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Thursday, January 10, 2013

• • • The states they’re in 
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  | The repudiation of Rand is [...] the theme uniting the stories in Tenth of December, in which [George] Saunders deploys his mastery of the short story form to reject his former guru’s belief in selfish individualism as the truest expression of human nature.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

 The future of the Republican party 

[P]erversely, many conservatives believe America’s poor are undertaxed – the notorious 47 per cent who are defined “moochers” in the Randian universe. In reality, the vast majority pay tax in many forms even if they are not wealthy enough to incur federal income tax.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

 Muse, O2 Arena, London 
Muse anglicise a different aspect of America from the blues and R&B that inspired previous generations of Britrockers. The Devon trio are an English offshoot of the conspiratorial, paranoid strain of mind that brought us The X Files, Ayn Rand, Jack London, 9/11 deniers, etc. They do not go near the really hateful stuff – it is not as if they have turned The Protocols of the Elders of Zion into rock opera – but they do unleash some powerful libertarian hoodoo. Crackpot US rightwinger Glenn Beck praises their songs for posing “the fundamental question facing the world today – can man rule himself?”

Sunday, October 28, 2012

• • • Rand’s strangely compelling political fantasy 
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Paul Ryan  |Image  | Rand is a fascinating figure: a ferociously driven woman who produced crudely written but powerful novels that are revered by many. Atlas Shrugged Part II, like part one before it, is faithful to her character. It is not fun, exactly, and it is certainly not a great work of art. The dialogue feels assembled from a flat-pack, and some visual effects would have looked crude in the 1970s. Yet for all those flaws, it remains strangely compelling. As an exercise in forcing the viewer to engage with Rand’s ideas, it is undeniably effective.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

• • • Book review: Individualism rules 
Alan Greenspan  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Capitalism  |Don Watkins  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Yaron Brook  |Image  | Yaron Brook and Don Watkins of the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, California, have done a good job of applying [Ayn Rand’s] approach to present-day conditions. Free Market Revolution is a critique of contemporary America from what Rand called an objectivist perspective. The first thing likely to strike those new to objectivism is how hostile it is to other forms of free-market thinking. Those who are only prepared to utter two cheers for capitalism, or to advocate compassionate conservatism, are seen almost as traitors. High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. Brook and Watkins attack many free-market icons. They blast economists Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek for not making a moral defence of capitalism. For objectivists it is not sufficient to support the market economy simply on the grounds of efficiency. It is also morally superior to any other social system.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

• • Rand wrote the Occupy manual 
Atlas Shrugged  | I wonder if Jem Eskenazi (Letters, August 20) read the same Atlas Shrugged that I did? As I recall, it was a story about how a ragtag band including a minimum wage railway worker, a playboy and a pirate took down a corrupt, corporatist government and the villainous, politically connected bankers and industrialists by convincing the best and the brightest to stop selling their souls to Corporate America. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say it reads like a manual for Occupy Wall Street!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

• • • Inside the covers of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ 
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | I am always fascinated by politicians expressing publicly that they were influenced by Ayn Rand’s philosophy, and in particular by her novel Atlas Shrugged (“Influence of Rand novel on Ryan fuels free market debate”, August 17). Yes, this overlong novel (of dubious literary merit, but that’s beside the point) harps on about how market economies work best, profit is OK, central planning does not work, the individual’s power is good; ideas that perhaps excited a 1950s’ Russian émigré but are surely self-evident for most of the contemporary industrialised world.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

• • • Rand novel’s influence on Ryan fuels debate 
Alan Greenspan  |Atheism  |Ayn Rand Institute  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Yaron Brook  | Rand believed in “rational self interest” and that a person must pursue individual happiness above all else. Coercion of any kind, whether from government or other individuals, was a threat to that pursuit. In political and economic terms, she staunchly supported laisser faire capitalism, and opposed all regulation and intrusion by the state into people’s personal lives. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, credits Rand with changing perceptions about capitalism and the value of entrepreneurship. “If you go back to the 1960s, capitalism was considered a four-letter word. Most intellectuals were enamoured with socialism. Fast forward to the 1980s, that really changes and I think that without Atlas Shrugged, without Ayn Rand, I’m not sure that happens.” Similarly, he says it is debatable whether the conservative Tea Party movement, with its anti-government focus, would be the political force it is today without her influence.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

 Gingrich campaign is back on the ropes 
[Gingrich supporter Neil] Matheson said he had been involved in Republican politics since he “read a book by Ayn Rand” and predicted that Mr Gingrich would “slide by” and win the Florida primary, despite recent weakness in the polls, which he blames on “money and those horrible ads”.

• • On the money? 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  | Last year, that prophetess of capitalism, Ayn Rand, almost saw – from her cloudy eminence in the afterlife – her novel Atlas Shrugged brought to the big screen. Part one of a proposed three-part adaptation hiccupped into movie theatres in April. For critics and audiences it was simultaneously too little and too much. Rand’s vision of an unconstrained laissez-faire Utopia seemed as challengingly batty as ever. Yet the film was under-cast, under-directed and under-powered.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

 The inalienable right to tweet 
As Ayn Rand, Ron Paul and other great thinkers over the ages have said, the gummint has no place in the bedrooms or cars of the nation.

Friday, July 29, 2011

 After all, what’s a hit every 50 years? 
Alan Greenspan  |Capitalism  | Ayn Rand rides again (“Regulators must risk more to push growth”, July 27). Alan Greenspan evidently believes that all regulations and government involvement will kill growth and therefore must be eliminated.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

 Republicans test the limits of their power 
The picture of the House Republicans as radicals is far from the truth [...] say conservative commentators, and largely a smokescreen for the fact that the Democrats have not been able to come up with budget plans of their own. “They are not trying to get back to some kind of Ayn Randian utopia,” said Mike Franc of the Heritage Foundation. Mr Franc says the Republicans simply want to return government spending as a share of economic output to the levels it was before the financial crash, of around 20 per cent.

Monday, July 25, 2011

• • Ecuador’s leading newspaper in mute protest 
As Ecuadoreans clustered around news kiosks on Friday to read the front pages of their daily papers, the only words El Universo offered its readers were by the author Ayn Rand: “When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice, you may know that your society is doomed.”

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

 20 questions: Sara Blakely 
The Fountainhead  | [Q:] What is the best business book you have ever read? [A:] Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

• • Winners, also-rans and the terminally bad 
Alan Greenspan  |Capitalism  |Individualism  |Personal life  | All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace (BBC2 Mondays) conforms to [Adam Curtis’s] pattern: once again, a small group of political extremists – disciples of the Russian-American libertarian novelist Ayn Rand in the postwar decades – managed to dictate an agenda to the world. This was free market fundamentalism, whose main carrier was the early Randian and later Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan. It was crossed with a Randian individualist faith, held by some of the early Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, that total human autonomy was possible with the aid of computer networks, making governments increasingly irrelevant. Curtis’s stuff is kind of fun, but it depends on too many fallacies, unproven deductions and irrelevancies.

Monday, May 23, 2011

 Tech backer flies high in the windy city 
Profile of Lightbank co-founder, Brad Keywell.
Interests: planning Chicago Ideas Week; canyoneering; Ayn Rand; married with two children.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

 Hedge fund lessons on letting stars shine 
Egoism  | Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater, a $90bn fund with 1,000 employees, is one of a few hedge fund titans to have written a theory of management. Called “Principles”, it reads like a curious mating of Ayn Rand and the Dalai Lama, with a dash of sharp-elbowed MBA.

Monday, April 18, 2011

• • Why economists stubbornly stick to their guns 
Alan Greenspan  |Capitalism  | [Alan] Greenspan will no doubt be an enthusiastic viewer of Atlas Shrugged, the film of the novel by his mentor Ayn Rand, which is released in America this week. Many libertarians will go to cheer; a few on the left to jeer. But again no minds will be changed. [....] Not everyone suffers from confirmation bias. If I eschew a visit to Atlas Shrugged, it will be because the plot is silly and the prose turgid, not because of its message.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

• • • Ode to Ayn Rand captures her tone 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Image  | Rand described Atlas Shrugged as a mystery story, and the first part sets up the big revelation in Part III. But as a standalone film Atlas Shrugged Part I does not work. The producers are pressing ahead with the remaining parts, but in a recent interview one suggested that the final chapter could be a musical. It was not quite clear whether he was joking. Either way, we will have to see the next instalments before we can judge how well part one has done its job.