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Found 5 results

  1. One of the most common arguments I hear against laissez-faire capitalism is that it by definition supports the creation and preservation of so-called intrinsically evil monopolies, and that the only way to keep these monopolies in check is through government regulation. Why is this wrong? Is the Gilded Age a good example of monopolies running wild? I ask these questions knowing I probably sound like a moron, but I am young and new to objectivism. So when people make these arguments, I genuinely have no idea how to refute them. Thanks in advance for your help.
  2. 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.
  3. Today marks the dolorous 25th anniversary of the bloody crackdown and heartless massacre of Tiananmen Square by the loathsome, evil, Chinese dictators. It was a truly black day for world freedom. The idealistic, noble, and very brave, student-led protest was basically advocating overall reform, less corruption, democracy, and liberty. But it was called a pro-"democracy" demonstration from the start, and now it's almost exclusively remembered as being part of a pro-"democracy" movement. Well, democracy has advanced only slightly in the past quarter-century. Only to a scattered, inconsistent, and minor extent do the Chinese people actually get to elect their leaders, and decide who will rule them based on a majority vote. But freedom has advanced substantially. So too justice, and even impartial, objective rule of law. It's rather sad and odd that neither the Chinese nor the world publicly note it much. This problem -- and grave philosophical error -- began a long time ago. Indeed, in 1989 the Peking protesters occupying the central Square built a statue explicitly called "The Goddess of Democracy" to symbolize their protest. They did not build a "Goddess of Individual Liberty." The difference is telling -- and overwhelming. The sloppy language and poor thinking of the demonstrators and everyone else -- then and now -- is a true disaster for all. This business of government reformers incoherently stammering: "I want democracy -- you know: majority rule plus individual liberty," is very confusing to everybody. It renders the all-important battle royal for freedom and individual rights exceedingly difficult. Indeed, it mainly serves to advance the trivial notion and minor goal of a nation getting to choose its political leaders. As for the chance the newly-empowered people of China in 1989 might have used their new "democracy" to advance welfare-statist bureaucracy and tyranny far more than the economic capitalism and personal libertarianism recently advanced by the communist Chinese dictators -- well, no-one cares to consider that. Best to close our eyes to reality, and pretend that embarrassing issue doesn't exist. In the end, post-Tiananmen China has advanced fairly far down the only road that matters: not towards slimy, worthless democracy, but towards all-important freedom. When it comes to government, politics, and the law, the only things which matter are liberty, justice, and individual rights. Put more simply, the only thing which counts is individual liberty. And the Chinese people -- altho' still grossly and unconscionably deprived -- have a lot more of this today than they did 25 years ago.
  4. Does Mitt Romney even know what a free market is? It’s worth asking, if only because people watching him debate last night, and incorrectly assuming that a successful businessman must know such basic facts, may have been misled. I quote: Regulation is essential. You can't have a free market work if you don't have regulation. As a businessperson, I had to have -- I need to know the regulations. I needed them there. You couldn't have people opening up banks in their -- in their garage and making loans. A free market is precisely a market in which people can open up banks in their garages, crumbling apartments, and back pockets—or their stores, factories, and mansions—and make loans without getting the government’s permission... For the full post, including lots of links to relevant past material on The Atlas Society's website, go here.
  5. I think about my OL compatriots (and almost-compatriots, separated as we are by Homeland Security and old glories) even when trawling and reviewing my obsessions in the Middle East. In a couple of posts I made reference to the business/capitalism/entrepreneur class that produced many of the Freedom and Justice Party candidates and honchos in Egypt, and wondered at the story I fished up about US-FJP discussions slopping over into "we are capitalists, too!" wonderlands.** Still, as careful readers will have noted, libertarian ideas in one sector -- free economies (or a least a freeing of economic actors from state control and bureaucratic oversight) -- can come from the least-probable sector. Lots of the reform side of the FJP are of this stripe. But, and most horrible but, the guy who will either be the next President of Egypt or a close contender is a 'free-market' capitalist of high achievement as well as the husband of an apparent ninja woman ... If anyone can name him and picture his wife in the next ten minutes or so, I will donate several copies of Nietzsche translations for our Election Party. Besides that rather startling news about crazed capitalist sharia-guy as Prez ... I came across a Syrian Randian. I kid you not. Only the brave will venture into this site as it is dense with opinion (like OL) and argument (like, um, not SOLO) and a single obsessive topic. But get a load of this quote from a man called Khalid on Walls حيطان as a tease for new readers: “Crony capitalism” is an oxymoron. To advocate for a fettered market system is to advocate for a mixed economy and more of today’s problems. What we instead should be demanding is pure unfettered capitalism with the sole role of government being the protection of individual rights. Link to full-size version of this photograph of Farjella, one the many sites in Syria's haunting 'Dead Cities' region. ____________ ** The GOP Brotherhood of Egypt (Salon) Demonized in the U.S. as radical terrorists, Egypt's Islamists are actually led by free-market businessmen BY AVI ASHER-SCHAPIRO