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Monbiot writes: "Rand's is the philosophy of the psychopath, a misanthropic fantasy of cruelty, revenge and greed. Yet, as Gary Weiss shows in his new book, 'Ayn Rand Nation,' she has become to the new right what Karl Marx once was to the left: a demigod at the head of a chiliastic cult."

Ayn Rand's influence spans 60 years, with Alan Greenspan, Ronald Reagan, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) among her notable acolytes and devotees. (photo: Barnes and Noble Review)
Ayn Rand's influence spans 60 years, with Alan Greenspan, Ronald Reagan, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) among her notable acolytes and devotees. (photo: Barnes and Noble Review)



How Ayn Rand Became the New Right's Version of Marx

By George Monbiot, Guardian UK

06 March 12

 

Her psychopathic ideas made billionaires feel like victims and turned millions of followers into their doormats

t has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the postwar world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.

Rand was a Russian from a prosperous family who emigrated to the United States. Through her novels (such as Atlas Shrugged) and her nonfiction (such as The Virtue of Selfishness) she explained a philosophy she called Objectivism. This holds that the only moral course is pure self-interest. We owe nothing, she insists, to anyone, even to members of our own families. She described the poor and weak as "refuse" and "parasites", and excoriated anyone seeking to assist them. Apart from the police, the courts and the armed forces, there should be no role for government: no social security, no public health or education, no public infrastructure or transport, no fire service, no regulations, no income tax.

Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, depicts a United States crippled by government intervention in which heroic millionaires struggle against a nation of spongers. The millionaires, whom she portrays as Atlas holding the world aloft, withdraw their labour, with the result that the nation collapses. It is rescued, through unregulated greed and selfishness, by one of the heroic plutocrats, John Galt.

The poor die like flies as a result of government programmes and their own sloth and fecklessness. Those who try to help them are gassed. In a notorious passage, she argues that all the passengers in a train filled with poisoned fumes deserved their fate. One, for instance, was a teacher who taught children to be team players; one was a mother married to a civil servant, who cared for her children; one was a housewife "who believed that she had the right to elect politicians, of whom she knew nothing".

Rand's is the philosophy of the psychopath, a misanthropic fantasy of cruelty, revenge and greed. Yet, as Gary Weiss shows in his new book, Ayn Rand Nation, she has become to the new right what Karl Marx once was to the left: a demigod at the head of a chiliastic cult. Almost one third of Americans, according to a recent poll, have read Atlas Shrugged, and it now sells hundreds of thousands of copies every year.

Ignoring Rand's evangelical atheism, the Tea Party movement has taken her to its heart. No rally of theirs is complete without placards reading "Who is John Galt?" and "Rand was right". Rand, Weiss argues, provides the unifying ideology which has "distilled vague anger and unhappiness into a sense of purpose". She is energetically promoted by the broadcasters Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Rick Santelli. She is the guiding spirit of the Republicans in Congress.

Like all philosophies, Objectivism is absorbed, secondhand, by people who have never read it. I believe it is making itself felt on this side of the Atlantic: in the clamorous new demands to remove the 50p tax band for the very rich, for instance; or among the sneering, jeering bloggers who write for the Telegraph and the Spectator, mocking compassion and empathy, attacking efforts to make the word a kinder place.

It is not hard to see why Rand appeals to billionaires. She offers them something that is crucial to every successful political movement: a sense of victimhood. She tells them that they are parasitised by the ungrateful poor and oppressed by intrusive, controlling governments.

It is harder to see what it gives the ordinary teabaggers, who would suffer grievously from a withdrawal of government. But such is the degree of misinformation which saturates this movement and so prevalent in the US is Willy Loman syndrome (the gulf between reality and expectations) that millions blithely volunteer themselves as billionaires' doormats. I wonder how many would continue to worship at the shrine of Ayn Rand if they knew that towards the end of her life she signed on for both Medicare and social security. She had railed furiously against both programmes, as they represented everything she despised about the intrusive state. Her belief system was no match for the realities of age and ill health.

But they have a still more powerful reason to reject her philosophy: as Adam Curtis's BBC documentary showed last year, the most devoted member of her inner circle was Alan Greenspan, former head of the US Federal Reserve. Among the essays he wrote for Rand were those published in a book he co-edited with her called Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal. Here, starkly explained, you'll find the philosophy he brought into government. There is no need for the regulation of business – even builders or Big Pharma – he argued, as "the 'greed' of the businessman or, more appropriately, his profit-seeking … is the unexcelled protector of the consumer". As for bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that they will act with honour and integrity. Unregulated capitalism, he maintains, is a "superlatively moral system".

Once in government, Greenspan applied his guru's philosophy to the letter, cutting taxes for the rich, repealing the laws constraining banks, refusing to regulate the predatory lending and the derivatives trading which eventually brought the system down. Much of this is already documented, but Weiss shows that in the US, Greenspan has successfully airbrushed history.

Despite the many years he spent at her side, despite his previous admission that it was Rand who persuaded him that "capitalism is not only efficient and practical but also moral", he mentioned her in his memoirs only to suggest that it was a youthful indiscretion – and this, it seems, is now the official version. Weiss presents powerful evidence that even today Greenspan remains her loyal disciple, having renounced his partial admission of failure to Congress.

Saturated in her philosophy, the new right on both sides of the Atlantic continues to demand the rollback of the state, even as the wreckage of that policy lies all around. The poor go down, the ultra-rich survive and prosper. Ayn Rand would have approved.

 

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+9 # globalcitizen 2012-03-06 12:36
One can clearly see the roots of ideological FASCISM,totalit arianism, that is inherent in Late Capitalism, and the whole of class history, now milleniums year old with the rise of class hierarchies and its deformed historical class mechanism, PATRIARCHY.

Rand never quite understood, like so many deformed professionals in class deformed civil society that inverted totalitarianism , whether Stalinism or Post colonial states were linked to the class hierarchies of dominant Western capitalist states.

In her revolt against Stalinism she embraced the class hierarchies and class deformed markets of Capitalism, with its penchant for Orwellian totalitarianism and never really broke free from the parallel totalitarianism of hierarchies produced by the same dominant Fascist, Late Capitalism, only substituting one for the other.

The link between NAZISM, fascist Capitalism, which called slavery , Freedom, "ARBEIT MACHT FREI" produced a lot of JEWISH, SOCIALIST victims through the same class myths that Capitalist ideologues embrace, especiallyt Rand. Since she and Greenspan were Jewish, yet embraced this totalitarian class dogma, class myths, they both became victims of their own FASCISM, TOTATLIARIANISM , which also produced failed, deformed post colonial and Stalinist states, a mirror, class outcome of Fascist capitalism.
 
 
+9 # Billy Bob 2012-03-06 16:06
Did you ever see the Woody Allen movie, "Zelig"?
 
 
+5 # globalcitizen 2012-03-06 20:47
Class ideologues are Zelig "chamelions", on the one hand falsely claiming social principles, when they are class principles, yet at the same time, once having deformed Social theorists like Adam Smith into their deformed class outcome are then used to confront Social theorists like Marx.

Smith was much closer to Marx, until the class, deformed ideological thugs used a deformed Smith to counter another social theorist, MARX. CHAMELIANS, class/empire whores ARE DANGEROUS.
 
 
+29 # gdp1 2012-03-06 16:56
Take a deep breath, and simplify your thinking....you 've jumbled up so many -'isms', that no one understands what you are trying to say, and when that happens, people begin to think that YOU don't know yourself, what your trying to say. What, exactly, ARE you saying.
 
 
+3 # tclose 2012-03-07 07:15
Yes.

globalcitizen, you keep doing this.
 
 
+4 # Pickwicky 2012-03-08 10:48
Organize, organize, organize. There is nothing so appealing as the organized mind.
 
 
+7 # ABen 2012-03-06 21:08
Way too much internal dialogue here Citizen.
 
 
+160 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-06 12:44
Marx was actually a brilliant economist (and a pretty fair mathematician) and his analysis of capitalism is quite good even after 145 years (since Capital was published). That's what he mostly wrote about -- communism was a minor side note.

Rand was not just crazy, but a lousy philosopher.

I began to read her when I was a callow teenager, but I read a little bit and declared "This is garbage" -- even then it was obvious to me. It didn't make sense, it wasn't logical, and it wasnt based o realistic assumptions. I put it down never to return.

Marx makes quite a bit of sense and is based on reality (especially the reality of his time frame). The two should not be compared.
 
 
+41 # Granny Weatherwax 2012-03-06 14:34
Hear hear.
 
 
+9 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-06 18:13
Hear -- yes, precisely!

I am delighted to have found on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Das_Kapital a link to http://librivox.org/capital-volume-1-by-karl-marx/ with a downloadable audio version of "Capital: A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production, Volume 1"

(I have a text version, but it's a tough read while sitting at a computer.)
 
 
+71 # AndreM5 2012-03-06 15:02
Exactly. I have no faith at all in the poll results mentioned above that "almost one third of Americans" have read Atlas Shrugged. 1/3 may have heard of Rand, but there is no way 1/3 actually read that awful book. It takes an act of almost savage self-cruelty to force your way through it.
 
 
+24 # ABen 2012-03-06 21:13
I read it as a freshman in college way back in 1967. I finished it while camping and was so impressed (not) with the self-centered tone and simplistic plot/themes of the work that I fed it too the fire. Good riddance!
 
 
+10 # maddave 2012-03-07 15:06
Amen, Andre!
For the complete masochist, a full reading of Atlas Shrugged is second only to Ulysses.
 
 
+4 # Pickwicky 2012-03-08 10:56
Andre--well put, but may I add: "savage cruelty to humanity to force your way through it."
 
 
+8 # NOMINAE 2012-03-06 17:25
@bluepilgrim

You are to be applauded for your youthful perspicacity. Most young readers (I was 19)fail to see through Rand for the first few years because she presented not a philosophical argument in syllogistic form, but romances in novel form. Very seductive stuff to the young, impressionable, as-yet-unprotec ted-by- official-traini ng-in-critical- thinking minds.

We must also give the devil her due. Rand was simply one of the best writers in the English language; much less just one of the best authors of English as a second language. Given all of the "ear candy", that she could spin in the presentation for her cause, - in some cases, downright elegant prose - and the nebulous, theatrical obfuscation achieved via pitching her Objectivism as romantic fiction rather that straight-out philosophy, Ayn Rand remains a powerful force to be reckoned with among the naive and impressionable reader of any age. Love her or hate her.

Many readers never do "see through" Rand because they cannot keep up with her quick-paced presentation at any level of reader maturity... and yet others claim to have "seen through" Rand, lo, all these many years... but have yet to actually read any one of her works !
LOL !

I guess we have all types out there somewhere ......
 
 
+11 # Midwestgeezer 2012-03-06 19:40
Rand's writing is to writing what Wagner's music is to music.
As one wag put it: "It's better than it sounds."
 
 
+2 # MylesJ 2012-03-08 10:02
Anybody that reads Atlas Shrugged should also read The Flounder. Both are great reads by authors that can really write. Both go to extemes of absurdity to satirize their targets. The difference is that Glass readers know that it is a work of fiction. Some Rand readers act like Rand is the second coming instead of instead of an atheist writer promoting atheism.
 
 
-4 # globalcitizen 2012-03-06 20:38
Marx did not only come up with a theory of class degeneration for Capitalism, he also linked it to a historical theory of class deformed civil socieites, called HISTORICAL MATERIALISM, which links the early Greek social thinkers, and their devolving class theory of cycles, to present Fascist Capitalism, and all the class theories , including Ayan Rand, who embraced class hierarchies, Orwellian totalitarian inversions, hence her fascist support for Capitalist class hierarchies over STalinist class hierarchies which came from the same source.

gdp1 wants to complicate the issues by failing to find the common connection for all ISMS and ahs no clue what my argument is all about.

Anyone who disagrees with my arguments, come up with something more substanatial, then self professed ignorance and confusion. Come up with actual ideological arguments and get to know the gist of my social theory, theoretical history which I routinely post here:


A SOCIAL MANIFESTO AND THEORY OF HISTORY

http://asocialmanifestoagainstclasshistory.com.

I will argue any general and specific responses....no t confused, distorted representations of my arguments.
 
 
+24 # Smiley 2012-03-06 23:05
One of the main reasons that humans are a successful species is that we share resources. Tribal societies all had systems of distribution that ensured that everyone was taken care of. Those who would accumulate or hoard were not tolerated and would be ostracized. Sometimes I wish we'd never become "civilized".
 
 
+13 # kelly 2012-03-07 09:14
I have always considered Atlas Shrugged an incomplete work at best for that very reason. Like a kid writing a class essay for the first time she comes up with long winded explanations of why she believes thing happen but never comes up with a way to solve them. She spends page after page lamenting the loss of freedom for the inventor but not a word about the working men who must actually build the creation. A few get minor acknowledgement , but for the most part it is self-serving and has no concrete resolution. Much like the magnates of today, the people in the Utopian society she dreams of don't seem inclined to offer any help or guidance in the construction of the society they've just destroyed. The key here is the word is the word you used: society. They never or should I say she never once in all of her works ever seem to acknowledge the benefits of society.
 
 
+11 # Pickwicky 2012-03-08 10:54
Bluepilgrim--as a "callow teenager" you intuited Rand's confused arguments and moral flaws. Didn't take long for every decent Philosophy Department to kick her down the stairs. Leave it to Newt Gingrich and his minions to revive her. How did she become so popular? Republicans love flawed reasoning and cuddle up to Greed.
 
 
+3 # David Starr 2012-03-09 11:06
#bluepilgrim,

I strongly agree w/ you that the author's parallelism w/ Marx & Rand is inaccurate. Mnobiot says, "Rand's is the philosophy of the psychopath, a misanthropic fantasy of cruelty, revenge and greed. Yet, as Gary Weiss shows in his new book, Ayn Rand Nation, she has become to the new right what Karl Marx once was to the left: a demigod at the head of a chiliastic cult." The Left didn't exactly see & does not see Marx as a supernatural savior who would return to Earth as the chiliastic belief literally does in reagards to Christ. I know, it's used symbolically. But Monbiot's use of it is absurd in falsely equating Marx w/ Rand. Their ideas were of course ideologically different.
 
 
+80 # OverflowClancy 2012-03-06 13:16
I don't have the slightest interest in reading Ayn Rand's ideas. To know that people like this exist is bad enough. There are many heroic examples of people who have shown with their selfless actions and or words that there is hope for us to build strong communities but we need to stand fast in the face of corporate exploitation. By strong communities I mean communities that care about the land and water and therefore care about people and ecology. Remember our little passage of history is extremely brief relatively but the impact of our actions in terms of the legacy that remains will in some cases be irreversible and other cases will be very long lasting. I don't believe social and environmental issues are really divisible. Its about an ethos of care. If we care about people then chances are we will also care about the land and vice versa. Aldo Leopold and Wendall Berry are a couple of my favourite writers.
 
 
+26 # judgeroybean 2012-03-06 13:46
Another useful book about Rand and her cult is Jennifer Burns' "Goddess of the Market" (http://www.amazon.com/Goddess-Market-Rand-American-Right/dp/019983248X/ref=sr_1_20?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1331069682&sr=1-20). As Christopher Hitchens once said about her work, it is "vertiginous stuff". An understatement. There is also a very amusing depiction of Rand in Geoffrey Wolff's great novel "Old School".

I disagree with bluepilgrim's comment about Marx. Marx was a brilliant 19th century thinker, and some of his analysis of capitalism is quite deep. But he was fundamentally wrong about what he called the "laws of capitalist motion" (his predictions have turned out badly in this regard), and his theory of the state and politics are both thin and have been subject to much subsequent abuse by many active leftists like Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Fidel. It also does not help that his economic theory, like that of Adam Smith and Ricardo and the other earlier British economists, is based on the utterly discredited notion of the labor theory of value.

I do of course agree that Ayn Rand was a deranged fanatic. A pity that Zoloft was invented too late to help her.
 
 
+12 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-06 18:34
Theory of labor value, like any economic theory, has some wek pints as well as strong, and yes, his theories have been abused and misunderstood. Stalin was not even a real communist, but a state capitalist and despot. Rick Wolff has things to say about this.

Yet, it is a brilliant work. Compare it the Freud's work, which has it's flaws and yet was groundbreaking. Or even Darwin, who knew almost nothing about genetics. We HAVE learned quite a bit in 150 years, about everything.

I'm not an economist, but looking at http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article288 about capitalist motion I see some good stuff there so far, which echos many of my own thoughts on the subject. The author says there is controversy about them, but I am not yet familiar enuogh with them to comment intelligently. I've only gone through a few brief 'crash courses' on the internet. It's a complex subject and takes a long time to understand especially trying to break through the negative propaganda. I have mostly approached this from a different point of view entirely -- mostly systems analysis.

I can say this: it's not possible now to talk about economics competently without at least a basic knowledge of Marx, or the ideas involved, and many people apparently have no idea of what he said, and just use 'Marxist' as an epithet.
 
 
+5 # David Starr 2012-03-09 11:26
#bluepilgrim,

Again I have to agree w/ you. Marx & Engels themselves wouldn't have thought they had the absolute truth or a cureall for society's ills, but their ideas were to be used as an important guide; & I find the Marxist interpretation of economics to still be credible, although of course not perfect. I agree w/ you about Stalin, although I see him more as Tsarist & fuedal-like, putting himself above the law, the Communist Party, the Soviet gov., & of course the masses. Stalin & Stalinism went beyond necessesity & reason into absurdity & tragedy. But I don't fall for what I would call a slippery slope going backwards & forwards, i.e., if Stalin was bad then Lenin was bad, & if Lenin was bad then Marx was bad, etc. I recommend reading "Let History Judge" by Soviet historian Roy Medvedev. It gives perhaps the best analysis of Stalin & Stalinism, in B/W & shades of gray.
 
 
+5 # judgeroybean 2012-03-06 20:35
Ooopppss, make that his brother Tobias Wolff's great novel "Old School". I always get those two mixed up.
 
 
+57 # DaveM 2012-03-06 13:57
I often find it amusing that the hero of "Atlas Shrugged" was the inventor of a new source of clean, sustainable energy. Lots of fun to point that out when any of today's "conservatives" begin to rant against anything that is not coal or oil-based.

Many who claim to espouse Ayn Rand's ideas of late have rather obviously never read her. Rush Limbaugh has frequently claimed that "Atlas Shrugged" is "the greatest book ever written". If you're familiar with the book, you are most likely aware that he does resemble several characters in the book, but definitely none of the "good guys".
 
 
+5 # Robert B 2012-03-08 10:04
Rush Limbaugh is very much like Ellsworth Tooey, another one of her bad guys from The Fountainhead. It's funny that he doesn't recognize himself.
 
 
+19 # bobby t. 2012-03-06 14:12
yes pilgrim, there is always that yin and yang. marx writing before child labor laws were gotten put into law by clarence darrow et al. and rand writing during conformist times and appealing to the teenager in us all. it is when we throw out the baby in the bath water that we get into trouble.liberta rians need to be a little more liberal. nobody's perfect. and the reactionary always wants to go back to slave days.
do we all need each other to survive? yes, i think we do. rand would disagree.
 
 
+10 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-06 18:47
There are problems with all the old theories, and we should be working on new systems, in the light of new research (math, neuroscience, system analysis) -- but we are not talking about it because the corporate state and it's media have hijacked the democratic dialog.

There is some free material at http://rethinkingmarxism.org/ but most of it is 'academic' and requires a 'phenomenal fee' to read it (another of capitalism's problems). Peasants like me are not supposed to know things or be educated. It is only through access to the internet over the last decade that I have been able to even hear about much of this (and I'm over 50 years behind in my education).

I'm hoping that many bright kids now will become conversant with all of this and more, and be able to see through people like Rand at a glance, and know what the roots and alternatives in thinking are (as well as a much broader knowledge in many areas). Some of these kids will turn out to be scary smart -- if the fascist school/media/in doctrination system doesn't break them first.
 
 
+52 # LeeBlack 2012-03-06 14:20
In the final reckoning, helping others results in helping yourself - making a better world for everyone, including yourself and your children.
 
 
+4 # Robert B 2012-03-08 09:59
Very good. This is exactly what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote about promoting the general welfare. I wonder what Ayn Rand and Thomas Jefferson might have said to each other.
 
 
+23 # fredboy 2012-03-06 14:32
I began warning about the Greenspan pathology in 2000 when he politically wrecked the stock market, claiming mass psychology expertise. That whorish action was ignored by his financial rabble, the media and academic dupes who worshiped at his altar. Now we know a social free-for-all, as evidenced from 2000-2008, can kill a nation and a people's soul. Perhaps that was the Rand purpose after all--social self-annihilati on.
Anyone with any collective sanity out there?
 
 
+45 # jazzman633 2012-03-06 14:39
As the son of a pharmacist in a mom-and-pop drug store, I found Rand's ravings irrelevant. Couldn't relate.

My father employed the only two black pharmacists in town - no one else would give them a job. We all worked our asses off in that drug store, but my father was no millionaire hero. One could argue that it is the working people, not the plutocrats, who really hold the world up.

Rand's views are too black-and-white . A world without compassion and altruism is a jungle. But government need not be in charge of these things.

Similarly, capitalism would be more ethical if there were more transparency in its operations -- that means better, not more regulation -- AND (highly unlikely) ethical behavior were consistently rewarded.
 
 
+9 # Interested Observer 2012-03-06 16:26
A jungle on the way to becoming a desert.
 
 
+45 # Caballero69 2012-03-06 14:41
Ayn Rand is the mother of all lunacy and gives a veneer of intellectualism to the delusions of reactionary politicians.

She appealed to many youthful people who were engaged in asserting their intellectual independence from middle class constraints, but she herself loathed any displays of independent thinking. Now elected officials have no excuse of adolescent rebellion to explain why they pay homage to her ideas.

They are dishonest in this as they are in so much more.

We should remember in the Christian fable, the question "Am I my brother's keeper?" was asked by a murderer. To Ayn Rand, Cain would have been the hero of the fable.
 
 
+1 # Robert B 2012-03-08 09:57
That isn't true. She wrote in 1934, "Religion is the first enemy of the ability to think.... Faith is the worst curse of mankind, as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought."

She was very much in favor of independent thinking and always was.
 
 
+24 # noitall 2012-03-06 14:58
"Ignoring Rand's evangelical atheism, the Tea Party movement has taken her to its heart." is a poignant observation. Speaks volumes to the alledged religeosity of these confused and compromised tea baggers. Being an atheist, it is no wonder Rand would cast aside the word of the "King of Peace" in favor of the Midas, war-monger with no caring or compassion for his fellow man. But what about the tea baggers self-proclaimed devoutness? Me thinks it is in reality a map to their true god and a removal of their mask of "caring Americans". They are the enemy of all that they tout as being "American".
 
 
+14 # Midwestgeezer 2012-03-06 19:43
As has been said before, it's a shame that ignorance (and hypocrisy) isn't painful.
 
 
-8 # Martintfre 2012-03-08 11:06
Quoting Midwestgeezer:
As has been said before, it's a shame that ignorance (and hypocrisy) isn't painful.


Yes the socialist, progressives, who claim that enslaving the masses is freedom would be in great pain.
 
 
+3 # David Starr 2012-03-09 11:31
Martinfre,

You don't know shades of gray when it comes to socialism and progressivism & thus you don't know socialism and progressivism.
 
 
+8 # tomo 2012-03-07 07:26
Good for you, noitall! I've long felt that the extreme right in America really do belong to the god-is-dead school. Surely their worship of greed and selfishness advertise that they have no sympathy with, say, the Christianity of the Sermon on the Mount. They could, of course, ask in an exercise of their freedom-of-spee ch: "What did Jesus know of Christianity... Jesus with his stupid remarks on the blessedness of the poor, backed up later by his stupid remarks on the difficulty of the rich man in getting into the Kingdom of Heaven?" But the far right never do ask this question. Rather these self-proclaimed literalists-in- reading-the-New -Testament are anything but literalists. They simply interpret into oblivion anything they find in the four gospels that doesn't fit the religion they have invented. It's only when it comes to Ayn Rand and, say, Milton Friedman or Alan Greenspan (people who express no allegiance whatever to the Bible) that these self-proclaimed members of the Christian right show their true colors. In lining up behind Rand, Friedman, and Greenspan, they not only lose the Old Testament, but the New Testament as well.
 
 
+26 # gusselig 2012-03-06 15:25
I have serious doubts that anywhere close to those who claim to have read ATLAS SHRUGGED have actually done it. I am a compulsive and fast reader and I couldn't finish. It gives drivel a bad name and it does so at excruciating length.
 
 
+44 # Interested Observer 2012-03-06 16:30
As Dorothy Parker famously reviewed it: "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
 
 
+4 # Robert B 2012-03-08 09:52
That's funny. Frank Lloyd Wright (the real-life Howard Roark) was said to have thrown The Fountainhead across the room, pronouncing it to be "Trash!"

Wright actually designed a house for Ayn Rand in 1946 that never got built.
 
 
+1 # Robert B 2012-03-08 09:53
I read it twice. The one I've never been able to finish, despite several attempts is Jack Kerouac's On The Road.
 
 
-1 # Martintfre 2012-03-08 11:10
Quoting Robert B:
I read it twice. The one I've never been able to finish, despite several attempts is Jack Kerouac's On The Road.


as have I

If you want to know who John Galt is I suggest:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00xStn_jXKo&list=PL80DF800A579444B3&feature=mh_lolz
 
 
+2 # MEBrowning 2012-03-08 15:15
I read it as a teenager and was struck by the fact that the only way Dagny Taggart could enjoy sex was to be thrown down and ravaged. Which is basically what Objectivists do, figuratively speaking, with those less fortunate than they.
 
 
+28 # bugbuster 2012-03-06 15:37
I confess that at age 19 or so I read and enjoyed Atlas Shrugged and We The Living. They were engaging cartoon fantasies.

I rolled those ideas around in my head a while, looked at things this way, that way, then said, "Nahh," all before age 21.

It seems to be taking the teabaggers a long time to grow up. Maybe they can't think their way through things on their own brain power. Maybe they have to learn by first hand experience what it is to be a "billionaire's doormat."

A lot of teabaggers are nearing retirement age. I look forward to seeing them checking in at the doctor's office with their Medicare cards.
 
 
+5 # Sully747 2012-03-06 17:16
I too enjoyed Rand’s books at that age and didn’t wake up until about 30 y.o.
 
 
+4 # noitall 2012-03-07 14:03
But wake up you did! That speaks to your ability to think critically and to hold yourself to higher standards. Too many take things into their heads, stack them there, and refer to this information from time to time without any screen to determine fact from fiction. This is basically why our country is today where it is. Fortunately Reagan wasn't added as additional desecration to the sacred mountains among which Rushmore stands.
 
 
+2 # kelly 2012-03-08 07:38
And too many, like a lot of these "new enthusiasts" stack them and twist their meanings for the ones who haven't actually read them, much like when the nazis did with the works of Nostradamus, when they said he predicted the beginnings of a master race that would last a thousand years and when these extremists begin spouting their divine right of passage because the bible has brought them to lead us to victory over the "infidels". It always make me sick though Rand might have acutally enjoyed seeing the collapse of any society for the sake of capitalism and the growth of the 1%.
 
 
+6 # SOF 2012-03-07 15:18
Ditto. I tried to read it -young also. I thought I should to be 'educated'. The attitude and undertones made me very uncomfortable -it was heartless and twisted in a way I could only feel without the experience or knowledge to understand. It began to feel like a poison in my brain and I stopped trying to get the point. Felt relieved to get rid of it. 'Heartless and twisted' describes her rightwing followers today.
 
 
+4 # David Starr 2012-03-09 11:37
From bugbuster: "It seems to be taking the teabaggers a long time to grow up. Maybe they can't think their way through things on their own brain power. Maybe they have to learn by first hand experience what it is to be a "billionaire's doormat."

"A lot of teabaggers are nearing retirement age. I look forward to seeing them checking in at the doctor's office with their Medicare cards."

An effective point. The TP rank & file merely shrug like Atlas while politically cutting their own throats.
 
 
+8 # RMDC 2012-03-06 15:48
Thanks George. I agree. But the philosophy of selfishness goes even deeper. Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene has had probably more influence than Rand. And the writings of the odious Isiah Berlin about negative freedom is just exactly the same thing. Rand is really an advocate of negative freedom.
 
 
-6 # Martintfre 2012-03-08 11:19
Negative freedom - Like how the constitution was written?

The government does not have unlimited freedom - it only has a limited set of freedoms carefully prescribed. And to further contain that freedom the three branches each with the power to negate the other two.

I see Rand as an advocate fro positive freedom - you have freedom becasue you exist. Your freedom is not dependent upon the approval of others any more then they are dependent upon yours. The only limitation is you do not have the freedom to involuntarily impose your self upon another.
 
 
+3 # David Starr 2012-03-09 11:44
That's quite a positive spin on Rand's pathology. The freedom to exist has depended upon individualism and collectivism, e.g., for survival & to prosper, not either or. It was evident among our ancient ancestors and today. To deny this is to deny reality.
 
 
+37 # Buddha 2012-03-06 16:02
What I can't understand is how anybody who calls themselves Christian can also be a follower of Rand. Not only was she an avowed athiest, her teachings are completely opposite the teachings of Christ. How would He who washed the feet of the poor, and said "truly I am my brother's keeper" and "it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven" view someone who expouses the teachings of "greed is good" and the poor deserve to die? It says a lot of today's GOP that they embrace this psychopath. And even more of today's conservative Religious Right, who I think of as "Fake" Christians.
 
 
+17 # ericlipps 2012-03-06 16:11
A minor point unrelated to the main thrust here: in classical myth, Atlas didn't hold the world aloft. He held the SKY aloft, having been senteced to that task after Zeus and the Olympians defeated his people, the Titans. But itso much easier to show him holding a globe, almst evryone gets this wrong.
 
 
+8 # Robert B 2012-03-06 17:00
So if Atlas shrugged, the sky really would be falling! Maybe that's what Greenspan should have said.
 
 
+26 # Sully747 2012-03-06 16:56
When I first read Ayn Rand’s ( Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum) books I must admit, I was impressed. I was only 18 and 19 years old when I read most of her books but I soon found her “gospel” is out of touch with reality. I agree with someone here who said no way one third of the U.S. population has read even one of Rand’s books. Her books have a lot of pages and no pictures.....
 
 
+33 # Buddha 2012-03-06 17:24
And when I grew up in Orange County, the ultimate conservative bubble, I believed a lot of this tripe. It was only once I got out into the world and observed that the poor weren't lazy, and many worked far harder than I ever had to, that I realized that the conservative teachings I grew up on were simply complete hogwash...and lies greedy people tell themselves to rationalize their greed and let them look at themselves in the mirror at night. Much easier to feel better about yourself when you are proposing cutting foodstamps and children's health care when you believe a fantasy that doing so HELPS the poor...
 
 
+7 # tomo 2012-03-07 07:47
Buddha: great comment! Incidentally, I think of Ayn Rand as the extreme anti-Buddha. The Buddha teaches us that what turns the world into DUKKA [: out-of-jointedn ess, exploding pipelines, failing levies, bitter raw sewage stretching from Alaska to the Gulf of Mexico) is selfish desire--and if ever there was a purveyor of the messed up thinking that promotes such desire, it was Ayn Rand.
 
 
+13 # Majikman 2012-03-06 18:23
Right on, Sully. Like you I read her as a college bound teen who was painfully shy, living in a world of books, music and horses. She made sense to me because I hadn't a clue about life and devoured everything she wrote. Along with a liberal arts education and maturation, I did a 180. One thing I kept of Rand..."check your premises". Too bad she never did.
 
 
+8 # frankscott 2012-03-06 17:17
teenagers can find much to like in rand's work, and apparently some of them grow up to become critics of rand but still have little or no understanding of what marx actually said rather than what some of his followers enacted...
the only thing "chiliastic" about marx may be confusing karl with groucho..i think the marx brothers may have had a film about the millenium?...me anwhile, people who know little or nothing about karl marx should really refrain from criticizing mythology and calling it marxism...other wise, yes, rand was a putz...or putzette?
 
 
+13 # lorenbliss 2012-03-06 17:42
As I have been saying for years, Ayn Rand's works are indeed the cult gospel of the Right, but the nastily false effort to equate Rand with Karl Marx shreds Mr. Monbiot's "progressive" disguise and reveals him to be nothing more than another apologist for capitalism.

Rand and Marx are in fact diametrical opposites.

Rand is the ultimate Nazi. She develops the Nazi doctrines of the ubermenschen and der fuhrerprinzip to their logical (and logically savage) extreme in a rationale for absolute rule by the One Percent and the merciless enslavement of all the rest of us. The one work comparable to Rand's writing is therefore Hitler's Mein Kampf.

By contrast, Marx not only explained (and predicted) the ultimate manifestations of capitalist evil, he and his colleague Frederich Engels also gave us the only realistic roadmap to liberation from the enslavement we now suffer at Rand's behest.

Indeed as the infinite malice of the One Percent becomes ever more apparent, what becomes equally apparent is that Marxism -- and in particular Marxian discipline -- is our only remaining hope. All other proposed solutions have failed.
 
 
+1 # tomo 2012-03-07 08:14
Perhaps I am too focused on ethnicity or race, but I can't help thinking the future of civilization is largely being decided by an intellectual battle being waged among Jews. The rest of us, it seems to me, are either somewhere watching from the bleachers, or maybe are signing on as fellow travelers. In my catalog of players, there are "good" Jews like Jeremiah, Isaiah, Jesus, Karl Marx, Norman Solomon, Howard Zinn, and Noam Chomsky; and there are "bad" Jews like the writer of the Book of Joshua, the writer of the Book of Revelation, Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, and Benjamin Netanyahu. (Call me a racist if you want; but I am sure I'm not an anti-Semite. Without Jews, I doubt we would have any civilization worth aspiring to.)
 
 
+4 # Martintfre 2012-03-07 13:23
//Rand is the ultimate Nazi. She develops the Nazi doctrines of //

Totally false.

Nazi were all about subsuming the individual to the fatherland and to it's leader - an involuntary system of centralized power where the individual is a disposable cog in the social machine.

Individual rights has no place in the socialist utopia the National socialist Workers party was endeavoring to create.

If your going to damn Rand for her selfish egoism then your going to have to comprehend that is incompatible with the collectivist NAZI.
 
 
+2 # Robert B 2012-03-08 09:48
You're right. The Nazis despised her.
 
 
-1 # kelly 2012-03-09 10:10
Oh, but you're wrong martin, if Hitler was the ultimate Nazi the so was she. Her followers were the ultimate sheep. Just like in Germany. True Nazis, Goebbels and the like did what they darn well pleased. Some tried to make their own deals with the Allies when they saw Hitler's coming demise. She was not so stupid the she did not realize that she needed workers to do her dirty work, but much like the people she so villified in Atlas Shrugged, she took advantage of them. She did objected to what she felt was the exploitation of the inventors but refused to see exploitation of the masses. True Nazis were the same way. Hitler could not have cared less about the plight of his people as long as he could attain his goals. She and her storybook characters were often like this. At the time, it wasn't expedient to advance this subject overtly, but it was hard to miss if you really read between the lines.
 
 
+3 # David Starr 2012-03-09 11:47
Martinfre,

I'm assuming you lump ALL socialisms or "socialisms" together. If so, again not realistic. The Right typically does that & again doesn't see shades of gray.
 
 
+13 # Blackinjun 2012-03-06 17:50
"As for bankers, their need to win the trust of their clients guarantees that they will act with honour and integrity. Unregulated capitalism, he maintains, is a "superlatively moral system".

This coming from members of a culture that killed millions, enslaved millions for their labor and land. Yes really "moral"..
 
 
+6 # noitall 2012-03-07 14:11
They did to people what Christianity did to all other living things, put them below humans. That way, if they are less, they are disposable to benefit the wishes of the 'chosen'. We are coasting ever faster down that shoot of doom where we will at some point, to our chagrin, realize WHY bio-diversity is so important to US and our existence here on Earth.
 
 
+9 # spercepolnes 2012-03-06 18:58
Quoting bluepilgrim:

"This is garbage" -- even then it was obvious to me. It didn't make sense, it wasn't logical, and it wasn't based on realistic assumptions.
Just like the extreme right, really......
 
 
+17 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-06 20:09
All this hyper individualism social darwinism stuff is actually contrary to what current neuroscience, sociology, and other research finds, except for a few dysfunctional people. Mirror neurons, early learning and attachment theory, cybernetics and systems work, epigentics and biology, consciousness studies -- the main trust is that humans are social animals which do and must rely on each other to function, and failure to do that results in system breakdown and destruction.

It certainly does seem to be working out like that, even to the casual non-biased observer: look badly off we are now after the last 30 years when the right wing mostly had it's way. If computer systems were designed according the conservative's ideaolgy they wouldn't work at all.
 
 
+8 # wleming 2012-03-06 20:26
anyone reading rand's prose, if thats quite the word, has to be void of literary ability. its a bathetic mix of sentimental mush, and a greed driven avidity. alan greenspan and co. just don't read anything beyond spread sheets and the wall street journal.
 
 
+7 # tomr 2012-03-06 20:44
I just find it hilarious (and horrifying) that right-wingers base so much of their "philosophy" (using the term loosely) on a work of fiction.
 
 
+2 # RMDC 2012-03-07 04:10
tomr -- but that fiction is backed up by the (pseudo)science of genetics as in Dawkins' The Selfish Gene. There has been more nonsense about a genetic selfishness than all of Rand's writings times 100. Thankfully, in the last 10 years or so genetics has moved over to talking about a genetic tendency to cooperate and to compassion. But all such genetic foundations for social behaviors and cultural values are just pseudo-science.
 
 
+9 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-07 13:15
I don't think that's what Dawkins was talking about with the selfish gene; I think it's been pisked up and distorted by non-biologists who didn't understand what he was saying. The selfish gene does not translate to a selfish person, nor does it negate evolutionary psychology or genetic roots for social organization.

If the 'genetic vehicles' chances for survival and reproduction are enhanced by close knit and nurturing societies then that's what the genes will reflect.

Recall that 'social Darwinism' is a great distortion of what Darwin wrote, which was also a scientific and biological thesis. Right wingers will glom onto and distort anything to advance their own ideology.
 
 
+4 # Interested Observer 2012-03-07 06:25
It is not difficult after a childhood developing the skill by practicing with the bible.
 
 
+8 # ABen 2012-03-06 21:21
The fact that so many Repugs see Rand's works as providing a philosophical guiding light to a better and more just future speaks volumes about why the GOP has become the party of Self-Styled White Grievance. Atlas Shrugged is "required reading" for those working for Paul Ryan; birds of a feather.....
 
 
+4 # Robert B 2012-03-08 09:47
I've heard it said that Clarence Thomas insists that his assistants watch "The Fountainhead." I wonder if he's aware that Patricia Neal, pregnant with Gary Cooper's baby, had an abortion.
 
 
+9 # numenprof 2012-03-07 06:28
Guilt by Association: During the 2008 campaign, Obama was painted guilty of radical anti-Americanis m by his association with his Chicago pastor. He was described as a closet Muslim because his father was a Muslim. Why are self-proclaimed "Christian" talking heads on the right (e.g., Glenn Beck) not using the same guilt by association to "out" as atheists Ron and Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Alan Greenspan and similar ilk for being loving devotees of Ayn Rand, the biggest self-proclaimed Christ-hater of the 20th century? Could it be because being rich and controlling the rest of us is their real religion, while their claim to Christianity a necessary political cover for their atheism? I am personally an atheist, it is only the hypocrisy of these closet atheists who think they can worship both Jesus and Ayn Rand that fascinates me.
 
 
0 # Robert B 2012-03-08 09:35
Even if Ayn Rand were not an atheist, she'd still be a Jew. Probably not a big cheerleader for Jesus either way.
 
 
+2 # Karlus58 2012-03-07 07:51
Simply put....Rome is burning.
 
 
+1 # noitall 2012-03-07 14:16
as put by Bukowski...the bacon is burning. Either way, someone has pissed in the chips.
 
 
+8 # grittynail0 2012-03-07 10:46
Check out "The Fountainhead." When I saw it as a teenager all I was taken with was the sexy interaction between Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal (who years late I learned were indeed having an affair). Seeing the film decades later I almost fell off the couch when Roark the protagonist was cleared by a jury because his burning down housing units for the poor had occurred because changes were made to HIS design. Yeah, that's how the world works, Ayn. Your philosophy is as phony and absurd as your name.
 
 
-1 # Martintfre 2012-03-07 12:56
//I almost fell off the couch when Roark the protagonist was cleared by a jury because his burning down housing units for the poor had occurred because changes were made to HIS design//

What was the agreement?
What was the point?
What stopped those who wanted to build Courtland from using any one else to design it?
 
 
-4 # Martintfre 2012-03-07 13:00
FountainHead Howard Roark's speach

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTqv7s7478E
 
 
+3 # Robert B 2012-03-08 09:45
In the film, contractors (!) added all sorts of little crap to the design at the last minute, which NOBODY would have done. The architect has to file building permits, etc and etc., and you can't just deviate from that without getting in trouble with the government. Ayn Rand stacked the deck to make a point about intellectual property. It doesn't work like that in real life, though.
 
 
-11 # Martintfre 2012-03-07 12:44
//Her psychopathic ideas made billionaires feel like victims and turned millions of followers into their doormats//

So it is psychopathic to respect the rights of individuals to conduct their lives peacefully in a voluntary order.

So What does one call the slave masters creed that justifies enslaving those of ability to those of need?
 
 
+4 # tomo 2012-03-07 19:45
Martintfre: I hear between your lines the voice of a true devotee. It may be presumptuous to try to counsel you, but your sincerity attracts me. Suppose one agrees with John Dunne when he says: "No man is an island," and suppose one still agrees with him when he says: "Do not ask for whom the bell tolls--it tolls for thee." Is this not wholesome? Does it not speak to some deep solidarity of the human race--and perhaps register some deep harmony that runs through all of being? If so, then it really would be a great psychic limitation to proceed on the assumption that we are each individuals, staking out some inviolate hold on the universe.

For years I lived among native islanders in the west Pacific. They were not perfect people. I had many a run-in with some of them. But they seemed to me in some ways wiser than, say, the people of Los Angeles--where I grew up.
The islanders really did not seem to believe we OWN things. They DID believe that one had a right to go on USING what one had at hand if the purpose was worthy. But that is about as close to ownership as they got. What restricted them from going further was, I think, a wise intuition that the life-of-the-tri be really WAS that which was life in each member of the tribe. The notion of impairing the life of the tribe for some larger share of "personal" life struck them, so far as I could see, as an absurdity. They did not RESIST a temptation here; they could not feel such a temptation.
 
 
+3 # kelly 2012-03-08 08:05
It would be hard to live on an island with any group of people and not realize that resources must be shared if one wants to survive. Food, water and fuel are precious commodities especially there(ask anyone who has ever lived in Hawaii). The whole Robinson Crusoe complex doesn't mesh; I never could see how economists on the right who love to quote books like The Earth Is Flat can then turn around and quote Ayn Rand. The two are mutually exclusive.
 
 
-4 # Martintfre 2012-03-08 11:31
How does one live on an island? If they are alone like Robinson Caruso or on a densely populated Island like Manhattan - should not their philosophy serve them equally well?

What role does voluntary interaction play - who advocates the philosophy of a trader - one who trades value for value if and only if both parties see benefit.

What role does involuntary interactions play - and who advocates the slave masters credo of from each slave according to their ability to each master according to their need?

(see this ties back to the articles initial premise)
 
 
+2 # kelly 2012-03-09 10:14
Even Robinson Crusoe had Friday.
 
 
+3 # David Starr 2012-03-09 11:57
Martinfre,

Depends on the philosophy. If they support pure individualism & reject their social connections to humanity, I don't think they'll get very far. But there are individual circumstances that will determine what a person will do but also connected to social/collecti ve conditions that'll also be just as much as a determiner.

From each worker slave according to his ability to each capitalist master according to his need. It is the nature of the bourgois beast.
 
 
+2 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-07 23:29
I looked up the plot on Wikipedia. It would appear the Roark was paid for his work by someone else, even if the agreement was breeched (which he could have sued for), but more importantly the house he destroyed was not his house -- someone else paid for it.

The entire thing seems to be an absurd contrived straw man anyway. Rand was writing not fiction, but fantasy.
 
 
-7 # Martintfre 2012-03-08 11:36
blue - ya dont get the point from Wikipedia.
His payment was to see it built as he explicitly intended - that was the only payment he required, the only payment that was satisfactory - he was cheated of that.

He was not looking for money nor did he receive any for that project.

Of course Rand makes her characters some what cartoonist in emphasizing specific principals and values - that was her way of making a point.
 
 
+6 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-08 12:14
No, YOU miss the point. He had no right to trample on the rights of everyone else who worked on and put resources into building the house. The architectual design is just a small part of such an undertaking. His recourse to a contract being breeched is to take it to court, not to go off on some rampage like fanatic, terrorist Rambo and blow stuff up.

You can't do good philosophy by ignoring reality and all the other considerations -- that's as bad as any extreme religious dogam -- it's what crazy people do.
 
 
-7 # Martintfre 2012-03-08 12:29
//No, YOU miss the point. He had no right to trample on the rights of everyone else who worked on and put resources into building the house//

Those who paid for this - were robbed, they were forced to pay for it at the end of a tax collectors gun.
Should the robber be rewarded?
If your mugger gives some of his loot to the poor does that justify his theft from you? Do you thank him?

IF the architecture was such a trivial part as you claim - if the idea of how something is to be done so trivial, then why not some one else - any one else to do that part?
 
 
+5 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-08 17:42
The taxpayers were robbed by Roark, then; they were supposed to get a house and instead they got rubble. They weren't robbed by the government -- they paid taxes to get something and Roark destroyed it.

I didn't say the archects work was trivial, but just a part, and a relatively small part at that -- you are making stuff up about what I said -- and that's true, and there are many architects who could have done that part of the work.

Actually putting up a building takes more time, work, and resources -- I know: I've both designed things and made them. A man can make up drawings for a building in a few days it would take him years to build.

But the point is that he destroyed all the work and resources others put in for his own egomaniacal fanaticism. It's like some nut who has a grievance against the company he works for or the government, and goes 'postal' and kills people or blows up a building. It's terrorism -- not some phony scare tactic but real terrorism. It's insanity.
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2012-03-12 11:29
BlueP you are justifying enslaving Roark for the needs of the many. You do support the slave masters credo from each slave according to his ability to each master to his need.

Because It was in your mind ok to steal from him because so many others were forced to pay into it.

If I hired a contractor to build a sun room for $5,000 and I go on vacation and when I come back there is a three story addition larger then the house, a swimming pool and no sun room and I am given a bill of $250,000 and he says we need it and you can afford it.

By your thinking the builder has every right to force me to pay him, he and his workers needed the money, the suppliers needed the sales and before the project he had no money and his workers had no work and the suppliers had no customers.

Their need out weighted my need.
 
 
+3 # lark3650 2012-03-08 05:12
"Selfishness is the root of all evil. Eradicate selfishness from humanity and the earth will be heaven." - AW Lawson
 
 
+1 # Robert B 2012-03-08 09:33
Are you referring to Alfred Lawson of the University of Lawsonomy in Wisconsin? Rare to hear anyone quote him!
 
 
0 # Robert B 2012-03-08 08:47
My, what a hatefest you have going on here! Let me throw in my two cents, if I may.

What both Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead have in common is the protection of one's intellectual property. Roark blew up Cortland Homes because his design was altered without his okay. As such, his contract with Peter Keating was breached. In Atlas Shrugged, John Galt blew up his revolutionary engine because people were trying to steal it from him. Are all of you Ayn Rand critics saying that outright thievery is acceptable? In that case, you must have been in favor of the outcome of the 2000 election.

Rand's so-called philosophy was laissez-faire capitalism, not fascism, cruelty and greed. She stacked the deck in her books, of course, but what she was saying was that society progresses by innovators pursuing their own self-interest. I think it's worth noting that the Nazis hated her as much as the Communists did.

Her entire philosophy, she said, is spelled out in John Galt's 60-page speech when he hijacks the radio station. The Fountainhead, by the way, is pretty much a straight-up biography of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Now, I don't buy all of her ravings as unvarnished truth, but I've gotta say she was an excellent writer, particularly in view of the fact that her first language was Russian. Can you do that? She was on a U.S. stamp for a reason. I wonder how many of the commenters here have actually read any of her stuff.
 
 
+3 # Pickwicky 2012-03-08 11:03
Robert B

Outright thievery is in general not acceptable. By our dislike of Rand, we're implying disapproval of her solutions and attitudes.

You'd be better off reading Conrad and Nabokov if you wish to appreciate those who write in their second language.
 
 
+1 # Robert B 2012-03-09 10:12
I've read both. Nabokov went from Russian to French and then to English, which was his THIRD language! Yes, very impressive!
 
 
+4 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-08 11:18
Thievery? Roark blew up somebody else's house, paid for by someone else, and incorporating the creative and hard work of carpenters, plumbers, roofers, masons, etc. and you don't think that thievery, as well as endangering the public and violations of various other laws? If he wanted to blow up a house he should have paid to have one built himself.

I didn't read the other about hijacking a radio station, but is this OK? Some clown decides he was done dirt to so he goes on a rampage and tramples on the rights of everyone else and the laws of society?

Yeah -- I see -- rights for you and the Rand groupies and to hell with everyone else....
 
 
-8 # Martintfre 2012-03-08 12:19
Bluep - who was robbed first? Nothing starts with out the drawings from the architect.

But if we are to apply actual modern day constraints as you have in order to evade the moral point of a fictional work, so be it.

Well, then must we keep in mind the theft of trillions from the tax payers and their children with the endless stream of fiscal boondoggles that have been created by the politicians.
Look no further then AIG, GM , Citi, Goldman sacks to name a few .. look at the list of beneficiaries from the Federal bail outs - many more have been made poor by the meddling politicians then had the politicians simply maintained order and let people alone to their own peaceful profitable pursuits.

And soon we shall see the greatest scam ever the Social security, medicare/ medicaid default - all for the good of some at the expense of others. Well the good has been paid out and we are about to see at the expense of others play out as we are slipping into the morass of bankruptcy on these sacred cows.
 
 
+2 # bluepilgrim 2012-03-08 17:46
Ah, yes -- government is corrupt. So your solution is to go blow up all the federal buildings. Got fertilizer?

Or maybe you can raise an army and start a war?

This better than getting rid of the corrupt politicians and getting real democracy back? Just what the hell are you thinking? Don't you see where that sort of thinking leads?
 
 
0 # Martintfre 2012-03-09 05:29
Before you can fix anything you have to understand what premise makes for good and what premise does not, else your going to replace one thieving rotter with another. Those who create deserve to earn rewards, just as those who steal deserve nothing.

Rand was opposed to the slave state in opposition to the premise from each slave according to his ability - to each master according to their need.

Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged as a warning of where we were headed.

Bluep Her solution was non compliance, Not fighting and destruction as you falsely imply.

The draft title of "Atlas Shrugged" was "The Strike".

A strike by Those who have been exploited because they were not permitted voluntary interaction, a strike by those who have been exploited becasue of their ability, A strike by those who have been exploited becasue they had earned something which others decided gave them equal claim to their earnings, a claim upon their life.

Do not support your destroyers.
So Rands characters quit and left. With out the people of the mind - the inventors, the dreamers, the doers - they are on strike leaving those who believe they had a right to force others to satisfy their wants, they leave them to their own devices.

In Galt's speech he says We will no longer exploit you with our goods and services - your on your own.
 
 
-6 # Martintfre 2012-03-08 11:38
Thanks Robert - Not only have I read Rand - I suspect I understand her as well.
 
 
+1 # kelly 2012-03-09 10:36
As have I. In fact I just finish reading Atlas Shrugged recently. An unfinished work at best. Many problems are named...no solutions. I saw many self-serving people, both inside and outside the Utopian paradise created by the "brilliant creators" with the ideas that will save the world. I also saw those who would milk the system. However, I saw the plight of those caught in between...and the majority who would die as the .5% battled the .5% for control of the world. The reason it happened was due to the complete ennui these people had with societal life. When change came, it seemed to hit them from nowhere when it had been brewing for many years. They had been in positions to stem or stop it but refused. And so now that Galt is sitting on his hillside with Dagny declaring it's time, I can only hope there will be people ready to follow hi to build his outside world and not meet him with hostility. Maybe he chose a time when everyone had no choice but to follow him or they would die...if so that makes him as bad or worse than the dictators he so bemoaned in the book. I began on the Fountainhead, I would take too long. I have indeed read Ayn Rand; you should check your premises.
 
 
+13 # 4yourinformation 2012-03-08 11:29
The great Anti-leftist Ayn Rand, who upon acquiring cancer and didn't have a penny to her name, had a friend help her sign up for Medicare and Social Security under an alias. The great "producer" turned "moocher."
 
 
+8 # MEBrowning 2012-03-08 15:32
Quoting 4yourinformation:
The great Anti-leftist Ayn Rand, who upon acquiring cancer and didn't have a penny to her name, had a friend help her sign up for Medicare and Social Security under an alias. The great "producer" turned "moocher."

This pretty much says it all. Kind of like the TeaPartier who wants the government to keep their dirty hands off his Medicare.
 
 
+6 # David Starr 2012-03-09 12:08
4yourinformation,

Good point. That typical hypocrisy of the Right where the public are to be deprived of beneficial necessesities in the name of selfishness for the nakedly ambitious few while the few take advantage of public programs.
 
 
-5 # barbaratodish 2012-03-08 21:25
Ayn Rand was so orderly, she must have been anal too maybe she would approve of this: Forget Zionism, Screw the occupy Movement,What we all need a a Dark Side Bowel Movement Mission! Let's go POTTY to the DARK SIDES BOWEL MOVEMENT MISSION(DSBMM): DARKER than ZIONISM, DAKER THAN THE DARKEST SOMALIA PIRATES, darker than ever seen b4: It's the DARK SIDES (of all of us) QUEST 4 the land of BUB4UR
Let's start our DSBM quest for the LAND WHERE OBNOXIOUSNESS IS SUPREME! Here we will b free 2b EXPONENTIALLY OBNOXIOUS, instead of the limited obnoxiousness we have settled for in the past. Here ...Tourettes is worshipped and adored, as the real ideology we strive 4, Here we have obnoxiousness fart currency, here we have obnoxiousness diahhrea resources, from spongy to foamy, obnoxiousness sex: retroactive orgasm olympics, obnoxiousness health: sleeping olympics and most of alll obnoxiousness humor: where u laugh b4 u laugh! 2 hear this FANNYFESTO LIVE b @ The Brokeridge 2797 Merrick Road, Bellmore, NY 11710 Tomorrow 3/9/12 at 10:00PM www.like2laugh.com
 
 
+1 # Johvank 2012-03-09 17:18
The fact is Randian ideology support ideas unrelated to any facts. The worst of all is the myth of the "original idea". How do you think you come with an idea at the first place? People teaches you what things were, how you can conceive them, then you learn about things themselves, critics of other people over these things, and after crossing ideas that were already their, you came up with a new idea, which could have been produced by anyone else with the same education and interest as yourself in the matter, and maybe quicker, and even better than your own. You aren't self reliant in anything. You can imagine you can achieve things alone, but you always need others to really made the things. Creative power detained by a lonely inventor is a myth we're feed from birth to death. The architect example is the one making the point: made as much blueprint you want. Without a construction crew, experienced, capable, your better ideas will look like shit. It take years of formation to make any kind of work properly, excepted for burger flipping I guess, and coming with pumpous answer to comment on the internet as I did.
Also the Randians hate government excepted for one thing: protecting them from the hordes of beggar and thieves they imagine in their horrible fantasy about non-intellectua l cash filled mortals. A government is a monster, excepted when it enforce their views in the "stupid and lazy" folk. Hypocrisy! Be self reliant on your security, if your ideas are so correct
 
 
+4 # DerDoc 2012-03-09 18:14
It is truly amazing that a philosophy so counter to all of western thought could gain such traction is so short a time (30 years). For those that can accept the rather subjective conclusions of the author, go ahead to the next topic. For those that wish to form their own conclusions, read Atlas Shrugged.
p.s. I personally think every thinking individual should go through their Ayn Rand experience. Whether they stay there is up to them.
 

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