Between February 1692 and May 1693, in Salem, Mass., more than 200 people were accused of witchcraft, 20 of whom were ultimately executed. Five more died in jail. It’s a dark and shameful blot on the history of the colony—on the history of humanity in general, truth be told. The trials speak to the nature of many things. Theocracy. Society’s view of women. Mob mentality. Criminal justice. Fear of the unknown, or at least the unexplained. Its lasting impact on our collective conscience is evidenced by the fact that 300 years later, we still use the term “witch-hunt” to describe unjustifiable persecution of a person or group. So, with that in mind, I think it’s fair to say the vitriolic and very public denouncement of billionaires in America today may be accurately described as a modern-day witch-hunt. That the ultimate goal of this billionaire bash-fest is expropriation and redistribution of wealth and not public execution is hardly of any matter. Witches/billionaires are a blight on our society. Their corruption and immorality are self-evident to the righteous. They are evidence of our sin as a population. Witches/billionaires harness the power of Satan/money for their own evil gains at the expense of the good, God-fearing/hard-working everyday people of this land. We must purge them from our ranks lest we fall prey to their wicked ways and wiles. Only through torture/taxation may their souls escape damnation and our own civilization be saved. Burn the witch. Soak the rich. The...
In his recent book, The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties, Paul Collier mentions Ayn Rand. The comment is a one-off, so I’ll be generous and say that it neatly encapsulates a straw man argument critics of Ayn Rand have bandied about for decades: The atoms of humanity are not reasoning individuals, but the relationships into which we are born. We can learn from the freakishly rare anomalies of ‘babes in the wood’--children reared by wolves. Do they, as in the Romulus and Remus mythology, grow up to found Rome? Updated from Rome to the present, we might think of it as the logical endpoint of the Ayn Rand hypothesis: if only people could grow up freed from the shackles of society, they would become Atlas-like independent-minded innovators. In fact, they become tragic creatures, unrecognizable as human beings. I’ll start with the “babes in the wood.” Nothing in Ayn Rand’s writings indicates an indifference to human parenting or a belief that children would be better off raised in the woods by wolves. Rand thought children should be raised by their parents. She considered child-rearing important work. She told Playboy in 1964 that women who are mothers ought to take the job seriously. A mother needs to think through and apply “the rules and principles by which she wants to bring up her children.” She needs to approach motherhood “as a career,” reading about and studying for the...
Growing up during the 1950s, Robert Bidinotto became enthralled by TV vigilante heroes, such as The Lone Ranger, Zorro, and Batman. That fascination continued into adulthood, when he became a fan of action thrillers by such writers as Alistair MacLean, Jack Higgins, and Mickey Spillane—and later, of those by Lee Child, Stephen Hunter, Brad Thor, and Vince Flynn. Another major influence was Ayn Rand, whose fiction and nonfiction shaped his ideas and values as Robert launched a writing career.  From the seeds planted in childhood—and nurtured by Rand’s fictional characters Francisco d’Anconia and Ragnar Danneskjold—the image of a unique hero had been growing in his mind: Dylan Hunter—a crusading reporter, also operating secretly as an urban vigilante, fighting for justice in an unjust society. HUNTER (2011) attracted strong initial sales and glowing reviews. Amazon editors selected HUNTER as an “Editors’ Pick.” Within a week, Robert’s self-published, debut thriller soared to #4 on the Kindle bestseller list, to #1 among all Kindle “Mysteries and Thrillers,” and also hit the Wall Street Journal’s “Top 10 Fiction Ebook” list. He has since published two sequels in the Dylan Hunter thrillers series: BAD DEEDS, named 2014 “Book of the Year” by the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance; and WINNER TAKES ALL, released late in 2017 to stellar reviews. Robert Bidinotto is now a full-time writer of what he calls “thrillers for...
Author’s Note: This scene occurs early in the thriller Hunter. Investigative journalist Dylan Hunter has been invited to witness a prison meeting between crime victim Susanne Copeland and her imprisoned attacker, Adrian Wulfe—a cunning psychopath. In the wake of the attack, Susanne’s traumatized husband, a renowned plastic surgeon, committed suicide. Susanne is a CIA analyst, and she is accompanied to the meeting by her best friend, CIA security officer Annie Woods. The meeting has been arranged by Wulfe’s prison psychotherapist, and the “Restorative Justice Program” he describes is not fiction: These are the actual procedures and language employed by the Virginia Department of Corrections. Dylan Hunter has his own personal reasons for being present—secrets revealed later in the novel. Editor’s Note: The following excerpt from Hunter is part of The Writers Series in which we feature the work of contemporary writers who integrate, in their own way, the ideas and Romantic Realism of Ayn Rand. * * * CLAIBOURNE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY CLAIBOURNE, VIRGINIA Monday, September 8, 10:15 a.m. The escort directed Hunter into a narrow, sterile cinderblock room. It was painted cold white and lit by fluorescent tubes in the ceiling. A row of blue plastic chairs lined one wall. They faced a tinted...
I did not like Bill Clinton’s 1993 class-warfare tax hike, and I also opposed Barack Obama’s 2012 fiscal-cliff tax increase on the so-called rich. But those were incremental measures. Today’s leftist politicians have much more grandiose schemes, such as 70 percent tax rates, wealth taxes, and extortionary death taxes. And even those proposals may not be enough. Abolish Billionaires In a column for the New York Times, Farhad Manjoo actually suggests that billionaires should be taxed out of existence. Literally, not just figuratively. …if we aimed, through public and social policy, simply to discourage people from attaining and possessing more than a billion in lucre, just about everyone would be better off. …Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are floating new taxes aimed at the...

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