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Thursday, May 09, 2013

• • Infinite Wisdom 
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BioShock  |Capitalism  | Bioshock Infinite is a successor to 2007’s Bioshock, a game that was set in Rapture, an underwater city that had been run according to the principles of Ayn Rand for a few years too many.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

• • Ryan Returns 
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Paul Ryan  | Ryan continues to push back at the Left’s portrayal of him as a radical Ayn Rand fanboy out to “fundamentally transform the relationship between Americans and their government,” in the words of the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein. “I guess every one of us at this level in politics has their political narrative that the Left or the Right tries to cast upon you, has their urban legend,” he says. “I guess this is my urban legend.”

Monday, February 18, 2013

 Moving the Liberty Movement 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | This weekend, about 1,500 college students and recent graduates descended on the Hyatt for the International Students for Liberty Conference. There are libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, would-be seasteaders, recalcitrant Republicans, Ayn Rand devotees, and just about every other possible iteration of the so-called liberty movement, a big-tent designation for activists galvanized by typically libertarian issues, including opposition to drone warfare, support for marijuana legalization, ending the Federal Reserve Bank, decreasing U.S. military presence overseas, and protecting individuals’ freedom to do just about anything they want.

Friday, February 15, 2013

 Big Labor Loves Marijuana 
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Already, pot politics have created strange bedfellows. In Colorado, illegal-immigration hawk Tom Tancredo supported legalization alongside 70 percent of the state’s Latino voters; elsewhere, marijuana supporters range from Port Huron hippies to Ayn Rand libertarians.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

• • For Our Children’s Parents 
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Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries should face affluence tests. Also, the eligibility age of 65 to 67 should acknowledge that life expectancy is not 62 — as in 1935 (when Social Security began) — nor 70, as in 1965 (when Medicare commenced). Americans now typically stick around for 79 years. One need not read Ayn Rand to recognize this as musical chairs.

Monday, August 06, 2012

• • Mapped by Rand 
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Atlas Shrugged  | Via Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged):

“He didn’t invent iron ore and blast furnaces, did he?”

“Who?”

“Rearden. He didn’t invent smelting and chemistry and air compression. He couldn’t have invented his Metal but for thousands and thousands of other people. His Metal! Why does he think it’s his? Why does he think it’s his invention? Everybody uses the work of everybody else. Nobody ever invents anything.”

She said, puzzled, “But the iron ore and all those other things were there all the time. Why didn’t anybody else make that Metal, but Mr. Rearden did?”

Saturday, April 28, 2012

• • The Catholic Left, Desperate for a Win 
,
Paul Ryan  | Among those stoking the outrage and indignation in the run up to Congressman Paul Ryan’s visit to Georgetown University this morning was a group called Catholics United. Catholics United thinks that Congressman Ryan’s budget is “an outrageous slap in the face to our nation’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens,” being, as it so obviously is, “based on the anti-Christian ideals of social Darwinist Ayn Rand.”

Friday, April 27, 2012

• • • Ryan Shrugged 
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Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  | “You know you’ve arrived in politics when you have an urban legend about you, and this one is mine,” chuckles Representative Paul Ryan, the Budget Committee chairman, as we discuss his purported obsession with author and philosopher Ayn Rand. Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist, recently called Ryan “an Ayn Rand devotee” who wants to “slash benefits for the poor.” New York magazine once alleged that Ryan “requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged,” Rand’s gospel of capitalism. President Obama has blasted the Ryan budget as Republican “social Darwinism.” These Rand-related slams, Ryan says, are inaccurate and part of an effort on the left to paint him as a cold-hearted Objectivist. Ryan’s actual philosophy, as reported by my colleague, Brian Bolduc, couldn’t be further from the caricature.

Monday, April 16, 2012

• • • Ryan Isn’t a Randian 
,
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  |Image  | [Paul] Ryan is no bigger a fan of Rand’s than he is of just about any major defender of free markets. He did call Rand the “reason I got involved in public service,” but in a specific context. Speaking at a dinner hosted by the Atlas Society in 2005, Ryan was praising one aspect of Rand’s work, not swallowing her philosophy whole. “Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill,” he said, “ . . . is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict — individualism versus collectivism.” He applied this principle to the then-hot topic of Social Security: “If we actually accomplish this goal of personalizing Social Security, think of what we will accomplish. Every worker, every laborer in America will not only be a laborer but a capitalist. They will be an owner of society.”

Monday, February 06, 2012

• • Conservatives in Time 
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[Richard] Land writes, “Hard conservatives oppose the social conservatives’ pro-life, pro-traditional marriage agenda. They find Ayn Rand’s ideas attractive.” You can see the problem already. One of Land’s two great examples of hard conservatism, Buckley, was both pro-life and (famously!) anti-Rand. His other example, Goldwater, was pro-life for a good chunk of his career.

Friday, January 27, 2012

 Move Over, Nascar! 
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Watch any UFC fight. It is conservatism, capitalism at its core, illustrated through a sport. [....] [T]here is no team — it is all focused on the individual and his personal responsibility (Ayn Rand would be front and center at a fight).

Saturday, October 08, 2011

• • Michael D. O’Brien’s New Epic 
,
A better parallel for O’Brien than the Ludlum-Dostoevsky combination might be another writer of colossally long books that excite readers about ideas: Think of him as a conservative-Catholic version of Ayn Rand. He has given me more readerly joy over the years than Ayn Rand ever did, so I believe it would be entirely just for him to become a cult-favorite writer on the level she reached.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

 Norway’s Terrorism in Context 
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In the past, one had the cold comfort of knowing that deranged acts such as his were carried out by individuals under the sway of extremist ideologies. Not so Behring Breivik. This terrorist lists among his favorite authors George Orwell, Thomas Hobbes, John Stuart Mill, John Locke, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Ayn Rand, and William James. The disconnect between Behring Breivik’s mainstream political conservatism and his psychological derangement presents a shocking new dilemma and challenge.

Monday, May 16, 2011

• • Mother Jones vs. the Koch Brothers 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | I wonder what Rand would say about BB&T’s receipt of TARP funds.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

• • • What if audiences shrug? 
,
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  | Who is John Aglialoro? He’s the founding chairman of UM Holdings Inc. — a collector, restorer, and dealer of businesses for three decades running who has presided over everything from an airline to an oil company. [....] That he lionizes the productive class, and that he has managed to ascend to it, are “directly correlated,” he says, with being “zapped” by the writings of Ayn Rand in the early 1970s. And so it makes sense that 40 years later he is co-writer, co-financier, and custodian of the long-awaited big-screen adaptation of Atlas Shrugged, Rand’s novel of statist oppression and capitalist revolt.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

• • Media Matters’ war on Fox News 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | Leaving aside for the moment the unfortunate resemblance of many of the names of [Media Matters for America] staffers to those of the moochers and looters in Ayn Rand’s mean-spirited “novel,” Atlas Shrugged — Wesley Mouch, Floyd Ferris, and Balph Eubank — here’s a typical example of 501(c)3 non-partisan, tax-exempt columnizing, from a drone heroic people’s writer named Karl Frisch, who can turn a weather story into an attack on, well, Fox News.

Friday, February 18, 2011

 Meeting the press, &C. 
,
As far as I know, “CPAC” stands for “Conservative Political Action Conference.” And yet reports say that last week’s proceedings were dominated by libertarians, Paulistas — heckling Cheney, calling him a war criminal, and so on. Fine. But can’t they have their own meetings and rallies? What are they doing at a Conservative Political Action Conference? If you’re going to be proudly anti-conservative — you know, be it. Don’t go skulking around at conservative conferences. I’m not sure many people show up at Randian events yelling about God, marital fidelity, charitableness, and other backward stuff.

• • Miss Rand as inoculator 
,
In Impromptus today, I touch on some ticklish questions, including Muslims, ‘birthers,’ and Randians (oh my!). Needless to say, such topics provoke a little mail. I wanted to share with you a note about Ayn Rand, which I thought was charming.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

 Agreeing to be agreeable 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | You see, my beloved amigos across the aisle, we’ve got you all sussed out. We understand, far better than you, what animates you. We sense the dark and stormy nights of your souls, your inchoate, racist agita over our First Black President if you don’t count Billy Jeff Blythe III, your love of corporate plutocrats and your sheer loathing for the Little Guy, whom you would like to see ripped to pieces by the Thracian women, rent asunder by rabid weasels and forced to read Atlas Shrugged in its entirety, including the John Galt speech.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

• • Wisconsin wrap: Johnson impresses in 2nd debate 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Ron Johnson  | After stumbling a bit in his first ever political debate last Friday, GOP Senate hopeful Ron Johnson put in an impressive performance tonight. [....] [O]ne of the panelists asked about Johnson’s outspoken admiration for Ayn Rand and in particular her work “Atlas Shrugged.” Johnson very articulately described how the book ought to serve as a warning about what can happen when too many members of society become reliant on too few producers, while Feingold played the populist card and accused Johnson of thinking producers are “better than the rest of us.”