Diana's Takedown

PhilipC's picture
Submitted by PhilipC on Sat, 2006-06-10 21:18

I'm finally posting my point by point essay-length analysis of "dialectical dishonesty".

I wrote a much longer version, but to have mercy on the readers I've shortened it and condensed it enormously, often reducing four paragraphs of argument to one. Since this is condensed and contains many points or arguments stated relatively briefly and since a lot of people have been awaiting my finally posting this (as opposed to simply asking questions or addressing isolated points), I would urge that it not be skimmed but read more slowly and carefully than the usual post. Some posts -can- be skimmed without misstatement. This is not one of them.

Recent Comments:
"Victor, I specifically — by Victor Pross on Fri, 2006-06-23 01:15
For the record — by eg on Fri, 2006-06-23 01:12
WTF :) — by Victor Pross on Fri, 2006-06-23 01:08

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EMOTIONS: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Victor Pross's picture
Submitted by Victor Pross on Sat, 2006-06-10 01:16
Recent Comments:
The example of actual shifting sand in debate: — by Victor Pross on Mon, 2006-06-12 06:19
Tag, I'm it? — by Victor Pross on Mon, 2006-06-12 06:08
? — by Mark Dow on Mon, 2006-06-12 06:06

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Debunking Defeatism

Michael Moeller's picture
Submitted by Michael Moeller on Fri, 2006-06-09 23:22

I've lifted this from the "Phil's Plan for World Conquest" thread because it's inspiring—Linz


"Moving in a steady decline over the past century"? Really? Then what do you make of the Red Decade? How about the counter-culture of the 60s? The philosophical and cultural underpinnings of those days are favorable compared to today?

I wasn't alive during either of those decades so my finger isn't exactly on the pulse of the culture during those times. However, for evidence look no further than the acceptance of Rand's ideas. What do you make of her early struggles just getting her fiction published, compared with the resounding success the novels enjoy today? I think you are looking at a significant change in the culture--albeit it a subtle one--when even a hardcore Hollywood Lefty like Oliver Stone wants to make a movie out of one of her novels.

Recent Comments:
No need for translations -- especally in India. — by Jason Quintana on Sun, 2006-06-11 21:44
> I don't have the — by PhilipC on Sun, 2006-06-11 20:23
Translations — by Fred Weiss on Sun, 2006-06-11 03:39

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The Oxford Objectivist Society

Marcus's picture
Submitted by Marcus on Fri, 2006-06-09 09:15

Last Tuesday (6th of June) I delivered a talk to a recently formed Oxford Objectivist Society. The society was started by a small group of students studying humanities in Oxford, mostly philosophy and economics.

The founder of the group had learned of my name from another Objectivist when recently in the states.

The speech I gave went down really well, and the students asked highly intelligent and probing questions afterwards. This was followed by a long, but enjoyable debate. We were having discussions long into the night at the college bar.

Recent Comments:
Another suggestion, Marcus — by Kenny on Mon, 2006-06-12 13:38
Hayek vs Rand — by Kenny on Mon, 2006-06-12 13:35
Thanks for the suggestion — by Marcus on Sat, 2006-06-10 23:10

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My Infidel shirt arrived today ...

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Fri, 2006-06-09 07:30

Me in my Infidel shirt

It only took 13 days, which is pretty good considering they shipped it from America to New Zealand in that time.

Recent Comments:
The history of the "Five — by MJ on Thu, 2006-06-29 03:03
Actually, the Cherokee never — by Fred Weiss on Thu, 2006-06-29 02:39
The Cherokee Nation — by MJ on Thu, 2006-06-29 01:47

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Victor Pross's picture
Submitted by Victor Pross on Fri, 2006-06-09 05:15

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silverheartangel's picture
Submitted by silverheartangel on Thu, 2006-06-08 23:38

My fiancee sent me this link and I thought "hey see what it's about". We had a rousing debate on the cover of the Free Radical, which ended in me deciding to join this site and see what it's all about.

Recent Comments:
Welcome — by Kenny on Mon, 2006-06-12 13:29
Samantha, Yes, as Ross says, — by Victor Pross on Fri, 2006-06-09 04:00
Welcome! — by Ross Elliot on Thu, 2006-06-08 23:58

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Fun little question.

Landon Erp's picture
Submitted by Landon Erp on Thu, 2006-06-08 22:57

I just thought this might be something fun to throw out there, but as writers what is the weirdest source of an idea you've ever had.

Since I suggested it I'm obviously going first.

I'd been developing a super-hero team book for a while and to some degree I was following the "Stan Lee/Jack Kirby format for a team,

Ie: mix and match the following traits/powers into between 4 and 7 characters and have at it

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Not Feldstein’s Gasoline Rationing Scheme but Economic Freedom Will Improve the Environment and Promote National Security

George Reisman's picture
Submitted by George Reisman on Thu, 2006-06-08 15:35

A noted economist, Prof. Martin Feldstein of Harvard University, has written an article for the supposedly pro-free-enterprise Wall Street Journal, in which he proposes a system of government gasoline rationing as a means of improving the environment and promoting national security. (The article, titled “Tradeable Gasoline Rights,” appears in the June 5 issue, on p. A10.)

Surprisingly, or perhaps not surprisingly, the word “rationing” does not appear in Prof. Feldstein’s article. Yet that is exactly what he proposes.

Prof. Feldstein would have the government issue what would essentially be ration coupons to motorists, the total amount of which would equal its chosen level of aggregate gasoline consumption. In purchasing gasoline, it would be necessary for the purchaser to supply the necessary coupons along with the money price of the gasoline.

Recent Comments:
Martin Feldstein is still around? — by Chris Cathcart on Thu, 2006-06-08 20:26
Professionally teaching — by F L Light on Thu, 2006-06-08 17:58

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Sedition Verdict Gives New Meaning to 'Helengrad'

Peter Cresswell's picture
Submitted by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-06-08 11:57

Another nail in Liberty's great coffin: A man has been charged and convicted of, wait for it, sedition. TV3 report here.

Not in the nineteenth century, but today. Not in time of war or great conflict, but in the "benign strategic environment" that is the South Pacific. Not in a third-world banana republic -- not in a Kafka-esque, Eastern European Soviet hell-hole -- not even in Mugabe's Zimbabwe -- but here, today, in Auckland's District Court. Convicted of sedition for an act of vandalism in Sandringham Rd eighteen months ago that was accompanied by five -- count them, five -- five leaflets scattered down Ponsonby Rd early one morning that tried to explain the vandalism, and invited NZers to "commit their own acts of Civil Disobedience" in opposition to the Foreshore and Seabed Act.

Recent Comments:
Fantastic commentary, — by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2006-06-09 00:13
He already copped to the — by Duncan Bayne on Thu, 2006-06-08 20:38
The Axe Man — by Rex Wilkinson on Thu, 2006-06-08 14:59

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One Saddamite Maggot Less!

Lindsay Perigo's picture
Submitted by Lindsay Perigo on Thu, 2006-06-08 09:02

A huge setback for Islamo-fascists and their anarcho-Saddamite "libertarian" fellow-travellers, as reported a few minutes ago by the BBC—

Zarqawi killed in Iraq air raid

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki has announced that militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has been killed. "Today we have managed to put an end to Zarqawi," Mr Maliki said, sparking sustained applause.

The Jordanian-born leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq was considered the figurehead of the Sunni insurgency. Reports say he was killed in an air raid near Baquba.

Recent Comments:
There may be circumstances — by Duncan Bayne on Mon, 2006-06-12 23:20
"...whether killing people, — by atlascott on Mon, 2006-06-12 21:52
Another View of Zarqawi's Death — by jriggenbach on Mon, 2006-06-12 15:44

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Dinner in less than five minutes

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Thu, 2006-06-08 08:39

I just had a truly delicious dinner, that took less than five minutes to prepare: a large steak, seared briefly but brutally in a blisteringly hot dry pan, alongside a generous glass of 16 year old Lagavulin.

Beats a microwave dinner hands down Smiling

Recent Comments:
Steak and salad — by Rex Wilkinson on Mon, 2006-06-26 04:13
Lagavulin — by Kenny on Mon, 2006-06-12 12:43
I was there to witness the — by Duncan Bayne on Fri, 2006-06-09 01:25

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The lowest common denominator

Duncan Bayne's picture
Submitted by Duncan Bayne on Thu, 2006-06-08 04:09

Common Denominator

Anyone who fails to find the common denominator, from that photo alone, is either a retard or an apologist for Islamic terrorism.

Hat tip: David Farrar. Some background here, here, and the original here.

Recent Comments:
Thankyou Marnee — by Rex Wilkinson on Fri, 2006-06-30 20:18
What about free speech? — by Marnee on Fri, 2006-06-30 00:38
Laws to stop religion — by Rex Wilkinson on Tue, 2006-06-27 19:19

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Epistemology and Agile Software Development

crmckenzie's picture
Submitted by crmckenzie on Thu, 2006-06-08 04:08


Epistemology has long been a favorite subject of mind. I’m fascinated generally with how the mind works, and reading Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology was an electrifying read for me. As a software developer, I continually strive to find better ways to write code. For the last six years, there has not been a single week when I have not looked at code I wrote just a couple of months before and thought, “that’s crap.” About a year and a half ago, thanks to my friend the Philosophical Detective, I read Agile Software Development by Robert C. Martin. It was the Atlas Shrugged of my software development career. Lately, I have been devouring books on design patterns and refactoring. Mostly I’ve been focused on the Martin Fowler related books due to the respect I’ve gained for him while reading his blog. During all this reading, I have been intrigued by the relationship between software design and technical epistemology. I’m going to talk a little about Design Patterns and Test Driven Development in this blog.


Recent Comments:
Earlier this year I had a — by Ryan Brubaker on Thu, 2006-06-08 23:20
Chris, — by AdamReed on Thu, 2006-06-08 06:11
CHRIS — by Victor Pross on Thu, 2006-06-08 04:19

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Victor Pross's picture
Submitted by Victor Pross on Thu, 2006-06-08 03:53

Hi Rex, I thought you would enjoy this article. Very interesting stuff. It also makes for interesting reading for Objectivst...just in case they may be "sitting on the fence" regarding the God issue Eye



By Sam Harris

Somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture, and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind not occurring at precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of six billion human beings.

Recent Comments:
Good luck Victor — by Rex Wilkinson on Sun, 2006-07-02 04:37
Britain's Luckiest Man — by Fraser Stephen-Smith on Tue, 2006-06-27 16:24
Maybe — by eg on Tue, 2006-06-27 00:21

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The Liberal Glossary

Victor Pross's picture
Submitted by Victor Pross on Thu, 2006-06-08 01:06

Liberals have taken the English language and made it their own. Here's a handy glossary of commonly used Leftist terms, and what they really mean:

SOCIAL JUSTICE: spreading the misery of socialism equally throughout.

ENLIGHTENED: a person who refuses to accept that socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS: celebrities who brag about their environmentally friendly hybrid cars while tooling around the world in gas-guzzling private jets.

Recent Comments:
Holy cow. What hasn't he — by Mike_M on Thu, 2006-09-28 03:09
Plagiarism: See 'Victor' — by Peter Cresswell on Thu, 2006-09-28 00:08
Say. . . — by Chris Cathcart on Wed, 2006-09-27 16:15

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Gearing Down

Lanza Morio's picture
Submitted by Lanza Morio on Wed, 2006-06-07 10:00

Objectivism places us at an incredible advantage over the general population because we have better life-serving tools (Sanction of the Victim, A is A, Either-Or, Capitalism is good, Romantic Art gives us goose-bumps) than they do. There is a significant challenge in dealing with the population-at-large because we generally have to gear down to deal with them at all. In business I haven't found this to be a problem probably because we are there primarily to conduct business and that's it. But with family, friends, and new people I have to bite my toungue or, when I don't, their body language displays their discomfort and I become the bad guy for ruining Thanksgiving and making an in-law cry. So the gearing down becomes a habit because day after day we check our toungues at the door because we simply can't go around pointing out every atrocity we encounter.

Recent Comments:
Perhaps the idea is to fight — by Ross Elliot on Fri, 2006-06-09 23:44
Offensive — by atlascott on Fri, 2006-06-09 22:17
Bam! — by Lanza Morio on Fri, 2006-06-09 19:07

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Victor Pross's picture
Submitted by Victor Pross on Wed, 2006-06-07 03:30

Solo Members,

What a devil I am. I believe my contempt for B.Branden (and this MSK caricature) is known by now--and shared. I have been to the O-Lying site (as it's lovingly called) and came across this post from B.Branden. Am I an ass for sharing it here for it's perverse entertainment value? She speaks of Lindsay and SOLO and...well, it explains itself.

Here it is:


Recent Comments:
Like being buried alive in — by John M Newnham on Fri, 2006-06-09 04:16
love bombing — by User hidden on Thu, 2006-06-08 19:09
You are all such wonderful, — by Mike_M on Thu, 2006-06-08 05:06

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The Flagellation of the Pursuit of Happiness

George Reisman's picture
Submitted by George Reisman on Tue, 2006-06-06 20:17

Paul Krugman is at it again. In today’s New York Times, in his official capacity as a professional bleeding heart “liberal,” he once again revels in his role of flagellating the pursuit of happiness with the whip of human misery. Specifically, he denounces the prospect of the impending Senate vote to abolish the estate tax, on the grounds that the government’s loss of revenue “will cause 65,000 people, mainly children, to lose health insurance, and lead many people who retain insurance to skip needed medical care because they can't afford increased co-payments.”

True to form, Krugman makes no mention of the fact that in each case the money paid as estate taxes was rightfully the property of the bequestor, who earned it and who had a right to determine to whom his property would go: namely, to his chosen heirs and not to anyone selected by Krugman or government officials, in defiance of his wishes. With Krugman and his ilk, the rights of bequestors and of taxpayers in general count for nothing. They are overridden by the needs of others.

Recent Comments:
This or nothing — by eg on Tue, 2006-06-06 23:25
Magnificent! — by Lindsay Perigo on Tue, 2006-06-06 23:09
Great! — by Laure Chipman on Tue, 2006-06-06 21:57

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Fighting Terrorism Requires Legalizing Immigration

James S. Valliant's picture
Submitted by James S. Valliant on Tue, 2006-06-06 16:58

Immigration has become a very hot issue in the United States these days. It is estimated that there are something like ten to fifteen million illegal immigrants living in America – and more keep streaming across the border every day.

Of course, immigration is nothing but a boon to any free market economy, as has been repeatedly demonstrated, and there is every reason for a capitalist society to eagerly welcome every last immigrant. And, of course, so long as the immigrant is not a direct threat to the physical safety of the country, such migration to and from a place is a RIGHT.

Recent Comments:
The Solution to the U.S.-Mexican Border Problem — by tlwinslow on Sat, 2009-05-02 21:54
Aha! — by atlascott on Mon, 2006-06-19 20:22
It's not about — by Richard Wiig on Mon, 2006-06-19 09:52

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Unsubjected Property

F L Light's picture
Submitted by F L Light on Tue, 2006-06-06 15:56

Would you consider purchasing, either for yourself or as a gift, a book which had five or six thousand couplets like these? In letters to agents or publishers I may quote your answers.
Possessing unsubjected property,
Free men allow the state no larceny.

Possessing unembarrassed property,
Athenians killed official thievery.

Extending freeborn ownership, obtain
Defensive property for your domain.

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ART: The Culture's Barometer

Victor Pross's picture
Submitted by Victor Pross on Tue, 2006-06-06 04:10

AYN RAND wrote in the ROMANIC MANAFESTO that “art is the barometer of a culture. It reflects the sum of a society’s deepest philosophical values: not its professed notions and slogans, but its actual view of man and of existence.”

Ayn Rand never wrote a great deal about the specific art form that is of my interest-—namely painting. She has given plentiful examples of the culture’s current state by citing numerous examples in the field of her specialization—-literature. And it's all dead-on.

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PAR The Movie

Mike_M's picture
Submitted by Mike_M on Sun, 2006-06-04 23:41

Linz keeps bugging me to post my thoughts on the Passion of Ayn Rand movie, so I'll do that now. Here is the original post I made, plus some of what I wrote in the comments.

I opened a NetFlix account a few weeks ago. My first rentals were all five Death Wish movies. The only good one was the first. I also got to watch The Passion of Ayn Rand on Friday, thanks to NetFlix.

The Passion of Ayn Rand is a horrible movie. I’m not talking about its gross historical inaccuracies. I’m not talking about the fact that the movie makes Barbara Branden out to be a hero surrounded by idiots. In fact, I expected to see a good, though unjust and inaccurate, movie about deception, betrayal, and sex. So I’m not talking about this movie from a Rand-fan point of view. I’m talking about this from the point of view of a movie buff. I’m talking about the awful dialogue. I’m talking about the total lack of character development. I’m talking about the near randomness of the plot.

Recent Comments:
Boaz — by Chris Cathcart on Wed, 2006-06-07 04:00
Chris — by Boaz the Boor on Wed, 2006-06-07 03:21
Chris — by Penelope on Wed, 2006-06-07 02:54

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Nocera Replies

George Reisman's picture
Submitted by George Reisman on Sun, 2006-06-04 21:37

Dear Mr. Reisman-- I enjoyed reading your blog just now, but if you go back and read what I wrote, you'll note that I specifically set a parameter: to qualify a book had to be published in the last two decades. Atlas Shrugged was published, I believe, in 1959. The point I was trying to make is that over the last two decades, as business has become more central to American life--or least a more central topic now that Americans invest their 401Ks etc etc, and as business stories have become a part of the front page as well as the business page, and the subject of many non fiction books, where are the novelists? My point still stands, I believe.

Dear Mr. Nocera:

Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, I believe it merely serves to dig you deeper into the hole of an indefensible position.

Recent Comments:
If the guy asked for a book — by Lanza Morio on Wed, 2006-06-07 05:39
Hot and cold running water — by Craig Ceely on Mon, 2006-06-05 05:39

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Collectivism Repackaged

Marcus's picture
Submitted by Marcus on Sun, 2006-06-04 20:53

Birth of a Tory lie. Now an economist is trying to repackage collectivism to sound like it were Libertarianism. What a mess!

"A new book, The Origin of Wealth by Eric Beinhocker (Random House) has been described by the economist John Kay as the most important business book of the year."

“People are strong reciprocators,” says Beinhocker. “They’re neither selfishly individualistic nor inherently altruistic. They try to do unto others as you would have them do unto you — but if others don’t do it unto you, then nail them.”

Recent Comments:
Deleted — by Kenny on Mon, 2006-06-05 10:12
The problem is — by Kenny on Mon, 2006-06-05 10:11
It's call the Third Way. — by Ross Elliot on Mon, 2006-06-05 01:25

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Marcus's picture
Submitted by Marcus on Sun, 2006-06-04 20:41

Here is an article about a school where pupils are encouraged to behave as indivduals. However, children need discipline too, don't they?

“Summerhill has 200 more laws than any other school,” she revealed. “It has been called the ‘do-as-you-like school’, but it isn’t. You can skip lessons, they are optional. That is part of your freedom as an individual.

“If you want to sunbathe in the nude that would be fine. But if you want to play the drums at 1am, it is not fine if you wake someone else up.”

Recent Comments:
Lisa van Damme — by Peter Cresswell on Wed, 2006-08-16 06:26
Lisa VanDamme — by Lanza Morio on Wed, 2006-08-16 06:00
Diana — by jdlimber on Thu, 2006-08-10 04:24

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The nature of visual literary arts

Landon Erp's picture
Submitted by Landon Erp on Sun, 2006-06-04 20:01

This is from my entries in a back and forth I had several months ago on RoR. Discussing the nature of static art (painting, sculpture) and literary visual art (comics, film). After seeing some of the entries on the "Blade Runner thread" I was tempted to add my thoughts.

Painting tends to be about essentials, but it's more the essentials of a specific moment in time. Like when you think back on your first kiss or something like that, how you remember what you were wearing, what color the walls were, how you were standing, what the expression on her (or his don't want to leave anyone out) face looked like just before etc. Specifically, just everything that would hit you about a particular moment. It's the essentials of everything that moment was, but enough to bring it all back and completely re-create the moment over and over again.

Recent Comments:
Interesting stuff. Kind of — by Landon Erp on Mon, 2006-06-05 00:52
Landon,This is a very — by Victor Pross on Mon, 2006-06-05 00:34

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The Bisexual Monkey

Rex Wilkinson's picture
Submitted by Rex Wilkinson on Sun, 2006-06-04 18:16

The Bonobo monkey is bisexual and sex is being performed infront of the group on a regular basis.Young and old male to male girl to girl and the most significant thing to me is the girls do it face to face.I don,t know of any other apart from us that share that with the Bonobo.The are a non violent female dominated society that uses mainly nuts for protien along with a few grubs and insects.If we are to choose one of the primates to be our ancestor for me it,s the Bonobo,their society has a lot in common with us.The males masturbate and sex in general is performed for pleasure.The moment in time when a male Bonobo decided he wanted to copy the ladies and do one of them face to face is probably one of the great turning points in our evolution.Looking into the eyes of your lover and sharing feelings.

Recent Comments:
How did this string ever die? — by Ted Keer on Thu, 2006-10-19 07:07
The Joys of Beastliness — by Bill Tingley on Wed, 2006-06-07 20:21
The Beasts — by Rex Wilkinson on Wed, 2006-06-07 14:36

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Does the Name “Ayn Rand” Ring a Bell?

George Reisman's picture
Submitted by George Reisman on Sun, 2006-06-04 08:33

In his New York Times column of June 3, Joseph Nocera asks:

'Who among our better novelists has put business front and center? . . . Tom Wolfe comes to mind, of course; his first novel, "Bonfire of the Vanities," tackled Wall Street in the 1980's, while "A Man in Full," his second novel, had real estate as its backdrop. Surely, though, there must be others that are escaping me.'

Recent Comments:
Chris — by Neil Parille on Tue, 2006-06-06 10:52
Actually, in a talk on — by Jason Quintana on Tue, 2006-06-06 04:40
Valid criticisms can be made — by Aaron on Tue, 2006-06-06 04:35

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Six Names in Sixteen Years

DianaHsieh's picture
Submitted by DianaHsieh on Sun, 2006-06-04 03:00

As expected, The Objectivist Center has officially changed its name -- yet again. The Center Sometimes Mistaken for Objectivist will henceforth be known as "The Atlas Society." Renaming your organization and its publication three times in 16-some years definitely inspires confidence, I think. It gives the solid impression of knowing what you're doing. Or not.

Recent Comments:
I can respect your comment — by Landon Erp on Mon, 2006-06-12 22:37
Excellent piece, Joe — by Kenny on Mon, 2006-06-12 12:36
Landon — by Kenny on Mon, 2006-06-12 12:35

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