Quote of the week...please share your favourite line from Ayn Rand's writings

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ayn Rand while commuting

I suppose we have all seen this while commuting- at least those who travel with the hoi polloi -someone reading a Rand book, often the Fountainhead:

Reading Ayn Rand

On a couple of occasions I have seen dullish looking housewife types in traditional sarees poring over the Fountainhead and wondered if they were 'getting it'. I'm glad if they 'got' even one percent. Who knows what personal awakening that bit might produce.

Cross posted at What the Heck is Art?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Sixth Sense

This is the video that we created as our submission to the Ayn Rand Institute's Atlas Shrugged Video Contest.
Our movie was filmed and edited by Abhay Kumar -- a talented filmmaker.
The concept for the script was written and developed by Gazal Dhaliwal--a close friend, gifted script writer, and intellectual friend of Objectivism.
I provided the philosophical consultation, advise, and approach to creating a video that conveyed the right messages.
So here is our finished product. I am pleased with the outcome. If you enjoy the video as well, then please show us your support by VOTING for the video at the contest website. You can vote once per day from each computer. And you can vote all the way till the end of the contest on December 22.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Enter The Atlas Shrugged Video Contest!

The “Atlas Shrugged” Video Contest will end in a few weeks, so be sure to submit your entries and vote on your favorite videos!

The “Atlas Shrugged” Video Contest is a challenge to anyone with a video recorder who has read “Atlas Shrugged” and wants to change the world.

Create a short web video, three minutes max, on how Ayn Rand’s epic story relates to current issues in society or in your own life. Videos will be judged on their intellectual strength, creativity and persuasiveness.

Grand prize: $5,000
2nd prize: $1,000
Viewer’s Choice award: Apple iPad pre-loaded with works of Ayn Rand

Contest ends: December 8, 2010, at 11:59 pm (PST)

For more information, please refer to the Official Rules page. Or contact this mail address:

Ayn Rand Institute
2121 Alton Parkway, Suite 250
Irvine, CA 92606
Telephone: 949-222-6550

E-mail address: contest@AtlasShrugged.com
Website: http://atlasshrugged.com/contest/

Monday, November 8, 2010

The "Giving Pledge"

The “giving pledge” of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates was signed by 40 of the wealthiest Americans. Gates and Buffett have asked the wealthiest to give up half of their wealth for philanthropic causes. Strangely, many complied and many more are like to, in coming days. Don Watkins and Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute has called it the “guilt pledge’ in Forbes. “Charity is not a primary virtue”, said Ayn Rand.

We are usually reminded that we could wipe out poverty if only we would be willing to sacrifice a little more. “What good would it do, for a corporate CEO to have one more private jet?” they ask. An overwhelming majority of world’s population lives in near starvation. Any sane, intelligent person can look upon this fact and pass his judgment that charity, definitely, isn’t a solution to this problem. How are we supposed to deal with a problem of this scale through sacrifices? When they say sacrifices are to be made out of profits, they ignore the basic economic fact that every penny given to charity is taken out of what would have been employed in capital investment or personal luxury.

Charity is, needless to mention, a virtue on a free, uncontrolled, unregulated economy if exercised in the right manner. Not for a single moment is anyone saying that we shouldn’t help men thrown into poverty by no fault of their own, but we should know what makes and keeps them poor. It would certainly be argued that their problems need immediate attention, and few have anything to say against it. What is to be said against it is that ‘charity’ or welfare state as a policy would only exacerbate their problems. Even if all the richest men on the earth try to cure poverty through charity, they won’t reach anywhere close to it, as the poor are too much for them to take care of.

We now see the richest men on earth running around like Santa Clauses, which forces me to believe that they do really believe what they preach. At least on a conscious level, they do, otherwise they wouldn’t have been willing to spend their hard earned money that way. We get to one more reason why a libertarian education is essential for each and every man on earth. It would relieve the rich of their guilt and the neurotics of their inferiority complex. Alienation and scapegoating has a lot to do with it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Morality Of Abortions

In the 2010 state ballot in Colorado, the 62nd amendment will appear which states that the term ‘person’ shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being”. It would mean the “sanction” of full legal rights to embryos. It wishes to eliminate abortion and all sorts of contraceptives.

Abortions, it is often argued, would break up the natural order and balance in the ‘society’. No one cares to ask the question- ‘Natural order’ and ‘balance’-For whom? The inanimate matter doesn’t have any rights; nor does a ‘fictitious body. What would it mean to state that it is not the individuals as such that matter, but it is the interacting individuals -‘Society’-that matter? If the individuals doesn’t matter one way or another, & the interacting individuals do matter, it can only imply that it is the interactions that matter. Or else, it could mean that the benefit derived by some of the interacting individuals takes precedence over the rights of others.

Let’s have a look at the implication of those arguments from morality. Let things be as it is. Let the parents suffer. Let the child suffer all her life. Let the ‘society’ suffer as a result.-And let the interactions be preserved-Based on a false theory, a contradiction which has no justification whatsoever. As Ayn Rand observed: “The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly. Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals. For conscientious persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone’s benefit, but for the sake of misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to living human beings.”

Morality is not a spoon that hangs on your roof. It’s a set of rules to live consciously and self-responsibly. We shouldn’t forget that the legalization of abortion in the many parts of the United States brought down crimes unbelievably. Steven D Levitt and Stephen J Dubner informs us: “What else might we look for in the data to establish an abortion-crime link? One factor to look for would be a correlation between each state’s abortion rate and its crime rate. Sure enough, the states with the highest abortion rates in the 1970s experienced the greatest crime drops in the 1990s, while states with low abortion rates experienced smaller crime drops. Since 1985, states with high abortion rates have experienced a roughly 30 percent drop in crime relative to low-abortion states.” Even if common good is the standard of morality, the arguments in support of abortion still hold.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Nietzsche and the Nazi’s

The recently published “Nietzsche and the Nazi’s A Personal View” by Stephen Hicks, an Objectivist is a brilliant analysis of the philosophical roots of Nazism.

Hicks tells us how philosophy plays a dominant role in shaping history. The part I find particularly impressive is the section in which Hicks deals with Anti-individualism and collectivism. He points out that the National Socialists were collectivistic and anti-individualistic in a horrible sense. They rejected the idea that men are ends in themselves. Hicks reaffirms Ayn Rand’s contention that Nietzsche’s individualism is largely overstated. While I don’t find the idea of individuals creating themselves from scratch quite plausible, we are by and large responsible for our own destiny. Nietzsche believed the exact opposite, and such determinism can never be an adequate foundation for Individualism.

The counterfeit individualism of Nietzsche is evident in this passage:
“Nietzsche believes that most individuals have no right to exist and—more brutally—he asserts that if they were sacrificed or slaughtered that would be an improvement. In Nietzsche’s own words: “mankind in the mass sacrificed to the prosperity of a single stronger species of man—that would be an advance.”And again: “One must learn from war: one must learn to sacrifice many and to take one’s cause seriously enough not to spare men.” It is hard to see as an individualist

Thursday, October 14, 2010

'Ayn Rand - India' features among "30 Best Blogs for Exploring Objectivism"

A website called "Accredited Online Colleges" has posted an article on the best blogs for exploring Objectivism. Our blog features in the list at number 14.

ARI announces first ever 'Atlas Shrugged' Video Contest

  Contest entry deadline: December 8, 2010.     
Atlas Shrugged Lights. Camera. Activism. Enter the Atlas Shrugged Video Contest. Get Details.
  Here's your chance to speak out on how Ayn Rand's epic story relates to current issues of the day or in your own life. Enter the Atlas Shrugged Video Contest.

Create a short web video that is no more than 3 minutes long. And have fun doing it.

Each entry will be judged on originality, creativity and persuasiveness. Prizes of up to $5,000 or an Apple iPad will be awarded by the Ayn Rand Institute.

Check out contest details now. And pass them along to your friends. Then it's lights, camera, activism.
  Copyright © 2010 Ayn Rand® Institute. All rights reserved.

For official contest details, visit www.AtlasShrugged.com/contest.

The Ayn Rand Institute, 2121 Alton Pkwy, Ste 250, Irvine, CA 92606


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Anti-Business Mentality

In the Indian society, businessman are not regarded highly enough as of various cultural reasons and prejudices. Much of it had to do with the caste system, but it can’t be solely attributed to it. The situation is universal, though there are variations in the degree of the bias from country to country. The reasons behind it as obvious, as it would become evident in these words of Ayn Rand: “Throughout men's history, money was always seized by looters of one brand or another, whose names changed, but whose method remained the same: to seize wealth by force and to keep the producers bound, demeaned, defamed, deprived of honour. Yet through all the centuries of stagnation and starvation, men exalted the looters, as aristocrats of the sword, as aristocrats of birth, as aristocrats of the bureau, and despised the producers, as slaves, as traders, as shopkeepers--as industrialists.”

People instinctively grasp that some men rightly deserve their wealth, and for many, nothing can be more unbearable than this. People hate Capitalism for the same reason, that it rewards people based on their socially objective value. Moser put it eloquently, though sympathizing with people plagued by such notions : “Life in a society in which success would exclusively depend on personal merit would simply be unbearable. “

All this is not to say that businessmen never acquire their wealth through devious means. No advocate of Capitalism, as far as I know, had said that businessmen are angels, and would always act in their rational self-interest. Omkar Ghate reminds us in his column in Forbes that being pro business is not the same as “assuaging the desires of the business lobby.” One of the most common arguments (It is not exactly an argument) I hear against her works is that it worships businessmen and corporations. Now, this is not true at all. What is intended is just that businessmen perform a very important, and often underestimated function. Many of her villains, her critics forget, are the worst kind of statists .

In the words of Ghate , “The true producer Rand shows, makes just one demand of Washington: "Get the hell out of my way!" If we can extort any sense out of statist arguments, it would be just that businessmen bribe Government officials and get things done. This much is true. However, it doesn’t follow from this alone that further regulations are the answer. It is the regulations that got us here. We are in big trouble when the alleged defenders of capitalism themselves call for more and more regulation!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Atlas Meet in Delhi - Watch the additional disc in the boxed set of Ayn Rand's "We The Living" on DVD

The next monthly Atlas Meet in Delhi will take place on Saturday, 18 September, 2010. The last couple of meetings have focused on the screening of the movie version of Ayn Rand's debut novel "We The Living" on DVD (courtesy Rajendra Lakhotia). Staying with that theme, we propose to view the additional disc in the boxed set that contains the scenes deleted from the original and many interviews of people associated with the movie.

This movie has a checkered history - it was made in Italy during World War II, without Ayn Rand's knowledge or permission and was based on an unauthorized Italian translation of the novel. It  has some stellar performances by Alida Valli and Rossano Brazzi and was a cult hit in Italy at the time of its release. 

Decades later, Duncan Scott helped restore the film and re-edit it for release under Ayn Rand's guidance.  The additional disc captures many moments that were deleted from the original Italian version and tells the story behind the re-discovery of the film and its painstaking restoration.

[Last month, Mr.Scott had offered DVD sets of the movie to us for $25 (Rs.1250) each and many of us have ordered our own copy. Just a handful of DVDs are still left, so those still interested may send a mail to vbajaj@aynrand.in to order their copy.]


18 September 2010

5.30 pm - 7.45 pm

The Agenda

Session I (Savor and Study)
5.30 pm - 6.30 pm: Watch the additional disc of the DVD set of "We The Living" 

6.30 pm - 7.00 pm: Tea and snacks break. 

Session II (Spread and Sustain)
7.00 pm - 7.45 pm: Discussions on the movie and a broad range of topics, including ways to spread Ayn Rand's ideas 

The Venue
inlingua International School of Languages,
N-12, first floor,
South Extension - Part I

It is an open meeting - anyone interested in Ayn Rand's ideas is welcome. You may call Vikram on 9810028900 for directions. If you're planning to attend, it would be helpful if you let us know by leaving a comment below or by sending an email to vbajaj@aynrand.in .

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Castro Admits the Failure of the Cuban Model

Fidel Castro, who had abstained from commenting on local issues for a long time, has admitted that the communist economic model doesn’t work. He said this to an American journalist who visited the country. "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore”, he said, when he was asked whether other countries would do well if they adopt the Cuban model. In Cuba, the Government controls 90 percent of the economy.

Cuba was a country which adhered to Socialism even after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Castro can’t claim that he was not warned, that this mistake was made innocently. Half a century has passed after these words were written: “Fifty years ago, there might have been some excuse (though not justification) for the widespread belief that socialism is a political theory motivated by benevolence and aimed at the achievement of men’s wellbeing. Today, that belief can no longer be regarded as an innocent error. Socialism has been tried on every continent of the globe. In the light of its results, it is time to question the motives of socialism’s advocates.”(Ayn Rand, The Virtue Of Selfishness). It is strange that it took him such a long time to catch up to this knowledge. While it should be appreciated that he had the honesty to admit that he was wrong, his evasiveness on the subject raises much suspicion.

Socialism was definitely not a mistake which would be evident only after a post-mortem analysis. In 1920, Ludwig Von Mises proved beyond doubt that no rational planning is possible under socialism in the absence of market prices.” Pictures of Socialistic Future” by Eugene Richter warned of the impending disaster in 1891, much before communists got their way in Russia. Even then, it was an issue which was beaten to death long ago. Bastiat wrote as early as 1849 of the socialist attitude: “Superior! This supposes that these gentlemen can see further than the common people; that their only fault is that they are too ahead of their times; and if the time is not yet come for suppressing certain free services, pretended parasites, the fault is to be attributed to the public, which hasn’t caught onto Socialism. I say, from my soul and my conscience, the reverse is the truth; and I know not to what barbarous age we should have to go back, if we were to sink to the level of Socialist knowledge on this subject.” It is ironic that such semi-barbarians claim their monstrous, archaic ideology to be ahead of the times and morally and economically superior. The claim of economic superiority has weakened, and now it rests only on the moral argument, which never had any merit.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A report on the screening of "We The Living" and the Skype session with Duncan Scott

On a very wet Saturday afternoon, 35 intrepid fans braved a Delhi downpour to make it to the screening of Ayn Rand's film classic "We The Living" at the NCUI auditorium. Projected on a large screen with crystal clear sound and easily read sub-titles, the film proved to be a captivating and  truly immersive experience for each and every member of the audience, despite a run-time of nearly 3 hours. 

The chemistry of the lead pair, the emotional roller-coaster as the lives of Kira and Leo are torn asunder, the abject destruction of Andrei as he learns the truth about Kira - each had such an impact that by the end of the film quite a few handkerchiefs were in evidence!

After a break for tea and snacks - and some time to recover from the drama of the film - the group reassembled for what turned out to be the highlight of the evening: a live session on Skype with Duncan Scott, who is the producer and editor of the reconstructed film! 

Mr. Scott had very graciously agreed to be ready for the chat at 7 a.m. at his home in California, and he gave nearly an hour of his time for what proved to be a fascinating discussion. He spoke at length about how at age 21, as a young film-student, he had offered his services to the Holzers, who were Ayn Rand's lawyers, for re-editing this lost classic.  

That was the beginning of a fascinating journey as a four hour film had to be edited down to three hours in order to enable its release in theaters. Bits of propaganda inserted by the fascist government in Italy back in 1942 was easy to eliminate. To remove the sub-plots was trickier. The biggest challenge was to 'create' scenes from within the existing footage and re-record dialogues that

Friday, August 27, 2010

Social Insecurity

Recently, The United States celebrated the 75th anniversary of Social Security and the president Barack Obama promised to protect it against “privatization.” In a radio address, he said to the public: “Seventy-five years ago today, in the midst of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law, laying a cornerstone in the foundation of America’s middle class, and assuring generations of America’s seniors that after a lifetime of hard work, they’d have a chance to retire with dignity. We have an obligation to keep that promise; to safeguard Social Security for our seniors, people with disabilities, and all Americans–today, tomorrow, and forever.”

Social security, needless to mention, is one of the greatest frauds perpetrated on mankind. Such schemes are introduced in the midst of crises such as economic depressions, as it is easier to sell it to desperate people. It is forgotten that the depression itself was caused by the Central Bank, a government institution which inflates the currency and throws people into a life of poverty and misery. When Ayn Rand was asked (In the Mike Wallace Interview) whether there should be unemployment insurance when the economy breaks down, she replied: “Study economics. A free economy will not break down. All depressions are caused by government interference. And the cure that is always offered is to take more of the poison that caused the disease. Depressions are not the result of a free economy.”

It is absurd to compare social security to voluntary insurance plans, as social security rests on coercion and coercion alone. Such a comparison will inevitably founder upon this simple but devastating question: If it is voluntary, why should the Government be involved? Such questions do not occur to proponents of the welfare state.

Alex Epstein writes in the Ayn Rand Institute website:

“This is a fraud. Under Social Security, lower- and middle-class individuals are forced to pay a significant portion of their gross income--approximately 12 percent--for the alleged purpose of securing their retirement. That money is not saved or invested, but transferred directly to the program's current beneficiaries--with the "promise" that when current taxpayers get old, the income of future taxpayers will be transferred to them. Since this scheme creates no wealth, any benefits one person receives in excess of his payments necessarily come at the expense of others.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reason is All

Sudha G Tilak has an interesting review of Heller's Rand biography in Open Magazine. The reviewer recognizes Rand as one of the most original and interesting personalities of the 20th Century.The Heller book, she says, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Rand and her life better.


"Revisiting Rand has never been as interesting as reading Heller’s striking biography. It takes us closer to the creature that Rand was, a compelling entity whose advocacy of rebellion and individualism held a mesmeric quality over those around her, even detractors who rejected her idea of wealth. Heller includes interesting details of how Rand would wear dollar pins on her dress to advocate her support for capitalism, though she did not attach much importance to wealth when she gave up her royalties. Heller points out that for Rand, the wealth of ideas amounted to the intellectual capital she so cherished in her own life. Alan Greenspan might find her ideas appealing, but at heart Rand’s philosophy owed more to Nietzsche, hints Heller."

"Heller’s tome talks about Rand, born Alissa Rosenbaum to Russian-Jewish parents who immigrated to America, and made New York her home to pursue a career in writing. The book is divided in a chronological order following her life and also some of the life of her followers after her passing. Heller finds that Rand’s social criticisms of an industrial America were based on her grounding in 20th century Russian history. Heller explains at the outset that she is not an advocate of Rand’s philosophy, but admires her facets. ‘Whatever one thinks of her positive program of rational selfishness, egoism, and unregulated capitalism, her ability to spot and skewer cowardice, injustice and hypocrisy is at least as keen and passionate as that of her ideological opposite Charles Dickens.’"

Nistula Hebbar has a review of the same book in The Financial Express, which even buys the fallacy that Rand even failed to realize that Roosevelt's New Deal got the United States out of depression.


"The book points the finger at the one thing, in fact, which makes most people uncomfortable with Rand’s philosophy despite the brilliance of her premises, the fact that this is an imperfect world, and

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Special Event: Screening of Ayn Rand's "We The Living" and Live Interaction with Duncan Scott, Producer and Editor

We are pleased to announce a special screening of the film "We The Living" at 3 p.m. on Saturday, 21 August 2010, at the NCUI Auditorium in Delhi.

Based on Ayn Rands' debut novel, this 1942 film classic starring Alida Valli and Rossano Brazzi has a checkered history. It was made in Italy during World War II, without Ayn Rand's knowledge or permission and was based on an unauthorized Italian translation of the novel. Surprisingly, it was a cult hit in Italy at the time of its release, but was soon banned by the Mussolini regime.

Decades later, Duncan Scott helped restore the film and

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The World's Biggest Message with a 'GPS Pen'

In the US, one man drove 12,238 miles and across 30 states to scrawl a message that could only be viewed using Google Earth. His big shoutout: "Read Ayn Rand." 

We The Living, The Movie

Ayn Rand's novel, We The Living tells the story of individual battling the state. It was made into a movie, first without the permission of Ayn Rand. It was a huge success when it was released, and was reviewed widely. Many consider it a better movie than the film version of "The Fountainhead. A special screening of the film "We The Living" will be held at 3 p.m. on Saturday, 21 August 2010, at the NCUI Auditorium in Delhi.

Excerpts from certain reviews and interviews:

" The banned, lost, rediscovered: Ayn Rand's "We the Living" lives on!" was published on We The Living The Movie website.

"The movie opened in Rome and was a huge box-office success. But before long, the film came to be viewed as a sly indictment of the Mussolini regime. In addition, the portrayal of an intelligent, sexually independent heroine, groundbreaking for its time, was viewed as controversial. The film was banned by the Italian government and ordered to be destroyed. But Massimo Ferrara, the studio chief for Scalera Films, hid the original negatives with a trusted friend and sent the negatives of another Scalera production to authorities for destruction! After the war, efforts to rerelease the film were ended when Rand declined to grant the necessary literary rights. By the early 1950's Scalera Films had gone out of business and We the living had dropped from sight."
"Philosopher Robert Mayhew on Ayn Rand's novel "We the Living", interviewed by Scott Holleran" was published in Capitalism Magazine.

"What is We the Livings theme?
The individual versus the state, especially the evil of statism. I think

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ayn Rand Fan Page On Facebook Crossed 100,000 Fans

The Ayn Rand Page on the social networking website Facebook crossed 100,000 admirers. Very few writers match that popularity on Facebook. The number of people who liked the Ayn Rand page, operated by the Ayn Rand Institute is greater than many popular writers including J K Rowling, the world’s richest author.

The fact that Ayn Rand is gaining popularity gives much hope to the followers of Objectivism all over the world. Ayn Rand Institute president Yaron Brook expressed happiness in crossing the milestone. "No other author has such a powerful and compelling message that is so accessible to so many readers. Ayn Rand addresses fundamental questions that affect each of our lives, and she offers engaging, real-world answers to those questions.” he said.

As of the Internet, several youngsters across the world are embracing the philosophy of Objectivism. Many of them are from India.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Private Ownership of Roads

At the recent discussion about capitalism at our Atlas Sunday Meet in Bombay, the issue of roads, traffic, congestion, and and infrastructure was brought up. I think my post on this issue from my blog Leitmotif is pertinent in response:

When we think of privatizing roads, the scenario is so far removed from anything we have witnessed in real life that we respond–-almost instinctively–-with suspicion and concern... of uncertainty, anarchy, high costs, and unpredictability. Our ability to imagine the operations of a free society is not inhibited our by level of intelligence but by the strictures of thought that we--and the current philosophical, statist, and educational system--has placed upon our minds; the concept of the government is so entrenched in our socio-political thinking and academia that life without the government produces a mental blank-out.

This blank-out is analagous to a theists incapacity to imagine a moral life without god; like the famouse Dostoyevsky quote says: "If there is no God, then anything is permitted."

The Nature of Extremism

At our most recent Atlas Sunday Meet in Bombay, I was asked the following question--in somewhat similar words:
"Your view seems very extremist to me. Why do we have to look at extremes--Communism or Capitalism; free markets or government control? Can we not strike a balance between full and unregulated economy and some amount of legitimate control?"

My response was:
In popular parlance, extremism has a negative connotation. Any extremist position is considered immature at best and evil at worst.
However, extremism really is an invalid package deal. Nothing in the concept permits your mind to evaluate the content of the extremist position. It simply demands--without offering any evidence to your rational faculty--that any position labeled "extreme" must be rejected ipso facto.
In one of my blogposts on Leitmotif, I had said:
Anything regarded as "extreme," "radical," "ideal," "fundamental," or "principled" is viewed negatively or with suspicion.
In contrast, concepts like "open-minded" have come to refer to the attribute of someone who is unsure or uncertain of every idea and belief, of someone who is open to any and every kind of persuasion, of someone who is unwilling or incapable of committing to any point of view even if it is true to the best of his knowledge.
To me, this modern connotation of "open-mindedness" is more akin to intellectual promiscuity.

Whenever one is confronted with the package deal of "extremism," one has to unravel the contents of the position to properly evaluate the merits of the idea. For instance, being an extremist or an absolutist about human rights--the right of every human being to life, liberty, property, and pursuit of happiness--cannot conceivably be wrong.
And that is what capitalism is: it is an extremist position in the political and economic context about human rights.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Moral Foundations of Capitalism

This was the first meet at the Mumbai University Campus thanks to Prof Mugdha Karnik, the director of the Centre of Extra Mural Studies of the University of Mumbai. She is also currently in the process of translating Atlas Shrugged in Marathi. Due to her interest in Rand's philosophy and in promoting her ideology, she has agreed to give us the university space on every last Sunday of the month. Hence, from now onwards, we shall have meetings in every last Sunday of the month at the university. This shall also give a good enough notice for the interested people to plan and work around their schedules and keep this time free.

The topic for this meet was "The Moral Foundations of Capitalism". Though I am completely bowled by Rands philosophy, capitalism was something I have kept away from. On a basic level of reason and individuality, I seemed to agree, but I would think, trading for self interest was against human nature. A mind cultivated in this "sacrificing, community-based society, where other's happiness comes before your own", I was enslaved to my understanding that trade for selfish gains is morally wrong. However, ignorance hardly lasts longer than the moment it is identified. And so, today, I can defend capitalism with moral values.

The meeting started with Jerry's opening marks on the meaning, origin and importance of capitalism.

New Atlas Shrugged Website

The Ayn Rand Institute has announced the launch of a new website for Atlas Shrugged with an immersive redesign and interactive features. Click on the link below to go to the website:

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"Ayn Rand In India" Among The 50 Best Blogs On Ayn Rand

The “Ayn Rand in India” blog was rated as one among the best 50 blogs on Ayn Rand, all over the world by the website Online Masters Degree. The blog was mentioned in the list of “Best Well Known Blogs for Ayn Rand Readers”. “If you live in India, you may have heard of this group. They often meet in India to discuss Ayn Rand, her works, and more. Entries are often on what they discussed and they welcome entries from readers.” , was the comment on this blog on the website.

The other popular blogs which were mentioned were Voices for Reason, Cato Unbound, Noodlefood, The Objective Standard, Capitalism Magazine and The Atlas sphere. Another Indian blog which was mentioned was Jerry Johnson’s blog “Leitmotif”, and there was a reference to his excellent article, “Why is Ayn Rand Respected More in India?”.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"Ayn Rand And I" By Gurcharan Das

Gurcharan Das has an excellent review on Anne C Heller’s “Ayn Rand and the World She made”.


"Anne Heller’s excellent biography of the Ayn Rand is an exception. Her great achievement is to have connected Rand’s extraordinary legend and individualistic philosophy of unbridled capitalism to her life as a youngster, Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, an awkward and wilful Russian Jewish prodigy, who had written four novels by the age of eleven. Heller makes you believe that that Rand’s excessive self-absorption and vehement protest against any form of collectivism are rooted in her family’s suffering in early-twentieth-century Russia, where Jews were violently persecuted and personal freedom died when the communists came to power."

"I came to admire free enterprise after decades of living under the inefficiency of Nehru’s ‘mixed economy’ or License Raj, as many call it. Whereas I turned against state control from economic compulsions, Rand came to free enterprise from her collectivist Russian experience. I rebelled against the inefficiency of socialism; she revolted against its lack of human freedom and individuality. My embrace of markets was a pragmatic decision; she sought in capitalism a moral foundation. Both of us ended in a suspicion of state power but our paths were different. For me political liberty was not an issue because India had uniquely embraced democracy before capitalism. Democracy came to India soon after 1947 but our love affair with capitalism only began seriously after the 1991 Reforms when we began to dismantle the socialist institutions of the License Raj."

"Ayn Rand understood that free markets brought phenomenal productivity and prosperity, but

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Libertas Film Magazine Interviews Paul Johansson

Many film makers have tried to come up with a movie version of Atlas Shrugged, without success. The enormous complexity of the novel stood in the way of a cinematic adaptation as an obstacle. Some independent film makers, however, have taken the responsibility on themselves finally. Libertas Film Magazine recently interviewed the director of the film, Paul Johansson. It was the first interview he did for the movie.

Excerpts from Paul Johansson’s words on the movie:

“It’s not a story about steel, it’s not a story about railroads, and it’s not a story about oil magnates or copper mines or all the other things that you see in this. This is a story about an ideology – about the way that you live.”

“Given the limited budget, I think it’s turning out pretty well. I have some structural problems with the story, you know, I didn’t write the script – but I’m trying to work it – I’m trying to make it work cinematically.”

“If it’s going to be a big epic movie with giant plane shots and special effects,

Friday, July 30, 2010

"Ayn Rand's New York" - a Series of Walking Tours

Frederick Cookinham, a licensed New York City tour guide, runs a series of walking tours in New York City around the theme "Ayn Rand's New York". The tours range from "Ayn Rand's Fifth Avenue" to "Skyscrapers of The Fountainhead". 

Recently, Mr. Cookinham visited the "Ayn Rand in India" blog and sent me the following message:
"If anyone you know will be traveling to New York soon, please spread the word about my tours.  My website is www.indepthwalkingtours.com, or just google "AYN RAND TOUR."

I met the editor of INDIA ABROAD recently.  He was curious when he saw me on a street corner holding up my AYN RAND TOUR sign.  He told me that everyone in India knows the name Ayn Rand.

I hope to be seeing you and many of your friends soon, here in New York -- the city of Ayn Rand."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Atlas Sunday Meet, Mumbai

Here below are the details of the next Atlas Sunday Meet:

Date: 1st August 2010

Centre for Extra Mural Studies,
2nd Floor,
Health Centre Building, 
Vidyanagri (Mumbai University Campus), 
Santacruz East,
Mumbai 98


A discussion on the moral foundations of Capitalism
-- What is capitalism?
-- What are its basic principles?-- How is it related to morality?
-- How is capitalism related to human nature and the nature of reality?
-- Can laissez-faire capitalism be practised in India? Some examples.

Participants are encouraged to read on the topic as much as possible before the event to be prepared for a stimulating discussion. Recommendations to begin are "Capitalism: An Unknown Ideal" by Ayn Rand and the website of the Ludwig von Mises Institute at http://www.mises.org/

Also, read excerpts from Objectivist materials on Capitalism from the Ayn Rand Lexicon at:


AynrandIndia facebook group


check the report here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Apple, AT&T and Antitrust

A federal judge in California ruled that an antitrust class action suit is fre to proceed against Apple and AT&T for making an agreement to sell only locked phones. There is nothing that should be illegal in the deal. It doesn't hurt competition or drive up prices. On the contrary, this is competition, writes Thomas Bowden in TheStreet.


"In California, a federal judge has ruled that an antitrust class action suit can proceed against Apple(AAPL) and AT&T(T). What have those companies done to warrant being hauled into court? Basically, they agreed to sell only "locked" iPhones. A locked phone is one that works only on a specific mobile network -- in this case, AT&T's network."

"Apple and AT&T decide to make money by working together. Although details of their deal aren't public, it's clear that AT&T saw an opportunity to increase its subscriber base by becoming the only retailer of iPhones. Apple, for its part, looked forward to receiving payments from AT&T based on a percentage of every iPhone subscriber's monthly bill. Was this collaboration a good idea? You be the judge: consumers have bought 50 million iPhones in three years."

"Let's pause at this point to remind ourselves that the Apple-AT&T agreement does not interfere with anyone else's smartphones or networks. "

"So far, does this sound like conduct that should be illegal?"

""Hurt competition?" This is competition. Apple and AT&T are competing with other makers of smartphones and with other mobile networks -- and those other makers and networks are competing right back. In a free market, everyone else in the universe is at liberty to enter the market and offer a product that is better, cheaper, or both. No competitor can forcibly prevent another's efforts."

""Drove up prices for consumers?" There was no price for an iPhone before Apple created and sold it. There was no price for an AT&T iPhone subscription until AT&T offered it. Those prices were not "driven up" from some arbitrary level that the plaintiffs would have wished to see. The prices were set by the owners of the goods and services being sold. Consumers were free to buy or to wait for some competitor to offer an equally attractive, unlocked phone."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Atlas Meet in Delhi - Watch Ayn Rand's "We The Living" on DVD

The next monthly Atlas Meet in Delhi will take place on Friday, 23 July, 2010. The sequence of Atlas Meets in Delhi have completed one full year. To mark this anniversary, we have a very special treat: the screening of the movie version of Ayn Rand's debut novel "We The Living" on DVD (courtesy Rajendra Lakhotia). 

This movie has a checkered history - it was made in Italy during World War II, without Ayn Rand's knowledge or permission and was based on an unauthorized Italian translation of the novel. Surprisingly, it  has some stellar performances by Alida Valli and Rossano Brazzi and was a cult hit in Italy at the time of its release. 

Decades later, Duncan Scott helped restore the film and re-edit it for release under Ayn Rand's guidance. The result is a stunning recreation of the novel that brings alive each of the characters and moves you to tears!

Since the film is unusually long at nearly three hours, we will watch only the first half on Friday. The viewing will be followed by discussions, and sharing of ideas, on the terrace over snacks and tea.

23rd July 2010

5.30 pm - 7.45 pm

The Agenda

Session I (Savor and Study)
5.30 pm - 7.00 pm: Watch the first half of the DVD of "We The Living" 

7.00 pm - 7.15 pm: Tea and snacks break. 

Session II (Spread and Sustain)
7.15 pm - 7.45 pm: Discussions on the movie and a broad range of topics, including ways to spread Ayn Rand's ideas 

The Venue
inlingua International School of Languages,
N-12, first floor,
South Extension - Part I

It is an open meeting - anyone interested in Ayn Rand's ideas is welcome. You may call Vikram on 9810028900 for directions. If you're planning to attend, it would be helpful if you let us know by leaving a comment below or by sending an email to vbajaj@aynrand.in .

Socialism Is Tyranny

The Supreme Court dismissed as withdrawn a writ petition challenging the insertion of the word “Socialism” in Indian Constitution. According to the constitution, every Indian political party should swear allegiance to Socialism. The court said that it will consider the petition when the situation comes. Earlier the application of Swatantra party was rejected because it failed to do so.

No one can claim ignorance of the consequences of Socialism, theoretically or practically. There were warnings against socialism, even in works written in the first half of the Nineteenth century (See Frederic Bastiat). Ayn Rand wrote half a century back: “Fifty years ago, there might have been some excuse (though not justification) for the widespread belief that socialism is a political theory motivated by benevolence and aimed at the achievement of men’s wellbeing. Today, that belief can no longer be regarded as an innocent error. Socialism has been tried on every continent of the globe. In the light of its results, it is time to question the motives of socialism’s advocates.” Half a century has passed since then, and India still clings to the Socialist ideal. Surprisingly, the cry of leftists is that India hasn’t lived up to that ideal.

Words do not matter, collectivists allege. People are unable to realize the harm certain words can do when they have positive or negative connotations. The image of a mindless brute evoked by the word selfishness has led to people rejecting the whole concept itself. The aversion to dogmatism has made people intolerant to anyone with strength of conviction. The same is true of words like egoism, altruism and humility. The case of socialism too is no different. It has a positive connotation in the minds of people which make them forget all the torture, mass murders and slave labor enforced in its name.

The chief justice said this while rejecting a petition in the past: "Why do you take socialism in a narrow sense defined by the Communists? In a broader sense, socialism means welfare measures for the citizens. It is a facet of democracy. It hasn't got any definite meaning. It gets different meaning in different times." This is worse than nonsense. Words are not to be used loosely, without assigning any proper meaning. In the words of Ayn Rand, “Every word of man’s language, with the exception of proper names, denotes a concept, an abstraction that stands for an unlimited number of concretes of a specific kind.” The word Socialism means a politico-economic system (If it can be called so) in which all property is centralized in the hands of the state. If words are used without assigning proper meaning, it will assume meanings some scoundrels want it to assume. People(Even non-Marxists) look at it benignly only because they haven’t given it much thought or think that Socialists won’t venture to go that far. They foolishly believe that it is a system which favors welfare of the common man.

To make it mandatory that every political party should swear allegiance to socialism is to prevent people from choosing the political system people want. It is an assault on individual liberty and Capitalism. This would mean that anyone who wishes to fight the brutality of socialist policies would be prevented from doing so at the outset. It proves that even the pretense to “democracy” is a sham. It shouldn’t escape our attention that the 42nd amendment was passed during the emergency period. So, the intentions behind it should be evident for everyone to see. People should see the word for what it is and act upon their knowledge if we are to move towards a society which respects individual liberty.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest Information

Eligibility: 12th Graders, College Undergraduates, and Graduate Students

Entry Deadline: September 17, 2010

FIRST PRIZE: $10,000
5 THIRD PRIZES: $1,000
20 FINALISTS: $100

Atlas   Shrugged Cover


Select ONE of the following three topics:

  1. According to John Galt, selfishness is both moral and practical. Explain what he means by this and how events of the story illustrate and dramatize his point.

  2. Explain the meaning and wider significance of the following quote: “The words ‘to make money’ hold the essence of human morality.” According to the story of Atlas Shrugged, what ideas underlie the opposing maxims that “money is the root of all evil” and that “money is the root of all good”?

  3. Capitalism’s defenders usually appeal to the “public good.” Contrast their approach to capitalism to Ayn Rand’s approach in Atlas Shrugged.


Essays will be judged on both style and content. Judges will look for writing that is clear, articulate and logically organized. Winning essays must demonstrate an outstanding grasp of the philosophic meaning of Atlas Shrugged.

Essay submissions are evaluated in a fair and unbiased four-round judging process. Judges are individually selected by the Ayn Rand Institute based on a demonstrated knowledge and understanding of Ayn Rand’s works. To ensure the anonymity of our participants, essay cover sheets are removed after the first round. Winners’ names are unknown to judges until after essays have been ranked and the contest results finalized. The Ayn Rand Institute checks essays with Ithenticate plagiarism detection software.


  • No application is required. Contest is open to students worldwide.

  • Entrant must be a 12th Grader, College Undergraduate, or Graduate Student.

  • To avoid disqualification, mailed in essays must include a stapled cover sheet with the following information:

    1. your name and address;
    2. your e-mail address (if available);
    3. the name and address of your school;
    4. topic selected (#1, 2 or 3 from list above);
    5. your current grade level; and
    6. (optional) the name of the teacher who assigned the essay, if you are completing it for classroom credit.
  • Essay must be no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, and double-spaced.

  • One entry per student, please.

  • Essay must be postmarked no later than September 17, 2010, no later than 11:59 PM, Pacific Standard time.

  • The Ayn Rand Institute has the right to provide contest deadline extensions when deemed appropriate.

  • Essay must be solely the work of the entrant. Plagiarism will result in disqualification.

  • Decisions of the judges are final.

  • Employees of the Ayn Rand Institute, its board of directors and their immediate family members are not eligible for this contest. Past first-place winners are not eligible for this contest.

  • All entries become the property of the Ayn Rand Institute and will not be returned.

  • Winners, finalists, semifinalists and all other participants will be notified via e-mail and/or by mail by November 27, 2010.

  • Contest winners agree to allow the Ayn Rand Institute to post their names on any of ARI’s affiliated websites. The winning first place essay may be posted in its entirety on any of these websites with full credit given to the author.

  • Winners will be solely responsible for any federal, state or local taxes.

To Enter

Submit Your Essay Online

Or mail your essay with stapled cover sheet to:

Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest
The Ayn Rand Institute
P.O. Box 57044
Irvine, CA 92619-7044

Please do not submit duplicate essays!

If submitting your essay electronically, you will be sent an email confirming our receipt. If you have not received an e-mail notification within 24 hours, please e-mail info@aynrandnovels.com. If you are submitting by mail, please paperclip a stamped, self-addressed postcard to the your essay and we will return it to you.

To learn more about Atlas Shrugged, go to: http://atlasshrugged.com

Comments or Questions

Comments or questions about the essay contests are welcome. Please write to info@aynrandnovels.com.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Road To Economic Security

The Indian Government is hatching one welfare scheme after another. What is being forgotten is that we can’t legislate economic security into existence. If it were possible to do so, we would have been in a Garden of Eden long time back. Government plans have never lacked ambition. Yet, the history of India is full of government policies which failed miserably.

Rashmee Roshan Lall writes in The Times of India: “Nearly half a century ago, Ayn Rand would rail about the promise of an impossible "right" to economic security for all. This Russian Jewess, who fiercely held to the individualist and laissez faire capitalist beliefs of her adopted American homeland, denounced the "right to economic security" as an infamous attempt to abrogate the concept of rights. She argued that it could mean only one thing: a promise to enslave the men who produce, for the benefit of those who don't. In Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, she wrote, "If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labour."

What is being forgotten is that if economic security means anything, freedom is its foundation. It is ridiculous to think that security means granting the Government to initiate force against us. A man is free and secure when no one initiates force against him. All this might seem too simplistic to collectivized mentalities, but this insight involves a profound truth. When people are free from coercion by the Government they are free in the pursuit of economic security. It is not a sufficient condition, but it is a necessary condition to economic security. Whether a man achieves it depends on his efforts and capabilities. Freedom provides him with a way to achieve his goals. It also guarantees that the people who deal with him are free to act on their own judgment. Economic security needs competition in the economic sphere, and it is possible only under capitalism. Statism hampers competition through anti trust laws, taxation and various other regulations.

Man doesn’t need “Food Security Bill”, “Health Care Bill”, “NREGA” or “Right to Education Act” for economic security. All such legislations would only prevent men from achieving security, as these involve initiation of physical force. This can’t be done without taxing innocent citizens. Taxation hampers capital accumulation. It is capital accumulation which leads to high invested capital and in turn higher wages and economic security. All this is counterintuitive, but these are the facts we should understand it we are to achieve anything close to economic security.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Food Security: At Whose Expense?

Sainath is one of India’s most well known Journalists. He was the winner of the Ramon Magsaysay award for journalism, literature, and creative communication arts. Amartya Sen once said that he is “one of the world's great experts on famine and hunger". He is a passionate defender of the “little man”. Even his libertarian critics admit that he does a wonderful job in point out facts which most libertarians would readily concede. However, the conclusions he derive from the facts he present are worse than absurd.

In his latest article in The Hindu, Sainath makes a case against fuel price decontrol. At the same time he points out that the “food price inflation” is at seventeen percentage. This is the typical collectivist attitude, Ayn Rand had in mind when she criticized people who desire cheap gasoline and at the same time want the industry to be taxed out of existence. They see no connection between these two positions. They are unable to perceive beyond the proximate benefits. Governments have been unsuccessfully trying to control prices for at least four thousand years. It was a disaster everywhere. It leads to shortages, black-markets, long queues, wasted time, poor quality products, expensive methods of production, and in the long run, higher prices. It might even breed further controls and take us straight to a socialist totalitarian cage. Sainath’s argument that “fuel price decontrol will profoundly affect the prices of just about everything.” is true in a sense Sainath didn’t intend it to be. Contrary to his belief there won’t be a general rise in prices if fuel prices are decontrolled. If the prices of fuel are high, people will cut down their purchase of other goods and its prices will fall. Only an expansion of money supply can cause a general price rise.

Sainath is worried that the “government seeks ways to spend less and less on the very food security it talks about.” In his eyes Government has unlimited funds from which it can draw for his pet welfare projects. It is forgotten that one of the fundamental economic principles is that scarcity exists, and always will, short of the Garden of Eden. Government, he points out, is endlessly searching for a low BPL figure. I doubt whether it can be supported by facts. There were several reports which made evident that so many people want to come under the BPL label. The Government, he proposes, should make sure that access to food, healthcare, education and decent work are universal. To paraphrase Ayn Rand:”At whose expense? “How are positive rights universal? Positive rights miserably fail the universalization test. When some people are provided with food, healthcare, education and work, some unfortunate beings are forced to provide for them. Nothing is more unjust than that.

Another logical fallacy is that the tax write-offs for the rich are morally wrong. To claim so, one would have to assume that all the wealth belongs to the state. A tax write off is not a subsidy, by any normal definition of the term. If X is subsidized at the expense of Y, money should be mulcted from Y to support X. Nothing of that sort happens here. The wealth of the rich should belong to them, as long as they earn it rightfully. The Government has no legitimate rights over the property of the citizens of the country over which it governs.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Capitalism In India

The growing libertarian movement in India was featured in Time Out Mumbai recently by Aditya Kundalkar.


"In Mumbai, the Swatantra Party and their magazine Freedom First and the Forum of Free Enterprise were among the prominent groups that demanded more freedom for the private sector. With the onset of liberalisation in the early 1990s, they seem to have won their battle. But they have not shut shop. Ironically, where once they were considered right-wing, they now find their liberalism shoved to the middle of the road by the more-extreme notions of capitalism being advocated by younger free-market cheerleaders."

"Among these new laissez-faire proponents is The Atlas Club, formed in 2006 by Mumbai resident Jerry Johnson to bring together people who admire the ideas of the Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand. Johnson advocates complete deregulation of the markets. “When we have truly free markets, we will have competitive prices and quality products and services” and corruption will disappear, said Johnson."

"Rand’s championing of the virtues of selfishness have come in for criticism, especially after the recent global financial crisis. In the US, Rand’s adopted home, increasingly esoteric financial instruments created by private banks resulted in mounting debt and ultimately chaos. But Johnson is convinced that the path to progress lies in complete deregulation of the financial markets and the withdrawal of the government from all endeavours except for defence, foreign policy and law and order."

"For instance, he advocates the privatisation of Mumbai’s water resources. He believes that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation creates artificial water shortages “so that water tankers, with whom the BMC is in cahoots with, can benefit by being paid exorbitant rates to deliver water”. To stop the corruption, why not let the water tankers – that is, private companies – handle water supply completely? he suggests."

"Another forum which propagates Rand’s ideas is The Liberty Institute in New Delhi. Led by Barun Mitra, an engineer who says he has a passion for economics, it was formed in 1996. Mitra has a market-driven idea for tiger conservation. “I suggested breeding them to provide a supply of tigers for tourism, hunting, or Chinese medicine,” he said. This would help wild tigers survive, he claims."

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Can there be a system of morality without God?

Some months ago, in one of the Atlas Sunday Meets, we started discussing Atheism and the necessity of it to be an objectivist. There were a few present who didn't belong to that fold, so we all debated. We discussed for long. As usual, there was no conclusion to the discussion regarding ‘existence of God’. We left, with more thoughts to be sorted and more ideas to sort these thoughts.

To, take this discussion to the next level and to concretise the arguments, we invited Father Anthony to come and speak on the topic “Can there be a system of morality without God”. We thought, who better than a God’s man to come and present His case. From the objectivist perspective, we had our own Jerry Johnson to put his thoughts. Deepak was moderating the discussion.

All others who were present, were either atheists, agnostics or with a different belief system than the conservative religion.

The date was set as Sunday, the 20th of June 2010. With the rains pouring down on Mumbai with a vengeance, we all reached the venue slightly drenched and out of breath trying our best to remain dry. The discussion started with Father’s opening comments suggesting secular morality. Here is my account of what transpired.

He said that secular morality is a morality which has come of age through the generations and at present is something which can be defined and re-defined. He presented examples of such a morality for propagating love between people and to make relationships stronger. Morality according to him was, to accept values of other people. The art of doing things for others was to spread love in the world. When you do something unconditionally, you also motivate the same action from the ‘acceptor’. And so, this cycle continues to a stage where there is a world of peace and contentment.

Jerry answered saying that loving everybody is not possible. And that’s what religion demands. Religion demands one to love God , without any evidence or substantiation. Love is not an empty principle to base religious morality. One cannot love a person who is harming oneself. One cannot love an enemy. To expect such a love is itself immoral. When a person loves someone, it’s because of the values. So, if the other person doesn’t have any values, you cannot love him/her. With the same argument, it’s not possible to love God for which there is not verification of such a value-addition.

Father Anthony further responded to Jerry’s comments. There were others present who were passionately presenting responding to either of the takes.

As a conclusion, we had a discussion which perhaps opened our minds to either of the systems of morality due to the direct comparisons. However, those of us who already belong to the “selfish” morality find it difficult to digest the other kind. Same applies to the believers of God. Hence, as useful as it is to have these debates, they will hardly convince the one of the other. So, in the end, we all parted to “agree to disagree”.

*ps: This above is my account of the event. If anybody feels misrepresented, please feel free to comment on the same.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Randed for life

Nilanjana Roy has a wonderful review of Anne C Heller's "Ayn Rand And The World She Made: in Business Standard. Excerpts:

"It is impossible to explain to Ayn Rand believers why some readers outgrow The Fountainhead and why Atlas Shrugged and Anthem are not taught in universities; it is impossible to explain to Ayn Rand sceptics why millions of readers never outgrow the lure of Rand’s philosophy. G B Shaw at once skewered and (faintly) praised another seductive ideology in his famous aphorism: “A man who is not a communist at the age of twenty is a fool. A man who is still a communist at the age of thirty is an even bigger one.”"

"Rand’s childhood was marked by the persecution her Jewish family suffered in the Russia of the early 20th century, and by an early determination to make something of her life — in later years, she would reinvent herself as a writer. In the US, she met and married a young, charismatic actor, Frank O’Connor, but her life would always overshadow his. She struggled to make it in Hollywood as a script writer, but it would be her books and her unparalleled ability to command attention and attract a loyal, sometimes terrified, but always fascinated audience that would make her what she became.

It’s hard to explain what constitutes charisma, so much more powerful and inescapable than beauty, intellect or charm, but what Ayn Rand possessed and honed was in the nature of an undeniable, inscrutable inner force. She was a heavy Benzedrine user, and displayed some of the characteristics of the addict, from a restless, relentless mind to paranoia. In later years, she had an affair with Nathaniel Branden, a much younger acolyte who would become a kind of founder of the American self-help movement. It is characteristic of Rand that it was not enough to have the affair — she had to gain the consent of her husband and Branden’s wife, and when Branden fell in love, years later, with another, younger woman, Rand would deal with it by endless rounds of “therapies” with him before a final, irrevocable break."

"None of this explains the continued force of Rand’s ideas, or the continued power of The Fountainhead and Atlas ShruggedM, in particular, to sway the minds and hearts of readers. Heller’s biography will make Rand sceptics and the faithful uncomfortable in equal measure — but like its subject, this book is impossible to ignore. To steal a phrase from the Simon & Garfunkel song, once you’ve been Ayn Randed, the scar is permanent."

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Atlas Sunday Meet, Mumbai

Here are the details of the next Atlas Meet in Mumbai.

Date: 20th June 2010
Time: 6:30pm
LJ Business & Training Centre
364, CD Parvati Gangadhar Building,
NC Kelkar Road,
Behind PNB Bank,
Dadar West,

Discussion on "Can there be a Moral System without God"
In one of the past meets, we had a discussion on Atheism and a view that one of the aspects of being an objectivist is to be an atheist. It was quite a discussion and we had many interesting points on the table. Hence, to take the discussion forward in a more organised manner, this time we have invited Father Anthony to join us in the discussion.

Also present during this meet will be members from the Time Out Magazine to cover the event.

Please do let us know how many of you are coming, so that we can make the necessary arrangements.

See ya!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Atlas Meet in Delhi - Watch "Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life" on DVD

After a break, we're back!

The next monthly Atlas Meet in Delhi will take place on Friday, 18 June, 2010. We have an unfinished agenda from the meeting in March - viewing the second half of a DVD of Michael Paxton's Oscar-nominated documentary "Ayn Rand: A Sense Of Life" (courtesy of Rajendra Lakhotia). As usual, our members are bubbling with other topics to discuss, so, of course, discussions will follow on the terrace over snacks and tea.

18th June 2010

5.30 pm - 7.45 pm

The Agenda

Session I (Savor and Study)
5.30 pm - 6.30 pm: Watch a DVD of Michael Paxton's Oscar-nominated documentary "Ayn Rand: A Sense Of Life" (2nd Half)

6.30 pm - 6.45 pm: Tea and snacks break. 
[Those interested in coming in only for one session, could arrive or depart during this time.]

Session II (Spread and Sustain)
6.45 pm - 7.45 pm: Discussions on a broad range of topics, including ways to spread Ayn Rand's ideas 

 Not in Delhi? No worries, you can also participate in the discussions live over the internet via audio/video conferencing. If  interested, send an email to vbajaj@aynrand.in at least one day in advance.

The Venue
inlingua International School of Languages,
N-12, first floor,
South Extension - Part I

It is an open meeting - anyone interested in Ayn Rand's ideas is welcome. You may call Vikram on 9810028900 for directions. If you're planning to attend, it would be helpful if you let us know by leaving a comment below or by sending an email to vbajaj@aynrand.in .