Quick Roundup 192

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Possible Blogging Hiccup

Just in time for the arrival of summer, a problem with our air conditioning has surfaced. If blogging is light or nonexistent over the next day or so, that would be why.

Deja Vu All Over Again

As members of the Objectivist Bloggers' mailing list might know, the following letter to the editor in the Colorado Springs Gazette makes almost exactly the same objections to Ayn Rand's philosophy as the one I read in college that caused me to become initially interested in reading her work.

Rand wrong to embrace atheism and greed

Forty years ago in high school, I read "Atlas Shrugged," "The Fountainhead," "We the Living," "Objectivism" [sic] and "The Virtue of Selfishness." I will concede that Ayn Rand is a fine novelist and has a great imagination. "We the Living," set in Russia, remains a favorite of mine.

However, her novels are mainly instruments in which she set forth her philosophy ("Novel ideas," Our View, May 5). She was a die-hard atheist, and never tired of letting her readers know it. It's interesting that a mind such as hers can believe everything came into being with no first cause, like a hat that produces a rabbit with no magician on stage.

I find no fault with her endorsement of free enterprise and capitalism; however, I do find fault with her finding selfishness a virtue. Human beings seem to be born with certain traits, including self-absorption, narcissism and self-centeredness. But such a society can quickly deteriorate into a dog-eat-dog world.

Jocelyne Kamerer
Colorado Springs
Besides putting forth such a pitiful objection to atheism -- as if she isn't assuming that her God "came into being with no first cause, like a hat that produces a rabbit with no magician on stage" -- Ms. Kamerer drew my attention to a rather positive article by the same paper which ends with the following strong recommendation: "Still, her direct defense of freedom resonates and rings true to this day, and achieves its highest expression in "Atlas Shrugged." Don't wait another 50 years to pick a copy off the shelf and crack it open. By then, it might be banned."

The problem that opponents of Ayn Rand have, based on my experience, is that Rand does a pretty good job of defending herself intellectually, and of selling her ideas. All they can really do is try to discourage people from reading her work.

Thank you for playing, Ms. Kamerer!

(HT: Randex)

What's in a name?

An interesting tidbit of evidence from the Jose Padilla trial is an al Qaeda membership form (translated here), which has "Name" -- but not "Nick Name" -- as an optional field.

Well, that makes perfect sense. I've said from the start of this blog that having "Mohammed" as a first name is like not having one at all. Fill it in. Leave it blank. What's the difference?

The China-Iran Connection

Grant Jones has been on top of China, which I have not written much about lately:
The paper tiger syndrome that President George Bush has helped to foster has brought home some nasty chickens to roost. ... Things have degenerated to such a low point that Red China feels itself free to supply Iran with weapons to use against their most important trading partner.
In the meantime, Iran seems to have benefited from all the help that Russia has been giving it with respect to nuclear technology. UN inspectors have just reported that, Iran "is now beginning to enrich uranium on a far larger scale than before".

But who has helped Iran the most? The country that should have overthrown the Mullahs ages ago and finished sending Iran back to the stone age. The longer we do nothing, the more worrisome Iran becomes. None of this would be possible if we would put our foot down.

The Allure of Tools

Toiler asks an excellent question about the craft of writing over at his blog: "Why is it that writers who seem most obsessed with the tools of the writing trade -- word processors, flowcharts, computer technology, special pens, etc. -- never seem to write anything?"

He then tells us about his three favorite tools, but not without being clear about their actual importance to his craft.

-- CAV


: Replaced a word.


madmax said...

Not on China's connection to Iran but an interesting blog post on "the Chinese Miracle."


If I remember, you used to post frequently on China so I figure this may be of interest to you.

Rod Maingot said...

I share your sentiments exactly (regarding Rand-bashers). Constantly opposing their irrational arguments is extremely tiring - the fact that Rand did it all her life is nothing short of amazing.

Gus Van Horn said...

(1) Thanks, madmax.

(2) While you make a good point, Rod, I was apparently not clear. All I was really saying was that Rand presented her arguments very well. When she doesn't convince someone outright, she at least raises a serious-enough challenge that the kind of brush-off Kamerer makes is clearly not going to cut the mustard.