- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Still shrugging

“[Ayn] Rand fancied herself a philosopher and had determined ideas about how society was going and should go. She loved capitalism the way Romeo loved Juliet, romantically and dangerously. …

“Rand is still read because she was a terrific novelist. Both ‘The Fountainhead’ and ‘Atlas Shrugged’ hurtle the reader along with the force and velocity of the soaring machines (trains, planes, elevators) that she loved to mythologize. …

“For decades, critics have scorned Rand for creating paper-thin characters while millions of readers have found that Howard Roark and Dagny Taggart live with them forever. Clearly, she was doing something right. Her message — that each individual can and must without help blaze his or her own path through life — is inspiring, even to those who might already have learned better.”

Richard Rayner, writing on “Ayn Rand’s epic storytelling,” Sept. 16 in the Los Angeles Times

Without consent

“In our repressive world of thoughtcrime and guiltspeak, it now takes great courage to tell the truth, even when it’s obvious. …

“[A] large and sudden influx of immigrants, whatever advantages they might bring, will inevitably come at very great cost, in many different ways. … How strange it is, and how late, that it is beginning to be possible to say such a thing without being denounced as a neo-Nazi. …

“The Labour government [in Britain], in its 10 years of office, has allowed more than a million new people from all over the world to settle in this country. That is little short of a social revolution. Twenty-five percent of babies born here have at least one foreign-born parent. …

“It is shocking that this massive, historic change was forced upon us without consultation and without our consent.”

Minette Marrin, writing on “Too late to speak the truth about immigration,” in the Sunday Times of London

Columbia’s ‘gift’

“Columbia [University’s] student leaders have wrongly answered the controversy’s central question: What standards should apply to a university’s decision to give an official invitation to a person such as [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad?

“In a joint response to the invitation, a number of prominent student leaders wrote that the Ahmadinejad event ‘presents an incredible opportunity for the student body to learn about world affairs and to challenge a major controversial figure.’ They added that ‘in a University setting no view is too disreputable to be excluded.’ …

“Columbia properly considers free speech its ultimate value. Universities should not try to shield students from controversial views or be fearful of any ideas. But this is beside the point. By its invitation, Columbia has chosen to give Ahmadinejad a valuable political gift that he does not deserve, and that he will use to further repress his people and threaten his neighbors. It is shameful to receive him here as an official guest.”

David J. Feith and Jordan C. Hirsch, writing on “Aid and Comfort by Any Other Name,” Sunday at National Review.com

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