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Monday, June 03, 2013

• • The ‘cult of capitalism’ and U.S. moral decline 
Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch Capitalism  | We now see what John Bogle call a “mutant” capitalism that no longer resembles Adam Smith’s inspiring economic principles enshrined in our Declaration of Independence and Constitution. This type of capitalism has turned into an out-of-control virus destroying America’s moral values from within. Missing is an sense of honor and love of democracy that made me proud as a U.S. Marine sergeant. Missing is a balance of conservative free-market principles with liberal compassion. All that has vanished in the blind ideologies of today’s Ayn Rand clones demanding a return to a world that mimics the Wild West.

• • • Who drives the economy? 
Martin Hutchinson, Free News Pos Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | Hayek was not alone among free-marketers in doubting the supremacy of consumers as a whole. Ayn Rand took the Nietzschean concept to an extreme, and suggested that the large producers were supreme, deciding to bring economic benefits to the masses through their capital and superior intellect. Hank Reardon labors long hours, overcoming gigantic obstacles to produce his superior product Rearden Metal, while consumers merely accept his product or not, playing no active part in the innovation.

Rand’s approach has a certain amount of validity, especially for a product such as Rearden Metal that is primarily used by businesses that are themselves able to judge its superior quality. Taggart Transcontinental, in using it for the John Galt Line, is able to carry out whatever tests are necessary and determine its superiority. [....] Nevertheless for consumer products, in which the fog of ignorance stretches in both directions - manufacturers don’t know what consumers want and consumers don’t know objectively which products are superior - the Rand paradigm leaves something to be desired.

• • Buy Umbrellas Instead of Bus Shelters 
Steve Moore, Cookeville Times (TN) Atlas Shrugged  | A recent report stated that our roads and bridges need several billions to be spent on infrastructure maintenance. But, no, we are subsidizing buses and shelters. Those who believe in such tax expenditures advocate for entitlements. They should read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” to see what category of American they fall under. They sure aren’t the producers or the politicians and bureaucrats who are the looters. The 3rd category: Moochers, fit them very well.

 Watch Matt Welch on Fox News’s Red Eye at 3 AM! 
Matt Welch, Reason Atlas Shrugged  |Going Galt  | Beginning at 3 o’clock in the morning on Fox News, I will be on Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld and his crew of merry vulgarians. We are scheduled to talk about source-greasing Washington Post puff pieces, over-litigious parents of high school athletes, 3D pizza-printing, attitudes toward workplace sexytime, doctors going Galt, and the ideal actress to play the young Hillary Clinton, among other things.

 A politician views 'The 1st Conservative' 
Jason Barr, Roanoke Times (VA) Americans who pick up Jesse Norman’s “Edmund Burke: The First Conservative” expecting to pick up ammunition in the ongoing political culture war may be a bit disappointed. Jesse Norman is a British Parliamentarian, and his definition of conservatism is rather more, well, liberal, than those of Ayn Rand or Glenn Beck.

• • • Ayn Rand’s Vision of Galt’s Gulch Has Become Reality as of Today 
Jeff Berwick, The Dollar Vigilante Atlas Shrugged  | After months of hard work by the entire staff at Galt's Gulch Chile (GGC) I am extremely pleased to announce to the world that Ayn Rand's vision in her iconic book, Atlas Shrugged, has become a reality. It is unfortunate that the world has transformed much into what Rand had envisioned and the need for a place like Galt's Gulch has become so urgent. But, since that is today's reality we are very happy to offer the respite from the Western world of oppressive governments to freedom-minded people in which they can build a new, more prosperous community.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

• • Why Milton Friedman Was Rare 
David R. Henderson, Econ Journal Watch (PDF.)In the summer of 1968, when I was 17 and had just finished reading almost all of Ayn Rand’s works, fiction and non-fiction, I happened to pick up an issue of Newsweek. In a column titled “The Public Be Damned,” accompanied by a photo of a smiling, bald-headed economist, Friedman argued that the attitude expressed in that title, far from being businessmen’s attitude toward the public, is actually the attitude of the U.S. Post Office. I loved the column and started working through the old Newsweeks in the University of Winnipeg library, finding quickly that Friedman wrote in the magazine every three weeks. [....] At age 19, a few weeks after graduating from the University of Winnipeg, I flew down to Chicago and went to his office at the University of Chicago. Friedman invited me in warmly and took about ten minutes of his time to convey two main messages to me. The first was that there’s more to intellectual life and development than Ayn Rand.

• • Architecture prize should belatedly honor pioneering woman 
Boston Globe The Fountainhead  | [T]he myth of the architect as a singular male genius — the Howard Roark in Ayn Rand’s “Fountainhead” — feels increasingly antiquated in a world where design has become less about skyscrapers and more a tool to address global issues, including climate change, water scarcity, and poverty.

 Murder mystery grips SC: Is Irmo bookie guilty of two counts of murder? 
Noelle Phillips, The Herald (Rock Hill, SC) The Fountainhead  | John Q. Davis, a 74-year-old retiree, arrives every day in a suit and a tie, carrying Ayn Rand’s novel “The Fountainhead” and a folded newspaper. A self-described courthouse junkie, Davis said he has been watching trials for years and is fascinated by the criminal justice system.

 Bassem Youssef Isn’t Joking Around 
David Kenner, Foreign Policy Atlas Shrugged  | Past the door, Bassem Youssef's office is a testament to the comedian's eclectic tastes. There is a life-sized cutout of Angelina Jolie and a golden brown painting of Arabic calligraphy. There is a copy of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and Anthony Shadid's House of Stone. There is a dartboard and a plate inscribed with a design that celebrates Egypt's pharaonic heritage. There are rubber duckies -- one dressed in a tuxedo, one as a chef, and one as a devil -- scattered throughout the room.

• • Fisker May Be Saved – By Henrik Fisker! 
Jo Borras, Gas 2 In a move worthy of a few paragraphs in one of the good Ayn Rand novels, Henrik Fisker is working with an investor group led by multi-billionaire (and early Fisker investor) Richard Li in hopes of buying out Fisker’s DOE loans and saving the company.

• • Rules for Apple 
Richard Sansom, Santa Rosa Press Democrat (CA) Rand Paul  | I was amused but not surprised by Sen. Rand Paul’s defense of Apple. Paul, who eschews any taxation and believes that the nation can run on goodwill and altruism, is true to his Ayn Rand belief system.

• • George Saunders: 'It was good to have a painful immersion in capitalism' 
Killian Fox, The Guardian (London) Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | [Q:] I was intrigued to learn that you were once a fan of Ayn Rand. For a writer so alert to how capitalism can grind people down, that's unexpected.

[A:] It’s kind of a sweet story. I was in high school in Chicago, not really doing any work. Neither of my parents had been to college so to me it wasn’t a big thing. Then two teachers started taking an interest in me and giving me books, and one was Atlas Shrugged. I hadn’t read a novel since third grade, and if you’re a crummy reader sometimes bad art can do magical things. She appeals to a certain kind of adolescent male, I think, and she definitely got me.

So I went to college and read all the rest of the books and she was sort of my patron saint. Then you get an uncomfortable moment where you realise there’s this little bag you’re holding that’s filling up with phenomena that don’t really fit the model. And that bag got heavier and heavier. My family ran into some financial problems. And I thought, she would not understand what we’re going through. She’d equate it with some kind of moral weakness on our part. And then after college I went to Asia and saw some things there that made the bag really heavy, and at some point I just said, “I don’t get her any more, I’ll set her down.” Only years later I was like, “Oh my God, she’s very dangerous.”

 Which Fringe shows should you see? 
Jackie Demaline, Cincinnati Enquirer If you like taking a risk
“And the Rand Played On ...” Cincinnati’s Michael Burnham and John Ray were fringe long before there was Fringe. The “Rand” of the title is Ayn Rand.

• • • High life: What I miss most in New York 
Taki Theodoracopulos, The Spectator (London) The Fountainhead  |Individualism  |The Fountainhead movie  | Manhattan’s skyscrapers, of course, helped Hollywood create the playground of superheroes, headquarters of super big corporations ruled by masters of the universe. The symbolism of strength in height and size is unmistakable, and has made Hollywood’s life easier as a result. As it did Ayn Rand’s, in The Fountainhead. ‘Skyscrapers,’ proclaims her hero Howard Roark, ‘are the greatest structural inventions of man.’ He then dismisses Greek temples and Gothic cathedrals as mongrels of every ancient style they could borrow from. (That’s good old Rand for you.)

Friday, May 31, 2013

• • IRS suspicion justified 
J.C. Smith, Salt Lake Tribune Capitalism  | I wish somebody in the government had the guts to call tea party and “patriot” groups what they are — government-hating paranoids who favor the laissez-faire agenda of the late Ayn Rand. They are mostly working-class folks who’ve been manipulated by the billionaire Koch brothers and other “malefactors of great wealth” to believe that their future is better served by the greedy rich than by elected government.

• • • Exclusive Yaron Brook Interview – The fight for selfishness 
Robert Vaughan, Robert Vaughan Ayn Rand Institute  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Yaron Brook  |Video  | On May 6th, 2013 I interviewed Yaron Brook, Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute on the campus of the University of Toronto. Dr. Brook was in Toronto to speak on the morality of capitalism which is the focus of his latest book Free Market Revolution – How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government. We discussed the success of the Ayn Rand Institute in Canada, the virtues of being selfish, and end with the disastrous, self-sacrificial foreign policies of Israel and how that country is not doing enough to ensure its security.

• • • Atlas Shrugged: Unfortunate Implications 
Adam Lee, Patheos - Daylight Atheism Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | Notice that Dagny takes “arrogant pleasure” at the thought of a railroad cutting through an old-growth forest (“ancient trees”). It seems fairly safe to say that, in an Objectivist world, there wouldn’t be any such thing as national parks. Any preservation of wilderness would only come about because of the benevolence of wealthy landowners – except that Rand’s characters take an almost dominionist pleasure in “subduing the earth” by damming rivers, excavating mines, and cutting roads and rails through unspoiled territory. In their eyes, a piece of land with industry and business carved out of it is always better than that land left unimproved.

• • Rand Paul Super PACs May Violate Federal Election Law 
Michael Beckel, Huffington Post Rand Paul  | Supporters of Republican Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., have launched “Rand PAC 2016.” But because the super PAC uses the potential presidential candidate’s first name, this action may violate federal law. [....] Another pro-Paul group may face a similar predicament. It christened itself the "Stand with Rand PAC" when it registered in March as a hybrid super PAC. [....] Bill Willenbrock, Stand with Rand PAC's treasurer, said his group had not been asked to change its name by the FEC, adding that he was "not aware that Ayn Rand was running for office," making reference to the deceased author, a libertarian icon.

• • • Ayn Rand and Jesus: Do they teach opposing viewpoints about economy? 
Chad Hovind, Beliefnet - Godonomics Atheism  |Capitalism  |Individual Rights  |Paul Ryan  | A recent article on the Blaze reported that “Prominent GOP leaders have praised Ayn Rand’s philosophy and beliefs. But Rand made it clear that you can’t follow her and Christ. The GOP budget, authored by Rand acolyte Paul Ryan, is the perfect example.” How can an atheist like Ann Rand and Jesus have anything in common? Well, they can.

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