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Found 34 results

  1. Two long and involved articles that touch -- if only briefly -- on Randian ideas in culture. The first features Arthur Robinson (of interest to our intrepid Brant Gaede) and the second drags its hooks through 'right wing' science-fiction. Although I am familiar with some of Arthur Robinson's activities, the article on him has dug up a lot of detail, and is fairly well-written -- despite its bias. The 'right-wing' science fiction article has a case of over-reach, but as with the Robinson article, digs up some material that might be of interest to OLers, if only to encourage critical attention. The Grandfather Of Alt-Science Art Robinson has seeded scientific skepticism within the GOP for decades. Now he wants to use urine to save lives. By Daniel Engber Filed under Science Skeptics Published Oct. 12, 2017 ... STAR WARS & GOD EMPERORS The Sci-Fi Roots of the Far Right—From ‘Lucifer’s Hammer’ to Newt’s Moon Base to Donald’s Wall Pournelle, Gingrich and Trump see a future that must be secured by authoritarian institutions that group together humanity’s best and prevent the rest from stifling them. David Auerbach DAVID AUERBACH 09.17.17 1:00 AM ET
  2. - The hero blows up a building because it doesn't conform to his standards. - Hero brazenly enters the room of a woman, has passionate sex and leaves. Then barely remembers it the next day. - Hero calls a strike, gathers only his closest friends and waits out total disaster. Not a single f*ck is given as the world burns. - The hero is being tortured, during the process gives the torturer instructions on how to do his job. Not shedding a single tear. Stunning examples? They are all scenes of either Howard Roark or John Galt in their respective novels taking action. A clear pattern is set: A total refusal to bow down or even compromise. A defiant, rebellious character. Some would call them rascals, rapscallions and rogues. Wild men. In America we call them "bad boys". Men who, as the stereotypical depiction goes, ride Harley's, get tattoo's and cause trouble. They are "rebels without a cause" so the saying goes. You could call O'ist heroes "rebels with a cause", they are profoundly purpose driven, but this is just the stereotypical depiction. I've seen bad boy's with a productive purpose (i.e. rockstars) so that is not an essential difference. Why this connection has not yet been made is interesting in and of itself. But the connection is there. It's a fun connection to explore. The author herself gave clues to her love affair with bad boy's throughout her writings, personal or otherwise. (Rand had a raging boner for men on the extreme ends of independent thinking, she even once penned a journal entry admiring the traits of a particular serial killer). What's also interesting to note is they O'ist heroes and bad boy's share the almost total disregard for the concept of status or prestige (they also tend to come from lower-class backgrounds). A person's bearing, stock, class or pedigree holds little of interest to them, except as a vehicle for mocking or a show of defiance, and (correctly assumed) is not metaphysically important. Ironically through mocking status ("traditional power" as I call it), they gain a kind of status of their own. Are Objectivist heroes the epitome of "bad boy" archetype? Is this accidental or deliberate? Thoughts?
  3. A letter from Wolf DeVoon to a friend I've been active here for some years. It's one of the few places I enjoy, although I've had to take time away for reasons that I've forgotten. Recent discussions prompted me to write an essay for Brant Gaede. He's been exceedingly kind to me in book reviews, uniquely so. But there's some space between us on questions of the first order. Perhaps I've failed in the past 500,000+ words to express what I think of Rand's legacy. I'll try again. I have nothing to say about Ayn Rand as a student in Russia, or her experience in America. It was contemptible that her private life in New York was exposed; worse that Peikoff became an "intellectual heir." Rand was a novelist. To the best of my knowledge, no one else alive today could be compared with her as a storyteller. I'm aware that Miss Rand wrote a great deal of nonfiction. I read most of it long ago. Very nice, especially The Ayn Rand Letter and her Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Tremendous personal achievements. But it remains that Ayn Rand was a novelist. Consider We The Living. Leo becomes a wastrel, a cynical playboy, playing a dangerous game for the hell of it, because nothing matters to him any longer, not even Kira. An honorable and powerful man, Comrade Taganov, is destroyed by love. Comrade Sonia and her ilk win. At the time We The Living appeared, it was seen as anguished criticism of Soviet communism, with little comment on the soap opera story she told about a love triangle, a woman who sold her body to save a man she loved. Please note that Kira, Leo, and Andrei were actuated by private passions, acted outside the agreed rules of morality, political advantage, and government. The narrative achievement of The Fountainhead lay in honoring a man who wished to build something beautiful and original and paid a heavy price for it. Three men helped him: Heller, Enright and Lansing. Only one woman loved him. She couldn't bear the struggle he faced as a great man shunned by the world in which they lived, threw herself away, sold herself to the lowest bidder. She did not expect Gail Wynand to fall in love, hard. The novel is littered with private actors who twist levers of power, casually manipulating government officials. Roark's trial is totally unreal, acquitted 12-0, excused from bombing a big public housing project by jury nullification. If I wrote such fantastic hooey, I'd be too embarrassed to publish it. Yet the story of The Fountainhead became intensely important to me as a young filmmaker, offered a moral justification for intransigent devotion, an inspiration that sustained me for decades as a pioneer, price no object. Please note that The Fountainhead is a story of private action, little or nothing to do with government or lawful behavior. Rand didn't care. Her talent as a storyteller consisted of showing us private life. In the same period, she wrote a play that had two endings, and she didn't care whether Karen was convicted of murder or acquitted. It did not matter what the law said or what a jury decided. Karen loved Bjorn, period. "The Strike" (Atlas Shrugged) began as a simple idea, that the world is moved by private men and women, a few who create something new and are beset with opposition, exclusively by government officials and the masses who grant them arbitrary power. Ayn Rand was devoted to the proposition that private life matters, government does not. I acknowledge that Atlas Shrugged also contains a theory of metaphysics, clear-eyed defense of reason and science, firm rejection of "social justice" and politics. It is important to see that all of it failed to make the slightest dent in American political history, and I regard all of her subsequent efforts to elaborate a cogent theory of government as a product of seduction by Branden and other acolytes who were enamored of The Fountainhead and something else, far less respectable. The novelist quit writing fiction, became a guru of ethics and political theory, hoping to attract academic interest in right and wrong, a project that failed to achieve anything except a fussy battle with Rothbard and tenured pranksters like Block and Hoppe. Rand's intellectual legacy doesn't bother me. A is A, agreed. Evil requires the sanction of the victim, agreed. I lived in Galt's Gulch for 7 years, entirely free of government control. I am entitled to say with conviction that man has a fundamental right to liberty. I will not repeat myself concerning the rule of law, except to say again that Ayn Rand did not consider it. She saw the world as an ethical landscape apart from technicalities of due process or common law, although she might have agreed with an ancient common law decision that held "A dead thing can do no felony" (knives and swords cannot be blamed for killing), an English precedent that took hundreds of years to seep into American jurisprudence. In the Massachuetts Bay Colony, a canoe was blamed for murder, deemed an instrument of Satan. So. We have a slightly different view of Ayn Rand. She told stories about passion and genius and romance threatened by vicious fags (ahem, lifelong bachelors) like Ellsworth Tooey and Wesley Mouch, who wanted nothing for themselves as individuals, the root of all evil. They craved government of others, slave masters detached from responsibility, totally unearned, which gays and their welfare state allies achieved in California and New York and Supreme Court decisions that will never be revisited. Government rules with an iron fist, has title to your property and happiness for the satisfaction of looters, civil servants, and queer folk. I sketched a method of providing for national defense by a publicly-traded corporation and a constitution that guaranteed an enduring right to be heard, to sue or be sued, to complain of rights violation, etc -- an organizing principle for the private practice of law and the lawyers chosen to quit private practice and sit as impartial judges to uphold fundamental fairness. It doesn't matter whether you or anyone else see merit in those ideas. Likewise, it doesn't matter a hoot what any of us think about Rand's proposals for government, or her assertions of legal right and wrong. My constitutional law professor in Madison was fond of repeating that an assertion is not an argument, said it in class almost daily. Rand was ignored by the American electorate, smeared by gays like Gore Vidal and Chris Sciabarra, and pilloried by John Aglialoro's wretched movies. Paul Ryan had to disavow her influence. Game over, as they say in queer dominated Silicon Valley. What Rand achieved was superb portraits of private valor and sorrow and romance. Her ideas about government were incoherent assertions, belied by Roark and Ragnar and Francisco, men who went to war as lawless pirates, fighting armies of innocent bystanders. Galt starved millions to death, destroyed a nation. It paled in significance to his love affair with Dagny. How quaint, a heterosexual love story. Boy meets girl. - Wolf DeVoon Gore Vidal (Esquire, 1961) Sciabarra on Ayn Rand https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYJCSHpLtOc
  4. Where Ayn Rand Learned a Lot of Philosophy I just came across a very interesting tidbit. According to Leonard Peikoff in a podcast, Ayn Rand got a lot of her notions of philosophy from a text he used when he was in college. He claimed she read the thing cover to cover. The podcast: Is It Necessary To Read Kant In Order To Denounce Him? btw - He says the requirement is different (I think he means something like common sense requirement). He says reading Rand is a breeze and reading Kant is excruciating, so if you get a fair overview of Kant's thinking, that works. He claims when he was younger, he followed Kant's reasoning from sentence-by-sentence commentary by Peyton, however, I don't know who that particular Peyton is. The passage from the podcast where he talked about the book Rand read: If you are interested, you can still get this book, but it looks like it's out of print: A History of Philosophy by B. A. G Fuller. For those who criticize Rand's knowledge of philosophy and the history of philosophy, I wonder what ideas she got from this book. Michael
  5. Following Wolf's link to Helen Mirren as Ayn Rand, imbd.com gave me this: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls059172447?ref_=tt_rls_4 Five of the ten films are about Nietzsche. Also, despite the actual ideas of most of these, I found it typically sad that their "official" review of The Passion of Ayn Rand was such a slur: Take Socrates… In The Clouds, he is satirized as offering "wrong logic" that can be used to disprove obvious truths. In The Clouds, the father of the wastrel youth wants Socrates to teach him "wrong logic" so that he can argue away his creditors. Meanwhile, Socrates is in a washtub hung from the ceiling so that he can be closer to the highest truths. Just sayin'… by what standard is any philosopher not guilty of "eccentric" ideas? We saw Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure back in the 1980s, and we still speak of "philosophizing with So-crates." Like when my wife is going to ask me what I have been doing all afternoon, I am going to say "philosophizing with So-crates and my Objectivist friends."
  6. Ayn Rand has the best moral philosophy ever invented. Karl Popper has the most important breakthrough in epistemology. Most Objectivists seem to think that Popper and Rand are incompatible, and Popper is an enemy of reason. They have not understood him. These lists are intended to help explain my motivation for integrating Rand and Popper, and also to help highlight many similarities they already have. Points Popperian epistemology and Objectivist epistemology have in common. In Popperian epistemology I include additions and improvements by David Deutsch and myself: - opposition to subjectivism and relativism - fallibilism - says that objective knowledge is attainable (in practice by fallible humans) - realism: says reality is objective - connected to reality: we have to observe reality, keep our ideas connected to reality - asserts there is objective truth - attention to context ("problem situation" or sometimes "problem" is the common Popperian term meaning context. E.g. a Popperian will ask "What is the problem this is addressing?" and be asking about context.) - pro-science - opposition to positivism - opposition to the language analysis school of philosophy - say that most professional philosophers are rather crap - opposition to both skeptical and authoritarian schools of epistemology - keeps our concepts "open-end[ed]" (ITOE). That means: possible to improve in the future as we learn more. - says that there are objective moral truths - does not seek a "frozen, arrested state of knowledge" (ITOE) - written clearly and understandably, unlike much philosophy - says epistemology is useful and valuable to real people; it matters to life; it's practical - you can't force an idea on someone. they can choose to accept it or not - you can't implant an idea in someone. you can't pour it in, stick it in with surgery, make them absorb it, etc. they get to think, interpret, choose. - free will - people are not born with some unchangeable nature and innate ideas. we can be self-made men. we can learn, change, improve, progress - emphasis on active use of one's mind, active learning - no inherent conflicts due to objective truth - understanding of unconscious and inexplicit ideas - if two ideas contradict, at least one is false - integration of epistemology with morality, politics, and more - rejection of authority - full rejection of idealism, solipsism - strong emphasis on clarity - rejection of limits on human minds - reject probabilistic approaches to epistemology - looks at man as rational and capable - value of critical thinking including self-criticism Strengths of Objectivist epistemology: - stolen concept - package deal - check your premises - ideas about integrating all one's knowledge and removing all contradictions - measurement omission and concept formation ideas both worthwhile, though flawed - good criticisms of many opponents of reason - good understanding of essentials vs non-essentials, e.g. for definitions - idea about automating some thinking - good explanation of what objectivity is - Judge, and be prepared to be judged Strengths of Popperian epistemology: - evolution creates knowledge - conjectures and refutations method - piecemeal, incremental method. value of every little improvement - identification of, and solution to, justificationism - addresses induction - conjectural, fallible, objective knowledge - idea that we progress from misconception to better misconception - myth of the framework - value of culture clash - emphasis on bold highly-criticizable claims, sticking your neck out to learn more - no shame in mistakes - value of criticism. criticism is a gift - understanding of rationality as being about error correction - unimportance of starting points. you can start anywhere, improve from there - criticism of definitions - criticism of foundations, bases - criticism of essentialism - criticism of manifest truth (and self-evidence, obviousness, etc) - static and dynamic memes - structural epistemology - coercion and common preferences - understanding of conflict and symmetry - applications to parenting, education, relationships - understanding of tradition - explanation of value of external criticism (if everyone has some blind spots, but some people have different blind spots then each other, then it's productive to share criticism with each other. a little like comparative advantage) - emphasis on critical method, criticism (ideas stand unless refuted) - let our ideas die in our stead Some of you are now wondering about details. I know. But it's so much! Let's do it like this: if you are interested in one of the topics, ask about it and I can elaborate. If you would preference a reference to existing material on the topic, that's fine too.
  7. There was an interesting article recently by a woman who attempted to start an all female production company. That was her utopian dream. Unfortunately for her, it turned into a nightmare. In my view her failure stands as an object lesson. One should not, of course, jump to conclusions based on a single example. Perhaps the women that worked at the author's company were unusual in some way. Perhaps they were mostly young and immature, though their ages are not given in the article. However, it seems to me that it highlights a feature of the female personality that is often ignored. Women are generally not as cooperative as men. That simple fact has far reaching consequences. One of the features of the left that often attracts women is its calls for more cooperation. In fact, it is a staple of the left to claim (or hope) that a society can be built in which competition is eliminated and people are made to act in purely cooperative ways. So, winners and losers are eliminated from childhood games, at least those led by adults. It is often suggested that grades and grading be eliminated from schools and colleges. In fact, the whole communist/socialist package is based on the utopian notion that competition can and should be eliminated. How ironic it is then, the women seem to be so incapable of cooperating toward a common end. Women are often compared to cats while men are compared to dogs. What are the differences between cats and dogs? Generally, cats go their own way and do their own thing. Dogs (or wolves) cooperate to hunt and are known for their loyalty. Ok, female lions also cooperate so the analogy is not perfect. Still, everyone knows the impossibility of "herding cats." Perhaps it is the fact that women are so constantly in competition with each other that causes them to crave more cooperation. However, if the article is any indication, women need men for more than mere companionship. They need men for their very survival. The women in the article, if left to their own devices, would undoubtedly starve to death in the span of a few years. This is not to say anything about anyone's individual talents or abilities. Women tend to be more talented than men in some respects and less in others. But, survival for a single, lone individual is difficult. It is the capacity for large scale cooperation that makes society and civilization possible. One might argue that these characteristics are not features of all women. There certainly have been remarkable women. Ayn Rand comes to mind. However, Rand's life is not necessarily a rebuke to my argument. Indeed, even she fits the mold. She achieved success largely on her own. She was a loner in many respects. Her most loyal students, followers, and defenders were men. Of course, there have also been famous heads of state that were women: Queen Elizabeth, Catherine the Great, Margaret Thatcher. But again, such women were surrounded by loyal supporters and those supporters were mostly men. It is impossible to know whether they could have achieved greatness without a cooperative base of men. In short, if the world were devoid of men --- if women were somehow able to reproduce without men --- would the sisterhood be able to survive? If the article is any indication, the answer is a resounding, "No!" Darrell
  8. On May 12, 2015, at Georgetown University (Washington, DC), at an intellectual symposium on eradicating poverty, President Barack Obama spoke of: Notwithstanding the contemptuous amusement of that brain-dead, empty-souled room of baboons, Ayn Rand is the greatest philosopher that ever lived during the past two thousand years. She knew far more about politics, government, and the law -- let alone about enriching the poor -- than everyone at that conference combined. Thus the hopeless nitwits and pitiful lowlifes at that symposium need to read Ayn Rand and learn from her -- not chuckle at some inaccurate, primitive caricature of her ideas. Lazy, arrogant, malicious, dimbulb Obama needs to study her most of all. To be sure, it isn't entirely easy to read Ayn Rand. She's a tremendous radical and philosophical world revolutionary. She's immensely controversial, by today's standards, and is arguably about five times as intense and ferocious as Friedrich Nietzsche. She's also very challenging personally and psychologically. Like the most extreme of political and religious fanatics, Rand can scare the living hell out of you. Karl Marx and Martin Luther are practically pikers next to her. And Ayn Rand frequently writes like a thundering prophet -- not a disquisitional sage. Whatever her strengths and demerits on this, she doesn't quietly, coolly, ruminatively, patiently, systematically lay out the truth for her readers to slowly and dispassionately peruse. Far more Rand tends to startle and stun. Still, almost everything she says radiates simple rationality, common sense, familiar experience, and aspects of the obvious. So people most assuredly should make the effort to learn what she has to teach. Rand writes in a kind of direct, non-nonsense, fierce, stylized, middlebrow manner, without much jargon or intellectual complexity, which is relatively easy to comprehend. This is especially so if the reader begins at the beginning, and tries to read the easy stuff first. You may need to read some of it twice and think it thru rather carefully. But in considering her enormously powerful and important ideas you need to evaluate her writings on your own, and in your own way, deriving whatever truth or value you can get from them, if any. Do not take anyone's word on the material, including mine. The best way to initially approach the surprising, amazing, thrilling, exacting philosophy of Ayn Rand, probably, is to brace yourself for both raw intellectual newness, and for a subtly hectoring, judgmental, fierce, intellectual style, which will sometimes resemble a fire-and-brimstones sermon. Moreover Rand -- in all her relentless radicalism and revolutionism -- sometimes judges her readers, and presumed intellectual opponents, as evil even before she presents her avant-garde ideas to them. Obviously this isn't fair, professional, or properly philosophical. But Rand is a ruthless fighter seeking to overwhelm and overthrow the world's philosophical, cultural, social, and political status quo. And she seeks this apocalypse now. For all this, however, Ayn Rand's ideas are still quite accessible and comprehensible, generally. They're even rather friendly, hopeful, and inspiring. And, should you prefer it, there are a decent number of philosophical summaries and introductions out there with which to get you started. Ayn Rand is a one-person Second Enlightenment, and probably has as much to impart and educate as Bacon, Locke, Smith, Voltaire, Jefferson, Mises, Hayek, and Friedman combined. So she's imminently worth reading and being informed by. Rand can also significantly alter and enhance your entire life. Ayn Rand and her dynamic, noble philosophy have the ability to massively intellectually educate, morally uplift, and spiritually exalt. Sadly, our world today is a philosophical and cultural Dark Age. But Rand constitutes a superlative antidote. She's a virtual supernova of intellectual, moral, and spiritual enlightenment.
  9. Obama Speaks about Ayn Rand I'll find a video later to embed (non is available yet), but here is what Obama said today at Georgetown University: Go here to see the video for now. The video is from C-SPAN3. Since Obama just now talked openly about Ayn Rand, I predict he will keep doing so for the rest of his term. Ditto for his minions. Boy did he screw up. These folks will give a lot of publicity to Rand, then scratch their heads in wonder about why her ideas are spreading. Other than that, let's see if his presidential muscle can stand up to her. Michael
  10. I have not read or heard of this essay until today. I know nothing about its provenance other than what I copied from the website below. from http://fare.tunes.org/liberty/library/taifc.html To All Innocent Fifth Columnists By Ayn Rand Note: To All Fifth Columnists is an open letter written by Ayn Rand around the beginning of 1941, when she was encouraging conservative intellectuals to form a national organization advocating individualism. She desired for the letter be issued by such an organization. You who read this represent the greatest danger to America. No matter what the outcome of the war in Europe may be, Totalitarianism has already won a complete victory in many American minds and conquered all of our intellectual life. You have helped it to win. Perhaps it is your right to destroy civilization and bring dictatorship to America, but not unless you understand fully what you are doing. If that is what you want to do, say so openly, at least to your own conscience, and we who believe in freedom will fight you openly. But the tragedy of today is that you — who are responsible for the coming Totalitarian dictatorship of America — you do not know your own responsibility. You would be the first to deny the active part you're playing and proclaim your belief in freedom, in civilization, in the American way of life. You are the most dangerous kind of Fifth Columnist — an innocent subconscious Fifth Columnist. Of such as you is the Kingdom of Hitler and of Stalin. You do not believe this? Check up on yourself. Take the test we offer you here. 1. Are you the kind who considers ten minutes of his time too valuable to read this and give it some thought? 2. Are you the kind who sits at home and moans over the state of the world — but does nothing about it? 3. Are you the kind who says that the future is predestined by something or other, something he can't quite name or explain and isn't very clear about, but the world is doomed to dictatorship and there's nothing anyone can do about it? 4. Are you the kind who says that he wishes he could do something, he'd be so eager to do something — but what can one man do? 5. Are you the kind who are so devoted to your own career, your family, your home or your children that you will let the most unspeakable horrors be brought about to destroy your career, your family, your home and your children — because you are too busy now to prevent them? Which one of the above are you? A little of all? But are you really too busy to think? Who "determines" the future? You're very muddled on that, aren't you? What exactly is "mankind"? Is it a mystical entity with a will of its own? Or is it you, and I, and the sum of all of us together? What force is there to make history — except men, other men just like you? If there are enough men who believe in a better future and are willing to work for it, the future will be what they want it to be. You doubt this? Why then, if the world is doomed to dictatorship, do the dictators spend so much money and effort on propaganda? If history is predestined in their favor, why don't Hitler and Stalin just ride the wave into the future without any trouble? Doesn't it seem more probable that history will be what the minds of men want it to be, and the dictators are smart enough to prepare these minds in the way they want them, while we talk of destiny and do nothing? You say, what can one man do? When the Communists came to power in Russia, they were a handful of eighteen men. Just eighteen. In a country of [170,000,000] population. They were laughed at and no one took them seriously. According to their own prophet, Karl Marx, Russia was the last country in which Communism could be historically possible, because of Russia's backwardness in industrial development. Yet they succeeded. Because they knew what they wanted and went after it — historical destiny or no historical destiny. Adolf Hitler started the Nazi Party in Germany with seven men. He was laughed at and considered a harmless crank. People said that after the Versailles Treaty Germany could not possibly become a world power again, not for centuries. Yet Hitler succeeded. Because he knew what he wanted and went after it — history or no history. Shall we believe in mystical fates or do something about the future? If you are one of those who have had a full, busy, successful life and are still hard at work making money — stop for one minute of thought. What are you working for? You have enough to keep you in comfort for the rest of your days. But you are working to insure your children's future. Well, what are you leaving to your children? The money, home, or education you plan to leave them will be worthless or taken away from them. Instead, your legacy will be a Totalitarian America, a world of slavery, of starvation, of concentration camps and of firing squads. The best part of your life is behind you — and it was lived in freedom. But your children will have nothing to face save their existence as slaves. Is that what you want for them? If not, it is still up to you. There is time left to abort it — but not very much time. You take out insurance to protect your children, don't you? How much money and working effort does that insurance cost you? If you put one-tenth of the money and time into insuring against your children's future slavery — you would save them and save for them everything else which you intend to leave them and which they'll never get otherwise. Don't delude yourself by minimizing the danger. You see what is going on in Europe and what it's doing to our own country and to your own private life. What other proof do you need? Don't say smugly that "it can't happen here." Stop and look back for a moment. The first Totalitarian dictatorship happened in Russia. People said: well, Russia was a dark, backward, primitive nation where anything could happen — but it could not happen in any civilized country. The next Totalitarian dictatorship happened in Italy — one of the oldest civilized countries of Europe and the mother of European culture. People said: well, the Italians hadn't had much experience in democratic self-government, but it couldn't happen anywhere else. The next Totalitarian dictatorship happened in Germany — the country of philosophers and scientists, with a long record of the highest cultural achievements. People said: well, Germany was accustomed to autocracy, and besides there's the Prussian character, and the last war, etc. — but it could not happen in any country with a strong democratic tradition. Could it happen in France? People would have laughed at you had you asked such a question a year ago. Well, it has happened in France — France, the mother of freedom and of democracy, France, the most independent-minded nation on earth. Well? What price your smug self-confidence? In the face of millions of foreign money and foreign agents pouring into our country, in the face of one step after another by which our country is [moving] closer to Totalitarianism — you do nothing except say: "It can't happen here." Do you hear the Totalitarians answering you — "Oh, yeah?" Don't delude yourself with slogans and meaningless historical generalizations. It can happen here. It can happen anywhere. And a country's past history has nothing to do with it. Totalitarianism is not a new product of historical evolution. It is older than history. It is the attempt of the worthless and the criminal to seize control of society. That element is always there, in any country. But a healthy society gives it no chance. It is when the majority in a country becomes weak, indifferent and confused that a criminal minority, beautifully organized like all gangs, seizes the power. And once that power is seized it cannot be taken back for generations. Fantastic as it may seem to think of a dictatorship in the United States, it is much easier to establish such a dictatorship than to overthrow it. With modern technique and modern weapons at its disposal, a ruthless minority can hold millions in slavery indefinitely. What can one thousand unorganized, unarmed men do against one man with a machine gun? And the tragedy of today is that by remaining unorganized and mentally unarmed we are helping to bring that slavery upon ourselves. By being indifferent and confused, we are serving as innocent Fifth Columnists of our own destruction. There is no personal neutrality in the world today. Repeat that and scream that to yourself. In all great issues there are only two sides — and no middle. You are alive or you are dead, but you can't be "neither" or "in between." You are honest or you are not — and there is no neutral "half-honest." And so, you are against Totalitarianism — or you are for it. There is no intellectual neutrality. The Totalitarians do not want your active support. They do not need it. They have their small, compact, well-organized minority and it is sufficient to carry out their aims. And they want from you is your indifference. The Communists and the Nazis have stated repeatedly that the indifference of the majority is their best ally. Just sit at home, pursue your private affairs, shrug about world problems — and you are the most effective Fifth Columnist that can be devised. You're doing your part as well as if you took orders consciously from Hitler or from Stalin. And so, you're in it, whether you want to be or not, you're helping the world towards destruction, while moaning and wondering what makes the world such as it is today. You do. The Totalitarians have said: "Who is not against us, is for us." There is no personal neutrality. And since you are involved, and have to be, what do you prefer? To do what you're doing and help the Totalitarians? Or to fight them? But in order to fight, you must understand. You must know exactly what you believe and you must hold to your faith honestly, consistently, and all the time. A faith assumed occasionally, like Sunday clothes, is of no value. Communism and Nazism are a faith. Yours must be as strong and clear as theirs. They know what they want. We don't. But let us see how, before it is too late, whether we have a faith, what it is and how we can fight for it. First and above all: what is Totalitarianism? We all hear so much about it, but we don't understand it. What is the most important point, the base, the whole heart of both Communism and Nazism? It is not the "dictatorship of the proletariat," nor the nationalization of private property, nor the supremacy of the "Aryan" race, nor anti-Semitism. These things are secondary symptoms, surface details, the effects and not the cause. What is the primary cause, common to both Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, and all other dictators, past, present, and future? One idea — and one only: That the State is superior to the individual. That the Collective holds all rights and the individual has none. Stop here. This is the crucial point. What you think of this will determine whether you are a mental Fifth Columnist or not. This is the point which allows no compromise. You must choose one or the other. There is no middle. Either you believe that each individual man has value, dignity and certain inalienable rights which cannot be sacrificed for any cause, for any purpose, for any collective, for any number of other men whatsoever. Or else you believe that a number of men — it doesn't matter what you call it: a collective, a class, a race or a State — holds all rights, and any individual man can be sacrificed if some collective good — it doesn't matter what you call it: better distribution of wealth, racial purity or the Millennium — demands it. Don't fool yourself. Be honest about this. Names don't matter. Only the basic principle matters, and there is no middle choice. Either man has individual, inalienable rights — or he hasn't. Your intentions don't count. If you are willing to believe that men should be deprived of all rights for a good cause — you are a Totalitarian. Don't forget, Stalin and Hitler sincerely believe that their causes are good. Stalin thinks that he is helping the downtrodden, and Hitler thinks that he is serving his country as a patriot. They are good causes, both of them, aren't they? Then what creates the horrors of Russia and of Germany? What is destroying all civilization? Just this one idea — that to a good cause everything can be sacrificed; that individual men have no rights which must be respected; that what one person believes to be good can be put over on the others by force. And if you — in the privacy of your own mind — believe so strongly in some particular good of yours that you would be willing to deprive men of all rights for the sake of this good, then you are as guilty of all the horrors of today as Hitler and Stalin. These horrors are made possible only by men who have lost all respect for single, individual human beings, who accept the idea that classes, races, and nations matter, but single persons do not, that a majority is sacred, but a minority is dirt, that herds count, but Man is nothing. Where do you stand on this? There is no middle ground. If you accept the Totalitarian idea, if the words "State" or "Collective" are sacred to you, but the word "Individual" is not — stop right here. You don't have to read further. What we have to say is not for you — and you are not for us. Let's part here — but be honest, admit that you are a Totalitarian and go join the Communist Party or the German-American Bund, because they are the logical end of the road you have chosen, and you will end up with one or the other, whether you know it now or not. But if you are a Humanitarian and a Liberal — in the real, not the prostituted sense of these words — you will say with us that Man, each single, solitary, individual Man, has a sacred value which you respect, and sacred inalienable rights which nothing must take away from him. You believe this? You agree with us that this is the heart of true Americanism, the basic principle upon which America was founded and which made it great — the Rights of Man and the Freedom of Man? But do you hear many voices saying this today? Do you read many books saying this? Do you see many prominent men preaching this? Do you know a single publication devoted to this belief or a single organization representing it? You do not. Instead, you find a flood of words, of books, of preachers, publications, and organizations which, under very clever "Fronts," work tirelessly to sell you Totalitarianism. All of them are camouflaged under very appealing slogans: they scream to you that they are defenders of "Democracy," of "Americanism," of "Civil Liberties," etc. Everybody and anybody uses these words — and they have no meaning left. They are empty generalities and boob-catchers. There is only one real test that you can apply to all these organizations: ask yourself what is the actual result of their work under the glittering bromides? What are they really selling you, what are they driving at? If you ask this, you will see that they are selling you Collectivism in one form or another. They preach "Democracy" and then make a little addition — "Economic Democracy" or a "Broader Democracy" or a "True Democracy", and demand that we turn all property over to the Government; "all property" means also "all rights"; let everybody hold all rights together — and nobody have any right of any kind individually. Is that Democracy or is it Totalitarianism? You know of a prominent woman commentator who wants us all to die for Democracy — and then defines "true" Democracy as State Socialism [probably a reference to Dorothy Thompson]. You have heard Secretary [Harold] Ickes define a "true" freedom of the press as the freedom to express the views of the majority. You have read in a highly respectable national monthly the claim that the Bill of Rights, as taught in our schools, is "selfish": that a "true" Bill of Rights means not demanding any rights for yourself, but your giving these rights to "others." God help us, fellow Americans, are we blind? Do you see what this means? Do you see the implications? And this is the picture wherever you look. They "oppose" Totalitarianism and they "defend" Democracy — by preaching their own version of Totalitarianism, some form of "collective good," "collective rights," "collective will," etc. And the one thing which is never said, never preached, never upheld in our public life, the one thing all these "defenders of Democracy" hate, denounce, and tear down subtly, gradually, systematically — is the principle of Individual Rights, Individual Freedom, Individual Value. That is the principle against which the present great world conspiracy is directed. That is the heart of the whole world question. That is the only opposite of Totalitarianism and our only defense against it. Drop that — and what difference will it make what name you give to the resulting society? It will be Totalitarianism — and all Totalitarians are alike, all come to the same methods, the same slavery, the same bloodshed, the same horrors, no matter what noble slogan they start under, as witness Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany. Principles are much more consistent than men. A basic principle, once accepted, has a way of working itself out to its logical conclusion — even against the will and to the great surprise of those who accepted it. Just accept the idea that there are no inalienable individual rights — and firing squads, executions without trial, and a Gestapo or a G. P. U. will follow automatically — no matter who holds the power, no matter how noble and benevolent his intentions. That is a law of history. You can find any number of examples. Can you name one [counter-example]? Can you name one instance where absolute power — in any hands — did not end in absolute horror? And — for God's sake, fellow Americans, let's not be utter morons, let's give our intelligence a small chance to function and let's recognize the obvious — what is absolute power? It's a power which holds all rights and has to respect none. Does it matter whether such a power is held by a self-appointed dictator or by an elected representative body? The power is the same and its results will be the same. Look through all of history. Look at Europe. Don't forget — they still hold "elections" in Europe. Don't forget, Hitler was elected. Now, if you see how completely intellectual Totalitarianism is already in control of our country, if you see that there is no action and no organization to defend the only true anti-Totalitarian principle, the principle of individual rights, you will realize that there is only one thing for us to do: to take such action and to form such an organization. If you are really opposed to Totalitarianism, to all of it, in any shape, form, or color — you will join us. We propose to unite all men of good will who believe that Freedom is our most precious possession, that it is greater than any other consideration whatsoever, that no good has ever been accomplished by force, that Freedom must not be sacrificed to any other ideal, and that Freedom is an individual, not a collective entity. We do not know how many of us there are left in the world. But we think there are many more than the Totalitarians suspect. We are the majority, but we are scattered, unorganized, silenced and helpless. The Totalitarians are an efficient, organized, and very noisy minority. They have seized key positions in our intellectual life and they make it appear as if they are the voice of America. They can, if left unchecked, highjack America into dictatorship. Are we going to let them get away with it? They are not the voice of America. We are. But let us be heard. To be heard, however, we must be organized. This is not a paradox. Individualists have always been reluctant to form any sort of organization. The best, the most independent, the hardest working, the most productive members of society have always lived and worked alone. But the incompetent and the unscrupulous have organized. The world today shows how well they have organized. And so, we shall attempt what has never been attempted before — an organization against organization. That is — an organization to defend us all from the coming compulsory organization which will swallow all of society; an organization to defend our rights, including the right not to belong to any forced organization; an organization, not to impose our ideology upon anyone, but to prevent anyone from imposing his ideology upon us by physical or social violence. Are you with us? If you realize that the world is moving toward disaster, but see no effective force to avert it — If you are eager to join in a great cause and accept a great faith, but find no such cause or faith offered to you anywhere today — If you are not one of those doomed jellyfish to whom the word "Freedom" means nothing — If you cannot conceive of yourself living in a society without personal freedom, a society in which you will be told what to do, what to think, what to feel, in which your very life will be only a gift from the Collective, to be revoked at its pleasure at any time — If you cannot conceive of yourself surrendering your freedom for any collective good whatsoever, and do not believe that any such good can ever be accomplished by such a surrender — If you believe in your own dignity and your own value, and hold that such a belief is not "selfish," but is instead your greatest virtue, without which you are worthless both to your fellow-men and to yourself — If you believe that it is vicious to demand that you should exist solely for the sake of your fellow-men and grant them all and any right over you — If you believe that it is vicious to demand everyone's sacrifice for everyone else's sake, and that such a demand creates nothing but mutual victims, without profiting anyone, neither society nor the individual — If you believe that men can tell you what you must not do to them, but can never assume the arrogance of telling you what you must do, no matter what their number — If you believe in majority rule only with protection for minority rights, both being limited by inalienable individual rights — If you believe that the mere mention of "the good of the majority" is not sufficient ground to justify any possible kind of horror, and that those yelling loudest of "majority good" are not necessarily the friends of mankind — If you are sick of professional "liberals," "humanitarians," "uplifters" and "idealists" who would do you good as they see fit, even if it kills you, whose idea of world benevolence is world slavery — If you are sick, disgusted, disheartened, without faith, without direction, and have lost everything but your courage — — come and join us. There is so much at stake — and so little time left. Let us have an organization as strong, as sure, as enthusiastic as any the Totalitarians could hope to achieve. Let us follow our faith as consistently as they follow theirs. Let us offer the world our philosophy of life. Let us expose all Totalitarian propaganda in any medium and in any form. Let us answer any argument, every promise, every "Party Line" of the Totalitarians. Let us drop all compromise, all cooperation or collaboration with those preaching any brand of Totalitarianism in letter or in spirit, in name or in fact. Let us have nothing to do with "Front" organizations, "Front" agents or "Front" ideas. We do not have to proscribe them by law. We can put them out of existence by social boycott. But this means — no compromise. There is no compromise between life and death. You do not make deals with the black plague. Let us touch nothing tainted with Totalitarianism. Let us tear down the masks, bring them out into the open and — leave them alone. Very strictly alone. No "pro-Soviet" or "pro-Nazi" members of the board in our organization. No "benevolent" Trojan horses. Let us stick together as they do. They silence us, they force us out of public life, they fill key positions with their own men. Let us stick together — and they will be helpless to continue. They have millions of foreign money on their side. We have the truth. As a first step and a first declaration of what we stand for, we offer you the following principles: We believe in the value, the dignity and the freedom of Man. We believe: — That each man has inalienable rights which cannot be taken from him for any cause whatsoever. These rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. — That the right of life means that man cannot be deprived of his life for the convenience of any number of other men. — That the right of liberty means freedom of individual decision, individual choice, individual judgment and individual initiative; it means also the right to disagree with others. — That the right to the pursuit of happiness means man's freedom to choose what constitutes his own private, personal happiness and to work for its achievement; that such a pursuit is neither evil nor reprehensible, but honorable and good; and that a man's happiness is not to be prescribed to him by any other man nor by any number of other men. — That these rights have no meaning unless they are the unconditional, personal, private possession of each man, granted to him by the fact of his birth, held by him independently of all other men, and limited only by the exercise of the same rights by other men. — That the only just, moral and beneficent form of society is a society based upon the recognition of these inalienable individual rights. — That the State exists for Man, and no Man for the State. — That the greatest good for all men can be achieved only through the voluntary cooperation of free individuals for mutual benefit, and not through a compulsory sacrifice of all for all. — That "voluntary" presupposes an alternative and a choice of opportunities; and thus even a universal agreement of all men on one course of action is neither free nor voluntary if no other course of action is open to them. — That each man's independence of spirit and other men's respect for it have created all civilization, all culture, all human progress and have benefited all mankind. — That the greatest threat to civilization is the spread of Collectivism, which demands the sacrifice of all individual rights to collective rights and the supremacy of the State over the individual. — That the general good which such Collectivism professes as its objective can never be achieved at the sacrifice of man's freedom, and such sacrifice can lead only to general suffering, stagnation, and degeneration. — That such conception of Collectivism is the greatest possible evil — under any name, in any form, for any professed purpose whatsoever. Such is our definition of Americanism and the American way of life. The American way of life has always been based upon the Rights of Man, upon individual freedom and upon respect for each human individual personality. Through all its history, this has been the source of America's greatness. This is the spirit of America which we dedicate ourselves to defend and preserve. In practical policy we shall be guided by one basic formula: of every law and of every conception we shall demand the maximum freedom for the individual and the minimum power for the government necessary to achieve any given social objective. If you believe this, join us. If you don't — fight us. Either is your privilege, but the only truly immoral act you can commit is to agree with us, to realize that we are right — and then to forget it and do nothing. There is some excuse, little as it may be, for an open, honest Fifth Columnist. There is none for an innocent, passive, subconscious one. Of all the things we have said here to you, we wish to be wrong on only one — our first sentence. Prove us wrong on that. Join us. The world is a beautiful place and worth fighting for. But not without Freedom.
  11. Unable to attend the Memorial program in Los Angeles, I took advantage of the "streaming" online version. I don't know how the acoustics were in the hall, but on streaming it was abysmal. David Kelley was at times inaudible, and speaking just right - if you were standing right next to him!. Some of the speakers were not announced. One presenter, (couldn't get his name,...a Judge something) tried to play a portion of Nathaniel's lecture on Ayn Rand and Romantic Love, but instead of using a recorded version on CD or tape, he attempted to play the excerpt by sticking his wife's iPhone next to the microphone. The result, predictably, was once again, inaudible. One of the comments running along side the streaming image, noted that the bad sound was probably from their using the podium microphone for the hall, rather than the microphone for the streaming, which was apparently not "On." Then, to top it off the presentation was interrupted about every ten minutes wth "Pringles" commercials. The speakers were not aware of the commercial breaks and kept on talking, but the streaming audience missed whatever they were saying. Duncan Scott, a professional film maker, was listed as the producer. Somehow, he was not aware of the acoustics problem and apparently no one at the hall was monitoring the streaming session. I am sure that any ARIan devotee was delighted.
  12. An interesting short story I just ran across. God knows who wrote it or why: http://leonardpeikoff.tumblr.com/
  13. The following announcement was posted on Facebook. If you plan to attend, click on the eventbrite link to register. http://www.eventbrite.com/e/in-memory-of-nathaniel-branden-registration-15431319492?aff=es2&rank=1
  14. The Atlas Society is sponsoring a Memorial Event for Nathaniel Branden, in Los Angeles, Feb. 22. Below is a partial screen capture of the details of the event. If interested, you must register as soon as possible. See the direct link to the "Eventbrite" announcement in my post in the "Nathaniel Branden" section. Please join us for a memorial gathering to honor Nathaniel Branden and celebrate his life and achievements, sponsored by The Atlas Society, John and Danis Fickewirth, and Nathaniel's family. The gathering will be a cocktail-style reception, with brief remembrances by those who knew Nathaniel and his work, with memorabilia from his long and productive life. Refreshments will be served. Nathaniel was a long-time associate of Ayn Rand and helped systematize and promote her philosophy of Objectivism. He launched the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1958. His course The Basic Principles of Objectivism was the first systematic statement of the philosophy—and the first of many courses offered through NBI. With Ayn Rand, he edited The Objectivist Newsletter and The Objectivist magazine, where his early work on psychology was published. After a break with Rand, Nathaniel continued his career in psychology, as an innovative therapist and teacher of therapists. His many books and lectures earned him worldwide respect as a pioneer on the subject of self-esteem. He fought against those who identify self-esteem with narcissism—both those who denigrate self-esteem for that reason and those who promote narcissism in the name of self-esteem. Through his research, teaching, and publications, He argued that genuine self-esteem is earned by pursuing the essentially Objectivist values of rationality, integrity, productiveness, and responsibility. Please join his family and his many friends and admirers February 22nd to honor his memory. He opened new roads in psychological theory, and new paths in life for his many patients. We look forward to seeing you. Have questions about In Memory of Nathaniel Branden? Contact The Atlas Society Save This Event When & Where
  15. Ayn Rand Died? Sometime the folks who clown around with Randian satire, both friend and enemy, come up with some crazy-ass stuff that is so quirky, I gotta laugh. I don't care for pure quirky (read weird for this one) without much humor, for example The Floating head of Ayn Rand. This has been around for ages and I still haven't figured it out. I suppose it's funny to people who want to mock Rand and Objectivism. But the following (which is more foe than friend), in my view, crosses all boundaries. It is so quirky, benign and LOL funny, I have to share it. Ayn Rand Dead in Gloucester Snowstorm by Jim Down February 10, 2015 The Gloucester Clam From the article: That's too short a quote, I know, but I only want to spoil the ending, not the setup. Michael
  16. Fun with Ayn Rand and a Headline Generator I came across an automatic headline generator that the owner calls: Portent's Content Idea Generator If you are in the mood for a fun time-waster, give it a spin. I did. I plugged in the name, Ayn Rand, and got some cool results. I spun the tool a dozen times for this post and the results are below. But I admit. I played with it more than that. How Ayn Rand Made Me a Better Person How Did Ayn Rand Become the Best? Find Out. How to Build an Empire with Ayn Rand What Jezebel Should Write About Ayn Rand How Ayn Rand Killed Kenny Why Ayn Rand is the Key to Hillary 2016 What the World Would Be Like If Ayn Rand Didn't Exist Why Ayn Rand Should Be 1 of the 7 Deadly Sins Why Ayn Rand is Hotter than Jennifer Lawrence The Insider's Guide to Ayn Rand Why Ayn Rand is Scarier than Tyra Banks True Facts About Justin Bieber's Love of Ayn Rand Some of those headlines are quite funny. But seriously, they could be good topics for articles, even the lame ones if you tweaked them. For instance, instead of "True Facts About Justin Bieber's Love of Ayn Rand," it could be "True Facts About Paul Ryan's Love of Ayn Rand," or "True Facts About Mark Cuban's Love of Ayn Rand," or, hell, even "True Facts About My Love of Ayn Rand." Also, you could insert a freak-villain from O-Land. That would not just be the obvious freak-villain (do I really need to say the name? ), but could also be a pariah creep like Lonnie Leonard (the sex offender therapist) and others weirdos, i.e., "True Facts About Lonnie Leonard's Love of Ayn Rand" and so on. Change "love" to "hatred," "aversion," "embrace," "sudden adoption" and so on and you get other sets. You can do similar substitutions for the other headlines, including the good ones. Also, any noun can be plugged into this tool, not just Ayn Rand. My evil brain already started thinking of words like "burping" and worse. ("How Burping Made Me a Better Person") If you like Portent's Content Idea Generator, go for it and have fun. And who knows, maybe write something. Michael
  17. FINALLY! The Amazon Kindle eBook edition of "The Vision of Ayn Rand: The Basic Principles of Objectivism," by Nathaniel Branden is NOW available ( Amazon site listing. Price $9.99).Downloadable, of course. The original NBI course from the 1960s, given by tape transcription in over 80 cities (and a Polaris submarine!), worldwide. Published in print in late 2009, by Cobden Books, but difficult to obtain in the cloth and hardcover edition. With a New Preface by Barbara Branden, "The Dawn of Objectivism," and an Epilogue, by Nathaniel Branden, "Benefits and Hazards of the Philosophy of Ayn Rand" (an updated version of a lecture with the same title from the 1990s, I think). Curiously, this eBook edition does NOT include the newly revised and corrected index by Roger Bissell (still available from fr33minds.com as a separate pamphlet). In fact, no index is included.
  18. The following message from Duncan Scott was received a short while ago. Project Update #8: "Dangerous Woman" update Posted by Duncan Scott ♥ Like Dear Kickstarter Supporters, Here’s a new update on our documentary, The Most Dangerous Woman in America (previously titled Inside the Mind of Ayn Rand): We resumed work on Dangerous Woman several months ago (following the completion of my work on Atlas Shrugged, Part 3). The main focus has been finalizing the shooting script for the documentary. As you can imagine, since we are presenting the spectrum of Ayn Rand’s ideas, and the controversy those ideas generate, it’s been a massive undertaking, but we recently completed a 94 page draft and are now revising and tweaking it. Although video editing usually doesn’t begin until after principal photography, we have already started editing segments of the documentary. Because we previously filmed, or acquired, over 40 hours of footage and thousands of still photos for the project, we recently began assembling selected sequences, mainly to test concepts and techniques. When the script is finalized, and the remaining production funds are in hand, we will begin filming the new sequences. It is full steam ahead at this point! I’ve been very grateful for your patience during the long delays on this project. Almost all of my work in recent years has been devoted to finding compelling ways to adapt Ayn Rand’s ideas for mass media with the goal of bringing those ideas to a wider public. And that was certainly my goal in working many months on the scripts for Atlas Shrugged, Parts 2 and 3. The Atlas Shrugged films did result in a two year delay in our Dangerous Woman documentary, and so I believe you should be made aware that, just prior to principal photography of Atlas Shrugged Part 3 this past January, I decided that I could no longer support the production in the direction it was headed due to creative differences with the producers. I resigned from the production team at that time. I can’t go into more detail because of confidentiality agreements. Returning to Dangerous Woman though has completely energized me. I’m excited to see the film taking shape as an entertaining, accessible and faithful examination of Rand’s ideas. Look for another progress report in a few months. Thank you again for your support and encouragement. All the best, Duncan Scott
  19. When I come up with a question on Objectivism this website is super quick to respond so I am sorry if I am seem like I am going posting crazy. My question pertains to pornography and the Objectivist stance on it. For what I gather the idea is to do things out of self interest which watching porn would be, however, watching porn is purely body and doesn't seem to involve the mind though I may be wrong, and Ayn Rand doesn't believe in the split between mind and body, there in lies my question. Thanks, David C.
  20. I am currently in a philosophy class at St. Johns University and we never learn about people such as Ayn Rand, so in trying to learn her myself, I have a question that is troubling me. Does Ayn Rand believe in absolutes, or does she just believes in the absolute of reason. If she does just believe in the absolute of reason why does she write that a speck of dust in an absolute, is it because we learn that it is a speck of dust through reason. This leads me to another quick question, can't reason be wrong at times or flawed, how do we know our reason as a person is right? Thanks, David C.
  21. Well, there it is, Galt's Speech. Parts of it read and emphasized by Ted Cruz on the Senate floor, today See the C-Span link http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4465993 A first? Probably not the last! Watch MSNBC go ballistic!
  22. In Peikoff's podcast for August 26th (number is not given), which is primarily devoted to the NSA domestic spying, Peikoff takes a diametrically opposed position to that of Harry Binswinger, who minimized its importance in an op-ed in Forbes [i think]) and the end of the pod cast he starts talking about the former NSA document leaker, Edward Snowden. Snowden is a great hero to him for revealing the NSA's electronic eavesdropping. He dismisses any damage that might be done by Snowden revealing defense secrets to Russia. In my mind, if Snowden has done this or is likely to do it, that makes him a traitor, Not to Peikoff, who comes up with a convoluted ethical theory that one good deed cancels out any evil deed that that person has done. You have to listen to his explanation, which is near the end of the podcast. By this time, he has gone beyond just sounding agitated to raving, and it is hard to determine whether he understands the implications of this absolution from evil by committing one act that is sufficiently good. Peikoff's new "discovery" or pronouncement, that one good deed absolves the perpetrator from any evil deed he has also done (this is a paraphrase. Listen to his last podcast, near the end, in his discussion of Edward Snowden), is in direct contradiction not only to Rand's position on evil and moral compromise, it is in conflict with Peikoff, himself (see his OPAR, Chapter 8, Virtue (in particular, his section entitled "Integrity as Loyalty to Rational Principles," and pp. 264-267 in that section.). Either he does not remember what he said, or he has now dropped an essential position of Rand. .I am transcribing exactly what he said so that a comparison can be made, and will post it here..
  23. Here's a very amusing (and unintentionally revealing) collection of 23 "slides" depicting how liberal/progressives view, (more accurately, mis-characterize), the current libertarian movement (including, of course, Objectivism and Ayn Rand). Contains the usual exaggerations, distortions, "strawman" arguments, etc..,etc. But the fact that they even bothered compiling this list shows that they're watching - and concerrned. so why bother looking at it ? Well, several of the frames you'll love, including some very good photos of A.R. and several surprises, and what they apparently think is the "clincher" at the end, will delight you!. Check it out - scroll through all the 23 frames http://www.buzzfeed.com/bennyjohnson/23-libertarian-problems
  24. These tests cover Chapter 7 through Chapter 19. Enjoy! The Virtue of Selfishness Test 03 The Virtue of Selfishness Test 04
  25. Link to an article in the London Telegraph, comparing Ayn Rand's depiction of Starnesville and Detroits economic collapse. Not identical, but some interesting paralells. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/danielhannan/100227375/obamanomics-is-turning-america-into-detroit-ayn-rands-starnesville-come-to-life/