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Monday, April 08, 2013

• • How Mr. Selfridge Created the Modern Economy 
If these shows’ entrepreneurial heroes are unusual, it’s their focus on retailing that fills the real cultural lacuna. Not even Ayn Rand deigned to celebrate shopping. None of her heroes were department store magnates.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

• • • Ayn Rand’s Formula for NCAA Tournament Success 
The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  | If you’re wondering how Florida Gulf Coast University became the first 15th seed in the history of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to advance to the Sweet 16, look no further than the ur-text of the school’s economics department: “Atlas Shrugged.” Embedded in this long, ponderous novel -- required reading for all undergraduate economics and finance majors at FGCU -- is the formula for transforming your college from a bunch of trailers on a swamp into the most talked-about school in the country. It’s simple, really. All you need to do is practice what Ayn Rand called “rational self-interest.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

• • Will Obama Ruin the Economy to Ruin the Republicans? 
Atlas Shrugged  |Going Galt  | The conviction that everything is about to come apart in the U.S. if the government maintains its current economic-policy course -- through tremendous inflation, a debt crisis, and/or all of the productive members of society Going Galt -- animates the huge Republican resistance to anything Obama proposes, even if that’s just the government paying the bills it has already run up. They’re trying their very hardest to save the country from a madman.

This sincere outlook is also insane, as you can see from how the stock and bond markets have behaved in recent years in response to various policy actions.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

• • • What Ayn Rand Can Teach John Boehner 
Atlas Shrugged  | All this talk about Plan B got me thinking about Project X. What's Project X, you ask? Randians (that's Ayn Rand to the uninitiated) will recall it from "Atlas Shrugged" as a sonic weapon of mass destruction being developed by the State Science Institute. With the nation's producers on strike, Project X is the government's last gasp to exert control over a collapsing economy.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

 U.S. Regional Clashes Behind Obama Versus Romney 
Syndicated  | Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential challenger, is a Yankee from Michigan and Massachusetts, who nevertheless chose to run on a platform emphasizing individual liberty, and to select as his running mate a devotee of Ayn Rand.

Friday, November 09, 2012

• • • Will This Election Settle Republicans’ Ayn Rand Debate? 
Altruism  |Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  |Image  |Syndicated  | Whoever prevails in today’s election, the 2012 presidential campaign should go down as a referendum on the long conservative fascination with Ayn Rand, the controversial libertarian novelist and philosopher. Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate and former titan of private equity, embodies Rand’s belief in the moral rectitude of free-market capitalism. A secretly videotaped speech Romney gave to a private fundraising audience -- in which he asserted that 47 percent of Americans were “dependent upon government” -- was an excellent distillation of this worldview.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

• • • Ryan’s Hero Ayn Rand Sneered at Disabled Children: Commentary 
Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Paul Ryan  |The Fountainhead movie  |Image  |Syndicated  | With the ascent of Paul Ryan, the chain-smoking, Russian-accented, flinty-hearted figure of Ayn Rand has once again elbowed her way into the American conversation. Will her name come up during the debate between the vice-presidential candidates on Thursday? So far, most of the talk has focused on her 1957 doorstop of a political novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” But it’s sent me back to an earlier book, “The Fountainhead,” which (like most of her work) has never been out of print since it was published in 1943.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

• • • Paul Ryan Can Be a Catholic and Still Worship Ayn Rand 
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  | The truth is that the ethical philosophies of Rand and Aquinas, the titan of medieval Catholic philosophy, are more simpatico than one might imagine. It’s telling that Ryan, in his statement rejecting Rand’s philosophy, chose to draw a contrast between Aquinas’s and Rand’s epistemologies -- their theories of knowledge -- but not between their ethics. The former is where the sharper difference lies.

Friday, August 24, 2012

• • • What Ayn Rand Taught Paul Ryan 
The Fountainhead  |Paul Ryan  |Syndicated  | “I grew up reading Ayn Rand, and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.” -- U.S. Representative Paul Ryan, Republican vice presidential candidate, in a 2005 speech.

Paul Ryan laughed. He stood naked on top of the vice president’s desk in the Senate chamber, scanning the crowd of sniveling politicians below him.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

• • A Hundred Horses Are Ford’s Pride After Flipping Tainted Banks 
Atlas Shrugged  | [Gerald J.] Ford says that working in an auto body shop as a teenager alongside his dad in Pampa, Texas, spurred him to seek a better career. In high school, he carried around Ayn Rand’s libertarian tome “Atlas Shrugged,” about the pursuit of individual achievement. Her books talked about people being successful, and I identified with that,” Ford says.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

• • We Did ’Build That,’ and Our Government Helped 
Capitalism  |Syndicated  | [T]his election offers a stark choice between do-it-yourself libertarianism and Whig capitalism, between Ayn Rand and Warren Buffett.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

• • Higher Taxes Won’t Discourage Wealthy From Working Harder 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | Atlas won’t shrug. That’s the view of economists Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty: They argue higher taxes will not discourage the wealthy from working harder or slow the economy, unlike in Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel, “Atlas Shrugged.” Its hero, John Galt, led a strike by industrialists and others against the government, partly because they thought they were too highly taxed.

Monday, April 30, 2012

 Romney’s Gaffes Won’t Cost Him As Many Votes As His Views 
Paul Ryan  | [Mitt Romney] has so lashed himself to [Paul] Ryan, an Ayn Rand libertarian, that there’s talk of Ryan going on the ticket. The Ryan-Romney plan -- from slashing federally funded scientific research to forcing seniors from nursing homes because of draconian Medicaid cuts -- will be wildly unpopular if Obama and his team find the resonant language to exploit it.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

• • Ryan Says Catholics Can Disagree Over Cuts in Aid to Poor 
Almost 90 members of Georgetown’s faculty and administrators signed a letter to [Paul] Ryan accusing him of misusing the Catholic faith. “Your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ,” the letter said. “We would be remiss in our duty to you and our students if we did not challenge your continuing misuse of Catholic teaching to defend a budget plan that decimates food programs for struggling families, radically weakens protections for the elderly and sick, and gives more tax breaks to the wealthiest few,” the faculty members’ letter said.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

 Captain Hook Hams It Up in Boorish ‘Starcatcher’: Review 
Aiming to be all things to all audiences -- amusing for children, knowing for grown-ups, sophisticated for cognoscenti - - [Peter and the Starcatcher] recalls [playwright Rick] Elice’s similarly tin-eared book for “The Addams Family.” A monologue by Black Stache (for his Groucho- like facial hair) includes a reference to a Cadillac Escalade and a mangled idiom (“splitting rabbit” for “splitting hairs”) that defies both sensibility and sense, as does another to Ayn Rand.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

 Hong Kong’s Basement-Gate Points to Shaky Future 
Capitalism  |Syndicated  | The way the laissez-faire crowd gushes over Hong Kong has always been a bit surreal. It’s routinely ranked the freest economy anywhere thanks to its low taxes, unrestricted entry of foreign capital and rule of law. The Ayn Rand set has tended to ignore some of Hong Kong’s other qualities, including a pegged currency, a state-backed Disney theme park, an oligarch economy ruled over by a handful of billionaires like Li and a leader anointed by officials in Beijing.

Monday, February 27, 2012

• • • Ayn Rand Beats Out Rick Santelli as First Teapartyer 
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Image  | The origins of the Tea Party are usually traced to Rick Santelli’s televised rant, which took place on Feb. 19, 2009 -- by coincidence exactly 83 years to the day after Ayn Rand first set foot on American soil. A few anti- tax, anti-government rallies preceded the Santelli tirade, but he and his immediate predecessors usually get the nod for originating the movement. I beg to differ. Ayn Rand was the very first person on the national political stage to enunciate views that mesh precisely with the ones being bandied about by the Tea Party. Rand was channeling the Tea Party decades before there even was a Tea Party.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

• • Can You Pass a ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ Test? 
Atlas Shrugged  |Syndicated  | With five decades’ distance it’s clear that books as seemingly different as “The Organization Man,” “The Lonely Crowd,” “The Feminine Mystique” and “Atlas Shrugged” were really all about the same thing: the alienation and discomfort of gifted, independent-minded individuals in a society in which the “normal” ruled. The “cognitive elite” felt left out of or oppressed by the country’s culture and, as a result, scorned it.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

 Malcolm Gladwell Test Has Japan Turning Chinese 
Capitalism  |Syndicated  | No, this column isn’t advocating a sudden Japanese embrace of the ideologies of Ayn Rand and Ronald Reagan. Yet Japan has gotten as far it can with financial socialism.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

• • If Paul Wins Caucuses, Iowa Will Be Loser 
[Ron] Paul’s followers -- many of them young and intensely devoted to Ayn Rand, others older and mysteriously devoted to Rand regardless -- are fired up. They’ll be out caucusing no matter how dark the night or cold the weather.