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Thursday, May 09, 2013

 Ever More Pointing, Talking 
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Never mind history and architecture. These days, you can book a night-club crawl, a tour of Financial District food carts, a walk through Dyker Heights at Christmas and a hip-hop tour of the Bronx. Other themes include Jewish gangsters, food tours of Staten Island, shopping in the garment district and, for your inner Objectivist, Ayn Rand's New York.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

• • A Videogame With a Political Philosophy 
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BioShock  | Understanding the “BioShock” series requires a bit of back story. “BioShock” takes place in Rapture, an underwater city that was founded by a wealthy industrialist and governed by Ayn Rand-style objectivism. [....] “There never was a Randian utopia. I think a lot of people think about it, but there never really was one, so it was a fun piece of fiction to imagine it,” says [Ken] Levine, who was the primary writer on both “BioShock” and “Bioshock Infinite.”

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

• • Making the GOP's Moral Arithmetic Numbers Add Up 
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Altruism  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Individual Rights  | Regarding Arthur C. Brooks's "Republicans and Their Faulty Moral Arithmetic" (op-ed, March 4): At one point American conservatives believed as the Founders did, that the essence of good government was the protection of individual rights. [....] Now Mr. Brooks tells us that truly conservative government aims at preserving the "social safety net for the neediest citizens" and "improving the lives of vulnerable people." [....] American conservatives must choose between these two visions. You can have "Atlas Shrugged" or the Sermon on the Mount. You can't have both.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

• • Will the Runway Ever Meet the Road? 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Egoism  | Lululemon has, in many ways, become more than a brand. [Chip] Wilson, who retired as chief innovation and brand officer last year and is now chairman of the board, has made it his business to make Lululemon a lifestyle choice. The company's manifesto includes the phrase "This is not your practice life. This is all there is." While the brand's Galtian ethos (taken from Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" character John Galt, who makes a virtue of selfishness) has stirred up controversy, it has also, according to the company, spurred Lululemon on to create great running pants, flattering yoga bras and shorts that can make anyone's bum look good.

Friday, December 07, 2012

• • Vote for the Sound Money Ticket 
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Book review: Freaks of Fortune, by Jonathan Levy.
Mr. Levy's chapter on monopoly—"trusts," as they were called at the turn of the 20th century—features an Ayn Rand-type villain named George W. Perkins. A Morgan banker, Perkins sought to reorganize American business along the lines of cooperation, not competition. He declared, for instance, that there should be one big life insurance company, not a lot of little squabbling ones. "My idea," he said, "is that the businessman of this country must today, and in the future, serve the people."

Friday, October 19, 2012

• • • ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Film Banks on Election Fever 
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Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Paul Ryan  |Personal life  |The Fountainhead movie  |Image  | To a strict bottom-line capitalist, the new movie "Atlas Shrugged Part II" might not look like a model enterprise. "Atlas Shrugged Part I," released last year, cost businessman John Aglialoro about $25 million (and 19 years) to bring to the screen. Its domestic box-office take was a tepid $4.6 million. Critics' reviews, arguably, were worse. Few flops earn sequels. But Mr. Aglialoro, chief executive of exercise-equipment maker Cybex International and a longtime disciple of "Atlas Shrugged" author Ayn Rand, thinks the timing is right.

Friday, October 05, 2012

 Inside the Cold, Calculating Libertarian Mind 
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Individualism  | It was hardly surprising that [a study] found that libertarians strongly value liberty, especially the "negative liberty" of freedom from interference by others. Given the philosophy of their heroes, from John Locke and John Stuart Mill to Ayn Rand and Ron Paul, it also comes as no surprise that libertarians are also individualistic, stressing the right and the need for people to stand on their own two feet, rather than the duty of others, or government, to care for people.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

• • Internet Culture Meets Cats Media 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Individualism  | Nic Rad, an artist based in Williamsburg, created the most expensive piece in the exhibition, a painting that ultimately sold for $500. The painting was a portrait of a decidedly blue-blooded cat, standing on its hind legs, smoking a pipe and carrying a book. “I thought to myself, ‘What book would befit a wealthy cat? A self-made cat? A radical individualist? A feline objectivist? A cat of genius? A cat of distinction?’” said Mr. Rad, before pointing to the book in the cat’s paw: “Catlas Shrugged.”

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

 A Republican Ticket From Far Right Field 
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Bush I promised a "kinder, gentler nation" and Bush II expanded Medicare—unfortunately, without a way to pay for it. But with Messrs. Romney and Ryan, it's out with Franklin Roosevelt and in with Ayn Rand. As many observers have noticed, even Ronald Reagan would be considered a bit too lefty for the current Republican Party.

• • Ryan, Rand and the Republican Mind 
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Atheism  |Individualism  |Paul Ryan  | According to an August New York Times op-ed by Stanford professor Jennifer Burns, Paul Ryan is an admirer of the individualistic-themed novels of Ayn Rand. But his Catholicism and other beliefs are an affront to what the influential atheist stood for. “If Mr. Ryan becomes the next vice president,” Ms. Burns writes, “it wouldn’t be her dream come true, but her nightmare.” Can a belief in God and Rand rationally co-exist within one man? Or within one party? The essence of three decades of liberal astonishment at the Republican coalition Reagan built is that it cannot.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

• • McGurn: Social Justice and Ryan the Heretic 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Paul Ryan  |Image  | In another age, Catholic progressives would have laughed at the suggestion that people were corrupted by reading certain works; now they believe Paul Ryan's soul is in peril for his having read Ayn Rand.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

 Book Review: Eye in the Sky 
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One of the occupational hazards, or bonuses, of being a sci-fi author is that you may find yourself turning into a guru. The most obvious example is L. Ron Hubbard, creator of Scientology, but in different ways it happened as well to Ayn Rand, Kurt Vonnegut, Robert Heinlein—and, least likely of them all, Philip K. Dick.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

 Paul Ryan's Record Shows Flexibility on Policy 
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Paul Ryan  | Bill Whalen, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a former speechwriter for former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson of California, said such spending requests should be evaluated on their merits, and that their existence probably wouldn’t affect the party’s opinion of its new candidate. He noted Mr. Ryan’s “three avatars” are Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman and Jack Kemp. “For conservatives, that’s a pretty good trinity,” Mr. Whalen said.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

 One-Hit Wonder 
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Somebody's Been Reading Ayn Rand. "Warren: 'The Boston Herald is the Boston Herald'"--headline, Boston Herald, June 14.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

 Book Review: Leaping Tall Buildings 
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The first issues of "Before Watchmen" will be published next month. [....] DC is promoting the project with a "Watchmen" toaster, which will allow you to burn the image of Ayn Rand-inspired vigilante Rorschach into your sourdough.

Friday, May 25, 2012

• • McGurn: Paul Ryan's Cross to Bear 
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Paul Ryan  | Paul Ryan shocked the gentle souls at Georgetown University when he traveled up to their campus last Thursday and said: “We believe that Social Security legislation, now billed as a great victory for the poor and for the worker, is a great defeat for Christianity. It is an acceptance of the idea of force and compulsion.” The Wisconsin Republican went on to lament that “we in our generation have more and more come to consider the state as bountiful Uncle Sam,” and that citizens justify what they get from the state by saying, “We got it coming to us.” Sure sounds like Mr. Ryan was channeling Ayn Rand. Except for one thing. The words are not Mr. Ryan’s. They come from a 1945 column by Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker, in which she complained about how state intervention limits personal freedom and responsibility.

Monday, February 13, 2012

• • • Among the Objectivists 
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Alan Greenspan  |Atlas Shrugged  |The Fountainhead  |Capitalism  |Individualism  | It’s not easy being a libertarian Ayn Rand buff in New York City, a town where even the rich people are communist sympathizers. At the PTA meeting or the charity gala, you’re almost always the only soul standing up for freedom of choice, unfettered capitalism, drug legalization and the gold standard. And nobody wants to hear it. Happily, the city’s tiny colony of Objectivists, as Rand fans call themselves, manage to find each other: at the Ayn Rand Meet-Up (489 Objectivists and growing), local chapters of the Libertarian Party and monthly meetings of Junto, an Objectivist investing salon hosted by speculator and former hedgefund manager Victor Niederhoffer. The year’s big event: a birthday bash for Rand, who would have turned 107 this month.

Friday, January 20, 2012

 Promoting Art and Israel 
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The Global Arts Group worked with [David] Datuna to bring his “Steve Jobs-Ayn Rand” portrait to SCOPE Miami, an art show, late last year.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

 Romney Wins but Takes a Beating 
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Individualism  | Rick Santorum has a lot going for him, most especially a deep identification with and caring for the working class, for the displaced and unempowered people who once worked in steel mills and factories and have seen it all go away. He is a Catholic who sees society not as an agglomeration of random Randian individualists but as part of a community, part of a whole. He cares about the American family and walks the walk.

 Litigating for Liberty 
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[Institute for Justice chief Chip] Mellor traces his political evolution back to his days as a student protester at Ohio State University in the late 1960s. This was the time of the Vietnam War and Mr. Mellor, while marching against it, had the “epiphany of my life,” he says. “It became undeniably obvious to me that both the left, which I was a part of, and the right were really after the same thing, which was power. And I didn’t want any part of that.” So began an intellectual odyssey that took him from Whittaker Chambers to Ayn Rand and Friedrich Hayek and led to law school at the University of Denver.