The Fountainhead: Hooray for Unions

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 9Ayn Rand wasn't one for understatement. When she had a political point to make, she did it with all the subtlety of a big brass band. This makes it all the more noteworthy when she lets a controversial topic pass without comment. And one of those silences, the topic of today's post, is a surprising one.It begins with the city's construction workers going on strike:The strike of the building-trades unions infuriated Guy Francon. The strike had … [Read more...]

The Pro-Slavery History of the Southern Baptists

Last week, the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention was thrown into chaos by a proposal to condemn racism and the alt-right. This CNN article has a good timeline of how it played out: The debate began when Rev. Dwight McKissic, a black pastor from Arlington, Texas, called on Southern Baptists to formally condemn the movement's "retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases, and racial bigotries" and re-affirm its opposition to racism in the aftermath of a presidential election that saw … [Read more...]

On the Reciprocity of Compassion

You've probably heard about the shooting at a Congressional baseball game. America has had mass shootings in just about every other public place by now, so it was inevitable that this would eventually rebound on the government that refuses to do anything about them. The attacker was killed by police, and four people were wounded, including Republican House majority whip Steve Scalise. He was shot in the hip and badly injured, but is expected to pull through.If you've never heard of Steve … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: American Eclectic

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 9After months of hitting one dead end after another, Howard Roark finally gets a lucky break in his job hunt - not that Ayn Rand ever acknowledged the existence of luck:John Erik Snyte looked through Roark's sketches, flipped three of them aside, gathered the rest into an even pile, glanced again at the three, tossed them down one after another on top of the pile, with three sharp thuds, and said:"Remarkable. Radical, but remarkable. What are you … [Read more...]

Is Belief in Hell Inherently Hateful?

In 2015, the evangelical Wheaton College fired Larycia Hawkins, a political science professor, for taking a stance of solidarity with Muslims against hateful rhetoric. Ostensibly this was because Hawkins, a black woman, had contravened the college's statement of faith by suggesting that Christians and Muslims worship the same god. Unofficially, it's easy to see as a reaffirmation that evangelical Christianity is a religion only for bigoted white people.At the time, a Wheaton graduate named … [Read more...]

FGM: An American Problem

We may like to think that the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation is a Third World relic, happening only in distant and uncivilized backwaters. Not so. FGM is happening right here in America, in communities of successful and highly educated people.Here's some unfortunate evidence. In April, the FBI arrested Jumana Nagarwala, an emergency-room doctor and native-born American citizen, on charges of cutting two seven-year-old girls. Two more people, including another doctor, were … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: New York, New York

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 8Jobless again, Roark goes back to pounding the pavement. He makes a list of architects - the ones "whose work he resented least" - and methodically works his way through it, applying to one firm after another. But at each one, he meets with rejection (not surprising considering his interview technique):It was not a judgment passed upon his merit. They did not think he was worthless. They simply did not care to find out whether he was good. Sometimes, … [Read more...]

Letter-Writing Wednesday: The Problem of Religious Pharmacists

One of my earliest blog posts was about right-wing pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions on religious grounds. It's still a problem.This week, I read this story of a Walgreens in New Mexico whose pharmacist refused to fill a woman's prescription for misoprostol. It's a common drug for stomach ulcers, but it also relaxes the cervix, which makes it useful for abortion, for inducing birth, or for preparing for an IUD insertion. You get one guess which of those uses this sanctimonious … [Read more...]

Dystopia Journal #6: Paris Burning

On election night, of all the bleak things I imagined, the worst was that Trump would take America out of the fight against global warming. Unsurprisingly, he has.This is the consequence that counts. The embarrassment and the decline in our national prestige are real, but will fade in time when a competent administration takes power. No matter how badly Trump and the GOP mismanage the economy, even the worst depression ends eventually. However many people terrorists may kill in their … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: As Long As It’s Black

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 8One day at work, Howard Roark is unexpectedly called into the boss' office:"Mr. Keating has been telling me very nice things about you," Francon tried pleasantly and stopped. It was wasted courtesy; Roark just sat looking at him, waiting."Listen... what's your name?""Roark.""Listen, Roark. We have a client who is a little... odd, but he's an important man, a very important man, and we have to satisfy him. He's given us a commission for an … [Read more...]