Atlas Shrugged Moves Into Top 10 Best Sellers on Amazon.com at #8

 

Whatever one thinks of the Atlas Shrugged Movie, Part I, one positive of its release is it’s effect on book sales of Ayn Rand’s epic novel.

As of April 16th, Atlas Shrugged ranks #8 out of ALL books sold on Amazon.com. (Atlas is also #1,#2 and#3 in classics!)

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Objectivist Koran Reading Group

From Amy Peikoff at Don’t Let It Go:

Inspired by the tremendous bravery of Ann Barnhardt:

I decided to lead a Koran reading group. Is Islam a religion of peace that’s been hijacked by a small minority of extremists, as we’ve been told repeatedly by both liberals and conservatives? Or is there something essential to Islamic doctrine that inspires and purports to legitimize acts of terrorism, as we’ve heard from people like Wafa Sultan, Robert Spencer, and Geert Wilders? Find out for yourself. Start by reading the Koran.

To sign up and/or learn more see Amy’s full post.

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“Atlas Shrugged and Its Ideas,” an Online Exhibit

Atlas Shrugged and its Ideas is an online manuscript exhibit produced by the Ayn Rand Archives, a special collection of the Ayn Rand Institute. This exhibit features 15 high-resolution reproductions of handwritten pages selected from the manuscript of Rand’s controversial novel. The accompanying text panels highlight ideas dramatized in the novel, which are of ongoing relevance to our day.” — Exhibit Curator: Jeff Britting, archivist, Ayn Rand Archives

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April 15 Tax Day Facts

Writes Dr. Locke in On Tax Day Thank the Rich and Support Lifting the Tax Yoke off Them:

On Tax Day consider some basic facts. The wealthiest 1% of the
taxpayers pay 34% of all federal income taxes. The top 50% pay 96% of
the total bill. This means that the least wealthy 50% pay almost
nothing. In short, the income tax system soaks the rich. In the name of
justice, the President, Congress and the American public should be
demanding a tax cut that lowers the tax bill of the wealthy.

But the opponents of tax cuts do not want justice. They want
redistribution of wealth. They want to confiscate the income earned by
the wealthy and give it to people who have not earned it. They want the
rich–which includes the most productive people in society–to be the
servants of the poor.

Read the rest…

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Atlas Shrugged Reenters the Top 20 Amazon Best-Seller List; Ranks Number 2 in Classics

Whatever one thinks of the Atlas Shrugged Movie, Part I, one positive of its release is it’s effect on book sales of Ayn Rand’s epic novel.

As of April 15th, Atlas Shrugged ranks #17 out of ALL books sold on Amazon.com.

UPDATE:  As of April 16th, Atlas Shrugged ranks #14 out of ALL books sold on Amazon.com. (Atlas is also #1,#2 and#3 in classics!)

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WSJ: Remembering the Real Ayn Rand

Donald Luskin pens a tribute to Ayn Rand in the WSJ opinion column:

But it’s a misreading of “Atlas” to claim that it is simply an
antigovernment tract or an uncritical celebration of big business. In
fact, the real villain of “Atlas” is a big businessman, railroad CEO
James Taggart, whose crony capitalism does more to bring down the
economy than all of Mouch’s regulations. With Taggart, Rand was
anticipating figures like Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide
Financial, the subprime lender that proved to be a toxic mortgage
factory. Like Taggart, Mr. Mozilo engineered government subsidies for
his company in the name of noble-sounding virtues like home ownership
for all.

Still, most of the heroes of “Atlas” are big businessmen who are
unfairly persecuted by government. The struggle of Rand’s fictional
steel magnate Henry Rearden against confiscatory regulation is a perfect
anticipation of the antitrust travails of Microsoft CEO Bill Gates. In
both cases, the government’s depredations were inspired by
behind-the-scenes maneuverings of business rivals. And now Microsoft is
maneuvering against Google with an antitrust complaint in the European
Union.

[…]

Rand was not a conservative or a liberal: She was an individualist.
“Atlas Shrugged” is, at its heart, a plea for the most fundamental
American ideal—the inalienable rights of the individual. On tax day,
with our tax dollars going to big government and subsidies for big
business, let’s remember it’s the celebration of individualism that has
kept “Atlas Shrugged” among the best-selling novels of all time.

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Neoconservatism Sells Fascism as Americanism

C. Bradley Thompson unmasks Neoconservatism over at Cato Unbound:

The culmination of the neoconservatives’ political philosophy is their call for a “national-greatness conservatism.” Following Irving Kristol and Leo Strauss, David Brooks, William Kristol, and a new generation of neocons proclaimed the “nation” as the fundamental unit of political reality, “nationalism” as the rallying cry for a new public morality, and the “national interest” as the moral standard of political decisionmaking. This new nationalism, according to Brooks, “marries community goodness with national greatness.”

The moral purpose of national-greatness conservatism, according to David Brooks, is to energize the American spirit; to fire the imagination with something majestic; to advance a “unifying American creed”; and to inspire Americans to look beyond their narrow self-interest to some larger national mission—to some mystically Hegelian “national destiny.” The new American citizen must be animated by “nationalist virtues” such as “duty, loyalty, honesty, discretion, and self-sacrifice.” The neocons’ basic moral-political principle is clear and simple: the subordination and sacrifice of the individual to the nation-state.

Politically, Brooks’s new nationalism would use the federal government to pursue great “nationalistic public projects” and to build grand monuments in order to unify the nation spiritually and to prevent America’s “slide” into what he calls “nihilistic mediocrity.” It is important that the American people conform, swear allegiance to, and obey some grand central purpose defined for them by the federal government. The ideal American man, he argues, should negate and forgo his individual values and interests and merge his “self” into some mystical union with the collective soul. This is precisely why Brooks has praised the virtues of Chinese collectivism over those of American-style individualism.

In the end, the neocons want to “remoralize” America by creating a new patriotic civil religion around the idea of “Americanism”—an Americanism that will essentially redefine the “American grain.” The neoconservative vision of a good America is one in which ordinary people work hard, read the Bible, go to church, recite the Pledge of Allegiance, practice homespun virtues, sacrifice themselves to the “common good,” obey the commands of the government, fight wars, and die for the state.

[…]

Neoconservatism is a systematic political philosophy. The neocons’ talk about moderation and prudence is really only meant to disarm intellectually their competitors in the conservative-libertarian movement who want to defend the Founders’ principles of individual rights and limited government. The neocons preach moderation as a virtue so that ordinary people will accept compromise as inevitable. But a political philosophy that advocates “moderation” and “prudence” as its defining principles is either dishonestly hiding its true principles, or it represents a transition stage on the way to some more authoritarian regime—or both.

My deepest fear is that the neoconservatives are preparing this nation philosophically for a soft, American-style fascism—a fascism purged of its ugliest features and gussied up for an American audience. This is a serious charge and not one I take lightly. The neocons are not fascists, but I do argue they share some common features with fascism. Consider the evidence… [Neoconservatism Unmasked]

Read the full article at Neoconservatism Unmasked.

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Exposition vs. Drama: Comparing a Scene from the Atlas Shrugged Movie to the Novel

From Ron Pisaturo:

This essay compares one scene, viewable on the Internet, of the movie Atlas Shrugged Part 1 to the corresponding scene in the source novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.   In this essay, my secondary purpose is to judge this small part of the movie; my primary purpose is to highlight—through contrast—the Romantic style of Ayn Rand’s novel. I analyze this one scene instead of the whole artworks so that you, dear reader, can study for yourself the evidence for my conclusion: The scene in the movie is Naturalistic exposition; the scene in the novel is Romantic drama.

Find the full essay at Ron’s blog.

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Power Hour Episode 3: Earth Day with Onkar Ghate

From Alex Epstein over at VOICES for REASON:

On Earth Day, we’re told that we should take stock of our impact on our environment. The assumption, of course, is that it’s bad—that we are, to use the common phrase “destroying the planet.”

On this month’s Power Hour—my podcast/Internet-radio-show on energy issues—I bring in philosopher Dr. Onkar Ghate, a senior colleague of mine at the Ayn Rand Center, to question this assumption, and many other assumptions about the relationship between human beings in our environment. Dr. Ghate discusses everything from the political, philosophical, and religious origins of modern environmentalists (the leaders of Earth Day) to the Japanese nuclear situation to how industrialization has positively impacted our environment to the danger of “moderate” environmentalist policies.

I’ve read a lot about environmentalism over the years, and I sincerely believe that Dr. Ghate’s explanations in this podcast are some of the best, clearest explanations of environmental issues available anywhere. Make sure you listen to this interview at least once before Earth Day.

For more information on Power Hour, as well as other commentary on energy issues subscribe to my newsletter “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Energy” by sending an email.

Download “Power Hour with Alex Epstein,” Episode 3: Onkar Ghate

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Richard Salsman at Forbes Columns

Richard Salsman has been busy as a bee writing illuminating editorials at Forbes, all worth reading…

U.S. Arms Its Islamic Enemies – Again,” March 31, 2011
The enemy of America’s enemy is not her friend, but her enemy, contrary to what liberals and conservatives believe

Libya Exposes Obama as Our Latest Neo-con President” March 23, 2011
He continues the obscene tradition of Democrat presidents – and Neo-Conservatives – who sacrifice American interests

Obama’s ‘Stimulus’ Precluded a Robust Recovery,” March 15, 2011
Stock prices bottomed two years ago, but Washignton’s so-called “stimulus” spending has precluded a more robust recovery

Bravo For George Buckley, A Righteous CEO,” March 2, 2011
CEOs are usually mealy-mouthed on public policy, but 3M’s CEO is right to name Obama as the ‘Robin Hood’ he really is

Ochlocracy and the Menace of Government Unions,” February 23, 2011
The right to “collective bargaining” should not include coercion against payers – as it has since 1935

Another Illiberal Democracy – in Egypt,” February 10, 2011
Democracy is no guarantor of genuine liberties or rights; indeed, far more often it brutally tramples them

The Actual State of the Union,” February 1, 2011
Presidents no longer bother to give objective assessments of America’s current and future state

Krugman, ‘Toxic Rhetoric’ and the Smear-Mongers,” January 20, 2011
Political programs – but not political “rhetoric” – can inflict violence; let’s start recognize the difference between the two.

New Congress, Same Old Leviathan,” January 11, 2011
Neither GOP control of Congress nor the arrival of 50 or so Tea-publicans will reduce federal spending in 2011-2012  

A Golden Decade of Government Failure,” January 4, 2011
The best investment asset of the past decade was gold – because government policies were a complete failure

A Well-Earned Capitalist Christmas,” December 23, 2010
The real meaning of Christmas – and all that we enjoy about it – is thoroughly pagan and capitalistic

The Virtue of Lower Tax Rates on the Rich,” December 15, 2010
The rich have a right to their earnings and deserve huge tax-rate cuts; they have no duty to create jobs or reduce deficits.

Where Have All the Capitalists Gone?” December 5, 2010
Almost everyone acknowledges that capitalism delivers the goods – but most people still claim it’s immoral

For a list of Richard Salsman’s past Capitalism Magazine columns go here.

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Salsman: The U.S. Arms Its Islamic Enemies–Again

Richard Salsman holds nothing back in his gripping editorial The U.S. Arms Its Islamic Enemies–Again over at Forbes:

Evidence grows with each passing week that in Libya the U.S. government and its allies are providing air cover and arms directly to its avowed enemies–including thugs from al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood, and Taliban–those who’ve devoted the past decade to slaughtering American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Worse, top U.S. and U.K. officials now acknowledge this and condone it.

[…] Who exactly are the “rebels” and why are the U.S. and its allies so eager to help them? In Iran in early 1979 the Carter administration couldn’t care less about the philosophy or aims of the Ayatollah Khomeini, but only that the pro-Western Shah of Iran be deposed; by March a “referendum” established an Islamic republic; by April scores of prominent Iranians were executed; by December the ruling mullahs declared Khomeini to be absolute ruler for life. Ever since, Iran has been a major sponsor of world-wide terrorism.

In Afghanistan in the 1980s the Reagan administration and a CIA (then led by today’s Pentagon chief, Robert Gates) helped finance and train al Qaeda, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden in their fight against the invading Soviets (who withdrew in 1989). The U.S. also backed Iraq in its eight-year war against Iran, which failed, yet emboldened Saddam Hussein, and the U.S. fought him later. In the 1990s Afghanistan became a haven for terrorism, which led to the devastation of Sept. 11. In the decade since the U.S. has spent thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars ensuring “regime change” in Iraq and Afghanistan, which now have Islamic constitutions and are far closer in theocracy and practice to Iran than ever before.

[…] Rebellion is applauded for its own sake. Western cheerleaders claim anything is better than the status quo. Hope! Change! Democracy! The voice of the People is the voice of … Allah! The grim facts become clearer after the dust settles and new leaders and rules take irreversible hold–more fundamentally Islamic than before, closer to Iran than before, more anti-American than before–with the help of the U.S. government.

Thanks solely to the U.S., Iraq’s constitution ensures a “democratic, federal, representative, parliamentary republic” where “Islam is the state religion and a basic foundation for the country’s laws” and “no law may contradict the established provisions of Islam.” Is this why Americans must go to war in the Middle East? The official name of Afghanistan, where the U.S. has fought for a decade, like the failed Soviets, and Obama has boosted U.S. troops to 130,000, is” “the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.” Is this why Americans must fight in the region? [The U.S. Arms Its Islamic Enemies–Again – Richard M. Salsman – The Capitalist – Forbes]

Read the rest here.

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