Category Archives: News

Help Joshua Lipana fight cancer

From Craig Biddle at The Objective Standard:

My good friend Joshua Lipana, assistant editor of TOS Blog and a highly valued contributor to The Objective Standard, has been diagnosed with cancer, specifically T-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, at the young age of 20. Joshua asked me to refrain from making an announcement about this until his doctors gained a better understanding of his situation and prognosis. They now have.

Joshua lives in Quezon City, Philippines, and has been in The Medical City Hospital, in Pasig City, for 46 days, undergoing many tests and procedures. He has recently had two sessions of chemotherapy and is scheduled for several more in the weeks to come. His loving mother, Arleen Lipana, has been by his side the whole time.

Although the side effects of the chemo are dreadful, the treatment appears to be reducing the large tumor in Joshua’s left lung, and the doctors are extremely optimistic about his future. He may be able to return home as soon as next week, which would make him very happy.

If you would like to email Joshua, you may do so at jlipana@theobjectivestandard.com. But please understand that he may not be able to reply to emails at this time.

Joshua does not have insurance to cover the numerous expenses involved in his hospital stay, tests, and treatments, so I will organize a money bomb in the near future to help defray these costs. I’ll let you know when that is underway.

Joshua is one of the greatest champions of reason and technology I’ve ever known (see his blog posts for an indication). I hope the values he defends so unwaveringly will enable him to live a long and happy life. That is what he deserves.

Biddle has now set up the account to support Joshua’s medical expenses. You can make your donation here.

Ayn Rand Institute Campus: Online courses in Objectivism

From the Ayn Rand Institute:

We at ARI are proud to announce a major new online educational initiative: The Ayn Rand Institute Campus. On January 10, 2012, we will beta launch an innovative and interactive learning environment where Internet users can study Ayn Rand’s provocative ideas in unprecedented ways, using a system of learning tools that can be found nowhere else.

ARI Campus will allow students around the world to take courses at their own pace and on their own time””for free. Students at all levels can explore the educational materials that lie at their fingertips within and around each course””from the multimedia experience of a course including audio, video, and supplementary visual and textual content to the “More to Explore” section that offers reading and viewing suggestions for students who want to deepen their knowledge on a particular topic.

Courses have interactive modules that often include quizzes and user interactions. ARI Campus will also offer a site discussion board designed to help students discuss, integrate and digest the information as fully as possible. We have endeavored to enrich the learning environment far beyond the experience of listening to a recorded lecture.

Our initial course offerings will include the following:
”¢ Ayn Rand: A Writer’s Life
Ӣ Ayn Rand: Radical Thinker
Ӣ The Ayn Rand Bookshelf
Ӣ Anthem
Ӣ We the Living
Ӣ The Fountainhead
Ӣ Moral Virtue
Ӣ Philosophy of Education
Ӣ Philosophy: Who Needs It

New courses will be added regularly””the first release post-launch will be an exciting and in-depth look at the novel Atlas Shrugged, taught by Dr. Onkar Ghate and appearing in February.

Please join us, starting January 10, and explore and try out this brand new learning environment. The full, public launch of the site is slated for September of 2012. We hope to see you soon on ARI Campus!

New documentary coming Oct 7th: “Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged”

The Ayn Rand Institute has helped sponsor the production of a new documentary titled Ayn Rand and the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged. Written and directed by Chris Mortensen, it is “a feature-length documentary film that examines the resurging interest in Ayn Rand�??s epic and controversial 1957 novel and the validity of its dire prediction for America.”

The movie will be released “in select cities” on October 7th, 2011. And judging from the trailer below, it looks quite good.

According to IMDB the documentary includes interviews with John Allison, Mike Berliner, Andrew Bernstein, Harry Binswanger, Yaron Brook, Northrup Buechner, Jennifer Burns, Al Ruddy, Ed Snider, and many others. I also recognize Leonard Peikoff’s former wife Amy Peikoff, here at the very start of the trailer.

The movie’s synopsis at IMDB begins:

Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged is a feature length documentary film that examines the resurging interest in Ayn Rands epic and controversial 1957 novel and the validity of its dire prediction for America.

Set in what novelist and philosopher Rand called the day after tomorrow, Atlas depicts an America in crisis, brought to her knees by a corrupt establishment of government regulators and businessmen with political pull the looters and the moochers who prey on individual achievement.

Less a conventional work of fiction than a philosophical manifesto in the form of a romantic novel, over the course of a thousand-plus pages, Atlas tackles no less an essential argument than the one debated by philosophers and theologians since time immemorial: altruism vs. self-interest. Am I my brothers keeper – or not? For Ayn Rand, the answer is an emphatic no. To Rand and the disciples of her Objectivist philosophy, self-sacrifice is as heinous an act as murdermurder of the soul.

For more information about the documentary, check out the movie’s IMDB page, its Facebook page, the Ayn Rand Institute’s site for the Atlas Shrugged novel, and the movie’s official website, where you can sign up to host a screening or to be notified once the DVD is available for pre-order.

John Hospers, R.I.P.

Pro-liberty philosopher John Hospers — who was a personal friend of Ayn Rand in the 1960s and the first presidential candidate for the Libertarian party in 1972 — passed away on June 12, 2011.

I had lunch with Hospers in Los Angeles in 1996, shortly after graduating from college, and enjoyed his gentleness and intelligence.

In 2004, the Atlasphere published a lengthy article by him titled “Election 2004: The Case for Bush.”

Jesse Walker offers a brief tribute at Reason.com.

For more background about Hospers, you can read his bio and also find some of his recent articles available online.

Reviewing the correspondence from Hospers that I’ve seen over the years, I came across this interesting tidbit from him (a reply to Richard Allen on the old We The Living discussion group) about Rand’s take on Charlie Chaplin:

No, Rand didn’t care for the ‘silent comedians’. Several times in our conversations the topic of Chaplin came up — all negative. At first I thought that his political leftism was the main issue — that along with his preference for girls a generation ‘too young’ for him. These all had an influence on her low estimate of Chaplin.

But the main thing was his art, not his life: it was repellent to her that Chaplin celebrated (or seemed to) the ‘hero’ as helpless victim, not in charge of his fate but being buffeted about on the whims of circumstance, always reacting but not initiating action. She didn’t find his antics cute or even funny. Not only did she dislike ‘Modern Times’ as an indictment of capitalism, she found his parody on Hitler in ‘The Great Dictator’ (after the ‘little tramp’ had been abandoned) unworthy of even a single smile.

Rest in peace, Dr. Hospers. And thank you.

“I Am John Galt” book now available on Amazon.com

The new book I Am John Galt by Donald L . Luskin and Andrew Greta is now available for purchase on Amazon.com.

We plan to publish a full review soon at the Atlasphere. Don’t wait for that, though; the book looks excellent.

From the press release:

“Who is John Galt?” may well be the best known line from all of Ayn Rand’s works. Soâ?¦ who is he? Galt is not only the fictional character from the hugely bestselling novel, Atlas Shrugged, who has come to embody the individualist capitalist who acts in his own self interest and in doing so lifts the world. He is also found in todayâ??s CEOs, journalists, sports figures, and actors who have led their lives according to Galtâ??s philosophy and in so doing they have achieved phenomenal success, not only for themselves but for those around them.

In their new book, I AM JOHN GALT: Todayâ??s Heroic Innovators Building the World and the Villainous Parasites Destroying It, well known market commentator Donald Luskin and financial journalist Andrew Greta introduce us to the real-life titans whoâ??ve lived their lives like Randâ??s fictional heroes and the malefactors whoâ??ve lived like her fictional villains. Filled with exclusive interviews, profiles, and analyses of the superstars who have based their lives and careers on the philosophy of the perennially popular Ayn Rand, this book both inspires and enlightens.

I AM JOHN GALT stars:

· The Individualist: Steve Jobs as Howard Roark, the man who reinvented four industries just because it was so cool

· The Mad Collectivist: Paul Krugman as Ellsworth Toohey, the man who preaches socialism from the pages of Americaâ??s newspaper of record

· The Leader: John Allison as John Galt, the man who walked away after building Americaâ??s strongest bank

· The Parasite: Angelo Mozilo as James Taggart, the businessman who co-opted government and nearly wrecked the US economy

· The Persecuted Titan: Bill Gates as Henry Rearden, the businessman who created revolutionary technologies and was criminalized for his success

· The Central Planner: Barney Frank as Wesley Mouch, the politician who meddled in the economy and almost destroyed it

· The Capitalist Champion: T.J Rodgers as Francisco dâ??Anconia, the modern Renaissance man and agent provocateur for capitalism

· The Sellout: Alan Greenspan as Robert Stadler, the libertarian who became an economic czar

· The Economist of Liberty: Milton Friedman as Hugh Akston, the academic who showed the world the connection between capitalism and freedom

Engaging and entertaining, I AM JOHN GALT examines how the inspiration that is Galt thrives more than 50 years after the publication of Atlas Shrugged. It will spark the interest of Ayn Rand fans everywhere, as well as those seeking a way to succeed in today’s turbulent and confusing times both in their business lives and their personal lives.

About the Authors

Donald L . Luskin is Chief Investment Officer of TrendMacro, an investment strategy and economics research firm. For over thirty years, he has been a leading figure in investment management and financial markets. He was formerly vice chair of Barclays Global Investors (now BlackRock) and is the founder of Investment Technology Group and MetaMarkets.com. Luskin appears weekly on CNBCâ??s Kudlow Report and contributes frequently to the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal. He is the author of Index Options and Futures: The Complete Guide and editor of Portfolio Insurance: A Guide to Dynamic Hedging, both published by Wiley.

Andrew Greta is an author and business executive with more than fifteen years of experience in the financial markets and currently holds an appointment with the College of Business at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. He formerly led corporate and business development at CME Group in Chicago. Greta is a former contributing editor for TheStreet.com. His articles on finance and investing have appeared in numerous national publications including SFO magazine, DSNews.com, ABCNews.com, Online Investor, and Individual Investor.

Hedge-fund manager Barry Colvin raises funds for ARI outpost in NYC

A new article in the Wall Street Journal begins:

Forget tea leaves: Wall Street is turning to Ayn Rand for guidance.

Hedge-fund manager Barry Colvin has raised $60,000 to start a Greater New York outpost of the Ayn Rand Institute, the first chapter in the country for the Irvine, Calif.-based nonprofit dedicated to the late free-market philosopher and novelist.

“The idea is on-the-ground reconnaissance,” said Mr. Colvin, vice chairman of Chicago-based Balyasny Asset Management. Mr. Colvin contributed the bulk of the funds but rallied donors for the rest.

“It’s our civic duty to pound the table about making people challenge their own ideas behind what they think the role of government should be,” he said.

As a kick-off, Mr. Colvin will co-host a series of debates next month on freedom, government and capitalism with Demos, a public-policy research and advocacy group based in New York.

Great story: Jaroslav Romanchuk teaching free market principles to Burmese dissidents

Kelley Currie at The Weekly Standard blog has this beautiful anecdote about our beloved Jaroslav:

I met Romanchuk about a decade ago in Thailand, of all places. He was sent to me by colleagues at the International Republican Institute, where I was working at the time, to help with a problem I was having with my Burmese dissidents. They were good guysâ??committed to democracy and willing to risk their lives for it. They were also big admirers of Communist economic theories, and did not seem to understand the infrangible link between the economics of Marxism and its political tyranny. My attempts to get them to read the Economist and Adam Smith were going nowhere, so I got the idea that it might help them to hear from someone who had actually lived under a Communist system and had run away from it screaming.

Enter Romanchuk. He was as close to a pure Ayn Rand-spouting Objectivist as I have ever met, not to mention an incredibly brilliant economist who gave my well-intentioned Burmese dissidents brain cramps when he clearly explained how oppressive an economy based on redistribution and “social justice” actually was in real life. You could have heard a pin drop when he told them about the unsuccessful attempts on his life as a result of his work with an opposition political party under Lukashenko’s dictatorship. He also exhibited an unbelievably foul sense of humor and could, naturally, drink us all under the table, which he proceeded to do every night. Because he had street credibility, the Burmese dissidents could relate to him immediately. They never stopped asking for me to bring him back for a second round, but unfortunately I was unable to do so.

See her full blog post for more context for this anecdote.