Atlas Shrugged: The Colossal Contradiction

Stay_Away

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IAs we've seen previously, the supercapitalists hiding out in Galt's Gulch call Dagny a "scab", a grave insult for a worker who crosses a union picket line. Given that the word was coined by labor organizers, one might think Rand's heroes were using it ironically - but it turns out they mean it in a very literal sense, as Dagny finds out when she asks them why they've quit their jobs and forsaken the world:"Why?" she cried. "Why? What are you doing, … [Read more...]

How the Cross Is Like the Confederate Flag

You can make a bad argument in support of a good conclusion. That's how I felt reading this column "The Cross and the Confederate Flag", written by Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention in the aftermath of the Charleston massacre.Unlike his predecessor Richard Land, who was an all-culture-war-all-the-time partisan, Moore has shown some genuine signs of wanting to listen to marginalized voices. In his column, he takes an unflinching look at the deep-seated history of racism and … [Read more...]

The Charleston Shooting Is No Mystery

By now, you've heard about the massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina where nine people were murdered, including Clementa Pinckney, the pastor and a state senator. The alleged shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, wore the patches of white-supremacist regimes, told police that he wanted to start a race war, wrote a virulently racist manifesto, and reportedly said to one of the survivors, "You rape our women, and you're taking over our country... you have to go." So of course, … [Read more...]

Photo Sunday: Solstice

StonehengeSolstice

In spite of all our technology crafted to isolate us from the natural world, human beings feel the call of the seasons, the axial pull of gravity and sunlight. We gather across the millennia, drawn by the same deep impulse that first inspired the ancient builders to rear these stones.Image: Summer solstice gathering at Stonehenge, June 2014. Via Paul Townsend, released under CC BY-ND 2.0 license. … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Hippocratic Oath

Caduceus1

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IDagny's first day in John Galt's secret capitalist valley, and her whirlwind tour of its inhabitants, ends with a dinner party at Midas Mulligan's house later that night:Midas Mulligan met them at the door. She noticed that his grim, square face was not as harshly expressionless as she had thought: he had a look of satisfaction, but satisfaction could not soften his features, it merely struck them like flint and sent sparks of humor to glitter faintly … [Read more...]

Erasing the Past, Denying the Future

BeachWaves

In the eyes of the religious conservative movement, America's best days are always in the past. They bemoan the modern era of activist government, heightened sensitivity, and moral complexity, and look back fondly to an imaginary golden age where the wealthy could do as they pleased, the state bowed down to the church, and men were real men and women and minorities were subservient. And when inconvenient reality threatens to show that the United States was never the shining city on the hill that … [Read more...]

New on the Guardian: Can There Be an Atheist Vote?

My latest column on the Guardian is up: "We atheists can use growing clout to beat evangelicals at their own political game".Trying to organize atheists politically is often compared to herding cats. The conventional wisdom is that, while evangelical Christians and other religious groups march in lockstep and can be counted on to vote as a bloc, atheists are all cussed individualists who argue constantly and will never speak with anything like a unified voice, so there's no point in … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Ayn Rand on Mike Wallace

Ayn-Rand-COnviction

PBS' "Blank on Blank" web series animates and dramatizes classic interviews conducted with famous names. They contacted me this week to let me know that they've just released a new episode centered on Ayn Rand's 1959 interview with Mike Wallace, about her philosophy of moral selfishness. As she always did, she claimed that it was objectively true, completely unique to her, and the most important innovation in philosophy in the history of the human race.Wallace also quizzed her about her … [Read more...]

Secular Students Week 2015: How to Win at Activism

SSAWeek2015

It's Secular Students Week, when we old folk interview the next generation of secular activists and share stories of the fantastic work that they're doing. The Secular Student Alliance has a goal to get 500 donations this week, and if they reach this goal, they'll unlock a $20,000 challenge grant! Donate and help them reach their goal here.For this post, I spoke to Sarah McCarter of the Students for Free-thought at the University of Michigan-Flint, whom you may remember from my column in the … [Read more...]

Friday Night Music: Ship to Wreck

Florence + the Machine has just released How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, their first new album in almost four years. Florence Welch is in full form, singing about love lost and heartbreak with all the storm and fury that magnificently tempestuous voice is capable of. Alanis Morrisette only wishes she could get this much musical mileage out of a breakup: … [Read more...]


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