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If Ayn Rand had written a sequel to Atlas Shrugged, no doubt John Galt would have married Dagny Taggart. And romantic (realist!) that he was, he no doubt would have given her an engagement ring. But what kind? The ring itself would likely have been traditional gold which, after all, was the currency in Galt’s Gulch and would have been in the reborn world. But what of the stone? Ask a female friend whether she would want a natural diamond or a synthetic one and you’d likely get the stock answer, “Natural, of course!” After a moment’s reflection, the friend might ask, “Synthetic? Aren’t diamonds naturally occurring and rare?” Indeed, diamonds result when carbon is put under extreme heat and pressure deep in the Earth’s mantle for a billion years or more. Even when pushed closer to the surface by volcanic activity, it still takes expensive mining operations to extract them.  But technology to produce diamonds in laboratories has advanced significantly in recent years. Ladies, we’re talking real diamonds, not cubic zirconia, okay?  These real “rocks are actually “grown”...
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Among the women writing about liberty who captured the fancy of Ayn Rand was Rose Wilder Lane. Some may know her name from the popular "Little House" book series, which chronicled the life of Lane's parents, Laura and Almanzo Wilder. But Lane also wrote about the perils of collectivism, carving her own path as journalist and intellectual.    Lane, Rand and their friend Isabel Paterson, were dubbed by conservative William F. Buckley the "three furies" of libertarianism.  While Buckley, a fierce and unfair critic of Rand, may have meant the moniker pejoratively, the classic furies of Greek mythology fought for justice, which these three iconic leading ladies of liberty certainly did, each in their own way. This power trio of women acted as a force to shift the American conservative movement. And their brashness also opened doors "to sidestep the many cultural restrictions that guided proper conduct for women," wrote noted Stanford historian Jennifer Burns in a Dec.  15 piece...
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We all know that GOP Rep. Paul Ryan likes Ayn Rand.  Ohio Democrat Tim Ryan -- who recently lost his bid to unseat Nancy Pelosi as his party’s leader in the House -- probably not so much.  But what would Ayn Rand think of Tim Ryan hobbyhorse of pushing meditation policies on Capitol Hill? The answer might surprise you. Meditating on mindfulness Whenever politicians talk about meditation, you probably assume they’re either right wing religious nuts or left wing New Age wackos. In an interview ahead of his leadership bid, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace questioned the paucity of Tim Ryan’s legislative record, noting that in 14 years “the two big issues you’ve pushed are. . .  that you host meditation sessions every week on Capitol Hill, and that you got some federal money to teach. . . ‘mindfulness’ to students in your district.” Tim Ryan gave the obvious response that “the capital could use a little mindfulness.” But he then veered into the serious, offering that “if you look at social and emotional learning … they’ve just...
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For many Americans, Thanksgiving dinner begins with a prayer.   It is a chance to hold hands, to take a pause, to give thanks. Ayn Rand, firm exponent of reason and the originator of a philosophy for living on earth, would not have approved of praying to a deity.  Yet insofar as prayer is defined by the dictionary as a “solemn request or expression of thanks to an object of worship,” she certainly would have approved of a prayerful thanks during this holiday -- and she did. In one letter to friends -- a Spanish painter and his wife -- she emphasizes that she and Frank (her husband) wanted the couple “to come in time for Thanksgiving, so that we will have occasion to give thanks.”  By all accounts she enjoyed the uniquely American aspect of this family holiday: “Its essential, secular meaning is a celebration of successful production.”  She saw Thanksgiving as an occasion not just of gratitude, but pride:  “Just as it is the pride of American parents that their children need never know starvation,” our pride should be our productive...
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The morning after Donald Trump’s presidential victory, I attended the weekly Wednesday Meeting hosted by Americans for Tax Reform, as I have for nearly two decades. Two decades ago, when then-First Lady Hillary Clinton was asked what constituted the “vast right-wing conspiracy,” she could only name this off-the-record gathering. It’s a kind of big tent bulletin board where center-right groups announce their projects and priorities, share information, sometimes disagree with one another, but often make common cause and build coalitions. Hardly a conspiracy! Trump had not been the first choice for President of some of the Wednesday Meeting denizens who disagreed with some his policies or had concerns about his personal shortcomings. But the folks in the room for the post-election meeting generally were smiling, and moods ranged from “Wow, unbelievable!”  to “Think of the possibilities!” The latter, in particular, is what ATR president and meeting chair Grover Norquist was thinking when he explained to me that he’s quite optimistic, that the GOP House and Senate could pass limited government that...

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