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Saturday, February 02, 2013

 Check out this year’s Oscar-nominated shorts 
“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare,’ ” is a five-minute gagfest with a so-so hit-to-miss ratio. Dropped off by Marge at the Ayn Rand School for Tots, Maggie tries to rescue a butterfly from the mallet of her malicious nemesis, uni-browed Baby Clarence.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

• • Our long national daydream 
Capitalism  | Caterpillar Corp. is one of many multinationals that have lately displayed the Ayn Rand values that trickled down in lieu of wealth when taxes were cut and tariffs eliminated and unions busted and businesses deregulated during and after the Reagan era. Last summer workers at its Joliet, Ill., plant struck for a pay hike. The New York Times reported that despite 2012 projections even rosier than Caterpillar's record $4.9 billion profit in 2011, "the company is insisting on a six-year wage freeze and a pension freeze for most of the 780 production workers at its factory here." Take that, you peasants!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

• • Bringing ‘unfilmable’ books to the screen 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  | Less fruitful are movies slavishly faithful to the source's form but not its spirit, taking as many words as possible from the page and putting them on the screen. That Classics Illustrated style torpedoed the screen version of Ayn Rand's sociopolitical manifesto "Atlas Shrugged," making a novel of ideas into a didactic talkathon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

 11 nations, divisible 
Paul Ryan  |Syndicated  | Mitt Romney is a Yankee from Michigan and Massachusetts, who nevertheless chose to run on a platform emphasizing individual liberty, and to select as his running mate a devotee of Ayn Rand. Romney emphasized the need to curtail government intrusion and unlock the energy of individual ambition. Taxes on the wealthy and unspecified public programs were to be reduced and military spending increased. This was a pitch to the Appalachian ideal.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

• • Film spotlight: Twin Cities Film Fest and “Atlas Shrugged, Part II” 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Capitalism  | The Ayn Rand drama "Atlas Shrugged, Part II" (PG-13 for brief language) apparently was not made by capitalists, since last year's "Part I" earned $4.6 million on a reported $20 million budget. None of the lead actors has returned for the sequel -- Samantha Mathis replaces Taylor Schilling as heroine Dagny Taggart -- but there are celebrity cameos from Sean Hannity, Grover Norquist and Teller of Penn & Teller.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

• • A writer's downfall: Blame our culture of conquest 
Individualism  |Inaccurate  | A Los Angeles Times commentary blamed [Jonah Lehrer’s] bad choices on "the cult of overachievement." I agree. But I also blame the cult of Ayn Rand-style individualism -- aka survival of the fittest -- which celebrates the hubris of high-flying private equity firms like the one that took down HMH (it filed for bankruptcy in June but will reorganize) and says to hell with anyone who just wants to live up to his or her own perhaps middling potential and make a modest living working an eight-hour day. To hell with anyone who doesn't dream big and do what it takes (lying and cheating permitted) to make the dream come true.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

• • In libertarian wave, GOP sells its soul 
Atheism  |Capitalism  | In a May 27 commentary (“Republican Party finds its soul”), Jason Lewis claims that the only difference between libertarians and the rest of the Republican Party is their position toward war. On all other issues, he implies, they sing the same hymns. First, it is nice to know, as the headline suggests, that the lost soul of the Republican Party has been found. Political parties most of all need to have a soul. And the soul of the Republican Party now seems to be, according to Lewis, that “free-market capitalism is its own reward because it embraces the morality of freedom.” Ayn Rand, the atheist philosopher that Republicans love, said the same thing probably a thousand different ways, but according to Lewis, this is a recent event brought about by Ron Paul and his supporters.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

 Is it raining libertarians, or what? 
Capitalism  | Spencer's "true" liberalism of the future is what we today call libertarianism. It has come down to us through a variety of thinkers who followed Spencer's assumptions, including Ayn Rand, pioneering game theorists, many fundamentalist preachers like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, and secular free-market fundamentalists of the Chicago School of economics.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

• • the dish 
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Egoism  | After audiences shrugged at -- nay, gave the cold shoulder to -- the hopefully titled “Atlas Shrugged, Part One” last year, producer Joe Aglialoro blamed critics. “I’m having deep second thoughts on why I should do ‘Part Two.’ Why should I put up all that money if the critics are coming in like lemmings?” Fans of Ayn Rand’s brand of aggressive self-interest, rejoice: Aglialoro has decided to plunge ahead with the planned trilogy. The first sequel will start shooting in two months with an October release date. A certain election couldn’t be the reason for the timing, could it?

Thursday, February 09, 2012

• • • Alinsky: Not an activist to emulate 
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Egoism  |Inaccurate  | Characterizing [Saul] Alinsky as “apolitical” because he did not identify with any specific ideology misses an insight brought to the fore by author/philosopher Ayn Rand: No social system can survive without a moral base. Although Rand’s notion of a “virtue of selfishness” antagonizes many people, the essence of her work was developing a logically consistent moral code based on the observation that all people act out of self-interest, which is also a premise of Alinsky’s philosophy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

• • Rash Report: Ron Paul finally gets noticed for being ignored 
Atlas Shrugged  | On a freezing day in February 2008, just before the Republican presidential caucuses, those doing the “Minnesota hunch” between buildings at the University of Minnesota saw the question scrawled in sidewalk chalk: “Who is Ron Paul?” The rhetorical political question evoked “Who is John Galt?” -- the opening sentence of “Atlas Shrugged,” the Ayn Rand novel that’s an ideological and cultural compass point for many Republicans sharing Tea Party disdain for big government.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

• • The Founding Federalists 
Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  |Rand Paul  | New heroes on the libertarian right, such as Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, openly acknowledge that they have been heavily influenced by Ayn Rand. This novelist and self-styled philosopher is the modern spiritual mother of an antigovernment extremism that sees no role for government beyond police departments and armies. She dismissed democracy as mob rule and favored the dollar sign as a symbol of her movement, rejecting traditional American values and symbols.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

• • Jason Lewis: He wrote as a fan, not as a critical thinker 
Capitalism  | Unfortunately, Lewis just reinforced stereotypes about objectivism, boiling it down to the same simple concept as always: Ruthlessness is good, provided you’re on the handle end of the hammer.

• • Jason Lewis: He wrote as a fan, not as a critical thinker 
Altruism  |Egoism  | I wonder if Jason Lewis feels that the heroes of 9/11, the firefighters and first responders who risked and sacrificed their lives to help their fellow human beings were fools for acting altruistically ("Who is John Galt? Who was Ayn Rand?" April 17).

• • Jason Lewis: He wrote as a fan, not as a critical thinker 
Capitalism  |Individualism  | Lewis glorifies Rand's "objectivism" philosophy. In this philosophy, collectivism (being motivated by the good of the collective) is rejected, and individualism (being motivated by the good of the individual) is promoted. [....] We can all be very thankful that countless people like soldiers, cops, firefighters, teachers and volunteers everywhere are not guided by Rand’s objectivism.

• • Jason Lewis: He wrote as a fan, not as a critical thinker 
Individualism  |Personal life  | I couldn’t help noticing a slight omission in Lewis’s fawning homage to tea bag goddess Rand, who is to philosophy what Orly Taitz is to law. For all her stiff-spined individualism and condemnation of welfare, when she became eligible for the collectivist largesse of Social Security and Medicare, Rand lined up with her hand out like everybody else.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

• • • Who was Ayn Rand? 
Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |Egoism  |Individualism  | What made Rand so popular (her books have sold more than 25 million copies) was that she gave validation to millions by challenging the false altruism that remains the basis for modern liberalism to this day. Collectivism, which uses the power of government to undermine self-interest, was anathema to Rand. And for that she was never forgiven -- especially by left-wing intellectuals. Even so, the critics proved no match for the staying power of “Atlas Shrugged.” Read it today, and it’s hard to imagine the author wasn’t talking about the financial bailouts of 2008.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

 Reliable Rush dazzles the faithful 
All three players were predictably virtuosic, particularly late in the evening on their 1975 sci-fi/metal/Objectivist classic “Overture,” from the “2112” album.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

• • Oscar-winner Patricia Neal dies at age 84; as well-known for her health battles as fine acting 

The Fountainhead  | [Neal] had the female leads in the 1949 film version of Ayn Rand’s novel “The Fountainhead,” the classic 1951 science fiction film “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and Elia Kazan’s 1957 drama “A Face in the Crowd.” [....] Neal [...] suffered a nervous breakdown, and had an ill-fated affair with Gary Cooper, who starred with her in “The Fountainhead.”

Monday, March 29, 2010

Games over, but strong ties endure 
The Fountainhead  | It never ceases to amaze me how little Americans know about countries that mean so much to our economic and strategic survival. That certainly includes Canada. To paraphrase Ayn Rand, it's not that we think badly of our Canadian neighbors, it just that we don't think of them at all.