20 thoughts on “Rand Rant

  1. Maha,
    Great post!

    Here’s what I’m writing to Morbo:
    I read the book over 25 years ago and found it to be total dreck. And, ironically, as I was finishing it (no small feat), I started working at a company whose President was Jack (a common nickname for “John”) Gault. “Who is John Gault?” My President! I almost fell out of the training room chair.
    Irony was dead…

    How bad was the book? BAD!!! You want proof?
    Any “author” who thinks “Much Ado About Nothing” is surpassed by “Kiss Me Deadly” can’t be taken seriously. Just the titles alone speak volumes.
    Didn’t Spillane once write, “She had leg’s that went from here to there and back again?” Or, was that a parody that I read?
    Now, if she said Raymond Chandler, she might have at least one leg to stand on.

    Libertarians: “Whither wander thou?”
    All I know is that you wander on roads built by taxpayer dollar’s. Either stop wandering, stay home, or admit that you need to help pay the freight.
    Why are we still having this converstaion? Oh yeah, check the previous post where people couln’t find America on a map!

  2. I use Ayn Rand as a litmus test for whether people can think critically or not. Anyone influenced by her… not. She wasn’t only a stupendously bad novelist, but far worse, as Morbo points out, she was a moral black hole. She sucked in everything good about humanity, and vaporized it instantly.

    And every generation needs reminding, it seems.

  3. Interesting post Maha.
    I have not read Atlas Shrugged, nor any other of Rand’s works.I do visit two libertarian sites daily, Antiwar.com, and LewRockwell.com.I find many essays at both sites that I agree with, mostly because of the anti war content and truthful reporting.
    Over the past several years I visit these web sites in this order daily ( if I have access to a computer & internet)
    Antiwar.com, Lewrockwell.com, Rense.com, The Mahablog.
    (notice I saved the best for last?). I have learned an incredible anount at these sites, and highly recommend them (bullshit filter at Rense required!)
    Since I started my internet surfing, I’ve come to read a bit about Nietzesche, H.L.Menchen, Albert Jay Nock, and other more contemporary writers such as Butler Shaffer.This does not mean I agree with all they say.
    I can’t begin to guess where our society is headed, if it will continue towards authoritan capitalism, swing torwards an anarcho capitalism, or move towards a more compassionate, more socialist state.My life’s lessons have taught me the good and the bad of each, staring at the future at 53 without much savings scares the hell out of me, unless I can come up with a good idea fast or win the lottery……………
    (in other words………)

  4. The great irony of Rand is that in spite of her rhetoric about individuality she herself turned out to be a take-no-prisoners authoritarian. Her groupies were supposed to worship her and agree with everything she said, or she dumped them. And she was all about her own gratification. “Moral black hole” says it pretty well.

    I never made it through “Atlas Shrugged,” but what Rand I have read was stultifyingly juvenile.

    Her influence remains in objectivist web sites, where the culties congratulate each other for their individuality and quote their favorite passages from Rand to show how individual they are.

  5. erineys.
    I’m witch ya!
    Oh, for a 21st Century “Pet Rock” idea!
    Let’s share lottery ticket’s! 🙂

    BTW – my guess is an authoritarian, Soviet-like state.
    Via Rud.. Via Thomps… via Mitt Ro… Via any Republican (and a few Deomocrt’s, too…)
    Oh God, we better win in ’08!
    And the right person better win.

    Please run!
    Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you….

    PS: How about FAIR voting machines???

  6. I have read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ and ‘The Fountainhead’ and enjoyed them. A literary powerhouse she is not, but she packaged some potent ideas that have survived 5 decades. If you want to refute them, you better bring more than ridicule.

    Any Rand was WRONG on a lot of major points. But if we are talking about her novels, the hero(s), or herorine, (conservative, of course) is perfect, without character flaws. The antagonist(s) are liberal (surprise, surprise) secretly bent on undoing the constructive works of the protagonist. It’s great for fiction, but that does not reflect the real world. If you want to beat a Randite in a debate, take him out of the fantasy world into the real world.

    Example: the profit motive in nursing homes exists in opposition to quality care. The more you spend on old folks, the les you have in profit. Those who are feeble and do not have relatives watching may receive sustandard care. It kills some every year, without question. The only safey valve is regulation and inspection, with big government teeth. The same situation exists with child day care. Look at consumer safety, lead paint in toys. Did Mattell do their own oversight or testing of toys? The list goes on.

    Randites wil swear the governement is incapable of competence. Regardless of your ethics on the bomb, the Manhatten Project DID produce in an incredibly short time the weapon that ended WWII. It was a governemet project. What if it had ben put out to the private sector? Would it have been done faster (or cheaper)? I doubt it. Some jobs are too big for the private sector. (Like fusion power)

    Does that mean the government should intrude in and control everything. Heck, no. Bill Gates (regardless of what you think if the abuses of MS) had the vision to leverage an operating system into an industry that revolutionized every facet of our society.

    There was I time I remeber when computers were VERY propriatary; a printer made by Wang, would not work on IBM. The computer industry did not see the benfits of open architecture (a common standard for hardware and software) for a LONG time. IBM swore they would bury MS, and they tried. If Bil Gates did not have vision and guts, you would have to read this in print and reply by mail

    Rand was right that innovators in buiness can be huge engines of economic and social progress. What she missed is that such leaders are the exception, not the rule. I would not know where to start listing the corruption and excesses of big business.

    Want to beat a Randite in a debate? Know your subject. Argue in the real wold, not the fantasy world. Give credit to the concepts that are valid. An honest critique of Rand’s philosophy exposes the flaws in her reasoning, proven by how business has partnered with the current administration.

  7. Doug Hughes,
    I agree with a lot of what you said.
    But, knowing your subject and arguing “reality” against their “fantasy” can be a huge waste of ones own breath.
    They can’t SEE reality. They percieve their own version of Rand’s “rosey-fingered dawn…”
    Rudy and Mitt are the Howard Rourke and John Gault of today. Literally!
    They are so mired in their own loving thoughts of Rand’s dispassionate (and toxic), self-absorbed banality, that they make Adolf Eichmann seem reflective.
    And, as they try to explain their positions before the eye of the camera that is today’s (stupid) media, they look like
    Alice’s-on-acid, trying to peer throught the looking-glass for truth.
    They see a lot of “truthiness”, but, the only thing these Alice’s can’t see in that looking-glass is their own reflection’s – themselves…
    Like Eichmann, they see only order. Their own order.
    And, like Eichmann, they like order. As long as it’s their own order…

    How do you argue with that?
    I live in Fayetteville, NC – home of Fort Bragg. I try to make local Alice’s stare in the looking-glass whenever I can. Those that really, really do look at themselves don’t like what they see. Many won’t even try – and resent me for asking them to reflect…

    As for “how business has partnered with the current administration,” I think of this as Fascism.
    Rand would have loved it. Hilter and Il Duce would top Rourke and Gault any day!
    “How I wish I had been an architect!” Adolf Hitler often exclaimed to his Nazi master builder, Albert Speer..
    “Mussolini spoke of a “corporate” society wherein the energy of the people would not be wasted on class struggle. The entire economy was to be divided into industry specific “corporazioni”, bodies composed of both labor and management representatives. The corporazioni would resolve all labor/management disputes, and if they failed to do so, the fascist state would intervene.*

    See any of Rourke and Gault there, anyone?

    “Huey Long, one of America’s most brilliant and most corrupt politicians, was once asked if America would ever see fascism. His answer was, “Yes, but we will call it anti-fascism.”**

    Atlas didn’t shrug. The weight of Rand’s Fascism made him buckle…

    ** IBID

  8. Ooops!
    “See any of Rourke and Gault there, anyone?” should have been followed by “See any of Rudy and/or Mitt?’

  9. Oh My

    I never read Rand — not even the Cliff Notes.And I don’t plan to.

    I read recently in the NYT that billionare wife and professional southern belle Darla Moore (Google her if you don’t know who she is) stated words to the effect that Rand was a great buddhist thinker (on the occasion of dedication of her namesake B school)


  10. Rand was a great buddhist thinker

    Sort of the polar opposite, actually. Reminds me of a bit from “A Fish Called Wanda” —

    Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not every man for himself. The London Underground is not a political movement. Those are all mistakes. I looked ’em up.

  11. gulag –

    I lived in FayetNam for 10 years. God made the western mountains and eastern coastline of NC beautiful, but shortchanged the central part of the state. You are right; it is USELESS (usually) having a discussion with these people. But usually, whether it happens at a party, sports bar, or at work there are other folks listening. If no one makes an argument to take the wind out of the oh-so-well-read conservative, it’s pretty convincing to quote Rand. I never debate a wingnut to save a wingnut; I am preaching to the audience who is there.


  12. Maha, thats my point exactly. I don’t think you could find a more ludicrous statement, and in the Times business section, no less. If I were Ms Moore I’d be humiliated, but I imagine thats not the case.

    I think thats the point — having no shame.

  13. You people make me sick. And you know why. You can pretend all you want but will it get rid of the guilt? Have you ever tried being honest or have you always hid from the things that make you uncomfortable behind evasions to prevent yourself from having to think? The truth is that your ideas are crap and you know it on some level. You hide from naming it, oh, but you know it. Don’t you? That’s why you’re so belligerent, like frightened children lashing out. It’s not her that you really hate is it? She’s only a convenient place for you to rationalize away your hatreds real object. What she makes you feel is hate, but if any of it is for her it’s because of the guilt she makes you feel. What you really hate and what she makes you see, what you’ve tried so hard not to see, is yourself. Take a look at your own soul some time, if you can, you despicable weak twisted hateful monsters.

  14. that’s not a good comeback at all man most people on line don’t use their real name. I’m sure you can hit harder then that bro.

  15. I’m sure you can hit harder then that bro

    No need. What name (required) wrote falls into the category of Massive Projection Beyond Self-Parody. It refutes itself.

  16. Name (required), I have no idea what I’m “evading,” other than insults, which are of no interest to me.

    Go away.

  17. Name (required) said bla bla bla hate bla bla guilt bla bla crap bla bla you despicable weak twisted hateful monsters. Obviously his brain is filled with negative garbage, which he vomited on this page. So sad.

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