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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

• • • Is Paul Ryan for or against Ayn Rand? 
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Alan Greenspan  |Altruism  |Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |The Fountainhead  |The Virtue of Selfishness  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  |Rush  |The Fountainhead movie  | People don’t generally care what politicians read. But Rep. Paul Ryan is different. His fascination with the Russian-born novelist Ayn Rand could spell trouble for the GOP’s new vice-presidential candidate. It could put him at odds with the Christian right and the Roman Catholic Church. It all depends how much you believe that he is in the thrall of Ayn Rand.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

• • • Paul Ryan’s Skeleton in the Closet 
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Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Egoism  |Paul Ryan  |Inaccurate  | I’m really staggered by the media’s softball handling of what is going to become known in the waning months of this campaign as Mitt Romney’s Ayn Rand Problem. For years, his newly minted running mate has championed Rand, a Russian-born author chiefly known for her novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. In those books and in essays, speeches and interviews, Rand celebrated greed and selfishness, rejected Judeo-Christian morality, and set forth an alien vision of a nearly government-free America that would be ruled by its industrialists and bankers -- an untaxed super-rich elite. She was a strident atheist. Then, in April, Ryan had an apparent change of heart.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

• • • Ayn Randroids and Libertarians Join Forces: Will Her Noxious Philosophy Further Infect America? 
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Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |John Allison  |Yaron Brook  | John Allison, a former bank CEO and a leader of the Rand movement, has just become president of the influential Cato Institute. This received only a modest amount of attention when it surfaced late last month, and you had to be a real political junkie to even be aware of it. But it is a seminal event in recent political history—a dramatic indication of the mainstreaming of the radical right.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

• • • Republicans and Ayn Rand, a love-hate affair 
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Alan Greenspan  |Altruism  |Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  |Image  | Paul Ryan is trying very hard to put daylight between himself and Ayn Rand, the right’s leading advocate of selfishness, greed and laissez-faire capitalism. It’s not working, but it’s illuminating to explore why he’s making such a fuss about Rand -- and why we all should do so.

Friday, March 30, 2012

• • • The Horrors of an Ayn Rand World: Why We Must Fight for America’s Soul 
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Alan Greenspan  |Altruism  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |The Fountainhead  |The Virtue of Selfishness  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Leonard Peikoff  |Yaron Brook  |Image  | Excerpt from Ayn Rand Nation: the Hidden Struggle for America's Soul, by Gary Weiss.
There is no real doubt what an Objectivist America would mean. We may not be around to see it, but it’s likely we’ll be here for its earliest manifestations. They may have already arrived. The shape of a future Objectivist world has been a matter of public record for the past half century, since Ayn Rand, the Brandens, Alan Greenspan, and other Objectivist theoreticians began to set down their views in Objectivist newsletters. When he casually defended repeal of child labor laws in the debate with Miles Rapoport, Yaron Brook [President of the Ayn Rand Institute] was merely repeating long- established Objectivist doctrine, summarized by Leonard Peikoff as “Government is inherently negative.” It is a worldview that has been static through the decades, its tenets reiterated endlessly by Rand and her apostles: No government except the police, courts of law, and the armed services. No regulation of anything by any government. No Medicare or Medicaid. No Social Security. No public schools. No public hospitals. No public anything, in fact. Just individuals, each looking out for himself, not asking for help or giving help to anyone. An Objectivist America would be a dark age of unhindered free enterprise, far more primitive and Darwinian than anything seen before.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

• • • Why You Shouldn’t Dismiss Ayn Rand 
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Alan Greenspan  |Altruism  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individual Rights  |Yaron Brook  | I have a message for progressives, liberals, moderates, old-fashioned conservatives, neocons--in other words, pretty much everybody who detests the godmother of radical capitalism, Ayn Rand: Don’t underestimate her. Distasteful as it may seem, there is much to learn from her. It’s easy to write off Rand as a crackpot, or a marginal figure of little importance. Before I began researching my book Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul [St. Martin’s Press, $24.99], I was like everybody else. She didn’t matter to me. But as I examined the mindset of the people who dragged us into the financial crisis of 2008, from the Tea Party to Alan Greenspan, I found that Rand was always hovering in the background.

Monday, February 27, 2012

• • • Ayn Rand Beats Out Rick Santelli as First Teapartyer 
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Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Image  | The origins of the Tea Party are usually traced to Rick Santelli’s televised rant, which took place on Feb. 19, 2009 -- by coincidence exactly 83 years to the day after Ayn Rand first set foot on American soil. A few anti- tax, anti-government rallies preceded the Santelli tirade, but he and his immediate predecessors usually get the nod for originating the movement. I beg to differ. Ayn Rand was the very first person on the national political stage to enunciate views that mesh precisely with the ones being bandied about by the Tea Party. Rand was channeling the Tea Party decades before there even was a Tea Party.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

• • Why Ron Paul is still relevant 
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Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | Sure, it’s insane for progressives to support a candidate who wants to turn back the clock on the New Deal and Great Society, as I pointed out a few weeks ago. But Paul has outsmarted us. He knows that dismay about Iraq and Afghanistan is strong enough to overcome any lingering doubts about his foreign policy views among a staggering number of people who’d otherwise find him repugnant. The solution, I think, is the same one that applies to the spreading influence of another extremist who has gone mainstream, Ayn Rand. What’s needed is not shunning but debate, and an understanding that his positions need to be viewed as part of an organic whole. Anyone who reads “Atlas Shrugged” knows that laissez-faire capitalism is just part of the Randian package. So are atheism and a lot of other concepts that people in the Tea Party don’t always recognize when they brandish those “Who is John Galt?” posters. It’s the same with Ron Paul. If you swallow his foreign policy, you guzzle down laissez-faire capitalism as well, whether you like it or not.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

• • Gold Bugs Creep Into Republican Campaign 
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Capitalism  | Even Alan Greenspan, the Ayn Rand devotee who advocated a return to the gold standard in one of his essays for an Ayn Rand journal in the early 1960s, knew better than to push the idea when he became Federal Reserve chairman. He advocated a variety of other Randian ideas, notably deregulation, but not that one. It was just too far out

Sunday, February 05, 2012

• • Romney buys into the Big Lie on housing 
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I’ve heard that same line of malarkey a bunch of times, mainly from Tea Party people and Ayn Rand devotees: that the government, through the Community Reinvestment Act and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, was directly and primarily responsible for the financial crisis. Not out-of-control banks. Indeed, note his language. The banks were told to loan money to people who can’t afford it. Embracing this mythology of the right, Romney has rewritten the history of the crisis as a fairy tale in which the banks were mere pawns in the service of the real villain: the government. It’s pure fiction.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

• • • Progressive beer goggles for Ron Paul 
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Capitalism  | Paul’s views are rooted in the narrow, Randian view of liberty as extending only to the person, not to groups of people. That sounds elegant until you realize what it means: no consumer legislation, no civil rights legislation, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and, as was a hot topic in 1998, no hate-crime legislation.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

 Ron Paul’s wacky but influential Fed policy 
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Capitalism  | It’s no secret that Paul wants to end the Fed. That’s the title of one of his books, and it’s central to his libertarian ideology, which is influenced by Ayn Rand, who opposed the Fed’s existence, and Austrian economists who championed laissez-faire.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

• • • Ayn Rand’s Atheists are Crashing the Tea Party 
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Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Individualism  | Ayn Rand and Christianity do not mix. The closer the Republican Party moves to Ron Paul and Rand-influenced libertarians, the more it will have to grapple with a rejection of religion that is more customarily considered to be a trait of the left than the right. In my research for my forthcoming book on Ayn Rand’s influence on America, I found that differences over Rand’s atheism were acknowledged by people on both sides, Tea Party leaders and Randers alike. So far they’ve done a pretty good job of keeping things under wraps, but I’m not sure how long that can continue. It’s not just the individual-versus-family debate. Rand’s philosophy is at variance with Judeo-Christian values, from the role of charity in society (Rand felt there wasn’t any) to the responsibility of government to educate its citizens, provide for the poor, and protect the most vulnerable in society through such accepted measures as child labor laws, which Randers oppose.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

• • • The GOP Can’t Quit Ayn Rand 
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Alan Greenspan  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Image  |Inaccurate  | Two years ago, I began work on a book that was to examine the ideological roots of the 2008 financial crisis. Over time this became a broader examination of the radical right’s renaissance in America. For many months I’ve been eating, sleeping and breathing Ayn Rand—and on February 28 the results of my journey will be published by St. Martin’s Press, in a book entitled Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul. Ayn Rand’s spirit hangs over the 2012 presidential race like the aftermath of a bad meal that, for some reason, we’ve all forgotten that we’ve eaten. In the run-up to the financial crisis the markets became a kind of Fifth Estate, the ultimate arbiters of American society. This was not a Republican disease; some of the most voracious deregulation took place during the Clinton Administration. It was as if a moral choice had been made, substituting the “wisdom of the markets” for admittedly flawed and sometimes grossly inept regulators. It made perfect sense, especially in an era in which the stock market averages rose by as much as 40% in one year, but today we know, or should know, that untrammeled capitalism doesn’t work.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

 Shia labeouf infected with Wall Street disease: Gary weiss 
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Atlas Shrugged  | The very act of watching Alan Greenspan is enough to make the brow wrinkle, the voice become hoarse, and the conscience turn limp and waxen. This highly contagious disorder, Greenspan Cholera, is often characterized by an irresistible impulse to read Atlas Shrugged again and again. You can imagine the impact of this horrid illness on a population already ravaged by the Regulatory Narcolepsy Pandemic that stalked the countryside in recent years.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

• • Reform school 
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Capitalism  |Personal life  | Greenspan was one of [Ayn Rand’s] closest associates from the early 1950s through her death in 1982. He wrote essays for the Objectivist Newsletter on regulation that today read like Simon Legree expounding on civil-rights legislation.

Monday, March 23, 2009

 AIG bonuses and collective amnesia 
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Ayn Rand Institute  |Capitalism  | Back at the turn of the year 2006-2007, there was an immense brouhaha about the bonuses doled out to Goldman Sachs (GS) executives and other rich guys on Wall Street. I remember appearing on CNBC at the time quite frequently, facing off against apologists for Wall Street from the usual lobbying groups and libertarian think tanks. I remember in particular an obnoxious dude from an Ayn Rand organization shilling for the Street back then.