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Saturday, April 06, 2013

• • Ontogeny Ripostes Ontology; A supporter of same-sex marriage resorts to sophistry 
Individualism  | This columnist is enough of an individualist if we had to choose between Ayn Rand and George Lakoff (and we count our blessings that we do not), we’d take her without a moment’s hesitation. But [A. Barton] Hinkle’s reduction of human institutions and societies--and of humanity itself--to merely the sum of their individual members is a reductio ad absurdum of individualism into a kind of philosophical narcissism.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

• • Don't Even THINK of Building That 
Individualism  | It was a gaffe on the order of bitter clingers, and this time in full public view: "If you've got a business--you didn't build that," President Obama said at a July 13, 2012, campaign rally in Roanoke, Va. "Somebody else made that happen." [....] Obama's vicious little riff turned out to have its origin in the work of George Lakoff, the Berkeley linguist who has written a series of books on leftist cognition and rhetoric. The best way to understand Lakoff is as the anti-Ayn Rand: As she celebrated the individual and scorned the collective, he does the converse.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

 Popes and Dopes 
Atlas Shrugged  |Rand Paul  | Who Is John Galt?
"We Stand With Rand"--headline, Harvard Crimson, March 12

Thursday, February 14, 2013

 Best of the Web Today: The Rules of Attraction 
News You Can Use
"A Valentine's Day Gift for the Ayn Rand Doofus in Your Life"--headline, Straight.com, Feb. 13

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

• • • Randier Than Thou 
Atheism  |Ayn Rand Center  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Don Watkins  |Egoism  |Harry Binswanger  |Individual Rights  |Individualism  |Image  | Few Americans, and no political officeholders that we know of, describe themselves as Objectivists. But [Paul] Ryan is not at all unusual in having read Rand as a young man, been influenced by her, yet rejected some of her ideas. Her individualism might have been too extreme for most Americans, or at least most Americans over 30. But even some on the left seem to be realizing that individualism, not collectivism, is at the heart of the American creed. In the final weeks of the campaign, it will be interesting to see whether that dawns on Barack Obama.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

 One-Hit Wonder 
Somebody's Been Reading Ayn Rand. "Warren: 'The Boston Herald is the Boston Herald'"--headline, Boston Herald, June 14.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

• • The Ball Heads for His Court 
'A Is A . . . Facts Are Facts . . . Things Are What They Are'--Ayn Rand. "How Ron Paul Became Ron Paul"--headline, Herald-Tribune (Sarasota, Fla.), Feb. 6.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

 Red Penn 
Atlas Shrugged  | Homer Nods. Yesterday's lead item (since corrected) should have referred to "Atlas Shrugged," not "Atlas Shrugs."

Monday, September 19, 2011

 ‘If You Love Me’ 
Atlas Shrugged  | [A] reader thought Obama might have been inspired by the only book in history to outsell "Atlas Shrugged." John 14:15 quotes Jesus as saying: "If you love me, keep my commands."

Friday, March 04, 2011

• • • John Galt vs. Bamtrak 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Individualism  |Image  | John Galt [...] is a shadowy presence in the forthcoming movie “Atlas Shrugged: Part I,” which opens in 11 cities April 15. We attended a screening last night sponsored by the Atlas Society, and we feel obliged to warn that this column may contain spoilers, though only if you haven’t read Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel on which the film is based. “Atlas Shrugged” is a lengthy parable about individualism and freedom. Set in the not-too-distant future, it depicts an America whose economy is falling apart under the weight of an overweening government run entirely by people with approximately the integrity, cognitive ability and humility of a New York Times editorialist.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

• • Boycott gropes 
Altruism  |Atheism  |Egoism  | Have Yourself a Selfish Little Christmas. “Celebrate a rational holiday with the Atheist Christmas Coloring Book,” proclaims MindPosts.com, a website heavily influenced by Ayn Rand: “Christmas is part of our Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian Western tradition. It has always been a special time of year across diverse cultures. It need not be dedicated to mysticism and supernatural nonsense.”

Monday, May 31, 2010

• • The thinker 
Ayn Rand Center  |Thomas A. Bowden  | Earlier this week, “one who was there” told the Washington Post that in an Oval Office meeting, Obama commanded: “Plug the damn hole.” This leak--of the information, that is, not the oil--shows that Obama is doing what he conceives to be his job, namely trying to persuade people that he is thinking about the spill. But for those who would actually like to see the damn hole plugged, the president looks impotent and irrelevant--so much so that this response from the Ayn Rand Center is a model of common sense and clarity: “That's the politician's answer to every intractable problem: give orders, issue threats, and wait for obedience. But the creative human mind cannot take orders like that. Notice I didn't say, ‘refuses to take orders.’ I said, ‘cannot take orders.’”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

 The Obamaklatura 
[A] story, broken yesterday by the Chicago Tribune, illustrates why "equality" isn't all it's cracked up to be. Unlike medicine, elementary and secondary education in the U.S. is already almost completely under political control. Defenders of this arrangement justify it in the name of equality. They do not claim the current system achieves that ideal, but they do insist that efforts to reduce political control via vouchers and other forms of privatization would make inequality worse. But the Tribune story shows that political control introduces its own kind of inequality, to benefit the political class. [....] This is "the aristocracy of pull," in Ayn Rand's memorable phrase. Its existence is probably inevitable inasmuch as government's is, but its extent can only increase with the power and reach of government.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

 Prejudice, denial and Fort Hood 
Metaphor Alert. “How little you have to do to get into the feature well of a slick magazine these days. Thomas Mallon's takedown of Ayn Rand in The New Yorker is not online, but it is so phoned-in and lacking in protein that even this synopsis of the article feels padded.”--Tim Cavanaugh, Reason.com, Nov. 7

Sunday, October 18, 2009

• • Fools Rush in 
"Nobody, no individual nor country, can indefinitely spend more than she or he earns. Two plus two always adds up to four, never five," [Raúl Castro] said. "Within the conditions of our imperfect socialism, due to our own shortcomings, two plus two often adds up to three." This reminded us of a quote from Murray Rothbard's 1972 essay "The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult": "Ayn Rand has brought to the world the knowledge that A is A, and that 2 and 2 equal 4," said an unnamed Randian.

Friday, October 16, 2009

 ‘We’re going to let you die’ 
Ayn Rand Institute  | Links to Ayn Rand Institute website.
Did you notice this trope of Sen. Olympia Snowe? The Wall Street Journal's Janet Adamy has a pair of quotes from Snowe's comments yesterday on the Baucus health-care bill: "When history calls, history calls," and, "My vote today, is my vote today." We tried to remember where we had heard something like this before, and finally it dawned on us: A is A! Olympia Snowe must be an Objectivist.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

• • • It’s a flee country 
The Virtue of Selfishness  | In an item yesterday, we asked: “Aren't Ayn Rand admirers usually known for their jolly sense of humor?” There is some evidence the answer is no. Reader Steven Brockerman disapproves of humor: “As you know, humor is essentially rooted in mockery. Humor is for tearing down--the pretentious; the presumptuous; the posturing. Not the great and the heroic. It's also camouflage for the coward.”

• • Bitter Italy 
The Virtue of Selfishness  | Our lead item yesterday brought this email from reader Erskine Fincher: “Either you have never read Ayn Rand's ‘The Virtue of Selfishness,’ or you are a liar. Her philosophy is grounded in the principle that a man's survival qua man is the moral purpose of his life. In her view, the virtues of rationality, productiveness, honesty, integrity, etc., are the means by which we achieve happiness and success over the course of our lives. She never advocated sacrificing those virtues for any chimerical short-term gain.” [....] We must admit, we're surprised. Aren't Ayn Rand admirers usually known for their jolly sense of humor?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

• • Are you bitter off? 
The Virtue of Selfishness  | [Barack] Obama's critique of culturally conservative voters is far from original. [....] Sen. Russ Feingold struck a similar theme in an op-ed piece about a visit to Alabama: “I can only wonder how many more generations of central Alabamians will say ‘yes’ when the increasingly powerful Republican Party asks them to be concerned about homosexuality but not about the security of their own health, about abortion but not about the economic futures of their own children.” Underlying this criticism is a curious normative premise: that the nonaffluent ought to prioritize their material interests over moral and cultural concerns. "Workers of the world, unite!" meets "The Virtue of Selfishness." Unlike Ayn Rand, Feingold and Obama see selfishness as a virtue only for bitter-off cultural conservatives. [....] In Barack Obama's America, rich people who vote on cultural issues rather than economic self-interest are principled and self-sacrificing. People of more modest means who do so are credulous and bitter.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Best of the Web today 
Attack of the Randroids: Here's a curious [blog] entry [...]: "FBI agents arrested a California man last Saturday and charged him with mailing phoney anthrax packets to [more] than a dozen politicians and comedians. [....] The factor that outed [the man] was an identical rant, posted to two very different forums. [....] 'How about creating a new sci-fi anthology with none of the puerile baggage of Rod Serling, Gene Roddenberry, Rockne O' Bannon, etc., etc. It is time to end their reign of Left-wing innuendo, their anti-American, anti-mankind cynicism and fatalism.'" [....] This leads [the blogger] to wonder if there was truth to "the rumors about Ayn Rand having pointy ears."