Friday 26 June 2015
Adam Lee, Patheos

When John Galt quit the Twentieth Century Motor Company, he made it his mission to search for the men of ability – “those bright flares in the growing night of savagery” – and to convince them that they should withdraw their talents from an ungrateful world. Midas Mulligan, who bought the valley piece by piece as a private resort, decided to throw the gates open after Galt persuaded him to join the strike. At first it was just a vacation retreat, but as the collapse of civilization accelerated, they decided to turn it into a permanent, self-sufficient home.

There’s an annihilating irony here that Ayn Rand was totally oblivious to. Her philosophy is the supreme exaltation of selfishness and individualism – the fierce rejection of the idea that human beings have any moral responsibilities or commitments toward each other. But in spite of all that, she’s scripted a plot where, in order to succeed, her heroes have to engage in collective action. To defeat the evil looters, they have to agree to work together and to subordinate their individual selfish desires to the greater good of the group.

Posted about 4 years ago Publication date: 26 Jun 2015
Saturday 06 June 2015
Tarso Genro, Carta Maior

Fiquei chocado, há muito anos, quando li o livro de Ayn Rand e pensei que ele não teria menor chance de se tornar importante. Eis que ele, hoje, é a bíblia nem tão secreta, mas universal, anti-religiosa (a religião professa a solidariedade com o próximo), anti-marxista (o marxismo professa a solidariedade de classe), anti-aristotélica (que professa a subsunção da ética na política, para o bem da cidade), bíblia, portanto, que recomenda substituir os sentimentos humanos -dos quais derivam as reflexões ético-morais- por “juízos objetivos e científicos”, estes, entendidos como interesse pessoal, “algum motivo pessoal”, como diz a autora.

Um exemplo típico da aplicação viva desta filosofia moral é o carrasco Eichmannn “sentado em um escritório organizando papéis e dando telefonemas importantes”, cuidando do seu emprego, do seu interesse pessoal, e lidando com dados “objetivos” da sua função pública de natureza contratual, como burocrata do Terceiro Reich, enquanto milhares de judeus, que ele não contabilizava nos seus “sentimentos pessoais”, morriam nos campos de concentração.

Posted about 4 years ago Publication date: 06 Jun 2015
Sunday 26 April 2015
The Times (London)

Nathaniel Branden, psychotherapist and writer, was born on April 9, 1930. He died of Parkinson’s disease on December 3, 2014, aged 84 The psychotherapist Nathaniel Branden was known as “the father of the self-esteem movement”. He was however, infamous for spreading the rationalist ideas of his guru and onetime lover, the philosopher and writer Ayn Rand.

He was 24 and she 49 when their relationship began. Their respective spouses knew of the affair, with Rand openly declaring: “If Nathan and I are who we are, if we see what we see in each other, if we mean the values we profess how can we not be in love?” They met twice weekly at her apartment; Rand’s husband, Frank O'Connor, would pass the time in the nearby cinema.

Posted about 4 years ago Publication date: 22 Apr 2015
Thursday 09 April 2015
Elias Isquith, Salon

There’s much to be said about the philosophy of objectivism in terms of standing up for yourself or not compromising your beliefs. These are things everybody certainly should learn, to have strength of character, but she just takes it a little too far…

Posted over 4 years ago Publication date: 09 Apr 2015
Tuesday 10 March 2015
Paul Levy, Epoch Times

A business can be more or less “conscious”. Consciousness can be viewed along a number of different dimensions. Take Fred Kofman’s, quotes from the Ayn-Rand-acolyte Nathaniel Branden, who died earlier this month and whose broad view of consciousness went beyond this simplistic “good and kind” definition used by so many…

Posted over 4 years ago Publication date: 10 Mar 2015
Thursday 26 February 2015
Nicole Halper, Students for Liberty

Rand is one of the most controversial thinkers of our age, and the first to appropriate a philosophy that holds man’s reason as his highest faculty. Her works give voice to capitalism as a principle-based value structure that necessarily opposes collectivist ideas and protects individual rights so you can do what you want. Objectivism holds human achievement and capability as the highest ideals. Objectivist ethics are a basis for many Conservative, Libertarian and Tea Party principles. Major figures like Alan Greenspan, Ron/Rand Paul, and Jimmy Wales have self-identified as Objectivists. The following is growing. Objectivist book sales have historically increased during every US financial crisis since Atlas’ publication.

Posted over 4 years ago Publication date: 02 Feb 2015
Monday 16 February 2015
Jeff Deist, Mises Daily (Ludwig von Mises Institute)

JD: So, did you ever spend any time in his New York apartment and did you know Joey Rothbard as well?

DG: Oh yes, well I knew Joey very well. She was very protective of Murray. They had met when they were both at Columbia. She was very, very smart, very well read. She knew American history very well.

JD: And of course, she was protective of him and then he ultimately found himself in hot water with the Ayn Rand circle over the fact that Joey was not rational enough for them in the sense that she was religious.

DG: Oh yes, yes. I remember she told me that one of the things they wanted her to do, they didn’t want him to divorce her right away because she was religious, but they wanted her to listen to their stuff and they thought if she did, then she would convert to their views.

Posted over 4 years ago Publication date: 16 Feb 2015
Sunday 25 January 2015
Sheldon Richman, Reason

In 1971, the year before the first LP presidential ticket, John Hospers and Tonie Nathan, got an electoral vote, the New York Times Magazine published a five-thousand-word article by two libertarian college seniors: Stan Lehr and Louis Rossetto Jr., later a co-founder of Wired magazine. The article was titled “The New Right Credo—Libertarianism” (I gag on the title too), and it discussed the political and economic ideas of Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, Karl Hess, and others.

Posted over 4 years ago Publication date: 25 Jan 2015
Thursday 22 January 2015
Alex Vadukul, New York Times

It was also in Kips Bay that Ms. Grant was able to fully embrace her passion for the teachings of Ayn Rand, who lived in nearby Murray Hill, famously holding smoke-filled salons for her acolytes, a congregation she dubbed the Collective. A young Alan Greenspan, the future Federal Reserve chairman and a favorite of Rand’s, and Nathaniel Branden, one of her most prominent disciples, would attend. One essay about those times describes how a “typical New York Randian, upon his or her conversion, would leave his parents and find an apartment as close to Rand as possible.” The article added that “virtually the entire New York movement” lived within a few square blocks.

Vivian Greczka also changed her name to the more Randian-sounding Vivian Grant, as was customary. Beyond personal accounts of the salon, not much is known of Ms. Grant’s involvement with Rand’s circle; she was most likely Junior Collective and not a part of the circle closest to the author. In any event, it would not be long before her appointment with Dr. Friedman.

Posted over 4 years ago Publication date: 23 Jan 2015
Tuesday 30 December 2014
Will Storr, Medium - Matter

At the close of the decade, the idea that self-esteem was the key to psychological riches finally exploded. The trigger was Nathaniel Branden, a handsome Canadian psychotherapist who had moved to Los Angeles as a disciple of the philosopher Ayn Rand. One of Rand’s big ideas was that moral good would arise when humans ruthlessly pursued their own self-interest. She and Branden began a tortuous love affair, and her theories had an intense impact on the young psychotherapist.

Posted over 4 years ago Publication date: 25 Feb 2014
Tuesday 16 December 2014
Paul Levy, The Conversation

A business can be more or less “conscious”. Consciousness can be viewed along a number of different dimensions. Take Fred Kofman’s, quotes from the Ayn-Rand-acolyte Nathaniel Branden, who died earlier this month and whose broad view of consciousness went beyond this simplistic “good and kind” definition used by so many…

Posted over 4 years ago Publication date: 16 Dec 2014
Sunday 14 December 2014
Sheldon Richman, Reason

Branden, of course, became known to the world as the man who helped systematize and present the philosophy dramatized in Ayn Rand’s novels, especially Atlas Shrugged. The Objectivist movement became an integral part of the budding libertarian movement in the late 1950s and ‘60s. After his break with Rand, Branden moved from New York City to Los Angeles, where he made a name for himself through a series of books about the role of self-esteem in the pursuit of happiness, work he had begun while he was Rand’s associate.

I’ll have nothing to say here about the biographical details of the two that have attracted so much attention over the last 40-plus years. Nor will I explore what I believe are epistemological and ethical shortcomings in Objectivism.

Posted over 4 years ago Publication date: 14 Dec 2014