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Friday, January 25, 2013

• • • Ayn Rand is for children 
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Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Individual Rights  |Individualism  |Image  | Since I was in college and first met a few Objectivists (read: fancy word for libertarians), I’ve had a theory about people who claim to be Ayn Rand acolytes or who brag that their favorite book is “Fountainhead Shrugged” (they are the same book written twice in order to double Rand’s profit, so for brevity, let’s just use one name). This Unified Theory of Rand Groupies posited that they all probably fit into at least one of three groups: those who 1) never grew out of the usual “world is persecuting me and doesn’t see my true genius” phase that momentarily afflicts the typical high schooler 2) think saying “Ayn Rand” in any context makes them sound intelligent, even though they never actually read her work or 3) have read Rand’s work, don’t genuinely believe in her ideology as evidenced by their lifestyle/politics, but still say they love her because it serves to make them feel good about their own avarice.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

• • Social security’s most media-friendly foe 
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Atlas Shrugged  | For those familiar with Ayn Rand’s writing, the question “Who is John Galt?” is succinct shorthand to summarize conservatives’ ideological campaign against government. But to really appreciate how that crusade operates on a day-to-day basis in the most important political battles of the moment, the best question right now is, “Who is Maya MacGuineas?”

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

• • The four biggest convention stories you won’t hear about 
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Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  | 2. Socialism for Objectivists: An anti-government, pro-free-market “We Built This!” celebration held in a publicly funded stadium. Hysterical jeremiads against “socialism” and for the “free market” are sure to pepper the Republican convention, if not from the dais then from the assembled rabble. Likewise, the collective assembly will no doubt hold up Huge Government Republican Paul Ryan as a supposed image of Randian small government conservatism – despite his record to the contrary. Through it all, you can expect the assembled media to loyally echo the themes — and barely notice that the paroxysm of anti-government hysteria is taking place inside a socialist enterprise.

Monday, August 20, 2012

• • Who is Paul Ryan? 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  | Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan admires Ayn Rand, and if you believe Republican Party mythology, Ryan is a messianic John Galt who will save America from a secret socialist conspiracy. Thus, in Rand fashion, it’s worth asking: Who is Paul Ryan?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

• • How the cult of individualism is ruining baseball 
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Individualism  | This fetishization of the individual has intensified since the 1980s. [....] We see it in the revival of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism as a powerful political ideology in Congress.

Friday, February 25, 2011

 Back to our future 
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Individualism  | Excerpt from the book Back to Our Future.
When it launched in 1988, the Just Do It campaign was an instant and groundbreaking success. Ayn Rand may pre­viously have outlined the Objectivist rationale for indi­vidualism and narcissism, but Nike’s slogan (and all the other rip-offs) mass-marketed that individualism and narcissism as aspirational theol­ogy. Back to Our Future.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

 Putting the ‘I’ in environment after the Gulf spill 
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For those who are not (yet) heartless cynics or emotionless Ayn Rand acolytes, the now-famous photographs of sludge-soaked pelicans on the Gulf Coast are painful to behold. It’s those hollow pupils peeking out of the brown death, screaming in silence. They are an avian version of the eyes of T.J. Eckleburg that F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote about—and they implicate us all.