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Monday, April 30, 2012

 Contrarianism of the Ostracized Engineer 
David Benjamin, EBN - The Sanity Clause Vern had never been “cool” in high school. But he attained instant cool when he decided to get a degree in English, among the hippies and tree-huggers up on the hill. Meanwhile, Vern’s classmate, Victor, chose engineering. He grew more and more conservative as his college years progressed. Victor -- like Vern -- didn’t take any political science courses, nor did he pay much heed to politics at all. He didn’t even read Ayn Rand.

 Review: “Peter and the Starcatcher” Lands on Broadway 
Robert Kahn, NBC New York “Starcatcher” has broad appeal, though not necessarily for children. Molly and her father, Lord Aster, each on board different ships, communicate via the “Starcatcher amulets” they wear on their necks. At sea, “cell” connections aren’t so good, begetting a tired Verizon joke. [....] Ayn Rand and the Cadillac Escalade make anachronistic appearances in the script.

 Actor Morales on Obama: ‘Where’s the Change That Was Promised?’ 
Big Hollywood Atlas Shrugged movie  | Actor Esai Morales calls “hispandering” any attempt to artificially woo the Hispanic community. Naturally, the co-star of “La Bamba” and the upcoming “Atlas Shrugged” sequel used the term to disparage Mitt Romney simply for mentioning he had family members born in Mexico.

 Paul Ryan and the Angry Catholic Left 
R.R. Reno, First Things - On the Square Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  | Ryan was scheduled to talk at Georgetown, and the ever-reliable Fr. Thomas J. Reese, S.J., and others have organized a letter of protest. “Our problem with Representative Ryan,” Reese told reporters, “is that he claims his budget is based on Catholic social teaching. This is nonsense.” I’m afraid that “nonsense” applies more to the letter Reese helped write than the budget Ryan proposed. It accuses Ryan of “continuing misuse of Catholic teaching,” and snidely dismisses his budget proposal as reflecting “the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” [....] This is not a letter of protest but instead one of reprimand.

 In Lead-Up to May Day, Picket Lines Fill New York—And AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka Stops By 
Sarah Jaffe, AlterNet Atlas Shrugged  | Back in January of last year, I reported on victories in union elections at two companies that produce popular nonfiction TV shows. Freelance producers at ITV Studios and Atlas Media voted to join the Writers Guild of America, East, proving that it was in fact possible to organize workers who aren’t classified as full-time employees. But over a year later, Atlas Media--yes, named after Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged--has refused to work out a contract with the union.

• • • Paul Ryan loves Ayn Rand—not 
Marvin Olasky, World Magazine Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  | The New York Times this morning has a surprisingly positive profile of GOP leader Paul Ryan. Meanwhile, NYT columnist Paul Krugman and New York magazine are scathing in their criticism. Among Christians a lot of confusion remains, in part because Ryan [...] has combined admirable budget analysis with troubling esteem for Christ-hating Ayn Rand. Happily, he has now clarified (or changed) his stance concerning Rand.

 Passion Pit passionately announce new album from the bottom of a bottomless pit 
Nobodaddy, Tiny Mix Tapes I think we all want to have dizzying sex with crazily-tattooed people and flip out at works of art that seem boring to our accountant friends and trash-talk Ayn Rand at parties and weep at Monsters Inc. from time to time.

• • • Did Paul Ryan really reject Ayn Rand? 
Jason Pye, United Liberty Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Individualism  | There is little denying that Rand’s work has been influential, more recently so because of the Tea Party movement picking up on many of the themes in her work. Atlas Shrugged flew off the shelves after the financial crisis. However, I don’t think that Ryan was saying that he doesn’t agree with her economic beliefs and moral defense of capitalism. In fact, you can tell he has done his homework on Rand.

• • Reason.tv: Author David Brin on Dogmatic Libertarians, Transparency, and Uplifting Dolphins 
Tim Cavanaugh and Zach Weissmueller, Reason - Hit & Run Capitalism  |Video  | Brin sat down with Reason.tv’s Tim Cavanaugh to discuss his recent critiques of the libertarian movement, which he believes is being pushed in the wrong direction by dogmatic followers of Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard.

• • • Shining City on a Hill 
Mike Lux, Huffington Post Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  | My absolute favorite story of the week is Paul Ryan saying that his fondness for the philosophy of Ayn Rand is an “urban legend.” You have to give these wild and crazy Republicans credit for at least one thing: they have cojones the size of the elephants which are the mascots for the party. The urban myth quote came after a career of Ayn Rand idolatry special even for right-wing Republicans: giving the book to his interns, speaking at Ayn Rand tributes, doing videos about her, saying her philosophy inspired him to get involved in politics. This was no youthful fling, but a lifelong love affair -- until a couple of days ago, apparently.

 Prosperity is trickling down to precious few 
Sam Leith, Evening Standard (London) Capitalism  | [T]he main sell to an electorate that by and large is not very rich isn’t devil-take-the-hindmost capitalism. It is the idea that prosperity trickles down. We’re all in this together, they say, and you don’t make the poor richer by making the rich poorer. Here is where they run into a problem: manifestly, the rich getting richer is doing nothing to prevent the poor getting poorer. To those simple souls without a PhD in Hayekian economics and a well-thumbed library of Ayn Rand novels, that not only looks unequal: it looks unfair.

• • • “Give me Thomas Aquinas…don’t give me Ayn Rand”: Catholic World Report 
Catherine Harmon, Catholic World Report - CWT Blog Atheism  |Egoism  |Paul Ryan  | In an interview with National Review Online’s Robert Costa, Rep. Paul Ryan denies that he is, as Paul Krugman claimed in the New York Times, “an Ayn Rand devotee,” calling such descriptions of his political philosophy “an urban legend.”

 GOP Budget-Slasher Paul Ryan Is Much Weirder Than You Thought 
Michael Brendan Dougherty, Business Insider Paul Ryan  | [A New York Times profile] notes that despite his protests to the contrary, Paul Ryan is a big admirer of libertarian novelist and theorist, Ayn Rand, and he did one drive the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile, but not professionally.

• • Economist to speak at WLU event 
Herald-Star (Steubenville, OH) Ayn Rand Institute  |Capitalism  |Yaron Brook  | Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, will speak on “Capitalism Without Guilt: The Moral Case for Freedom” at noon May 8 at the River City Ale Works, 1400 Main St. Held by West Liberty University Center for Economic Philosophy, Brook’s appearance is part of the WLU Economics Club’s luncheon lecture series. It’s sponsored by a grant from BB&T.

• • • Audio Surfaces of Paul Ryan’s Effusive Love of Ayn Rand 
Elspeth Reeve, AtlanticWire Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  | Why do lefties keep accusing Rep. Paul Ryan of making Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged required reading for his staff? Maybe because he said, “It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff,” and now we can hear him say it. Last week, when Ryan called it an “urban legend” that he was a Ayn Rand devotee -- “I reject her philosophy,” he told the National Review -- it seemed like part of an effort to take Ryan more mainstream, now that he’s a potential running mate for Mitt Romney. [....] But The Atlas Society, the group devoted to Rand that hosted Paul’s talk, is making the mainstreaming more difficult by posting the audio of his address.

• • • Understanding Objectivism: A Guide to Learning Ayn Rand’s Philosophy 
Matt O’Grady, Canadian Business Ayn Rand Institute  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Leonard Peikoff  |Image  | Seizing on the uptick in interest in Rand, New American Library has recently published a series of edited lectures by Leonard Peikoff, founder of the Ayn Rand Institute, to help expand our understanding of objectivism. Peikoff also helpfully answers the burning pop-culture question: If the movie E.T. is anti-adult and anti-science—as, by objectivist philosophy, it clearly is—does that make it inherently evil and irrational?

• • The Times They Are A-Changing – again 
Mike Robinson, Troy Media Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Individualism  | I am struck by the power of observing individual voters and small groups in some detail. If I just confine my analysis to extended family, friends and workmates, the following was evident starting last weekend: [....] growing anger at the Ayn Randian ‘Dagny Taggart objectivism’ of [Wildrose Party leader] Danielle Smith, which tolerated and excused unacceptable statements by Wildrose candidates. It is always a mistake to defend the indefensible.

• • A Reminder- How Government Helps Make the “Self-Made” Man 
Robert A. Levine, The Moderate Voice Individualism  | There are myths proclaimed by some right-wing partisans and Ayn Rand acolytes that “rugged individualists” working alone have been responsible for America’s great accomplishments and that government is the enemy of progress. In their quest to reduce taxes, particularly for the wealthy, and cut the size of government, this myth has been promulgated by ideologues to gain support from the middle-class, needed to elect legislators who share their vision. Unfortunately, many Americans have accepted this narrative and because of it, often vote against their own interests.

 Romney's gamble on conservatism 
Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times Capitalism  | Even though both candidates in this year’s presidential election were once described as moderates, this will be as polarized a battle as we’ve ever seen: between a minimum-government conservative who sounds increasingly like Ayn Rand and a newly unreconstructed liberal who sounds increasingly like Rachel Maddow.

• • Behind the Lines: Looters and moochers 
Val Lambson, Salt Lake Tribune Atheism  |Capitalism  | I am not a Randian Objectivist — for example, I am pro-God and anti-adultery — but Ayn Rand was correct in pointing out that there are only three ways we can see to our material needs: We can be traders, looters or moochers. Trade — giving value for value — is ennobling. Looting and mooching, not so much. I do not see wealthy traders as generous. I don’t judge them at all. Even Marx recognized that the selfish pursuit of wealth had created great amounts of it.

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