Atlas Shrugged: Pump and Dump

BurningMoney

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter II After Francisco's big speech comes to an end, a suitably impressed Hank Rearden comes over to talk to him: "Before I met you, I used to wonder how you could waste a fortune such as yours. Now it's worse, because I can't despise you as I did, as I'd like to, yet the question is much more terrible: How can you waste a mind such as yours?" Francisco parries that he doesn't think he is wasting it. Rearden asks Francisco why he doesn't practice what he … [Read more...]

On the Morality of: Self-Plagiarism

In my last link roundup, I mentioned a damning story that leveled charges of rampant plagiarism against Chris Hedges, a left-wing writer who really loathes New Atheism. According to the story, which was published in the New Republic after other progressive outlets declined to run it, Hedges has lifted ideas, sentences and whole passages without attribution from many other people's work, from fellow reporters at Harper's to Naomi Klein, Neil Postman and Ernest Hemingway (!!). Even though I'd … [Read more...]

Outrageous Attacks on Supporters of Church-State Separation: Death Threats, Murdered Pets, and Vandalized Property

StatueOfLiberty2

This article was originally published on AlterNet. Although the United States is a democracy where the will of the majority is sovereign, our framers knew that being persecuted by a mob is no better than being persecuted by a tyrant. That's why they designed the Bill of Rights to be a counter-majoritarian document, limiting what laws can be passed and protecting the rights of minorities against the overreach of the majority. There's no better example than the First Amendment, which forbids … [Read more...]

Weekend Coffee: June 14

Coffee

• Chris Hedges, the left-wing firebrand who really, really despises New Atheists, is apparently a serial plagiarist, according to a lengthy and damning article this week in the New Republic. • In the why-all-atheists-are-Hitler department: Part of the SS oath in Nazi Germany was to swear their allegiance to God and say that atheists are "not one of us". • I wrote in 2007 about José Luis de Jesus Miranda, a kook and would-be cult leader who claimed to be Jesus reincarnated. … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Three-Fifths Compromise

AntiSlavery

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter II Let me make one thing clear, to begin with: I don't think Ayn Rand was an unintelligent person. She was fiercely dogmatic in her opinions, quick to anger, possessed an enormous ego, and rarely if ever forgave. She also had more than a few intellectual blind spots, which I've been pointing out throughout this series. But I believe she put real thought into her moral system, flawed as it is, and had a genuine desire to be taken seriously as a … [Read more...]

A Christian vs. an Atheist: On God and Government, Part 5

This is part 5 of my "Think! Of God and Government" debate series with Christian author Andrew Murtagh. Read my latest post and Andrew's reply. Andrew, Thanks again for making the trip out to my neck of the woods the other week. I thought the turnout for our second live debate was excellent! I was surprised by how many people told us we should do this again, so maybe that's something to consider for the future. Personally, I could go on about the roots of morality forever. But since I … [Read more...]

TV Review: Cosmos, Episode 13

CosmosEpisode13

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Episode 13, "Unafraid of the Dark" For their final episode, the authors of a show usually focus on their core message, on the one element that lies at the heart of what they want to say. The new Cosmos is no exception, and for the series finale, what they chose to emphasize was intellectual humility: the fact of our fallibility and the immensity of how much we still don't know. In the vastness of the cosmos, there are many wonders yet to be revealed; but it's only … [Read more...]

#800deadbabies: A Fresh Catholic Horror

In the last few years, Ireland has been reckoning with a shameful part of its history: the Magdalene laundries. Established in the 1700s and surviving well into the 20th century, these were church-run institutions, overseen by nuns, where women were sent for transgressing against conventional morality or custom, or simply because they were viewed as a burden to society. Prostitutes, unwed mothers, rape victims, orphans, the mentally and physically disabled, or those who were deemed too … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Incorruptibles

SterlingSilver

Atlas Shrugged, part II, chapter II The time has come for the first of The Speeches. These are Ayn Rand's infamous filibusters in which the action comes to a halt so that one of her characters can deliver a lengthy philosophical lecture expounding their author's views. The speech in this chapter is one of the shorter ones - a mere 2,600 words, scarcely a footnote compared to what's coming later - but even that would take at least 20 minutes to recite at normal speed. Naturally, in the world … [Read more...]

Religious Violence Isn’t a Mental Illness, and Neither Is Misogyny

Sexism

In the wake of the mass shooting in California last month, committed by a killer who left a long, misogynist manifesto vowing to punish women for not dating him, many pundits and commenters have strained to blame something other than sexism for his rampage. The most common claim is that the shooter, Elliot Rodger, was mentally ill, that the illness was the real cause of his killing, and the misogyny is just what his disturbed mind happened to latch onto as an excuse; if not for that, it would … [Read more...]


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