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Monday, May 02, 2011

 Montessori, Peace, and Libertarianism 
One of the less conventional approaches to education is that spearheaded by Maria Montessori (1870-1952), the so-called Montessori Method. Many libertarians may have heard of this approach because Ayn Rand had positive things to say about it.

Monday, April 25, 2011

• • Happy Mother Earth Day, citizen! 
Individual Rights  | Philosopher Ayn Rand explains that the concept of rights is a part of moral philosophy, its purpose being to provide moral guidance on how to treat others.[5] According to Rand, the notion of “rights” is a moral concept.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

 Sam Konkin and libertarian theory 
Many people think that most libertarians, until the recent revolution, supported patents and copyrights. True, Ayn Rand and her followers do indeed embrace IP, but by no means did all those libertarians outside the rigid confines of her system agree with her. To the contrary, anti-IP views were very much in the air thirty years ago.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

 Can we live free in an unfree world 
There are many other sources for how to liberate your thinking and your life, and many people here have already explored and enjoyed works by writers and philosophers like Ayn Rand, Richard Bach and Scott Peck. There is a lot out there on how to liberate ourselves mentally, physically, creatively, and emotionally.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

• • Is libertarianism compatible with religion? 
Atheism  | As [Murray] Rothbard warned: “We libertarians will never win the hearts and minds of Americans or of the rest of the world if we persist in wrongly identifying libertarianism with atheism. If even Stalin couldn’t stamp out religion, libertarians are not going to succeed with a few Randian syllogisms.”

Friday, March 11, 2011

• • May a libertarian take money from the government? 
Atlas Shrugged  | All libertarian theories of private property rights, of punishment, would agree that of all people in the world, Z is the absolutely least deserving of this foodstuff. Now, it might be nice, it might be virtuous, for X to return the apple to Y. Indeed, this was precisely the relationship between Ragnar Danneskjold (X) and Hank Reardon (Y) in Ayn Rand’s magnificent and monumental novel, Atlas Shrugged. The government (Z) stole from Reardon (and of course others) and Ragnar was just returning these stolen goods to Hank, the victim.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

 Glenn Beck’s non-solutions 
Although Beck often uses libertarian rhetoric and quotes people that he identifies as libertarians (Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, F. A. Hayek, Hans Sennholz, Ludwig von Mises), he is no libertarian.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

• • Public sector unions in Wisconsin 
Atlas Shrugged  | As a matter of deontology (rights) it seems clear that taking down the government a peg or two is compatible with libertarianism, even if taxes increase as a result. Ragnar Danneskjold breaks into Fort Knox and liberates some gold (assuming there’s some of this precious metal in there; work with me on this). As a result, the government raises taxes. Does that definitively demonstrate that this hero of Atlas Shrugged was violating libertarian law? Not a bit of it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

• • • It’s Ayn Rand bashing time, once again 
Atlas Shrugged  | [Ayn Rand] favored the gold standard. Yet, when she went to the store, she never offered anyone gold coins. Instead, like everyone else, she paid in fiat coin of the realm, even though she properly detested this system. She also favored the privatization of the post office, but she mailed letters care of the hated government monopoly post office. Shall we indict her, too, for hypocrisy on these grounds? But wait, the charges against her mount up even more. Ayn also opposed subsidies to farmers, and yet, ate food produced under this system. Isn’t she really despicable? I hope and trust everyone realizes where I am going with this. I am not at all joining her critics and “piling up” on Ayn Rand. Very much to the contrary, I am demonstrating, via the reductio ad absurdum method, that the argument of these real socialists has not a logical leg to stand upon.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

 American history’s forbidden truths 
A Renegade History is not a typical tract in praise of the free market or the Randian heroes throughout the U.S. experience. Indeed, there is a clear tension between [author Thaddeus] Russell’s belief that American conceptions of liberty and self-restraint are all-too-compatible, and the paleolibertarian respect for self-restraint as a possibly important, and not necessarily undesirable, component of a free society.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

• • The inescapable collapse of Watchmen 
Capitalism  | Ultimately, it is Rorschach, and his objectivist roots in Steve Ditko’s The Question, that have the final laugh in [Watchmen]. Not only does his diary make it into the hands of someone who can reveal the truth, but the character becomes the conscience of the story itself, embodying Mises’ motto, “Never give in to evil, but proceed ever more boldly against it.” For all of his faults, and they are legion, Rorschach does that. He is the story’s protagonist. That this story’s conscience is that of a brutal psychotic is even more revealing. [Alan] Moore has stated how much he despises Objectivism, saying it ultimately justifies fascism. While I agree with him to an extent, it is the economic reality elucidated by Mises et al. and partially articulated by Ayn Rand which renders Moore’s work a thinly-veiled paean to Marx and Hobbes, rejecting peace.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

• • 178. Imitate Ayn Rand, not Milton Friedman 
Capitalism  |Audio  | Walter Block on teaching liberty. Smart students are attracted to radicalism and root issues, not skirting the edges of ideas and compromising. If you aren’t a macho flash like Ayn Rand, at least make sure you never deny the truth and the ultimate goal. Rand has garnered many more converts than the vacillating central planner, Milton Friedman.

Friday, December 03, 2010

 The Efron affair 
Reprint of 1978 article.
Libertarians from all over the country have been asking me what my response is to Edith Efron’s attack – on the libertarian movement in general and on me personally – in her “Viewpoint” column in the February [1978] Reason. [....] Where have we seen these tantrums, this hopped-up and wild-swinging disregard of accuracy, this idea that checking a fact is beneath one’s dignity, this confusion of the libertarian American Revolution with the American state apparatus, this childish idealization of the US Constitution (with all the abuses inherent in that document), and this constant protest that she’s speaking out of “love” and “reverence” while every line reeks of bitter hatred? We have seen them in the fever swamps of the far Right, most specifically of the Randian variety.

Monday, November 15, 2010

 Jesús Huerta de Soto: Socialism, economic calculation and entrepreneurship 
Atlas Shrugged  | There are three books that take pride of place in my Austrian bookcase. These are Socialism, by Ludwig von Mises; The History of Economic Thought, by Murray N. Rothbard; and Democracy the God that Failed, by Hans-Hermann Hoppe. [....] [They] bob in an exalted gravitational bubble of their own, because they form the solar core of my own personal life-long cure from socialism, along with various lesser satellites which rotate around them, including Nineteen Eighty-Four, Atlas Shrugged, and An American in the Gulag.

Friday, November 05, 2010

• • Doug Casey on juries and justice 
[Q:] You would probably argue that the state shouldn’t be part of anything at all… [A:] Yes, but it might be easier for many readers if we start with the minimal “night watchman” sort of state described by Ayn Rand. In her view, the proper role of government is to defend you from force (and fraud). That implies an army to defend you from force external to your society, a police force to defend you from force within your society, and a court system to allow adjudication of disputes without resorting to force. I could live in a society like that – it would be a vast improvement over what we have now – and the jury system would be part of it. But, as you say, I’d go on to argue that juries and courts should be privatized.

Friday, October 08, 2010

 Another nonsensical attack on libertarians 
Capitalism  | I can’t help but comment on the latest liberal attack on libertarians because the entire episode is so humorous. This newest attack comes from Joshua Holland, senior editor at Alternet.org, one of the most liberal organizations in the country. The controversy involves a decision by a fire department in Obion County, Tennessee, to stand by and watch a house burn down because the owner hadn’t paid the $75 fee to be protected by the fire department. Holland went on the attack, describing the episode as an example of libertarianism and “Ayn Rand conservativism” at work. Holland wrote: “It’s a picture of a society in which ‘rugged individualism’ run amok means every man for himself. Call it Ayn Rand’s stark, anti-governmental dream come true.” Well, except for one important detail: It was a government-owned, government-operated fire department!

• • Liberation from the parasite state 
Capitalism  | Reprint of 1991 article.
Liberalism arose in the 17th and 18th centuries as Europe and America's response to monarchical absolutism. [....] Throughout the Western world a system developed based on freedom of thought, freedom of labor, clear rights of private property, and free exchange. [....] For the first time, mankind was able to escape the Malthusian trap. With the enormous increase in population came a steadily increasing per capita income. What this dry little fact meant in the lives of the many, many millions still awaits its poets and novelists. In reality, the only imaginative writer who has done justice to this vast transformation was the great novelist born in Leningrad, Alicia Rosenbaum, who came to America and wrote under the name of Ayn Rand.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

• • The new Soviet Union is America 
Personal life  | Barbara Branden in her book about Ayn Rand, The Passion of Ayn Rand, recounts the story of how Rand’s sister visited Rand in the U.S. from Russia. Rand rented a limousine to pick up her sister from the airport. Rand’s sister indicated to Rand that she didn’t not want to talk in front of the limousine driver. Back at Rand’s apartment, the sister wouldn’t talk in front of the cleaning lady. What a terrible way to live. And such a paranoia about speaking freely is slowly moving over America.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

 Lest we forget 
Ayn Rand Institute  | Condemning an entire religion for the actions of a handful of its members – particularly when the 9/11 attacks were driven by political rather than religious considerations – is a form of the collectivist thinking of which Jung warned. How far might such shrieking reaction extend? Would a modern businessman properly be criticized for his plans to build a sushi restaurant near Pearl Harbor? Should the Ayn Rand Institute be charged with “insensitivity” to the religious feelings of Mormons were it to establish a facility in Salt Lake City?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

• • Is the Muslim my neighbor? 
The Fountainhead  | Peter J. Johnson [....], a legal analyst for Fox News, is the living incarnation of Ellsworth Toohey, a columnist from Ayn Rand’s definitive novel The Fountainhead who serves as the fictional embodiment of collectivism. Standing in front of the site of the proposed Cordoba House in Lower Manhattan, his voice lacquered with cloying, condescending sanctimony, Johnson used his August 20 Fox & Friends commentary to urge Muslims to prove that they are “good neighbors” by commiting metaphorical self-immolation.