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Friday, June 07, 2013

• • The Ronald Reagan of Virginia 
,
Capitalism  | [A]s Ayn Rand used to say, there are only two choices, capitalism or socialism. Choose.

Monday, April 01, 2013

• • • The Nasty Ayn Rand 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | Most of us have probably scrawled a hostile insult or two on books by authors we don’t like. But Rand’s notes [on C.S. Lewis’ The Abolition of Man], which First Things goes on to list, have to be some of the most vitriolic ever recorded in the history of paginated margins. Each one screams with a visceral hatred of authority, and particularly religious authority. It’s a timely reminder that, while Rand had some good ideas, her overall thought is extremely hostile to traditional conservatism. The next time you reach for Atlas Shrugged, pick up Lewis’ That Hideous Strength instead.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

• • Identity Thief 
,
The Fountainhead  | [Melissa McCarthy’s character] looks positively saint-like in comparison to the wicked capitalist boss, Harold Cornish (Jon Favreau), who not only fires Sandy and most of his other employees but offers to buy them a copy of The Fountainhead so that “you will see why it’s good for everybody.”

Saturday, March 02, 2013

• • Michelle’s Mostly Laudable Crusade 
,
Altruism  |Capitalism  |Objectivist author  | As an Objectivist, I don’t view either “helping others” or “altruism” as necessarily a valid goal in its own right. That said, if a person wants to help others because it brings him value of any sort (even if just psychological) without sacrificing his own life, that’s a good thing. I do believe in individual charity and volunteerism, though not out of a sense of guilt. But government redistribution of wealth — which it can only do through the threat of force if you don’t hand it over — is theft cloaked in a costume of charity.

Friday, March 01, 2013

• • Are Libertarians…Pansies? 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Individualism  | [C]onsider Ayn Rand, the thinker and novelist lionized by many libertarians, and her view of the family. Conservatives consider the family to be perhaps the most precious unit of civil society and a necessity for individual freedom. Rand saw forced familial relations as a shackle on the individual. In Atlas Shrugged, she portrays steel tycoon Hank Reardon’s family – his cloying wife, his scolding mother, his leech of a brother – as an irritating obstacle to his success, “an unreality that would not become real to him” for whom he feels nothing but “the merciless zero of indifference.” Elsewhere Rand derided “the worship of the family” as “merely racism” and something that “places the accident of birth above a man’s valor and duty to the tribe above a man’s right to his own life.” Many conservatives would shudder upon reading those quotes.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

 My Name is Cash 
,
Capitalism  | Hollywood has always romanticized the good fellas as America’s idealized violent swashbuckling entrepreneurs, although I doubt the likes of Carlo Gambino, Vito Genovese, and Frank Costello ever bothered to read Ayn Rand.

Monday, December 10, 2012

 At Least I'm Enjoying the Ride! 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | I leaped into the politics and culture of conservatism and have ever since enjoyed and been rewarded by The Red, White 'n Blue and Liberty And Justice For All and The Magna Carta and Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death and God and Man at Yale and The Gipper and John Galt and Matt Drudge and Brave New World and 1984 and Question Authority and Prop. 13 [...] and Ayn Rand and Mind Your Own Beezwax [...] and It's Morning In America.

Monday, November 05, 2012

• • • I Left the Theater Shrugging 
,
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Individualism  | Atlas Shrugged Part II: The Strike, the second movie in a trilogy based on Ayn Rand’s magnum opus, is tolerable as a popcorn film -- that is, if you like fairytales about evil governments, objectivist CEOs, and cursory allusions to metal bondage. The basic plot points will be familiar to anyone who has ever read the book (or known a 16-year-old libertarian obsessed with it).

Saturday, August 18, 2012

• • • Dave Weigel's Unsatisfactory Reply on Ryan & Ayn Rand 
,
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Paul Ryan  | A couple of days ago, I pondered why the media is falling all over itself to examine Paul Ryan's intellectual influences (namely Ayn Rand) while this same media failed to show any curiosity about President Obama's intellectual influences (i.e. Saul Alinsky, Bill Ayers, Reverend Wright, Rashid Khalidi). Well, Dave Weigel (who was amongst those who has been writing about the Ryan/Rand connection) replied in kind yesterday. I would have responded sooner but Weigel’s response only came to my attention today while reading Seth Mandel’s observations about the matter in Commentary. While Weigel’s reply is lengthy it is ultimately unsatisfactory because he didn’t address the issue at hand.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

 The American Spectator : Won't Someone Please Ask Meghan McCain to the Prom? 
,
Meghan insists she would be the very “first person to tell the world” she was queer because she is “not private about anything.” But you see she is “strictly dickly” --- I swear to Ayn Rand I am quoting that phrase accurately -- and just can’t help herself. She loves sex, with men.

Friday, February 10, 2012

 Coulter Care 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | Here is why the individual mandate inevitably leads to full-blown socialized medicine, as it has with Obamacare: When the government mandates that you have to buy health insurance, then it has to specify what health insurance is required to satisfy the mandate. This means politics is involved in deciding what must be included and covered by that insurance. And once politics is involved, that means you can't leave anything out. [....] We will see that when the final regulations are issued for Obamacare by the Supreme Dictator, Kathleen Sebelius (who looks and acts the part of a villain from an Ayn Rand novel).

Monday, January 23, 2012

• • A Fling With Federalism 
,
Capitalism  | “States’ rights” often gets tagged as a “libertarian” ideal. But it lacks the flavor of libertarianism desired by some doe-eyed Randian utopists who believe you can strip away laws and Americans ultimately won’t drive through red lights because the free market will kill them. Federalism is an ordered liberty. What could be more conservative?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

• • Craving Another Great Depression 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |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.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

 Does Slate editor Jacob Weisberg still believe “Libertarianism is Dead?” 
,
It hardly seems like the philosophy is limited to those who are, in Weisberg’s own words, “intellectually immature, frozen in the worldview many of them absorbed from reading Ayn Rand​ novels in high school.”

Sunday, July 31, 2011

 The Jarrett Files 
,
Paul Ryan  | November 2012 was starting to feel like a breeze. Republicans had no one serious or impressive enough to defeat [Obama], Paul Ryan was as marginalized as Ayn Rand, and all this scare talk from the right about the country’s failing economy and fiscal condition was nothing that serious tax hikes on the rich and further, deeper government “investments” wouldn’t shut up for good. But then came June, and with it, faster than you could say Anthony Weiner, new numbers, ominous numbers, an economy in renewed freefall, markets plunging, unemployment up, GDP growth down, a recovery-less recovery in full doom.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

 Improving His Odds 
,
Capitalism  | In Atlas Shrugged style, it’s time for the pro-liberty and pro-capitalism leaders of society, including those few politicians who fit that mold, to return and make a stand for our Republic. Romney’s performance on Monday in New Hampshire didn’t prove he’s that guy, but it surely didn’t hurt his case either.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

• • • Ayn Rand and Karl Marx 
,
Altruism  |Individualism  | Ayn Rand was a crank. It is neither desirable nor possible to swallow the whole of her message, even assuming it was consistent. She was, like Marx, one of the “great simplifiers” that Edmund Burke warned against, and her work has more in common with that of Marx than the disciples of either should feel comfortable about. The best of what she had to say was said more elegantly and intelligently by Adam Smith in the 18th century, by von Hayek in “The Road to Serfdom,” or any number of other writers in the classic economic tradition.

Monday, June 06, 2011

• • • Choosing Ayn Rand or Jesus? 
,
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Individualism  |The Fountainhead movie  | It’s touching how liberal, religiously pluralistic groups like Faithful America and American Values Network are suddenly very concerned that Christians specifically remain faithful to the Bible and to Jesus. Their respective boards are populated with activists and clergy not themselves known for careful adherence to Christian orthodoxy. [....] Chuck Colson at least has the theological and spiritual pedigree to question why Christians would admire Rand. It’s uncertain how religious pluralists effectively ostracize an atheist intellectual.

Friday, April 15, 2011

 Obama offers usual progressive line 
,
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Egoism  | Obama says that in order to increase our own freedom and happiness, we can’t just think about ourselves. We have to think about others. Beyond the obvious advice to the president to read (or watch) “Atlas Shrugged,” the proper response to Obama is “wrong!” Well, wrong in the sense that he means it. Obama means that we need to think about the well-being of others as an economic end in itself if we want to prosper. As Adam Smith eloquently explained, “It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we can expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.” In other words, and forming the basis of the concept of the “invisible hand”, we only need consider what the others want for their own benefit and then provide it to them at a profit to ourselves (or not if we choose voluntary charity.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

 Rediscovering Hamilton—and Hernando de Soto 
,
Adam Smith never wrote about political regimes as such. Hamilton, of course, as one of the authors of The Federalist, was one of the great political thinkers of modern times. He took an active and profound interest in the kind of political system the newly independent Colonies would produce. To revert again to a deplorably facile anachronism, Smith was a libertarian, though no Randian -- his Moral Sentiments makes that clear -- while Hamilton sought a balance between Colbertian mercantilism and free trade.