Is business basically good in character or basically evil? Are objective values possible without freedom to trade? What is the source of technology, industry, and material wealth? Is the economy a pie that needs to be redistributed for the common good? And what is the "common good"? What kind of political system does capitalism require? Why is physical force inimical to capitalism and to trade? What is the relation between capitalism and freedom, and between capitalism and individual rights? Today capitalism is still widely attacked in books and government and even in street protests. What is the reason for these attacks? The answers to these important questions, and more, can be found in the following essays. Recommended background reading: "What is Capitalism?" in Capitalism: The Unknown IdealToday we live in era of that some call the triumph of capitalism. But, as this essay shows, political thinkers and economists hardly know the meaning of capitalism. Rand explains what capitalism is, why it made the Industrial Revolution possible, and how it came to be vilified and almost universally misunderstood in the 20th century. "The moral justification of capitalism lies in the fact that it is the only system consonant with man's rational nature, that it protects man's survival qua man, and that its ruling...
Politics and culture viewed through an Objectivist lens. Core Principles The Conceptual Preconditions of Freedom The GOP Civil War What Are Rights? How can you make sense of competing claims to rights? Obamacare Welfare rights vs. liberty rights Capitalism & Morality A capitalist society is based on the recognition and protection of individual rights. Modernity & Terrorism Taking intellectual aim at the ideas that inspire Islamists. "If freedom is to survive and flourish, we need a fourth revolution, a moral revolution, that establishes the moral right of...
When George W. Bush was President and Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, some despairing liberals turned to George Lakoff for help. Lakoff is a linguist at the University of California, Berkeley, who specializes in the conceptual structures underlying language. A progressive himself, and the author of several books about political language, he claimed that conservatives were winning politically because they had managed to define the terms of the policy debates; even those who did not accept the conservative position had implicitly bought into a conceptual framework that made it difficult to state their opposition effectively. To illustrate his point, Lakoff often used the example of Bush’s call for tax relief. The phrase "Tax relief"… got picked up by the newspapers as if it were a neutral term, which it is not. First, you have the frame for "relief." For there to be relief, there has to be an affliction, an afflicted party, somebody who administers the relief, and an act in which you are relieved of the affliction. The reliever is the hero, and anybody who tries to stop [him] is the bad guy…. Liberals who wanted to increase taxes to pay for government programs, he said, would not win the debate merely by citing the specific benefits of new programs. They also needed to put the concept of taxes into a different framework, to reconceive them not as an imposition but as the dues you pay to be an American, to be a responsible member of a country that offers an immense...
Editor’s Note: Jaroslav Romanchuk lives in Minsk, Belarus. He is the Executive Director of the Analytical Center “Strategy,” President of the Scientific Research Mises Center, and was a candidate for President of Belarus in 2010. He won the Atlas Economic Research Foundation Sir Anthony Fisher Award in 2009 for his book, In Search of an Economic Miracle, and in 2006 forBelarus: Road to the Future. He served on the Supreme Council of the Republic of Belarus Commission for Economic Policy and Reforms, the Presidential Council for Entrepreneurship Development, the Working Group on Tax Reform, and was Deputy Chairman of the United Civil Party. Romanchuk has been involved with The Atlas Society since the 1990s. He spoke with me from his home in Minsk via Zoom. We talked about his introduction to capitalism and Ayn Rand in post-Soviet Belarus: It was the luckiest of luck. Back in 1993, a group of Americans came to Belarus on a fact-finding mission. Charles and Susanna Tomlinson were part of that group. I was involved in arranging the various meetings in Belarus, and I assisted the Tomlinsons throughout the trip. We talked about life in post-Soviet Belarus. They were very curious to learn about it. And I was very curious about what life in the capitalist west looked like, which was a beacon of freedom for all of us. We got along, and after they went home, they sent me a copy of Atlas Shrugged. I’d never heard of this book, even though I...
A common joke in the American gun community goes something like this: Q: Why do you carry a gun? A: Because carrying a cop is too heavy. This humorous quip should not detract from the fact that many individuals in the United States (including me) own and carry a firearm for purely pragmatic reasons. The simplest case for the right to keep and bear arms can be summarized in one sentence: You are ultimately responsible for your own safety and security. Understanding Gun Rights This sobering pill can be difficult for many people to swallow, but that's reality. Evil exists in this world. Under the right circumstances, people can and will do unspeakable things to each other as any student of history or psychology will know. Those fortunate to live in gated communities and able to afford armed security are often oblivious that most other people do not enjoy the same luxuries. Many violent crimes take place and are over in a matter of seconds (and stopped in seconds that prevent the worst). As another popular saying goes, "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away." In the United States, depending where you live,...

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