“Luca”, a few Objectivist reflections on a sweet @Disney @Pixar movie with a great title!

Having a six and a half year old daughter comes with perks, one of which is watching movies together with mummy and daddy, especially movies with meaning for both children and adults.

Last night we watched “Luca” by Disney Pixar, and all three of us loved it!

Sure, I am biased because of the title, and because the movie has strong ties with Italy, the country where I am from.

Still, what I really enjoyed is the way difficult topics such as being different, having a difficult childhood, being a rebel to one’s family, facing a big challenge, creating a group of friends to overcome difficulties, and the fear of the unknown have been portrayed in the movie.

We can go anywhere, do anything… we just gotta stick together!

Luca Paguro

Luca is a sea monster, yet a sweet one, a young boy loved by his very protective family, who is growing up facing the challenge to know what is “up there”, above the surface of the water. And what is above the surface will surprise him, the moment he stops following what his parents told him. And will surprise you too!

Luca then meets Alberto, another fellow sea monster, and a friendship above and under water develops. And when they meet Giulia in the little coastal town, another friendship develops.

I am sure one can find many descriptions of the whole movie plot, so I won’t go beyond this. Yet, the movie touched me deeply, as many aspects were addressed in the movie, and only adult eyes and ears would notice them.

What I saw was this:

  • Luca and Alberto were different, horrible sea monsters when seen as part of a collective group. Yet, when treated as individuals, they were sweet, tough, respectful, fun, and dedicated to the task they were facing.
    This is why at the end of the movie the fact that after all they were sea monsters did not matter much at all. They were Luca and Alberto, little boys with the world ahead of them, in spite of the tribe they were coming from or the type and color of their skin. A great allegory on racism, which “is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism”, as the great Ayn Rand wrote in her memorable 1963 essay aptly titled “Racism”.
  • Luca has always followed parental advice, and has never gone up to the surface, in spite of being very tempted to see how the “human monsters” look like. Yet he is curious, and when the unexpected happens, he finds himself going beyond what his parents told him NEVER TO DO. Those of you who are parents know really well what I am talking about! It’s the balance between caring for your children so much to keep them too close to you, and pushing them to face the unknown, when ready. And Luca was definitely ready!
  • Luca and Alberto are facing the unknown, and are scared to death in many occasions, and yet they keep on going, in spite of the difficulties and uncertainty. The movie is a testament to “grit” and hope for a better future. It really made me think back to the book “Grit” by Angela Duckworth.
  • Luca and Alberto have highs and lows, and their friendship is at times in deep trouble. Yet Alberto is there to help Luca when needed, and Luca takes courage to help Alberto, in spite of the uncertainty related to showing the “true colors” of who they really are. The movie is about the importance of friendship between people from the same tribe and skin color, that is, the same “identity”.
  • Yet Luca and Alberto become great friends with Giulia and with her father Massimo, who in the end is the person with the courage to step up to the screaming tribal thugs, and to treat the two sea monsters as individuals, and not as members of a different collective. The movie is about the importance of new friendships beyond our immediate circle, which are typically those who enrich us the most.

Some people, they’ll never accept him. But some will. And he seems to know how to find the good ones.

Grandma Paguro

I have spoiled enough the movie I am afraid, and I encourage everyone to watch it, especially if you know a bit about Objectivism, as this viewpoint will allow you to read between the lines a whole lot more.

Let me reassure you that even if you don’t have a six year old child, you will enjoy the movie quite a bit, even if you have never ever been on a Vespa!

Of course I have, as riding Vespas was an integral part of being a teenager during the 1980s…

@seiercapital Lars Seier Christensen on Ayn Rand’s new revolution

Lars Seier Christensen is one of the founding members of Saxo Bank of Denmark, a very successful financial institution he created with his partners, and ran using Ayn Rand’s Seven Virtues as a guiding beacon, with great success. He left Saxo Bank at the beginning of 2016, to form his one-man investment company, Seier Capital.

On September 29th 2016, in New York, the Ayn Rand Institute held a fund-raising dinner during which Lars Seier Christensen was the keynote speaker.

The whole speech is very much worth reading, but the final part of his remarks gave me goose bumps, as they are oh so very true:

If we don’t succeed in changing the values and direction of at least the next generation, I fear the full prediction of Atlas Shrugged will become reality – and while that may hold some promise for the distant future, it is not something that I think people of my age feel like going through if we can avoid it.

We need a revolution. A revolution of rationality.

Yes, we need a whole lot more rationality. Something which seems to be very much absent in politics on a worldwide basis, as of late. Sadly so.

The full text of his speech can be found here.

And if you have not yet read “Atlas Shrugged”, I urge you to invest some time to read it. Now.

Yaron Brook speaking at The Ayn Rand Institute Revolution Dinner, New York 2016-09-29
Yaron Brook speaking at The Ayn Rand Institute Revolution Dinner, New York 2016-09-29



Power Hour with @DrMaxham guest of @AlexEpstein

The latest episode of “Power Hour”, the weekly podcast hosted by Alex Epstein of the Center for Industrial Progress and author of the must-read book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” does not talk about energy, for a change.

The topic discussed with his guest Dr. Amanda Maxham, an author which I had already covered in a previous blog post, is genetic engineer, which is the correct term that we should all be using now that GMO or genetically modified organism has been so badly vilified by those technofobes who are scared about anything new that they do not know much about.

Why would Alex Epstein have Amanda Maxham on his energy show?

There are main reasons I see:

  1. Both Amanda and Alex, and their common friend Don Watkins, have been or are working at the Ayn Rand Institute in California.
  2. The technofobia which is preventing genetically engineered products from the markets where they could be accepted by the consumers has strong parallels with the same trend in the energy sector, particularly in nuclear energy. As a matter of fact, Greenpeace is scaring people off on both GMOs and nuclear energy in much the same way, by using a similar approach based on the “precautionary principle”, something which works very well with the many people who have little or no knowledge on genetic engineer or nuclear energy, as Alex points out in the final part of the interview.

As a type 1 diabetic and technology enthusiast, I have always been very much in favor of genetic engineering because I need to use insulin multiple times every day of my life, and I am extremely thankful that very smart people have used their brain and ingenuity to create a safe and extremely modern product such as genetically engineered insulin.

Over the past 18 years as a type 1 diabetic, I have seen many new types of insulin being researched and introduced on the market, and knowing that they are all based on genetic engineering, makes me want to scream “Thank You!” to all those who have been using their own time to work on such amazing projects.

On a side node, I have discovered Amanda Maxham’s work thru Alex Epstein’s friend and former Ayn Rand Institute colleague Don Watkins, when I discovered that they had been guests on the Yaron Brooks Show in the past. Amanda and Keith Lockitch were hosting the weekly Yaron Brook Show on Earth Day in April 2015. That show is quite fun, and Keith and Amanda covered aspects related to global warming and GMOs, but most importantly for me they referred to an amazing 1970 speech by Ayn Rand when Amanda said that she would give

a hearty Earth Day “thank you” to “the nearest, grimiest, sootiest smokestacks” they can find.

I then did some research and discovered that Ayn Rand used this very term during a speech she did in 1970 titled “The Anti-Industrial Revolution”, a speech which is a must-listen to, as it goes into a lot of details on the roots of modern day environmentalism and the dangers posed to society by the awfully wrong concepts and ideas which are so commonly heard these days by people who know nothing more than propaganda coming from the likes of Greenpeace or the Sierra Club.

As usual, the podcast is very much worth listening to, and can be found here:

Ayn Rand and The Anti-Industrial Revolution

I have come across, by pure coincidence, a truly remarkable speech by Ayn Rand from 1970, where she had already seen in the future we are living in now.

This lady had amazing powers of observation, and in the initial part of this speech she describes a dystopian world which, for some, is almost like today. Unfortunately.

Truly worth listening to, time will fly very fast, though some bitter taste will remain in your mouth, if you really care for what’s at stake here.

Thanks to Ayr Rand Institute’s Keith Lockitch and Amanda Maxham for the “thank you” to “the nearest, grimiest, sootiest smokestack” they had in this good podcast, also worth listening to. They are responsible for introducing me to this Ayn Rand’s speech, and I am very thankful for this.