Journey to Capitalism


Ayn Rand 1967 Lecture on Capitalism

 

John R. Houk

© October 7, 2018

 

In my twenties (early 1980s) I became enlightened that the Democratic Party had moved to a political place that placed its moral make-up and stealth support of Socialist principles were antithetic to the Founding Fathers’ vision of a Constitutional Republic

 

And so, I abandoned supporting the political party my family insured was the way of thinking that saved America from the poverty of the Great Depression (circa 1929 through the 1930s decade). My Grandparents and mother lived through that devastating economic period in America. (I have since learned that Franklin Roosevelt’s policies may not have been as saving as my Grandparents and Parents were led to believe. But that is another story.)

 

As a former Dem I didn’t exactly embrace Ronald Reagan in the 1980 voting cycle. I fell for the line that Reagan was such a Hawk, he would push the nuke buttons ushering in WWIII. And I was so disenchanted with President Carter, there was no way I would vote for him. In 1980 I went Third Party. I voted for Ed Clark of the Libertarian Party.

 

In those days Ayn Rand writings were very influential among Libertarians thus that was my introduction into Randian Philosophy. I was addicted to all things Ayn Rand.

 

By 1980 I had been a Christian for two years. In case you didn’t know it, Christian Morality and Randian ethics influencing moral thinking do not line up well. You can guess the longer I have been a Christian, the more I gravitated away from an extreme affinity to Randian Objectivism Philosophy. And yet I still like Rand’s economic principles.

 

As such you should be aware Rand was a staunch Capitalist and very combative against Socialism and Communism. Ayn Rand was born into Czarist Russia in 1905. She endured the travesty of the Bolshevik (Communist) Revolution. She managed to complete her education and find a way to get out of the USSR in 1925 one year of graduating from a college in St. Petersburg (then Petrograd – later Leningrad then back to St. Petersburg). Rand passed away in America 3/6/1982. (Ayn Rand Lexicon bio)

 

I stumbled onto a lecture provided by Ayn Rand herself on Capitalism:

 

VIDEO: Ayn Rand – What Is Capitalism? (full course)

 

Posted by Ayn Rand Institute

Published on Sep 28, 2018

 

This 1967 lecture is Ayn Rand’s flagship talk on capitalism. In it she explains in depth what capitalism is, why it is often misunderstood and why it is the only social system consonant with man’s nature. She discusses the philosophical and ethical roots of capitalism, and contrasts them with the moral-philosophic doctrines that lead to rule by force. She then discusses progress under capitalism and how it is fundamentally different from the so-called progress of a statist society. Along the way, Rand takes up such questions as:

 

  • What is the essence of man’s nature?

 

  • What is the fundamental basis for the concept of individual rights?

 

  • How is capitalism consonant with man’s nature? Why are other social systems not consonant with it?

 

  • Why is serving “the common good” not a sound principle for governing a free society?

 

  • What are the different perspectives on “the good,” and how do they inform people’s views on what constitutes a proper social system?

 

  • What has been the ethical basis of all tyrannies in history?

 

  • Who prospers on a free market?

 

  • How does a free market unleash man’s creative abilities?

 

  • What is so often misunderstood about progress under capitalism?

 

This talk is excerpted from Rand’s substantially longer and more comprehensive essay of the same name. Students interested in mastering Rand’s views on capitalism are encouraged to study the full essay, available here, in addition to enjoying this course.

 

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JRH 10/7/18

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Go See ‘Atlas Shrugged’ the Movie


John R. Houk

© April 22, 2011

 

The book Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand was one of my favorite novel reads of all time. I first read the book in the 1980s; however the book was written in 1957 nearly one year after my birth (just in case you were interested). Here we are in 2011 and someone finally made the classic Ayn Rand novel into a movie.

 

Atlas Shrugged opened to audiences last weekend on a limited showing basis. It opened up to a mere 299 screens. The movie did so well that this weekend the total screens is moving up to “423+” screens according to a Tea Party Expressemail I received recently. The Atlas Shrugged movie site has a movie locator as to where the movie is playing. At the movie locator you type which State you live in then shows which cities a theatre can be located. I am pleased that Atlas Shrugged Part 1 is being showed in the State I reside! If you reside in the Tulsa area that theatre is the AMC located roughly on 41st and Yale area.

 

If you have ever read the book or are an Ayn Rand fan you will want to catch this movie. The book is loaded with Ayn Rand political philosophy which has been termed Objectivism. Objectivist philosophy is the creed for life for a huge amount of Libertarians.

 

Ayn Rand Objectivism

 

A full system of philosophy advocating reason and egoism has been defined in our time by Ayn Rand. It is the philosophy of Objectivism, presented in detail in Atlas Shrugged, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, and The Virtue of Selfishness. It is the antidote to the present state of the world. (All further quotations, unless otherwise identified, are from the works of Ayn Rand.)

 

Most philosophers have left their starting points to unnamed implication. The base of Objectivism is explicit: “Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.”

 

Existence and consciousness are facts implicit in every perception. They are the base of all knowledge (and the precondition of proof): knowledge presupposes something to know and someone to know it. They are absolutes which cannot be questioned or escaped: every human utterance, including the denial of these axioms, implies their use and acceptance.

 

The third axiom at the base of knowledge—an axiom true, in Aristotle’s words, of(READ THE REST at Ayn Rand Institute)

 

My old Libertarian days are what led me to Ayn Rand and two of my favorite novels in “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged”. These are also the days in which I found the life renewing power of Salvation in Christ Jesus. As much as I began to love Objectivist Libertarianism I came across a concept that I could not reconcile to my new faith. Ayn Rand and here philosophy were atheistic. As much as Rand hated Communism and its precursor of Socialism, she also felt that religion was an illusion that stifled creativity and a productive existence. In my view subject faith in God is the foundation for all that exists. It is Christ Jesus and His Redemptive act that has reconciled the fallen nature of man to at-one-ment (atonement) with God Almighty, i.e. Right Standing with God or in Biblical terms I possess the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. There is no observable objectivity that can measure subjective faith and thus there is no objective way to disprove the existence of the Creator of all that exists. The best objectivity can do is to measure what can be observed and utilize logical assumptions that evolves into a conclusion based on the conjecture of those logical assumptions.

 

There are natural laws that are observable and codified as they are discovered. The Objectivist Philosopher, Scientist or Mathematician cannot comprehend supernatural laws because even when seen the occurrence cannot be measured as to the “why” or the “how” of the occurrence and so is classified under unknown or known by the conjecture of probabilities to attempt to explain the occurrence seen in the natural but has a supernatural law reason.

 

In natural law lift explains how an object maintains a stable trajectory without gravity forcing the object to the ground. Thus lift overrules gravity. In a similar way supernatural law overrules natural law as far as I can conjecture. That drives any person wholly dedicated to some form of Objectivist thinking entirely nuts.

 

Anyway, my line of thinking is what led me away from Objectivist Libertarianism. As cool as the freedom of free will is in Objectivist Libertarianism it is a godless philosophy. I simply cannot embrace the atheistic nature of this kind of Libertarianism which essentially leads to Moral Relativity which goes on to validate certain social acts and social lifestyles as good relative to the times and yet denying the foundation of Biblical Morality which exists because the Creator is the base line for morality that humanity should walk in.

 

And yet Ayn Rand’s philosophy incorporated with a foundation of faith has amazing possibilities for leading a productive and creative life before Christ returns in which an eternal existence would override the need to overcome the urges of a fallen human nature.

 

As such the movie Atlas Shrugged Part 1 should be a movie everyone should to drawn to view. If the movie is true to Ayn Rand’s book it will show how a Socialistic Collective society stifles innovation which also stifles Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. I pray President Barack Hussein Obama watches this movie to get an understanding of what his concept of “Change” will lead America toward.

 

Here is a good summary of Atlas Shrugged the novel that should not give away the mystery of the movie.

 

Atlas Shrugged was Ayn Rand’s greatest achievement and last work of fiction. In this novel she dramatizes her unique philosophy of Objectivism in an intellectual mystery story that integrates ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, politics, economics and sex.

Atlas Shrugged is a mystery story, Ayn Rand once commented, “not about the murder of man’s body, but about the murder—and rebirth—of man’s spirit.” It is the story of a man—the novel’s hero—who says that he will stop the motor of the world, and does. The deterioration of the U.S. accelerates as the story progresses. Factories, farms, and shops shut down or go bankrupt in ever larger numbers. Riots break out as food supplies become scarce. Is he, then, a destroyer or the greatest of liberators? Why does he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies but against those who need him most, including the woman, Dagny Taggart, a top railroad executive, whom he passionately loves? What is the world’s motor—and the motive power of every man?

Peopled by larger-than-life heroes and villains, and charged with awesome questions of good and evil, Atlas Shrugged is a novel of tremendous scope. It presents an astounding panorama of human life—from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy (Francisco d’Anconia)—to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction (Hank Rearden)—to the philosopher who becomes a pirate (Ragnar Danneskjold)—to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph (Richard Halley). Dramatizing Ayn Rand’s complete philosophy, Atlas Shrugged is an intellectual revolution told in the form of an action thriller of violent events—and with a ruthlessly brilliant plot and irresistible suspense.

We do not want to spoil the plot by giving away its secret or its deeper meaning, so as a hint only we will quote here one brief exchange from the novel:

“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders–what would you tell him to do?”

“I … don’t know. What … could he do? What would you tell him?”

“To shrug.”

 

The Objectivism Reference Center has a fascinating page that has loads of reference links to book summaries, critiques and essays about Atlas Shrugged.

 

For those of you who have not read the book as yet but are considering to view Part One of the movie before you tackle the rather large Ayn Rand novel I leave you this teaser.

 

Who is John Galt?

 

See a trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W07bFa4TzM&feature=player_profilepage

 

JRH 4/22/11

*****************************

Atlas Shrugged Movie Gains Momentum!

 

Sent by Tea Party Express

Sent: 4/22/2011 7:09 AM

 

Normally we’re not too focused on what movies are playing in local cinemas, but the release of Atlas Shrugged The Movie (based on Ayn Rand’s monumental book) has become a seminal event in the tea party movement.

 

And we’ve got some good news to report to you on the success of this movie that has liberal film critics up in arms.

 

In its debut weekend, Atlas Shrugged surprised everyone, grossing more in ticket sales per movie screen than any other movie save the hit family movie, “Rio.”

 

And this week, Atlas Shrugged expands – from 299 screens last weekend to 423+ screens this weekend.  You can find the closest movie theater showing the film near you – FIND MOVIE THEATER HERE

 

The movie, like the book, serves as a wake up call to the dangers posed when governments take on too much power and subvert the will and freedom of the individual.  Specifically, it showcases what happens when entrepreneurship and free market principles are deemed to be unseemly and unacceptable to Big Government.

 

When you watch the movie you’ll feel like you could be watching the real-live events of today, not a fictionalized account written by Ayn Rand some 60+ years ago.

 

And the fact that this movie touches on many of the problems we face today, and that we in the tea party movement are fighting, explains why so many liberal movie critics have slammed this movie and urged people not to see it.   They don’t want you to see this movie, because they don’t want you to see the truth about what is happening in America today.

 

  • ·       Michael Phillips, writing in the Los Angeles Times, complained about the film’s “tea-stained politics.”

 

  • ·       Peter Travers in RollingStones vented, “Who’s the idiot responsible for this fiasco?”

 

  • ·       Roger Ebert gave the film just 1-star and whined:  “And now I am faced with this movie, the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault.”

 

  • ·       Peter Debruge incorporated a swipe at Fox News Channel in his review for Variety, writing that: “…Atlas Shrugged” becomes a series of polite policy conversations interrupted by Fox News-style updates whenever exposition is called for…”

 

Yes, we get it, liberal film critics.  You all can’t stand free markets, and you can’t stand that there is a film out there that echoes many of the same evils that the tea party movement here in America is fighting against.

 

You can see the movie for yourself this weekend, and in the process angry a Big Government, autocratic, liberal.  Watch it again, even if you’ve already seen it once.  Oh, and  be sure to take a friend with you too.

 

To find the nearest cinema showing “Atlas Shrugged” – JUST CLICK HERE.

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Go See ‘Atlas Shrugged’ the Movie

John R. Houk

© April 22, 2011

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Atlas Shrugged Movie Gains Momentum!

 

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