Academics, the media, and Democratic politicians, like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have suggested that reducing inequality should be a central objective of public policy. This focus represents a substantial change from a previous consensus, which suggested that it was the reduction of poverty, not inequality per se, that should be given priority. This reorientation is not just a grave practical mistake, but as a moral matter, inequality is also undeserving of government concern. There is no substantial evidence that inequality of wealth harms our society in general. Any program of reducing inequality will have substantial costs, not least to the economic growth that can redound, among other things, to reducing poverty. The Poverty of Moral Justifications for Targeting Inequality First, the moral justification for targeting inequality by government coercion is weak. Poverty represents an extreme form of distress. And, intuitively, we feel an obligation to help people in extremity, just as if they are seriously ill. But most people do not have such intuitions about inequality and for good reason. People are unequal on many dimensions besides wealth—in physical attractiveness, in underlying health, and indeed in their innate capacity for happiness. Why should society single out material inequality as the most important form of inequality—one that alone demands state power to correct? There is no substantial evidence that inequality of wealth harms our society in general....
If it’s a coincidence that “individual” begins with a letter that’s also a closely associated word, it’s a happy one indeed. Individual and I are inseparable. “I” is the pronoun used to refer to oneself as the speaker, writer, thinker, or actor. Without exception, “I” is an individual, not a group or a collective of any sort. This fact is worth endless celebration. For the profound truth it represents, we should be thankful every waking moment of our lives. I rejoice that I’m not a replica, an appendage, or a cog. Like each and every one of you reading this, I’m a completely specific, utterly unique, self-winding, and inner-motivated one-of-a-kind. No other human in our planet’s history was or is exactly like me or precisely like you, either. I’m not someone’s robot. I will resist efforts to program me or collectivize me into something I’m not. If ever you catch me trying to program or collectivize you, blow the whistle so I come to my senses. I’m appalled at the ease with which some people speak of their fellow citizens as though they are liquids to be homogenized or tools to be manipulated—not by request but by the force of political power. It’s all for the nebulous collective good, they assure us, but for some reason they are willing to do us harm to achieve it. A Yearning for Independence In keeping with my individuality, I seek to be as independent and self-reliant—a burden to no one—as my abilities allow. I will speak for myself and gladly accept responsibility for my...
Book Review: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, by Anne Applebaum. Publishers: Anchor I wonder how many of you have waited, over the decades—with growing scorn for our academic-intellectual establishment—for the world’s most disastrous political experiment and human catastrophe to be “brought to book”? With the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European colonies by 1991, when would men and women freed after 70-plus years of communist totalitarian rule bring forth the bestsellers, the award-winning histories, the PBS documentaries, and the powerful and heart-rending movies? You know, all the intellectual achievements that informed us about that other political catastrophe of the West in the 20th century, National Socialism (Nazism) in Germany? It is to the everlasting credit of those who relentlessly exposed—and made real in human terms—the German socialist catastrophe that every American school child has heard of the Nazis. But a highly self-serving political paradigm of our time insists that Soviet socialism was “left” and German socialism was “right.” (The chief difference is that in one form of socialism property is “publicly owned” by government and in the other there is complete command and control by government of property still nominally “private”). But because Marxism has shaped the ideology of today’s “left-liberal” academics, who now espouse a “neo-Marxism” as...
Editor’s Note: In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, Galt's Gulch was a physical place where the best minds could retreat – withdraw their skills and support from a corrupt system. In the novel Crypto Shrugged, authors Ed Teja and J. Lee Porter recontextualize Rand’s classic in terms of distributed ledger technologies, such as Bitcoin, that allow anyone to "Go Galt" when, where, and how they choose. There's no need for a utopian land to escape to. But what happens when authoritarian governments, international organizations, and criminals find ways to control transactions? Can the anarcho-capitalists who create the technology, the ones who implement it, keep cryptocurrency from becoming a tool of authoritarian social control? Crypto Shrugged is part of The Writers Series, our highly popular series featuring the work of contemporary novelists influenced by Ayn Rand. In the following excerpt from chapter three, hacker Peggy Anne Dory and Mitch Childer, from the International Monetary Fund, meet in a hotel bar in Zurich, Switzerland to discuss plans for implementing a national cryptocurrency in Tanzania.   “I trust your suite is satisfactory?” he asked. That was an incredible understatement. “It’s lovely.” “Excellent. And Mr. Hoenig…” “My employer thinks I’m enjoying myself at an...
While conservatives are leading in the battle of ideas, they have all but surrendered the culture war. Academia, entertainment, and high- and low-culture are completely dominated by liberals. Conservatives must enter the cultural fray if they're going to expand their base.  When it comes to Hollywood, which is my domain as a filmmaker and actress, the story is more nuanced. Sure, movies push the latest PC claptrap, universally depict shrewd businessmen as bogeymen, and treat conservative characters as dweebs or worse. But the fundamental and time-honored Hollywood themes remain essentially conservative. Even movies that ostensibly espouse liberal values are usually  undergirded with conservative concepts, because audiences still root for good values and right over wrong. Audiences still root for good values and right over wrong. Such common themes include using ingenuity to overcome obstacles to achieve dreams; taking responsibility for actions that have consequences; and the importance of character over situation. Until there's a summer blockbuster where characters laze around performing self-destructive behaviors without consequence or a motivation to better their circumstances, the Hollywood product will never be truly liberal. Other inherently conservative Hollywood themes include the importance of family; the glorification of the American Dream; and rewards for hardwork and sacrifice. Masculinity, freedom, and a...

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