Atlas Shrugged: Fix Fic

Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?I sat through the indifferent acting, threadbare script and shoddy production values of Atlas Shrugged Part III for one reason above all: I was eager to see how they dealt with the Eddie problem.As you'll remember, the book ends with Ayn Rand stranding Eddie Willers in the desert to die alone of thirst and exposure, while none of his supercapitalist friends care or even remember him. It's a fate so callous that it even makes some of Rand's … [Read more...]

Have We Hit the Limits of Growth?

Ever since the Great Recession and the grindingly slow recovery that's followed, it's become an especially urgent question whether we can expect the future to be more prosperous than the past. Singularitarians and other techno-utopians predict that technology will make economic growth an ever-upward exponential curve, bringing undreamed-of material abundance and making each generation's life vastly better than the one that preceded it. On the other hand, skeptics argue that minimal or zero … [Read more...]

The 2016 Reason Rally

This weekend was the second Reason Rally in Washington, D.C., sequel to the original 2012 event. I was in attendance for most of the day, so here's my report.In 2012, it was cold and foggy with drizzling rain all day. This year, it was swelteringly hot and muggy on the National Mall, and a threatened thunderstorm never arrived. If you had enough water and a spot in the shade, it was bearable, although I'll bet a lot of attendees came away nursing sunburns. The crowding and heat under the … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: June 4

I'm in Washington, D.C. this weekend. If you're here for the Reason Rally, come find me! Meanwhile, here are some worthwhile long reads:• Since she'll very likely be our next president, you ought to read this in-depth profile of Hillary Clinton, the candidate and the person. To understand why she is who she is, you have to understand the male entitlement, sexist double standards, and sheer hateful prejudice that have dogged her throughout the decades of her career in public … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Also Starring

Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?On paper, Objectivism and other libertarian ideologies ought to appeal equally to the left and to the right. After all, libertarianism promotes economic deregulation, but also greater personal liberty, such as to take recreational drugs, have same-sex marriages, or use contraception. The parts that conservatives dislike, liberals ought to approve of, and vice versa. Yet in practice, libertarians consistently ally with conservatives and not with … [Read more...]

New on AlterNet: 10 Final Lessons from Atlas Shrugged

My latest column is now up on AlterNet, "Ayn Rand's Demented Mind Is Best Understood by Her Idea of the 'Happy Ending' in Her Bestseller 'Atlas Shrugged'". This is the third and last of the "10 Lessons" posts I've been writing, one for each section of Atlas Shrugged, that sums up the moral principles taught in each major section of the book (part two, part one). Read the excerpt below, then click through to see the rest:In Ayn Rand's eyes, this is a happy ending. The government thugs who … [Read more...]

How Billionaire Lawfare Threatens Free Speech

I didn't have a strong opinion on Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker Media for posting his sex tape, until I found out that Peter Thiel was secretly funding it. (You may remember him as the billionaire libertarian who's against democracy in general and women's suffrage in particular.) Thiel has held a grudge against Gawker since it outed him as gay a few years ago, and ever since then, he's been quietly looking for a lawsuit to back that could destroy the company. With this case, he may have … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: They Just Didn’t Care

Atlas Shrugged Part III: Who Is John Galt?After plucking her out of the burning wreckage of her crashed plane (an event that, like in the books, only causes minor bruising and slight sleepiness), bargain-basement Matthew McConaughey takes Dagny on a tour of the capitalists' secret utopia. Remember, Galt's Gulch is high in the alpine wilderness of the Rocky Mountains, so it makes total sense that they drive through towering groves of these:These must be the famous majestic redwoods of … [Read more...]

A More Diverse Humanism Is a Stronger Humanism

If you, like me, are tired of that obnoxious slogan "I'm not a feminist, I'm a humanist", there's good news: now you don't have to choose!To strengthen the humanist presence in social justice movements, today the American Humanist Association launched the Black Humanist Alliance, an adjunct organization that will promote racial justice and solidarity between the Black and humanist communities. In conjunction with the launch, the American Humanist Association is also relaunching its women's … [Read more...]

Changing Minds Takes Empathy (and Civility)

I used to follow the liberal writer Matt Bruenig's columns on politics and economics, but I stopped reading a while ago. Although I agreed with him more often than not, he radiated an attitude of aggressive contempt for anyone who disagreed with him that I found insufferable. That's why I wasn't surprised to hear about this:After multiple conversations, Matt Bruenig and Demos have agreed to disagree on the value of the attack mode on Twitter. We part ways on the effectiveness of these … [Read more...]


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