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For partisans on both sides of the nomination (and hard-fought confirmation) of Betsy DeVos, 59, of Michigan, as secretary of education, I have glad tidings. If you long for remission of America’s most invasive monopoly—tax-supported (“public”) education—Secretary DeVos is your advocate of public-school choice, charter schools, and, above all, vouchers for parents to spend at schools of their choosing. She has been called “a fierce proponent of vouchers” that enable students to attend private schools with public funding. Vouchers for private education would begin to rectify one of the single greatest injustices imposed on American families: paying all their working lives for “free” tax-supported education for other families and then paying all over again for education of their own children at a school of their choosing. If you are alarmed by her confirmation, there is good news, too. Any significant change she brings to U.S. tax-supported education will come only through voluntary acceptance of her ideas on the local level—the pivotal level of control...
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On Monday, February 20, I will celebrate Washington’s Birthday. That is still the official federal holiday—“President’s Day” and “Washington’s and Lincoln’s Day” are among informal variants - it is a state right to decide whose birthday is being celebrated: Virginia, Illinois, Iowa and New York are the only states that exclusively celebrate Washington’s birthday. The modern impulse to “inclusiveness,” in this case, has led us astray. Lack of focus creates an unwelcome blur when meaning should be clear. George Washington’s life, and his service to America, exemplify just a few ideals, but to perfection—and they are ideals that define America - I would name: patriotism, the citizen statesman, refusal of personal political power, unapologetic national self-interest, the rule of law, and absolute adherence to the U.S. Constitution. Washington' powerful and enduring ideals have become part of the American spirit and political heritage--so much so, as Ayn Rand dramatizes with bitter irony in a scene from Atlas Shrugged (Part II, Ch.6) -- that those who betray them...
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Originally posted on FEE.org I first encountered Ayn Rand through her nonfiction. This was when I was a junior in high school, and I'm pretty sure it was my first big encounter with big ideas. It changed me. Like millions of others who read her, I developed a consciousness that what I thought – the ideas I held in my mind – mattered for what kind of life I would live. And it mattered for everyone else too; the kind of world we live in is an extension of what we believe about what life can mean.  People today argue over her legacy and influence – taking apart the finer points of her ethics, metaphysics, epistemology. This is all fine but it can be a distraction from her larger message about the moral integrity and creative capacity of the individual human mind. In so many ways, it was this vision that gave the postwar freedom movement what it needed most: a driving moral passion to win. This, more than any technical achievements in economic theory or didactic rightness over public-policy solutions, is what gave the movement the will to overcome the odds.  Often I hear people offer a caveat about Rand....
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What I call the “Not Our President Elite” (NOPE) believes that a frighteningly ignorant, bigoted, and distinctly inferior America—not the America of NOPE—elected Donald Trump. Defeated in the election, not only for President, but for control of Congress and statehouses nationwide, NOPE must save America by reversing the election. There is a precedent for it and NOPE remembers it. NOPE is an increasingly coordinated movement of news media, left-leaning groups, and legions of ideologues of today’s New (“Postmodernist”) Left that is pursuing two strategies for clawing back political power after the 2016 election. The strategies emerged from no “conspiracy”; in fact, they are classic means of “destabilizing” governments when an election’s losers refuse to accept the verdict. The first is to create a permanent sense of crisis by histrionically portraying every initiative of the Trump administration as warranting nationwide...
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Ayn Rand rocks. That’s the attitude of KISS frontman Gene Simmons, an autodidact who immigrated from Israel when he was 8, and who leaned on his own creative drive to become one of the most successful entertainers of his era. "You are responsible for yourself. I am a big believer in Ayn Rand's philosophies," Simmons, 67, told Private Wealth magazine. "When I first came to America, I used to go to the library every day after school. I couldn't believe that all of the knowledge of mankind was available to somebody who [was] not even from America," he said. "So if I had access to all the knowledge that the rich and the powerful have, why is it anybody else's responsibility for me to do well?" Just like Ayn Rand, who changed her birth name -- Alissa Rosenbaum -- after emigrating to America, Simmons started life as Chaim Weitz, born in Haifa, Israel. His mother was a Holocaust survivor. And after their arrival in the U.S., minus his father, the family struggled. But Simmons committed himself to education from...

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