Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘objectivism’

The tyranny of the public interest

Posted by Richard on July 23, 2010

Yaron Brook in Investor's Business Daily:

In the years leading up to 2008—09's financial meltdown, government control over mortgages, interest rates and America's banking system was at an all-time high.

And yet when crisis struck, free enterprise took the blame.

The cure, therefore, was to give government even wider powers. Washington can now bail out any company, fire CEOs, override contracts and print billions of dollars to "stimulate" the economy — all in the name of the public interest. The result? Our deficits and debt continue to mount, and there's a real possibility of a future like Greece's.

This is the state of our world today. It's remarkably similar to the state of the world in Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," a mystery story about a future America whose economy is disintegrating and whose government is accumulating power faster than anyone thought possible. This parallel is a big reason a record 500,000 people bought "Atlas Shrugged" last year.

So what can we learn from a book that foresaw in 1957 what few believed possible in 2007? We can learn a lesson the heroes of the novel learn: the cause of the government's greater, destructive control of business. And we can learn how to oppose it.

Read. The. Whole. Thing.

From the comments, a great quote: 

The pursuit of wealth generally diverts men of great talents and strong passions from the pursuit of power; and it frequently happens that a man does not undertake to direct the fortunes of the state until he has shown himself incompetent to conduct his own.
— Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America," 1835

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Atlas Shrugged sales booming

Posted by Richard on March 16, 2009

I just checked Amazon.com. The "Centennial Edition" paperback of Atlas Shrugged is #208 in book sales. Many authors would be thrilled to see their latest work ranked that high (especially if it's fiction; the list of top sellers is heavily laden with self-help and other non-fiction books).

Rand's magnum opus is available in multiple editions, and the others are selling well, too. The mass-market paperback is #292, and the "Centennial Edition" hardback is #800.

Yaron Brook, writing in the Wall Street Journal, observed that Atlas Shrugged is selling faster right now than at any time in the 51 years since it was published. And with good reason: 

… In "Atlas," Rand tells the story of the U.S. economy crumbling under the weight of crushing government interventions and regulations. Meanwhile, blaming greed and the free market, Washington responds with more controls that only deepen the crisis. Sound familiar?

The novel's eerily prophetic nature is no coincidence. "If you understand the dominant philosophy of a society," Rand wrote elsewhere in "Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal," "you can predict its course." Economic crises and runaway government power grabs don't just happen by themselves; they are the product of the philosophical ideas prevalent in a society — particularly its dominant moral ideas.

Read the whole thing. And if you haven't read Atlas Shrugged — or read it decades ago and no longer have a copy to reread — this would be a good time to order a copy. Amazon.com has plenty.

HT: Ari Armstrong

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Jihad Against the West conference

Posted by Richard on October 17, 2006

If you’re in the Boston area this weekend (10/20-10/22), you might want to check out the Ayn Rand Institute’s three-day conference, The Jihad Against the West: The Real Threat and the Right Response.

Speakers include Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer, so this promises to be a really tremendous conference. The descriptions of the events certainly make me wish I could attend.

If you’re a student, the deal is irresistible: all the lectures and panel discussions are free, and the Saturday evening reception is just $15. See the registration page for details of on-site registration and proof of student status.

Non-students are presumed to be greedy, rich capitalists who can easily afford $30-55 for each event.

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