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Sunday, April 14, 2013

• • A Less Intrusive Government Could Still Maintain a Safety Net 
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Capitalism  | Friedrich Hayek, who showed that support for a safety net can co-exist with a deep appreciation for the freedom and utility of markets, has more to offer the right at present than Ayn Rand.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

• • • Atlas Shrugged Book Club, Entry 4: How Their World Is Like Ours 
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Atlantic Monthly Atlas Shrugged Book Club  |Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  |Image  | From: Conor Friedersdorf
To: Michael Brendan Dougherty, Garance Franke-Ruta, Jerome Copulsky
Subject: Part I, Chapters 6 through 10


My Fellow Shruggers,

What I wouldn’t give to tag along with Francisco d’Anconia to a Washington, D.C., cocktail party. Too often, Ayn Rand characters make their points with lengthy, repetitive speeches that unfold over many paragraphs and give the reader too little credit. But d’Anconia has a wonderful talent for pithy one liners that knock interlocutors off guard even as they provoke thought.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

• • Rubio’s Perplexing Punt on the Age of the Earth 
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Paul Ryan  | Is Marco Rubio ready to be a leader of the GOP? His remarks on the humanity of undocumented immigrants and the poor show him to be much more in tune with his generation than was losing vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan. Only a year Rubio's senior, Ryan put forward a Randian vision of a nation that does little to lift up the economy's losers -- or newcomers -- while Rubio has become a powerful advocate for an as yet unnamed strain of forward-looking conservatism. When it comes to the lives of Latino voters, the Republican Party may have no more articulate and reality-based spokesman than Rubio.

Friday, November 09, 2012

• • The ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Guy Has His Full Say 
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Atlas Shrugged  | I open the electronic mailbag to find 150 or so reader replies about the 'Atlas Shrugged' guy, who plans to close his business and eliminate its "$500k total payroll" if Obama wins today.

• • • The 'Atlas Shrugged' Guy Pushes Back! 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Egoism  |Going Galt  |Individualism  | Earlier in today's Festival™ I quoted a self-reported small business owner who said that if Obama is re-elected, as now seems likely, the businessman will live out the reality of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and deny the "takers" in the economy the benefit of his wealth- and job-creating efforts. A lot of readers made fun of him, many suggesting that the letter was a clumsy parody designed to make anti-tax, anti-Obama attitudes look bad.

• • • No Love for the ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Guy 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Image  | “What these Randians don’t get is that their jobs do not provide money for employees like mannah from heaven. His customers will become someone else's customers, his employees someone else's employees, and no one will miss him.”

• • What If the GOP Loses? ‘Atlas Shrugged’ vs. ‘The Fire Next Time’ 
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Atlas Shrugged  | What if Obama wins? Atlas will shrug. From a person whose geographical location (or, in fact, anything else about him) I don’t know. To be clear, he says he runs a high-tech business, but I can’t vouch for that myself.

Friday, October 19, 2012

 When Aung Saan Su Kyi Met the Craigslist Guy 
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The motto of the first San Francisco Freedom Forum, the American outpost of the Human Rights Foundation's annual Oslo meet, was "many paths, one goal." [....] Perhaps thanks to the co-sponsorship of web entrepreneur and hedge fund manager Peter Thiel's charitable foundation, there was a strong libertarian contingent present (sample lunch line conversation: "I would distinguish between Objectivism and 'things Rand wrote.' 'Now just where do you draw that line?'" Google Founder Sergey Brin's foundation co-sponsored as well.).

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

• • If Paul Ryan Were an Atlas Shrugged Character, He’d Be a Villain 
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Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  |Paul Ryan  | How would Ayn Rand feel about the Department of Homeland Security and the federalization of airport security? Had an unusually canny infiltrator carried out a successful terrorist attack on Galt’s Gulch, does anyone see a scenario where the book’s heroine, Dagny Taggart, starts submitting to genital pat-downs by agents of the state before being permitted to board a plane? How would Lawrence Hammond, the capitalist automaker, and Dan Conway, the upstart who out-competed an entrenched corporation, feel about Rep. Ryan’s 2009 vote for the auto-industry bailout? Do you think Francisco D’Anconia would’ve felt admiration for Rep Ryan’s TARP vote? I think the copper tycoon would’ve eviscerated him with slyly cutting remarks during a Georgetown cocktail party.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

• • No, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Isn’t a Right-Wing Opus 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | I think it's deeply telling that in order to brand The Dark Knight Rises as a "conservative" movie Ross [Douthat] has to eschew the conservatives of today (Hannity's), and even the conservatives of 50 years ago (Ayn Rand) in favor of the "conservatism" of nearly 200 years ago. In the present the greatest evinced of a "quiet Toryism" is the Democratic candidate for president.

 Happy Birthday, Aldous Huxley: A Rare, Prophetic 1958 Interview 
,
[H]ere is a rare 1958 conversation with Mike Wallace—the same masterful interviewer who also offered rare glimpses into the minds of Salvador Dalí and Ayn Rand—in which Huxley predicts the "fictional world of horror" depicted in Brave New World is just around the corner for humanity.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

• • Why Conservative Bestsellers Are Widely Ignored 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | [Mark Levin] seems to be under the misimpression that all utopianism is statist. “Utopianism’s authority... knows no definable limits,” he writes. “Utopianism relies on deceit, propaganda, dependence, intimidation, and force... In utopia, rule by masterminds is both necessary and necessarily primitive, for it excludes so much that is known to man and about man... Utopianism requires power to be concentrated in a central authority with maximum latitude to transform and control.” So many counterexamples come to mind. Has he never heard of Ayn Rand? In her utopian novel Atlas Shrugged, the plot unfolds with all the capitalists in society withdrawing to a hidden Colorado valley where private property is sacrosanct, the initiation of force is prohibited, and sex among consenting adults proceeds after a completely rational assessment of partners. There are all sorts of reasons Galt’s Gulch wouldn’t work. But no one can say that it relies on a central authority with “maximum latitude to control.” And it is anything but statist!

Monday, February 13, 2012

 12 Hours at CPAC, the ‘Mardi Gras of the Right’ 
,
At lunch, I plopped down in the hotel lobby next to the Shadrix family, up from Raleigh, N.C., as they tucked into Chipotle burritos. They capture the CPAC demographic pretty well -- white, well-educated, strong Christian values, happy to chat with a perfect stranger. [....] Wendy Shadrix stopped me as I stood up to leave. She and Tom chose to home-school Shawn and his sister, Mikayla, and she knew how home-schooling evangelical Christians are depicted in the “liberal” media. She hoped I won’t caricature her, she said. So here are the facts: Shawn and Mikayla have read Shakespeare and The Voyage of the Beagle under their mom’s tutelage. They have not read Ayn Rand. They are bright, charming, look-you-in-the-eye-when-making-conversation kind of kids.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

 For Critics of Libertarianism, It’s Always 1964 
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Critics of American libertarianism clarify nothing by acting as if the early 1960s are the only prism through which libertarian ideas should be evaluated. Never mentioned is how much misery the application of libertarian ideas could’ve prevented at other historical moments -- as the slave trade began, for example (something [Jonathan] Chait’s nemesis Ayn Rand would’ve objected to in the most strenuous terms imaginable) or during the rise of Prohibition.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

 The Attempt to Pin Ron Paul’s Shortcomings on Libertarianism 
,
David Boaz wrote a 2008 post titled "Ron Paul's Ugly Newsletters" that included the following passage: “[....] Libertarians should make it clear that the people who wrote those things are not our comrades, not part of our movement, not part of the tradition of John Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Robert Nozick.”

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

• • Listening in on When an Acclaimed Director and Video-Game Maker Meet 
,
BioShock  |Atlas Shrugged  | [Ken] Levine, who was influenced by everything from Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged for BioShock to Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City for next year’s BioShock Infinite frets, “I’m always worried about crawling up my own asshole and getting so into the things that I’m interested in that I forget I have to keep this interesting for an audience, while still retaining those things [I like to delve into] like objectivism and art deco.” At one point in the podcast, he admits that he wanted to include the 50-page speech at the end of Atlas Shrugged in BioShock.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

• • Religious Structures Around the World 

The Fountainhead  | Deeply rooted in tradition, the religious buildings of the past were dominant, didactic figures -- in social life but also in architecture, as made clear by Ludwig Wittgenstein’s claim that architecture “compels and glorifies ... where there is nothing to glorify there can be no architecture.” A new point of view emerged in 1920s New York City, setting of The Fountainhead, with Howard Roark’s Temple Dedicated to the Human Spirit. It seemed both religious buildings specifically and architecture generally were on the threshold of being democratized. Outside of literary fiction, though, the actual process of change didn’t take off until a couple of decades later.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

 How Much of Rick Perry’s Secret Energy Plan Will Be Revealed Today? 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | He’ll just pull back some regulations, and poof, 1.2 million jobs created and energy independence. It’s no wonder he appeared not to care about the outcome of the debate: he’s got John Galt’s motor!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

• • Hey, Conservatives: It’s Safe to Go to the Movies Again 
,
Atlas Shrugged movie  |Atlas Shrugged  | Atlas Shrugged made only $4.6 million on a reported budget of $20 million, and The Undefeated made only $116,000 on a reported budget of $1 million. Granted, both films received mixed reviews, at best. Nonetheless, as conservative film critic Christian Toto pointed out in a recent Daily Caller article titled “Why don’t conservatives support conservative films?,” the popularity of Rand’s original Atlas Shrugged novel and of Sarah Palin as subject matter should presumably have led to greater enthusiasm among conservatives for these projects. Yet they didn’t.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

• • Perry’s Problem: A Pitch That Contradicts Decades of GOP Rhetoric 
,
Atlas Shrugged  | It’s no wonder that [Mitt] Romney, successful businessman and one term governor, is the preferred candidate on the economy, and regarded as having superior experience when compared to a rival who has spent his whole career inside the confines of government. Inserted into an Ayn Rand novel, [Rick] Perry would likely as not wind up a villain, the kind of pol with whom Hank Rearden regrets having to deal, and who gives a rival of Dagney Taggart a taxpayer-funded subsidy that confers an unfair advantage. Meanwhile, Romney would be the ambitious self-made man who suffered a regrettable bout of moral confusion, like Francisco d’Anconia or Gail Wynand -- the sort of character whose unseemly actions are mourned but forgiven. And Herman Cain would be Ellis Wyatt, a likable hero, but ultimately incidental to the plot.