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.
Anyone who’s seen the John Hughes movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off probably remembers the scene where Ferris’s economics teacher (Ben Stein) explains the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act to a roomful of bored, sleeping students. The scene is brilliant for many reasons, perhaps most so because it perfectly demonstrated how some of the most boring things in history are also the most important.
Smoot-Hawley was, of course, one of the great blunders in history.
Passed in 1930 over the objection of more than a thousand economists, the legislation increased tariffs (which were already high) on imports to protect US industries and farmers, sparking a trade war that deepened the Great Depression. It’s a perfect example of authorities taking decisive action to alleviate a crisis—and making things much worse.
What many forget is that Smoot-Hawley didn’t cause the Depression. It was a response to the Depression. Indeed, it may never have passed at all without the catalyst—the Stock Market Crash of 1929—that sent the nation into a frenzy....
Read Article : Panic Has Led to Government “Cures” That Are Worse Than the Disease, History Shows
At a time when a highly infectious biological virus, the coronavirus, is spreading – as is an equally infectious psychological virus, panic – I wanted to take the opportunity to reach out with a message on what we at The Atlas Society are doing to respond to both.
First, we are recommitting to core values, including reason, productivity, benevolent self-interest, and achievement. Reason starts with a recognition that reality exists, that A is A – and in a time when our best epidemiological understanding of the “A” of COVID-19 is evolving, we are taking individual measures with each member of our team to be safe so that we can continue to ramp up the increased impact The Atlas Society has had in engaging the next generation with the ideas of Ayn Rand in creative ways.
Far from backing down or slowing work on any project, we are doubling down on productivity, and taking advantage of this time to work on large-scale projects that require time and thought, such as writing The Pocket Guide to Postmodernism, speeding production of RED PAWN: The Graphic Novel and moving forward on a Hebrew translation of ANTHEM: The Graphic Novel. You’ll hear from me in the coming months with updates on the progress of these projects – and more.
Just as Sir Isaac Newton made some of his greatest discoveries in math and physics while self-quarantined during the Great Plague of London (which decimated nearly a quarter of the city's population in 1665-1666),...
Read Article : Coronavirus Message from The Atlas Society
Editor's Note: The following is chapter one of J.P. Medved’s novelJustice, Inc. Former Army Ranger Eric Ikenna is the CEO of the powerful, private military corporation, Justice Incorporated. But when his company successfully topples the government of South Sudanese dictator and international war criminal Ahmed al-Bashir, Eric and his operators suddenly become public enemy number one for a very deadly, very secretive branch of the United States government. Combining bleeding-edge technology from tomorrow's wars with heart-pounding, nonstop action,Justice, Inc. is a geo-political military thriller and the first novel in the Justice Incorporated series. Justice, Inc. is part of The Writers Series, our highly popular feature that showcases the work of contemporary novelists influenced by Ayn Rand.
“Federal funding for organizations like Helping Hands for Africa thus represents an unalloyed good, even though the returns are measured in lives saved, rather than dollars made.”
Senator Horace Wilson stopped, and the words scrolling in front of his eyes paused. He flicked his gaze to the picture occupying the bottom right of his vision.
“Jeff, ‘unalloyed?’ Who is this speech for, the United Metalworkers Union? Change it.”
“Yes sir.” The voice in his ears was immediate. “How about ‘indisputable’?”
“You’re the goddamn...
Read Article : Justice, Inc.
“You know, we eat guys like you for lunch every day of the week.” Those were the words of AT&T Chairman John deButts nearly fifty years ago. He directed them to MCI Chairman Bill McGowan, whose fledgling company had designs on competing with AT&T in the long-distance space. DeButts was properly contemptuous.
AT&T controlled 100 percent of the long-distance market at the time, one out of every 500 Americans worked for the communications giant, and arguably most problematic of all for MCI, banks and investment banks generally didn’t want to have anything to do with the businesses that presumed to compete with ‘Ma Bell. Not only was toppling the monopoly seen as a fool’s errand that didn’t rate financing, it was viewed as unwise to anger a corporation that generated more banking fees on an annual basis than just about any other.
MCI’s chances of success were quite a bit less than slim to none, only for Michael Milken to enter the picture. We write about Milken after President Trump so correctly pardoned him for “crimes” that had never before been prosecuted. We’d like to think he did so not just to reverse past injustices, but most importantly in honor of Milken’s remarkable capitalistic achievements. Simply stated, it would be hard to find a greater wealth creator and driver of progress than Milken, and his intrepid financing of MCI speaks to this truth.
Indeed, there’s an old saying that “banks only lend to you when you don’t need the money.” Milken understood this...
Read Article : Trump Is Right: Michael Milken Is a Hero, Not a Criminal