Charles C. Johnson has penned an excellent piece on Ayn Rand’s enduring influence, “Novelist Ayn Rand’s Romantic Idealism Explains Her Enduring Success – Investors.com“, which is best summarized by this sentence:
“Ayn Rand is one of the best-selling novelists of modern America. Her success owes much to her vision of human excellence.”
Definitely worth a read.
by Brian Phillips
We regularly hear about the corrupting influence of money on the political process. Politicians of both parties eagerly endorse, and pass, campaign finance “reform” to limit donations, and then are equally eager to find ways to skirt the law to finance their next election. But this doesn’t stop statists of every variety for calling for more “reforms.”
As an example, The Houston Chronicle, in response to the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case, editorialized:
With this action, the court has effectively undermined the influence of individuals and parties on electoral outcomes, while vastly increasing the clout of business behemoths and their lobbyist representatives to influence and intimidate legislators to support their agendas. If the lawmaker doesn’t play ball, he or she can be threatened with an unregulated financial blitz come election time.
This is a classic case of dropping context. The Chronicle conveniently ignores numerous facts as it puts forth another call for more government regulation.
Contrary to the paper’s implication, “business behemoths” are nothing more than a collection of individuals. Individuals do not lose their rights when they join together to pursue a common goal. They retain their right to act according to their own judgment without interference from others, so long as they respect the mutual rights of others. This includes donating to political candidates.
The paper fears that this will lead to undue corporate influence over elections, that businesses and their lobbyists will exert pressure on politicians to support legislation and policies favorable to those businesses. This is likely true, but it too drops context.
The paper refuses to question the premise that underlies lobbying. It fails to question a political process that allows–and even encourages–pressure group politics. Instead, the paper argues that some groups–businesses–should not have an “unfair” advantage.
Lobbyists are not a creation of the free market, but of a mixed economy–an economy with a mixture of freedoms and controls. When government has the power to regulate economic activity, individuals will seek to influence that power. When government has the power to arbitrarily dictate the actions of individuals, individuals will seek legislation that is favorable to them.
The logical result is pressure group politics, in which individuals band together to exert influence on legislators. Whether the group is a union, a business, or a special interest, it will claim that the “common good” or “public interest” requires legislation that provides it with special benefits at the expense of those who are not a member of that group. This is true whether the legislation prescribes or proscribes, whether the legislation confers tax benefits, or creates entitlement programs, or attempts to stimulate some industry.
When faced with the alternative of legislation that is beneficial or harmful to their interests, most individuals would prefer legislation that is beneficial. It is morally proper to pursue one’s interests, so long as one respects the mutual rights of others to do the same.
Pressure group politics makes this virtually impossible. One never knows when some government edict will dictate or prohibit certain actions. One never knows when his plans and interests will be sacrificed to the “general welfare”. The motto of pressure group politics is: Eat or be eaten; sacrifice oneself, or sacrifice others.
The Chronicle does not question the need for sacrifice. It only wants to quibble over the victims. Despite what the Chronicle believes, the real issue is not who should influence politicians, but the purpose of government.
Government’s only legitimate purpose is the protection of individual rights–the rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. When government is restricted to this purpose, the motivation to influence politicians does not exist. When government can no longer dispense political favors, lobbyists will disappear.
Dr. Binswanger makes the case for open immigration in Amnesty For Illegal Immigrants Is Not Enough, They Deserve An Apology – Forbes:
Freedom of travel is a right. It is a right possessed by every human being, not just by Americans. […]
Why is this? It is because land does not belong to the government, or majority, but that:
Land belongs to individual, private owners, and only they have the right to invite or bar others from coming on their land. The government has no more right to lock people out than to lock them in. The same principle damning the Berlin Wall damns walls erected to keep people out.
[…] what are we to think of those “illegals” who have disobeyed these laws? Everyone seems to think that entering the country without the government’s permission is a serious offense, that the illegals should at the least be “sent to the back of the line,” that their law-breaking forever stains them with dishonor. But the law is wrong. […]
The illegals came here because they value America. They broke an unjust law in order to live a free, better, richer life. In the vast majority of cases, obeying anti-immigration laws would mean never getting to live here. It’s a life sentence.
Breaking bad laws to build a better life not is dishonorable; it is admirable, provided breaking the law involves no use of force. Coming here in defiance of unjust laws is a peaceful act; it is just the avoidance of the force our government would initiate against them. It is certainly wrong to wield private force; it is wrong to take the law into one’s own hand. But these are not involved in illegal immigration.
Read the rest.
Woman donates kidney to husband just before Valentine’s Day – TODAY Celebrates
“(I’m) giving as much love as I have,” DeGeso-Jones told Orlando’s News 13 before the surgery. “It’s completely from my heart. James has said things to me about it being a huge sacrifice, and I said, ‘It’s not; it’s an investment. This is our life. It’s not just your life that I’m giving, too. There can’t be an ‘us’ without it.’ So, that’s what it’s about.”
“In an effort to publicize [Atlas Shrugged], Ayn agreed to an interview with Mike Wallace, on his New York television show, ‘Night Beat,’ the hard-driving program that began his rise to prominence. They liked each other immediately, and were to visit together on a number of occasions over the following years. ‘She was perfect grist for the mill of Night Beat,’ Mike later said. ‘She voiced provocative opinions, she was anti-establishment and utterly unexpected, with a kind of close reasoning and a clarity that one had to admire; it was a remarkable interview. And the calls and letters that poured in about it shook the rafters.”
Repeal ObamaCare is a grass-roots campaign that started on Facebook on the eve of the worst health care law in U.S. history.
On March 23, 2013 find an opportunity to state your opposition to Obamacare.
Our next event I Oppose ObamaCare 3, is scheduled for March 23, 2013, the third anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—widely known as ObamaCare—recently upheld by the Supreme Court. We aim to make ourselves heard with clear, concise and principled opposition to ObamaCare.
Here’s how it works.
This coming Saturday, March 23, simply state in a few words or sentences why you oppose the law. Or say “I Oppose ObamaCare.”
You can do it on our Facebook group/event wall, in a letter to the editor or op-ed, around the water cooler at work, or at the grocery store, drugstore, doctor’s office, Starbucks, family gathering or elsewhere, such as on Twitter and other media. Send an e-mail to your friends, your doctor, your insurance company, your pharmacist. Write a letter to the editor, or an op-ed for the local newspaper, go on cable TV public access, talk radio, a podcast, or just talk to your friends, family and neighbors. Find an opportunity to speak up and say “I Oppose ObamaCare.”
It only takes a minute to make a difference.
We often hear people ask what one can do. Well, here’s what one can do. It’s not difficult. It’s not time-consuming. It’s not even an especially intellectual exercise, though it can be if you make it so. It’s a declaration – I Oppose ObamaCare – of opposition, renunciation and independence, on the date that marks the law’s creation. And it might feel good to express your thoughts, too. So, mark the calendar for – March 23, 2013 – when we rise up and say it again, only louder, with more passion and in greater numbers. And again and again until this law is repealed. Step up and do it. For your own sake.
Share your experience with us.
Please like our Facebook group page, follow us on Twitter (@OpposeObamaCare), and use the hashtag #IOpposeObamaCare. Our Facebook group has fine moderators, so please feel free to invite and encourage your friends, family and others to join the crusade against this law, which may influence the public, politicians and others.
Writes Ian Birrell over at The Independent:
Above all, we see it with talk – and not just on the left – of capitalism being in crisis and the need for fierce new regulation.
This is wrong. It is capitalism, after all, that is spreading prosperity and well-being around the world – and with such stunning effect across Asia, Latin America and Africa. I am always struck by anti-capitalist rants I see hammered out on the latest tablet. The problem is crony capitalism.
“Crony capitalism” is a euphemism for an especially perverse form of government intervention — an unholy marriage between government elites and businessmen with political pull that characterizes a “mixed economy.” Yet it is Capitalism that gets the blame.
It is this form of it – sneered at in developing nations – which has taken a grip in the West as the power of corporate giants has grown. As Freeland says, super-elites are often the product of a strong market economy, but as their influence grows, they can stifle it.
But they can only do so with the government interventions such as “protectionism” and “Too Big To Fail” laws.
Capitalism remains a uniquely vigorous force. Just look at the pace of change in the unfettered technology industry. But ask why those banks that wrecked the economy – and, in the case of the retail ones, are often loathed by their customers – have not been replaced by more dynamic entrants instead of being salvaged by the state. […]
What we need to do is unleash capitalism in this country rather than restrain it. Politicians should focus not on headline-grabbing stunts like the mansion tax but on ensuring that the big players in complacent industries such as banking, energy, retailing and, yes, outsourcing, are less entrenched, less protected by their friends in Whitehall. [i.e., government] Transparency, technology and consumer anger can drive change.
To do this, we do not need more regulation, we need better regulation – […]. Above all, we need politicians who have learned the key lesson of recent years: that there is a huge difference between being pro-business and pro-market. [“From Banks to the ‘big six’ energy companies – more capitalism, not less of it, is the answer – Comment – Voices – The Independent”]
Or rather, to be pro-market is to treat all businesses equally, under a rule of law guided by the principle of individual rights, as opposed to granting favors to some while punishing others in the name of an ever fluid “public interest.”
From Center for Industrial Progress:
On Sunday, February 17, the Sierra Club will lead what is being billed as the world’s largest ever “climate rally.” In fact, it’s a blackout rally, as the Sierra Club opposes all practical energy sources–fossil fuels, nuclear, and hydro. Join Center for Industrial Progress (CIP) and Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) in our Light Brigade counter-protest. This is an educational counter-protest where energy philosopher Alex Epstein, physicist Eric Dennis, climate journalist Marc Morano, and other experts will be engaging the protesters on camera, while other Light Brigade participants hand out crucial information on fossil fuels and our environment that the mainstream media never mentions.
Read the rest…