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, 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."