Growing up during the 1950s, Robert Bidinotto became enthralled by TV vigilante heroes, such as The Lone Ranger, Zorro, and Batman. That fascination continued into adulthood, when he became a fan of action thrillers by such writers as Alistair MacLean, Jack Higgins, and Mickey Spillane—and later, of those by Lee Child, Stephen Hunter, Brad Thor, and Vince Flynn. Another major influence was Ayn Rand, whose fiction and nonfiction shaped his ideas and values as Robert launched a writing career.  From the seeds planted in childhood—and nurtured by Rand’s fictional characters Francisco d’Anconia and Ragnar Danneskjold—the image of a unique hero had been growing in his mind: Dylan Hunter—a crusading reporter, also operating secretly as an urban vigilante, fighting for justice in an unjust society. HUNTER (2011) attracted strong initial sales and glowing reviews. Amazon editors selected HUNTER as an “Editors’ Pick.” Within a week, Robert’s self-published, debut thriller soared to #4 on the Kindle bestseller list, to #1 among all Kindle “Mysteries and Thrillers,” and also hit the Wall Street Journal’s “Top 10 Fiction Ebook” list. He has since published two sequels in the Dylan Hunter thrillers series: BAD DEEDS, named 2014 “Book of the Year” by the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance; and WINNER TAKES ALL, released late in 2017 to stellar reviews. Robert Bidinotto is now a full-time writer of what he calls “thrillers for...
Author’s Note: This scene occurs early in the thrillerHUNTER. Investigative journalist Dylan Hunter has been invited to witness a prison meeting between crime victim Susanne Copeland and her imprisoned attacker, Adrian Wulfe—a cunning psychopath. In the wake of the attack, Susanne’s traumatized husband, a renowned plastic surgeon, committed suicide. Susanne is a CIA analyst, and she is accompanied to the meeting by her best friend, CIA security officer Annie Woods. The meeting has been arranged by Wulfe’s prison psychotherapist, and the “Restorative Justice Program” he describes is not fiction: These are the actual procedures and language employed by the Virginia Department of Corrections. Dylan Hunter has his own personal reasons for being present—secrets revealed later in the novel. Editor’s Note: The following excerpt from Hunter is part of The Writers Series in which we feature the work of contemporary writers who integrate, in their own way, the ideas and Romantic Realism of Ayn Rand. * * * CLAIBOURNE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY CLAIBOURNE, VIRGINIA Monday, September 8, 10:15 a.m. The escort directed Hunter into a narrow, sterile cinderblock room. It was painted cold white and lit by fluorescent tubes in the ceiling. A row of blue plastic chairs lined one wall. They faced a tinted observation window that ran the full length of the room, made of one-way shatterproof glass. It allowed him to see into...
I did not like Bill Clinton’s 1993 class-warfare tax hike, and I also opposed Barack Obama’s 2012 fiscal-cliff tax increase on the so-called rich. But those were incremental measures. Today’s leftist politicians have much more grandiose schemes, such as 70 percent tax rates, wealth taxes, and extortionary death taxes. And even those proposals may not be enough. Abolish Billionaires In a column for the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo actually suggests that billionaires should be taxed out of existence. Literally, not just figuratively. …if we aimed, through public and social policy, simply to discourage people from attaining and possessing more than a billion in lucre, just about everyone would be better off. …Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are floating new taxes aimed at the...
Parents who neglect to teach learning-thinking-choosing and socialization skills should not be surprised when their high school and/or college age children become immature, emotionally-driven progressives unable to rationally judge the worth of almost anything they encounter along the prickly path to adulthood. Life-serving values — reason, honesty, integrity, responsibility, discipline, self-reliance, purpose, and pride in achievement — must be encouraged as early as possible and continually reinforced at home to help young individuals survive America’s rising tsunami-level tide of politically correct authoritarianism. Learning-thinking-choosing skills can begin very early by reading books to toddlers. This activity cannot be overemphasized. It is vital to add colorful stories to their little lives at the very same time when curiosity about everything tangible in the outer world is so new and fascinating to them. Nap or bedtime reading by parents to children not only cements close bonding and trust but also opens young minds to the inner world of imagination and to the pleasure of learning, helping to facilitate their development into the realm of conceptual thinking. Tales with positive, moral characters and exciting events that perk inquisitiveness and project life as a purposeful and affirmative adventure can serve to offer role models, values, and behavior patterns that teach while they entertain.* Along with new stories, reading the same one multiple times offers another...
Are we fighting postmodernists with one hand tied behind our backs? Intellectual battles are the cognitive lifeblood of a healthy society. Life is complicated and the  stakes are high, so thoughtful and passionate people have lots of arguments. Only by argument can we sort out complicated matters. Only by putting our ideas to the evidence test and being willing to change our minds can we make progress. Intellectual fighting is better than settling our differences by physical fighting. The advantage of being an intelligent species, noted Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, is that we let our theories die in our place. But productive argument needs principles of civility to guide it. And we need our leading institutions––especially universities dedicated to truth-seeking––to make those principles explicit and instil them in the next generation. Postmodernists don’t fight by the same rules we do. When everything is subjective narratives, subversion goes all the way down. Our classic rules are: Approach discussion with benevolence and give the initial benefit of the doubt. The goal is the mutual advancement of understanding. Hear out both sides. Be civil in giving and receiving criticism. Don’t make stuff up. Believe that truth matters. But postmoderns cast a jaded eye upon “truth” and see words as weapons in a battle between adversarial groups. In that battle, only power matters and “truth” is merely the most ruthless survivor.  American postmodernist Richard Rorty...

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