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Ayn Rand's ideas and influence continue to shape the lives of individuals in every profession. In this recent series, we ask playwrights, artists, activists, and academics five simple questions about how Rand's ideas have impacted them. These short takes are intriguing and easily shareable with friends. 
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On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, hoping to end World War II quickly and avoid the half-million more American casualties likely to be suffered if the conflict dragged on. The war did end quickly. Later that year producer Hal Wallis asked Ayn Rand to develop a script about the making of the bomb. The film project, Top Secret, was dropped some months later, but Rand’s work on the movie offers some lessons for today. The subject of the atomic bomb is deadly serious In a memo to Wallis, Rand stated that “An attempt to make a picture on the atomic bomb can be the greatest moral crime in the history of civilization—unless one approaches the subject with the most earnest, most solemn realization of the responsibility involved, to the utmost limit of one’s intelligence and honestly, as one would approach Judgment Day—because that is what the subject represents.” She argued that it was the “thinking of men” that would determine if and when the bomb was used. And because the “motion...
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She was a blonde bombshell, with as much sexual verve as '50s and '60s Hollywood would allow. With her girlish voice, airy demeanor and curves that tantalized on screen, Marilyn Monroe's dichotomous heat-meets-vulnerability persona captivated a nation, and continues to do so, 54 years after her death. Among those paying attention was Ayn Rand. While the two could be viewed as different as night and day, at least physically, it was Rand who seemingly "got" Monroe, not only her cinematic charms but also how she was a bright soul battered by the world. A takedown, it seems in hindsight, that contributed to her death. Rand penned an essay about Monroe that appeared in the Los Angeles Times in 1962, and it reads as if she had a window to the screen legend's wounded psyche. In it, she argues that the world cannibalized Monroe — an observation that rings true in today's reckless social media arena where...
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Do you want to be smarter, healthier, and live longer? Remarkably, a new Pew survey found that most Americans answer “No!” if it requires using certain new technologies. This is a wakeup call for scientists, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, transhumanists, and all of us who value our lives: we must fight for our lives on the battlefield of values.   Worries about human enhancement We all understand how information technology has transformed our world with PCs, smartphones, the Internet, and Google. Nanotech, robotics, artificial intelligence, and, especially, genetic engineering are poised to unleash the next wave of wealth creation and improvements of the human condition. But a new Pew survey entitled U.S. Public Wary of Biomedical Technologies to...
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Quick quiz: If you jack up the price of something, do you think people will buy more or less of it? Apparently, the obvious answer “Less!” eludes the folks who argue that if the government forces employers to pay all workers a $15 minimum wage, that said employers will be tripping over themselves to keep current workers and maybe even hire some new ones. A new short video—warning, it’s complete with expletives!—explains a simple truth about the minimum wage to those poor folks—pay attention young Bernie Sanders supporters!—who might have been victims of government schools and, thus, never learned even elementary economics.   Ayn Rand explained that “Unemployment is the inevitable result of forcing wage rates above their free-market level.” But this is no declaration of “Starve, you damned workers.” Rand explains that “A country’s standard of living, including the wages of workers, depends on the productivity of labor; high productivity depends on machines, inventions, and...


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