“She was fifteen when it occurred to her for the first time that women did not run railroads and that people might object. To hell with that, she thought—and never worried about it again.”  This is as close to a glimmer of feminist consciousness that you’ll find in Dagny Taggart, the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.  Still, it’s a lot more of a recognition of gender barriers than you’ll find in the pages of #Girlboss, the best-selling book by Sophia Amoruso, which in turn inspired the Netflix series Girlboss about her journey from dumpster-diving anarchist to founder of Nasty Gal, Inc. the multi-million dollar girls clothing retailer. “I have never once in my life thought that being a girl was something I had to overcome,” writes Amoruso.  Of all the obstacles she faced in her entrepreneurial rise, sexism is glaringly absent. So why does its author, Sophia Amoruso, call her memoir “a feminist book”? Probably for the same reason so many male businessmen speak of “giving back” when far from taking anything away, the businesses they’ve built have added value in terms of jobs, wealth, services and innovation. Because our culture still grants greater moral stature to the disadvantaged than to its doers. As such, Amoruso makes for an uneasy standard-bearer for a new capitalist female role model. Just like Virginia Slims used the slogan, “You’ve come a long way, baby,” to peddle cigarettes to women in the sixties and seventies, to suggest lighting up was a celebration of the...
For Ayn Rand, an argument was the distinctive human banner, the banner of reason and persuasion.  Where brutes force, human beings argue, a distinction embodied in her famous description of man’s mind, which “may be hampered by others, it may be silenced, proscribed, imprisoned, or destroyed; it cannot be forced; a gun is not an argument.” (“America’s Persecuted Minority: Big Business” in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.) This article is not about guns versus arguments, it is about the respect that argumentation deserves and how increasingly rare that respect seems today, including on Facebook. My main purpose for spending time on Facebook is to engage people in the case for Objectivism. Politics--one of the five philosophical branches that Objectivism treats--would seem fertile ground for reasoned argument.  But since the election that ground has looked like Georgia after Sherman’s march to the sea. In the place of various forms of reasoned argument, fallacies have sprouted like weeds; among them four are especially invasive. But before I get to the fallacies, I must mention an extremely common response that does not even claim the dignity of a fallacy: The Pretend Reply: Characteristic of hundreds of responses I receive on Facebook is the one from a friend who commented: “Ugh! Puhleeese!” And later: “This is a word salad! We need some dressing!” Perhaps she considers me not worth debating? Fair enough, but why pretend to respond?  And her...
"I will call them, from now on, losers because that's what they are -- losers. They're losers, just remember that,” said President Trump today in response to this week’s  horrendous attacks in Manchester, United Kingdom. The usual critics have dismissed the “loser” comparison as trivializing and not to be taken seriously. Here’s why we should. President Trump was far more right in describing the true nature of terrorists than either of his two predecessors. President George W. Bush called terrorists “cowards” -- a strange descriptor for guerrillas who volunteered to die in plane crashes.  President Obama took heat for pandering to politically-correctness by refusing to state the obvious in describing terrorists as Islamist. Today in Jerusalem, President Trump refused to give terrorists the satisfaction of calling them “monsters,” because “they would think that was a great name.”  And he’s right. There’s a kind of efficacy in frightening, intimidating, and bullying -- as Trump knows all too well.  Come Halloween it is monster masks, not Droopy or Eeyore, that get the good candy. This isn’t the first time the president has compared terrorists to “losers.”  Back in November 2015, he tweeted, "The media must immediately stop calling ISIS leaders ‘MASTERMINDS.’ Call them instead thugs and losers. Young people must not go into ISIS!"   Unfortunately the novelty of Trump calling terrorists losers is somewhat diminished by the fact that he’s called so many people losers. Cher....
One of the more poetic events in The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is when the protagonist, Howard Roark comes to watch Dominique posing naked for Mallory's marble sculpture. The sculpture is of the human spirit destined for the Stoddard Temple. The three of them experience a perfect synergy of admiration, creativity, and beauty. Further plot events see the destruction of the Stoddard Temple, one of the many painful obstacles Roark needs to overcome to continue his unique and innovative vision of architecture.    Stills from Song of Songs starring Marlene Dietrich and Brian Aherne In a way, we can look at art history and see some patterns similar to The Fountainhead that include the beautiful nude, innovations, and the power of the creative artist.  First Artists to Sign their Works Tydeus, 560 BC "Sophilos and Tydeus, were the first artists to sign their artworks." In the 6th Century, BC, Greek artisans such as Sophilos and Tydeus were the first artists to sign their artworks, taking pride in their originality and skill in depicting the human subject clothed and nude: In a sense copyrighting them. Paralleling the significance of the individual at this time Solon, the lawgiver, "is often credited with having laid the foundations for Athenian democracy." Larger than Life Nudes in Honor of the First Democracy Some 50 years later the heroic sculpture group Harmodius and Aristogeiton by Antenor was commissioned in honor of the creation of the...
The term “neoliberalism” is being flung around everywhere these days, usually with a haughty sense of “everyone knows what this is.” But do we really? You may think you know, but there’s very little agreement among everyone else. Looking up the term on Google Trends reveals some interesting clues about what’s going on. Searches for the term have soared since late last year, racking up more searches than “libertarianism.” The most common search phrases are these: “definition neoliberalism,” “what is neoliberalism,” and “define neoliberalism.” The confusion is understandable. Sometimes the term is used approvingly by the mainstream press, as with France’s election of Emmanuel Macron. He is said to be a solid “neoliberal” and therefore vastly better than his “rightest” opponent. More often the term is used as a pejorative by the far left and the alt-right. Here it is said with a sneer to be a synonym for capitalism, globalism, elite rule, ruling-class privilege, and the administrative state. Everyone in Latin America who has ever favored privatization, deregulation, or tax cuts, has faced the sharp accusation that he or she is a neoliberal, with overtones that the person is probably in the pay of the CIA or State Department. In this case, the word is used as a synonym for US economic colonialism. We need a firmer fix on what this term means. Is there a founding thinker,...

Subcategories


Donate to The Atlas Society

Did you enjoy this article? If so, please consider making a donation. Our digital channels garner over 1 million views per year. Your contribution will help us to achieve and maintain this impact.

× Close Window
atlas red email pop

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for our email newsletter to receive the most recent news and articles directly to your inbox.