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"In the broad valley, far below him, in the first sunlight of early morning, he saw a town. Only it was not a town. Towns did not look like that. He had to suspend the possible for a while longer, to seek no questions or explanations, only to look.” The above was Ayn Rand's description of Howard Roark's Monadnock Valley development in The Fountainhead.  Rand is revered -- and reviled -- as a philosopher and novelist.  But to me she was also an artist.  She defined art as a recreation of reality according to an artist’s values.  And in her work she recreated an inspirational world of heroes, light, and flourishing. That is why The Atlas Society chose art as an arena for intellectual and spiritual engagement with Ayn Rand’s ideas.  The 25-year-old philosophical organization capped 2016 with winners of first annual Atlas Art Contest. Over 400 entries were narrowed down to 21 artists by a panel of four judges:
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I’ve always viewed Ayn Rand’s most famous novel, Atlas Shrugged, as a  arning about the dangers of over-regulation, over-taxation, and excessive redistribution.I won’t spoil the plot for those who haven’t yet read the book, but it’s basically a story about what happens to a society when the people pulling the wagon decide that’s no longer how they want to spend their lives.And as these highly productive people begin to opt out, politicians come up with ever-crazier ideas of keeping the economy going.The most absurd example, something that could only happen in a dystopian work of fiction rather than real life, was “Directive 10-289,” an edict from the government to prevent continued contraction by requiring everybody in the economy to do...
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Flame away but I’m just going to say it: pot is disgusting. Smoking pot is the worst of all. The stuff stinks. It’s worse than regular cigarettes, in my view. I don’t like to be in the same indoor space with people who are doing it. Libertarians are celebrating the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states, including California where potheads celebrated with vandalizing the iconic Hollywood sign by turning it into “Hollyweed.”  Others are celebrating by planning to hand out free joints at the Trump inauguration.   Well, here’s one libertarian anarchist who isn’t celebrating.  While of course I’m happy with less government controls over any aspect of human behavior, and getting these poor souls out of prison is essential, I actually agree with Ayn Rand on this one:  “I would fight for your legal right to use marijuana; I would fight you to the death that you morally should not do it, because it destroys the mind.” Sorry, my friends, but pot makes you dopey.  It thereby ruins social occasions by making the whole scene less intelligent. And it is extremely rude to smoke that stuff around people like me who won’t touch the stuff. It is especially annoying to attempt to belittle and poke fun of those of us who have...
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(Edited from original article published on March 7th, 2010.) If you are like many people, you made some resolutions to improve your life in some way in the new year. Maybe you resolved to quit smoking, eat less, or exercise more. Maybe you made a commitment to floss every day. But chances are this is not the first time you have tried to make such changes. A week into the new year, you may already be struggling to keep your promise to yourself, or you may already have faltered and perhaps even abandoned your resolve. Why do New Year’s resolutions seem to be so hard to keep? MAGICAL THINKING Wanting to achieve something, even a lot, is no guarantor of success. Wishing doesn’t make it so. In addition to desire, then, I must know how to get what I want. I must take pains to discover the best course of action. Reality is a ruthless arbiter, and so reason must ultimately guide me if I am to reach my goal. Many of us, though, rely on our intuitions to tell us what will work, and we are often led astray. Break down bigger goals into measurable sub-goals. What are some of the...
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Arnold ran from the fight.  At 14, having grown up in the Bronx, he was no stranger to brawls.  But when a much older bully started shoving, then punching him, jeered on by a crowd, he didn’t even pretend to stand up to his tormentor.  He fled. Dr. Arnold Nerenberg -- psychologist, Objectivist, cancer survivor, bodybuilder, and felon -- traces the depression that shrouded his his teenage years to that moment: "It was what I perceived as my act of cowardness that was traumatizing," he told me. The ensuing depression -- with symptoms of crippling shyness -- proved immune to prescription medications.  It wasn’t until he discovered Ayn Rand, and studied psychology, that he was able to turn his tribulations into triumphs. He began his own practice as clinical psychologist, catering primarily to low-income Latinos in Whittier, California, treating issues of workplace stress, anxiety, depression, panic disorders and relationship issues.   He wanted to share Ayn Rand’s message of self-reliance, achievement and individual responsibility with his flock, but he found there were certain cultural barriers. “Latinos are very friendly. They need...

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