Category Archives: Writing

In which I discuss my writing process, including research and related issues.

The trick of philosophical novels is that they’re not philosophy

One of the interesting things about Objectivism is that its primary method of transmission is novels – particularly Atlas Shrugged, but to a lesser but still serious extent The Fountainhead.

I don’t like philosophical novels. I don’t mind books with philosophy in them, as a sort of undercurrent, but when the characters start preaching platitudes, my eyes glaze over. So, one of my favorite novels is Dune by Frank Herbert, but by the time we get over to God-Emperor of Dune, I’m just bored. Leto’s long, dull as speeches rehashing a primitive Nietzschean fantasy are uninteresting. So, unsurprisingly, I’m also not fond of Atlas Shrugged and its even longer, even more overtly philosophical speeches. But, philosophically, they’re a trick and nothing more.

Continue reading The trick of philosophical novels is that they’re not philosophy

A few thoughts on corruption and neocon economics

As Goddess of the Market reminds me, one of the key features of Atlas Shrugged dystopia is “corrupt businessmen” who buy favors from the government.

Corruption in these neocon philosophies has always struck me as interesting because they largely ignore it. Some of it is the inevitable distancing from reality that goes along with almost any philosophical endeavor. But despite the significance of corruption to real economics, as far as I know there is no theory of corruption.

So Objectivism doesn’t actually explain why a businessman would become “corrupt” other than personal venality . . . even though selfishness is a virtue.  Some might see this as a contradiction.  I certainly do.

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Wendy’s starts to get rid of humans, Kit Bradley predicts it . . . to his chagrin

One of my predictions is about to come true: the burger chain, Wendy’s, wants to get rid of it’s human workforce. Apparently, they’ve crunched the numbers and think that paying humans is too costly.

I wrote a story, Robo-Burger, about a burger chain that was purely automated. In the story, the automated burger joint was the tipping point to a revolution.

Continue reading Wendy’s starts to get rid of humans, Kit Bradley predicts it . . . to his chagrin

Starting some critique about Ayn Rand, oh, yeah, bab-ee, it’s AWN!

One of the central problems, I feel, with Ayn Rand’s work in general, and Atlas Shrugged in particular, is that she was a very black-and-white thinker.

To her, any “governmental coercion” equals the Stalinist USSR.

Of course, I have hindsight she doesn’t have, but it is also my experience that Objectivist-inspired neocons have a convenient and peculiar way of historical interpretation.

So, after World War II, the United States was as close to a socialist democratic republic that we’d ever get, from the New Deal to the Marshall Plan, Keynesian economics held sway. The highest tax rate was around 95% both here and abroad.

Continue reading Starting some critique about Ayn Rand, oh, yeah, bab-ee, it’s AWN!