“She had forgotten every problem, person and event behind her; they had always been clouded in her sight, to be hurried past, to be brushed aside, never final, never quite real. This was reality, she thought, this sense of clear outlines, of purpose, of lightness, of hope. This was the way she had expected to live—she had wanted to spend no hour and take no action that would mean less than this.”
—Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, published October 10, 1957
“I must learn to love the fool in me — the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of my human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my Fool.”
~Theodore Isaac Rubin
How involved should government be in women’s pregnancies? A case from Wisconsin speaks powerfully about the dangers of personhood policy.
Early in 2014, 29-year-old Wisconsin woman Tamara Loertscher left her job, leaving her without the health insurance she needed to treat a thyroid condition. During her unemployment Loertscher sometimes self-medicated with marijuana and methamphetamine, a stimulant, for depression and pain.
Months later, in July, Loertscher suspected she had become pregnant by her long term boyfriend. She discontinued all substance use.
Then she went to the Mayo Clinic in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, on August 1. She was seeking care for her depression and thyroid condition, to confirm herpregnancy, and to ask questions about the health of a fetus she intended to carry to term. She disclosed her medical history, including previous substance use, so health providers might offer the best information about her health and the fitness of her pregnancy. A urine test confirmedpregnancy as well as drug use.
Tamara Loertscher’s visit to the Wisconsin clinic then took a dark turn.
Continue reading Control of Pregnancy Means Control of Women
Around midnight on April 14th, 1860, the rider on the first westbound run of the Pony Express clattered into San Francisco, California, on his horse. The mail he carried had been borne at a gallop across the desert of the American West. He was the last rider in a ten-day relay that began in St. Joseph, Missouri. Ultimately, the journey of the Pony Express would continue criss-crossing the country for eighteen months, transmitting messages about the gold rush in California, Lincoln’s inauguration, and the Civil War.
The Pony Express company conceded to the transcontinental telegraph in 1861, losing the government mail contract the company’s founders had sought. But it had forever heightened expectations of speed in letter delivery, and, of course, had gained a place in the American imagination.
155 years have passed since that day, and there was no better celebration of the Pony Express’s memory than Google’s instantly iconic doodle last week. And there was no better entity to do it: The Pony Express’s founders sought to compartmentalize and distribute a 1900 mile pilgrimage across America in order to speed up communication. Google now compresses massive amounts of data and connects billions of people in order to put a world of information at our fingertips.
Continue reading Google’s Pony Express & An Objectivist Theory Of Video Games
This article was originally published at FEE.org.
Ayn Rand’s monograph “Textbook of Americanism,” now published on FEE.org, is virtually unknown. Written during a decisive turning point in history, it was delivered by Rand personally to FEE’s founder Leonard Read in 1946. The monograph represents Rand’s desire to draw stark lines between an emerging postwar collectivism and the individualism she believed built America. She joined others in pointing out that collectivism had wrought the horrors the world had just endured.
“Textbook of Americanism” also represents her worldview as it came to be shaped by her childhood experiences with communism, her early love of film as a means of artistic expression, and her perceptions about the future of freedom.
As a young student in Russia at the dawn of the Bolshevik takeover, at a small theater for silent films, Rand caught her first glimpse of the New York skyline. The silhouette burned in her mind, a symbol of creative passion and unbounded achievement, outlining the edges of her growing philosophy of individualism.
Continue reading Ayn Rand, the Movies, and the Idea of America
This article was originally published at The Atlas Society.
The Atlas Shrugged movie is now accepting Bitcoin to join their web forum, called Galt’s Gulch Online. Limited content is available for free to all visitors of Galt’s Gulch Online, but premium content, such as the new Atlas Shrugged Part 3 teaser trailer, is available only to “producers” who pay a fee. And that fee can now be paid in Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a digital money sweeping the world and offering some degree of freedom from government currencies. It imitates the scarcity of a material currency (e.g. gold) by means of an algorithm, which places a limit on the amount of bitcoin that can be “mined” from its source by those who maintain the transaction ledger. As Rob Wile puts it, “It’s like a giant interactive spreadsheet everyone has access to and updates.” Continue reading Bitcoin and the Ayn Rand Imagination
A recent post by the show Julie Mastrine responded to a post by Miss Representation’s account on Facebook. Miss Representation is a documentary about the portrayal of women in media. It’s a valuable film with many insights, but it falls into the error that much of liberal feminism does, which is to call on government regulation as a solution. Their Facebook post was a link to Change.org, petitioning the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) “to develop a regulatory framework for ads that materially change the faces and bodies of the people in them, in order to reduce the damage this type of advertising does to our children.”
I responded with a few comments, and many other libertarian feminists did as well.
Julie Mastrine did a longer write up on her own blog, with screenshots of my comments and others.
I’m really drawn to the individualist, market, and existentialist descriptions on this fantastic chart I found. Evolving from a starting point of classical liberal — basically I intellectually inherited minarchy as a default of Rand’s Objectivism, and hadn’t questioned it much until more recently.
Now I mostly just hold on to a vague minarchist position out of
- lingering skepticism about the development of gang warfare and “a market of force,”
- wide-eyed, beagle-like trust in the power of written laws to manifest justice,
- general reluctance to change my mind too easily, and
- the fun of annoying anarchists.
For a while, Youtube aired a commercial for Plan B, and it inspired me whenever I saw it. “No one is going to get in my way,” one actress says decisively—“No one,” “No one,” “No one,” comes the chorus of women, each one more emphatic. At first, it might seem overly righteous for a subtext which basically suggests, “the condom broke.” But the commercial is actually the market’s bold stance against a long history of regulation surrounding contraception.
The women in the commercial are voices ringing out above one of the world’s loudest shouting matches, speaking to issues of sexuality, women’s reproductive freedom, healthcare, personal responsibility, and capitalism. Both the right and the left are harmful to women’s reproductive freedom, but most harmful is government power, itself. Liberal feminists still haven’t figured out the problem or its solution, free-market capitalism.
Continue reading Contraception and Free-Market Feminism
Privacy concerns for women merely getting abortion *medication* (the pills typically given for early-stage abortions) — while abortion is supposedly still legal. If you’re a woman trying to have a procedure so couched in shame and social stigma, it’s even more intimidating to know that your name will be recorded.
“Louisiana state Rep. Katrina Jackson’s bill, in addition to keeping a state database of people who have had medication abortions, would require physicians who perform the procedure to obtain hospital admitting privileges.”
This is how pro-life politicians and activists bypass the difficulty of making abortion illegal; by simply regulating clinics into non-functionality.
Also, Jackson proposed changing the language for the first trimester from “six to 14 weeks” to “up to 14 weeks,” honing the scope of government force ever closer to a woman’s sexual act itself.