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Thursday, July 28, 2011

• • Why businesses bash business 
,
It is one of the most infuriating things I experience: businesses that sponsor total disrespect toward business. Ayn Rand called this “the sanction of the victim,” suggesting that these are good people who accept bad things said about them. I think they are not such good people (although, of course, in important ways they are). It is they, after all, who create all those valuable things I listed above. But in one serious respect, they are being vicious: They are undermining their own very valuable existence by fueling the fires of anti-business sentiment, not only for a worldwide audience, but in their own psyches.

Monday, May 09, 2011

• • • Tibor Machan: Ayn Rand, libertarians and the needy 
,
Capitalism  |Image  | A recent letter to the editor published in the Register, written by someone apparently eager to besmirch Ayn Rand – which many have tried, in vain – stated: “Rand’s libertarianism has an underlying philosophy that says, if you are not particularly smart, ambitious, disciplined or wealthy, and you become homeless, hungry, financially ruined and suffer from premature illness or death, then that is entirely your fault.” Neither Rand nor libertarians say any of this. What both do say is that, if you are in such a condition, you have no authority to deprive others of their resources.

Monday, April 11, 2011

• • • 50 years of reading Ayn Rand 
,
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Anthem  |Atlas Shrugged  |Night of January 16th  |The Fountainhead  |We The Living  |Individualism  |Personal life  |Image  | I was won over to Rand in part because I already held individualist views, having survived Soviet communism and a Nazi parent’s brutality. Such collectivist, communitarian regimes held out no attraction to me. Yet I lacked the education to figure out why a human individual should be acknowledged as the center of values, and Rand helped me figure this out. Right or wrong, I found Rand (whom I met in 1962 for a 30-minute private chat but who later banished me, too, from her group of close-knit students) sensible, passionate, a bit bellicose and all-around very insightful about nearly all aspects of philosophy. Then, three years after its publication, came “Atlas Shrugged.” I read it on a single day; that is how vivid and good a read it was and, judging by its phenomenal sales worldwide, still is.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

 Could Obama really be a socialist? 
,
My father was an avid champion of Hitler and a fierce anti-Semite, whereas I grew up to embrace libertarianism in politics and a refined version of Objectivism in my general philosophy. A great many folks I know don’t at all think as their parents did. In the case of Obama it seems his socialist grandmother had considerable influence on him (judging by his own testimony).

Thursday, October 29, 2009

• • • Ayn Rand and the philosophers 
,
Atheism  |Anthem  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |The Fountainhead  |The Virtue of Selfishness  |We The Living  |Capitalism  |Egoism  | While Rand received a lot of flak for supposedly championing reckless egotism and wild capitalism, she, in fact, defended the very same political system we find sketched in the Declaration of Independence. And her ethics are in line with common sense: Decent people take good care of themselves first and foremost – they practice the virtue of prudence – while also showing generosity to those who need and deserve help.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

• • Paying for your health care right 
,
Capitalism  | When the novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand was asked about whether it would be possible to form a political movement in support of a genuine free society, her answer was, "It's earlier than you think." What she meant is that people in this culture – not to mention others around the globe – aren't yet willing to embrace liberty. Too many people embrace, instead, the reactionary idea that we are all members of a tribe to which we owe unconditional allegiance. This despite the fact that America, of course, was founded on the rejection of that outlook and built on the view that individuals are sovereign.

Monday, March 03, 2008

 Grisham’s support of Clinton shouldn’t surprise 
,
[Hillary] Clinton was an admirer of Ayn Rand's novels and even supported Barry Goldwater for a while.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

• • Buckley helped show him the way 
,
The Fountainhead  | On William F. Buckley Jr.
I was very annoyed with [Buckley's] repeated publication of an essay, in which he claimed that Rand's first bestseller, "The Fountainhead," is popular because of the "fornicating bits," which was quite silly, as well as false.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

 Europe reveals its Microsoft envy 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | Given [Microsoft] Chairman Bill Gates' political philosophy – revealed in his obstinate support of the estate tax and other policies coming from the Left – the philosophical case for his company could probably use some shoring up. Perhaps he ought to familiarize himself with Ayn Rand's world-famous novel, "Atlas Shrugged," which this month marks its 50th anniversary in print. "Atlas" could help him understand the motivation behind a court ruling that is punishing him for being a success in the marketplace.

Monday, September 10, 2007

 Novelist doesn’t know his economics 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | On crime novelist Henning Mankell.
When Ayn Rand's blockbuster novel “Atlas Shrugged” appeared in 1957, a good many snooty literati faulted it for being too didactic, lacking in subtlety, arguing points explicitly, indeed- in lengthy dissertations by her protagonists. This was often deemed to be lacking in finesse, something contemporary novelists must deploy lest they be clearly understood. No one I have read commenting to Henning Mankell's well-written and well-plotted crime novels has faulted him for injecting slipshod political-economic comments into his works. Somehow doing didactic, not to mention primitive, political economy seems to be OK by novelists if they oppose full human freedom, if they champion the welfare state

Friday, July 20, 2007

• • • Ayn Rand, libertarianism, and ARI 
,
Ayn Rand Institute  | Response to a Los Angeles Times letter to the editor by Jeff Britting of the Ayn Rand Institute.
Ayn Rand identified herself as a libertarian early on and only once some libertarians disagreed with her on certain issues did she rather arbitrarily dismiss all of it.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

• • •‘Atlas’: Recollections of Ayn Rand 
,
Rand showed me and millions of others that a truly free society must rest on more than political ideals and ideas, more than economic theory, more than its practical value. It must also take very seriously the nature of human life, the life of a moral being that is distinguished in the world by virtue of every individual's reliance on his or her reasoning mind.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Friedman gracious, tenacious 
,
On economist Milton Friedman, who died recently.
When I began my involvement with the libertarian movement in America in the early 1960s, I was brought in by reading the novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand, but quickly discovered there were several others who had been making significant contributions to the study of the free society.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Times’s leftist blindness 
,
In The NY Times Sunday Magazine, October 1st, the Profile feature, "Questions for," is devoted to Warren Beatty on the occasion of a revival of his 1981 movie Reds [....] [The movie] just goes on endlessly casting the beginnings of the murderous era of the Soviet Union in pretty favorable light. (As an antidote, one ought to read or see the movie of Ayn Rand's novel, We the Living!)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wishful thinking from Mr. Lind 
,
On an article by Michael Lind entitled “The Unmourned End of Libertarian Politics."
As far as the dominant ideas being discussed at conferences, in books and journals addressing political economy and theory, including prospective public policies, libertarianism has been making headway. Not enough to satisfy most libertarians-although many share the late Ayn Rand’s view that “It’s earlier than you think,” meaning the time hasn’t yet come for these radical ideas to take root.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Are we making progress? 
,
Even though I’ve been focusing on the respective merits of the free society vis-à-vis more or less statists ones since 1961—when I started to read philosophy and then discovered Ayn Rand, Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, et al. (oddly, via first becoming aware of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review), I have never managed to get a confident grasp of whether the movement is gaining ground on its opponents.

Monday, July 03, 2006

• •Who should be grateful to whom 
,
The Letters to the Editor portion of the Opinion section has printed many reader complaints about my previous column, which was critical of Bill Gates' terminology of "giving back to the community" as a motivation for giving away the bulk of his billions. Folks took off after me for being a libertarian, for sounding like Ayn Rand, for being confused or for saying nothing at all useful.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

• •Galbraith’s slander 
,
Column responding to a quote by economist John Kenneth Galbraith: "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
In recent times the only advocate of what might be called “a superior moral justification for selfishness” has been the late Russian born American novelist Ayn Rand.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

• • •Cooper on Rand & Aristotle 
,
On comments made by philosopher John M. Cooper of Princeton University at the December 2005 meeting of the Ayn Rand Society of the American Philosophical Association.
Rand has never been a materialist—she not only argued but righteously railed against materialism (e.g., with her analogy between materialists and Attila the Hun, who was the epitome of brute force for Rand).

A paradox of philosophy’s star gazing 
,
Not until [...] the late Robert Nozick published a book in which libertarianism was treated not only with respect but was actually championed, did other political philosophers and theorists begin to take libertarianism seriously. Yet, by then several others have made the case for the position and, indeed, Nozick himself dealt with some of these other individuals [...]. (Nozick also made use of Ayn Rand's book, Atlas Shrugged, in his courses at Harvard, someone whose ideas were routinely dismissed by political philosophers prior to Nozick's treating her seriously.)