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I thought I would start a thread for Ayn Rand / Objectivism related mentions in the news. I know some folk are interested in mentions, but it isn't worth starting a new topic for each. Instead feel free to add a post to this thread if there's a mention you wish to share.

 

 

Here's one:

 

"Man's Ego is _____ this (fill in the blank) ____ of human progress". 

 

That was a Final Jeopardy question that stumped a professor recently.

 

So, there's one more reason to read Rand: not doing so could cost you $30,000! (Though, I'm not sure I'd have got the answer right either.)

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Another game that supposedly is inspired by Rand. It's called "The Old City". You wouldn't know it from this description in the review, but you never know.
 

Above all, the story is about choice. Set in a decaying city from a civilization long past, The Old City puts the player in the shoes of a sewer dwelling isolationist. You progress through the game by simply exploring the environment, and, while the initial stretch of the game is a linear string of semi-open levels, the later game divides into various pathways that all communicate something entirely different about the world and the story.

 

Edited by softwareNerd

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California paper's opinion piece says, "Trader Joe's Shrugged":

 

So it is not enough that the $8 million development of four-to-10 retail businesses, with Trader Joe’s serving as the anchor tenant, would bring new jobs, quality food and other goods and services, and tax revenues, to a poor neighborhood. PAALF wanted to extract tribute from the developers and businesses in order to further advance its social and political agenda. It is almost like a scene from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged,” where the unproductive members of society increasingly feed off of the productive members until the producers decide they have had enough. And, just as in the novel, Trader Joe’s shrugged.

Edited by JASKN

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From the Washington Post:

 

Ayn Rand was not a defender of the rich

Ayn Rand, the famous novelist and free market advocate, is often caricatured as a defender of the rich or big business. But, as Steve Horwitz explains at the Bleeding Heart Libertarian blog, there are more wealthy villains in her books than wealthy heroes. And many of her heroes – including John Galt, whom Rand portrayed as the person best exemplifying her philosophy – are not particularly wealthy. Ultimately, Rand’s work praises producers, not wealthy people[.]

 

...

 

[T]he business community isn’t just split into the producers and the moochers. Many business interests are both. Ayn Rand likely realized this at some level. But her books usually don’t reflect it, perhaps because she was often trying to portray ideal types rather than nuanced characters. To my mind, her focus on such ideal types was excessive. On the other hand, there is a reason why Ayn Rand was a bestselling novelist, and the most successful modern popularizer of libertarian ideas. Her use of sharply drawn ideal-type characters might well have been a factor in that success.

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And some excerpts selected within an earlier piece from Salon:

10 (insane) things I learned about the world reading Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” 

Reading Atlas Shrugged is like entering into a strange mirror universe where everything we thought we knew about economics and morality is turned upside down. I’ve already learned some valuable lessons from it.

 

1. All evil people are unattractive; all good and trustworthy people are handsome.

All the villains — the “looters,” in Rand’s terminology — are rotund, fleshy and sweaty, with receding hairlines, sagging jowls and floppy limbs, while her millionaire industrialist heroes are portraits of steely determination, with sharp chins and angular features like people in a Cubist painting.

 

2. The mark of a great businessman is that he sneers at the idea of public safety.

When we meet Dagny Taggart, Rand’s heroic railroad baron, she’s traveling on a cross-country train which gets stuck at a stoplight that may or may not be broken.When the crew frets that they should wait until they’re sure it’s safe, Dagny pulls rank and orders them to drive through the red light. This, in Rand’s world, is the mark of a heroic and decisive capitalist, rather than the kind of person who in the real world would soon be the subject of headlines like “22 Dead in Train Collision Caused by Executive Who Didn’t Want to Be Late For Meeting.”

 

3. Bad guys get their way through democracy; good guys get their way through violence.

Henry Ford recognized that nothing ever got accomplished through a committee. Most of her examples of passing legislation dealt with compromise and back-room deals.

Elliot Wyatt left his oil-fields the way he found them by destroying the equipment.

If you take this section more literally, evil through collusion is fine, defense involving any type of violence is reprehensible. 

 

4. The government has never invented anything or done any good for anyone.

Of course, in the real world, only minor trifles, like radar, space flight, nuclear power, GPS, computers, and the Internet were brought about by government research.

At what price? How about an R & D department investigating the proper role and implementation of government too?

 

5. Violent jealousy and degradation are signs of true love.

Oh no. Rough sex and infidelity,

 

6. All natural resources are limitless.

Ok, the law of identity does redress the idea of an unlimited supply of oil, or producing limitless energy for free. As to producing the limitless energy for free - do not forget the fact that the equipment needed to tap into this resource still needs to be built and maintained.

 

7. Pollution and advertisements are beautiful; pristine wilderness is ugly and useless.

I actually miss billboards on longer trips on the freeway. trying to decode a bunch of 9" square symbols to determine if the exit will satisfy my need of gas or taste in food is somewhat distracting to driving.

 

8. Crime doesn’t exist, even in areas of extreme poverty.

Apparently he missed the breaking of the windshield by the little barbarians, the increasing violence - especially in the aftermath of the radio broadcast, or Hank Reardon realizing he had the gun in his pocket trained on the police officer after the fact.

 

9. The only thing that matters in life is how good you are at making money.

If leaded paint were shunned by concerned consumers, what kind of market would there be for it? Don't worry. A paternal kleptocracy will keep you safe.

 

10. Smoking is good for you.

I think I heard that when she was told by her doctor she needed to stop smoking, she did, cold-turkey. None the less, it neatly wraps up the blue smoke and mirrors inside this little fun-house.

 

Edited: Added

Edited by dream_weaver

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From Think Advisor:

 

Jonathan Hoenig: Capitalist Pig, Ayn Rand Fan, Highly Successful Manager

Greed is good, insists the Gordon Gekko-inspired, Ayn Rand-loving Hoenig, 38, whose version of pigging out is hungrily pursuing what one wants out of life — in his own case, profits and big capital gains. He claims that his was the first hedge fund to advertise after the ban on soliciting investors was lifted two years ago.

 

So wedded is this vocal cheerleader of individual rights and free-market capitalism that he gives every new client a copy of Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” Hoenig holds Rand’s objectivism philosophy near and dear.

 

You’re a proponent, big-time, of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, which advocates self-interest and capitalism, and that altruism is deadly. Why do you like her ideas?

 

Ayn Rand represents the only hope for saving not only America and capitalism but the world. She’s the only philosopher who put forth a complete system and said that trade is mutually beneficial – and that speculation isn’t evil and immoral.

 

Nevertheless, she remains controversial.

 

Objectivism is tremendously radical even in what is supposed to be a free market and free society. Our culture today is not individualistic; it’s about sacrificing yourself for everyone else. Ayn Rand said no, what you want out of life is important.

 

Also from this article:

Let’s talk about being greedy.  What does the “Wall Street” movie catchphrase, “Greed is good” mean to you?

 

I’m absolutely a proponent of greedily pursuing your self-interest, whether it’s making money or anything else. People should be greedy for what they want out of life and take every step to achieve it.

 

What caused the crisis? [referencing the 2008 meltdown]

 

It was the regulated elements of the financial system – all controlled, either explicitly or implicitly, by government – that blew up and took the rest of the economy down with them. Hedge funds are one of the few parts of the financial sector that didn’t ask for a bailout, didn’t get a bailout and were the ones who went in and bought so many of the quote-unquote distressed assets that people wanted to unload. Hedge funds not only survived the crisis but helped to rebuild afterward.

 

What are hedge funds doing to improve their image and gain investors?

 

Because of the 2012 JOBS Act, which dropped the ban on hedge fund advertising, we can now be slightly more communicative with the public. My ads have been very successful in bringing people to our website. And blogs, Twitter and Facebook are really effective tools for communicating, like any other business communicating with prospects in a free marketplace.

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CBS’s ‘Good Wife’ Ridicules Ayn Rand’s Books as ‘Awful’ with ‘a 12-Year-Old’s View of the World’

 

Brent Baker, Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center, writes:


The season finale of The Good Wife will air tonight (Sunday [May 18, 2014]) on CBS. Last week’s episode included a quick pot-shot, from lead character “Alicia Florrick” played by Julianna Margulies,  at legendary libertarian author Ayn Rand.

 

From CBS's "Good Wife"

 

Alicia Florrick: “You have a lot of things Mr. Paisley. Why do you feel so cornered?”

James Paisley: “Because there are more people who want than people who have. Read Ayn Rand.”

Florrick: “Oh, dear god. Have you read her books? They’re awful.”

Paisley: “Well, they weren’t meant to be Moby Dick. They were meant to make you think.”

Florrick: “A guy bombs a building, the rich go out on strike. It’s a 12-year-old’s view of the world. It’s like basing your philosophy on the books of John Grisham.”

 

Brent Baker attributes several other excerpts from "Good Wife" as having overt political agendas.

> “Friends on CBS’s ‘Good Wife’ Appalled by Man Who Supports Palin and Owns Guns”

> “CBS Prime Time Judge Declares ‘Global Warming 1, Skeptics 0’”

> “Judge on CBS Prime Time Drama Cheers ‘Amazing’ Occupy Protesters: ‘I Salute Them’”

> “Prime Time CBS Drama ‘The Good Wife’ Impugns Tea Party as ‘Racist Organization’”

> “CBS Drama Showcases Blank Book that Mocks Palin as Empty-Headed Dunce”

 

Does Mr. Paisley go home to contemplate the wisdom of his choice of Ms. Florrick as his counsel?

 

Does CBS consider the ideas of Miss Rand so insignificant as to not warrant mention? Oh wait. That's right. "The views and opinions expressed on this program . . ."

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Florrick: “A guy bombs a building, the rich go out on strike. It’s a 12-year-old’s view of the world. It’s like basing your philosophy on the books of John Grisham.”

Could have been worse(/better): "She was a welfare queen who idolized a serial killer! She was the inspiration for the Church of Satan!! She voted for Nixon!!!"

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Could have been worse(/better): "She was a welfare queen who idolized a serial killer! She was the inspiration for the Church of Satan!! She voted for Nixon!!!"

Or discovering that Jonathon Hoenig, the Chicago-based portfolio strategist that manages $22 million in assets under Capitalistpig LLC, only accepts accredited investors with a liquid net worth of more than $1 million with a minimum investment of $150,000.

 

Your fund has chalked up a return of 379.27% since its inception 14 years ago. What’s behind your investment strategy?

 

“Cut the losers, let the winners run” is our mantra. The point isn’t to be right — but to make money. So the strategy focuses much more on investment technique rather than prognostication.

 

Investment technique rather than prognostication? While this does not necessarily translate to 'technical analysis', it does discard the crystal ball approach. 150k translates to 568k at that number.

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Anarcho-Capitalists Against Ayn Rand

 

A book advertisement piggybacking the notoriety of a well known author to support the launch of  "The New Libertarianism: Anarcho-Capitalism." By J. Michael Oliver, 

 

"Objectivists deny that there is any justification for the belief that ethics and values are beyond the realm of fact and reason. Man is, after all, a living being with a particular identity and particular requirements for his life. It is not the case that any actions will sustain his life; only those actions which are consonant with man's well-being will sustain him. Man cannot choose his values at random without reference to himself and still hope to live. This concept applies to an individual man as well as a human society (composed of individuals). Objective values follow from man's identity."

 

If there are objective requirements for your survival, that is going to be a matter of considerable interest to you; but is that the sum and substance of ethics? This is not the place to examine this question, but, at any rate, one of the arguments Rand used to support her egoist ethics does not succeed. Rand stated the argument in this way:

 

At this point Mr. Oliver restates the analogy of the indestructible robot.

 

1. Cast doubt by leaving egoism half partially addressed "If there are objective requirements"

2. So, while this article is not the place to examine this question . . . (let's imply we're not going to examine it )

3.. . . instead, lets look at why we think this argument does not succeed. (let's examine it a bit further anyway.)

 

Edited: Stuck out, added.

Edited by dream_weaver

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A short piece on AFA Magazine: For todays discerning financial and investment professional.

 

Ayn Rand, Libertarian Beacon

A Novelist as Economist? --- [Et tu, Allen Greenspan and Paul Ryan?][my comments]

Russia’s Outcast --- [No deal for Roosevelt's New Deal]

Political Activism --- [Intellectual groups and economic themes.]

The Lecture Circuit Beckons ---

Rand’s legacy lives on today in libertarian hearts – though perhaps diluted just a little?

 

Well, John A. Allison IV did ok, right?

 

 

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ORIGINAL MUSICAL INSPIRED BY AYN RAND DEBUTS DOWNTOW[n]

 Beginning May 20th, The Anthem, an original musical inspired by Rand’s classic novella Anthem, begins performances at Culture Project’s Lynn Redgrave Theatre on Bleecker Street in a production directed, choreographed and designed by Rachel Klein (Around The World In 80 Days.)

 

<snip>

 

The show is conceived as a rollicking sci-fi musical, featuring an expansive aerial and circus environment, about a revolt of the young against an evil state.

 

This is much easier to envision than Eric Cantor's political campaign featured under: Ayn Rand Scholars Are “Too Liberal”

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What If Ayn Rand Had Written Harry Potter?

How might Harry Potter have played out with Objectivist Supreme Ayn Rand at the keyboard?

Over at The Toast, Mallory Ortberg imagines a series of vignettes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Objectivism. They're excellent. One of our favorites:

 

"Satirical" would have made a better stand-in for "excellent."

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Stephen Moore: Governing right out of 'Atlas Shrugged'

What is it about this timeless classic written in the 1950s that still resonates with us today after all these years? Next to the Bible, it is still rated among young people as the most influential book.

 

In 2009, I wrote a column in the Wall Street Journal remarking on the similarities of that book and what was happening in Washington. A few months before, Congress approved the $700 billion bank bailout bill and then President Barack Obama signed the $830 billion government spending economic “stimulus” bill and then auto bailouts and a cash for clunkers program that paid people to trash their old cars and purchase a new one.

Then the White House economists started telling us that more people there were collecting food stamps and unemployment insurance, the more people we could put to work. Obama and the Congress then passed a health care bill that would allow the government to take over one-seventh of the economy. And the insanity just rolled on from there.

I noted that nearly every foolish policy idea that Rand had parodied in “Atlas Shrugged” was now being tried in nonfiction Washington, D.C. The column went viral and became on overnight sensation. Sales of “Atlas” spiked.

 

If I were a journalist writing a resume . . .

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In an article by James Delingpole,

Paul Krugman: Climate Denialism Is Ayn Rand's Fault

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has come up with an exciting new theory as to why the world's economies are still proving reluctant to bomb themselves back to the dark ages in order to "combat climate change."

 

Apparently, it's all the fault of a certain uncompromising White Russian emigree:

(from Interests, Ideology And Climate)

Well, think about global warming from the point of view of someone who grew up taking Ayn Rand seriously, believing that the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest is always good and that government is always the problem, never the solution. Along come some scientists declaring that unrestricted pursuit of self-interest will destroy the world, and that government intervention is the only answer. It doesn’t matter how market-friendly you make the proposed intervention; this is a direct challenge to the libertarian worldview. And the natural reaction is denial — angry denial. Read or watch any extended debate over climate policy and you’ll be struck by the venom, the sheer rage, of the denialists.

 

In the comments section, lots of New York Times readers are full of admiration for the great man's insight, wisdom and moderation.  I'm personally very excited for Professor Krugman too because I think it could mark the beginning of a successful new career as an amateur pop psychologist. Next week, he could maybe tell us why racism is caused by listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd; then, in a subsequent column, which I especially look forward to reading, he could explain why all the firm breasts and heaving buttocks in Game of Thrones are responsible for the worst outbreak of sexism in Western history.

 

What's certain is that Krugman badly needs a career change. He trained, I believe, as an economist but what's palpably clear when reading his article is that he doesn't really understand his subject at all.

 

The rest is with regard to other Krugman positions Mr. Delingpole takes issue with from over the years.

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By Caroline Moss

Ayn Rand Once Applied Her Philosophy To Kittens In A Letter She Wrote To 'Cat Fancy' Magazine

 

I knew she was a cat lover. I didn't know she subscribed to 'Cat Fancy' magazine.

Miss Moss links to an opening by Marina Galperina:


As Animal New York pointed out, "Big up to Rand to even responding to bait, but tying objectivism to cats is like applying the String Theory to jealousy. A stretch. And yet, she manages to do so, in the driest way possible."

 

From Ayn Rand’s Actual Letter to Cat Fancy

By Marina Galperina | June 10, 2014 - 03:07PM
 

Ayn Rand liked cats. She also wrote repetitive, long-winded books and developed Objectivism, the philosophical system for people who pleasure themselves over thoughts of laissez-faire capitalism and believe that self-interest is the highest moral purpose and that’s that, the objective truth, fuck you.

 

Both articles cite the original letter:

Dear Miss Smith,

 

You ask whether I own cats or simply enjoy them, or both. The answer is: both. I love cats in general and own two in particular.

 

You ask: “We are assuming that you have an interest in cats, or was your subscription strictly objective?” My subscription was strictly objective because I have an interest in cats. I can demonstrate objectively that cats are of a great value, and the carter issue of Cat Fancy magazine can serve as part of the evidence. (“Objective” does not mean “disinterested” or indifferent; it means corresponding to the facts of reality and applies both to knowledge and to values.)

 

I subscribed to Cat Fancy primarily for the sake of the picture, and found the charter issue very interesting and enjoyable.

 

Miss Moss ends her article with much more class:

But the real applause goes to the editors of "Cat Fancy" magazine, who must have felt like they really put themselves on the map after this back-and-forth.

 

No. Miss Rand did not rub anybody's fur the wrong way. I can tell. This is the "cat's meow".

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Krugman is such a spin doctor, preaching to his choir!

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Well, "The Wire: What Matters Now", does not want to be left out of the loop of the internet traffic generated by these two articles, generated by links to all three in it's piece entitled: "The Internet Is Having a Weird Ayn Rand Moment".

 

Danielle Wiener-Bronner prefaces links to the previous two (1, 2) articles with the following:

 

The Internet is seeing a glorious and likely brief convergence of Ayn Rand obsessions — from the skeptical left, the sympathetic right, and the delightfully curious — giving us the gift of a few days when totally unrelated corners of the web can talk about Ayn Rand's views on environmentalism and weirdly formalized obsession with cats.

 

Rand, whose selfishness-based Objectivist philosophy has been controversially adored by leaders on the right, is no stranger to media and cultural scrutiny. The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged have achieved cult status in American literature, as has the author herself, a colorful character in her own right.

 

I would link to the article, but this is about all the content that she added.

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Miss Moss ends her article with much more class:

But the real applause goes to the editors of "Cat Fancy" magazine, who must have felt like they really put themselves on the map after this back-and-forth.

More polite, but she didn't probe the point -- let along get the point -- either.

Moss's text is faux journalism. Basically, she comes across this cat-magazine reference and its interesting: the ever intriguing and often strident Ayn Rand loved little kitty-kats! And, she said her philosophy justified that love!! Since this is not Twitter, more text is needed to justify the journalist's "pay-check". So, Moss throws some words around it, and the reader scans the text, retaining the Tweet-like core. There's no need, in such faux journalism, to take a look at the question critically -- no need even to ask in what sense it might be true or false; just dismiss it and move on. It does not matter... the words are just the envelope to the core. Using philosophy to justify why one loves something is like using Faraday's Law to justify anger... or some such hastily throw together analogy for the reader who won't care.

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Beyond her chatty sarcasm, her main point is that the web offers Objectivismm the opportunity to openly debate and expound upon its philosophy. This is critical in so far that it's not generally taught in colleges.

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Ok, it is not a mainstream news publication, but relevant to the recent political trend of invoking her name the last few years.

 

The concluding remark from The Ayn Rand Factor: Who is David Brat?

 

Rand’s influence is broad — a hugely positive development — even if it has yet to penetrate deeply enough.

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In another Salon piece reposted from AlterNet Ayn Randian wingnut goes to Washington: The frightening economic policy of David Brat the article wraps up with:

 

Back when Rand (an atheist!) was a celebrity in the 1960s, she was generally dismissed as a loon on par with the likes of fellow novelist L. Ron Hubbard. But today, half a century later, she is the intellectual inspiration of many Republicans who heartily embrace the essense of her creed: there is nothing so divine as getting rich. The Tea Party has made this fringe figure their favorite “thinker.” Her philosophy of greed is more popular than ever

 

Does Ms. Parramore think her readers desire to be not rich? I know every time I've ever used the line "Money isn't everything.", someone within earshot usually offers to take some off my hands.

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In a press release from the Ayn Rand Institute: 

Coming, 2015: Ayn Rand's Lost Novel

The Ayn Rand Institute is excited to announce the new publication of a lost Ayn Rand novel. Ayn Rand's work Ideal, written in 1934, is scheduled for release by Penguin Random House in July of 2015 and will be paired with Rand's play of the same name into a single volume. The introduction will be written by Rand's designated heir, Leonard Peikoff.

 

And in an opening paragraph you almost have to see to believe . . . 

A ‘Lost’ Ayn Rand Novel Has Been Discovered; It’s Based on an Ayn Rand Play

The Libertarian equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls just happened, guys: the Ayn Rand Institute announced today that they discovered a “lost Ayn Rand novel,” and not only will they publish it in July, they will also devote an entire seminar to the subject of Ayn Rand’s secret lost novel.

 

Okay, caveat: It’s not really a “lost novel,” but a novelization of Ayn Rand’s play Ideal, which was written in 1934 and was first staged in 2010 off-Broadway.

 

Why does stuff like this second column only seem to appear on Internet facsimiles of check-out lane tabloids?

Edited by dream_weaver

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