Ayn Rand

How Ayn Rand-like is the Trump Administration Shaping Up to Be?

A scattered handful of fans of a novelist does not turn Trump Tower into Galt's Gulch.


About the only thing that could make Donald Trump as a politician—with his authoritarian instincts and promises, his anti-trade autarkism, his belief that America's companies and capital work at his whim, his wish to round up millions and toss them from their homes because they crossed a border without proper paperwork—seem worse to a certain class of American intellectuals is linking his administration to the always-hated Ayn Rand.

Reason magazine

That has been done this week prominently in both The Washington Post (in an article by James Hohmann) and New York magazine (in an article by Jonathan Chait).

What's the bill of indictment to connect Trump to a supposed Randian conspiracy to take over the U.S. government, from this president-elect whose politics intersect Rand's in few places in specific detail (tax cuts, to some extent, since Rand wanted all taxation ultimately to be voluntary), and not at all in general spirit?

If Trump cares about or believes in freedom as important in principle, as opposed to proposing it as an occasional option in a small handful of areas such as guns where he knew it was politically necessary, he's shown no particular signs of it.

I've written at length about Trump's only public connection to Ayn Rand I've ever seen. It was his saying some nice (and not completely dumb or silly) things about her 1943 novel The Fountainhead to a reporter from USA Today.

In that article I explained that Fountainhead is:

not the sort of novel that should resonate with a fan of eminent domain and the power of government to tax or prevent free trade such as Trump. Still, he's certainly not alone among prominent people who express love for her novels without seeming to support her Objectivist philosophy and its political libertarianism in a rigorous way…

Trump's version of "business, beauty, life and inner emotions" has a lot less respect for the rights and achievements of other individuals than Rand's. Fountainhead's architect hero Roark was precisely a success to Rand as an artist because he wasn't "successful" in terms of wealth and acclaim that obviously mean the most to Trump. Roark for most of his career was the opposite of a Trumpian "winner."

Howard Roark in Fountainhead stood for the property rights of the creator (intellectual ones, in the specific case) over the "public good" 'til the bitter end, said end involving blowing up a public housing project. (And being so eloquent about the reasons why that a jury did not convict him for doing so.)

Trump, on the other hand, believes that private property can and ought to be taken away from its owners for any sort of "public good" decided by any random collection of local or national bureaucrats, even if that "public good" is mostly just profit for a specific politically connected company. He shows this belief not only in his career-wide love for eminent domain but in his threatening companies that dare take their capital out of the U.S. with ruinous tariffs.

If one admires Rand and doesn't want to feel stained by any association of her with Trump, there is one easy, and true, out: by Rand's own standard, in which one must understand and accept her theories of identity and concept formation and work up from there to why laissez-faire capitalism is right, neither Trump nor by any evidence anyone in his administration is a true Randian, or Objectivist, the term she preferred for believers in her philosophy.

But the people pinning Rand on Trump now aren't making that strong claim, so the rhetorical fight over linking Rand with Trump is not won that easily.

Here is some of the evidence for the connection, both personal and political, between the nascent Trump administration and libertarian heroine Ayn Rand being offered by writers scared of both.

Hohmann in The Post reports that Trump's secretary of state, CIA, and labor department picks, Rex Tillerson, Mike Pompeo and Andy Puzdar, are avowed fans of Rand's fiction. (As are some other people Trump has talked to, but not taken into his administration.)

What are we to make of this, in Hohmann's scattered, bullet-point summation that doesn't make a clear argument? Well, her novels present scenes that many readers interpret as rape (though Rand, and her characters, did not see it that way); she is virulently anti-Christian; and she doesn't believe in forced charity. (I have never seen Trump openly condemn all government welfare transfers, though he has been an advocate for linking such programs to work or searching for work.)

Hohmann notes that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has been forced to deny a previous affection for Rand, and interestingly that Steve Bannon, perhaps the most hated figure in Trump's circle for his embrace of an "alt right" nationalism based in Bannon's stated views on racial background as well as being part of this literal nation, is loudly anti-Rand. That's perfectly appropriate for someone of Bannon's populist/nationalist bent; he is smart enough to know who his enemies are, and Rand and her fans are among the biggest. No matter what one fears from Rand or fans of Rand, clearly the Trump administration is by no means a one-sided advocate of her views.

Chait in New York tries to argue that Randian influence "destroyed 'never-Trump' conservatism." Why? Mostly, he argues, because many Republicans and conservatives have a Rand-inspired belief that shrinking government's taxing and regulatory power and scope is such a moral imperative that they are ultimately willing to forgive all the authoritarian, crude, or dumb aspects of Trump's thought and persona because they believe his administration will help shrink the parts of government they care most about.

While Chait is wrong to say that Rand saw "workers" as the class enemy of capitalists, I don't think he's entirely wrong in saying that, whether or not Rand is the proximate cause, many modern conservatives will forgive a lot of horrible nonsense if they believe taxes might end up cut.

Rand was not at all a supporter of the rich and successful as such against the worker; she made the case for the heroism and necessity of anyone who produced, who made the world better through their creative and/or physical effort and made their fortune via free trade, not via political pull. Most of the villains of Atlas Shrugged were the very type of crony capitalists who will likely be thriving due to their connection with or fealty to President Trump. (This point is well-argued a couple of years ago by Steve Horwitz at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.)

Many of Rand's liberal, progressive, moderate, and even conservative foes misunderstand her. Still, it would be disingenuous to insist that to really know her is to really love her. Most Trump haters probably would hate a nation governed to Randian principles far more than one governed according to whatever we can make out of Trumpian ones.

Hohmann and Chait have indeed detected aspects of Randian thinking that are genuinely troublesome to certainly most of their likely readers, if not most Americans. (As I've written, when otherwise admired public figures get tainted by association because they've been marked as Rand lovers, they often feel the need to publicly recant.)

It is true that neither Trump, Tillerson, Pozdar, nor certainly for goodness sake a prospective CIA chief such as Pompeo, want to actuate a government that literally does nothing but protect our rights to life and property, and is funded voluntarily, as Rand ultimately wished.

But that's not really what Hohmann and Chait want their readers to be nervous about. There is a general spirit that animates her that makes them nervous. For example, Rand, like the Trump administration as imagined by those who see a Rick Perry running Energy or an ExxonMobil exec like Tillerson at State, does value the advantages of industrial civilization over anyone's absolute right to not have their atmosphere polluted.

Tillerson (not that he'll be making climate policy directly) on the other hand, despite being an oil exec, is an on-the-record supporter of carbon taxes to cut such emissions that he believes are causing damaging climate change. Rand, were she still alive, may have been driven by evidence to come to believe that carbon emissions rise to the level of an actionable rights violation, and she did at least in theory understand that pollution can be a rights-violation.

But I do doubt that the woman who wrote "Anyone over 30 years of age today, give a silent 'Thank you' to the nearest, grimiest, sootiest smokestacks you can find" would have ended up exactly where Tillerson seems to be on the issue.

Rand fan Tillerson, then, is not as bad, in a liberal sense, on global warming as they imagine the industrialist-valorizing Rand would be.

But what to make of this seemingly bizarre or sinister convocation of fans of one novelist in this administration that Hohmann and Chait have noticed? It is actually to be expected that a novelist and free-market advocate as widely read as Ayn Rand—the most widely read such advocate in American history of the past century—would crop up in the background of adult professionals who tend to believe in the free market. (Which Trump, at any rate, clearly does not.)

As Robert Tracinski, himself a self-identified Objectivist who isn't seeing his beliefs reflected in the burgeoning Trump administration, put it at The Federalist:

"NEWS FLASH—Conservative Businessmen Read Ayn Rand." If you're in a bit of a liberal bubble, I guess that's news to you. But it shouldn't be. Rand's novels have sold millions of copies and have a lot of fans. Right-leaning people, especially those in the business world—which Rand famously celebrated, treating businessmen as heroes instead of stock villains—frequently read her novels and recommend them.

As Tracinski hints, it is sometimes news to people that Rand is not some alien villain for them to occasionally notice and get scared of or mock, but an immensely popular American novelist for now 63 years and still running strong. And his Objectivist take on Trump himself? "Most Objectivists recognize him as a pragmatist in the worst sense of that word: as someone without fixed convictions and principles and without any sense that he needs to have them."

Fans of Rand shouldn't get too excited, and enemies of Rand shouldn't be too scared, that we are entering an American era of Rand because of some of Trump's cabinet picks. Back in 2009 I explained at length how and why real-deal Randianism remained too radical for the United States, and while Trump is in some ways an American radical, he's more of a populist one.

At root Trump is about the aristocracy of pull Rand decried, a world where the Great Leader makes the big decisions about everyone's wealth, life, and property and is all the better the more "strong" and ruthless he is in doing so. One can easily imagine Trump behaving like Rand's craven national leader "Mr. Thompson" in Atlas Shrugged who said things like "Oh you theoretical intellectuals!…he's a man of action….He'll make things work…We'll make a deal with him" insisting, wrongly, of Rand's hero John Galt that "there's no such thing" as a man not open to a deal.

As any Rand fan understands, the nation's fiscal situation is what it is, and Trump's tax and spending plans and his softness on entitlements are something that might not be amenable to his art of the deal.

Rand has been the ghost haunting purveyors of the morality and practicality of big government for generations now. It's not surprising she still has the power to spook its adherents. But as often is the case, they are jumping nervously at what's just a sound they don't quite recognize, not actually feeling the touch of her imagined spectral powers.


NEXT: Excommunication, Buddhists, and temple control: An interesting new Supreme Court petition

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  1. occasionally notice and get scared of or mock, but an immensely popular American novelist for now 63 years and still running strong

    This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean she was a good writer.

    (I like We The Living and her villains tend to be brilliant representations of dysfunctional elites, but my god does her prose get worse and worse as she aged)

    1. Nor was she really a great philosopher – so I’m told or have read.

      1. The other nonsense that she and the Objectivists both peddle is that Rand had a consistent philosophy throughout her whole life. And that’s total bullshit even if you just read her books and ignore her years of personal correspondence. We The Living and Anthem have some clearly Nietzschean influences, and her letters from her 20s and 30s show that she’s constantly reading him. It’s only with Fountainhead that she starts to shift away from that to her more personal philosophy, and then solidifies it with Atlas Shrugged.

        1. I think Fountainhead and Anthem are great. Atlas Shrugged is just okay. The philosophy itself is rather silly, though. Objective values? That’s an oxymoron.

        2. I really just think of her as anti-collectivist and leave it at that.

        3. I personally loved Atlas Shrugged… although I did skip a decent portion of Galt’s speech. The book really cemented what I sort of had been thinking for years and turned me to libertarianism and Reason.

          Oh the hours I have wasted cherished over the last 4 years on here…

    2. The worlds she creates are great and her stories are great, but her writing is just painful. Not a big fan of her personal philosophy in general either, although she does make a lot of brilliant points. It’s possible to like Ayn Rand but not think she is infallible. I think the dystopian worlds she created were better representations of today and our future than 1984 or Brave New World.

  2. his wish to round up millions and toss them from their homes because they crossed a border without proper paperwork

    My nominee for most dishonest Open Borders Uber Alles Propaganda of the Year.

  3. Hohmann in The Post reports that Trump’s secretary of state, CIA, and labor department picks, Rex Tillerson, Mike Pompeo and Andy Puzdar, are avowed fans of Rand’s fiction.

    The God Emperor brings Reason their Libertarian Moment of 2016. Savor it.

  4. This might get interesting.

    “Lawyer claims link between ex-NY police chief and unsolved Long Island murders”


  5. “linking his administration to the always-hated Ayn Rand”

    All they need to do is post some sort of bumper sticker slogan lies on facebook and the twitters and it’s just simply a known fact that you can’t argue with in less your some sort of white cisscum homophobe racist. Makes no difference how retarded and ridicules the statement is. In fact, the more retarded the more shares.

  6. OK, I pointed this out before and it’s not difficult:
    1) The Russkis hacked the DNC computers and spread all those lies about how the hag is miserable.
    2) Trump got elected because fake news.
    3) Ayn Rand was an expat Russki agent.
    How much more do I need to explain?

    1. Keep going. I’m still not there yet.

  7. OT

    1. Other cops.

      Cops, building inspector and one commissioner resigned rather than go along with the “good ol’ boys” running the town. (Unfortunately, sounds like said good ol’ boys just shrugged and said “oh well” to the mass resignations.)

    2. …agents also were at the Sheriff’s Office substation on Club Deluxe Road in Hammond..

      Was that road named after the substation?

    3. they put their lives on the line every day!

      1. and everyone around them!

  8. Trump should indeed be viewed with skepticism but damn him paving a ‘Progressive Trail of Tears’ has simply been delightful to watch unfold.

    ‘Pack up the Subaru, maw! We’re not wanted anymore!’

    1. A Canadian ridiculing Subarus?
      *Stuffs slush down Rufus’ coat*

      1. They give those out like condoms in Vermont apparently.

  9. OT:
    “Aleppo is about the sanctity and dignity of each and every human life”
    “As a Muslim, I am particularly agonized by this. We are a people who have been raised to speak out for justice, even if our voices shake. We are a people who are to speak the truth and stand up for justice even if it is against ourselves, against our parents and against our community. What a lofty and beautiful moral stance, and how short we have fallen of that moral high ground.”

    Maybe you ought to take a look at bleefs which justify massacre, rather than hope the US intervenes and somehow helps things.
    ‘Physician, heal thyself’.

    1. So “justice” comes from a nonexistent entity. Well, that makes it kind of hard to pin down.

    2. Repost from the other thread, Brendan O’Neill highlights the moral narcissism that surrounds Aleppo.

      This is what Syria has become to many in the West: a moral opportunity. A convenient platform on which to make a spectacle of our ‘moral impulse’ that has so few outlets in these otherwise strange, unsettled times. Collins protests too much when he says this urge is ‘too profound to be written off as adolescent’ ? it is the definition of moral adolescence to think everything is about you, and to think that acting in the name of good is good even when it does harm.

      1. But what do we DO?

        Good piece.

        1. Rhywun|12.15.16 @ 11:03PM| block | mute | #

          But what do we DO?

          Stop trying to overthrow people we don’t like on the cheap?

          (and don’t have enough strategic or political interests involved to defend the people we ‘support’ when shit goes south)

          I presume Obama *could* be talking to NPR about the collapse of his Syria plans, but he’s to busy updating them on his Ghost Hunt for the evil Russian-hacker menace.

          1. I was thinking something along the lines of GTFO of there.

      2. “…to think that acting in the name of good is good even when it does harm.”

        Needs to be engraved in the stone above the speaker’s podium in every legislative chamber in the world.

    3. “‘We are a people who have been raised to speak out for justice, even if our voices shake. We are a people who are to speak the truth and stand up for justice even if it is against ourselves, against our parents and against our community.”

      Citation needed. The news in recent days suggests a people who make up lies about crimes committed against themselves to slander their perceived enemies.

      Not to mention a people who believe that when, in reaction to repeated mass murders committed by their community in the name of their community/beliefs, they receive non-violent abuse like vandalism or aggressive insults, they are somehow the more greatly victimized party.

      Like, whatever the collective version of malignant narcissism is, I think that is the term that would apply.

      1. Anyway, while it’s certainly not good to encourage the baatezu and tanar’ri to go at it, there might be some greater harm in letting their attentions focus elsewhere. Provided that things can be prevented from going nuclear and the refugee crisis is properly managed.

  10. I still think Rand’s books were boring and her ideas weren’t all that interesting either. I get that some people dig her shtick, but frankly i’d rather wave Bastiat around and say, “That’s my homie!” than feel the need to defend the reputation of some crazy ex-russian faux-philosopher who wrote overlong melodramatic novels and leaves behind “big fans” like Alan Greenspan and Leonard Peikoff.

  11. Forget being a Randian, Trump’s a Roofian!

    1. It’s clear that the writer there has never peeked at the conservative comment boards; if anyone wants to give Roof the needle or the chair, it’s those folks.

  12. To my porn watching dad.

    When I had friends over, I wondered how you perceived them. Did you see them as my friends, or did you see them as a pretty face in one of your fantasies? No girl should ever have to wonder that about the man who is supposed to be protecting her and other women in her life.

      1. From the comments:

        Raymond M.

        Although this has been posted anonymously due to the nature of the topic, it makes a very good point and the bravery of the person that wrote it should be comended.

        1. She should get the Medal of Honor for sure

    1. Depends on how hot they were. lol

      1. Stop looking at my hot friends.

    2. I missed the url when reading, initially thought I was reading a mainstream/feminist website.

      The mistake she makes is to conflate sexual attraction and respect:

      “As far as modesty goes, you tried to talk with me about how my dress affects those around me and how I should value myself for what I am on the inside. Your actions however told me that I would only ever truly be beautiful and accepted if I looked like the women on magazine covers or in porn. Your talks with me meant nothing and in fact, just made me angry.”

      In a man’s mind, it’s entirely possible to respect a woman without being sexually attracted to her or to be attracted to someone you have no respect for. In a woman’s mind, these are heavily correlated.

      I wonder how much of the modern anger at “objectification” is really just a PC way for parents to keep their daughters off the poll. Because in our heavily pornified culture, it’s obvious that every man does it. So you must distrust those men!

      1. really just a PC way for parents to keep their daughters off the poll

        Which one? Gallup? Ramussen? Qinnpiac University? Zogby? Pew?

        1. Reason-RuPaul

          1. There must be some backstory I’m missing here. I don’t wanna check old threads. Tell me!

            1. Wordplay on Reason-Rupe.

              You know, the people who ask Millennials about everything?

              1. I meant behind the mocking of Bayz.

                1. You give me a homophonic paronomasia, and I’m going to run with it.

            2. Start your engines!

    3. This checks out. I didn’t start male-gazing the shit out of chicks and being more attracted to the pretty ones than the others until I randomly started watching porn for no reason.

    4. If her friends are legal and hot, I don’t know that she actually wants that question answered.

  13. You guys miss the point. A lot of the appeal of Rand’s novels aren’t because of a deep seated desire for a night-watchman state. It’s about an alternative to the mainstream culture which glorifies victimhood and is suspicious of success.(Because if you succeeded, you must have had some kind of privilege.) This is combined with the theme of rebellion against society and non-conformism. This is very appealing to a lot of young White men in particular. Trump is the quintessential Randian hero in this sense, he is successful and won’t apologize for it* and he doesn’t care if practically the entire elite screams at him that he just can’t say that.

    *Mitt Romney tried this, but it wasn’t convincing. Trump did much better, he just acted like a typical person and bragged about his wealth.

    1. Which half of you is the Jew half? Below the waist, right?

      1. We need to employ Bayzian inference for the answer.

    2. Trump is the quintessential Randian hero

      Only if you completely disregard everything Rand considers to be heroic.

      1. She was down with his authoritative assumption of consent in sex.

  14. I though revenge was a dish best served cold?


    1. “There are still a whole range of assessments taking place among the agencies,” Obama told NPR, referring to an order he has given the U.S. intelligence community to conduct a full review of the cyberattacks before Inauguration Day. “And so when I receive a final report, you know, we’ll be able to, I think, give us a comprehensive and best guess as to those motivations.

      bargle garble blather herble gerble. “I’m doing something about something. Here is my serious face. take it away, NPR”

      Unless something’s changed = the people in charge of intel still think there’s no “there” there.

      While the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) does not dispute the CIA’s analysis of Russian hacking operations, it has not endorsed their assessment because of a lack of conclusive evidence that Moscow intended to boost Trump over Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, said the officials,

      What exactly is the damage here?

      “There’s no doubt that it contributed to an atmosphere in which the only focus for weeks at a time, months at a time were Hillary’s emails, the Clinton Foundation, political gossip surrounding the DNC,” Obama said.

      “Contributed to an atmosphere”. Its that sort of sharp, causal, logical argument i’ve come to expect from the rhetorician in chief.

      1. Obama tosses shit out there as if there is no meaning behind it, as if people randomly paid attention to the notion of an SoS who wanted to president but treated operational security as something to avoid, as if the naked collusion documented between Camp Clinton and the media was a non-issue, and as if the DNC rigging its party’s primary was the norm. Maybe people focused because there was something on which to focus.

    2. Lol. The projection is strong in this one.

      This is somebody, the former head of the KGB, who is responsible for crushing democracy in Russia, muzzling the press, throwing political dissidents in jail, countering American efforts to expand freedom at every turn

  15. Now see, this is exactly why I supported Trump. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together. 🙂

  16. Of course there’s a late nite Doherty Ayn Rand post. ::unzips pants::

    1. Butts Wagner? More like, Butt Wagger, am I right?

      1. emojis I can’t see? more like poo-mojis I can’t see

  17. Most of his cabinet members seem closer to Rand villains than anything else.

    1. As someone pointed out earlier = this guy is his pick for Ambassador to Israel

      neither here nor there.

      1. AH, I actually hadn’t heard that.

        1. I think there are others that stand out as pretty impressive from a libertarian POV – assuming that in most cases he could simply have picked some GOP flak with no particular agenda other than to milk the power for political gain.

          e.g. the *(potential) FDA pick, Jim O’Neill – described in the recent 5th Column podcast as “the most libertarian person i’ve ever met” by Mike M – who thinks drug-approval takes too long and is way too onerous etc.

          and then there’s Andy Puzder @ Department of Labor. Opposition to the minimum wage seems a decent start; its also clear he dislikes the expansive definition of ’employee’ that the Obama admin has taken, which is a good sign people like Uber or other ‘gig’-economy companies.=

          The FFF reviews Trump’s cabinet picks here. I have not listened to the whole podcast (I skimmed part 2), but its probably worth it.

      2. Someone was full of shit. That’s a completely different David Friedman.

        Libertarian David Friedman.

        Trump David Friedman.

  18. Always-Trustworthy Politico says =

    Libertarians emerging as Trump resistance

    Donald Trump’s transition is raising flag after red flag for libertarians, a Republican-leaning group that in turn has emerged as a vocal, frequent thorn in the side of the incoming administration even as some previous “Never Trumpers” have gone dark.

    the text of the story doesn’t quite support the ambitions of the headline + first graf. Its mostly “Rand Paul says he’s not crazy about Bolton” … and most other stuff people seem “meh” about.

    everal libertarian leaders noted, there’s been much for libertarians to cheer about as well, from high hopes for scaled-back regulations, to strong selections, in their view, for appointments to lead departments like the Environmental Protection Agency and Health and Human Services.

    “People have some concerns, but for the most part I think are pretty positive with the big-picture outlook, with regard to lower taxes, less regulation,” said Brian Darling, a former top Senate aide to Paul. “So I think you’ll see the liberty movement, moving forward, being critical at times, but being very supportive on big issues like repealing Obamacare, regulation reform, tax reform.”

    1 thing in the “oppose column”, handful in the “support column” = Libertarian Resistance, Unite!!

    1. a Republican-leaning group

      Oh for FFS.

    2. “…the ambitions of the headline…”

      I like that a lot; consider it stolen.
      In some cases, you might use ‘the arrogance of the headline’.
      I LIKE it.

    3. General: Now each battalion has a specific code-name and mission. Battalion 5, raise your hands!
      [All of the Libertarians raise their hands.]
      General: You will be the all important first defense wave, which we will call “Operation Human Shield.”

  19. File Under = “Great Ideas”

    Mr. T (*someone i worshipped as a living god as a young man, and still hold in high regard)…

    ….recently had a home-improvement show in development for a cable network.

    It was called, i am not kidding = “I Pity the Tool

    1. without even watching the video, what the fuck is wrong with his “eye”brow above his nose?

      1. Mr T is a deep thinker, fool.

        1. I’m sure Clubber Lang picked up some cosmetic surgery tips from Rocky(Our future chariman of the National Endowment of the Arts), but that eyebrow ain’t right.

    1. i can’t watch Tucker’s show. his guests bore me, and he aggrivates me. I can’t stand people who talk past one another. its not a conversation – they’re both just performing for the camera. In other cases the people are just so dull that its just abuse = they don’t understand the things they say, much less his retorts. they just repeat themselves and shrug. Its like debating a 5yr old.

      Eichenwald is just a hack – but then, what’s carson?

      1. throws away Tucker Carlson reads the Collected Works of Ayn Rand cassette tape set that was Gilmore’s Xmas gift.

        1. its the thought that counts

  20. OT:
    “Don’t look to the Electoral College to upend Trump victory”
    ” Republican elector Hector Maldonado, a Missouri National Guardsman, has taken the time to console one correspondent, a single mother and Air Force veteran who is beside herself with worry about what a Trump presidency will mean.
    “Everything’s going to be OK,” he said he told her. “I know you’re scared, but don’t worry. Everything’s going to be OK. And I know that it will be.”
    AP; you can find it.

    Tell her to siddown and shuddup.

    1. If she’s worried about Trump turning into a dictator, she should maybe try to convince her team that lots of dictators get away with extreme measures precisely because their political opponents take the first step, decide to toss out the rulebook, and go for the coup.

      And yes, you might not think the combination of pushing unfaithful electors and spreading FUD about Russia to attempt to delegitimize the election results are a “coup”, just free speech and emergency use of nonstandard but legitimate political procedure. And yes, you would probably be technically correct. But, it’s the opposition and the neutrals you have to convince, and if this election has shown anything, it’s that your echo chamber cripples you as much as it empowers you when it comes to persuasion.

      Really, the left had better damn well hope that Trump isn’t even a Chavez, much less a Hitler, or they’re running a real chance of learning the meaning of the phrase “You come at the king, you best not miss.”

  21. Bald Eagles: Threat or Menace?

    “Falling fish knocks out power in Seattle”
    “Seattle City Light says a witness reported seeing a bird drop the fish. It was presumably one of the eagles or ospreys that hunt in the nearby Duwamish River.
    A crew investigating the outage walked the power lines and found what workers described as an electrocuted salmon.
    Power was out for about two and a half hours.”

    1. In Indian times, that’s how people got their names. “Falling Fish” was definitely more fortuitous than “Pretentious Bear

  22. So, why isn’t the CIA telling us how they know that Putin was personally directing the phishing of John Pedosta’s email, presumably while holding Wolverine’s daughter hostage?

    What’s that, CIA? Revealing that information might compromise your ability to gather intelligence in the future?

    So… we’re supposed to believe you that, even on a matter as critical as the peaceful transfer of power in its own democracy, a state intelligence agency would prefer to avoid revealing information to the general public because it may harm its intelligence-gathering abilities in the future. We are also expected to believe your assertion that Russia’s intelligence agencies did exactly the opposite of that, in a foreign election with much less existential issues at stake for them, b/c reasons.

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  24. You missed this Politico gem: The Most Politically Dangerous Book You’ve Never Heard Of
    As I commented there:
    A heath care system that, even before Obamacare, saw 48% of all expenditures funneled through government programs, collapses? Must be Ayn Rand’s fault. A post-secondary education system that presupposes a “right” to a college education implodes under of mountain of student loan defaults? Must be Ayn Rand’s fault. Heavy industry collectively bargained straight into bankruptcy? Must be Ayn Rand’s fault. The housing market collapses under a government-imposed “right to own a home no matter what”? Must be Ayn Rand’s fault. A banking sector that was told by government that it was “too big to fail” fails? Must be Ayn Rand’s fault. Government lies to the American people about Iraqi WMD’s to start a war for oil? Must be Ayn Rand’s fault.
    We get it. Trust us, we get it. Everything is always — always — Ayn Rand’s fault.

  25. Ayn Rand – aka, Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum – was a Russian agent – that’s all you need to know. It’s the key to understanding the silent coup taking place in America.

  26. Doherty makes a number of good points. But he includes a bonehead misunderstanding of Rand that appears in a quote of himself from an earlier article:

    Fountainhead’s architect hero Roark was precisely a success to Rand as an artist because he wasn’t “successful” in terms of wealth and acclaim ?

    No, failure to achieve wealth and acclaim was not a virtue in Rand’s eyes. Those simply aren’t the relevant criteria for determining the worth of an artist. If a great artist fails to achieve wealth and acclaim, that’s a reflection on the rest of us, not on the artist.

  27. What I realized after many years of thinking about these things is that Rand was completely off – in an extremely dangerous way – about philosophy, but in the process stumbled to some fairly good thoughts on governance… She didn’t get the latter particularly correct – famously still a minarchist for uncompelling reasons – but she had enough anti-government observations to have gotten a young me interested in libertarianism, even if in the end they were for the wrong reasons.

    Objectivism, as Anthony Gregory has pointed out at length, is one of the most dangerous notions in theory and practice that is out there, with its followers open calling for genocide of women and children on the “objective” basis that if they aren’t “men of the mind”, then they don’t really “count” as people.

    Look sister, you can’t start with “is” statements and turn them into “oughts”. You’ve hidden “ought” statements inside of your so-called “objective” derivation of philosophy, not “objectively” derived them. Flawed from the very conception (and like all false statements, supporting other false statements like “genocide can be ok”).

    1. @Outside the Box

      First: your accusation that “followers” openly call for genocide requires at least a link, if not full substantiation. Without those, you are just a terrorist.

      Second, If you claim Rand’s refutation of the Is/Ought roadblock is flawed, you ought to show your work. Hopefully, you’ve come up with something better than “it can’t be done.”

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