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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Shooting the Messenger All Over Again

A few days ago, I mentioned the speech given to the United Nations by Malala Yousafzai—the 16-year old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head for defying the Taliban—touting the importance of education as the ultimate weapon against her attackers. So I was appalled to see a report in the Pakistani newspaper The Dawn […]

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Economics 101

The higher-education bubble has touched off a scramble among politicians to come up with solutions to make college more affordable. So far, “affordable” higher education has meant pretty much the same thing as “affordable housing”: encouraging people to pile up unsustainable government-subsidized loans. To avoid the rise of these ruinous student loans, the state of […]

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The Humanities Are Dead, Long Live the Humanities

One of the consequences of the higher-education bubble—an enormous decades-long increase in college tuition—is the withering away of majors in the humanities, from 14% of all college majors fifty years ago to 7% today. After all, if you have to spend upwards of $100,000 for an education, you probably ought to choose a field where […]

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The Forward Strategy of Capitalism

George W. Bush used to talk about the Forward Strategy of Freedom, which is perhaps looking a little better now that we’ve seen some vindication for the notion that Arabs and Muslim would be willing to stand up for freedom. An unappreciated part of that strategy was Bush’s push for global free trade, with the […]

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Freedom Is Child’s Play

For the short term, I expect the Middle East to be a close-fought battle between the forces of (relative) progress and the forces of religious obscurantism. Over the long term, I am more optimistic. The reason is that there are too many good ideas loose in the world, they are too easily available, and they […]

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The Muslim Civil War in Egypt

Here’s a good symbol of the recent turn of events in the Middle East: troops from Mali marching in a Bastille Day parade in Paris, in gratitude to the French for helping to defeat Islamists in Mali’s north. Yes, I know, Mali is not in the “Middle East.” It’s in Sub-Saharan Africa, or maybe just […]

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The Muslim Civil War Reaches Syria

The past few months have seen an interesting reversal. For a while, it looked like the pessimists might be right and that the big winners of the Arab Spring were the Islamists instead of the secular liberals. But in the past month, the secularists have rallied, most spectacularly in Egypt. As I observed last month, […]

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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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Pathological Altruism

The Wall Street Journal‘s James Taranto recently linked to an academic psychologist’s report on the phenomenon of “pathological altruism”—a tentative recognition that the morality of altruism might not be as benevolent as it claims. For an Objectivist, this is a fat, slow pitch over the middle, so I took a swing at it. This is […]

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