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.
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 More than two weeks ago, the governor of Texas completely reversed his devastating lockdown policies and repealed all his emergency powers, along with the egregious attacks on rights and liberties.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.
What a glorious thing the reopening is! After nearly a year of darkening times, the light has begun to dawn, at least in the US. Given how incredibly political this pandemic has been from the beginning, many people smell a rat. Is it really the case that the reopening of the American economy, particularly in blue states, is so perfectly timed? Do the science and politics really line up so well?
As a naturally optimistic person, it vexes me that the word catastrophe has echoed in my mind since early March 2020. It’s the word the great smallpox eradicator Donald Henderson used in his 2006 prediction of the consequences of lockdown, a word that wasn’t around then. His masterful article addressed the idea of travel restrictions, forced human separation, business and school closings, mask mandates, limits on public gatherings, quarantines, and the entire litany of brutality to which we’ve been subjected for nearly a year, all summed up in the word lockdown.
What better way to begin a review of what is an excellent book than to say that the book’s author always knew. It’s as simple as that. Jeffrey Tucker knew in March of 2020 that tragic times were ahead.I remember it vividly. In February of 2020 witless headline writers were trying in vain to tie a falling stock market to a coronavirus that investors had been pricing for many weeks. They revealed their misunderstanding of big market lurches. They’re a consequence of surprise. In February the surprise wasn’t a virus that had been in the news since early January; rather it was the presidential primary success of a since forgotten socialist by the name of Bernie Sanders. Of course, by month’s end Sanders was falling as quickly as he had risen. Stocks soared as a risk-factor to future growth was vanquished. Sanders, as I argue in my upcoming book When Politicians Panicked, was the original “coronavirus.”
I was born under the flag of the People’s Republic of China, a country that remains under the absolute rule of the Chinese Communist Party to this day. I have very few memories of my early childhood in mainland China, save for a visit to the Forbidden City—a brief tourist stop when my family traveled to the American consulate in Beijing to apply for a visa.