject can link their beliefs back to perceptual reality (which is the only way to convince a reasonable person who disagrees). Up until this point the subject may find comfort in the realm of arbitrary opinion, but linking his or her views to reality is impossible unless the views are true in metaphysical reality; therefore, question 4 validates whether or not the subject's views are correct and proper.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Windfall profits

Assertion: The political meaning of "Windfall profits" is an anti-concept designed to obliterate the valid concepts of private property, investment, and risk-return.

Proof: Causality. Man's right to property is a consequence to man's right to life.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

This is a test using ScribeFire

Hello world.

Edit: this is an update

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I would fall under the category of agnostic. I cannot say definitively that there is not a God and every attempt I have made to understand God and religion has ended up with accepting it on faith. I have tried to define God ostensively by looking at existence and life, however even though it seems statistically improbable that life as we know it exists by chance, I cannot perceive a causal link to God - there is only acceptance by faith.

Epistemologically faith is not a proper method of knowledge, it should be a temporary state of uncertainty that will be resolved when more facts are known. A belief system based on faith is ultimately arbitrary. No matter how true or false the conclusions of a faith-based belief system are, they cannot be proven or understood objectively. Take for instance stealing. Many individuals would agree that it is wrong because of religious and/or faith-based moral reasons. However while the conclusion is true the individual in question doesn't know it. Before he can fully understand stealing, he must first base his ethics in perceptual reality.

Ethics is a code of values accepted by choice that guide man’s choices and actions. Life is the fundamental value and a requirement for all other values. Stated generally, all things that lead to life are good and all things that lead to death are evil. Since life and death are well-understood and observable, they are solid concepts to use as an ethical foundation and make arbitrary value-judgments impossible. Any healthy, thinking individual regardless of his or her religious beliefs, upbringing, or social disposition may determine what is good or evil by practicing rationality. Therefore to understand why stealing is evil, one must know it’s relationship to life.

Survival is the action that supports life. Like all actions, survival is a choice that man must make in order to sustain his own life. Time is the price paid for survival. To obtain food and water man must spend time performing activities (such as hunting) to obtain fuel for his body. Savings enables us to keep a stock of unconsumed goods which can buy time, which is the price paid for survival, which is the action that supports life. Therefore, to take unearned property (savings) is immoral because it disrupts the process necessary to support an individual’s life. If I don't understand the concept of stealing objectively then I leave myself open to accept "moral" justifications for stealing (Socialism, Robin Hood as a hero, or even capital gains taxes).

Saturday, March 8, 2008

More Mac OS 10.5 Irritations

Dear Apple;

Today my wife and I were unable to access the Internet because our ISP was having DNS issues. No problem - we set up local DNS servers on our MacBooks. After doing so it was apparent that running DNS locally significantly sped things up. We decided to make our changes permanent: I run Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger) and simply added a line to /etc/rc - like on any other BSD based system. However my wife isn't so fortunate she installed Leopard.

Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) went a different route and removed /etc/rc in favor of launchd. Apple, why would you do this? No only does removing this file make "upgrading" to Leopard harder for individuals who rely on /etc/rc but it is also completely unnecessary. BSD has used rc scripts to boot for well over 20 years, by 2008 this is certainly mature code. It would have been just as easy to leave an empty (yet functional) rc script present with a comment that says: "# Included for legacy support - please use launchd. Thanks, Apple".

Thanks but no thanks to Leopard, Apple. If I wanted change for the sake of change and by doing so breaking important things that already work, I would vote for Obama and upgrade to Visa.


Matthew W. Yucha

# # #
Insight: Barack Obama has a lot in common with Windows Vista!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Insights Today On Morality

  1. Non-contradictory values lead to the fulfillment of other values and are moral qua life.
  2. Contradictory values are a mixture of morality and immorality, happiness and sadness, life and death.
  3. There exist degrees of immorality: cigar smoking < drug addiction < suicide.
  4. Good is more powerful than evil as long as living things want to live.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Understanding Units

In studying objectivism, I am having difficulty understanding the concept of units. I have reposted a similar message to a small number of objectivist soures to find the correct answers. If / when I receive a reply I shall update this post so that all may benefit.

# # #


A unit is a (partial?) capture of the identity of an existent in man’s consciousness. Units must refer to a perceived concrete. Units can refer to existents other than physical concretes such as length. The relationship between a unit and attributes is composition: units are composed of attributes in various measurable quantities. The relationship between antecedent units and a concept is aggregation.


  • Does a unit always refer to an instance of a concrete or can it be a generalization too? For example: a book vs. a particular book, Color vs. a particular shade of blue, weight vs. 100 pounds (or is 100 an attribute of a unit “collection of pounds”).
  • Does measurement omission apply to units and concepts?
  • Is a unit a concept as well?

3/5/2008 UPDATE:
I have received good feedback to the Objectivism Online Forum. Please read through if you have similar questions regarding units.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It is more blessed to give than to receive

Acts 20:35b Insight:

To give is to have the ability to produce value. The receiver is in need of some value and is unable or unwilling to produce it himself. Need is not a virtue and giving can not be considered a virtue by every person in every context. Acts 20:35b is universally correct in principle with a slight clarification: "It is more blessed to be able to give than needing to receive." This clarification places emphasis on the productive ability of the giver rather than the act of giving itself.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Proper Role of a Politician

Politics is an integrated system of values (morality) applied in a social context. Politicians are individuals that either seek to or are currently practicing politics. Therefore, the proper role of a politician is to know and apply his or her morality in the specific social context designated by the particular political position. The incompetent politician adheres to moral grayness at best, no morality whatsoever at worst. By contrast, the proper politician understands his or her morality and all antecedent concepts. The reasons below explain why this is a critical requirement for a proper politician:

  1. When the politician is democratically elected to be a representative, his or her morality must be well-known for the represented group to make reasonable assertions on the politician’s future behavior.
  2. Moral understanding itself is a prerequisite for consistency.
  3. Intellectually, the proper role of government cannot be known by a politician without a conscious moral understanding.

Avoid the politician who makes inconsistent or contradictory decisions - this is an outward sign of an internal moral conflict or contradiction.

Avoid the politician who cannot articulate his or her moral principles - morality not known in conscious terms is not known well enough to properly be applied.

Avoid the politician who by word or by action hides his or her morality - this is the case where moral principles are known by the politician and conflict with the group targeted by the deception.

Avoid the politician who speaks only in abstract terms - this is the tactic to trick people into applying a default morality associated with words. Terms such as “hope”, “change”, “freedom”, “action”, “family”, “pride”, “leadership”, and “faith” all imply requisite moral concepts but do not reveal any specific moral principle.

The current grotesque state of politics is the result of a voting population evading every fact mentioned up to this point. When a voting population does not explicitly demand moral continuity, incompetent politicians will not present one. When you the voter demand knowing only specific foreign, social, and economic policies you allow the politician in question to avoid revealing (and in most cases knowing) his or her moral principles. Without moral continuity the incompetent politician thrives and politics ends up in the only place politics of this nature should be - the sewer.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Mac OS 10.5.1 Leopard Not Ready For Professional Use

A few weeks ago I bought the new Mac OS 10.5 Leopard. Since I use my MacBook Pro for work I wanted to wait until I have another hard drive to backup my old system. I'm glad I did - after approximately four hours I made the decision to roll back to OS 10.4.11 (Tiger).

The installation itself was smooth and as far as I could tell all the "fun" applications functioned properly after the upgrade. However after a few hours of poking around I discovered a laundry list of problems that added up to an extremely disappointing experience. Judging by my experience with Tiger, I am confident that Leopard will reach the same level of quality eventually. However, I have no interest in wasting my time on software with this number of defects. I will conclude with a short summary of my findings:

  • Firewall - believe it or not Apple has created their own firewall in 10.5 and no longer uses ipfw by default. The new firewall works more like Zone Alarm where individual applications are granted permission to access the network. Allowing specific ports is no longer an option unless you write your own ipfw configuration.
  • Case InSeNsItIvE file system - Why?? Not a show stopper but caused MySQL warnings after the update. Possibly other issues as well depending on how MyISAM tables were named.
  • X11 - cannot drag an xterm over to my second display.
  • X11 - no longer reads /etc/bashrc
  • Strange "/dev/tty??: not found" errors when running "w" and "uptime" commands. I don't know the cause of this and didn't have Leopard installed long enough to find out the impact.
  • "ps -x" throws an error, had to change to "ps x" in several of my shell scripts.
  • Apache2 installed from MacPorts is outputting warning messages on startup and shutdown. As far as I can tell this did not impact functionality.
  • Numerous MacPorts (I have version 1.6) did not build when I attempted to upgrade.
  • MacPorts doesn't work with previous version of Xcode (by this I mean compiler, dev tools, etc.). I spent about 30 minutes figuring out that I needed to update to Xcode 3.
  • /var/folders is not writable. This is where PHP sessions and MySQL temporary data is stored on my system. I needed to point everything over to /tmp to get things working again.
  • MySQL System Preferences plugin broken. No big deal because I can start MySQL from a terminal, it is just another annoyance.
  • I have a saved search called "Candidates for Deletion" that finds large files in my home folder that have not been accessed for a period of time. After the Leopard upgrade, the search was broadened to include everything under / (root!).
  • When connecting to the Internet via my Blackberry (Bluetooth), my Bluetooth mouse stopped responding when the Blackberry was taken a distance away from my MacBook Pro. This same scenario under OS 10.4.11 (Tiger) simply disconnects the Blackberry when it goes out of range.
  • VPN passwords were not saved in my keychain, again not a show-stopper but another annoyance.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ron Paul

To anyone who cares I am supporting Ron Paul for president.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Why Socialistic Governments Will Always Fail

Government imposed socialism and socialistic policies have many supporters in the Unites States. Popular politicians from both parties have taken positions that interfere in the private sector and are moving the country in the wrong direction. In this article I assert that such government practices shall ultimately fail because they are incompatible with human free will. I define failure as a range of unintended outcomes from not achieving stated goals to total self destruction.

Healthy human beings exist with both a free will and a value for their own life. Many may choose to adhere to socialistic principals such as committing resources to a religious community, donating to charity, or volunteering time for the betterment of society. In this context, socialistic principles are a virtue - a means by which a person may achieve their own values.

Government imposed socialism is not a moral equivalent. By definition, any government that imposes a system of values on a population is oppressive to those who reject those values. Socialism is the moral equivalent to a theocracy. The only true distinction is whose values are being forced upon you. To advocate the principles of Marxism and at the same time reject a Catholic government taking orders from Rome is a contradiction. Inevitably such governments must enforce their values on dissenters, typically at the cost of human lives - as history has shown.

The source of this value-oriented conflict is human free will. While any governmental implementation of authoritarianism can force a population into compliance, it cannot change the fact that every individual independently chooses what he or she values. Further, only a government that values freedom and life can sustain success. Laissez-faire capitalism is the only form of government ever to exist that is compatible with both human free will and an individual’s value of his or her own life.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Configure JVM DNS Caching

I solved a minor but irritating JVM problem where host names are cached in forever. While this makes DNS spoofing attacks much more difficult, it is also forces an application restart for host name changes to be recognized.

The solution is to alter the networkaddress.cache.ttl settings in $JAVA_HOME/lib/security/java.security file. By default this property is a -1 which caches forever. By setting to a positive integer the JVM will cache host names for that number of seconds.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

OS X: Integrate GPG Into Finder Using Automator

As a developer, I often find myself downloading open source software packages and libraries for my projects. Best practices dictate that you should always verify signed packages if a signature is present. Normally I do this from the command line but I recently created an Automator workflow that lets me check signatures right in the OS X Finder application. The rest of this article is a tutorial on how I implemented this workflow.

Getting started, you will need to have GNU Privacy Guard installed on your system. You can easily install gpg via Darwinports. I will be using gpg version 1.4.6 on Mac OS 10.4.11 (Tiger) for this tutorial.

The first thing to do is to get a signature that needs to be verified. For this example I will download the Jakarta commons-codec package. When downloading, be sure you also get the PGP KEYS file and the commons-codec-1.3.tar.gz.asc signature file.

Once you have downloaded the three files you will need to import the data in the KEYS file into your gpg keyring. Note that this will only need to be done once:

gpg --import KEYS

After the import, right click on the commons-codec-1.3.tar.gz.asc file and select Automator -> Create Workflow. Once the workflow editor opens, add the following three steps:

  1. Get Selected Finder Items - Finder Application
  2. Run Shell Script - Automator Application
  3. Run AppleScript - Automator Appliction

Step 2 will actually run the gpg signature verification command. Note that /opt/local/bin is the default location where Darwinports installs the gpg application:

/opt/local/bin/gpg --no-tty --verify $1 2>&1 || exit 0

Now in step 3, a short AppleScript will be used to display the signature verification results:

on run {input, parameters}

display dialog item 2 of input buttons {"OK"} default button 1

return input
end run

Finally, save your new workflow as a plugin for the Finder application. Go to File -> Save As Plugin and choose Finder. Save the workflow as "Verify Signature". Now you will be able to choose the Verify Signature workflow from the Automator menu in Finder.