Quick Roundup 440

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Via HBL, I learned of a remarkable column by Joseph McHugh in The American Chronicle regarding William F. Buckley's unjust treatment of Ayn Rand.

McHugh starts out with comments about his son, Christopher's just-published memoir, but that is only a point of departure. The real strength of his article is that it considers the elder Buckley's long, ignominious record of unjustified, personal attacks on Rand on as well as what other intellectuals influenced by Rand have had to say about the matter. The piece ends:

Rand made the case against the welfare state root and branch. She was the first to make a secular case against Communism and Socialism, and the first to make a fully secular defense of American values. The fact that her ideas were shut out by Buckley hurt the entire cause of Americanism.

These days people are flocking to read Atlas Shrugged. They are not burning a hole in their wallets to buy God and Man at Yale.

And that's a good thing. [minor edits]
It is refreshing to see journalism like this, and frustrating at the same time, because (a) I wish I'd written it myself, and (b) I want to quote the whole thing here, verbatim. McHugh says several things that have needed saying for a very long time.

I will indulge myself one more quote, though: "... Buckley made a career out of trashing Rand personally, not intellectually, and one cannot help but feel justice at his public bubble being burst."

Amen! (So to speak.)

Another Satisfied Customer

I am delighted to see that Paul Hsieh is enjoying his new Asus Eee PC 1000, and, owning one of the older models, find myself slightly jealous at the same time. Fortunately, thanks to an earlier post of his on the same subject, I can at least upgrade my operating system soon. I hadn't had time to look into that, and was reluctant to do so anyway while bouncing back and forth between cities so much over the past year.

Working from Home

I will be working from home for awhile once I return to Boston for good next week, so I found this post (and the ensuing comments) over at Noodlefood on the subject to be of interest. (I'd swear I have encountered the wonko.com post before, but I'd forgotten about it.)

Also, I am considering a career change to a type of work that, in a few years, I could make into an at-home occupation. A major issue with such a move is setting clear boundaries between work and leisure.

A History Primer for Barack Obama

Via Ron Pisaturo, I see that there is a nice refutation of Barack Obama's unjust praise of the Islam for the cultural achievements of the ancient Arab world over at The Charlotte Capitalist.

-- CAV


Brad Harper said...

I just ended a nearly three-year stint working from home and I think that subtle degrees of formality are your best defense.

First, have a dedicated workspace (or two) limited to work-related essentials. I consistently organized my desk to be free of home-oriented things like cameras, bills, books, or any other item that could temp my mind to lose focus. We also have a home-phone that I made sure to leave in another room. I often work to music, and made sure that I restricted the volume to a level similar to what would be appropriate in an office setting. I even used headphones at times because I'm accustomed to them. Eliminate or muffle sources of noise like TV's, washer/dryer etc. Basically, condition your work area to lend itself to focused productivity.

Another routine that helped me stay on top was resisting the urge to roll out of bed and march right to my computer. I found that showering, and dressing in semi-formal, but comfortable, clothing helped me establish a reliable routine. A morning coffee run can also help mitigate stir-craziness. You're gonna love it.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the tips, especially the last.


Anonymous said...

Wow. What a great article by McHugh. The writing is so crisp and focused. Thanks for pointing it out.

I love personal anecdotes from Rand's life, like the one mentioned by Harry Binswanger in the article. There is nothing more inspiring to me than reading about even the most trivial details of Ayn Rand's life, and thanks to the Ayn Rand Bookstore of ARI there's enough material to last a lifetime.

I noticed in one post you mentioned you discovered Rand through nonfiction. Myself and any other Objectivist I've talked to first read her novels. Do you mind me asking how you discovered who Ayn Rand was? Before randomly coming across my mom's old copy of "The Fountainhead" picking up dust in the basement I had never heard of Ayn Rand.

Gus Van Horn said...

Oddly enough, I read a reply to a LTE by an Objectivist in my undergrad student paper. It read, in part, "a philosophy that holds atheism and selfishness as virtues can't be profund."

This piqued my curiosity enough that I sought out the author of the original letter. He allowed me to borrow from his good collection of Rand and her arguments won me over, although I was initially sure I'd refute them (which was part of my motivation for reading her in the first place!