No Time To Go Galt

Writes Philosopher Onkar Ghate over at CSM:

How, people wondered, could Rand have foreseen all this? Was she a prophet? No, she answered. [Ayn Rand] had simply identified the basic cause of why the country was veering from crisis to new crisis.

Was the solution to “go Galt” and quit society? No, Rand again answered. The solution was simultaneously much easier and much harder. “So long as we have not yet reached the state of censorship of ideas,” she once said, “one does not have to leave a society in the way the characters did in Atlas Shrugged…. But you know what one does have to do? One has to break relationships with the culture…. [D]iscard all the ideas – the entire cultural philosophy which is dominant today.”

Now, if you’ve only seen the movie, the fact that “Atlas Shrugged” is not a political novel might surprise you. But the book’s point is that our plight is caused not by corrupt politicians (who are only a symptom) orsome alleged flaw in human nature. It’s caused by the philosophic ideas and moral ideals most of us embrace. [‘Atlas Shrugged': With America on the brink, should you ‘go Galt’ and strike?]

For more on Rand’s philosophy read Leonard Peikoff’s Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand.

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Why I Won’t Vote For Ron Paul

Writes Amy Peikoff over on Why I Won’t Vote For Ron Paul:

Today the top story on Ron Paul’s web site says that, according to a recent poll, Ron Paul would, if elections were held today, have a realistic chance of beating Barack Obama. […]

The reason that he has so much appeal as a candidate for 2012 is, of course, because of the Tea Party. In fact, I believe someone during the first GOP/conservative/whatever debate that was conducted in South Carolina last week actually called him the “godfather” of the Tea Party. Ron Paul’s been around for years and there was no Tea Party until recently, so just using Mill’s Methods you can see that isn’t true. It was Rick Santelli who started the Tea Party movement and he credits Ayn Rand for inspiring him. “I’m an Ayn Rander,” he said. (He mentions Ayn Rand in this video, for example.)

Nonetheless, Ron Paul seems to be the candidate who has the longest track record with respect to supporting the drastic spending cuts and radical reforms in monetary policies that Tea Party members would like to see. For instance he has supported “open competition” in currency and the gold standard for years. He advocates abolishing the Income Tax and the IRS, and would instead finance the federal government via excise taxes and non-protectionist tariffs (which would be possible to do only because he also advocates massive cuts in spending). He has criticized race-based quotas and, while he at first seemed to be duped (like virtually everyone else) about the dangers of global warming, he has since described it as a “hoax.” Music to our ears, right?

In fact, if all one considered were the statements he made during the recent South Carolina debate, Paul sounded like the best candidate on the stage, on nearly every issue he discussed. But some important issues weren’t discussed, and…

Read thefull article.

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Remembering Elian Gonzalez

Remembering Elian Gonzalez | Scott Holleran | 22 April 2003
I met Elian Gonzalez during a visit to the Miami house which had become the flashpoint for a profound philosophical conflict–days before his pre-dawn seizure on Saturday, April 22, 2000.

A Sin to Deport Elián | Leonard Peikoff | 20 January 2000
In the name not of Cuban nationalism, but of Americanism in its original and deepest philosophical meaning, Elián Gonzalez must be allowed to remain here. Let this poor boy have a chance to live a human life. If “compassion” is one of our politicians’ chief values, as they keep telling us, can’t they show him any of it?

The Rights of Elián Gonzales |Peter Schwartz | 14 January 2000
Is communism physically harmful to human life? That should be the fundamental question in the Elián Gonzalez case.

The Life of Six Year Old Elián Gonzales is in Bill Clinton’s hands |Mark Da Cunha | 13 January 2000
The fundamental issue is not about “Florida’s large and politically powerful anti-Castro Cuban community” versus the “bond between parent and child” as one commentator insinuated (USA Today 7 Jan 2000). There is something far more important than the “parental bond” between Elián’s father and “the dignity of the Cuban people” as Elián’s father referred to his son in a Castro sponsored rally (observe that even Elián’s father admits that his son is first and foremost a political tool). That something is Elián’s inalienable right to his own life — in Cuba that inalienable right does not legally exist.

Speech on Elián Gonzalez in Washington, D.C., Part 1 | Edwin Locke | 5 May 2000
On July 4, 1776 America’s Founding Fathers identified the fundamental moral principle on which our country was based. This principle was that every individual possessed the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Founding Fathers also identified the proper role of government; it was to protect individual rights — specifically, to protect individuals from the initiation of force by other people, including the government itself.

Speech on Elián Gonzalez in Washington, D.C., Part 2 |Edwin Locke | 8 May 2000
The difference between Cuba and America is not just a matter of lifestyle, as some have claimed. It is not a difference like that between Republicans and Democrats.

Speech on Elián Gonzalez in Washington, D.C., Part 3 |Edwin Locke | 10 May 2000
Let us address a deeper question: why do Clinton and Reno want Elián back in Cuba?

Why Was Elian Gonzalez Less Worthy Than Giselle Cordova? | Scott Holleran | 12 July 2001
Giselle’s father, Dr. Leonel Cordova, defected to the United States last year after escaping from a Cuban medical mission in Africa. Tragically, on June 17, 4-year-old Giselle’s mother was killed in a motorcycle crash in Cuba. Like Elian Gonzalez, Giselle’s father demanded that his child be sent to live with him. But, unlike Elian in America, Giselle was at the mercy of a dictator. Castro refused to release the girl.

A Firsthand Account Of Child Abuse, Castro Style | Armando Valladares | 16 May 2000
I was in solitary confinement in Fidel Castro’s tropical gulag — where I spent 22 years for refusing to pledge allegiance to the Communist regime — when I heard a child’s voice whimpering. “Get me out of here! Get me out of here! I want to see my mommy!” I thought my senses were failing me. I could not believe that they had imprisoned a child in those dungeons.

Elián: Supreme Court Upholds Slavery Over Freedom | Chris Wolski | 1 July 2000
Wednesday’s decision by Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, refusing to hear an appeal that would have kept Elián Gonzalez in the United States, should have every American hanging their head in shame.

Elian Gonzalez: The Day America Lost its Soul | Nicholas Provenzo | 24 April 2005
Life under a communist dictatorship is abuse and in the Elian Gonzalez case, our government erred in falling to acknowledge it.

“Life” in Cuba for Elián | Jose Alvarino | 3 June 2000
I’d like to share some thoughts regarding life in Communist Cuba, important to know and understand prior to formulating an opinion on the Elián Gonzalez case, or life in the Island.

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“Obama, Osama and Operation Infinite Sacrifice”

Writes Richard Salsman over at Forbes:

President Obama deserves a modicum of praise for finally allowing a
team of U.S. Navy Seals to kill mass-murderer and al Qaeda kingpin Osama
bin Laden last weekend, but only disdain for delaying the operation for
so long, and harsh condemnation for extolling “extraordinary sacrifice”
at his Ground Zero visit. Like his feckless predecessor, Mr. Obama
deserves the lowest grade for continuing to appease political-militant
Islam, as evidenced by the tender care and deep respect he bestowed on
bin Laden during the burial at sea
.

“Shameful” is the only word fit to describe a U.S. foreign policy
that did nothing to bin Laden after 2005, when he first occupied his
conspicuous compound in Abbottabad, just 30 miles from Pakistan’s
capitol and close to the Pakistan Military Academy, which counted among
its notable visitors U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral
Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Pakistan’s foreign
minister Salman Bashir told the BBC recently that in mid-2009 his
nation’s intelligence services (ISI) told the Obama regime about bin
Laden’s not-so-secret hide-out
.

The CIA and Pentagon gave Mr. Obama a specific raid plan last August,
yet he dithered and remained reluctant to take military action. In time
it’ll likely be revealed that Mr. Obama gave the go-ahead only because
he feared leaks would reveal him to be weak and appeasing
.

Of course, Barack Obama isn’t the only U.S. president who hoped to
give bin Laden a pass. 

Read the rest.

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Ayn Rand Institute President Explains How Alan Greenspan Betrayed Ayn Rand


From the video:

“Ayn Rand would have never advocated for the kind of policies Alan Greenspan instituted,” Brook says, citing the Fed’s 1% fed funds rate in the years after 9/11 as exhibit A: “By holding interest rates for two-and-a-half years below the rate of inflation, [Greenspan] encouraged the debt and credit boom we’re suffering the consequence of” today — and for the foreseeable future.

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Tax Cut 101: Getting Less Loot is Not the Same Thing as Being Robbed

Another brilliant op-ed over at Forbes by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins of the Ayn Rand Institute:

[…] The truth is that Ryan actually proposes increasing government spending in the coming years–just at a lower rate than current projections. So why are Ryan’s critics so up in arms?

Because Ryan’s plan dares to touch (albeit, merely to scratch) the
untouchable entitlement state. Ryan’s plan would, among other things,
trim and reorganize Medicare and Medicaid and reduce federal support for
education. To the plan’s critics, this amounts to “reverse-Robin Hood
redistribution,” as former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Blinder put it.
“[A]bout two-thirds of Mr. Ryan’s so-called courageous budget cuts
would come from programs serving low- and moderate-income Americans,
while the rich would gain from copious tax cuts.”

The “reverse-Robin Hood” line suggests that Ryan’s plan robs from
“the poor” and gives to “the rich.” But cutting entitlements is not
robbery–and cutting taxes isn’t a gift.

Entitlements are essentially government handouts: the government
takes money from some people in order to finance other people’s
retirements, doctor’s visits, and whatever else the government deems
worthy. They are unearned benefits. It is shameful that in a
civilized society we have to say this, but getting less loot is not the
same thing as being robbed.

A tax cut, meanwhile, is not a government handout–it is a reduction
of how much of your income the government takes
. Whether you’re a
millionaire, billionaire, or an ambitious stock boy, a tax cut means you
get to keep more of what you earn.

In this context, consider president Obama’s recent budget speech,
in which he criticized Ryan’s plan for implying that “even though we
can’t afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow
afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy.” When
Obama speaks of what “we” can afford, he is obviously smuggling in the
premise that all wealth rightfully belongs to society and that the
government–as society’s representative–will dole out that wealth as it
sees fit
.

We reject that premise. On our view, you earned your wealth and it
belongs to you, and no politician has any business talking about how
much of your money he can “afford” to let you keep
.

Read the rest of It’s Time To Kill The ‘Robin Hood’ Myth.

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Philanthropist Yuri Vanetik Donates . . . Books?

IRVINE, Calif–Orange County business leader and philanthropist Yuri Vanetik’s contribution to the Ayn Rand Institute’s (ARI) Free Books to Teachers Program is estimated to provide more than 2,000 Ayn Rand novels to high schools in Orange County, California. In the last nine years, ARI, a nonprofit educational organization, has distributed more than 1.9 million copies of “Atlas Shrugged,” “The Fountainhead,” “Anthem” and “We the Living” to schools across the country.

Ayn Rand’s novels have been popular among English and literature teachers for decades. “They portray events of profound, timeless significance, and are inspiring and exciting stories with heroic characters fighting for their ideals,” says Yaron Brook, president of the Ayn Rand Institute. “They challenge readers to decide not just what will happen to particular characters, but what their own lives and the world should be like.”

“I know firsthand the importance of reading Ayn Rand,” says Vanetik. “Learning about her ideas on collectivism and individualism will challenge students to think about the impact that government, business and they themselves have on our future, and I am proud to be a part of this program.”

Funding for the Free Books to Teachers program comes from private donations. Yuri Vanetik is a private investor and philanthropist. He is the principal of Vanetik International, LLC, a consulting firm, and a National Board Member of Gen Next, an organization of business leaders dedicated to learning about, and becoming engaged with, the most pressing challenges facing future generations.

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Pigman Takes Out Osama Bin Laden

Here ‘s a scene from Bosch Fawstin’s graphic novel where the hero takes out Osama Bin Laden. Enjoy…

Also, in case you have not read it check out his interview over at Capitalism Magazine: Art Against Jihad: An Interview with Bosch Fawstin Creator of The Infidel and Pigman

Order a copy of issue#1 of the Infidel at Bosch’s website.

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This Atlas Isn’t Shrugging: John Allison vs. The Anti-Capitalists in Academia

Reports Bloomberg in Schools Find Ayn Rand Can’t Be Shrugged as Donors Build Courses on John Allison, former chairman of bank holding company BB&T Corp’s strategy to spread Ayn Rand’s laissez-faire principles on U.S. campuses:

Allison, working through the BB&T Charitable Foundation, gives schools grants of as much as $2 million if they agree to create a course on capitalism and make Rand’s masterwork, “Atlas Shrugged,” required reading.

Allison’s crusade to counter what he considers the anti- capitalist orthodoxy at universities has produced results — and controversy. Some 60 schools, including at least four campuses of the University of North Carolina, began teaching Rand’s book after getting the foundation money. Faculty at several schools that have accepted Allison’s terms are protesting, saying donors shouldn’t have the power to set the curriculum to pursue their political agendas, Bloomberg Markets magazine reports in its June issue.

So donors should give their money “with no strings attached” to causes that support some professor’s own political agenda that the donor opposes?

“We have sought out professors who wanted to teach these ideas,” says Allison, now a professor at Wake Forest University’s business school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “It’s really a battle of ideas. If the ideas that made America great aren’t heard, then their influence will be destroyed.”

What about the possibility of giving money to professors who share your agenda?

Allison, who promotes Ayn Rand’s writings, will likely
generate more conflicts on campuses as he seeks to expand his
foundation’s gifts to 200 schools nationwide. […] As private donors gain more power on campuses, it’s just
the kind of shift away from state control that Rand would
applaud.

That some anti-reason, anti-capitalist professors despise Ayn Rand and have banned her from their curriculum (whether out of malice or in many cases pure ignorance) only reveals their academic bias. Ayn Rand’s ideas are part of the conversation over the battle of ideas.

Thanks to John Allison students who are interested will now be able to study Rand in an academic setting and come to their own conclusions.

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Osama Bin Laden is Dead, and We Are Still Losing the War

From Ron Pisaturo:

The evil monster Osama Bin Laden has been killed (shot in the head) by American military heroes. Good. But centuries from now, if civilization survives or is reborn, historians will write of this event as follows:

Even in announcing America’s killing of the leader of the particular terrorist organization that had committed the September 11 massacre, America’s President Obama reiterated and emphasized two notions that would lead to countless more American deaths. The first notion was “that the United States is not—and never will be—at war with Islam. (I’ve made clear, just as President Bush did shortly after 9/11, that our war is not against Islam.)” The second notion, derivative of the first—but one that even the ineffectual apologist for Islam, President G. W. Bush did not hold—was that the fundamental enemy of America was al Qaeda.

See the full post at Ron’s blog.

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Radical Revolutionary: Ayn Rand Forces One To Look at The World Anew

Over at Fox News, philosopher Onkar Ghate points to the reason behind the success of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged:

If you’ve seen the new “Atlas Shrugged” movie but haven’t yet read the book, you may be wondering what the novel itself has to offer.

For most people, reading “Atlas Shrugged” is an unforgettable experience. The story is gripping, involving numerous mysteries and unexpected but logical plot twists. The characters are unique–what other book features a philosopher turned pirate? And the writing is that rarest of combinations: at once clear and deep. But for many readers, “Atlas” is even more: it’s life-changing.

How can a novel exert this powerful an effect? Because in its pages Ayn Rand forces you to look at the world anew. [The Radicalness of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”]

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Eight Effective Writing Approaches in Atlas Shrugged That The Movie Adaption Missed

Over at the The Story Department an anonymous writer “Mystery Man” elucidates on “8 Effective Writing Approaches in Atlas Shrugged”:

In any case, I could not put the book down. I flew through the thousand pages without a sweat. It’s amazing to me how on the one hand, some 120-page amateur screenplays require monumental acts of willpower to get through them and yet, on the other hand, there are giant, thousand-page books that are hopelessly addictive. Why is that?

What is it about one story that makes it addictive and another one arduous? How can a writer hold a reader’s attention so intensely for so many pages?

While I didn’t agree with every idea advocated in the book, I’m not here to impose my own political or philosophical ideas. I’m here to talk about the craft of writing, and I must admit, there were some fabulous approaches to the art of storytelling that are worth mentioning. [Who is John Galt?]

We think the Atlas Shrugged producers obviously missed this one.

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