A young woman flees a communist country, works her way to the top of her field, meets the man of her dreams, and becomes a symbol of American capitalism. I could be referring to Ayn Rand, but I was really talking about Melania Trump. At first blush, you would never put these two in the same sentence, but as a Trump supporter and devotee of Rand, I think that Rand would not only relate to Melania, but truly admire her. Like Dagny Taggart, and many of the other Randian heroines, Melania has thrived because of her femininity, and not in spite of it. It’s not a surprise, then, that Rand was a big fan of Marilyn Monroe. But Melania is a sort of Sophia Loren for the new century: glamorous, highly sensual, and most importantly, proud to be a woman. Not in the phony, crass version of modern womanhood peddled by Jezebel writers and women’s march participants, but because she truly exemplifies what Rand called the “essence” of femininity. Rand defined femininity as an almost mystical force that only amplifies when a woman meets a man she can “hero worship,” as Rand put it.  Melania’s steadfast support for her husband, and her early attraction to what she called “his mind,” is evidence, to me of their classic Randian relationship. Like Rearden and Taggart, they celebrate the masculine and feminine opposition in each other. I also think Rand would get a kick out of Melania’s apparent abundant supply of hutzpah. She seemed to shrug off the harpies who criticized her for not moving...
A quest for an integrated theory of fictional narratives must begin by asking why human beings listen to and tell stories. Jonathan Gottschall, a Washington & Jefferson College Distinguished Research Fellow specializing in literature and evolution, contends that we are genetically wired for story: “Like a flight simulator, fiction projects us into intense simulations of problems that run parallel to those we face in reality . . . . Fiction is a powerful and ancient virtual reality technology that simulates the big dilemmas of human life.” So fictional narratives expose us to what life’s concretes can teach us, without endangering our lives every minute of the “lesson.” Ayn Rand had a different emphasis. She contends: “The primary value [of art] is that it gives him [man] the experience of living in a world where things are as they ought to be.” Both purposes seem legitimate: solving current problems and providing a vision. Our integrated theory must be inclusive. At times, only a glorious vision can make some aware of a “current problem.” We can learn via concepts and abstractions, too, but that’s relatively new in human history and certainly too difficult for children under six to do. Life’s first lessons, then, must be imparted via concrete illustrations that exemplify the abstraction. Because we may be genetically geared (through our “ancient virtual reality technology”) to be fond of narratives, we remain fond...
The Atlas Society (TAS) announces that David Kelley, PhD, its founder and Chief Intellectual Officer, will retire at the end of 2017. Two years ago, Kelley informed his colleagues on the Board of Trustees that he wanted to leave full-time work for TAS at the end of 2017, to pursue his own research and writing in philosophy, pending a successful execution of a transition plan. The  early 2016 appointment of Jennifer Anju Grossman as CEO, says Kelley, “was a huge step forward for the organization. I’m leaving TAS in good hands.” Kelley will continue to participate occasionally in TAS programs as writer, speaker, and advisor. Dr. Kelley founded TAS in 1990 to help launch an independent branch of the Objectivist movement and to advance the philosophy. Prior to 2016, Kelley was actively involved in managing the organization as CEO or co-CEO. His intellectual contributions include: The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand: Truth and Toleration in Objectivism, which established the organization’s commitment to open discussion, debate, and expansion of Objectivism; Unrugged Individualism:...
 In 1970 I presented a lengthy lecture for the University of Arizona Students of Objectivism. Titled “Objectivism as a Religion”; this lecture was in part a reply to a book published two years earlier by the famous psychologist Dr. Albert Ellis, Is Objectivism a Religion? Ellis had no doubt about the answer to his rhetorical question. Objectivism, he claimed, is indeed a religion; it is a "dogmatic, fanatical, absolutist, anti-empirical, people-condemning creed" which is based on the assumption that "some higher power or order of the universe demands that their views are right and that all serious dissenters to their views are for all time wrong." Needless to say, I didn’t like Ellis’s treatment of Objectivism. Rand’s ideas, as Ellis portrayed them, bore no resemblance to those I had gotten from reading Rand’s works over the previous four years. Nevertheless, the identification of Objectivism with religion struck an emotional chord with me. During my time with the UA Students of Objectivism I associated mainly with admirers of Ayn Rand, and some of those people treated Objectivism as if it were a religion. My interest in freethought, which preceded my interest in Rand by nearly three years, had made me extremely sensitive to the influence of Christian morality on my own development, especially in the realm of sexual beliefs and desires. Guilt was a dominant feature of my youth—guilt provoked by nothing more than “sinful” desires—and I consciously attempted to rid myself of...
Rosario is Argentina's second oldest city. Located by the Paraná river, it is the home of hard-working people, a busy port, the national flag memorial, and the country's bitterest football rivalry between Rosario Central and Newell's Old Boys. It is also the birthplace of Ernesto “Ché” Guevara. In the last fifteen years or so, coincidentally with the rise of leftist populism in Argentina and the rest of South America, there have been plenty of tributes to the figure of “Ché.” All of these tributes are state-financed, one way or another. The most prominent is a 13-foot high statue placed in a public square. Fundación Bases has its main headquarters in Rosario. Teaming up with the Naumann Foundation, we decided to launch a campaign to remove all the state tributes to “Ché” Guevara. We knew this would generate controversy but, honestly, we didn't expect the level of reaction that has occurred. About the Man So, who was this “Ché” Guevara? Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, globally known as “Ché”, came from an aristocratic, though impoverished, family. He studied medicine and when he was about to finish university he took an initiatory trip across Latin America. In some of the places he visited he saw harsh realities and even...

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