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When President Elect Donald Trump named Ayn Rand as his favorite writer, and The Fountainhead as his favorite book, last spring, few Objectivists took notice.   With his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States tomorrow, perhaps it’s time we should.  Others -- critics of Rand and Trump -- aren’t shying away from the topic.  “Ayn Rand acolyte-Donald Trump stacks his cabinet with fellow objectivists,” wrote Washington Post National Political Correspondent James Hohmann in a piece last month.   At the same time, one prominent Objectivist, Onkar Ghate, called Trump’s election “One Small Step for Dictatorship.” Both positions are exaggerated.  To be objective, let’s start with perspective. In 2009 Obama’s aggressive moves on socializing medicine and raising taxes helped spark a resurgence of interest in Ayn Rand.  Book sales of the 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged doubled over previous-year...
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(Edited from original article published on August 20th, 2010.) She called businessmen "America's persecuted minority." And today—as has been the case at least since the start of the Industrial Revolution—many businessmen and businesswomen feel they are the victims of a special scorn directed at them, not because they cheat or steal but, rather, because they grow wealthy through their own honest efforts by producing goods and services sold to willing customers. Politicians translate this disdain into higher taxes, regulations, and special criminal penalties on these producers.
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“In the broad valley, far below him, in the first sunlight of early morning, he saw a town. Only it was not a town. Towns did not look like that. He had to suspend the possible for a while longer, to seek no questions or explanations, only to look.” The above was Ayn Rand's description of Howard Roark's Monadnock Valley development in The Fountainhead. Rand is revered — and reviled — as a philosopher and novelist, but to me she was also an artist. She defined art as a recreation of reality according to an artist’s values, and in her work, she recreated an inspirational world of heroes, light, and flourishing. That is why The Atlas Society chose art as an arena for intellectual and spiritual engagement with Ayn Rand’s ideas.  The 25-year-old philosophical organization capped 2016 with winners of first annual Atlas Art Contest. Over 400 entries were narrowed down to 21 artists by a panel of four judges:
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I’ve always viewed Ayn Rand’s most famous novel, Atlas Shrugged, as a  arning about the dangers of over-regulation, over-taxation, and excessive redistribution.I won’t spoil the plot for those who haven’t yet read the book, but it’s basically a story about what happens to a society when the people pulling the wagon decide that’s no longer how they want to spend their lives.And as these highly productive people begin to opt out, politicians come up with ever-crazier ideas of keeping the economy going.The most absurd example, something that could only happen in a dystopian work of fiction rather than real life, was “Directive 10-289,” an edict from the government to prevent continued contraction by requiring everybody in the economy to do...
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Flame away but I’m just going to say it: pot is disgusting. Smoking pot is the worst of all. The stuff stinks. It’s worse than regular cigarettes, in my view. I don’t like to be in the same indoor space with people who are doing it. Libertarians are celebrating the legalization of recreational marijuana in four states, including California where potheads celebrated with vandalizing the iconic Hollywood sign by turning it into “Hollyweed.”  Others are celebrating by planning to hand out free joints at the Trump inauguration.   Well, here’s one libertarian anarchist who isn’t celebrating.  While of course I’m happy with less government controls over any aspect of human behavior, and getting these poor souls out of prison is essential, I actually agree with Ayn Rand on this one:  “I would fight for your legal right to use marijuana; I would fight you to the death that you morally should not do it, because it destroys the mind.” Sorry, my friends, but pot makes you dopey.  It thereby ruins social occasions by making the whole scene less intelligent. And it is extremely rude to smoke that stuff around people like me who won’t touch the stuff. It is especially annoying to attempt to belittle and poke fun of those of us who...

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