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Friday, August 19, 2011

• • • Robert Bidinotto and the Objectivist Subculture 
Atlas Shrugged  |We The Living  | Is making war really the best response to a terrorist attack like the one that took place on September 11, 2001? So one would deduce from the public pronouncements of leading Objectivists over the past decade. One receives the definite impression that few if any of these leading Objectivists have ever met a war they didn’t like — or, at least believed, with the grim, firm-jawed determination they felt was appropriate to a Randian hero, was somehow “necessary.” A war is a campaign of mass destruction and mass murder carried out by governments. In what morally coherent sense could such a thing be deemed “necessary”?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

• • Robert Anton Wilson 
Atlas Shrugged  |Leonard Peikoff  |Audio  | Wilson had [...] read Ayn Rand before he arrived in Brookville [Ohio, in 1962].

Monday, July 25, 2011

• • • Is There a Psychology of Liberty? 
Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Personal life  | “Oh, my God, what a revelation!” [social psychologist Sharon Presley] recalled thinking, discussing her memories of the event some 30 years later with interviewer Rebecca Klatch in A Generation Divided: The New Left, the New Right, and the 1960s. “What [Ayn Rand] did for me was get me thinking about … things in those kinds of philosophical terms that I never had … before.” For Presley, “it wasn’t until Rand that I had some kind of explicitly articulated theory or set of principles that made sense to me.” On the whole, reading Atlas Shrugged “was a major, major influence on my life.” According to Klatch, Presley “began attending Objectivist lectures [NBI lectures] in San Francisco and meeting other like-minded people.” But it wasn’t long before some of those “like-minded people” had led her away from Objectivism completely. “By 1967,” Klatch notes, scarcely five years after her ecstatic discovery of Atlas Shrugged, “Sharon identified as an anarchist.”

Friday, June 10, 2011

• • The Anarchist Conscience 
Anthem  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology  | As [Gary] Chartier remembers it, “[....] By the end of the summer after I graduated from high school, ignoring the sightseeing opportunities on a European trip, I’d finished Shea and Wilson’s Illuminatus. And soon after I’d read Atlas Shrugged.” Chartier “never warmed to Rand’s work,” however; he reports today that “it didn’t engage me emotionally, intellectually, and imaginatively as Shea and Wilson, Rothbard, and Hayek did.““

Saturday, June 04, 2011

• • Alan Bock: Libertarian Intellectual 
Nathaniel Branden  | Los Angeles was a heady place for libertarians in the early ‘70s. Andrew J. Galambos was still offering his influential courses at his Free Enterprise Institute. Robert LeFevre was living locally, out in Orange County, and still lecturing and publishing actively. The Brandens, Nathaniel and Barbara, were there, too, marketing many of the old Nathaniel Branden Institute lectures from the 1960s as well as Nathaniel’s more recent, Objectivist-influenced variations on the otherwise familiar themes of Humanistic Psychology.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

• • • The Power of Persuasion 
Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |Capitalism  |Leonard Peikoff  |Personal life  | Sometime during the first year of the magazine’s publication, Rand let Joan [Kennedy Taylor] know that she admired her work on Persuasion. As Joan later recalled, “She told me, ‘You’re a good editor. … I can tell that because [an editor of a small publication like Persuasion] might have just one or maybe two good writers, but all of your writers are good and that means the editor’s good.’” But Rand had more than just praise for Joan. She also had a suggestion. “She said, ‘Take it out of the Young Republican Club — buy it from them or something like that. Set up a corporation, so that I can endorse you in The Objectivist.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

• • • The story of Roy A. Childs Jr. (1949–1992) 
Anthem  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  | Childs told Joan [Kennedy Taylor] that he read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead in 1965 and found it so disturbing in light of some of the religious ideas he had been taught that he burned his copy. “But,” Joan recalled in the early 1990s, shortly after Childs’s death, “he recovered, and went on to read Anthem and Atlas Shrugged. He reported he was “enthralled” by Ludwig von Mises’s Human Action the Christmas before he was seventeen, that Rose Wilder Lane’s Discovery of Freedom “more than any other book” made him a libertarian, and that the two predominant intellectual influences on him during these years were Ayn Rand and Leonard Read of the Foundation for Economic Education.”

Friday, January 14, 2011

• • • Joan Kennedy Taylor 
Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Individualism  |Personal life  | Joan [Kennedy Taylor’s] was only the second letter Rand had received from a reader about Atlas Shrugged. And, as Joan told Duncan Scott, “Rand was impressed with my letter, and she spoke to her publicity person at Random House, asking if she knew me — and she did — and so the next thing I knew I got a call from Jean Ennis, the publicity person at Random House, saying, “Ayn Rand got your letter, she liked it, and she wants to have lunch with you.” They had lunch. They talked for hours.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

• • Ira levin and This Perfect Day 
Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Individualism  |Personal life  | [Ira] Levin seems to have read Ayn Rand’s classic individualist novel, The Fountainhead, sometime in the 1940s. Perhaps when he was in high school and it was first on the bestseller lists? Perhaps when he was in college, at the time the release of the film version, starring Gary Cooper, Patricia Neal, and Raymond Massey, spurred another big surge in its popularity? Either way, whenever he read it, he liked The Fountainhead quite a lot, and when Rand’s next book, the classic libertarian novel Atlas Shrugged, came out in 1957, he bought it and read it and liked it, too.

Friday, November 26, 2010

• • • Anarchy, state, and Robert Nozick 
Egoism  |Nathaniel Branden  |Personal life  | The earliest issue [of The Personalist] I still own is dated Spring 1970, and it’s only necessary to scan the table of contents of that issue to figure out why I might have subscribed. There it is, right smack in the middle of that table of contents — an article called “Rational Egoism” by Nathaniel Branden. In 1970, I almost certainly still thought of myself as (and here’s a quaint phrase from yesteryear) a “student of Objectivism”; I was still in the process of changing my self-identification from “student of Objectivism” to “libertarian strongly influenced by Ayn Rand.” I had, however, rejected Ayn Rand’s demand two years earlier, in 1968, that I condemn Nathaniel Branden and refuse to deal with him in any way, purely on her say-so, with no clear explanation, much less evidence, of any supposed ethical transgressions by Branden.

Friday, November 12, 2010

• • Henry Hazlitt and the rising libertarian generation 
Atlas Shrugged  |Night of January 16th  |The Fountainhead  |We The Living  |Personal life  | Hazlitt introduced Mises to a hotheaded young writer he had recently met, a Russian immigrant in her mid-30s who called herself Ayn Rand. At this point, Rand had published one unsuccessful novel about the crushing of individualism in the Soviet Union, We the Living, and had seen a play, The Night of January 16th, through a moderately successful run on Broadway. She had not yet written the classic individualist novel, The Fountainhead, or the classic libertarian novel, Atlas Shrugged — the books that would make her name, her reputation, and her fortune.

Friday, September 10, 2010

• • • Albert Jay Nock and the libertarian tradition 
The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Personal life  | [Nock] had an immense influence, apparently, on another major figure in the contemporary libertarian movement, Ayn Rand. According to Anne C. Heller, whose biography of Rand, Ayn Rand and the World She Made, was published about a year ago, it was the theory Nock had adapted from Franz Oppenheimer that inspired Rand to write The Fountainhead.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

 Samuel Edward Konkin III 
[Sam Konkin’s] new roommate, another chemistry grad student, named Tony Warnock, turned out to be a big fan of everything related to Ayn Rand. Through Warnock, Sam was introduced not only to the writings of Rand, but also to those of a couple of economists — Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard — and to those of Robert LeFevre, the real-life anarchist philosopher on whom Robert A. Heinlein had based Professor Bernardo de la Paz.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

• • Vince Miller and the international libertarian movement 
The Fountainhead  | Ayn Rand [...] was 38 years old when her individualist novel, The Fountainhead, became one of the founding documents of the new libertarian movement.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

 The libertarian legacy of Rose Wilder Lane 
The Fountainhead  | [Roger MacBride ] was a connection back to an earlier stage in the modern libertarian movement, which had gotten underway, not in the late 1960s, as I had thought, but in the 1940s, with the publication, during World War II, of four important libertarian books — The Discovery of Freedom by Rose Wilder Lane, The God of the Machine by Isabel Paterson, The Road to Serfdom by Friedrich Hayek, and a radically individualist novel, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand — and the establishment, the year after the war's end, of the Foundation for Economic Education, the first libertarian "think tank."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

• • • Yevgeny Zamyatin: Libertarian novelist 
Anthem  |Atlas Shrugged  |We The Living  |Personal life  | Whatever we decide about whether Rand read We in the '20s or '30s, there's simply no getting around the obvious similarities between Zamyatin's novel and Rand's Anthem. Both are set in the far future in a completely collectivized totalitarian society. Both are told in the first person by their main characters, in We by the mathematician and engineer D-503, in Anthem by the engineer Equality 7-2521. Anthem is the only work of fiction written by Rand to be written in the first person. In We, D-503 meets a woman, I-330, and is led inexorably down a path to rebellion against the government of the society in which he lives. In Anthem, Equality 7-2521 meets a woman, Liberty 5-3000, and is led inexorably down a path to rebellion against the government of the society in which he lives.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

 An introduction to revisionism: The new American history wars 
We The Living  | there are historical novels and historical novels. One sort of historical novel – the more common sort – is a tale of the invented events that make up the lives of invented characters set against an historical backdrop: the American Revolution in Kenneth Roberts’s Rabble in Arms, the French Revolution in Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, the U.S. Civil War in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, World War I in John Dos Passos’s U.S.A., the Russian Revolution in Ayn Rand’s We, the Living.

Monday, May 04, 2009

• • • An introduction to Revisionism: The art of history 
Chapter 1 of Why American History Is Not What They Say: An Introduction to Revisionism.
A novel – a long, elaborate lie, involving the events in the lives of wholly imaginary human beings – is a metaphor for human life in the world as we know it. In this sense, every work of fiction is philosophical, because every work of fiction conveys an at least implicit statement about or judgment upon the human condition. This does not mean that every fiction writer is also a philosopher or even philosophical by temperament. Consider, in regard to this issue, the testimony of three fiction writers who are also, in some sense, philosophers: Jean Paul Sartre, William H. Gass, and Ayn Rand.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

• • •Joan Kennedy Taylor, 1926-2005 
Persuasion became the first and only political magazine ever personally endorsed and recommended by Ayn Rand. In the December 1965 issue of The Objectivist Newsletter, Rand wrote that Persuasion "does a remarkable educational job in tying current political events to wider principles, evaluating specific events in a rational frame-of-reference, and maintaining a high degree of consistency. It is of particular interest and value to all those who are eager to fight on the level of practical politics, but flounder hopelessly for lack of proper material."