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Saturday, March 31, 2012

• • Are Apps The Future of Book Publishing? 
Atlas Shrugged  | One of the things about the e-book market right now is that there are a variety of experiences. Perhaps the type of e-book app that will seem most familiar to people would be something along the lines of Penguin’s Amplified Edition of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged. This edition, which is purchased as an iPad app, features things like actual manuscript pages, the ability to share quotes on social media, and audio clips of Ayn Rand on various topics.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

• • • George Monbiot Blames Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan For Just About Everything 
Alan Greenspan  |Altruism  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Capitalism  |Egoism  | I have to admit that this piece by George Monbiot in today’s Guardian produced a couple of chuckles. For those of you who don’t know Monbiot sees himself as the advocate and guardian of all that is good and holy in left wingery and environmentalism. Wrap up Bill McKibben with Harold Meyerson and you’re getting there. Today’s subject for his column is the pernicious effect that Ayn Rand and her acolyte Alan Greenspan have had on the modern world. They’re blamed for everything from the financial crash to the Tea Party.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

• • • Who Is John Galt? 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  | John Galt is the fictional hero of “Atlas Shrugged,” Ayn Rand’s epic novel published in 1957. I first read Atlas Shrugged in high school, and have reread it four or five times since then. For me, no other novel even comes close. A few months back, while clearing out a closet, I found a long-forgotten “Who is John Galt” coffee mug which also bears one of his quotes: “I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.”

Saturday, February 11, 2012

• • Understanding the Global Warming Debate 
In the early 1980′s I saw Ayn Rand speak at Northeastern University. In the Q&A period afterwards, a woman asked Ms. Rand, “Why don’t you believe in housewives?” And Ms. Rand responded, “I did not know housewives were a matter of belief.” In this snarky way, Ms. Rand was telling the questioner that she had not been given a valid proposition to which she could agree or disagree. What the questioner likely should have asked was, “Do you believe that being a housewife is a morally valid pursuit for a woman.” That would have been an interesting question (and one that Rand wrote about a number of times). In a similar way, we need to ask ourselves what actual proposition do the 97% of climate scientists agree with. And, we need to understand what it is, exactly, that the deniers are denying.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

• • • Lululemon CEO: Wilson Knew It Was Time To Go 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | Lululemon still has to find a new branding executive to replace [Chip] Wilson, who perhaps will now best be remembered for his final and most controversial piece of marketing: tote bags emblazoned with the phrase “Who is John Galt?”, the opening line from Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged. The bags spurred a flurry of web chatter, and for at least one Lululemon customer, the blend of expensive activewear and Rand’s theories on unregulated capitalism stunk like an unwashed yoga mat. Day addressed the bags, calling them “well intentioned but poorly executed. “What Chip was trying to accomplish, was saying if John Galt had actually scorched the Earth of all businesses, the kind of company that would be rebuilt to serve the needs of society and of the shareholders… Lululemon tries to be that company,” [CEO Christine] Day said.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

• • Obama ‘End of America-Ism”: Sad Variant of Global Warming Alarmism 
The Fountainhead  | If the earth could talk, it would likely channel Ayn Rand’s Howard Roark in The Fountainhead in response to the alarmists fearful of its destruction: “But I don’t think of you.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

 Idiot Politicians Propose Regulating Oil Companies With 'Reasonable Profits Board' 
Atlas Shrugged  | In a scene straight out of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” a group of congressmen have submitted a bill that would create a “Reasonable Profits Board” to regulate how much profit oil and gas companies are allowed to make.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

• • Chip Wilson, yoga billionaire 
Atlas Shrugged  | [Wilson] courted controversy in November when the chain printed an Ayn Rand slogan on its tote bags: “I Am John Galt”, a reference to a character and phrase from Atlas Shrugged. Wilson then proclaimed the Tea Party icon an inspiration on his blog, prompting pundits to speculate whether he was alienating customers.

Friday, November 04, 2011

• • • What Was Ayn Rand Wrong About? 
The Virtue of Selfishness  |Egoism  | This is an attempt at a summary of some of the main criticisms that have been offered by philosophers about Rand’s moral and political arguments; I’ll focus on nonideological criticisms — ones that take issue with Rand’s reasoning and not with her politics.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

• • • A Doctor Muses On The Selfishness Of Altruism 
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Personal life  | Speech delivered to the Yale Medical School class of 2011.
[Ayn Rand’s] work has been hijacked and co-opted by elements in our society that are the most eager to maintain inequalities. They quote her philosophy of objectivism as their excuse for continued disparities – they speak of individualism versus your personal social contract with society, free market capitalism versus intelligent economic and social policy, and severely limiting the role of government, rather than bending it to the public good, especially in healthcare. This is an egregious distortion of her work and it serves to foster even more inequalities in healthcare.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

• • • Brainwashed By a Cult! 
The Fountainhead  | I would ask myself: would Howard Roark heed his mother? No, of course not, the very idea is absurd. A better question, did Roark even have a mother? Who knows? [....] Once I was back in school I vowed to let my true self shine through like a beacon. I knew that if I kept this up, and was pure, that inevitably the right woman–beautiful, available, and totally sympathetic to me alone–would appear, as she did for Roark in the book. She did not. Nor did she in college. In fact, I am pretty sure I saw her run the other way on more than one occasion. I compromised still further, drifting away from the true path. Until finally something came that knocked my world askew just as just as much as The Fountainhead. I got free tickets to see The Grateful Dead in Madison Square Garden.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

 5 Reasons Entrepreneurs Won’t Vote for President Obama After Reading This 
I am not an ideologue. I read the New York Times and the Huffington Post, and my bookshelf includes everything from Paul Krugman to Ayn Rand. It is healthy to have passionate debates, and I respect everyone’s opinion.

• • Occupy Wall Street Is Certainly No Tea Party 
Atlas Shrugged  | Occupy Wall Street protesters are unified only by their hatred of the wealthy, and seem to take pride in the movement’s inability to present a coherent set of proactive initiatives. Their attacks are disturbingly similar to those levied against the rich in Ayn Rand’s ”Atlas Shrugged,” where punishing the most productive members of society was more important than fixing the nation’s problems.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

• • Stross and Doctorow Collaborate on Singularity Novel 
Atlas Shrugged  | Science Fiction writers Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow have announced that they’ve collaborated on a novel, titled Rapture of the Nerds, due out next September. On his website, Charles Stross discusses a few details. Let me reassure you that “The Rapture of the Nerds” is not an authorized sequel to “Atlas Shrugged” (although the uploaded AI ghost of Ayn Rand makes a cameo appearance).”

• • Do All Novelists Hate Business? 
Capitalism  | This article by Algis Valiunis in National Affairs confirms what I’ve been frustrated with for years, that the treatment of business by the literati has been shodderati. [....] The piece is well worth reading. It inventories the great anti-business, anti-capitalist, anti-consumer writers of modern times: Upton Sinclair, Thorsten Veblen, Theodore Dreiser, Lincoln Steffens, David Mamet, Tom Wolfe, Arthur Miller, Sinclair Lewis, Saul Bellow, Ida Tarbell (aimed mainly at John D. Rockefeller) and even Ayn Rand, whose version of capitalist championing runs irresponsibly off the rails for the critic’s taste.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

 The Process That Made Steve Jobs Great 
Don Watkins  |Yaron Brook  | As Yaron Brook and Don Watkins note, the death of Steve Jobs gives us a moment to reflect on the “profoundly moral” achievements of innovators and entrepreneurs with names like Jobs, Dell, Gates, Zuckerberg, Page, Brin, and Bezos.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

 The Weekly E-Book Reading List 
The gem of [Superheroes: The Best of Philosophy and Pop Culture] was the essay “Does Peter Parker Have a Good Life?” by Neil Mussett, which explores the question of the Meaning of Life in the context of Spider-Man, using viewpoints from the secular humanist Paul Kurtz, Objectivist Ayn Rand, Stoic Epictetus, Psychologist Viktor Frankl and Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Monday, September 19, 2011

 Carried Interest Restrictions in Jobs Bill Much Weakened 
Capitalism  | Now we have the Jobs Act where the Republicans will have to choose between the hedge fund Ayn Rand fans who have been doing such a great job running our economy or wounded warriors.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

• • The Weekly E-Reading List 
Egoism  |Image  | Finished in the Past Week: Why Ayn Rand is Wrong (And Why It Matters) by Levi Asher. Alex’s Review: I ended up being pretty disappointed by this book. The copy on the book (not to mention the title) promise a pretty unflinching look at Ayn Rand’s ideas. So I was surprised to find that there was barely any engagement with Rand at all. Instead, the author used Rand as a stepping stone for his own ideas and opinions on ethics and egoism generally. Which was fine, I suppose, but there wasn’t much innovative there, and apart from a handful of quotes, Asher’s ideas had very little to do with Ayn Rand’s views on ethics. That’s too bad. Ayn Rand deserves better.

Friday, August 19, 2011

 Building BioShock for real 
BioShock  | Rapture was the doomed masterwork of a visionary businessman named Andrew Ryan, who was technically more an Objectivist than a libertarian, but quibbling over labels just sucks the fun out of the thing.