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A few years ago, my mother called me to ask me if I’d heard of her new favorite writer. “Ayn Rand. She was a philosopher. I thought, of course Catherine will know her. Do you know her? Have you read The Fountainhead? Atlas Shrugged? Of course you have.” Of course I had. Mom was a total convert. “It just makes sense, sweetheart.” She went on at enthusiastic length about the virtue of selfishness and the value of prioritizing one’s own happiness. Rand was a light on the grey landscape of her semi-rural Canadian life. Imagine if you didn’t have to pretend to want to volunteer at the community center, or to bring potato salad to the arts board meeting? Imagine putting yourself first! Finally, she was validated in wanting to reject the empty communalism of shared duty, the posturing around selflessness and sacrifice in service of the community that can be particularly intense in small towns. She could be selfish and feel good about it, and she loved it. I loved her newfound spark, but to be honest, at the time I didn’t think that it would amount to much. She’d skip a few board meetings, refuse to volunteer at the community center, and reference Dagny Taggart to the...
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After two weeks of unrest at St. Olaf College in rural Minnesota, during which a group calling themselves “The Collective for Change” shut down classrooms and barred access to campus buildings, the casus belli -- a note using the “n-word” left on a student’s windshield -- has turned out to be a hoax.   Andrew Morales, an economics major at St. Olaf’s reached today for comment is not surprised.  After voicing reservations last week over what he saw was a rush to judgement, he’s been ostracized: “I’ve been called every name in the book: bigot, sexist, racist, homophobic — everything. It’s silly.” In a scene reminiscent of recent violence at the University of California at Berkeley, Morales describes how his roommates Andrew Salij and Dionicio Luna were locked inside the main Buntrock building on campus by protesters.  Another student was punched in the face for trying to escape.  Students later rallied to another building preventing  people from coming and going and in the process manhandled an elderly lady. You can listen to my full interview with Morales...
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My first night as an Airbnb host was a near disaster. I thought I was prepared.  Glamour shots of the house -- check.  Coffee maker -- check.  Linens, towels, toiletries -- check.  Hit “go live,” and boom, I’ve got a booking.  That afternoon two guys arrive in a vintage Ferrari on their way to an antique car show.  They were looking for a place to spend the night. I show them to their rooms, give them the keys, and they’re off to dinner.  That night I “hit the books” on how to become a better host.  There’s an article on how it’s good to bake your guests something to welcome them.  Recriminating myself over the failure to bake cookies, I can’t get to sleep. I can’t stop thinking about cookies.  So I take an Ambien. The next day I get up and go into the kitchen…..and there are cookies, everywhere.   And I don’t just mean on the counter.  I mean everywhere.  On the floor.  On the stairs leading up to the third floor where the guests were sleeping.  And I wasn’t dreaming.  This was real.  It was a total nightmare.    I had sleep baked.   Forget...
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Ayn Rand delved into some of Objectivism’s most fundamental ideas—and their most poignant personal implications—in the essay she devoted to the 1967 encyclical by Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio (“on the development of peoples.”) An “encyclical” in the ancient church was a “circular letter” to the heads of Christian churches everywhere. Today, it is a personal communication by the Pope that speaks to the doctrine of the Church. As such, it represents one of the most significant statements of the views of the Church. Ayn Rand’s analysis in “Requiem for Man” pursued and challenged the encyclical’s premises across the fields of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, economics, and history; but her basic point, without which nothing can be understood about Objectivism and capitalism, was that “…capitalism is incompatible with altruism and mysticism…. The encyclical…reads as if a long-repressed emotion broke out into the open, past the barrier of carefully measured, cautiously calculated sentences, with the hissing pressure of centuries of silence.  The sentences...
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Robert Bradley, Jr. - Ayn Rand and Best Business Practices—Atlas Summit 2016 Session recorded 7/12/16 at the Atlas Summit, Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas, NV, as part of the Symposium on Success in Business. The heroes in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are successful businessmen. All readers of the novels can agree that the heroes behave heroically. But do they behave in ways that characterize successful businessmen? This lecture compares the behavior of Rand’s heroes with the insights of four authors in the classical-liberal tradition whose works identify key aspects of free-market business success: Samuel Smiles, Joseph Schumpeter, Ronald Coase, and Friedrich Hayek. Along the way, it demonstrates that the classical liberal capitalist Charles Koch has adopted and updated all of these insights. It then argues that Rand thoroughly understood the insights of two of these authors but slighted the insights of two others. And it suggests that her moral and aesthetic philosophy may have been responsible for her oversights....

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