The Fountainhead: Remembering Seneca Village

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 7Although Ayn Rand's philosophy wasn't fully developed in The Fountainhead compared to where it was in Atlas Shrugged, there are some things that are consistent across her books. One of them is this: The heroes know they're the heroes, and the villains know they're the villains.This isn't how it really works. The idea that Bad People are aware they're Bad is a trope that only exists in fiction. Other than in rare and exceptional cases, everyone acts … [Read more...]

Cleansing the Stain of the Confederacy

Last month, the city of New Orleans began removing four public monuments to the Confederacy. The monuments, which date back to the 19th century, include statues of Confederate leaders Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and Jefferson Davis. Possibly the most shocking of the four is a memorial to the post-Civil-War Battle of Liberty Place, when a white supremacist group called the Crescent City White League staged an insurrection against the city's integrated police force and government. They … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: The Buried Past

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 6I've mentioned Ellsworth Toohey, the sinister socialist architecture critic who turns out to be the Big Bad of this novel. Now he's taken the first step in his malevolent plan for world domination, and it's... *dramatic chord* writing a book about architecture.Sermons in Stone by Ellsworth M. Toohey was published in January of the year 1925.It had a fastidious jacket of midnight blue with plain silver letters and a silver pyramid in one corner. It … [Read more...]

The Fountainhead: Roaring Twenties

The Fountainhead, part 1, chapter 4The 1920s in America were a glamorous, atmospheric decade of excess, social upheaval and cultural ferment. Al Capone and other legendary gangsters shot their way into the public consciousness, whether as lurid villains or Robin Hood-esque antiheroes. F. Scott Fitzgerald immortalized Jazz Age wealth and decadence in novels like The Great Gatsby. Radio and cinema conquered culture as the new organs of mass media. The Harlem Renaissance was at its height, … [Read more...]

The St. Louis Manifest

I wasn't able to join in the massive protests at JFK over the weekend - not being able to jet off on short notice is one disadvantage of having a baby to care for, alas - but I was cheered up to see them. After a dark few months where it seemed as if America's progressive spirit was dead, this is one of the first real signs of a backlash against the poisonous racism that's wormed its way into our government.Even so, the illegal Muslim ban, decreed with no warning or debate, has already … [Read more...]

The White Supremacist Roots of Evangelicalism

I came across an anguished essay by Amy Gannett, a millennial evangelical writer, that's titled "How Evangelicals are Losing an Entire Generation". With a teaser like that, I just had to read on, and I wasn't disappointed. In the post, she explains how Donald Trump's nomination is resulting in her "losing faith in Evangelicals":This morning, I had no more than opened the app on my phone and there it was: Wayne Gruedem's endorsement of Donald Trump.Maybe you're unfamiliar with Grudem, … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: Manifest Destiny

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter VII, The SpeechJohn Galt is still talking. In this section of the speech, which is the last part that I'll cover, he addresses an important question: what happens to the people who listen to him and come away convinced?After all, you've got to admit, he waited till pretty late in the game to deliver this grand manifesto. Civilization is disintegrating; the world is on an irreversible slide into violent anarchy and mass starvation. He's already swooped in … [Read more...]

Book Review: 1491

Summary: Like a watcher of the skies when a new planet swims into his ken.It's a common belief that, when Europeans first encountered them, the Native Americans were living a hunter-gatherer lifestyle scarcely changed from that of the earliest humans. This idea spans the political spectrum: from those on the left, who idealize indigenous people as living a purer, simpler life in harmony with nature, to those on the right, like Ayn Rand, who called them "savages" and cheered colonial settlers … [Read more...]

Atlas Shrugged: The Problem of Original Property

Atlas Shrugged, part III, chapter IINow that his brief moment of genuine, appropriate emotion is over, Francisco goes back to doing what he does best - delivering Randian Monologues. In this one, he explains to Dagny how he joined John Galt's conspiracy:"Dagny, when I took over my father's business, when I began to deal with the whole industrial system of the world, it was then that I began to see the nature of the evil I had suspected, but thought too monstrous to believe. I saw the … [Read more...]

Erasing the Past, Denying the Future

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...]