The controversial classic work of one individual’s will versus the subjugation of society-now available as a compelling graphic novel.
In all that was left of humanity there was only one man who dared to think, seek, and love. He, Equality 7-2521, would place his life in jeopardy. For his knowledge was regarded as a treacherous blasphemy. He had rediscovered the lost and holy word…”I”.
Ayn Rand’s 106th birthday is being celebrated today by people all over the world, including many who would (if they only could) escape the various tyrannies under which they happened to be born, people whose most burning desire is to become Americans. Her birthday is also being celebrated, incoherently, by many Americans actively engaged in keeping those would-be Americans out.
Ayn Rand was an “Illegal Immigrant.” Scare quotes because, in the moral sense, it is the laws that deny, to some persons, the enjoyment of their natural individual rights solely because of the happenstance of where they were born (and that deny to American citizens our undeniable individual right to employ, and to trade with, the peaceable persons of our choice) – it is America’s current immigration laws that are illegitimate.
To obtain a visa to America, Alisa Rozenbaum went through great effort to convince American consular officials, and falsely swore, that she intended to return to Soviet Russia to marry a fellow Soviet citizen to whom she was engaged. Under American law, this constituted (1)perjury, (2)making false statements to a government official, (3)falsification of official documents; and a string of lesser felonies. Her visa, being the fruit of these deliberately committed felonies, was never legally valid. Fortunately, back in the 1920s most Americans understood (as Rand herself understood) that principles are not intrinsicist rules, but guidelines for contextually chosen action. Immigrants from Soviet Russia (and later from Nazi Germany) were not, as a rule, prosecuted for whatever felonies they had committed in order to escape their previous rulers and migrate to America.
Ayn Rand became what today would be formally an “illegal immigrant” when her tourist visa expired, and she stayed. (Soviet passports were for 3 years, at least for those without Pull in the High Nomenklatura. Alice’s – her passport name – was issued October 29, 1925. It expired, together with any visas and visa extensions that were stamped into it, on or before October 29, 1928.) She did not become “legal” again until her marriage to an American citizen the following year. The marriage entitled her to become a legal resident (this is no longer the case today.) Overstaying the expiration of a US visa is not a felony, but it is a serious misdemeanor – one for which even mothers of young American citizens have been deported in recent years. Of course, back when most Americans could still think in concepts, such minor technical violations of immigration law were not a problem for any American. Today this is no longer the case. Pragmatist control of American “education” has produced a generation of Americans bereft of normal human conceptual faculties. They have learned that it is racism, to deny a person the enjoyment of her natural rights because of where her ancestors were born. But they are OK with denying a person the enjoyment of her natural rights, because of where she herself was born.
The mantra of today’s conservatives is law enforcement first, immigration reform only “after the borders have been secured.” American consular officials are under no obligation to respect the individual rights of foreign nationals abroad, and, like all bureaucrats, enjoy the exercise of arbitrary authority over their helpless legal inferiors. The current legal immigration process typically subjects the immigrant to years of waiting in a legal limbo, punctuated by periodic rituals of humiliating subjection to the arbitrary whims of petty consular bureaucrats. The gauntlet of waiting through years of arbitrary obstacles and humiliations, functions as a filter, letting through only those who, once they have arrived in America, will obey our emerging tyrants. The message of our immigration laws to independent-minded people, including those who today celebrate the birthday of American illegal immigrant Alisa Rozenbaum, is simple: we don’t want you here.
The Google ‘Art Project’ lets you view more than a thousand works of art online from some of the world’s most popular art museums. The site allows you view featured artworks at high resolution and use the custom viewer to zoom into paintings.
Writes Scott Holleran on his blog on the forthcoming Atlas Shrugged movie:
Having seen a sneak preview of the trailer, scheduled to open in select theaters on April 15, I must say that this low-budget effort looks better than I had expected.
Exciting enough for the uninitiated, substantial enough for Objectivists and Ayn Rand fans, the trailer opens with a man named Midas Mulligan, met by a shadowy figure who has something important to say.
From there, we see skylines, speeding trains, and men of steel (including Ellis Wyatt, Hank Rearden, and, of course, Dagny Taggart), and the action and drama never let up.
The trailer looks crisp, clean and polished and wraps with the question: Who is John Galt? A tag-on teases “…Ask the Question.” This is the world’s first movie about Ayn Rand’s epic theme, the mind on strike, and, though it is impossible to gauge a movie’s merits on the basis of a trailer, for what it’s worth, I’m impressed.
[…] When I first read the opinion, I was not pleased. I was not pleased that Vinson began by using an Originalist approach; I was not pleased that he seemed to concede the propriety of treating the Constitution as, in effect, a “living” document; I was not pleased that he implied that the Supreme Court could — in fact that he seemed to invite them to — eliminate the activity/inactivity distinction. I feared that the Supreme Court might just decide that, in our modern commercial age, yada, yada, yada, an economic decision can constitute “activity” for purposes of the Commerce Clause, and that Vinson hadn’t done enough to prevent this. I found his basic argument — that, given the current state of Commerce Clause jurisprudence, if this law were to be upheld, no real distinction could be made between the “individual mandate” and anything else Congress wanted to make people do, and therefore, if this law were to be upheld, our government would no longer be a limited one whose powers are enumerated — terribly unsatisfying. But today, after sleeping on it (even if only for a few hours), and having a brief interchange with an actual Constitutional Lawyer, I realize that my expectations are unrealistic. This is about as good as one could expect.
First, even if Vinson were an Objectivist, his job would be to apply the law, as it exists, to the facts of the case before him. Thus, even if he rejected the Originalist approach, he would still be stuck with the language of the Commerce Clause itself, plus all of the horrible precedent expanding Congress’s powers under that clause. Especially given that Vinson is a district court judge, it seems the best he can do is to explain why, in the context of this binding precedent, Obamacare goes too far, and is therefore unconstitutional. So, given that I’ve concluded this was Vinson’s assignment, is there something significant he could have done that would have been more satisfying to me? I did find his expressing “reluctance” in striking down the legislation to be annoying. I mean, at least he needn’t be reluctant! He is, after all, assuming he is right, saving us from a government whose powers are no longer enumerated and limited, right? He should be glad about this! I also was annoyed that he seemed to be inviting the Supreme Court, twice during the course of his opinion, to reformulate its Commerce Clause jurisprudence in a way that allows them to uphold this legislation. However, what I realized today is the only significant thing I found missing was some sort of argument as to why it must be an activity that Congress regulates under the Clause. I wanted some sort of positive justification for the activity/inactivity distinction. It was no good to just hang one’s hat on the idea that, if you get rid of this distinction, Congress could do whatever it wants. I needed more!
“My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” –Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand: A Legacy of Reason and Freedom (CapMag)
Born 100 years ago in Holy Mother Russia and educated under the Soviets, Ayn Rand became the quintessential American writer and philosopher, upholding the supreme value of the individual’s life on earth.
A U.S. district judge on Monday threw out the nation’s health care law, declaring it unconstitutional because it violates the Commerce Clause and surely reviving a feud among competing philosophies about the role of government.
Judge Roger Vinson, in Pensacola, Fla., ruled that as a result of the unconstitutionality of the “individual mandate” that requires people to buy insurance, the entire law must be declared void.
“While the individual mandate was clearly ‘necessary and essential’ to the act as drafted, it is not ‘necessary and essential’ to health care reform in general,” he continued. “Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void.”