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Saturday, August 25, 2012

• • • Critic’s Notebook: Presidential race shows long reach of Ayn Rand 
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Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Personal life  |Image  | "For the next few weeks, there will be no political discussions in America: we have entered the Season of Platitudes," Ayn Rand wrote in October 1962, a month or so before the midterm congressional elections. " … All issues, principles and definitions vanish during an election campaign. They dissolve into a fog of rubber terms that can mean anything to anyone — while the candidates compete for how to be misunderstood in the greatest number of ways by the greatest number of people." Rand’s observation opens a column, “Absurd Chatter of Candidates Reflects Voters,” that the novelist and essayist wrote during a six-month stint as a Sunday editorial contributor to the Los Angeles Times. It seems oddly prescient this week, as we gear up for a 2012 Republican convention where her ideas — or at least a version of them — will be hovering in the background.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

• • • Romney-Ryan Republicans pray to Jesus but bow to Ayn Rand 
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Altruism  |Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Individual Rights  |Image  | Many Republicans believe theirs is the party of Jesus Christ, but, in practice, they are the party of an atheist, Hollywood intellectual named Ayn Rand. After establishing a career as a screenwriter, Ayn Rand authored two novels, “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” that are the intellectual bibles of libertarian conservatives, corporate executives and callow undergraduates. Among the many aspirational young conservatives inspired by Rand’s philosophy was a kid named Paul D. Ryan.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

• • • Paul Ryan loved Ayn Rand, before he said he didn't 
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Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  |Inaccurate  | Back in 2005, an up-and-coming lawmaker named Paul Ryan credited the polemical novelist and libertarian Ayn Rand as a central inspiration for his entry into public life. Ryan toiled in those days in relative obscurity, a well-respected but low-profile member of the House of Representatives. By the spring of 2012, the boyish congressman had become a Republican star, widely named as a possible vice presidential pick. He also had become considerably less comfortable being linked to the controversial Rand, an atheist with a tartly Darwinian world view.

Monday, July 30, 2012

• • An Appreciation: Nora Ephron was like a super-cool aunt 
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Atlas Shrugged  | “Atlas Shrugged,” [Ephron] says in [her] story about Rand, is a book that cannot be put down so it probably should not be picked up.

Monday, April 30, 2012

 Romney's gamble on conservatism 
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Capitalism  | Even though both candidates in this year’s presidential election were once described as moderates, this will be as polarized a battle as we’ve ever seen: between a minimum-government conservative who sounds increasingly like Ayn Rand and a newly unreconstructed liberal who sounds increasingly like Rachel Maddow.

 The Siren's Call: Where's Rimbaud? 
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[Jamie James:] [M]ost historical fiction about artists sinks to the titillating sentimentality of “The Agony and the Ecstasy,” with Michelangelo as a blustering Ayn Rand hero.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

• • Book review: 'Lives of the Novelists' by John Sutherland 
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Inaccurate  | Every entry in “Lives of the Novelists” is written by just one person, British critic John Sutherland, so the book has an internal continuity that makes it read like history, not an encyclopedia. And Sutherland’s writing is just plain delightful. [....] Ian Fleming started out as a dismally bad stockbroker until “lucky for him, and unluckily for the world, war broke out and he was promptly recruited into naval intelligence.” And there’s this one-two punch: “If there were an award for the most influential bad novelist in literary history, Ayn Rand would be a contender. A woman of ferocious competitive instinct, she would be furious if she did not also win that award.”

Friday, March 23, 2012

• • Don’t close the GOP show 
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On Tuesday night in Illinois, Romney sounded like Ayn Rand. He boiled his campaign down to two words: “economic freedom.”

Monday, March 19, 2012

 Jon Fleischman’s FlashReport is little-read but much-feared 
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Nothing in Fleischman’s upbringing suggested he would grow into an Ayn Rand-quoting Ronald Reagan partisan. He was raised in Palms on the Westside of Los Angeles by parents whose politics were liberal to moderate. A turning point came in his teens, when he worked at a Mondale for President phone bank and became disgusted at what he recalled as his fellow volunteers’ obliviousness to the Soviet threat. He joined campus conservatives at Santa Monica College and got his entree into professional politics in 1988 as a part-time staff member on the reelection campaign of L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich. That led to a decade of work for Republican politicians and causes, followed by his two-year stint as director of the state party.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

• • Hot Property near-misses: ‘Atlas Shrugged’ home, golf-view site 
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Atlas Shrugged movie  |Image  | The Sunday Home of the Week may have looked vaguely familiar as it was a film location for last year’s “Atlas Shrugged Part 1,” which used the rebuilt Victorian home in Piru for some scenes.

Friday, February 10, 2012

• • The American Redoubt, where survivalists plan to survive 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Syndicated  | [James Wesley Rawles] pays homage to “Galt’s Gulch,” novelist Ayn Rand’s concept of a hidden retreat for disaffected capitalists. “The preparedness movement has grown at the fastest rate I have seen in my entire lifetime — faster than in the late ‘70s, when the Iran hostage crisis had people very concerned, much faster than in the late ‘90s, when people were concerned about Y2K,” Rawles said.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

 Tony Blankley, press secretary to Speaker Gingrich, dies at 63 
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Syndicated  | [Blankley’s] political views were shaped by the writing of Ayn Rand and conservatives Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

 What’s for the tea party not to like in Romney? 
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Capitalism  | If nothing else, you in the tea party movement have spent the last three years teaching Americans that we are in a battle for the very soul of capitalism. And here comes Romney, the soul of American capitalism in the flesh. Look back over his career as a predator drone at Bain Capital: Isn’t it the exact sort of background you always insist politicians ought to have as you wave your copy of “Atlas Shrugged” in the air?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

• • Politics: Can you smell the coffee? 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Individualism  |Syndicated  | Just this month, Lululemon, the popular yoga wear company, posted a blog on its website praising John Galt, the heroic prophet of hyper-individualism from Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel “Atlas Shrugged.” The blog suggested that most of us unenlightened boobs lead mediocre and listless, government-controlled lives without even knowing it. There are countless other examples of this type of rhetoric - and the analytical frame of mind that goes with it - being used to provoke what is presumed to be the apathetic masses. If people are aroused from their slumber and get active, this thinking goes, they can become “agents” of their own history.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

• • ‘The Declaration’ 
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“If it is ever proper for men to kneel, we should kneel when we read the Declaration of Independence…the greatest document in human history…” — Ayn Rand.

• • Clarence Thomas doesn’t mind being the odd man out 
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The Fountainhead  |The Fountainhead movie  |Syndicated  | Each summer, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas invites his four new law clerks to his home to watch a movie. Not just any movie, but the 1949 film version of the classic of libertarian conservatism, Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead.” The movie’s hero, played by Gary Cooper, is an idealistic but stubborn architect, who, as Rand wrote, “stood alone against the men of his time.” A character, it might be said, a lot like Thomas himself. “If you think you are right, there is nothing wrong with being the only one,” he said last year in explaining his fondness for the movie. “I have no problem being the only one.”

Monday, May 23, 2011

• • America the stony-hearted 
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Egoism  | Liberals have come to see the emphasis on the individual and self-reliance as a form of civic irresponsibility and selfishness — a way to justify rogue economic behavior and enrichment at the expense of the community. It was, incidentally, a charge adherents of the novelist Ayn Rand gladly invited because they believe selfishness is a tough, exalted form of morality. Thus were the moral sides drawn: soft-headed versus tough-minded, big-hearted versus stony-hearted.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

• • • ‘Atlas Shrugged: Part I’ and ‘the conspirator’ have decent first weekends 
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Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  | Despite a lack of almost any traditional advertising, [Atlas Shrugged: Part 1] found an audience in certain parts of the country. It performed best in the suburb of Duluth, Ga., where the film collected $53,832 just on Friday and Saturday.

Monday, April 18, 2011

• • ‘Atlas’ on the big screen 
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Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | I was 15 years old when Ayn Rand’s novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” was published. I have read and reread it many times since then. I have also read Rand’s other works and those about her. To bowdlerize “Atlas Shrugged” to fit the Christian “tea party” tastes is just sickening. I am sorry to hear that her work that clearly, proudly and freely stated Rand’s principles — atheism and passionate sexuality as well as a free-market economy — are diluted in the film adaptation. The movie sounds so washed out that it will not really be recognizable.

Monday, April 11, 2011

• • Ayn Rand’s beliefs 

Atheism  |Capitalism  |Egoism  | Some of Ayn Rand’s key philosophical beliefs, as expressed in “Atlas Shrugged” and other writings:

—The ideal political-economic system is laissez-faire capitalism.
—The pursuit of one’s own self-interest is the highest moral purpose of life.
—Reality exists as an objective absolute — facts are facts, independent of feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.
—There is no God.