Ayn Rand is America’s most controversial individualist. She was a bold woman who produced brilliant works fusing fiction and philosophy. Her best-selling novels, like Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, continue to sell in the millions of copies worldwide. Learn more about her ideas by selecting a reading list below.
Besides “capitalism,” the two concepts perhaps most reviled by left-leaning intellectuals are “neoliberalism” and “supply-side economics.” These intellectuals harbor an odd antagonism, because each concept is associated with greater freedom, prosperity, and security. As such, one might suspect that the antagonists yearn for something other than these human values.
Think for a moment about Directive 10-289. It was passed via executive edict amidst a collapsing economy. Factories were shutting down. Workers were fleeing their jobs. Production was grinding to a halt. People were starting to panic. Government decided to do something to fix the problem. It ordered everyone to keep doing what they were doing before. It tried to stop history.
The last 14 months elevated a global group of intellectuals and bureaucrats about which most people had previously cared very little. Among them, the ones who believe least in freedom entrenched their power, thanks to a big push by the lavishly funded but largely discredited World Health Organization. The WHO tapped an “independent panel” (the fix was already in: the panel’s head is former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark) to figure out what the world did right and did wrong in response to Covid-19. The final report has all the expected verbiage about the needs for more global coordination and largesse going to public health.
Repeatedly this year we have heard the admonition, from acolytes of Covid-19 lockdowns, to “follow the science.” Many of the admonishers presume that lockdown skeptics are myopic, “anti-science” miscreants infected with a reckless disregard for human health, safety, and life. Yes, some people are so emotional, phobic, religious, or political that they cannot reason right; but can there be no rational, healthy skepticism about the health effects of Covid-19 or the health-wealth effects of lockdowns? Nothing can be farther from the truth – nothing farther from . . . science.
I’m sitting at a bar in Texas, surrounded by maskless people, looking at folks on the streets walking around like life is normal, talking with nice and friendly faces, feeling like things in the world are more-or-less normal. Cases and deaths attributed to Covid are, like everywhere else, falling dramatically. If you pay attention only to the media fear campaigns, you would find this confusing. More than two weeks ago, the governor of Texas completely reversed his devastating lockdown policies and repealed all his emergency powers, along with the egregious attacks on rights and liberties.
A century ago, as the post-war world struggled with recovery from the Spanish Flu pandemic, totalitarian movements rose to power and would go on to shake the very foundations of human civilization. Two ideologies, German National Socialism (Nazism) and Soviet Communism, left behind a legacy of mass death, unparalleled destruction, and soul-shattering poverty.
Back around 2007, investor John Paulsen began to feel skeptical about the viability of mortgage securities. Though demand for them was much greater than supply, Paulsen sensed that lending standards had plummeted so far that loan delinquencies were set to surge. The “third rate” hedge fund manager (that’s what those who covered him at top investment banks felt) proceeded to very inexpensively purchase insurance on mortgages. He was able to because the consensus in the marketplace was that he was very wrong.