Merry Christmas!

 Posted by on 25 December 2008 at 8:11 am  Fun, Literature
Dec 252008

Merry Christmas!

Here are two questions for you:

1. What do you like most about your Christmas this year?

2. What will you do differently next year to have an even better Christmas?

Personally, I’m most looking forward to our traditional Christmas dinner with some friends from 1FROG at the always-fantastic Opus Restaurant in Littleton.

Unfortunately, I won’t be doing much else with my day. Paul left bright and early this morning to go to work; he’ll be done around 3 pm. I’m slated to do a full measure of dissertation writing today, as chapter seven has taken me a bit longer than I supposed, albeit for the very good reason that I’ve had develop some major new ideas in it.

Next year, I plan to enjoy Christmas by having more of a Christmas. I’d like to put up some decorations, as well as do some holiday-inspired cooking. That will be possible because I’ll be a doctor of philosophy, rather than a mere dissertating grunt of a graduate student!

Oh, and I almost forgot: Here’s a truly delightful tale — no kidding this time — that I read for the first time just a few weeks ago: “Merry Gravmas” by James P. Hogan. It’s a short short story, but quite memorable: I’ve found myself mulling over the prospect of such a rational future more than a few times since I first read it.

Hence, Merry Gravmas!

PajamasMedia Discussion of Atlas Shrugged

 Posted by on 15 October 2008 at 6:52 am  Literature
Oct 152008

The widely-read group blog Pajamas Media has reposted the Dr. Helen Smith essay on Atlas Shrugged and “going John Galt”.

It’s also been linked to by Instapundit, so it’s going to get lots of traffic.

Here’s your chance to comment!

LTE about Ayn Rand in The Telegraph

 Posted by on 14 October 2008 at 4:00 pm  Economics, History, Literature
Oct 142008

The October 14, 2008 edition of the UK paper The Telegraph printed the following letter on Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged (towards the bottom of the page):

Sir – Ayn Rand has been mentioned several times in your pages of late, but it is startling how prescient was her novel Atlas Shrugged.

There is the socially responsible banker who went bust because he gave loans to those who needed them, rather than to those who could afford them. There’s the government regulation and takeovers to ensure that failed businesses keep going.

There’s the unthinking desire to cling on to “stability”, and the consensus that it is a global problem and everyone must pull together for the common good.

All is in denial of reality, a rejection of reason. Result: the rational is distrusted; men are guilty of being “unfair” if they value competence and “unfeeling” if they refuse to indulge failure. The individual is subordinated to the national, and the national to the international.

If Rand was right thus far, what of the years ahead? Perhaps the motor of the world is stopping.

Iwan Price-Evans, Enfield, Middlesex

The big question is whether our version will have the same happy ending or not…

Sep 152008

… from the Coalition for Secular Government:

  • Last Wednesday, Ari Armstrong and I attended a fundraising dinner for the Colorado chapter of Republican Majority for Choice. Ari and I were generously invited to the event because of our issue paper, “Amendment 48 Is Anti-Life: Why It Matters That a Fertilized Egg Is Not a Person.”

    I was very impressed with the 200-strong turnout, as well as the commitment to individual rights so clearly expressed by master of ceremonies Hank Brown. The event was a bright spot in our fight against Colorado’s Amendment 48, which would grant full legal rights to fertilized eggs in Colorado’s constitution. I do hope to see more pro-choice Republicans speaking up for reproductive rights within their party.

  • Ari Armstrong’s op-ed — “With Palin, McCain ignores Colorado warning” — was published by the Boulder Weekly. That op-ed was distributed by the Coalition for Secular Government.

    Independent of CSG, Ari also published an excellent op-ed in the Rocky Mountain News entitled Lessons for U.S. politicians from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this weekend. (Ari is the author of a fantastic short book Values of Harry Potter.)

Values of Harry Potter

 Posted by on 7 August 2008 at 11:38 pm  Literature, Recommendations
Aug 072008

I’m delighted to announce that Ari Armstrong’s book Values of Harry Potter is now available for purchase. I read an advance copy of the book last month. I loved it. Here’s my official endorsement of it.

I’ve read all the Harry Potter novels multiple times, discussed them at length with friends, read essays analyzing them, and even published an essay of my own. Yet Ari Armstrong’s Values of Harry Potter offered me a delightful array of fresh insights into J. K. Rowling’s works. It offers fans of Harry Potter a unique opportunity to explore the core values of the novels, to discover why we find them so captivating and so inspiring. Readers will develop a deeper appreciation for Rowling’s achievement in portraying life-loving, courageous heroes. They will discover compelling answers to any half-formed questions and doubts about the significance of her Christian themes. When I re-read the Harry Potter series — as I’m eager to do again — I will gain far more insight and inspiration from them than ever before, thanks to Values of Harry Potter.

For a bit of a taste of the actual item, Ari has posted a PDF with extracts of the book on his web site.

I recommend the book to all fans of Harry Potter, but particularly to people interested in Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. You’ll find much of interest in it — much that you didn’t notice on a first or second or third reading of the books. So go order your copy now!

Mobile Me

 Posted by on 12 June 2008 at 5:18 pm  Computers, Literature
Jun 122008

As I was reading this TUAW post on the awful (and very un-Apple-like) logo for Mobile Me, the .Mac replacement scheduled to launch in a few weeks, I finally realized why I can’t say “Mobile Me” without some strange feeling of cringing mockery. For weeks now, I’ve known that it reminded me of something vaguely unsavory, but I just couldn’t say what. Then I realized: The phrase “Mobile Me” is just too damn close to “Magical Me,” the title of Gilderoy Lockhart’s autobiography from Harry Potter.

Sheesh, didn’t anyone at Apple read Harry Potter?

Tore Boeckmann on Ayn Rand

 Posted by on 25 April 2008 at 6:00 am  Literature, Objectivism
Apr 252008

Tore Boeckmann was recently interviewed for EdNews on the creativity of Ayn Rand. The interview is short, but worth a read.

I should also mention that Tore Boeckmann’s essay “Anthem as a Psychological Fantasy” in Robert Mayhew’s anthology Essays on Ayn Rand’s Anthem was one of the very bright highlights of that book. The essays in that volume are of consistently high quality, but the essays by Tore Boeckmann, Onkar Ghate (“Breaking the Metaphysical Chains of Dictatorship: Free Will and Determinism in Anthem”), and Greg Salmieri (“Prometheus’ Discovery: Individualism and the Meaning of the Concept ‘I’ in Anthem”) were way beyond stellar. I highly recommend reading them, if you haven’t already.

Preventing Horror

 Posted by on 4 March 2002 at 4:22 pm  Communism, Compromise, Ethics, Literature
Mar 042002

After a lengthy discussion on Saturday with Paul on whether the horrors of the Soviet Union could have been prevented, he recommended the quick World War II alternate history Triumph in which Churchill assassinates Stalin during the war. Although competently written, the possible changes in the timeline precipitated by Stalin’s early death are merely hinted at rather than explored in depth.

If we must make common cause with an evil regime (like the Soviet Union) in order to defeat a even more evil regime (like Hitler’s Germany), the least we can do is be honest about the compromise being made. To sell a ruthless dictator as “Uncle Joe Stalin” is an unpardonable sin. But given FDR’s politics, perhaps Stalin really was an ideological uncle of sorts.

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