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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

• • • Ayn Rand Nation: Look Elsewhere To Learn About Ayn Rand 
Objectivist author  | Imagine a lecture on the ideas of Ayn Rand – or on those of Immanuel Kant, or John Locke, or Plato, or Aristotle, or on the philosophical system of any major thinker of the past – delivered by Ronald MacDonald in full clown regalia. Pretty ludicrous? Picture it combined with the rhetorical equivalent of “death by a thousand chortles,” punctuated with spittle-spewing Bronx cheers. Pretty disgusting? Not very amusing? Then you will have an idea of the nature and purpose of Gary Weiss’s book on Rand and Objectivism, Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

• • Leave Us Alone Mr. Obama 
Alex Epstein  |Yaron Brook  |Objectivist author  | In the words of Yaron Brook and Alex Epstein, [in a proper society] we would “do whatever is necessary to destroy the threat [to the United States] and return to normal life, with minimum loss of life and liberty on the part of the citizens of the defending nation.”

Monday, July 11, 2011

• • Being Yourself is Practical 
The Fountainhead  | When I first read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, I recognized Howard Roark (and Rand’s other heroes) as the obvious way to be. It was not a radical concept to me at all, although I recognized it is to most people. “Of course Howard Roark is like that. How else would anyone be?”

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

• • • Books: I Am John Galt 
Alan Greenspan  |Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |The Fountainhead  |The Virtue of Selfishness  |Objectivist author  | Book review: I Am John Galt, by Donald Luskin and Andrew Greta.
Judging this book is rather like judging the movie version of Atlas: both could have been better but both also could have been so much worse. By the standard of what an Objectivist intellectual would write, the book is thin and, at times, offensive in its comparison of people to Ayn Rand’s unique, grand-scale, life-loving heroes. (E.g., as creative as Steve Jobs surely is, there’s no way on God’s green earth that he is remotely comparable to Howard Roark). On the other hand, by the standard of what you would expect to see in such a book, I Am John Galt is surprisingly good.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

• • Altruism: Why The Republicans Will Lose The Budget Cut Battle 
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Objectivist author  | The Ryan budget proposal reveals a culture still caught in the death-grip of altruism. A culture trapped between “we owe to them” and “we can no longer afford to give it to them.” Either one of two things will happen. Either nothing will change until the financial situation gets much worse, with paper money kaput and riots in the streets—or people will begin to take notice that that Ayn Rand person they’re hearing so much about makes a good case in favor of a non-sacrificial morality. So far, they haven’t even noticed that Atlas Shrugged goes deeper than politics. We aim to change that.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

• • • Cortlandt Homes, Redux: Why John Agilardo’s Adaptation of Ayn Rand’s Novel Atlas Shrugged Fails 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Image  |Objectivist author  | Esthetically, the difference between the novel and the movie is the difference between Michelangelo’s “David” and a Hummel figurine. Or, in terms of literary accomplishment, the difference between the Empire State Building and a 7-11 convenience store.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

• • Reagan-interruptus: Republicans are, once again, the stupid party 
Altruism  |Capitalism  |Objectivist author  | All those years ago, philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand got it so right. She said that there was no end to the welfare-regulatory state until or unless people reject the morality of altruism, defined as the morality that we are all our brothers’ keepers. In practice, the code of altruism means that the more I produce, achieve and earn, the more I owe to others. The same applies to you. Republicans (usually religious) tend to eschew this attitude applied to government, preferring that self-sacrifice be practiced outside politics rather than within it. The Democrats, who tend not to be religious, say that’s silly, that if we all are our brothers’ keepers, then of course government should uphold this principle under the law. In the end, Republicans, even if they put up a fight, concede that well, shucks, “I guess those Democrats do have a point.”

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

• • • Objective economics: The implications of Ayn Rand’s philosophy on the science of economics 
Altruism  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Image  |Objectivist author  | Excerpt from Objective Economics: How Ayn Rand’s Philosophy Changes Everything About Economics.
Ayn Rand’s ethics of rational self-interest is an ethics of egoism, the view that selfishness is a virtue and the individual should be the beneficiary of his own actions. Her ethics is my ethics. By contrast, for the last hundred years, economists have presupposed the opposite ethics as the base for both generating and evaluating theories: that ethics is altruism, the morality of selflessness and self-sacrifice—the morality of the Judeo-Christian tradition—the morality that dominates our age and that has dominated Western civilization for two thousand years. The clash between altruism and capitalism is irremediable. Capitalism is the economic system of self-interest. Capitalism depends on self-interest, it encourages self-interest, it sanctions self-interest. At every level and in every detail, the motivation of self-interest is the motivation of capitalism. Consequently, the altruists have loathed capitalism from its beginning in the Industrial Revolution.

Monday, February 28, 2011

• • • Art against jihad: An interview with Bosch Fawstin, creator of The Infidel and Pigman 
[Q:] Who is Bosch Fawstin? [A:] A life-long comic book fan whose love of heroes led him to Ayn Rand’s novels and her philosophy of Objectivism, which my own fictional heroes embody. [Q:] Ayn Rand? Yes, I see the author of Atlas Shrugged she even makes an appearance in Table For One. What inspires you about Ayn Rand and her philosophy Objectivism in regards to your art? [A:] Ayn Rand is the most fully realized artist I’ve ever come across. She wrote the truth as if her life depended on it, and she made me conscious of the fact that my favorite artists have always been the most honest. Her philosophy of Objectivism is what helps keep my life and the lives of my heroes in full intellectual engagement with reality. Its focus on what really matters helps me better recognize the unimportant and the unnecessary in my life and in my art, which is a great value in keeping my stories anchored to reality and true to themselves.

• • • Yaron Brook speech at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit 
Ayn Rand Center  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Yaron Brook  |Video  | Yaron Brook gives a rousing speech at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit 2011 on 2/25/2011. His speech focuses on the idea that freedom lies in stresses a single, fundamental principle, the principle of individual rights, rather than vague terms such as fiscal responsibility (can be done through taxation) or limited government (can suggest democracy rather than a republic). An engaging speech which ended in an 1800 person standing ovation, the only one that night.

Friday, February 11, 2011

• • • Differing reactions to Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged 

Atlas Shrugged  |Image  |Objectivist author  | t’s hard to get your mind around this, but a lot of people are really put off by Atlas Shrugged. I read a fair amount of web-chatter about Ayn Rand and Atlas, and even allowing for the dishonesty, I find a number of people who find Atlas . . . well, let one of them say it, not I. Here’s one of the more polite, less venomous reports: “I’m 450 pages in, and have yet to encounter a character I give a s**t about.” I never met characters I cared more about. As others have said, the characters of Atlas sometimes seem more real than the people around me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

 The tragic shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords reveals the dark side of “liberal” ideology 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Objectivist author  | The shooter in the Arizona killings is described by people who knew him as a “left-wing pothead” who idolized Karl Marx, author of The Communist Manifesto. Don’t expect that fact to get much coverage. Imagine if he’d had a copy of Ayn Rand’s pro-capitalism “Atlas Shrugged” on his book shelf. The outrage would be immense.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

• • Stupid and stingy: How the left and right see each other 
Objectivist author  | What about [...] those who disagree with Kant and can refute him, can defend reason and egoism? That’s a minority of one: Ayn Rand. Except that, thanks to Ayn Rand, there are now a growing legion of New Intellectuals to carry on and extend her anti-Kantian revolution.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

• • Economic fallacies concerning tax cuts and government spending 
The Virtue of Selfishness  |Capitalism  | Ultimately, all taxation has to be abolished. See "Government Financing in a Free Society," in Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

• • • The Tea Party movement 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Individualism  |Objectivist author  | Objectivists should recognize and value what is a startling, unprecedented phenomenon: the rise, in an eyeblink, of a pro-freedom, pro-American, avowedly *individualistic* political movement--a movement friendly to Ayn Rand, favorable to Atlas Shrugged, and popularizing the phrase “Who is John Galt?” This is more--far more--than we had a right to expect at this stage in history.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

• • Vote Republican rather than Tea Party? 
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Egoism  |Objectivist author  | Talking about liberty is all to the good, but Tea Partiers don’t have the idea of moral principles mandating absolute freedom. And at a deeper level, they don’t understand two key points: 1) the issue is freedom vs. force, and 2) force is anti-mind. And they are nowhere near to grasping that the mind is the instrument of human survival. They don’t even recognize that point when they read Atlas Shrugged, which not only states it explicitly but dramatizes it throughout. Further: egoism vs. altruism is an issue they don’t want to touch.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

• • The Tea Party Movement 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Yaron Brook  |Objectivist author  | Objectivists should recognize and value what is a startling, unprecedented phenomenon: the rise, in an eyeblink, of a pro-freedom, pro-American, avowedly *individualistic* political movement--a movement friendly to Ayn Rand, favorable to Atlas Shrugged, and popularizing the phrase “Who is John Galt?” This is more--far more--than we had a right to expect at this stage in history.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

• • How to truly honor our soldiers 
Alex Epstein  |Elan Journo  |John Lewis  |Yaron Brook  | While on vacation recently in New York City, my wife Diana and I attended a nice get-together with some local Objectivists. That evening, we had the pleasure of chatting with another Objectivist visiting NYC who was also an active-duty officer in the US Army.

Friday, May 14, 2010

• • Justice for Goldman Sachs 
Capitalism  | Yet another injustice towards Goldman Sachs is circulating on the web. It's the publication of the fact that Goldman Sachs has financially supported Democrats over Republicans. The implicit or explicit conclusion is that Goldman is buying pull. Some bloggers have said that the firm is known as "Government Sachs." This is total context-dropping. The facts omitted from consideration are: [....] 2. Businesses have to contribute to political parties to buy protection. At least they think they do. Even [Hank] Rearden [a character in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged] thought so: "Rearden disliked the subject. He knew that it was necessary to have a man to protect him from the legislature; all industrialists had to employ such men."

Monday, April 26, 2010

• • Will religious conservatives hijack the Tea Party movement? 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |Objectivist author  | The phrase "limited government" has suddenly become prominent. This is not exactly an Objectivist term, but Ayn Rand did use it in "The Roots of War," (in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal), and its growing use is a good sign.