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Seventy years ago Ayn Rand, thankful for finding refuge in the United States from the totalitarian Soviet Union, wrote a short essay series entitled “Textbook of Americanism.” As we mark the 240th anniversary of this country’s birth, we can ask, “What would Ayn Rand think about Americanism today?” and “What lessons can her work offer us?”   1940s Hollywood in love with communism “Textbook” first appeared in 1946 in The Vigil, which was published by the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. At the time, Rand was becoming well-known for her novel The Fountainhead. But Hollywood was becoming well-known for its Communist sympathies. Rand’s novel from 1937, We the Living, was set against the backdrop of the horrors of communism. It was not well...
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A conversation I had a dozen years ago in Hungary about that country’s milk helps explain why the British voted to leave the European Union. As part of the Hungarians’ efforts to transform their economy after communism, they planned to join the EU, which they saw as a more free-market-oriented alternative to the collapsed Soviet bloc. But some policy folks I met with told me that one of their challenges concerned locally produced milk. It did not meet EU standards, so their dairies would have to go through a not-insignificant transformation. Furthermore, Hungarians liked their milk the way it was. Were there health issues? Were people dropping in the streets of Budapest from lactose-related illnesses? No! It was just that the EU wanted uniform standards for products across countries. Why not just label it “Magyar Milk”? I asked. Why not...
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1) Tell us who you are? What’s the couple of sentence summary of what you do and what you’ve done? I’m Heather Wagenhals, native Phoenician (from Phoenix, Arizona, that is!), author, speaker, professional coach, and radio talk-show host. I am a biology-based personal finance expert, certified identity theft risk management Specialist, and in my writing, speaking, and personal and professional appearances I discuss the “why we do what we do” from a biology and behavior based perspective. I help people identify what’s keeping them where they are from where they want to be, and how to deploy specific techniques to achieve whatever it is they desire whether it’s better money management, better weight management, career management, etc. 2) When did you first become familiar with Ayn Rand and her...
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1) Tell us who you are? What’s the couple of sentence summary of what you do and what you’ve done? I am a professor of psychology at Manhattan College. I recently finished serving as chairperson for the department for a 10-year period and am now going back to teaching full time. I teach courses in introductory psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, and sensation and perception. My specialty area is in vision research and my current research focus is on empirical aesthetics. That is the scientific study of beauty and art. I am currently working on a textbook on the psychology of beauty and art from an interdisciplinary perspective.   2) When did you first become familiar with Ayn Rand and her works? When I read The Fountainhead in the early 1990s, I was sick with the flu and forced to stay inside...
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The term “father figure” expresses the influence and example that a pater familias has on most of us. Ayn Rand’s father was born Zelman Wolf Zakharovich Rosenbaum in Czarist Russia. He was known as Zinovy or Fronz. What facts do we know about him that might have had an impact on young Ayn Rand, who was born Alissa Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg in 1905? 1)      Fronz was a self-made man who came from a poor background and supported his own college education. He also helped fund the education of most of his siblings. 2)      He majored in chemistry in college because there were prohibitions and restrictive quotas on Jews entering many professions and schools. When he saw an opening for a Jew at the University of Warsaw, he jumped at it. 3)      In the family, Fronz was quiet and not given to engaging in political...

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