Saturday, April 27, 2013
• • A lack of appetite for this conservative
[Sen. Mike Lee’s] criticism of Paul’s libertarian wing was particularly colorful: “This vision of America conservatives seek is not an Ayn Rand novel. It’s a Norman Rockwell painting, or a Frank Capra movie.” But as a practical matter, Lee wasn’t offering anything much different from the Rand acolytes. He spoke of an end to “corporate welfare” — an admirable goal, but his targets were the same old villains such as Planned Parenthood and public broadcasting. He employed the usual straw-man characterization of liberals: “They attack free enterprise. . . . Elite progressives in Washington . . . believe in community organizers, self-anointed strangers, preferably ones with Ivy League degrees.”
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Friday, March 22, 2013
• The morality of capitalism
Leaving aside Ayn Rand and other extremists on both sides, the debate is not an existential one about capitalism. Instead, it’s a debate about two separate things: how much regulation capitalism needs in order to function, and how much the government ought to be involved in the distribution of resources. Both are issues of degree.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
• • Lessons from the budget bake-off
Atlas Shrugged |
While philosophers have debated the question in broad terms for centuries, I’m happy to report that we can now definitively quantify the difference between a pinko communist dystopia in which the leviathan state crushes the very soul of freedom, and a neanderthal right-wing hellscape in which the poor, frail or otherwise unlucky fight for whatever crumbs John Galt cares to spill. It’s about 4 cents on the national dollar. That is, it’s the difference between a federal government that spends about 19 percent of gross domestic product and 23 percent of GDP in the year 2023.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
• CPAC: Conservatives’ group-therapy session
Atlas Shrugged |
[T]he CPAC agenda could be described as a three-day group therapy session. Among the topics for discussion: “Lessons they have learned and we haven’t.” “What is a conservative foreign policy?” “Bringing tolerance out of the closet.” “Are you sick and tired of being called a racist?” “Has Atlas shrugged?’ “CSI Washington, D.C.: November 2012 autopsy.”
• • ‘Coolidge’ by Amity Shlaes
One must search far and wide in the literature to find anywhere such a romanticization of the act of cutting federal outlays. This reveals itself in passages that would make even Paul Ryan blush, passages tinged with the stilted sort of eroticism one sees in Ayn Rand novels. “Together,” Shlaes writes, “the new president and his budget director [Herbert M. Lord] cut, and then cut again. . . . Even when he and Lord thought they could not cut more, they still cut.”
• • Is capitalism moral?
Atlas Shrugged |The Fountainhead |Capitalism |Egoism |John Allison |
Arthur Brooks, the president of the conservative American Enterprise Institute, and John Allison, the successful banker installed last summer as head of the libertarian Cato Institute, have both recently published books laying out the moral case against the modern welfare state and for even-freer-market capitalism than we have now. [....] The seeds of this moral defense of free markets were planted by John Locke, Adam Smith and Ludwig von Mises, but they blossomed in America in the writing of the Russian emigre Ayn Rand, whose novels “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” are mandatory reading among right-leaning intellectuals and politicians. Where Rand once saw a world divided between “producers” and “moochers,” today’s conservatives see “makers” and “takers.” Where she warned of an America about to descend into totalitarian slavery, they warn of a slide into socialist egalitarianism, special-interest kleptocracy and innovation-snuffing political correctness.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
• • The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide and Define a Nation by Stephen Prothero
Atlas Shrugged |
In “The American Bible,” Prothero has turned his considerable talents to assembling a version of the American canon: “Not the books I revere but those that Americans themselves have made sacred.” [....] Prothero quite correctly includes novels in his canon. And although I might have made different choices (No “Gatsby”? No Steinbeck?), his are entirely defensible. (The award for irony goes to the estate of Ayn Rand, which refused to allow the excerpting of “Atlas Shrugged,” a decision Prothero cleverly marks with a blank page.)
Sunday, March 10, 2013
• • An Ashley Judd candidacy? Women voters may be the key.
Personal life |
Much has been made about whether conservative Kentucky voters would take to Judd, given a 2006 statement she made about why she doesn’t have children, stating “It’s unconscionable to breed, with the number of children who are starving to death in impoverished countries.” I can’t help but note that Ayn Rand, the darling of many Republicans and conservatives, was not only childless, her writings imply that she had malevolent feelings about children and family. It’s hard to imagine Rand speaking lovingly about a “bonus niece” or family as Judd has. Her love of family and advocacy for equal opportunities for women and girls worldwide may mean more to voters than her detractors give her credit for.
Monday, February 11, 2013
• The F-word in the arts and on the marquee
At the Public Theater in New York, frequent Woolly guest Mike Daisey finished a run of his monologue “F---ing F---ing F---ing Ayn Rand” in January.
Saturday, January 05, 2013
• FreedomWorks tea party group nearly falls apart in fight between old and new guard
Atlas Shrugged |
[Dick] Stephenson has a passion for libertarian politics stretching back to the 1960s, when he attended seminars featuring “Atlas Shrugged” author Ayn Rand and economist Murray Rothbard, according to those who know him at FreedomWorks.
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
• The dream field for 2016
[H]ere are some of the possible front-runners for the next election, according to a nightmare that I had after eating cheese too close to bedtime the rigorous methodology generally used to assemble such a list. These are my dream candidates, in the sense that they are sort of surreal and probably an indictment of my childhood. Republicans: [....] Ghost of Ayn Rand.
• ‘Twas the Night Before Voting
‘Twas the Night Before Voting, and all through the land
Not a creature was stirring, not even Ayn Rand.
Sunday, November 25, 2012
• • An appeal to America’s heart
Paul Ryan |
Those who expect Ryan to sound like Ayn Rand — an embarrassing past flirtation — got something very different. Ryan quoted Abraham Lincoln on social mobility — “an unfettered start and a fair chance in the race of life.” Ryan identified with his mentor Jack Kemp: “When he spoke of progress, he meant progress for everyone.” And without quoting him, Ryan embraced Pope John Paul II’s emphasis on the importance of healthy civic and religious institutions. It is a combination — Lincoln, Kemp and Catholic social thought — that must have set Rand a-spinning.
• Political Tweet Showdown
Atlas Shrugged |
“I started training [Thursday] evening, working the speed bag, drinking six raw eggs and reading four chapters of ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ “ [says cartoonist Glenn] McCoy [...].
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Monday, November 19, 2012
• Sherrod Brown’s lessons for Obama
Paul Ryan |
[Paul] Ryan, Brown said, has “dressed up trickle-down economics and wrapped it in an Ayn Rand novel.” The vice president, Brown added, should highlight the Republicans’ desire to privatize both Medicare and Social Security, reflected in Ryan’s own record and Republicans’ attempts to do so whenever they thought they had the votes. “It’s clear they want to go there,” Brown said.
Sunday, October 21, 2012