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.”

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Health Care Is Not A Birth Right!

The US congress passed the health care bill to provide medical covered to uninsured Americans on March 21st. The bill was passed without a single republican Vote.The bill would “provide” coverage to 95% of the legal residents of the country. It will put an “end” to insurance-company practices like denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. This will be extended to adults too, through expanded high risk pools. Health care plans will be offered to individuals who are not covered by their employers. A large part of it would be funded by a new set of taxes, and high levy on high priced insurance policies. It is hailed as a historic “victory” and a big move towards “social justice”. Some of us less naïve, however, would call it Government tyranny and a takeover of the Insurance system. It would only shift the costs to premium players, increase litigation, spending and debt and the cost of equipment and insurance. High taxes would only discourage productivity and hamper production of wealth. As Cannon and Tanner observed, “The paradox of a ‘‘right to health care’’ is that it discourages the very activities that help deliver on that ‘‘right”.”

Is health care a right? It should be obvious that there are no such positive rights. A right shouldn’t infringe the rights of others. Ayn Rand wrote in ‘The Virtue of Selfishness”, on the Medicare of the 60’s: “Medicare is an example of an out of context goal. “Isn’t it desirable that the aged should have medical care in times of illness?” its advocates clamor. Considered out of context, the answer would be: Yes, it is desirable. Who would have a reason to say no? And it is at this point that the mental processes of a collectivized brain are cut off; the rest is fog. Only the desire remains in his sight—it’s the good, isn’t it? There would be no controversy about the moral character of some young hoodlum who declared: “Isn’t it desirable to have a yacht, to live in a penthouse and to drink champagne?”—and stubbornly refused to consider the fact that he had robbed a bank and killed two guards to achieve that “desirable” goal. There is no moral difference between these two examples.”And this: "The next time you hear a discussion of Medicare, give some thought to the future—particularly to the future of your children, who will live at a time when the best brains available will no longer choose to go into medicine."

Don Watkins, of the Ayn Rand Institute hits the nail on the head: “You are not your brother’s health care provider: According to the American ideal, men are not their brother’s keeper--we are independent individuals with inalienable rights to support our own lives and happiness by our own efforts. That means taking responsibility for your own medical needs, just as you take responsibility for your grocery shopping and car payments. It means no one can claim that his need entitles him to your time, effort, or wealth. Where is the willingness to defend this ideal by saying, 'Your health care is your responsibility--and if you truly cannot afford the care you need, then you must ask for private charity--not pick your neighbor’s pocket to pay for it'?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Philosophy Of Greed?

The Securities And Exchange Commission (SEC) has sued Goldman Sachs as it sold mortgage securities without disclosing, John Paulson, a hedge fund manager was betting against the same securities. Matt Taibbi writing in The Guardian has traced the origins of the issue to the Randian worship of greed and selfishness. Taibbi asserts that “few people understood that the crash had its roots in the lunatic greed-centered objectivist religion, fostered back in the 50s and 60s by ponderous émigré novelist Ayn Rand.” Firstly, there is nothing new in this. We have been hearing this nonsense in almost every mainstream publication from the first days of the crisis. Secondly, as a lot many sound economists, including Thomas Woods, the author of ‘Meltdown’ have noted, blaming the crisis on greed is like blaming plane crashes on gravity. What made everyone suddenly turn greedy? Surely, something is missing.

Ayn Rand never advocated greed in the sense most people use that term. Ayn Rand scholar Dr. Edward Hudgins notes, “Rand was virtually alone in celebrating the virtues of productive, innovative individuals and the wealth they create. She emphasized that businessmen at their best will first and foremost love their work and the challenge of creating products and services that earn them profits. If that’s greed, it’s to be praised! Rand also singled out for condemnation businessmen who seek money by any means, including fraud, or government handouts and special favors. If that’s greed, it’s to be damned!" Rand was never a supporter of mindless pursuit of money through any means. She wrote in “The Fountainhead”:“Look at them. The man whose sole aim is to make money. Now I don’t see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose--to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury--he’s completely moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that. And in Atlas Shrugged: “Did you get your money by fraud? By pandering to men's vices or men's stupidity? By catering to fools, in the hope of getting more than your ability deserves? By lowering your standards? By doing work you despise for purchasers you scorn? If so, then your money will not give you a moment's or a penny's worth of joy. Then all the things you buy will become not a tribute to you, but a reproach; not an achievement, but a reminder of shame. Then you'll scream that money is evil. Evil, because it would not pinch-hit for your self-respect? Evil, because it would not let you enjoy your depravity? Is this the root of your hatred of money?”

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Atlas Meets in Mumbai (April 2010)

*** Time-Out magazine will be covering the event and the group meetings. ***

Sunday, April 25, 2010
Time: 5 PM

A-45, Vijay Kunj,
Opp. New Model English School
Off Nehru Road
Vakola Masjid
Santacruz East
Mumbai - 400 055

Contact: +91-97693 31585

The agenda will be as follows:
1. See the remaining of the Sense of Life movie.
2. Discussion on the same.
3. "My favourite quote from Ayn Rand's work.
4. Discussions to suggest the "future" meetings. Please come with your suggestions and options of what all we can do. If you have any leads for college lectures, etc. we can discuss those as well.

Any other alternatives for the above details are welcome.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Exploit The Earth

Today is the 40th Anniversary of the Earth Day, which is a day meant to appreciate the Earth’s
environment. It is observed all over the world by anti-capitalist environmentalists. Their attitude is summed up by these words of Ayn Rand: “Do not upset the balance of nature-Do not
disturb the birds, the forests, the swamps, the oceans-Do not rock the boat-Do not experiment- Do not venture out-What was good enough for our anthropoid ancestors is good enough for us-adjust to the winds, the rains, the man-eating tigers, the malarial mosquitoes, the tsetse flies-do not rebel-do not anger the unknowable demons who rule it all.”

Craig Biddle on “The Objectivist Standard blog” is urging everyone to celebrate Exploit-the-Earth Day. He writes: “Exploiting the Earth—using the raw materials of nature for one’s life-serving purposes—is a basic requirement of human life. Either man takes the Earth’s raw materials—such as trees, petroleum, aluminum, and atoms—and transforms them into the requirements of his life, or he dies. To live, man must produce the goods on which his life depends; he must produce homes, automobiles, computers, electricity, and the like; he must seize nature and use it to his advantage. There is no escaping this fact. Even the allegedly “noble” savage must pick or perish.” He continues: “If the good is nature untouched by man, how is man to live? What is he to eat? What is he to wear? Where is he to reside? How can man do anything his life requires without altering, harming, or destroying some aspect of nature?”

Bjorn Lomberg also has written a wonderful piece on the subject: “In their [environmentalists]
view, "The world is in greater peril than ever." But consider this: In virtually every developed
country, the air is more breathable and the water is more drinkable than it was in 1970. In most
of the First World, deforestation has turned to reforestation. Moreover, the percentage of malnutrition has been reduced, and ever-more people have access to clean water and sanitation.” But, this is something environmentalists do not want to hear. They want to present the scenario as more scary than it is. Lomberg also unmasks the hypocrisy of the agenda of global warming alarmists: “In the minds of Earth Day activists, no environmental challenge is more urgent than the need to drastically cut carbon emissions in order to stop global warming. What about indoor air pollution, which happens to be the world's No. 1 environmental killer? In poor countries, 2.5 billion people rely on "biomass" — wood, waste and dung — to cook and keep themselves warm. This year, the resulting pollution will kill about 1.3 million of them, mainly women and children. Switching from biomass to fossil fuels would dramatically improve the lives of more than a third of the world's population.”

Fortunately as the alarmists are getting discredited, more and more people are waking up to the

Friday, April 9, 2010

Atlas Meet SPECIAL!! - Watch a live performance of Ayn Rand's play "The Night of January 16th"

The next monthly Atlas Meet in Delhi will take place on Sunday, April 11 at India Habitat Center. It will depart from its regular routine for a very special occasion - the chance to see a live performance of Ayn Rand's famous courtroom drama "The Night of January 16th"!

The play is being staged by 5Elementz Art & Culture Society ® and directed by Rakhi Manuv. (Read more about the play below.)

The Atlas Meet will be held at the restaurant "EATOPIA" in IHC at 5.30 pm. After snacks and discussions, we will proceed to the auditorium at 7 pm. The play begins at 7.15 pm. Although the show is ticketed,  it will be complimentary for those attending the Atlas Meet.


Night of January 16 is a Play written by AYN RAND , inspired by the death of the "Match King", Ivar Kreuger. First published in 1934,  it takes place entirely in a court room and is centered on a murder trial. It was a hit of the 1935-36 Broadway season. The play deals
with issues of a man's ability to regard oneself as important and exist in a society wher
e moral decay is ever prevalent. It also deals with issues of love, loyalty and betrayal. 

What is particularly interesting is a feature of the play which picks members of the audience to take on the role of Jury members each night. Depending on whether the "Jury" finds the defendant of the case, as in the play, "guilty" or "not guilty" - the play would have different endings. 

11th April 2010

5.30 pm - 7.00 pm (followed by the play at 7.15 pm)

The Venue
India Habitat Center, Lodhi Road,  New Delhi

It is an open meeting - anyone interested in Ayn Rand's ideas is welcome. 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 .