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Thursday, May 09, 2013

• • • Business Hero John Allison: BB&T — The Bank That Atlas Built 
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Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Leonard Peikoff  | Excerpt from I am John Galt: Today’s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It.
BB&T is the bank that Atlas built. Its success, and its durability in a crisis that destroyed so many other banks, is testimony to the real- world, real-money impact of Rand’s value system: purpose, reason, and self-esteem. The crisis itself is testimony to the real-world consequences of the philosophy of Rand’s villains — the looters, the power seekers, and the altruists.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

• • Founding Father James Madison vs. Al Capone’s Enforcer, Frank Nitti 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Objectivist author  | Today’s politicians are not Madison’s intellectual heirs; they are Alinsky’s, and Frank Nitti’s, with numerous political go-betweens on the descent to legislative thuggery and imbecility:  the prim and proper Progressive Woodrow Wilson; the disgraceful Warren G. Harding; the socialist opportunist Franklin D. Roosevelt; the pouting thug Harry S. Truman (the model for Ayn Rand’s “chief of state” villain, Mr. Thompson, in Atlas Shrugged); the bland nonentity Dwight D. Eisenhower; the fascist John F. Kennedy. And all of those who followed, including Ronald Reagan.

Friday, April 12, 2013

• • The Associated Press’s Blanking Out 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Objectivist author  | [The AP] has excised the terms Islamist and illegal immigrant from its style book. [....] It is an exercise in what novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand called “blanking out.”

Friday, April 05, 2013

• • Corporate Welfare is Immoral 
,
Capitalism  |Individual Rights  |Objectivist author  | The best thing the government can do to help the country’s businesses compete and succeed is to free the markets: remove impediments to competition (such as regulations and hand-outs) and stop interfering with business.  It is competition that drives innovation in new products and processes and higher quality and lower prices, not anything that the government does, no matter how good its intentions. As Ayn Rand identified, the government’s only role, properly, is to protect individual rights against initiation of physical force and fraud. This means only three functions: the armed forces, the police, and the courts (to protect people’s rights in cases of crime as well as contract disputes).

Friday, March 22, 2013

• • • Review of Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government 
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Altruism  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Capitalism  |Don Watkins  |Egoism  |Individual Rights  |Yaron Brook  |Objectivist author  | Why does the government keep growing, why should we be concerned about it, and what to do about it? “Free Market Revolution” by Yaron Brook, Executive Director, and Don Watkins, a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute answers these questions in lucid, lively prose, peppered with several concrete examples from business and politics.  If you have ever pondered these questions or been alarmed by the continuing economic recession, the skyrocketing deficit, and the debt crisis in the United States—$16 trillion and counting—I urge you to read this book. It astutely describes the current economic, political, and moral mess of America—and offers a way out of it.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

• • • Review of Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government by Yaron Brook a 
,
Altruism  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Capitalism  |Don Watkins  |Egoism  |Individual Rights  |Yaron Brook  |Objectivist author  | Why does the government keep growing, why should we be concerned about it, and what to do about it? “Free Market Revolution” by Yaron Brook, Executive Director, and Don Watkins, a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute answers these questions in lucid, lively prose, peppered with several concrete examples from business and politics.  If you have ever pondered these questions or been alarmed by the continuing economic recession, the skyrocketing deficit, and the debt crisis in the United States—$16 trillion and counting—I urge you to read this book. It astutely describes the current economic, political, and moral mess of America—and offers a way out of it.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

 House of Cards: No Heroes, Only Various Shades of Villany and Corruption 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Objectivist author  | The only “anti-capitalist” elements in the American version are Claire Underwood’s foundation, “Clean Water Initiative (CWI), a billionaire who somehow owns a lot of nuclear power plants, and some natural gas conglomerate, the latter two entities intimately tied to the president and to the plot and the competition for government favors. But I suppose that if you were going to indict the Democrats, you would need a couple of “private” interests lobbying for those favors (a la Orren Boyle’s Associated Steel Company in Atlas Shrugged). The Republicans could also be indicted for the same practice. But in Spacey’s “House of Cards,” all stops are pulled and the indictment is merciless.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

• • American Health Care: Essential Principles and Common Fallacies 
,
The Fountainhead  |The Virtue of Selfishness  |Individual Rights  |Individualism  |Objectivist author  | Without a foundation on the principles of individualism, the door is open to anti-concepts such as the “right to health care.” Those who proclaim the “right” to health care usually mean its opposite, i.e., that no one has the right to any health care at all unless they get it from the government. When private health care is criminalized and everyone is forced into a government system with nowhere else to go, we are at the mercy of the political powers that administer such a system, whether it actually delivers health care or not. (This perversion of the concept of rights into goods and services, which you must be forced to provide to others, is described by Ayn Rand in her article “Man’s Rights” in The Virtue of Selfishness.)

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

• • • Happy Randsday! Give Yourself A Present This Randsday! 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Egoism  |Objectivist author  | February 2nd is the birthday of Ayn Rand, the author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. Ayn Rand developed and defended Objectivism, a philosophy that advocates “rational selfishness.” To celebrate Randsday, you do something not done on any other holiday: you give yourself a present. Randsday is for getting that longed-for luxury you ordinarily would not buy for yourself. Or for doing that long-postponed, self-pampering activity you cannot seem to fit into your chore-packed schedule.

Monday, February 04, 2013

• • Real rights vs. “rights” (state-dispensed privileges) 
,
The Virtue of Selfishness  |Capitalism  |Individual Rights  |Objectivist author  | [W]hat are rights? Novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand wrote: “A ‘right’ is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life….The concept of a“right” pertains only to action—specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.”

Saturday, February 02, 2013

• • Obama’s Anti-Absolutism Club 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Objectivist author  | The nation is in a rotten mood, that is, that part of it fed up with the fascist populism and mob rule and the arrogance of a man who thinks he’s God’s or Nature’s gift to the masses. The time will come – and there are bellwether stirrings among the newly disenfranchised of the middle class, the rich, the constitutionalists, the originalists, the “libertarian fantasists” – when men will take up their illegal muskets and semiautomatics and oppose the mobs and SWAT teams and the OWS Stoßtruppen. [....] Or, try this scenario: They will go on strike, à la Atlas Shrugged.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

• • Nihilism in cinema 
,
The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution  |Objectivist author  | What is epistemology? Novelist/Philosopher Ayn Rand defined it as “a science devoted to the discovery of the proper methods of acquiring and validating knowledge.” Psycho-epistemology, she went on to explain, is “is the study of man’s cognitive processes from the aspect of the interaction between the conscious mind and the automatic functions of the subconscious.”

Sunday, January 27, 2013

• • Our Zombie Culture 
,
The Fountainhead  |Objectivist author  | Briefly, according to some accounts, the term “zombie” was popularized in our culture by Bela Lugosi in his 1932 movie, WhiteZombie. The term has Haitian voodoo origins, of course, and the notion of a zombie has ancient European folklore parallels, as well. Mary Shelley’s 1818 Frankenstein monster was assembled from the body parts of the dead, thus technically making it a zombie. Stephen Mallory’s “drooling beast” in The Fountainhead could be said to be a zombie, too, a beast deaf to all reason, a thing that lives only to kill, a “maniac who’s had some disease that’s eaten his brain out….You’d see living eyes watching you and you’d know that the thing can’t hear you, that it can’t be reached, not reached, not in any way, yet it’s breathing and moving there before you with a purpose of its own…”*

Sunday, January 06, 2013

• • Anti-Capitalist Policies, FDR to Obama 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Individualism  | As Roosevelt stated it in his second inaugural address, he sought “unimagined power.” Those two words alone were enough to turn employers and investors into John Galt, the fictional character in Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged who, refusing to become a cog in an anti-individualist society, urges the world’s producers, including businessmen, to strike, to withdraw their talent and investments from society in order to bring about the collapse of collectivism.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

• • A Carnival of the Left 
,
Objectivist author  | Once the world has been made right forever and ever, and all capitalists, “right-wingers,” “conservatives,” Objectivists, Constitution obsessers, Jews, the ideologically unfaithful, gun-lovers, Bible-huggers, libertarians, separationists, and First and Second Amendment cultists – in short, all the philosophically crippled (or “differently abled”) have been vanquished and buried in ecologically-friendly mass graves in a potter’s field, the inheritors of the earth will be able to celebrate their triumph at the Greatest Carnival There Ever Was or Ever Will Be.*

Friday, December 07, 2012

• • The Profit Motive is Good; The Loss and Theft Motive is Evil 
,
Capitalism  |Objectivist author  | Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter. So long as men live together on earth and need means to deal with one another — their only substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of a gun.—Ayn Rand

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

• • From Licensing to Censorship 
,
Capitalism  |Objectivist author  | “A ‘right,’” wrote Ayn Rand, “is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life.” Each individual has a moral right to take the actions necessary to sustain and enhance his life, so long as he respects the mutual rights of others.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

• • • John Galts vs The Obama Drones: Getting the Hell Out of Their Way 
,
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Leonard Peikoff  |Objectivist author  | In one of the climatic scenes in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, John Galt, the philosopher/scientist who is a prisoner of the government, is taken to a televised banquet in an upscale New York hotel, arranged by the government to show the world its new savior and to hear how he plans to save it. He is prodded, with a gun stuck into his ribs through his tuxedo jacket, to make a speech about how he would go about doing it. After all, his captors believe that because he is a brilliant man, his brilliance can save their lives and the nation. All he need do is think and issue orders. [....] Galt was expected, urged, and begged to become the nation’s economic dictator. He refuses. His mind cannot be forced to solve a problem he does not wish to solve.

Monday, November 19, 2012

• • The Age of Envy and Entitlements: A New Kind of Civil War 
,
Objectivist author  | The American “sense of life.” Decades ago novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand wrote an essay, “Don’t Let It Go.” “Just as an individual’s sense of life can be better or worse than his conscious convictions, so can a nation’s. And just as an individual who has never translated his sense of life into conscious convictions is in terrible danger—no matter how good his subconscious values—so is a nation. This is the position of America today.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

• • • Defending Capitalism: Ayn Rand vs. Hayek 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |Capitalism  |Individual Rights  |Objectivist author  | Ayn Rand publicly recommended the works of Mises but not of Hayek. Today, when Hayek is much better known than Mises, it’s worth seeing why. I came to the full realization of what’s wrong with Hayek’s approach while re-reading Atlas Shrugged. No, not in Galt’s speech, but surprisingly in the section describing the Minnesota harvest disaster, when trains were diverted to harvest the (spoiled) soybean crop of Kip’s Ma.