Category Archives: Hollywood

Some Trump-Nation Triumphs

Donald Trump, Drug War, Foreign Policy, Hollywood, Labor, Media, Pseudoscience, Psychiatry, States' Rights

Reducing another bastion of the establishment to rubble.

The next is Hollywood.

Keep a watchful eye on CPUKErs. Ann Coulter is:

Steve Bannon:

We love you, but stop potting around. In a libertarian world … but we’ll settled for States’ Rights:

Related to the above. Did he just say States’ Rights? Joy!

The Freaks of the Therapeutic State:

Tied up in knots by Fake News:

Megalo-McCain:

Bosom buddy Lindsey Graham:

Miners are the epitome of tragic heroes:

‘Go On Now Go,’ Barack Obama, ‘Walk Out The Door …’

Art, Barack Obama, Democracy, Donald Trump, Hollywood

“‘Go On Now Go,’ Barack Obama, ‘Walk Out The Door …’” is the current column, now on Townhall.com or The Daily Caller (in case the Russians mess with one of the sites). An excerpt:

The Hollywood Idiocracy has let out a primal scream to protest Donald Trump, the people’s president. Members of the collective convened to convulse like Linda Blare in “The Exorcist,” to the sounds of Gloria Gaynor in “I Will Survive.”

This particular protest was made up of mediocre females: Emma Stone, Natalie Portman, Amy Adams, Hailee Steinfeld, Chris Pine, Michael Shannon, Matthew McConaughey, Andrew Garfield, and Joel Edgerton (the last five are women with the Y chromosome).

Miss Blare, of course, was great in “The Exorcist.” The same goes for the demon Pazuzu who possessed Blair’s character (Regan MacNeil) in the film. At his gurgling snarling worst, Pazuzu was easier on the ear than the actors who primal-screamed their way through Gaynor’s fabulous, 1979 disco number.

How full of yourself must you be to sound and look as vapid as these celebrities did on the vid? A less self-aggrandizing group would have used the Auto-Tune technology, a must for the T & A that parade as artists these days! Or perhaps they did, and Team “I Will Survive” is even worse than it sounds.

Speaking of self-adoration, I’ve lost count of how many goodbyes Barack Hussein Obama has bid. The countdown to President-elect Trump’s inauguration has morphed into a search-and-rescue for the Obama legacy, except that when something is dead; it becomes a recovery operation.

The other day, Obama “popped by” to say goodbye to Press Secretary Josh Earnest. I can’t quite recall what 44 said, but the interlude was all about Obama.

Indeed, nothing Obama has ever said is memorable, or has intellectual acuity to it. This goes for his farewell address. President-elect Trump might be inarticulate and plain-spoken; but each of his words means something tangible and actionable. The incumbent’s words, conversely, are like a Rorschach test: fuzzy, hazy verbal vapor, designed to absorb the listener’s projected emotions and reflect them back soothingly.

The cliché is the operative word in an Obama sentence. Visit any random site or video clip featuring Obama excerpts and you’ll hear mind-numbing banalities. Here’s one at random (2009): “What brings us together is stronger than what pulls us apart.”

As measured by the Flesch-Kincaid readability test, a “Smart Politics,” 2012 study concluded that “for the third straight Address, the President’s State of the Union message was written at an eighth-grade level.”

During his interminable farewell address

… Read the rest. “‘Go On Now Go,’ Barack Obama, ‘Walk Out The Door …’” is now on Townhall.com or The Daily Caller.

Ayn Rand, David Cross, And Hypocrisy

BAB's A List, Communism, Hollywood, Left-Liberalism, libertarianism, Objectivism, Socialism

AYN RAND, DAVID CROSS, AND HYPOCRISY
By Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Ph.D.

Ilana Mercer recently made me aware of some off-the-wall [YouTube, sorry, couldn’t resist MJ] comments by stand-up comedian David Cross on Ayn Rand. I’ll just have to chalk up his, uh, misunderstanding to the fact that he’s a comedian, and not somebody who has actually studied Rand’s corpus. On his new Netflix special, he makes the following statement:

Let’s be honest, that’s what makes America weak, is empathy. When we care about those less fortunate than ourselves, that[‘s] what brings us down. . . . Ask Ayn Rand—I believe you can still find her haunting the public housing she died in while on Social Security and Medicare.

Now, it’s not my intention to simply defend Ayn Rand; she did a good job of that when she was alive, and her writings have stood the test of time, whatever one thinks about her position on this or that particular issue. But Cross is just all crossed up. About so many things.

First, let’s clear up one grand myth: Ayn Rand never lived in public housing. I recently queried Rand biographer, Anne Heller, who wrote the 2009 book, Ayn Rand and the World She Made. Heller could provide us with every address Rand ever lived at, and not a single one of them corresponds to a public housing project. But even if Rand lived in the Marlboro Housing Projects in Brooklyn, who cares? More on this, in a moment.

Now, it is true that Rand did collect Social Security and Medicare. Ayn Rand Institute-affiliated writer, Onkar Ghate, addresses the so-called hypocrisy of this fact about Ayn Rand’s life in his essay, “The Myth About Ayn Rand and Social Security.” Ghate reminds us that Rand opposed,

Every “redistribution” scheme of the welfare state. Precisely because Rand views welfare programs like Social Security as legalized plunder, she thinks the only condition under which it is moral to collect Social Security is if one “regards it as restitution and opposes all forms of welfare statism” (emphasis hers). The seeming contradiction that only the opponent of Social Security has the moral right to collect it dissolves, she argues, once you recognize the crucial difference between the voluntary and the coerced. Social Security is not voluntary. Your participation is forced through payroll taxes, with no choice to opt out even if you think the program harmful to your interests. If you consider such forced “participation” unjust, as Rand does, the harm inflicted on you would only be compounded if your announcement of the program’s injustice precludes you from collecting Social Security.

Rand felt the same way about any number of government programs, including government scholarships, and such. In reality, Rand got a free education at the University of Petrograd in the Soviet Union, a newly-minted communist state; next to that, collecting Social Security is “a mere bag of shells,” as Ralph Kramden would put it. But, you see, that’s the whole issue, isn’t it? Rand was born in the Soviet Union, and even that state wasn’t “pure communism,” as Marx envisioned it; for Marx, communism could only arise out of an advanced stage of capitalism, which, in his quasi-utopian imagination, would solve the problem of scarcity. The point is that there is not a single country on earth or in any historical period that has ever fit the description of a pure “-ism”; to this extent, Rand was completely correct to characterize her moral vision of “capitalism” as an “unknown ideal.”

But there is a second point that is lost on critics who accuse Rand of hypocrisy; there is not a single person on earth who isn’t born into a specific historical context, a particular place and time. At any period in history, we live in a world that provides us with a continuum of sorts, enabling us to navigate among the “mixed” elements of the world’s “mixed” economies, that is, those economies that have various mixtures of markets and state regimentation. But as that world becomes more interconnected, the destructiveness of the most powerful politico-economic institutions and processes extend in ripple effects across the globe. And as F. A. Hayek never tired of saying, the more political power comes to dominate the world economies, the more political power becomes the only power worth having… one of the reasons “why the worst get on top.” What Hayek meant, of course, is that in such a system, those who are most adept at using political power (the power of coercion) for their own benefit tend to rise to the top, leaving the vast majority of us struggling to make a buck. The “road to serfdom” is a long one, but serfdom is among us; it comes in the form of confiscatory taxation and expropriation to sustain an interventionist welfare state at home and a warfare state abroad.

I have always believed that context is king. And given the context in which we live, everyone of us has to do things we don’t like to do. Even anarchists, those who by definition believe that the state itself lacks moral legitimacy, can’t avoid walking down taxpayer-funded, government-subsidized sidewalks or travel on taxpayer-funded government-subsidized roads and interstate highways, or taxpayer-funded government-subsidized railroads, or controlled airways.

Then there’s the issue of money. You know, whether of the paper, coin, or plastic variety. There are many on both the libertarian “right” and the new “left” who have argued that the historical genesis of the Federal Reserve System was a way of consolidating the power of banks, allowing banks (and their capital-intensive clients) to benefit from the inflationary expansion of the money supply. This has also had the added effect of paying for the growth of the bureaucratic welfare state to control the poor and the warfare state to expand state and class expropriation of resources across the globe. And it has led to an endless cycle of boom and bust. And yet, there isn’t a person in the United States of whatever political persuasion who cannot avoid using money printed or coined by the Fed. Even among those on the left, so-called “limousine liberals” (a pejorative phrase used to describe people of the “left-liberal” persuasion who are hypocrites by definition) or those who advocate “democratic socialism” of the Sanders type, or those who advocate outright communism, own private property and buy their goods and services with money from other private property owners. It seems that there is not a single person on earth of any political persuasion who isn’t a hypocrite, according to the “logic” of David Cross.

Ever the dialectician, I believe that given the context, the only way of attempting even partial restitution from a government that regulates everything from the boardroom to the bedroom is to milk the inner contradictions of the system.

But some individuals can’t get restitution, because they were victims of another form of government coercion: the military draft. Ayn Rand believed that the draft was involuntary servitude, the ultimate violation of individual rights, based on the premise that the government owned your life and could do with it anything it pleased, including molding its draftees into killing machines, and sending them off to fight in undeclared illegitimate wars like those in Korea and Vietnam (both of which Rand opposed). What possible restitution is available to those who were murdered in those wars, or even to those who survived them, but who were irreparably damaged, physically and/or psychologically, by their horrific experiences on the killing fields?

The draft is no longer with us, and David Cross should be thanking that good ol’ hypocrite Ayn Rand for the influence she had on the ending of that institution. Such people as Hank Holzer, Joan Kennedy Taylor, and Martin Anderson were among those who mounted the kind of intellectual and legal challenge to conscription that ultimately persuaded then President Richard M. Nixon to end the military draft.

And yet, Rand’s taxes were certainly used to pay for the machinery of conscription and for the machinery of war; does this make her a hypocrite too, or should she have just refused to pay taxes and gone to prison? Yeah, that would have been productive. Perhaps she could have authored more works of fiction or nonfiction anthologies, chock-full of essays on epistemology, ethics, aesthetics, politics, economics, and culture from Rikers Island. Yeah, then Cross would have been correct: Rand surely would have been living in the worst public housing imaginable.

Thanks for giving me a chuckle, Mr. Cross.

Postscript I: I was just made aware of a very detailed essay on the subject of “Ayn Rand, Social Security and the Truth,” at the Facebook page of The Moorfield Storey Institute.

Postscript #2: Thanks to Ilana Mercer, who alerted me to Cross’s “comedy,” and for reprinting this post on her own “Barely a Blog.” We’re obviously compadres; a “Notablog” and a “Barely a Blog” are close enough to be cousins. [Soulmates, for sure.—ILANA)

********
Dr. Chris Matthew Sciabarra was born in Brooklyn, New York, 1960. He is the author of the Dialectics and Liberty Trilogy that began with Marx, Hayek, and Utopia, continued with Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical, and culminates with Total Freedom: Toward a Dialectical Libertarianism. He is the founding coeditor of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies. He is also the author of two monographs: Ayn Rand: Her Life and Thought and Ayn Rand, Homosexuality, and Human Liberation. Sciabarra earned all three college degrees from New York University. He graduated in June 1981, Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, with a B.A. in History (with honors), Politics, and Economics. His major undergraduate fields were American History, Economics (Austrian Economics/Political Economy), and Politics (Political Theory).
He earned his M.A. in Politics (with a concentration in political theory) in 1983. In June 1988, he earned his Ph.D. with distinction in political philosophy, theory, and methodology. He passed his qualifying examinations and oral defense in both his major and minor areas (American Politics; Comparative Politics) with distinction in Spring 1984. His dissertation, defended with distinction in Spring 1988, directed by Bertell Ollman, was entitled, “Toward a Radical Critique of Utopianism: Dialectics and Dualism in the works of Friedrich Hayek, Murray Rothbard, and Karl Marx.”

UPDATED: Pompous Richard Dreyfuss Disses … Ted Cruz On Kelly File

Constitution, Donald Trump, Hollywood, Media, Politics, Republicans

Fox News entertainer Megyn Kelly slobbered and fawned over actor Richard Dreyfuss for being so “courageous” and intellectually curious as to attend a Ted Cruz rally. Talk about awarding Brownie Points for nothing. Ridiculous.

The pompous little man whose ancestors were all socialists then got to tell the show girl and her viewers this:

KELLY: What were your impressions of Cruz?

RICHARD DREYFUSS: Well, I went to hear whether or not there would be a difference between what I was hearing through the TV camera and live. And what was disappointing is that there was no difference. They sounded equally kind of silly.

Cruz is a lot of things but he seldom sounds silly.

Incidentally, the transcript indicates that the son had done the Cruz belittling. Not so. I heard the broadcast; it was pompous daddy DREYFUSS.

Five minutes and 45 second into the self-important ponderous interaction, you can see I’m right. It was Senior who offered that Cruz sounded silly. Show girl showed her intellectual incuriosity and declined to probe further.

UPDATE (2/27):