Archive | October, 2011

Lecture: Capitalism Without Guilt — The Moral Case For Freedom

In the wake of bailouts, stimulus packages, regulatory expansion, and a massive new entitlement program, ObamaCare, many Americans, alarmed by the rapid growth of the state, started the tea party rebellion. But previous rebellions against Big Government, such as the “swing to the right” of the 1980s, failed to substantially roll back government intervention in the economy. Now, there is a new protest group, Occupy Wall Street, which seems to be rebelling at the capitalist system itself.

In this talk, Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, will offer his assessment of these two groups, based on a revolutionary view of why government intervention grows–and what must be done in order to stop it. His provocative conclusion: to successfully stop the growth of the state, and end cronyism, Americans will have to discover that laissez-faire capitalism is the only moral system–one that must be defended without guilt.

Who: Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute
When: Thursday, November 3 · 7:30pm – 9:00pm
What: A talk that will focus on understanding what capitalism is, and its nature as a moral system
Where: George Mason University, Science & Tech II, Room 7 (Ground Floor)

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Designers of the World Unite

Apparently “Obama for America is seeking poster submissions from
artists across the country illustrating why we support President
Obama’s plan to create jobs now, and why we’ll re-elect him to continue
fighting for jobs for the next four years.”

Andy Rutledge has an excellent post on Designers as Pawns and Useful Idiots
that starts with the headline: “Attention Designers: President Barack
Obama wants to hire* you! Get to work now making propaganda posters for
the U.S. government and get  paid…nothing! I know this sounds like
unpaid spec work—and it is—but this is not about you. It’s about the
important people: the people in the government!”

Other gems…

If you’re going to do the responsible thing and forego your profit in exchange for engaging in class warfare community service, I believe that it’s best to say what you mean. Yes, yes, I know that the SEIU has already approved some candidate slogans, but these stop short of being direct and factual. Let’s not mince words. Try these on for size in your propaganda posters:

  • Let’s tax our way to prosperity!
  • You won’t have to march on Wall Street when government has all the money!
  • We’re running out of other people’s money! Help us take more!
  • Redistribution! What we lose in bureaucratic waste, we make up for in volume!
  • Money: Why earn it when you can just get the government to steal it for you?
  • Union Rights! What’s ours is ours and what’s yours is ours.
  • One nation, under God government unions. With equality and service for all.

That’s better. If you’re going to say something, say what you mean.

Apparently all creative types are not robot-Lefties.

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Dollar: Peikoff Podcast on Today’s World with Yaron Brook for October 2011

This month Dr. Leonard Peikoff has a three part interview (episodes 184, 185, 186) with Dr. Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute on foreign policy, the economic situation of the world, and what can be done about it. Issues covered include: the economic crisis, government spending and the deficit and the taxes; cutting entitlements; the state of America; the state of Europe; the Euro situation and Greece; China as a new world power; is China communist?; Republican Presidential candidates; Obama and much more. Visit Dr. Peikoff’s website and look for episodes 184, 185, and 186.

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Holleran on The 2012 Republicans

Scott Holleran has a good analysis of the present state of the 2012 Republicans over at his blog.

As an advocate for secular republicanism, none of the 2012 presidential candidates are acceptable. Each candidate, including the President, who has indicated that he intends to run for re-election, fails to grasp, ignores, or explicitly opposes individual rights, capitalism and a rational foreign and domestic policy. But, unless we suffer a catastrophic attack or descend into anarchy or civil war before November of 2012, someone will be elected president of the United States. So, after watching tonight’s Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, sponsored by the generic Cable News Network (CNN), with its snickering media celebrity moderator, Anderson Cooper, I’ve decided to update my take on the 2012 Republicans. My criteria for serious candidates: who will be the least opposed to individual rights?

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Video: 9/11–A Decade Later–Lessons for the Future

In this panel discussion, titled “Upheavals in the Middle East: Assessing the Political Landscape,” Yaron Brook, President and Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute, Walid Phares, Author and Advisor to the Anti-Terrorism Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, Efraim Karsh, Director at Middle East Forum, and Daniel Pipes, President of Middle East Forum, discuss the political situation of the Middle East in light of the lessons learned since 9/11.

Definitely worth a listen.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

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Cross: Occupy Wall Street Protestors Want to Take The Capitalism Out of ‘Crony Capitalism’

Comments Don Watkins at Voices of Reason:

[…] the real motive of the protesters is not to end ‘crony capitalism’–it’s to attack real capitalism and end whatever is left of it in America.

For years, Washington has favored certain bankers by intervening in the market. But that has nothing to do with genuine capitalism. Capitalism means that the government does one thing–protects us from force and fraud–leaving us free to conduct our economic affairs as we see fit. […]

What the protesters object to is not government stacking the deck to determine winners and losers. They just want the government to pick different winners and losers. They want to take the ‘capitalism’ out of ‘crony capitalism’–not the other way around.

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Cross: The Bogus Ayn Rand “Biographer”

From “Six things you probably didn’t know about Ayn Rand” (Christian Science Monitor), on item number five “Atheism and Israel” Rand “biographer” Jennifer Burns conflates the “Jewish race” (genetics) versus the “Jewish religion” (ideas):

Rand was a life-long atheist with a secular philosophy. “She was Jewish, but she always said her religion had no meaning to her,” says Jennifer Burns, a history professor at the University of Virginia and author of the biography “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.” But in 1973, she made the first monetary donation of her life to the state of Israel. Scholars are still trying to explain it.

Not Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute — see Israel Morals Match Rand Ideology.

Returning back the to CSM article:

Some say the donation had nothing to do with religion. “Rand had a tendency to overlook certain facts when she was enthusiastic about something,” says Heller.

What “facts” Rand is “ignoring” is not stated in the article. Later in the article:

[…] Rand did see Israel as a bastion of civilization in the region, but her individualist philosophy of honoring only commitments one chooses – unlike family or religion, which one is born into – makes her contribution to Israel notable, says professor Burns in a telephone interview. “Her donation raises some interesting questions about whether her religion was more important to her than she was willing to publicly admit.”

Actually Ayn Rand did publicly “admit” them on The Phil Donahue Show:

Quoting Ayn Rand on Israel (Ford Hall Forum lecture, 1974):

Question: What should the United States do about the [1973] Arab-Israeli War?

Ayn Rand: Give all the help possible to Israel. Consider what is at stake. It is not the moral duty of any country to send men to die helping another country. The help Israel needs is technology and military weapons—and they need them desperately. Why should we help Israel? Israel is fighting not just the Arabs but Soviet Russia, who is sending the Arabs armaments. Russia is after control of the Mediterranean and oil.

Further, why are the Arabs against Israel? (This is the main reason I support Israel.) The Arabs are one of the least developed cultures. They are typically nomads. Their culture is primitive, and they resent Israel because it’s the sole beachhead of modern science and civilization on their continent. When you have civilized men fighting savages, you support the civilized men, no matter who they are. Israel is a mixed economy inclined toward socialism. But when it comes to the power of the mind—the development of industry in that wasted desert continent—versus savages who don’t want to use their minds, then if one cares about the future of civilization, don’t wait for the government to do something. Give whatever you can. This is the first time I’ve contributed to a public cause: helping Israel in an emergency.

For more on the Objectivist view on Israel see Israel Has A Moral Right To Its Life by Yaron Brook.

For a review of Burn’s book see “Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.”

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Bringing The Arts To Life

From Lisa VanDamme:

Two of the greatest pleasures, greatest revelations, of my teaching career have had to do with the arts.

The first – that reading classic literature need not be an academic, didactic, spiritless chore. Given my own education in literature (and most of yours, I wager) how could I have believed otherwise? If literary analysis is no more than a discussion of the profound symbolic value of the green light at the end of the dock, or the finger-counting composition of a sonnet or haiku, or the unearthing of incipient feminist themes in Shakespeare (yes, really) – what’s the point?

I learned the point. The point of literature is to captivate you with enthralling, carefully crafted, tension-building conflicts, distinctly drawn and timelessly memorable characters, unique and penetrating insights about life and man – so that when you open the cover you enter a universe that is brightly-lit, and when you close it you find your own life illuminated.

The students at VanDamme Academy have learned the point. Had you seen them the day I walked in to class to read the conclusion of Victor Hugo’s Ninety-Three and found them sitting at attention, watching eagerly over their shoulders, having placed a box of tissues next to my desk (and many of their own) you would know just how well.

Now you can too. How? http://www.bringingtheartstolife.com/

The second – that visiting a museum can be more that just a stroll through a gallery, looking cursorily at work after work, forming some superficial, unexamined response (“that’s pretty”), and after hours of surveying the collection, coming away drained. Yet that is how most people recall the experience.

I learned from Luc Travers, VDA Literature Teacher and author of Touching the Art (www.luctravers.com), how to be immersed in, enraptured by, and moved to tears admiring a work of visual art. He has taught me, and years of lucky VDA students, what it truly means to appreciate art: how to stand before it giving it due attention, noticing every little detail, integrating all the elements, arriving at an understanding of the “moment” depicted in the work, and connecting that moment to my own life.

There was a time that that Millais’ Hugeunot Lovers on St. Bartholomew’s Day (http://tinyurl.com/millais) adorned the school’s walls as decoration, and I admired the lovely couple, their rich attire, and the creeping green vine. Thanks to Mr. Travers’s method, now when I pass by it I am moved by a portrait of momentous decision, the aching fear of losing a loved one, and the calm reassurance of a man of profound integrity. What a change.

Now you can undergo the same transformation. How?

www.bringingtheartstolife.com

For years, Luc Travers and I have worked hard to turn our students into passionate art devourers. Now we want to count you among our converts.

The conference will include:

  • A 2 ½ hour poetry course with Miss VanDamme
  • A 2 ½ hour art course with Mr. Travers
  • A guided tour at the beautiful Getty Center
  • A banquet at the Getty restaurant, with breathtaking views of the LA basin
  • A rare opportunity to observe a VanDamme Academy art and literature class
  • And more!
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Steve Jobs and The Death of Capitalism

Scott Holleran has some poignant commentary on those who hate Steve Jobs:

The response to the death of Steve Jobs is overwhelming; as I indicated in yesterday’s post, there’s an outpouring of admiration, affection, and love for the all-American capitalist. But there’s also what Ayn Rand called the hatred of the good for being good and the contrast echoes today’s stark cultural schism. As if we needed more evidence that America is dying and desperately in need of resuscitation, the Christians known for anti-gay protests of American soldiers’ funerals announced on Twitter that its members plan to picket Steve Jobs’s funeral…

Read the rest at Scott Holleran’s Blog.

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