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Monday, February 18, 2013

 The Way They Live Now 
,
Capitalism  | Book review: Capital, by John Lanchester.
[T]he market, to Lanchester, is not an open and invigorating institution, where Ayn Rand’s heroes triumph, and even ordinary people can be all they can be. It’s just another kind of prison. An agoraphobe’s nightmare.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

• • Batman vs. Koolhaas 
,
The Fountainhead  | [Batman: Death by Design]’s sole female character, Cyndia Syl, “a society fixture who has taken up the cause of what she sees as an architectural masterpiece,” is a dead ringer for the late socialite and horsewoman C.Z. Guest (she of the snub nose and beautiful-hair-Breck blonde pageboy bob). Syl’s determination to rescue the endangered railway terminal closely parallels Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’s second-career star turn as savior of Grand Central Station. And then there’s the subliminal push-and-pull between Syl and [Bruce] Wayne, which seems to resemble the crackling sexual tension between Howard Roark and Dominique Francon in Ayn Rand’s overheated architectural potboiler, The Fountainhead.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

• • At the Tea Party 
,
Atheism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  | It's one thing for pro-life evangelicals and secular libertarians to march shoulder to shoulder behind banners saying "Kill the Bill!" and "Oust the Marxist Usurper!" or displaying a portrait of Obama rouged up and kohled to look like Heath Ledger's Joker in the Batman movie Dark Knight. It's quite another to coop up the same people for three days in a hotel, where they must talk to each other through breakfast, lunch, and dinner. At the march on D.C., there were T-shirts proclaiming "I am John Galt" and "Atlas Has Shrugged" alongside others that said "Obama Spends—Jesus Saves" or had the legend "Yes, He Did" beneath a picture of Christ on the cross. At Opryland, devout, abstemious Christians were breaking bread with followers of Ayn Rand's gospel of unbridled and atheistic self-interest. The convention, designed to unite the Tea Party movement, was helping to expose fundamental differences of belief and mindset between people who, before Nashville, had appeared as interchangeable members of a single angry crowd.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

• • Something new on the Mall 
,
Ayn Rand Institute  | The September 12 rally [in Washington, DC], the culminating (for now) event of the "Tea Party" movement that sprouted to life earlier this year, was organized chiefly by FreedomWorks, a conservative lobbying organization founded in 1984, and supported by nearly thirty conservative organizations, ranging from the well known (Club for Growth, Competitive Enterprise Institute) to the obscure (Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights).

Friday, September 04, 2009

 Conservatives: The Tanenhaus taxonomy 
,
Review of the book The Death of Conservatism, by Sam Tanenhaus.
[William F.] Buckley worked for a long time to keep National Review free of the most extreme voices on the right—the anti-Semitism of the Liberty Lobby, the Objectivism of Ayn Rand, the nuttiness of the John Birchers, the racism of George Wallace.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

 The failure of the economy & the economists 
,
Capitalism  | Why has there been so little discussion of fundamental issues like [the distinction between sharing in losses to the economy and simply being on the losing side of a bet]? Why is so little said about the trade-off between the goal of allocating the economy's capital efficiently and the need to shrink the enormous costs of the financial industry in doing so? One obvious reason is political. [....] A second, closely related reason is ideological: the faith, personified by Alan Greenspan with his early dedication to the writings of Ayn Rand and his staunch opposition to regulations while chairman of the Federal Reserve, that private, profit-driven economic activity is self-regulating and, when necessary, self-correcting.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

• • Maman’s boy 
,
The Fountainhead  | A turning point in the public's perception of the building art came with the publication of Frank Lloyd Wright's An Autobiography of 1932, a picaresque narrative that captivated many who hadn't the slightest inkling of what architects actually did. Wright's self-portrait as a heroic individualist served as the prototype for Howard Roark, the architect-protagonist of Ayn Rand's 1943 best-seller, The Fountainhead. But the novelist transmogrified Wright's entertaining egotism into Roark's suffocating megalomania, an image closer to that of another contemporary coprofessional: Le Corbusier, the pseudonymous Swiss-French architect and urbanist born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret in 1887, twenty years after Wright.

Friday, February 29, 2008

 Chairman Greenspan’s legacy 
,
Review of Alan Greenspan's memoir The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World.
Acknowledging his intellectual debt to Ayn Rand's radically laissez-faire conception of capitalism, he gives his current views on a wide variety of topics ranging from Adam Smith and the history of capitalism to the economic challenges and opportunities now confronting China, India, and Russia.