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Saturday, March 16, 2013

• • • Are Objectivists Libertarians? 
Ayn Rand Institute  |Capitalism  |John Allison  |Rand Paul  | when it comes to the relationship between Objectivism and libertarianism, I have to admit that it’s not cut and dried, because there is no “Objectivist foreign policy.” That is, there is no one specific foreign policy that can be obviously projected from Objectivist principles. There is a gap between a philosophy and a political program; to go from one to the other requires not just philosophical principles, but specific judgments about the state of the world, about the nature of our allies and enemies, and about diplomatic and military strategy. Ayn Rand herself held a variety of views over the years on the subject of foreign policy and war, and while she was in favor of strongly opposing the Soviet Union during the Cold War, she was also influenced by the anti-interventionists of the 1930s, the very people who were denounced as “isolationists.” So people who accept the same philosophical principles can disagree on their application, and I cannot say that someone who is an Objectivist cannot be an anti-interventionist—only that I strongly disagree with their application of the philosophy in today’s context.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

• • • The Woman Without a Face 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Harry Binswanger  |Objectivist author  | One of my readers suggested that the antidote to ["The Life of Julia"] should be "the life of Dagny"—a reference to Ayn Rand's resourceful, self-motivated heroine in Atlas Shrugged, who is the exact opposite of Obama's Julia. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this doesn't quite work as a parallel. While Dagny's spirit is the answer to Julia, the specific character is too connected to her own fictional world and biography. It's not easily adaptable.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

• • • The “Atlas Shrugged” Phenomenon 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Objectivist author  | In effect, the Atlas Shrugged movie has become a proxy battle in the war between the socialist left and the pro-free-market right.

• • • Atlas Is Shrugging 
Atlas Shrugged  |Personal life  |Objectivist author  | Atlas Shrugged was published more than 50 years ago, and Ayn Rand certainly didn’t write it with today’s events in mind. But she drew from real-world observations that suggested universal principles. She lived through the Bolshevik takeover in Russia and escaped to America in the Roaring 20s, a period of extraordinary industrial growth and achievement. She then watched in horror as America plunged into the Red Decade and the Great Depression, a permanent “temporary crisis” that was always used as an excuse for the government to grab more power. So when it came to understanding what made America great and what was destroying it, she had plenty of real-life material to draw from.

Friday, October 01, 2010

• • • Anthemgate: The Objectivist movement commits suicide 
Alex Epstein  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Atlas Shrugged  |For the New Intellectual  |The Fountainhead  |Elan Journo  |Harry Binswanger  |Leonard Peikoff  |Yaron Brook  |Objectivist author  |

Thursday, February 25, 2010

• • McVeighing against the tea parties 
Capitalism  |Objectivist author  | If you want to commemorate the American Revolution and the Founding Fathers by celebrating April 19 — then that automatically makes you a racist militia conspiracy theorist. This smear is so crude that it long ago ceased to be convincing. Forty years ago, Ayn Rand dismissed it as an "old saw of pre-World War II vintage" and named its purpose: to offer us a choice of "a dictatorship of the left or of an alleged right — with the possibility of a free society, of capitalism, dismissed and obliterated, as if it never existed." And that what all the stuff in the New York Times about conspiracy theories and militias is meant to accomplish. It is meant to divert our attention from other details that the reporter felt he has to include but doesn't want us to notice: the fact that, under the influence of Glenn Beck, Tea Party supporters have "explored the Federalist Papers, exposés on the Federal Reserve, the work of Ayn Rand and George Orwell."

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

 Letter to a sincere leftist: Let’s smash the state power of the corporations 
Objectivist author  | Dear Friend on the Left, As a tea party-goer and an advocate of the laissez-faire philosophy of Ayn Rand, I never thought I'd say this: let us join together in a common cause. Let us work together to defeat the health-care bill that is about to be passed by the Senate.

Friday, December 18, 2009

• • • Capping our carbon and crushing our spirits 
Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Objectivist author  | [George Monbiot] talks about a "new movement, most visible in North America and Australia, but now apparent everywhere" that "will not be constrained by taxes, gun laws, regulations, health and safety, especially by environmental restraints." And he's right about our choice of literary and philosophical inspiration: he describes us as "clutching their copies of Atlas Shrugged." I am clutching my copy of Atlas Shrugged, because it has never seemed more relevant than it is now. But in reading Monbiot's column, another Ayn Rand novel comes to mind: The Fountainhead, Rand's classic portrayal of the struggle of the independent creator against the grey conformity of collectivism. With a few updates in his ideology-environmentalism in place of socialism-Monbiot gives us a creditable audition for the role of Ellsworth Toohey, the manipulative intellectual who seeks to crush the human spirit in order to make men submit to his influence and control.

Friday, October 16, 2009

• • Morality ends where a gun begins 
Objectivist author  | The basic outlook [of some] is: when it comes to our really important, life-or-death needs, to hell with thinking and logic. Which means: to hell with principles. This is amorality disguised under moral posturing. The most profound answer to this view of the role of morality was offered by the pro-capitalist philosopher Ayn Rand when she wrote that "Force and mind are opposites; morality ends where a gun begins."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

• • It’s the liberty, stupid 
For a dose of reality, check out this set of photos taken by one of my readers at Saturday's rally. [....] If you scroll down about halfway, you will also see a picture of yours truly. I'm the fellow in the blue shirt carrying a big sign with a quote from Ayn Rand expressing this "racist" sentiment: "Your life belongs to you and the good is to live it." Clearly code words for the Ku Klux Klan.

Friday, August 28, 2009

• • Brother, you ain’t my keeper: The saccharine tyranny of altruism 
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Egoism  |Objectivist author  | The novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand—who escaped to the US from Soviet Russia and thus had a better appreciation for the unique virtues of the our system—summed up the essence of American individualism in an oath taken by her characters in Atlas Shrugged: "I swear—by my life and my love of it—that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." That's the code that we need to affirm in response to Barack Obama's injunction about being our brother's keepers. We need to tell him that he is not our keeper—that we do not want to be keepers nor to be kept, but to be free and independent men.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

 The anti-industrial coup 
Objectivist author  | Yesterday, the EPA issued a "finding" that carbon dioxide is a pollutant that threatens human health and can thus be regulated under the 1990 Clean Air Act. [....] Ayn Rand warned that the environmentalist movement constitutes an "Anti-Industrial Revolution," but the term "revolution" implies a broad base of popular support. Instead, this is an anti-industrial coup, a seizure of power by a small elite who seek to bypass the institutions and procedures of legitimate government.

Friday, February 27, 2009

• • • The Ayn Rand factor in the Santelli revolt 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Objectivist author  | It is no coincidence that the strongest resistance to a government takeover of the economy is coming from people influenced by Ayn Rand. She has long functioned as a stiffener of resolve and as the fountainhead of pro-free-market ideas.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

• • • Joe the Plumber and Ayn the Philosopher: The road back for the right 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | Just about every conservative has long been aware of Ayn Rand and her ideas. Now perhaps they are starting to realize just how much they need her. But is there an audience for these ideas? With the nation apparently turning to the left, what about the sense of life of the American people? That, I can assure you, is still healthy.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

• • The end of Republican ‘fusionism’? 
Atlas Shrugged  | On the death of William F. Buckley Jr.
In the 1950s and 60s, Buckley's National Review made a special (and scurrilously dishonest) effort to purge the right of Ayn Rand and her intellectual movement, because her atheism threatened the fusionist agenda--even though she was the most powerful advocate for the morality of capitalism.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

 GOP ‘fusionism’ comes un-fused 
Fusionism was the idea that [religious traditionalists, pro-free-marketers, and foreign policy hawks] could not only find common cause but could cobble themselves together into a semi-integrated ideology. [....] Many on the right are implicitly sympathetic to capitalism, sensing its virtues--but, thanks to "fusionism," unable to articulate them. And this means that they have never been able to turn the defense of free markets into a moral crusade. [...] T]he "fusionists" turned away the one intellectual who could have helped them do so. National Review made a special effort to expel Ayn Rand and her followers from the right because her atheism threatened their fusionist agenda--even though she was the most powerful advocate for the morality of free markets.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

• • • The historic significance of Atlas Shrugged 
Atlas Shrugged  | The most radical aspect of Atlas Shrugged is that it is a sweeping, serious novel of ideas that is based in the business world, the last place mainstream intellectuals would have thought to regard as the inspiration for epic drama or profound new ideas. What makes Ayn Rand distinctive is that she found drama, heroism, and profound philosophical meaning in the achievements of the entrepreneurs and industrialists who were reshaping the world.

Friday, May 18, 2007

What are the Right’s priorities? 
On this week's Republican presidential debate.
Demonstrating why Ayn Rand was right to dismiss Libertarians as "hippies of the right," Representative [Ron] Paul picked up the basic anti-war argument of the far left. The terrorists, he said, "attack us because we've been over there; we've been bombing Iraq for 10 years.... We need to look at what we do from the perspective of what would happen if somebody else did it to us."

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

• •The secular right 
My own defense of the secular right is based on the ideas of Ayn Rand, the novelist, philosopher, and famous defender of capitalism who originated a secular philosophy she called Objectivism. Ayn Rand's ideas are hardly a secret--her novels still sell briskly, fifty years on--and the strangest part of the current debate about secularism and the right is that no one has yet seen fit to mention her.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

• •The suicide bomb morality 
Ayn Rand remains a controversial figure, scoffed at by both left and right. But this phrase, "perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing"--could there be a better description of the Palestinians' suicide bomb society?