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Saturday, March 16, 2013

• • What You Add Is What You Get 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Going Galt  | Now suppose that President Obama has reduced Mr. Wheelerdealer to despair; not only does the president waste money by doing things like feeding children, he says mean things about some rich people, which is just like the Nazis invading Poland, or something. So Wheelerdealer decides to go Galt. Well, actually just one-third Galt, reducing his working time to just 2000 hours a year so he can spend more time with his wife and mistress.

• • The Conservative Onion 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  | [Y]ou should never believe reasonable-sounding conservatives who say that you’re attacking a straw man, that “nobody believes” that wealth creators owe nothing to society. Oh yes they do — it’s usually hidden inside a couple of more socially acceptable excuses, but at their core Ryan and people like him believe that they’re characters in Atlas Shrugged. By the way, who built the roads in Galt’s Gulch?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

 Brave, Honest Paul Ryan 
,
Paul Ryan  | If you’re a Randian conservative, as Ryan claims to be, then you should consider Social Security and Medicare every bit as much a part of the moocher conspiracy as Medicaid and food stamps.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

 Britain’s Paul Ryan 
,
Paul Ryan  | In a lot of ways George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) is Britain’s answer to Paul Ryan. True, he’s a toned-down version — no Ayn Rand, please, we’re British — but other aspects of package are there in full force [...].

Sunday, August 26, 2012

• • Ayn And The Apologists 
,
Paul Ryan  | I’ve been getting some pushback from earnest souls over my Paul Ryan/Ayn Rand column. Why can’t we just talk about substance, they ask? [....] But [...] it becomes very relevant to point out that the serious, reasonable guy is in fact in thrall to the ideas of a very unserious, unreasonable novelist.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

• • Francisco d’Anconia on Money 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  | Dave Weigel made a great catch the other day: he notes that Paul Ryan has said that his views on monetary policy are based on Francisco d’Anconia’s speech in Atlas Shrugged. Aside from revealing just how much of a Rand fanboy Ryan is — urban legend, my foot — this is interesting because that 23 paragraph speech isn’t just a call for the gold standard; it’s a call for eliminating paper money and going back to gold coins.

Monday, April 30, 2012

• • A Is Not A, It Seems 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Paul Ryan  | Paul Ryan is trying to repudiate Ayn Rand, who was his main inspiration for getting into politics. Just remember: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

 John Galt Wants Price Support 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | (Reference in title only.)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

• • Financial Romanticism 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | One line I’ve been seeing in various places, including comments here, is the claim that the real way to deal with Wall Street is laissez-faire economics: no more bailouts! On this view, policy makers should raise their right hand in the air, place their left hand on a copy of Atlas Shrugged, and swear in the name of A is A that they will never again step in to rescue failing banks. And all will be well with the world. Sorry, but that’s a fantasy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

• • MMT, Again 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | I have read various [Modern Monetary Theory] manifestos — this one is fairly clear as they go. I do dislike the style — the claims that fundamental principles of logic lead to a worldview that only fools would fail to understand has a sort of eerie resemblance to John Galt’s speech in Atlas Shrugged — but that shouldn’t matter.

Friday, May 20, 2011

 Monetarist Pathos 
,
Capitalism  | The modern American conservative movement has no room for nuance, for the idea that some forms of government activism are a good idea. Ayn Rand, not Milton Friedman, is their patron saint; in fact, if Friedman were alive today, he’d be shunned as a dangerous radical with inflationary ideas.

Friday, May 13, 2011

 Hume Day 
,
I read Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding in college, probably in my sophomore year, and it changed my life. I was at the age when impressionable young people can all too easily get pulled into a rigid belief system — say, by getting hooked on Ayn Rand. Hume, by contrast, was wonderfully liberating: his amiable skepticism, his insistence that what we think we know comes from experience, and that knowledge is always provisional, opened up my whole outlook.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

• • Dagny Taggart wept 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | As Sarah Goodyear at Grist says, trains are a lot more empowering and individualistic than planes — and planes, not cars, are the main alternative to high-speed rail. [....] It’s amazing to see [George] Will — who is not a stupid man — embracing the sinister progressives-hate-your-freedom line, more or less right out of Atlas Shrugged; with the extra irony, of course, that John Galt’s significant other ran, well, a railroad.

Friday, December 31, 2010

• • Rule by the ridiculous 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Paul Ryan  | Paul Ryan requires that his staffers read Atlas Shrugged. I mean, I was inspired by Isaac Asimov, but I don’t think I’m Hari Seldon — whereas Ryan, it seems, really does think he’s John Galt.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

• • I’m Ellsworth Toohey! 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  | So says one of my commenters. And for my sins, I actually get the reference. The best line I’ve ever heard about Ayn Rand’s influence: “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”