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Thursday, May 09, 2013

• • Slate’s Mistakes for the Week of April 22 

The Fountainhead  | In an April 22 “Culturebox,” Mason Currey misidentified The Fountainhead as Ayn Rand’s debut novel.   

Saturday, April 27, 2013

• • Daily Rituals 
The Fountainhead  |Personal life  | [Graham Greene] worked on [two] books simultaneously [...]. To keep it up, he took Benzedrine tablets twice daily, one upon waking and the other at midday. [....] Greene soon stopped taking the drug; not all writers had such self-control. In 1942 Ayn Rand took up Benzedrine to help her finish her novel, The Fountainhead.* She had spent years planning and composing the first third of the novel; over the next 12 months, thanks to the new pills, she averaged a chapter a week. But the drug quickly became a crutch. Rand would continue to use amphetamines for the next three decades, even as her overuse led to mood swings, irritability, emotional outbursts, and paranoia—traits Rand was susceptible to even without drugs.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

• • Shoot First, Ask Questions Later 
BioShock  | The first BioShock was admired by critics both as an ego-gratifying combat simulator and a critique of extremism, with Objectivism standing in as the particular but not exclusive source of it. “I wasn’t setting out to make a game about Objectivism,” Levine told games site Kotaku after the original was released. “I was setting out to make a game about someone who had a very strong belief in a philosophy that was similar to this philosophy. It’s a cautionary tale about wholesale, unquestioning belief in something.”

Friday, February 15, 2013

• • The People’s Guide to CPAC 2013 
Atlas Shrugged  | John Galt watch: A Saturday panel titled "Has Atlas Shrugged? Business in America" will feature Carly Fiorina (whose business career wasn't exactly done in by Obama) and will be moderated, if she accepts the invite, by CNBC's Maria Bartiromo.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

• • Bushonomics Is Back 
Atlas Shrugged  |Paul Ryan  | America, we learned from the scolds, was polarized between makers and takers, with somewhere between 60 percent and 47 percent of the population living high on the dole while put-upon “job creators” had their wealth-creating talents sapped away by the tax man. American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks reconceptualized economic policy as culture war, copies of Atlas Shrugged and The Road to Serfdom flew off the shelves, and at its 2012 nominating convention the GOP staged an orgy of self-congratulation for America’s prosperous business owners who, yes, dammit, built their companies all on their own with zero help from public school teachers or Big Government roads.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

• • Obama Mounts Strong Defense of Economic Liberalism 
Capitalism  | There are a lot of ideas here and they attempt to offer a thorough response to the pseudo-Randian ideology currently ascendant on the right. He starts by rejecting the idea that the federal government has a fixed budget constraint that renders it incapable of meeting obligations to seniors and forward-looking public service needs of students and parents. You can raise taxes!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

• • • Ayn Rand vs. the Pygmies: Did human evolution favor individualists or altruists? 
Alan Greenspan  |Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individual Rights  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  |Image  |Syndicated  | Christopher Boehm has been studying the interplay between the desires of an individual and that of the larger group for more than 40 years. [....] What he has found is in direct opposition to Ayn Rand's selfish ideal. For example, in 100 percent of LPA societies—ranging from the Andaman Islanders of the Indian Ocean archipelago to the Inuit of Northern Alaska—generosity or altruism is always favored toward relatives and nonrelatives alike, with sharing and cooperation being the most cited moral values.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

• • • Atlas Shrugged II Is Deadly. Not in a Good Way. 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Egoism  |Paul Ryan  |Image  |Syndicated  | “The left dismisses Ayn Rand,” [John Aglialoro] says. “The version of her that they attack is childish, it’s a cartoon.” But he understands why.“I wish she didn’t say ‘selfishness’ as she did. That she was for ‘selfishness.’ She was human, and probably meant that in a rhetorical way. But if she was on this earth again, maybe she’d put it another way.”

Monday, September 10, 2012

• • • Cato Shrugged 
Ayn Rand Institute  |Atlas Shrugged  |Egoism  |Leonard Peikoff  |Paul Ryan  |Yaron Brook  | Since the war on terror broke out, Cato’s been a bunker for non-interventionists. Its foreign-policy shop is staffed with critics of the Iraq war. Objectivists don’t see foreign policy that way. The Ayn Rand Institute, founded in 1985 by Rand’s intellectual/financial heir Leonard Peikoff, has spun off arguments for war rooted in a philosophy of self-preservation.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

• • Why Is There No Liberal Ayn Rand? 
Atlas Shrugged  |Syndicated  | Conventional wisdom suggests that Romney may have doomed his electoral bid by choosing an ideologue—one who likes to go on about Ayn Rand!—as his vice presidential nominee. Yet it seems equally possible that Ryan’s nomination will do just what Romney wants: mobilize a base of committed activists who share most of Ryan’s basic ideas.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

• • Let a Thousand Gas Wells Bloom 
Capitalism  | The futurist philosopher Max More [formulated] the proactionary principle. [....] Two ideals lend the proactionary principle its ethical heft: utilitarian beneficence and freedom. Sure, some people might suffer from mistakes, but in the long run, innovation brings about the greatest good for the greatest number. This is so, of course, only as long as we are free try out new ideas. More portrays proaction as Ayn Rand for the 21st century: “[D]on’t cut off the hands of those who spread the seeds of the future.”   [....] Yet as with Rand’s triumphant defense of the captains of industry, we should ask whether More’s principle is anything other than an ethical veneer on the process whereby the rich get richer.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

 The Libertarian (Ever) Hopeful 
In its 36 years of fielding presidential candidates, the Libertarian Party has settled on two types. The first: obscure activists who hew to the Ayn Rand Bible. The second: semi-famous politicians who might, finally, give the party an electoral media breakthrough.

• • Mad Men, Season 5 
Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |We The Living  | As Slate commenter dylan111 noted: “Once when I was waitressing, a whole table of very educated, erudite folk were trying to think of the name of an Ayn Rand novel; it wasn’t Atlas Shrugged or The Fountainhead . . . .but what was it? They were stumped. “Are you thinking of We the Living?” I asked, as I cleared the soup bowls. The looks of astonishment on their faces was both gratifying and rather insulting. My point is that we can’t really know the depth of another person’s knowledge on short or limited acquaintance.” [....] (“By the way,”—dylan111 adds—“before any of you comment, I hate Ayn Rand and used the word novel very loosely.”)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

• • No, Paul Ryan Does Not Want To Strengthen The Safety Net 
Atlas Shrugged  |Paul Ryan  | One of Ryan's oddest ticks is that along with a passion for reducing spending on programs that benefit poor people and a passion for programs that benefit Ayn Rand, he loves to talk about his devotion to the safety net!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

 Ron Paul’s Billionaire 
Thiel is what the hard-working objectivist wants to be when he grows up. When he’s introduced at last, and the students hear how much Thiel made from the PayPal sale—“$1.5 billion”—they ooooh with respect.

Friday, January 27, 2012

 Steady State 

The Fountainhead  |Paul Ryan  | You can get House Republicans and some number of Senate Republicans on board with a War on Loopholes. But leading off by talking about the “wealthiest Americans?” That sends them scrambling back to their copies of The Fountainhead. (I kept an eye on Rep. Paul Ryan last night, who couldn’t have looked less impressed at this stuff if he was watching a flea circus.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

 “Ron Paul Is My Homeboy” 
Atlas Shrugged  | Unlike supporters of, say, Obama or Mitt Romney, Paul supporters tend to talk about an absolute truth, one that others would see, too, if they could just be persuaded to read certain materials. Among them: Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, and Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. These, of course, come from Paul, who gives an exhaustive list of recommendations at the back of what he calls his “manifesto.”

Sunday, December 18, 2011

• • • Bad week for right-wing TV and movies 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Egoism  |Image  | Did you, like most Americans, run out to your local Cato Institute gift shop and buy a DVD copy of “Atlas Shrugged: Part I” the second it was released? If you did, I’m afraid you’ve bought a defective product. Unfortunately, these DVDs all came from the factory loaded with a turgid, impenetrable, morally indefensible and wholly incoherent film about railroads and fancy steel. Also the copy on the back of the case is misleading.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

• • • Who Is John Galt and Why Is He on Lululemon Bags? 
Atheism  |Anthem  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Individual Rights  |Individualism  |Personal life  |Image  | Silly product names and a preachy website are one thing. But a couple of weeks ago, Lululemon moved beyond the usual semi-mystical yoga treacle. The company has begun printing on its signature reusable bags—those cute totes you see slung over shoulders at organic grocery stores and farmers markets across North America—the question “Who Is John Galt?” The cryptic tagline of objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand aligns with the company mission to “elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness,” according to the Lululemon blog entry announcing this unusual ad campaign. Customer reaction has been mixed, with some threatening boycotts. The average yoga enthusiast seems to have a vague idea that Rand is a darling of the right, Alan Greenspan’s fairy godmother, and a bad lady who would definitely throw your chakras out of balance.

Friday, July 08, 2011

 Liberals Can Take Hostages, Too! 
Republicans fear their base, and they know 1) they can be primaried by conservatives if they buckle on taxes and 2) they can't be rescued by pro-business groups, which aren't so Randian, like the Chamber of Commerce.