Editor’s note: While we speed into production with our next three Draw My Life videos, our creative partner on those productions, Patrick Reasonover, hears echoes of Ayn Rand’s worst villains raising their voices to take advantage of the current coronavirus epidemic, and thus parodies one of her most famous in this imaginative essay. In the tradition of fan fiction, we’ve given the antagonist of The Fountainhead an heir, Ellsworth Toohey, Jr., and in the epic battle of vice vs. virtue, it’s clear whose side he’s on (hint, not yours!). He’s come up with what he calls a modest proposal, but it’s more like an Anti-Man Plan. The cooing tone is deceptive, the moral contrast is stark: Productivity vs. Entitlement; Reason vs. Wishful Thinking; Individualism vs. Victimhood; Frugality vs. Profligacy; Liberty vs. Central Planning; Achievement vs. Entitlement. The choice is yours. Listen to this invitation to doom….if you dare.
Physically, a human being is a rather weak, pathetic creature. We do not possess the strength of the bear, the cunning claws of the tiger, nor the wings of the steely-eyed hawk. All we truly possess that is of any use is an accident called self-awareness. This pitiful birthright is our only tool to protect us from the cruel vicissitudes of nature. To survive in an ever-dangerous world, we must summon the courage to at long last deploy it in full earnestness – at least insofar as earnestness is something to which a...
Read Article : Salvation Through Annihilation
The COVID-19 pandemic can be used to illustrate two problems that are both more destructive than the virus. The problems relate to how Americans view the role of government in their lives and to the belief that government money can always fix problems.
Let's Look at the Money Issue First
The immediate reaction of our government to the virus threat was to spend massive amounts of money. The latest news is that politicians plan to "boost" the economy with nearly two trillion dollars in spending and loans. "The package is coming in at about 10% of GDP. It's very large," says Larry Kudlow. For a plan of this size to sound like a good idea, you need to ignore some important economic facts.
Our country has unbelievable levels of debt, and our debt is rising rapidly. The numbers are staggering. The debt clock shows U.S. debt at $23 trillion (nearly 110% of the GDP) and unfunded liabilities of $77 trillion. That's a conservative estimate. Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff, an expert on the national debt, says, "The true size of our fiscal problem is $222 trillion... 20 times bigger than the official debt." He says, "The government has gone out of its way to run up a Ponzi scheme...
Read Article : COVID-19 Is Not Even Close To America's Biggest Problem
Editor’s Note: As the health and economic effects of Covid-19 intensify, we asked philosopher and The Atlas Society Founder David Kelley, Ph.D. to outline some of the ways Ayn Rand’s philosophy – particularly the virtues of reason, productivity, and benevolence – can help us rise to current challenges and prepare for challenges to come in the days and weeks ahead.
In the current situation of a pandemic, the lockdown of offices and businesses, and economic losses, it is easy to lose one’s way in confusion, fear, resentment, or depression. It is all the more important to have a philosophical compass to steer by—principles that hold true of life as such, even in abnormal times.
Reason and reality
The essence of rationality is recognizing that facts are facts.
The novel coronavirus is a biological reality, as are its capacity to spread rapidly and its effects on people’s health. It is what it is. You can’t evade it or wish it away.
The lockdown is a political reality – a government policy, yes, not a fact of nature – but it's the situation we are in now. For us as individuals, it too has to be accepted as fact.
Be rational in looking for information. The internet is a fabulous resource, but it is also a petri dish for fake news, conspiracy theories, and the like – which are all the more prevalent in times of crisis. Don't fall for it.
Be productive and proactive
Accepting facts does not mean passivity. We have choices. Our plans are disrupted, and...
Read Article : Objectivism and Covid-19
My name is Coronavirus. I was born among bats in the caves of Communist China.
I came from a long, long line of other viruses – all wearing our fatal family crown.
And like my forebears, I was bred to spread.
I made a daring break, and found my way to the wet markets of Wuhan, where all sorts of beasts were butchered. The local population had built up something of an immunity to my family, but I was different. And I was impatient.
I found an individual host here, another there...but my greatest host of all turned out to be the Chinese Dictatorship. I work best in secrecy, and turns out, so do they…
So when a whistleblower – Dr. Li Wen Liang – tried to warn other medics of my mission, the Chinese police paid him a visit, made him stop and ordered him to return to work, where….I was able to infect him! Silly Dr. Liang, he wanted to preserve life, and in the process, lost his….but my protectors in the Chinese government wanted to preserve power.
While this secrecy gave me a key window to spread in China – it gave me an even greater opportunity to travel abroad, and infect an unsuspecting global population.
The obvious next stop on my world tour was China’s close ally, Iran, where mullahs made my work easy. Obviously it helped that so many great minds had fled during their revolution – and the totalitarian religious regime’s subjugation of women meant that mysticism, not...
Read Article : My Name is Coronavirus
Editor’s Note: Friends and members of The Atlas Society are a major source of knowledge and wisdom. Social Psychologist Joe Duarte, Ph.D. recently spoke with The Atlas Society about his empirical work on various forms of envy. His research has focused on the relationship between envy, narcissism, and self-esteem and the relationship between envy and anti-Semitism. He is also interested in how political bias in social psychology and related fields undermines research, including research on envy. Dr. Duarte earned his Ph.D. at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona and was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. He is a Data Analyst at Natera in the Bay area.
MM: You are an Open Objectivist. When did you first discover Ayn Rand?
JD: I was in the Navy when I discovered Ayn Rand. I ended up reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged at the same time.
MM: Has Rand influenced you in any way?
JD: She did influence me. I had just become an atheist after reading Carl Sagan. After I read Ayn Rand, I became a libertarian and an Objectivist. She influenced me immediately in her description of the virtue of selfishness, and the cardinal virtues: rationality, productiveness, pride.
Long term, she made me realize that I wanted to be in the fray in terms of ideas and intellectual work. It took me a long time to get there, and I am still working on it. But once I read her, from that point on, I was never going to...
Read Article : Member Spotlight: Social Psychologist Joe Duarte, Ph.D.