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Who Owns Information?

In my work for RealClearMarkets, I’ve been following the story of the collapse of SAC Capital Advisors, a giant hedge fund that is being brought down just by being indicted for insider trading. The way things work these days is that being formally accused by the SEC is enough to sink a big trading company, […]

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The Psychology of “Normal Life”

How to Achieve a Benevolent Sense of Life, Part 3 This is part three of what looks like it might be a five-part series. In the previous installment of this series, I urged readers to become flame-spotters who look for the good in the world, so that this orientation toward the good becomes the psychological […]

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No, Ayn Rand Didn’t Kill Sears

An article from the leftist website Alternet (by way of Salon) gloats that “Ayn Rand Killed Sears.” No, not the novelist and philosopher herself, during whose lifetime Sears was still one of the world’s greatest retailers. The blame supposedly rests with Ayn Rand’s philosophy, as applied by Eddie Lampert, the hedge fund manager who bought […]

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A Little Rebellion Now and Then

The decision by Egypt’s military to intervene and force out the country’s Islamist president has produced a lot of hand-wringing about how this is an attack on Jeffersonian democracy. The irony is that this is “democracy” in the most literal, original sense, in a way that would have been easily recognized by the Ancient Greeks […]

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Planning for Our Own Obsolescence

We Are All Futurists Now, Part 4 This article is part four out of (probably) eight. In the previous installments of this series, I sketched out some of the big new technological innovations that are likely to reshape the economy and bring us all into a science-fiction future. I discussed the “Third Industrial Revolution” which […]

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Observations of a Bystander

Writing about foreign policy these days is an exercise in frustration, because the United States is in the unusual and unnecessary position of being a bystander to world events. The reason is that President Obama is deeply committed to a policy of inaction, or more accurately, action so halting and reluctant as to be nearly […]

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Shrug Trek

A Reader’s Guide to Atlas Shrugged, Part 2 Spoiler Alert: You do not need a reader’s guide to Atlas Shrugged—at least not for your first reading. Ayn Rand’s novel is clear, compelling, eminently readable, and perfectly comprehensible on its own terms. Yet Atlas is also a rich and complex novel, with an intricate plot in […]

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Flame Spotting

How to Achieve a Benevolent Sense of Life Part two of a four-part series. In the first installment of this series, I challenged the notion that a malevolent sense of life is a reaction to the uniquely bad circumstances of “today’s world,” both because sense of life is not about your momentary circumstances and because […]

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The Prophet of the Oppression

An Atheist Reads the Bible, Part 4 The religion of the Old Testament is not the religion of Abraham. It is the religion of Moses. In the previous installments, we looked at the sections of the Bible that relate to Abraham and which convey to us the key religious assumptions that he brought to his […]

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The Universal Message

Three Paradoxes of American Politics, Part 3 Just after November’s election, I posed three paradoxes of American politics, asking why certain demographic groups make up reliable voting blocs for the left, even though the pro-free-market ideas of the right have so much to offer them. I have been addressing these paradoxes one by one. In […]

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