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Thursday, November 04, 2010

• • Inside Ron Johnson’s victory party: Reason concedes to Ron Johnson 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Ron Johnson  | [Ron Johnson] is a man who claims to worship the values of Atlas Shrugged’s objectivism, with its stress on personal responsibility and freedom from government regulation of the individual. Yet he is for government restrictions against homosexuals.

Friday, October 29, 2010

• • The fantasy of girl world: Lady nerds and utopias 
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Atlas Shrugged  | Stories can be dangerous; one of the most popular science fiction novels of the twentieth century is by a woman, after all, and it would be a completely harmless tale about a dystopian future and a death ray and a team of heroic scientists, except that it’s Atlas Shrugged.

• • The fraudulent case for the benefits of wealth inequality 
,
Capitalism  | “It’s probably a good thing that the public underestimates how much wealth inequality there is,” [George Mason University‚Äôs Bryan D.] Caplan says with a patronizing air rather unbecoming of a doctrinaire libertarian. After all, he explains, “they tend not to understand the ways that wealth inequality is good.” And how does Caplan possess the magisterial authority to proclaim a crushing paucity of material justice “good”? Well, we’re not sure, exactly—though his homepage autobiography helpfully explains that “It began with Ayn Rand, as it proverbially does.” He does go on to explain that he later came to regard his youthful infatuation with Objectivism and hardline Austrian economic theory as “mistakes.”

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

 Unscrambling an egg 
,
Capitalism  | Anything that speaks to an essential rottenness at the core of something one kind of likes and hasn't really thought all that much about, honestly, is going to make one feel bad, both about liking that thing and not noticing all that rot. And so the easy answers: thus the revelations of the economic collapse – that the market was not self-regulating, was not working, did not even make any [...] sense for the most part – lead to the reassuring self-righteousness of Randian fury or peevish CliffNotes Misesianism, which suggest that someone else – gross, grasping poors or stupid government – screwed up this objectively very good thing.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

 90 minutes with Gene Simmons made me a member of the KISS Army for life 
,
Radiohead [...] decided to give their album “In Rainbows” away on the Internet, for free. Or free if you wanted it to be. The idea was to let people pay what they “thought it was worth.” [....] Gene Simmons thought it was the single most stupid idea he had ever heard in his life. His entire worldview revolved around the making of money, and then, how to make more money from that money; his outlook was once eloquently described as “a subtle blend of Ayn Rand and Ron Jeremy.” The notion of an artistic experiment which spoke of an utter distain for the very structures which had made its creation possible in the first place did not interest him in the slightest.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

 Poking back, Part 2: Cheering Zuckerberg in Seattle 
,
Egoism  | Movie-Zuck is a kind of moral void, an apolitical objectivist-libertarian type who’s incapable of human connection. What could be seen as selfless devotion to his vision is really just more selfishness: Facebook is nice, but it hardly seems worth ruining people’s lives over. Zuckerberg isn’t pursuing it because he knows the end product will be worth fighting for; he’s pursuing it because he wants to be able to do whatever he wants without anyone telling him he can’t.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

• • Dystopian Wisconsin: Who is Ron Johnson? 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Ron Johnson  | [Ron Johnson] is passionate believer in the values of Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. But not the book’s fundamental view of the “monstrous absurdity” of original sin, as he is a fervent and active Lutheran who says “freedom of religion doesn’t mean freedom from religion.” [....] George Will’s backseat make-out session with Johnson in May heavily leaned on Atlas Shrugged symbolism, noting it was Johnson’s favorite book. Will noted Johnson’s belief that we are already living in the “novel’s dystopian world.” When newspeak replaces debate and the nation’s vocabulary gets smaller every election cycle, where doublethink goes unquestioned by voters, we are indeed sliding into a novel’s dystopian world, but it wasn’t written by Ayn Rand.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

 Rich people things: The bridge to somewhere 
,
Capitalism  | [Michigan trucking mogul Manuel “Matty” Moroun’s son] Matt gives the standard Randian gloss on the battle [over the Ambassador Bridge]: “We’re doing our best to fight a government takeover of a private business that wants to spend private dollars in Detroit.”

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

 Live forever? With you schmucks? No thanks! 
,
I can’t imagine how anyone would choose to be a Have [...] if all but the very rich are going to be Have-Nots. These guys like Raymond Kurzweil and Facebook board member Peter Thiel hold the primitive worldview derived from the likes of Ayn Rand or Werner Erhard, where it’s pretty much your duty to grab everything that isn’t nailed down, and that in itself proves your “superiority” and/or “fitness to survive.”

Saturday, June 12, 2010

• • At the 2010 Scripps National Spelling Bee 
,
Atheism  |We The Living  | The best religious irony of the contest was when a girl who listed Ayn Rand’s We the Living as a book she likes received the word “fleuron” and got a sentence involving bishops and prayer.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

• • Rich people things: Finance fiction pales beside finance fact 
,
Atlas Shrugged  |Capitalism  | It’s hard to know how, exactly, one should greet the Forbes brand’s dalliance with the idea of deliberate mirth-making, via its annual roster of make-believe plutocrats, packaged as “The Forbes Fictional 15.” [....] Ur-free-market heroes are curiously shortchanged by a magazine that fondly refers to itself as a “Capitalist Tool.” How can someone like the great Rand mouthpiece John Galt escape inclusion, for example, given his elevation to the front ranks of Tea Party protest? Are we really to believe that comic-book protagonist Richie Rich is a more arresting avatar of ever-striving privilege?

Monday, February 08, 2010

 Rich people things: Alan Greenspan’s window is always open 
,
Capitalism  | Financial journalist Roger Lowenstein [wrote]: “Deluded as to the banks’ ability to police themselves before the crisis, Greenspan called for a less burdensome regulatory regime six months after it. His Neolithic opposition to enhanced disclosure—which, because it allows investors to be their own watchdogs, is ever the best friend of free capital markets—served to remind one of the early Greenspan who (in thrall to Ayn Rand) once wrote, ‘The basis of regulation is armed force.’”

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