Book Review: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, by Anne Applebaum. Publishers: Anchor I wonder how many of you have waited, over the decades—with growing scorn for our academic-intellectual establishment—for the world’s most disastrous political experiment and human catastrophe to be “brought to book”? With the collapse of the Soviet Union and its Eastern European colonies by 1991, when would men and women freed after 70-plus years of communist totalitarian rule bring forth the bestsellers, the award-winning histories, the PBS documentaries, and the powerful and heart-rending movies? You know, all the intellectual achievements that informed us about that other political catastrophe of the West in the 20th century, National Socialism (Nazism) in Germany? It is to the everlasting credit of those who relentlessly exposed—and made real in human terms—the German socialist catastrophe that every American school child has heard of the Nazis. But a highly self-serving political paradigm of our time insists that Soviet socialism was “left” and German socialism was “right.” (The chief difference is that in one form of socialism property is “publicly owned” by government and in the other there is complete command and control by government of property still nominally “private”). But because Marxism has shaped the ideology of today’s “left-liberal” academics, who now espouse a “neo-Marxism” as...
Editor’s Note: In Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, Galt's Gulch was a physical place where the best minds could retreat – withdraw their skills and support from a corrupt system. In the novel Crypto Shrugged, authors Ed Teja and J. Lee Porter recontextualize Rand’s classic in terms of distributed ledger technologies, such as Bitcoin, that allow anyone to "Go Galt" when, where, and how they choose. There's no need for a utopian land to escape to. But what happens when authoritarian governments, international organizations, and criminals find ways to control transactions? Can the anarcho-capitalists who create the technology, the ones who implement it, keep cryptocurrency from becoming a tool of authoritarian social control? Crypto Shrugged is part of The Writers Series, our highly popular series featuring the work of contemporary novelists influenced by Ayn Rand. In the following excerpt from chapter three, hacker Peggy Anne Dory and Mitch Childer, from the International Monetary Fund, meet in a hotel bar in Zurich, Switzerland to discuss plans for implementing a national cryptocurrency in Tanzania.   “I trust your suite is satisfactory?” he asked. That was an incredible understatement. “It’s lovely.” “Excellent. And Mr. Hoenig…” “My employer thinks I’m enjoying myself at an...
While conservatives are leading in the battle of ideas, they have all but surrendered the culture war. Academia, entertainment, and high- and low-culture are completely dominated by liberals. Conservatives must enter the cultural fray if they're going to expand their base.  When it comes to Hollywood, which is my domain as a filmmaker and actress, the story is more nuanced. Sure, movies push the latest PC claptrap, universally depict shrewd businessmen as bogeymen, and treat conservative characters as dweebs or worse. But the fundamental and time-honored Hollywood themes remain essentially conservative. Even movies that ostensibly espouse liberal values are usually  undergirded with conservative concepts, because audiences still root for good values and right over wrong. Audiences still root for good values and right over wrong. Such common themes include using ingenuity to overcome obstacles to achieve dreams; taking responsibility for actions that have consequences; and the importance of character over situation. Until there's a summer blockbuster where characters laze around performing self-destructive behaviors without consequence or a motivation to better their circumstances, the Hollywood product will never be truly liberal. Other inherently conservative Hollywood themes include the importance of family; the glorification of the American Dream; and rewards for hardwork and sacrifice. Masculinity, freedom, and a...
“Every man builds his world in his own image. He has the power to choose, but no power to escape the necessity of choice.” – Ayn Rand Only 6% of Americans believe that life is generally getting better. The rest, all 94%, according to a 2017 study, believe the world is getting worse. It’s not hard to understand this cynical mentality when 24/7, everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with negative news about sexual assault, police brutality, racism, and sexism. We acquiesce to the false belief that these horrific events are the status quo.  Yesterday, one of my friends told me that the United States was on a list for the top 10 most dangerous places to live as a woman. I laughed, because I knew this simply could not be factual. He was confused when I asked him: “What sort of data did they use? Have you considered that those calculations might be biased because the U.S. reports more sexual harassment and hate crimes, while in many other countries those same actions are actually legal?”  After doing some digging, I found out the article wasn’t based on facts at all, but the opinions of a mere 550 experts in women’s issues around the world. They ranked a country where women are free not to marry, free to live their...
Last month, I was called to jury duty. Here in the US, many people, instead of seeing jury service as a quintessential civic duty, regard the obligation with impatience, exasperation and contempt. This is regrettable. Jury duty is an extension of the freedoms Americans enjoy and an opportunity to participate in a “process through which constitutional rights and values come alive in practice.” The on-going protests in Hong Kong make this clear. Their initial impetus was an extradition bill that would have circumvented the Hong Kong legal system (which has a long history of jury trials thanks to its inheritance of British common law) and sent criminal suspects to Mainland China, effectively destroying the one country, two systems principle. As Melissa Chen recently...

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