Sunday, April 14, 2013
• • A Less Intrusive Government Could Still Maintain a Safety Net
Friedrich Hayek, who showed that support for a safety net can co-exist with a deep appreciation for the freedom and utility of markets, has more to offer the right at present than Ayn Rand.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
• • • Atlas Shrugged Book Club, Entry 4: How Their World Is Like Ours
Atlantic Monthly Atlas Shrugged Book Club |Atlas Shrugged |Capitalism |Paul Ryan |Image |
From: Conor Friedersdorf
To: Michael Brendan Dougherty, Garance Franke-Ruta, Jerome Copulsky
Subject: Part I, Chapters 6 through 10
My Fellow Shruggers,
What I wouldn’t give to tag along with Francisco d’Anconia to a Washington, D.C., cocktail party. Too often, Ayn Rand characters make their points with lengthy, repetitive speeches that unfold over many paragraphs and give the reader too little credit. But d’Anconia has a wonderful talent for pithy one liners that knock interlocutors off guard even as they provoke thought.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Thursday, August 23, 2012
• • • Stop Calling Paul Ryan a Randian
Atlas Shrugged |Capitalism |Paul Ryan |
If you’re a liberal who rolls his or her eyes every time you hear someone on the right describe President Obama as an Alinskyite or a Marxist, understand this: That’s exactly how libertarians feel when Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s vice-presidential candidate, is described as a devoted Randian. I understand that Ryan has described himself that way. In fact, I mocked him at length for doing so, pointing out that if he were a character in Atlas Shrugged, he would doubtlessly be a villain. [....] As far as I’m concerned, Ryan is preferable to a Randian on some issues and would do much better to adopt Randian positions on others, but the point isn’t whether the label gives him too much or too little credit, or whether it’s good or bad to be a Randian. The point is that the label is inaccurate. And anyone who comes away believing that if elected he’ll govern like an Objectivist is being severely misled about his past actions and present proposals.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
• • ‘A Shell Game of Oppression’: Readers Critique the Cult of Smartness
Capitalism |Egoism |
After reviewing Twilight of the Elites by Chris Hayes, I solicited reader emails on meritocracy, the ruling class, and related subjects. The responses serve as a reminder that most Americans have views and opinions far less predictable than you'd expect from following debates in the media. And they included a couple of riveting personal stories.
[....] John is a pessimist: [....] “I, for one, ascribe to a cynical view of human nature. Hobbes said that man's natural state was basically civil war. Ayn Rand, centuries later, most eloquently stated what we had known all along: self-improvement is what we should strive for, because the rest will fall into place. Not an earth-shattering concept by any means, but good in that it dispenses with the notion that interaction between humans should be governed by grand human constructs like our own ineffective political bureaucracy or the idiosyncrasies of case law. Focus on the self is paramount. While Objectivism has intrinsic flaws, none are so debilitating as to trash its central philosophy of the self. When we stop worrying about the how to game the system and start worrying about our own pathetic accomplishments, then and only then can we rise above these miserable elitist human constructs and achieve BOTH equality AND a society based on the beautiful idea that merit must, should and ought to be rewarded.”
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
• • Why Conservative Bestsellers Are Widely Ignored
Atlas Shrugged |Capitalism |
[Mark Levin] seems to be under the misimpression that all utopianism is statist. “Utopianism’s authority... knows no definable limits,” he writes. “Utopianism relies on deceit, propaganda, dependence, intimidation, and force... In utopia, rule by masterminds is both necessary and necessarily primitive, for it excludes so much that is known to man and about man... Utopianism requires power to be concentrated in a central authority with maximum latitude to transform and control.” So many counterexamples come to mind. Has he never heard of Ayn Rand? In her utopian novel Atlas Shrugged, the plot unfolds with all the capitalists in society withdrawing to a hidden Colorado valley where private property is sacrosanct, the initiation of force is prohibited, and sex among consenting adults proceeds after a completely rational assessment of partners. There are all sorts of reasons Galt’s Gulch wouldn’t work. But no one can say that it relies on a central authority with “maximum latitude to control.” And it is anything but statist!
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
• For Critics of Libertarianism, It’s Always 1964
Critics of American libertarianism clarify nothing by acting as if the early 1960s are the only prism through which libertarian ideas should be evaluated. Never mentioned is how much misery the application of libertarian ideas could’ve prevented at other historical moments -- as the slave trade began, for example (something [Jonathan] Chait’s nemesis Ayn Rand would’ve objected to in the most strenuous terms imaginable) or during the rise of Prohibition.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
• The Attempt to Pin Ron Paul’s Shortcomings on Libertarianism
David Boaz wrote a 2008 post titled "Ron Paul's Ugly Newsletters" that included the following passage:
“[....] Libertarians should make it clear that the people who wrote those things are not our comrades, not part of our movement, not part of the tradition of John Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Robert Nozick.”
Sunday, October 16, 2011
• How Much of Rick Perry’s Secret Energy Plan Will Be Revealed Today?
Atlas Shrugged |
He’ll just pull back some regulations, and poof, 1.2 million jobs created and energy independence. It’s no wonder he appeared not to care about the outcome of the debate: he’s got John Galt’s motor!
Sunday, October 09, 2011
• • Perry’s Problem: A Pitch That Contradicts Decades of GOP Rhetoric
Atlas Shrugged |
It’s no wonder that [Mitt] Romney, successful businessman and one term governor, is the preferred candidate on the economy, and regarded as having superior experience when compared to a rival who has spent his whole career inside the confines of government. Inserted into an Ayn Rand novel, [Rick] Perry would likely as not wind up a villain, the kind of pol with whom Hank Rearden regrets having to deal, and who gives a rival of Dagney Taggart a taxpayer-funded subsidy that confers an unfair advantage. Meanwhile, Romney would be the ambitious self-made man who suffered a regrettable bout of moral confusion, like Francisco d’Anconia or Gail Wynand -- the sort of character whose unseemly actions are mourned but forgiven. And Herman Cain would be Ellis Wyatt, a likable hero, but ultimately incidental to the plot.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
• Libertarians Aren’t All Selfish Jerks
There are a lot of libertarians working on issues that could be construed as self-interested - lowering taxes is the obvious example. There are even some hard core Ayn Rand sycophants who embrace little more than themselves. Find that repugnant? Have at ‘em! But you’re just misinformed if you think that libertarians as a whole care for nothing more than their self-interest. Countless libertarians are working to advance the freedom and fair-treatment of people other than themselves.
Tuesday, June 07, 2011
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
• The view from somewhere
Political labels are impossible to escape entirely in this corner of the blogosphere, if only because those of us engaged in a game with different objects are constantly beset upon by people who don’t understand them. But the reader earnestly attempting to size me up and assess where I’m coming from is owed a few words about influences far more powerful than my ideological proclivities. Attending Catholic School in grades K - 12, I also read Ayn Rand at an impressionable age. I like to think that the countervailing forces resulted in just the right amount of guilt.
Friday, December 31, 2010
• • • Question of the week: “Atlas Shrugged”
Atlas Shrugged |
[Atlas Shrugged] ignited a sense of responsibility and self-control in me that I had never been aware of. Instead of lecturing me about the virtues of achievement and taking responsibility and using your talent for good like my parents did, it SHOWED the virtues to me through Hank Rearden and Dagny and Francisco and Galt. Suddenly, I felt ashamed that I had gone through my whole life the way that I had. People have a responsibility to give life and society everything they’ve got. That’s the message I got. And I had been scoffing at that moral imperative from day one.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
• • Writing that influenced me
Atlas Shrugged |
The philosophy presented in Atlas Shrugged is flawed in many ways. And really, Dagny, you’d rather be with John Galt than Francisco D’Anconia? Have you no appreciation for wit, humor or brevity? Still, I found it so stimulating as a sixth or seventh grader to read a forceful, uncompromising challenge to conventional morality and social norms.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009