A Rand Revival

Understanding the best—and worst—of Ayn Rand's philosophy

Ayn Rand, the controversial Russian-born American writer, would have turned 105 years old on February 2. This anniversary takes place amidst a Rand mini-revival, sparked by the Obama Administration's push to expand government and resulting fears of socialism on the march. There has been a spike in sales of Rand's books, particularly Atlas Shrugged, the 1957 novel depicting a quasi-totalitarian future America in which the best, the brightest, and the most productive go on strike in protest. Some bloggers have bandied about the idea of such a strike under Obama going Galt, after John Galt, the leader of the revolt in the novel. Rand has recently appeared on the cover of Reason, the libertarian monthly (where I am a contributing editor) and of GQ where she was the target of a profane, vitriolic rant.

Who is Ayn Rand, and what does her renewed popularity mean? A refugee from Soviet Russia who fled Communist dictatorship in the 1920s, Rand called herself a radical for capitalism rather than a conservative. Her vision, articulated in several novels and later in nonfiction essays as the philosophy of Objectivism, earned her a sometimes cult-like following in her lifetime and beyond it.

Politically, Rand wanted to provide liberal capitalism with a moral foundation, challenging the notion that communism was a noble but unrealistic ideal while the free market was a necessary evil best suited to humanity's flawed nature. Her arguments against "compassionate" redistribution, and persecution, of wealth have lost none of their power and persuasiveness. In an era when collectivism was often seen as the inevitable way of the future, she unapologetically asserted the worth of individuals and of each person's right to exist for himself.

However, Rand's radicalism went further, rejecting the age-old ethic of altruism and self-sacrifice. While she was hardly the first philosopher to advocate a morality of individualism and rational self-interest, she formulated it in a uniquely accessible way and a uniquely passionate one, not as a dry economic construct but as a bold vision of struggle, creative achievement, and romanticism.

All this accounts for much of Rand's appeal. But that appeal is severely limited by the flaws of her worldview.
One of those flaws is Rand's unwillingness to consider the possibility that the values of the free market can coexist with other, non-individualistic and non-market-based virtues—those of family and community, for example. Instead, Rand frames even human relations in terms of trade (our concern for loved ones is based on the positive things they bring to our lives) and offered at best lukewarm support for charitable aid. When charity is mentioned in Rand's fiction, it is nearly always in a negative context. In Atlas Shrugged, a club providing shelter to needy young women is ridiculed for offering help to alcoholics, drug users, and unwed mothers-to-be.

Family fares even worse in Rand's universe. In her 1964 Playboy interview Rand flatly declared that it was "immoral" to place family ties and friendship above productive work; in her fiction, family life is depicted as a stifling swamp.
In pure form, Rand's philosophy would work very well if human beings were never helpless and dependent on others through no fault of their own. Unsurprisingly, many people become infatuated with her philosophy as teenagers only to leave it behind when concerns of family, children, and aging make that fantasy seem more and more implausible. For some, Rand becomes a conduit to more sensible small-government philosophies.

But Rand's work also has a darker, more disturbing aspect—one that, unfortunately, is all too good a fit for this moment in America's political life. That is her intellectual intolerance and her tendency to demonize her opponents. Speaking through her hero John Galt, Rand declared, There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. She lambasted free-market theorists such as Friedrich A. Hayek for their lack of purity in allowing the government a legitimate role in alleviating poverty and its effects. In her novels, supporters of various forms of collectivism—moochers and looters—are shown as acting by stealth to take over and corrupt society and culture.

Rand's detractors have often branded her a fascist. The label is unfair, but her work does have shades of a totalitarian or dictatorial mentality. To refute this charge, Rand's defenders point to her explicit statements that force is acceptable only in self-defense. Yet her fiction sometimes seems to contradict this principle.

Particularly troubling is a passage in Atlas Shrugged in which bureaucratic incompetence and arrogance lead to a deadly train wreck. Rand sarcastically notes that many people would regard the dead passengers as innocent victims of a tragedy and then, in a series of brief character sketches, endeavors to show that they were far from innocent: All had benefited from evil government programs, promoted evil political or philosophical ideas, or both. Especially chilling is Rand's casual mention of the fact that one of these evildoers, a bureaucrat's wife, is traveling with her three young children.

Rand does not advocate these people's murder (though she is sympathetic to a trainmaster who chooses not to avert the disaster, partly in revenge against the regulators). Yet she clearly suggests that they had it coming. Both in Atlas Shrugged and in Rand's nonfiction essays, political and ideological debates are treated as wars with no innocent bystanders.

Rand's achievement as a promoter of the ideas of individual liberty, reason, and the free market remains unquestionable. In the 21st century, when our public discourse is often dominated by religious conservatives on the right and collectivists on the left, such a message could have been a rallying point for what the neo-Objectivist philosopher David Kelley calls "Enlightenment-based values." Unfortunately, her extremism limits her value as a messenger, and our current intellectual climate makes it likely that many of her new admirers will adopt not her best traits but her worst: intolerance, paranoia, and dehumanization of the enemy.

Cathy Young writes a weekly column for RealClearPolitics and is also a contributing editor at Reason magazine. She blogs at cathyyoung.wordpress.com. This article originally appeared at RealClearPolitics.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • PIRS||

    "Unsurprisingly, many people become infatuated with her philosophy as teenagers only to leave it behind when concerns of family, children, and aging make that fantasy seem more and more implausible."

    I view her works as kind of like a libertarian "boot camp". Anyone who has been through military basic training should understand my meaning. In basic you are yelled at, insulted, told to shed your previous values. You are separated from your family, perhaps for the first time in your life. After all of that is done you learn the military in your first base is usually not like that (I do not know about the Marines - they may be an exception. If you are a marine I would appreciate your perspective). Nonetheless, Basic Training is very valuable. You learn a lot and it does shape your mind to think in new and different ways. I disagree with Rand's views on many issues but am very glad to have read her works. I am glad to have once been an Objectivist even if I am no longer one.

  • yojimbo||

    I was in an infantry platoon and it was more lax than basic but still rather strict. The room and the area right outside of your room had to be spotless. The yelling stopped unless you really fucked up but they more or less held your hand for the first year.

  • PIRS||

    Thanks for the info.

    Semper Fi!

  • PIRS||

    "In the 21st century, when our public discourse is often dominated by religious conservatives on the right and collectivists on the left, such a message could have been a rallying point for what the neo-Objectivist philosopher David Kelley calls "Enlightenment-based values.""

    Why the prefix neo? David Kelley is an Objectivist. He was simply excommunicated from Pope Leonard Peikoff's church. Would you call Martin Luther a neo-Christian?

  • Marc||

    To be fair, I'd call him a Protestant, as opposed to a Catholic.

  • meaning of life||

    "Rand flatly declared that it was "immoral" to place family ties and friendship above productive work; in her fiction, family life is depicted as a stifling swamp." Then what the hell are we on earth for?

  • PIRS||

    I do not think I agree with that interpretation of her philosophy - especially the part about friends. In her novels the heroes always have friends. She had contempt for UNCHOSEN social obligations. The idea that one is supposed to look out for one's cousin simply because that person is your cousin. If your cousin also happens to be a great friend that is very different. If your cousin also happens to be a productive person that is also very different. It is the assumption that mere family ties in and of themselves equal obligation that she had contempt for.

  • Sam Grove||

    And productive endeavor is necessary to sustain your family.

    I understand that part about mere relatedness imposing an obligation. My nephew expected family to bail him out of crack related problems...repeatedly.

    It's one thing to give a hand when needed, it's another thing to sacrifice your values for for the benefit of blood ties.

  • ||

    I read an interesting analysis/anecdote awhile back about how strong family ties in Africa undermine the economy. As I recall, it was a doctor noting that, as soon as one of his black colleagues achieved any success, his entire extended family moved in with him, consuming all his surplus, wrecking his house and yard, and generally making sure that nobody lived much above a subsistence level.

  • RCTL||

    Interesting perception but could it be that extended families live together and focus on the success of their subsequent generations. Similar to the immigrant experience here that we see in the US.

  • Barack Obama||

    That's why I don't invite my brother over.

  • Prosecution rests||

    Barack, here lies your proof that you are an American.

  • ||

    Exactly, very well said.

  • ||

    Which is why I put my mother out on an icefloe.
    Do we gauge productivity on potential, actual, or past accomplishment? And what of accrued wealth?

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Productivity is only 1 of a thousand possible measurements of worth. I'd hope that you're not with your girlfriend or wife purely because of how "productive" she is. When the time comes, I will do everything I can to support my mother because she has never been anything but helpful, generous and a great teacher for me... If my mother had been a drunk or not around, I would have a very different attitude - and rightly so.

    It isn't about "family" per se, but about relative worth to me as a person - and that doesn't have anything to do with money or trade (in this case).

  • John Tagliaferro||

    Productive work is also the means to take care of your family and friends when they are in need and you want to help them.

  • meaning of life||

    My view from a female perspective is that Ayn resented what she did not have.

  • PIRS||

    Interesting. Could this also explain some of the radical far-left feminists?

  • meaning of life||

    Between you and me: yes

  • Tim2||

    +1

  • meaning of life||

    The truth is no man is complete without having had children either. I think the biology is more complex for women because physically we are reminded of it but I don't think anybody escapes what must have been our primary design. A man just comes to the same conclusion later.

  • ||

    The truth is no man is complete without having had children either. Are you sure that's the truth, or your opinion?

    I have two Beagles and they serve the purpose of children faultlessly, without all the drama. I am complete without offspring, thank you very much.

  • meaning of life||

    You can think you are but are you really? What purpose did you serve?

  • @||

    Ooh, I know. Selfishness?

  • ||

    Whatever it means to be human, surely it's more than the ability to procreate.

  • meaning of life||

    I don't thing anyone escapes biology. We can intellectualized away and mimic behavior with pets but I think we all have an evolutionary canon.

  • ||

    And your beagles are probably smarter tha 90% of other peoples children.

  • ||

    "I am complete without offspring"

    How can you know that? I have never been skydiving, and I certainly FEEL complete without ever doing it, but people tell me it's an amazing thing to do.

    I have three rescued mix-breed dogs I love dearly, but do you love your dogs more than yourself? Would you take three jobs to feed them if you had to?

  • ||

    And what about gays, or those who are biologically incapable of fathering, or birthing, children?

    I think you're dangerously close to the utilitarian fallacy, here.

  • meaning of life||

    This idea does not exclude homosexuality. I know gays who have adopted or had their own children. I think the gay man who marries and has children is a classic example of this canon. I don't know anyone who was incapable but still did not attempt to change their position or adopt. They often seem overzealous in their pursuit.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    How amusing, a fucking psychologist. Everyone is exactly the same. if they are different, there is something wrong with them.

    I intend my "children" to be my accomplishments and the influence I have on the world.

  • Dave Maven||

    get a life, you spinster.

    "Even though I have presented no evidence for it, I think you should look down upon this person because..."

  • meaning of life||

    spinster, Lol

  • smartass sob||

    Then what the hell are we on earth for?

    According to Rand's philosophy the answer to that question is something each individual must decide for himself. It is for you, yourself, to choose the purpose of your life and what gives it meaning. Her philosophy does not acknowlege the existence of a God or some grand designer that put us here for some particular purpose.

  • meaning of life||

    We can choose the purpose of our lives: to create art, music or write like Ayn but those aspects have very little to do with the meaning our our lives.

  • Sam Grove||

    Your life is a canvas, you are the artist to give it meaning.

  • ||

    Except that she advocated an objectivist society, which would curtail the choices of curtail selfless generosity and relgious passion.

  • ||

    False, an Objectivist society would do no such thing. To paraphrase Barbara Brandon from her own days as an Objectivist, in a free society if you want to pay for your own selfless generosity and religious passion no one will stop you.

  • ||

    "Productive achievement" is what Rand viewed one's purpose to be.

  • ||

    Thank goodness for Ayn Rand.

    Not that her world-view was flawless -- it wasn't.

    But, just having her opinions and themes circulating in the collective minds of Americans, thru her books and writings, was a very good check against tyranny, and a good thrust towards liberty.

  • ||

    Intellectual pubescence incarnate. Literary justification for acting like a douchebag. A toy philosophy for children. As with all poison labels, everyone should read Rand.

  • A is Awesome||

    trollin!

  • pooblicus||

    with just a substitution of an a for an e, your name would be very accurate

  • ||

    Nice poop flinging, Oral Hazard. Care to back any of those up with your obvious expertise in philosophy?

  • ||

    "Care to back any of those up with your obvious expertise in philosophy?"

    I'd be happy to, as soon as you point to any place on earth not named Somalia where Rand's political philosophy is manifest.

  • ||

    Hmmm, so if a philosophy isn't being practiced by any government you can say anything you want about it without basis? Great avoidance there. I could argue all day the philosophical value of Rand's ideas. You can't even back up a single claim about them.

    Your ignorance in this matter is profound if you think Somalia, anarchy, and piracy are at all Randian.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    I really resent the use of Somalia as an instance of "anarchy"... It's not. It's an instance of warring tribal kleptocracies, nothing more.

  • ||

    Nothing against anrchists, but Rand surely wasn't one.

  • ||

    I think we know why your name is Oral Hazard. Listening to anything that comes out of your mouth is hazardous to one's intelligence.

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    Yeah, Rand really loved heavily armed gangs of looters. Somalia is a real Objectivist paradise. Dumbass.

    Rand made capitalism sexy. Somebody had to do it. The train scene is interesting - you can interpret it as 'to the gas chambers!' or as part of her argument that philosophy matters in everyday life and societies that refuse to respect reason are prone to destroying themselves. Hong Kong vs Maoist China; South Korea vs North Korea - these are just some of the societies that are interesting to look at through Rand's lense.

  • ||

    Rand did not believe that society exists. Like David Boaz. Like Margaret Thatcher. Like most glibertarians.

    Draw out her ideal in theory (since you can't point to anywhere on the map, you're forced to do this in theory) and avoid gangs of gunmen when doing it.

    That would be your problem, not mine - the batshit crazy denials of society aren't mine, they're hers and yours.

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    Was that supposed to be a counter-argument? I'm only seeing incoherent name calling and something about me using the term 'society'. I'm going to be generous and assume that you're not completely immune to rational discourse (partly because I already did some name calling, you Dumbass). Rand and Thatcher didn't believe in 'society' as the term is defined by socialists. They could have tried to redefine the term, but it's catchier and more attention grabbing to just say that there's no such thing. When I used the term, I just meant 'country'.
    As for ideals and realities, that's an issue that faces everyone with some view of how societies (countries/collections of individuals living within the same political unit) should function. Reality stops short of the ideal but you can still point to examples that are relatively closer (Hong Kong) or further (Mao's China) from your ideals.
    Lastly, Rand believed that the state should maintain a police and military to defend its citizens. This was one of her major disagreements with Rothbard.

  • ||

    "...as defined by socialists."

    Bullshit. How about "as defined by Webster's"?

    "There is no society, there are only individuals" Rand, Thatcher, Boaz and most others under the banner say. You know the quotes are there, and you know they are that plain.

    These are not denials of society's existence as a rhetorical feint - shame on you for suggesting that. It's plain English expressing a objectively false belief.

    The existence of a distinct entity called society is ANATHEMA to libertarianism. To even acknowledge that such a selfless commonality exists is to displace - even for a moment - individual agency as the highest ideal in human affairs. To do this - even in recognition of reality - is, for people prone to such simplistic portrayals, tantamount to endorsing communism - and even more detestably, equating democracy with collectivism.

    Even if libertarianism wasn't guilty of perfectly promoting the anti-democratic corporate ethos by justifying the inversion of society by arranging it to serve its economic engines instead of the other way around, it would still be guilty of being uselessly reductionist, dystopian, anti-social and hallucinatory.

  • Untermensch||

    The existence of a distinct entity called society is ANATHEMA to libertarianism. To even acknowledge that such a selfless commonality exists is to displace - even for a moment - individual agency as the highest ideal in human affairs.

    Anathema to libertarianism? I guess most of us never got that memo from our overlords since most of us accept the idea of society. If your argument against libertarianism is based on a notion of what libertarianism is that most libertarians don't recognize, it's really not much of an argument at all as much as an act of intellectual masturbation.

    Many of us are pragmatic libertarians who actually do believe that libertarian philosophy is beneficial to society and that where individual liberty flourishes society does as well. Whether that is true or not is a subject of debate, but pretending that we're all a bunch of greedy, heartless bastards who don't believe in society is intellectually dishonest and useless in doing anything except provoking angry responses. But you probably know that already or your wouldn't be trolling here.

  • ||

    I think it's fair to say that where individual liberty flourishes, so does society. The implication that is missed by doctrinaire libertarians in that statement is the balance between the two concepts. Equilibrium is not on the minds of persons who deny that the public exists, such as Rand.

  • ||

    Don't you just love people who throw big words around to show how much smarter they are than you? That's a trait I've noticed in all the trolls who post here.

  • ||

    http://dictionary.reference.com/

  • Sam Grove||

    Society is a term of convenience that means whatever it means according to your perspective.

    It's true that there is no manifest being that falls under the label "society", whereas individuals manifest a physical existence.

    The point of the argument is that the collective interest (which must always be interpreted by individuals) is no justification for the enslavement of individuals.

  • ||

    "...selfless commonality ..."

    'Society' is neither good nor bad, selfless nor selfish. That says all anyone needs to know about your worldview right there if you think society is necessarily 'selfless'. Collectivism, good. Individuals, bad.

  • ||

    Society is a community. Communities exist. Communities have real characteristics and can be damaged or aided as one thing. The study of this is called Civics, or Governance, but libertarians and other paranoid delusionals who rely on false binaries to define a world that is too complex for them to understand call it Communism.

    I wrote a joke the other day:

    Q: What do you call a libertarian standing on a busy downtown street corner?

    A: A tourist.

  • Chris||

    Communities exist only as a result of being comprised by individuals. We are not small flakes from some mass community, but communities are conglomerations made up of individuals.

  • ||

    What I find funny is when someone proclaims libertarianism as being without compassion. The classical liberal is the MOST compassionate -- we protect the many from being robbed by the few.

  • ||

    "I'm going to be generous and assume that you're not completely immune to rational discourse (partly because I already did some name calling, you Dumbass)." You fucked up there.

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    Paul: Yeah, I kind of did. As a classical liberal (gliberal?) I like to think that most people are not morons who need me and my comrades to run their lives for them. Of course, I occasionally do run into actual morons.

    OH: A society is obviously a collection of individuals who may share certain ethno-cultural traits, rules, and cooperative or interpersonal relationships (although usually a member of a society has never actually met most of the other members). To emphasise that you're really talking about individuals when you're talking about 'society' is to reject the creepy, quasi-religious notion of a society as some sort of 'selfless' organic deity that can do no wrong and in which the sacrifice of a portion of the population to the rest of 'society' is the moral equivalent of having your appendix removed. It's that mindset that you see in its extreme form in places like North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Somalia. The more moderate version of this definition of society is what crippled the British economy before Thatcher entered the scene.

  • hurly buehrle||

    Hmm, I can't really think of any country that practices Aristotelian minarchy either. Ergo, Aristotle was an incoherent hack, right?

  • nebby||

    Not an incoherent hack, just a sorta proponent of a system that has no relation to how societies actually work.

  • ||

    [P]oint to any place on earth not named Somalia where Rand's political philosophy is manifest.

    OK, I'll bite. North Korea, though not in the way you meant. NK resembles the world of "Anthem."

    BTW, you leftist trolls always knock Rand as a novelist -- sure, she was mediocre at best as a novelist; the fiction was just a vehicle for her philosophy.

  • ||

    PIRS-

    Of course boot camp is designed to get the cannon fodder to think differently:

    As in "worship the state."

  • PIRS||

    I didn't say I liked what boot camps taught. I was merely making a process parallel.

  • ||

    What has been socialized since Obama took office?

  • PIRS||

    How about two large car companies and several banks?

  • ||

    Oh and that swipe at Healthcare. Other than that HRH Obama is a freakin' Radical for Capitalism.

  • John Tagliaferro||

    What has been socialized since Obama took office?

    I'll get back to you when I get done laughing at you.

  • ||

    Name what that corporate centrist has appropriated in the name of the people. Name it. Banks? No public ownership of shares. GM? No public ownership of shares. That guy won't even cap interest rates on credit cards, but when you look at him, you see a Red? You're a plain idiot.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Is public ownership of shares the only way that We The People can become owners? I think not.

    Where did Obama get the money that went to the banks, GM, Chrysler? From taxes, i.e. from We The People.

    And you forgot to mention his big grab at health care.

    All done against the clear will of the majority.

  • ||

    You think your tax money, as opposed to money the Fed "printed" is what went to banks? Bzzt. Wrong. You think that money hasn't been mostly returned, with interest (to the thin air from whence it came)? Bzzt. Wrong. You think it would be a bad thing for the taxpayers agent to own shares of big banks in exchange for saving their shit? Bzzt. My stock portfolio tells me you're wrong again.

    Of course you'd be a libertarian - who else could be that simplistic?

    His "big grab" at health care? You mean where instead of raising taxes and creating single-payer, he kept these vampire Humanas and Kaisers in business as a tradeoff for stopping the ass-rape of recission and denying coverage? Yeah, that guy's a regular Che Guevara. Whoops, looks like my stock portfolio is telling me you're - bzzt - wrong yet again.

    I swear, the delusion around here is just legendary.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    Ms. Hazard, please have a quick peep at this site before adding your next comment. Thanks.

  • ||

    Nitori, I'm assuming you're not a native speaker of English. "Orel Hazard" is an obviously fake, joke name.

    Frothy ranting is the hallmark of the troll. Some of us just ignore them, others of us like to have a bit of fun with them.

    Cheers.

  • ||

    First of all, I'm no troll: Libertarianism is an ace-high straight and I'm Kings full of nines.

    Speaking of froth, I'm still waiting for that list of socializations of private business the Obama White House has allegedly committed.

    (the sound of crickets)

  • ||

    Why libertarianism is wrong, and I quote:
    "Even if libertarianism wasn't guilty of perfectly promoting the anti-democratic corporate ethos by justifying the inversion of society by arranging it to serve its economic engines instead of the other way around, it would still be guilty of being uselessly reductionist, dystopian, anti-social and hallucinatory."

    And why a collective society is beneficial and altruistic: "Whoops, looks like my stock portfolio is telling me you're - bzzt - wrong yet again."

    Glad your stocks are doing okay, I'll tell the next homeless guy who asks me for change.

  • Sam Grove||

    The burden of all government spending must ALWAYS be borne by those that labor to create value.

  • ||

    I love Cathy Young except when she decides she knows philosophy and fiction.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Well you have to at least give her credit for putting up a much better disguised form of "on the one hand....but then on the other hand" compared to a lot of her past stuff.

    We must remember that life is perpetually indeterminate.

  • ||

    Ugh, Rand Rand Rand. Do i have to finally get a copy of the Fountainhead?

    From what i gather, i'd put it down after a few chapters just like 1984.

  • PIRS||

    If you would rather the much thinner book "For the New intelectual has excerpts from We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and many speeches from Atlas Shrugged. It will give you the best parts from her novels and you will at least have some frame of reference when talking to people about Ayn Rand.
    http://www.amazon.com/New-Inte.....=8-1-spell

  • ||

    Honestly, I've never even wiki'd Rand or any of the books. Where do i mail in the decoder ring that never showed up?

    For me, Dune has always been a vital source of guidance into the ways of Human Governance. People never change, and you can always expect the oppressed to run things just like their oppressors did. But at the same time, unlimited sovereignty can lead to places where life really ain't that bad.

    Where's my stilsuit Obama?

  • PIRS||

    "Where do i mail in the decoder ring that never showed up?"

    According to the Principia Discordia the answer to this question is "Five Pounds of Flax".

    I must admit I have never read Dune. I understand his son has continued the series however.

  • PIRS||

    Sorry, I mean Five Tons of Flax.

  • ||

    Reality really jipped sci-fi writers by already having a substance called Flax.

  • PIRS||

    Let me guess you have never wikied Principia Discordia either?

    Here, this might help:
    http://www.principiadiscordia.com/book/1.php

  • ||

    John Dillinger died for your sins.

  • ||

    You should. Dune is a fantastic book. I like the sequels, too, to varying degrees, but I'm a mild heretic in that respect.

    Brian Herbert's continuations, alas, are quite unworthy.

  • PIRS||

    Thanks,

    I will give it a try.

  • Nipplemancer||

    the son's books aren't that bad.

  • ||

    Yes, they are. Or rather, the one I read was. An abomination.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Dune is good. I was once awe-inspired by it myself.

    Rand is quite different and in many ways much better.

    My opinion fwiw. If you do read Rand, The Fountainhead might be a good place to start.

  • Tony||

    1984 is a classic and still relevant. Rand's stuff, long-winded adolescent masturbatory material, though you might as well read it so you can see for yourself what kind of anti-human psychosis Rand has infected the world with.

  • ||

    It's still less anti-human than modern ecopaganstianity though, right?

  • Tony||

    Uh, would that be your name for the movement whose sole concern is saving humanity from ecological calamity?

  • ||

    Saving humanity by destroying humanity. Yes, that bran of eco-religion.

  • Ayn Rand||

    God – whatever anyone chooses to call God – is one’s highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It’s a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream if it, but to demand it.

  • ||

    Masturbatory material? I see. Please tell me about your relationship with mother.

  • Sadistic Eristic||

    His or yours?

  • ||

    Shhh. It's ambiguous on purpose.

  • ||

    Tony, your ignorance is showing again. Rand's philosophy idolized the human individual.

  • Tony||

    But only certain types of them.

  • ||

    What part of "anti-human" is semi-inclusive?

  • bigterguy||

    Yes, those who worked and achieved....no one you might know.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    +1

  • ||

    I have yet to read anything by Rand. Maybe I'll wait for the movie. I was impressed with how readable Hayek was. He's an economist after all. I read "Constitution of Liberty" twice, and I've never read a book more than once.

  • TheOtherSomeGuy||

    As many years as the left refered to GWB as a monkey, I think that there are plenty of other groups of more concern that have the tendency to dehumanize their opponents than Objectivists.

    No one is scared of the world's fifteen Objectivists hiding in their High School broom closet.

    The entire Democratic Party? Now that's another story.

  • Bingo||

    I really really really wish "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" had more influence on the mainstream than it does. Heinlein was a much better spokesman for libertarianism than Rand. The idea of "rational anarchism" is a logical conclusion rather than aesthetic.

  • PIRS||

    Heinlein has a huge influence - among other science fiction writers. He is known as "The Dean of Science Fiction". You can even see a slight influence in the move Avatar. The portryal of the Marines in that film is strait out of Heinlein's novels. Jake Sully reminds me of Evelyn Cyril "E.C." Gordon from Glory Road.

  • ||

    I wish SouthPark had more influence.

    GiantDouche Vs. TurdSandwich?

    Where's the 3rdparty/write-in box on this ballot?

  • ||

    Who
    The month of flowering's finished. The fruit's in,
    Eaten or rotten. I am all mouth.
    October's the month for storage.

    Thie shed's fusty as a mummy's stomach:
    Old tools, handles and rusty tusks.
    I am at home here among the dead heads.

    Let me sit in a flowerpot,
    The spiders won't notice.
    My heart is a stopped geranium.

    If only the wind would leave my lungs alone.
    Dogsbody noses the petals. They bloom upside down.
    They rattle like hydrangea bushes.

    Mouldering heads console me,
    Nailed to the rafters yesterday:
    Inmates who don't hibernate.

    Cabbageheads: wormy purple, silver-glaze,
    A dressing of mule ears, mothy pelts, but green-hearted,
    Their veins white as porkfat.

    O the beauty of usage!
    The orange pumpkins have no eyes.
    These halls are full of women who think they are birds.

    This is a dull school.
    I am a root, a stone, an owl pellet,
    Without dreams of any sort.

    Mother, you are the one mouth
    I would be a tongue to. Mother of otherness
    Eat me. Wastebasket gaper, shadow of doorways.

    I said: I must remember this, being small.
    There were such enormous flowers,
    Purple and red mouths, utterly lovely.

    The hoops of blackberry stems made me cry.
    Now they light me up like an electric bulb.
    For weeks I can remember nothing at all.

  • ||

    Lesbian.

  • ||

    And?

  • ||

    Just pointing out the obvious.

  • Amanda Marcotte||

    Sexist!

  • ||

    How?

  • ||

    +1

  • ||

    "Heinlein was a much better spokesman for libertarianism than Rand."

    Maybe that's because Rand wasn't a spokeswoman for libertarianism...

  • Mr. Obvious||

    Robert A. Heinlein was also not a spokeswoman for libertarianism.

  • ||

    No, but he was a spokesBABE! BAM!

    Seriously though, I think you get my point.

  • Anonymous||

    No one is scared of the world's fifteen Objectivists hiding in their High School broom closet.

    That's what wethey want you to think.

  • Equality 7-2521||

    I absolutely love the irony of holier-tha-thou libertarians who do their best to dissociate themsevles from Rand.

  • Tim2||

    Many libertarians never read Rand, I haven't.

  • Sam Grove||

    I don't, but then I don't cater to cult-like worship of any individual, including anointed elected officials.

  • ||

    Yeah, sure you do Sparky, sure you do. Libertarians, unlike Objectivists, are working on building a practical political philosophy and ultimately reshaping society.

    Never yet met an objectivist who couldn't suck all the air out of a room in under a minute.

    *Gasp* must. get. air.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    Agreed... Sadly.

  • ||

    Rand does not advocate these people's murder (though she is sympathetic to a trainmaster who chooses not to avert the disaster, partly in revenge against the regulators). Yet she clearly suggests that they had it coming.

    I don't think she's saying they "had it coming." Those character sketches are intended to show that the people killed on the train, knowingly or not, encouraged the set of circumstances that brought about the train wreck. She's demonstrating the law of unintended consequences, not exacting some sort of literary revenge on a handful of very minor characters in the novel.

  • smartass sob||

    She's demonstrating the law of unintended consequences,...

    I agree, but in this case she fails, because corelation is not necessarily the same thing as causation. About the closest she comes is to show that "what goes around comes around."

  • @||

    Simpler still: There's a justice in the world.

  • ||

    For the three kids especially!

  • Space Fiend||

    Modern conceits aside, children are ultimately subject to their parents, including the consequences of their virtues and vices - the kids didn't play a part in bringing about their society, no, but what happened to them is a difference of degree from our current society that destroys kids by advocating MTV over substance, not a difference of kind.

  • Sam Grove||

    The market always delivers consequences.
    The consequences are for previous choices.

    Thus wars and revolutions that produce massive death (e.g. the communist revolution) are a consequence of people choosing to follow leaders over the cliff.

  • GrilledCS||

    So, Rand displays shades of "a totalitarian and dictatorial mentality". Ms. Young uses Rand's criticisms of Hayek as an example of this. But was Hayek really perceived by Rand as an "opponent", or was she just critical of him and angry with him because he didn't stick to his free-market guns?

    I get the impression that this isn't where that idea was originally going. I think Ms. Young realized where she heading, and saw the convenient turn she could make regarding Rand's criticisms of Hayek.

    Rand was certainly "intellectually intolerant". She was also strident and unapologetic. Rand may even have been, excuse me, a bit of an egotistical bitch. But I think it's a mistake to describe her personal shortcomings with politically-loaded words like "totalitarian and dictatorial" because, in terms of poltical philosophy, Rand despised those things.

    This article seems to be an exercise in searching out criticisms of Rand for balance against the positive points, rather than having a solid criticism to offer. I usually really like Cathy Young's writing, but I find that this article does more to muddy the waters regarding Rand than it contributes to understanding her.

    Rand certainly represented a polarity, but it's a polarity that stands in opposition to the polarities advocating centralized government control. No one likes extremism, but we live in the real world and extremism exists. It will always exist. While introspection is a good thing, I'm not so inclined these days to engage in the luxury of being introspective about idealogues on my side, because the idealogues on the other side are way too busy expanding government.

    Forgive me, but I'm growing tired of this sudden tendency for self-exploration, which seems to have shown up at precisely the same time that people are more interested in the ideas of both Rand and Hayek. There's a saying that comes to mind about fiddling and Rome burning.

    Let me guess-- we'll be reading articles next week entitled "Putting Hayek in Perspective" or "Friedman: Was He Really that Good?"

  • ||

    This article seems to be an exercise in searching out criticisms of Rand for balance against the positive points, rather than having a solid criticism to offer. I usually really like Cathy Young's writing...

    Does not compute.

  • GrilledCS||

    "Does not compute."

    Err..okay. Sorry.

  • ||

    "Forgive me, but I'm growing tired of this sudden tendency for self-exploration, which seems to have shown up at precisely the same time that people are more interested in the ideas of both Rand and Hayek."

    Self-exploration is hardly a sudden tendency in glibertarianism: rather, it is its holiest tenet.

    But I wouldn't fret: is more than fair to "explore" that the leading literary light of this school of thought was so profoundly delusional and self-absorbed as to deny that society exists.

    It's a good thing to come to this, recognize it for the shit that it is, and avoid stepping in it.

  • smartass sob||

    was so profoundly delusional and self-absorbed as to deny that society exists.

    What she said was that "society" does not exist as an organic whole - she never said, as you would like to imply, that the individuals who comprise society do not exist. What she meant, as well as said, was that society has no rights over and above those possessed by its individual members as individuals.

  • ||

    "There is no such entity as "the public" ... the public is merely a number of individuals"

    - Ayn Rand

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    So Ms. Hazard what is the public, if not "a number of individuals", the tendrils of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Society is abstract not physical and there is no more a "good" of society than there is a "good" of the number 8. That is what Rand and Maggie meant. And by quoting the former you've shown that is the case.

  • ||

    Oh, I see. When someone speaks in terms of one real abstraction, e.g. society / the public, then we are struck dumb by the supposed vagueness therein.

    Yet, somehow not all real abstractions have such mystery surrounding them. For example, the libertarian will gladly fellate the far more subjective abstraction of "the market", shoehorn it into every nook and cranny of life, imagine it adequate as a descriptor and framework for everything from interpersonal relationships to capital allocation - yet will never ever ask "who's market?" Nor will they correctly characterize the marketplace for political results - lobbying - as a free market.

    I guess some abstractions are jim-dandy and others are for communists only. What a toy philopsophy.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    "Real abstraction" is an oxymoron. There is a society in abstract terms as there is a market in abstract terms. The former is the collection of people in a set geographical area, the latter is the sum of trade between those people. Neither of those is something physical or tangible. A person is real. Gold is real. Society isn't real. The market isn't real. It seems you're trying to win the argument by playing word games; like when a cdesign proponentist “proves” that evolution is false by claiming “evolution is only a theory”.

    Socialists don't seem to grasp that there is no such thing as the “good” of the abstract. If I've made a contextual error here please explain to me what a socialist means when he talks about the “good” of society. Better yet point me to an analogous statement from a libertarian: a libertarian that claims that the market is a living breathing entity and that anything is "good" for the market except doing nothing at all (laissez-faire = let alone).

  • ||

    Careful - keep calling the market "intangible" around here and you're likely to get lynched. People around here like to think the free market is the perfect ethical system and won't like it one bit if you portray it similarly to society. Society, as mis-imagined here, is only the handle power-mad commies assign to the individuals they so badly wish to control.

    I have no idea what "a socialist" means when talking about the "good" of society. As a social democrat, I can tell you that the discussion with libertarians is hobbled by the latter's insistence that society is only a conceptual accident of individuals. Therefore, any shared interests among individuals are banished from discussion. This is basically identical to the corporatist conception of the society those artificial individuals inhabit: society is an "externality" to the affairs of corporations. This, more than any other factor, is the reason that economic and social inequity has been aggravated to the extremes it approaches today - denial that the public has any shared interests, (let alone that the public even exists, as we have seen in Rand's quotes) is the exquisitely perfect camoflage for corporate interests as they deal out ever increasing heaps of sociopathic abuse to individuals.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    Well I tried my best. And I'm afraid I'm incapable of providing an adequate retort to such white noise as "This is basically identical to the corporatist conception of the society those artificial individuals inhabit: society is an "externality" to the affairs of corporations. This, more than any other factor, is the reason that economic and social inequity has been aggravated to the extremes it approaches today".

    What the flip does that mean? Are you Alan Sokal out for another laugh?

  • ||

    What it means is that libertarianism, through its childish rejection of a shared public interest, provides the perfect cover for those who perpetrate the greatest crimes against individuals: industrial devastation of the environment, corporate corruption of democracy, of markets, of government and of culture.

    As we begin the de-suburbanization of this culture, forced to it, naturally, by market forces (shortages) in the energy industry, I absolutely guarantee you that the accompanying resurgence of real communities will be made of people who will understand plainly what you (and Rand) don't seem to: that broadly shared interests among individuals are not only real, they are denied at very great peril to peace, stability, and what we all now recognize as western lifestyles.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    Sure, many individuals do share certain goals and form such things as, erm, corporations to achieve that goal (such as bringing a new microprocessor to the market ahead off another collective of people trying to do the same thing or getting tuna from Canada to Japan in two days). Teamwork is necessary to survive, but socialism defines the goals of the team on our behalf and then forces us to participate. If the Soviet Union exists as a private corporation in some surreal Discworldesque parallel universe, how many people would willing work to starve themselves to death?

    That is the key to the “childishness” called libertarianism: choice, as the key to socialism is coercion. And whatever Rand's faults (and there were plenty) there was one consistent message: freedom is to the way to peace, coercion is the way to war. Having survived the Soviet Union and the seizing of her own family's business she'd know more about that than you or me (unless you too have lived that hell, which I doubt you have).

  • ||

    Well, let's say that the peace you have made with the coercion that was inherent in the seizure of public money used to develop the internet software we are using to discuss this is a basic requirement - and that an adult apprehension of the world must not deny the existence of a public interest, or its real (and certainly imperfect) mitigation through representative democracy.

    Of course, Rand won't even get there. In fact, one wonders what privately-built roads she exclusively traveled on or which free-market fire department she would dial if her apartment building caught fire.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    The history of the internet is far more complex that that, but I think its wholly unreasonable to blame private enterprise for the crime of not being allowed to develop roads for example. Watch the bullshit episode on NASA to see what happens when government steps aside and gives free enterprise a chance in areas where the government had formally maintained a monopoly roads, space travel, etc.

    Sorry for my lousy punctuation, im using a wonky keyboard that wont allow me to type apostrophes, brackets or upper case letters unless my word processor automatically corrects them. Ill be back on my old computer tomorrow, im off to bed now.

  • ||

    The core protocol that the internet runs on (IP) was 100% developed with 100% coerced, appropriated funds in the form of tax dollars. What's more, the Defense Department (DARPA) did the spending. They also made the decision to give away the extremely useful technology.

    If I may make an assumption: if you as a libertarian and I as a social democrat are both opposed to defense overspending, yet both of us can accept that in this limited case the coercion produced a greater public good, then surely we can agree that coercion serving a true public interest is at least sometimes no sin.

    That statement alone would of course get us quickly kicked out of the Rand apartment.

    Good luck with your computer.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    Or did you copy and paste from here?

  • ||

    I don't see how I could have copied and pasted anything from that. I speak plain English. You may not like what I say, but you can't pretend it isn't non-academic and clear.

    (Then again, a libertarian can pretend a lot of things, as we have seen.)

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Wow, you really hate the market, Orel.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    If nobody likes extremism why (or how) does it exist?

  • GrilledCS||

    Do extremists think of themselves as extremists?

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    Touche.

    "Your comment does not appear to be written in an English script. Please comment in English." I just want an accented e you BTRD!

  • ||

    Alt-130 (on the numeric keypad)-- é

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    Touché.

    Thanks.

  • Fluffy||

    The label is unfair, but her work does have shades of a totalitarian or dictatorial mentality.

    Examples?

    I'll wait.

    One thing is very striking to me in all discussions of Rand - they almost uniformly leave out the ACTUAL REASON Rand was marginalized among right wing thinkers. It has little or nothing to do with any of the points Young raises [since when would intellectual intolerance put you on the outs with ANY political movement?] but is due simply to the fact that her militant atheism and overt hostility to Christianity would make the libertarian / conservative "alliance" even more difficult to maintain than it already is if her work was given more prominence. What do you think Buckley's real problem with her was? The fact that she made no effort to conceal the overwhelming contempt she felt for the mish-mash of nonsense that made up the "spiritual" basis for his thinking.

  • smartass sob||

    +3

  • Fluffy||

    I don't think she's saying they "had it coming." Those character sketches are intended to show that the people killed on the train, knowingly or not, encouraged the set of circumstances that brought about the train wreck. She's demonstrating the law of unintended consequences, not exacting some sort of literary revenge on a handful of very minor characters in the novel.

    I would go even farther than this and say that, to Rand, in order for the universe to be a rational place, and in order to morality to have a rational basis, it is necessary to show that irrational and immoral acts will always have consequences that redound upon the irrational and immoral actor, unless someone else is there to bail them out for their mistakes. The train incident takes place because the "rational fabric" of the society depicted in the novel has frayed so much by that point in the story that there's no one around to protect the passengers from the consequences of their own unreason and immorality any more.

  • ||

    The train incident takes place because the "rational fabric" of the society depicted in the novel has frayed so much by that point in the story that there's no one around to protect the passengers from the consequences of their own unreason and immorality any more.

    What a chilling, cold-blooded perspective! Where's your HUMANITY?

  • brotherben||

    I haven't read any of her fiction other than skimming Galt's speech. I have been working my way through The Virtue of Selfishness. I can see where she's coming from. I don't agree with it all and get the impression that she, moreso than even me, liked to hear herself think.

    I haven't finished it yet but would suggest it to anyone interested in her feelings on the ethics of altruism.

  • ||

    [Musing] I wonder if she would've liked The Wild Wild West movie?

  • brotherben||

    I can picture her doin the butt to the theme song. So ummmmm, yes. I think she would.

  • ||

    Well, certainly, she'd have rape fantasies involving Salma Hayek, but that's another issue.

  • Fluffy||

    Instead, Rand frames even human relations in terms of trade (our concern for loved ones is based on the positive things they bring to our lives)

    Where's the part of the article where you actually explain to us why she's wrong? Or are we supposed to just assume that?

    One of the most pernicious ideas foisted on humanity by sentimentalists is the concept of unconditional love. I'm sure the battered woman shelters are full of women who told themselves they were loving unconditionally. People who apply the ethics of the marketplace to interpersonal relationships don't end up there, I can tell you that much. Now why might that be?

  • timtim||

    "People who apply the ethics of the marketplace to interpersonal relationships don't end up there"

    No, they die lonely, friendless, miserable alcoholics well before their time.

  • brotherben||

    No, they die lonely, friendless, miserable alcoholics well before their time.

    Not always true. Some stay single.

  • smartass sob||

    A touch! A distinct touch, sir!

  • bmp1701||

    Over 9000 internets to you, my good sir.

  • Sam Grove||

    Most of them products of government education camps.

  • ||

    One of the most pernicious ideas foisted on humanity by sentimentalists is the concept of unconditional love.

    Clearly you don't have children.

    Rand's Gulch had little room for them and other "innocent" unproductives. Probably a pretty rough place for orphans and persons with disabilities.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    That's not true at all... Galt's Gulch had many children and families.

  • ||

    "People who apply the ethics of the marketplace to interpersonal relationships don't end up [in battered women's shelters], I can tell you that much. "

    Holy sheepshit, this is one of the most egregiously insane things I've ever seen typed anywhere. Reason, you truly are the gift that keeps on giving.

    The marriage ceremony industry - that multibillion dollar marketplace - is but the first step that billions take in applying - indeed, saturating - the precise ethics of the marketplace to sexual relations.

    Marriage the social institution - as practiced by most westerners - is the single largest driver of consumerism, replete with social pressure and anxiety through overt and subtle mass marketing, producing the single largest market (and market-expanding force) for disposable and unnecessary crap the non-military world has ever seen.

    Most women in shelters very much "applied the ethics of the market" to their lives. Like you, they didn't realize they were doing it. And they definitely didn't know what the risks were of a) the relationship going bankrupt or b) fraudulent valuation of that institution and the abusive spouses their enlightened self-interest led them to.

  • Extrapolate||

    So marriage sucks? We get it, shackling yourself to other people blows. You have to buy crap you do not value in order to keep them from nagging you, or beating you with your golfing trophy. We get it. We'd be all the better for dodging that bullet.

    Oh and the slight against "westerners"...needless consumerism may be seen as an evil, but being forced to marry someone because your parents can benefit is not?

  • ||

    Let me recap.

    Some free-market fundamentalist glibly and ridiculously proclaimed that battered women shelters would be empty if only those holy market principles/ethics were applied to each marriage.

    Then I pointed out that marriage is one of the most active market systems humans have ever invented, that most of what constitutes marriage is in fact a market activity, and that in the west, it's the driver for massive stretches of our economy.

    Then some other people missed the point by several miles. The point being 1) that free-market fundamentalism isn't even qualified to identify market forces when they are obvious and measurable by the multiple hundreds of billions of dollars, and 2) by extension, that all fundamentalism is for dilettantes, delusionals and children.

  • ||

    +3

  • Dave Maven||

    You make some good points about marriage being a market institution, but I think you missed the point of the original poster. Though people may accept the principles of the "market" in their economic lives, that doesn't mean they apply those principles to their relationships, which most people relate to through the philosophy of altruism that predominates today. Hence, the fact that marriage is a "market system" of sorts is pretty much irrelevant.

    Your denunciation of fundamentalism is an ad hominem attack on the human mind, a denunciation of fundamentals, principles, and ideas. Mind-destroying gibberish.

  • ||

    People's marriage relationships as largely practiced in the west are utterly market relationships - in the aggregate, extremely important economically. This is not "pretty much irrelevant", it is instead the entire reason to reject the rank stupidity of the statement that battered womens' shelters would be empty "if only people applied market principles to their interpersonal relationships." On this planet, they most certainly do apply those principles - and the shelters are full. Which means that in this area of life, the market is an especially poor god, and its worshippers make truly lousy social commentators.

    I mean, if one is to tut-tut over the problem of domestic violence, a sane prescription in the relationship wouldn't be "market ethics", it would be more of the same thing that built the shelters in the first place: altruism. Altruists don't generally beat people up, you see.

    Also, you can't have an "ad hominem" attack on "the human mind", only on one person. That's what the term means. And yes, I do denounce all (childish) fundamentalism, (malformed) principles and (objectively false) ideas.

  • Dave Maven||

    Just because marriage has economic effects doesn't mean people approach it philosophically from a self-interested perspective. That's where your argument falls apart completely because you are not in accordance with reality. If people lived philosophically more in a self-interested way, then there would be less likelihood that they would stay in an abusive relationship. This isn't a political argument - it's a social one. The market nature of something is its political/economic nature. The market nature of marriage is thus completely outside the scope of the argument you were responding to. Therefore you're talking about something in the wrong sense, making your argument meaningless.


    Also, you can't have an "ad hominem" attack on "the human mind", only on one person. That's what the term means. And yes, I do denounce all (childish) fundamentalism, (malformed) principles and (objectively false) ideas.

    I understand what the term means. I was using a metaphor to say that the human mind is a person you were attacking, and that your beliefs ought to be similarly dismissed as any ad hominem attack would be. If you want to further demonstrate your stupidity by telling me when you're unable to understand my insults, feel free. You didn't denounce (only) (childish) (fundamentalism). You denounced fundamentalism. Nevertheless, there is no such concept as "childish" fundamentalism, because fundamentalism itself isn't childish, and cannot be - those are distinct concepts and you have made an epistemological error by trying to make them one. In this case you want to make fundamentalism seem bad somehow, so in the case of a child that would be a willful adherence to ignorance. But then the bad part about that is the "willful adherence to ignorance" part, not the believing in fundamentals part. Ergo your statement about "childish fundamentalism" is an attempt to create a package deal to disparage plain-old fundamentalism, by tarring it with childishness, when the really bad thing is childishness, not fundamentalism.

    I think I have had enough of you. Goodbye.

  • ||

    Yes, fundamentalism is childish. All of it. Religious, political, etc. Fundamentalism is therefore very rarely defensible. In fact, about the only place I can think of where it deserves a defense is in a fundamentalist position with regard to free speech. And even then, you've got the crowded moviehouse exception. Also, your definition is wrong: fundamentalism is not "believing in fundamentals" - fundamentalism is "believeing ONLY in fundamentals". You're welcome.

    Second, if you think people don't approach marriage with a "self interested perspective", I suggest you slow down the next time you're near a magazine rack at the supermarket and take in the vast number of colorful titles aimed at brides and wives on how and what to consume, and how to become married. Try the web after that. Then get back to me.

  • Dave Maven||

    Well, the definition for fundamentalism I get on the web is "A movement or attitude stressing strict and literal adherence to a set of basic principles." This makes no reference to what those principles are, so whether it's good or bad, it doesn't necessarily import the extremist connotation you give it. I am a fundamentalist about wanting to continue to live a happy life, for example. What's more important than the definition though is the meaning behind the words and what it is you are trying to communicate, which to me seems to be an antagonism towards principles in general.

    The marketing nature of the process of getting married is irrelevant because we're talking about marriage in the context of an abusive relationship. People in an abusive relationship are obviously not acting in their self-interest by staying in the relationship. Therefore, it seems not too much of a stretch of the imagination to conclude that an altruist would be more likely to stay in an abusive relationship than someone focused on their self-interest. That has nothing to do with marriage marketing.

  • ||

    Most people who stay in an abusive relationship absolutely act in self-interest. They are interested in staying married, avoiding the upheaval, shame and cost of divorce, the religious disapproval, a whole host of reasons driven by self. Divorce rates fall in a recession for a reason.

    Altruists don't generally beat up their spouses, nor do they tend to marry people who do.

    To ignore all of that as well as ignore the hugely popular and successful appeals to self-image that constitute the vast majority of marriage and family marketing is really disingenuous, especially when attempting to defend a claim that market ethics don't figure highly enough in marriage.

  • NeonCat||

    Feministing called. They want their drivel back.

    Seriously, you aren't going to make anyone here think that you are in any way correct. You and people like you, trolls or sincerely held belief-holders, just convince us that we are correct. If we weren't, you wouldn't attack us and our beliefs as you do.

    And you know, even if Rand didn't believe in society, I think it's probably a matter of definition more than anything else. You seem to want a society so that you know you will be taken care of, to be told what to do and how to think. You hate Rand because she coolly looks down on you, begging for conformity, and says "No."

  • ||

    "I think it's probably a matter of definition more than anything else"
    Most major disagreements seem to be composed in very large part of differences in definitions.

  • Nitori Kawashiro||

    I think it would be more appropriate to talk about context. Many words have different definitions but the definition should be clear based upon context: for instance if a person talks about a scientific theory as opposed to a conspiracy theory. The definition of the word theory is different but which definition is being referred to is obvious in context.

    I'm very surprised nobody has purposely taken the word "altruistic" out of context to "prove" what a heartless bitch Rand was.

  • ||

    Self loathing much?

  • ||

    I read Rand long after I became a libertarian. I view her as a fellow traveler, to some degree, but her more well-known works don't deal a lot with law, economics, and politics, which is where most libertarian scholarship lives.

    It's a mistake to think of libertarians and Rand as anything but distant cousins.

  • ||

    "her more well-known works don't deal a lot with law, economics, and politics, which is where most libertarian scholarship lives."

    Her non-fiction (teh horror!) deals with all those, so I don't really see your point.

  • ||

    Most people don't come to Rand except through her fiction. I've read both, but I think she tended to be weak on the areas of scholarship I mentioned above. But those weren't where she was trying to live. She was focused much more on the ethical and philosophical underpinnings of free markets, etc.

  • ||

    I don't think she was weak on those areas. I think she properly explained her philosophy as it pertained to those areas. Obviously she was more focused on the basis for her entire philosophy.

  • Lester Hunt||

    "...her more well-known works don't deal a lot with law, economics, and politics..." Atlas Shrugged doesn't deal a lot with economics and politics? I beg to differ.

  • ||

    I didn't say she never mentioned economics or politics.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    It's a mistake to think of libertarians and Rand as anything but distant cousins.

    That depends entirely on how you define "libertarian".

    If you're an anarchist thought, then you're right on.

  • ||

    "...our current intellectual climate makes it likely that many of her new admirers will adopt not her best traits but her worst: intolerance, paranoia, and dehumanization of the enemy."

    It's like every writer on this site is part of the borg. There is not a single article that mentions the current anti-big-government movement without accusing them of being stupid, radical, religious nuts. If you really believe that, then you either don't know many of these Americans or you don't really have the courage to pursue your values, because it might get scary. Boohooo. Stay in the coffee shop shooting the breeze with the "enlightened" if your scared, but get out of the damn way.

  • ||

    ...says the guy writing on a comments thread.

  • ||

    "...says the guy writing on a comments thread."

    This may be all you do, but I'm not part of the borg.

  • ||

    Why are you wasting time here and not starting the libertarian revolution, Che?

  • bmp1701||

    "Che" + "libertarian" = ILLEGAL OPERATION. YOUR BRAIN HAS OBVIOUSLY MADE AN ERROR AND HAS BEEN SHUT DOWN

  • nebby||

    Che was a revolutionary that did not take into account basic human nature. Fits perfectly with libertarianism.

  • Sam Grove||

    Another straw man slayer.

  • ||

    Another person (three actually) on the internet who doesn't understand sarcasm.

  • ||

    There is not a single article that mentions the current anti-big-government movement without accusing them of being stupid, radical, religious nuts.

    That may be but I certainly find that many of the folks they choose to be seen in public with fit that bill.

    Progressives and liberals have their fringe too but rarely does the "intellectual" set choose to pick the WTO window-smashers and anarchists for their running buddies.

    I long for the economic conservative, social libertarian candidate and party but that is alas a cake I fear I will never eat.

  • Tim2||

    That's a very gross generalization tbone, and it also depends on how you define "nuts". If you count the merely less than well informed tea partiers then you can see the lefties teaming up with their equivalent all the time via union members or educated idiots who have whose degrees are so completely irrelevant to most public policy they are little better in that regard than some right winger with only a high school education.

    That's the problem with progressives, sure they do have more support amongst the college educated; but tons of people get degrees in crap like gender studies or in unrelated fields like the humanities. Even the hard sciences aren't relevant to most public policy. In many respects such people are worse than a high school educated C average conservative from a mainstream Christian denomination. Stupid people are less likely to think they can run everything, and religious folks that view men as a fallen angel rather than a risen ape are more likely to support restraints on government.

    I'm not a fan of conservative anti-intellectualism; but I'm also not impressed by the progressive arrogance that views their individual narrow expertise as enough to micromanage everything. So you have valid critiques of the tea party folks, but in comparison to the left they are quite similar; as the left gets buddy buddy with stupid union members all the time, while claiming that many of their other supporters are somehow better than dumb conservatives because they read Shakespeare at State U unless they were lucky enough to go to a good private liberal arts college. Or that their members are any less dogmatic because their dogmas are secular ones of social justice or rabid environmentalism, which is often practiced by non scientists.

    Then there are people like Bill Ayers and Rev Wright and their like that are most definitely part of the Chicago progressive community, you got ACORN thugs that the President used to work with. Those are the left wing fringe, and they don't seem to be rejected much more than the right wing fringe; unless of course you count every moderately religious and under educated conservative as "the fringe" and compare them to the legitimate left wing fringe of WTO protesters.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Stupid people are less likely to think they can run everything, and religious folks that view men as a fallen angel rather than a risen ape are more likely to support restraints on government.

    Ahhh! :) Somebody gets it!

    But you probably won't find many around here who do.

  • ||

    AAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA

    Stupid people are less likely to think they can run everything...:

    "If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier; just so long as I'm the dictator." - GW Bush

    ...and religious folks that view men as a fallen angel...are more likely to support restraints on government.

    Under Bush, Federal Spending Increases at Fastest Rate in 30 Years

    http://www.independent.org/new.....?newsID=31

    AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA...oh man...thanks for that.

  • Bushwhacked||

    Bush was an idiot. I'm willing to bet, most people who comment on this site did not vote for him (or McCain), or at least vomit a little every time they recall voting for him. I would also bet that the religious people on here would not jam their views down your throat like the Neo-cons tried to do. Bush talked a folsky pseudo-free market, anti-adventurism game in 2000 (coupled with the BS family values garbage) and turned his back on it the first chance he had. So go ahead, troll about the lack of Bush hating (it's not like you were on here prior to 2008). It's better to atone for your sins then to acknowledge that you committed a sin in the first place. As for the wars...How's Obama handling that? Blame Bush all you want, but we've hardly seen a wind of change on that front.

  • Tim2||

    Less likely =/= never, you seem to be just as adept at creating straw men as Chad.

  • nebby||

    "who have whose"? A liberal arts degree would have done a world of good for you.

  • Tim2||

    I'm sorry that I didn't proofread my online comments up to your standards, asshat.

  • strat||

    The cake is a lie.

  • strat||

    The cake is a lie.

  • ||

    Not this stupid Russian bitch again....

  • ||

    Strangely, this is my favorite comment yet.

  • ||

    Sonnet SL

    O, from what power hast thou this powerful might
    With insufficiency my heart to sway?
    To make me give the lie to my true sight,
    And swear that brightness doth not grace the day?
    Whence hast thou this becoming of things ill,
    That in the very refuse of thy deeds
    There is such strength and warrantize of skill
    That, in my mind, thy worst all best exceeds?
    Who taught thee how to make me love thee more
    The more I hear and see just cause of hate?
    O, though I love what others do abhor,
    With others thou shouldst not abhor my state:
    If thy unworthiness raised love in me,
    More worthy I to be beloved of thee.

  • ||

    THREADJACK:

    Obama ‘Agnostic’ on Deficit Cuts, Won’t Prejudge Tax Increases

    http://www.businessweek.com/ne.....eases.html

  • Suki||

    Congressman (retired) Charlie Wilson died, the one of Charlie Wilson's War.

    Odd that his nemesis on the covert budget, Jack Murtha, died the other day.

  • ||

    I could have sworn I read an essay just like this in high school, Cathy...

  • ||

    "Rand's achievement as a promoter of the ideas of individual liberty, reason, and the free market remains unquestionable."

    This is what I'm talking about: Rand was not making an infomercial for capitalism; she provided the best de-ontological justification for freedom and capitalism. Keep your cheerleaders for freedom, I'll take philosophical principle every time.

  • Robert Frost||

    How countlessly they congregate
    O'er our tumultuous snow,
    Which flows in shapes as tall as trees
    When wintry winds do blow!--

    As if with keenness for our fate,
    Our faltering few steps on
    To white rest, and a place of rest
    Invisible at dawn,--

    And yet with neither love nor hate,
    Those stars like some snow-white
    Minerva's snow-white marble eyes
    Without the gift of sight.

  • ||

    Fuck off, Frost.

  • Don't fuck off||

    I love it

  • PIRS||

    Heller, have you read anything by Murray Rothbard?

  • ||

    Yes.

  • Tim2||

    I think you can make the case for freedom and individualism without attacking the subjective preferences for individuals to voluntarily participate in charitable endeavors or as part of a religious community.

    Just like I can support capitalism without vehemently attacking those who like to watch crappy reality T.V.

    Many people like altruism, which doesn't it strictly altruism anymore; but they do derive pleasure from helping others; so why go out of your way to say that such people's subjective preferences are stupid? All you need to support individualism is self ownership and that society and government accept that ownership, after that individuals can do what they want with what they own; while people like Hayek make convincing arguments against anarchists that there are small infringements upon liberty which may be necessary to prevent greater evils or when market forces are incapable of functioning. There is a difference between a safety net and a welfare state, at least in theory; while one can easily debate whether or not that theory could ever be actually implemented.

  • ||

    "I think you can make the case for freedom and individualism without attacking the subjective preferences for individuals to voluntarily participate in charitable endeavors or as part of a religious community."

    Yes, but are those two distinct parts of her philosophy or are they dependent upon one another, as you would suggest?

  • Hacha Cha||

    I love how nearly all of the things people point out as her flaws are some of the things I admire her for most.

  • ^||

    They can't handle the truth.

  • Sam Grove||

    Those who think Ayn Rand bitchy should read 'We the Living" in consideration of her assertion that it was as close to autobiography as she had gotten in her writings.

    She makes it to the U.S. and gets to here the same B.S. from the same kind of idiots that wrecked her homeland.

    No wonder she contained, and intermittently released, a lot of anger.

  • Sam Grove||

    aargh... "gets to hear"

  • Lester Hunt||

    I really do not understand Cathy Young's war on Ayn Rand. I've seen her write about AR twice, and both articles have the same format: there is both good and bad in AR's writings (well, duh) and now let's emphasize and exaggerate the bad as much as we can. What is her problem?

    You'd think if there were one person on Earth who is situated to appreciate what is positive in Rand, it would be Cathy Young. But apparently you'd think wrong.

  • ||

    And it's not like anyone who has heard of Rand hasn't also heard the ol' Rand-was-a-mean-selfish-Nazi-who-hated-puppies-and-children "argument." Not interesting, not original, and not accurate. Thanks Cathy.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Cathy Young's.....articles [all] have the same format: there is both good and bad.....

    That's pretty much how it is.

    But you're right, her clear efforts to find as much wrong with Rand as possible are a bit surprising.

  • I Heart Capitalisms||

    I think what tends to happen is that libertarians read Rand too early, get way too into her, drift away later, feel embarassed about their earlier excessive fandom, and then try to compensate for it by repeating the anti-Rand cliches.

  • ||

    For my part, I enjoyed "The Fountainhead" and found it to be an inspiring work about personal excellence. Finished about 2/3 of "Atlas Shrugged" but found it to be taking a good argument to an insane extreme. I respect her for being a passionate advocate for individualism; her ideas have been very stimulating to my intellectual development. There are two sides to every story and she argues one side very well.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I'm with you heller. Rothbard and Von Mises were really valuable but you can't compare them to Ayn Rand who developed a metaphysics, an epistemology, an ethics and as a garnish some economics and other areas of interest.

  • Ebeneezer Scrooge||

    Does anybody know where that OH jackass came from? Some trolls you can ignore. Others just need the living shit knocked out of them.

    If only I wasn't working OT tonight.....

  • nebby||

    People who provide reasons they think you are wrong and engage in open debate with you are not trolls. Why would you even post on a message board if you are not willing to engage people who disagree with you?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    People who cram "Somalia" and "glibertarian" into their hate-fueled treatises are only amusing. Otherwise, they offer nothing of substance.

  • ||

    Why do right-wing people always resort to physical revenge fantasies? It can't all be due to having a tiny penis: there are plenty of right-wing women.

    I just can't figure it out.

  • I.N. Somniac||

    Eb, Some trolls you can ignore but not him? I think you may have just given him the ultimate compliment.

  • ^||

    Of course, you reduce yourself to the troll's level when you argue with it.

  • Pedantula||

    Like every other Rand thread, this one is breaking all known records for use of the bulverism fallacy...

  • Don Olsen||

    OK, wow now that looks like a lot of fun!

    Jess
    www.online-anonymity.cz.tc

  • Draco||

    Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

  • Bashan||

    A train wreck of an article illuminating in its inanity.

  • ||

    I always liked how she didn't think photography was an art, that ballet was better than asian dance because the movememts were more "natural", and her asia-phobia in general. She was one step from living in her sister's attic and talking to horses like Nietche.

  • art is art is art||

    Tim, did she say why?

  • ||

    This is so stupid that it makes me to never read any "libertarian" publication again. Rand didn't ridicule the home for women as such but focused on the hardbitten social worker who was upbraiding Cheryl Taggart right before she committed suicide.
    These types are like policewomen.
    Rand's listing of the doomed passengers philosophical beliefs
    was entirely appropriate since the incompetence that caused the disaster
    was the result of the policies advocated by the passengers.
    Same with the whole morality of altruism and self-sacrifice.
    Young doesn't seem to understand Rand here. Of course there would be no libertarian movement without Atlas Shrugged. Murray Rothbard is our greatest thinker in political philosophy and Rand is our greatest philosopher per se. But Murray is not known outside of a small circle and he along with the Brandens contributed to a whole host of lies about Rand. These were evident in the two recent anti-Rand hatchet jobs though Heller did express some doubts about Murray's credibility on Rand and did refer readers to Jim Valliant's debunking of Rand. Rand's fault were her stands that are inconsistent with Objectivism such support for Israel, the space program, compulsory jury duty, Nixon, civilian saturation bombing, window censorship, indifference to gun control and general anti-Arab racism. Naturally of these bad stands of
    Rand are mentioned by Young who is a supporter of Israel and Bush's lying war.
    Previously Rand had terrible stands on free will and eminent domain but changed for the better there. According to Hospers she endorsed 80% taxation if it kept the Soviets out. A really stupid idea since at 80% taxation we would be a defacto Communist state. Assuming Hospers account is correct and after his incredible endorsement of Bush in 04
    I wouldn't trust Hospers on anything. Nada. Zip. Nothing.
    Now let's go to the bottom line here.
    In 100 years Rand will be read widely
    and celebrated while none of her critics will. By the way, there is no Rand revival since her books have continued to have huge sales all the time. Only since the Bush-Obama bailout the sales have almost doubled. Tim WB you can't even spell
    Nietzsche. Rand was right about ballet
    and photography. I'd take issue with her on Wagner and Beethoven's Ninth and
    Canon In D but her positive musical tastes were great.
    Liberty Lover there are not two equal sides to every issue. Sometimes there are three sides but one is right and the others wrong. Atlas Shrugged is a much greater work than The Fountainhead
    precisely it went much further and introduced a social context lacking in The Fountainhead, which I have read twelve times.
    But I have read Atlas twenty times
    in 48 years.
    Nebby, after seeing tons of graduates all my life, a think a lib arts
    degree does much more harm than
    good in 99% of the cases.
    heller, love your perceptive comments and assume you are not the anne heller of one of the hatchet books.
    Definition of a troll:someone who's opinion you don't agree with.
    Fluffy, you are right about Buckley.
    A total pretentious, philosophically inconsistent bore and good riddance to him.

  • RCTL||

    "Tim WB you can't even spell" but neither can I write (FIFY): "a think a lib arts".
    "Rand was right about ballet and photography. I'd take issue with her on Wagner and Beethoven's Ninth and Canon In D but her positive musical tastes were great." I see you fail to understand the purpose of music and art. You either can feel art and music or analyze it but if it is the latter then you will never comprehend.
    "The Fountainhead, which I have read twelve times.
    But I have read Atlas twenty times in 48 years." The difference between reading and studying but it is telling that you go back to the same books. Do you feel or know you are missing something?

  • ||

    PIRS, your comments are utterly stupid.
    Military basic training turns humans into robotic killers.
    Just the opposite of Rand's benevolent
    works. I am so tired of philosophical
    illiterates who try to equate Rand with
    Spencer or Stirner or Nietzsche.
    Of course when people are determined to
    be obtuse there's little one can do.

  • PIRS||

    Michael, I was only refering to PROCESS, not to result. I thought I made that clear.

  • ||

    Geez Mike,

    You talk like a DI.

    Rand was a trivial thinker. Her books are a crashing bore. Her ideas are nothing more than social darwinism. And the only people who can accept them are those who mistakenly believe they will never be culled from the herd.

    I have met so many young people under the age of twenty who are in love with Rand.

    And I have met few people over the age of thirty who will even admit they read her books.

  • PIRS||

    So I take it you have never read her?

  • ||

    Ayn mixed Darwinism with markets. If one considers the outcome, it is quite brutal.

    Ayn is a Social Darwinist.

  • ||

    Call the cops, another retard escaped from his padded cell.

  • PIRS||

    "Ayn mixed Darwinism with markets."
    {{citation needed}}

    Ayn is a Social Darwinist.
    {{citation needed}}

  • ||

    Bill Jones, if arbitrary assertions were music, you'd be the Berlin Philharmonic.
    She was not a social darwinist, see her critique of Spencer in the title essay in For The New Intellectual, her ideas were the most removed ones from being trivial and all you are doing here is exposing yourself as a hilosophical illiterate.
    I've met tons of people over 30 and 40 who not only admit reading her books but love them. You are frankly pathetic.

  • ||

    "Unfortunately, her extremism limits her value as a messenger, and our current intellectual climate makes it likely that many of her new admirers will adopt not her best traits but her worst: intolerance, paranoia, and dehumanization of the enemy."
    Well said. Reminds me of my sister, who introduced me to Rand's works years ago. She's now some kind of a radical-Green-quasi-Socialist-I don't- know-what, a political persusasion I'm unable to describe.

  • ||

    Orel Hazard, you have yet to make one intelligible argument. Rand was correct that no such as society existed. There is no separate entity known as society, it's merely a term of convenience to describe living in a given geographical area. There is no such thing as a public interest nor general welfare nor national defense nor any other collectivist entity.
    Every country is only a collection of INDIVIDUALS, that's it and that's all.
    BUSH nationalized more banks than Comrade Chavez in Venezuela as Chavez acknowledged in December, 2008.
    Obama is a statist, not a socialist, who is continuing Bush's statist bailout policy. The FedGov caused the current depression by its easy money policies and by stupid anti-discrimination aimed at getting unqualified minorities into home ownership.
    A 100% gold backed money would not allow risky lending or inflation and
    fractional reserve banking would be outlawed as fraud. Don't get too cocky
    about your portfolio, things could take a very nasty downward lurch.
    Maybe you are one of the simpletons
    you believe everything NPR and FedGov
    say. You need to read Capitalism by George Reisman, an atlas-sized (pun
    intended) that would 2,000 pages of a
    regular book and Orel, no "pitchers" in it.
    BobbieMac, Rand will remembered 100 years from now and celebrated, no one
    will remember any of the nonentities on this board who savage her.
    "Single payer" is a euphemism for socialized medicine, anyone in Canada
    with serious health problems comes here. The fruits of the statist Greenspan-Bush-Bernanke-Obama policies will be coming in the years to come and it wipe the smirk off all the faces of all the Orel Hazards.
    PIRS, there is no citation to be given because Ayn was never a social darwinist.
    The number of anti-rational idiots on an allegedly libertarian board is astounding.
    Henry, Ayn forgot more than you ever knew. Stupid is you, Henry.

  • ||

    Well, you're right about "unqualified minorities" being responsible. The investment bankers who invented, then played hot potato with securitized, fraudulently valued mortgage debt and its derivatives, then left us holding the $60T bag when they popped the bubble are definitely far outnumbered by all of us. They are indeed a minority, and certainly unqualified.

    Of course, what they're uqualified to do is honest work. I can see why that is - when there are sycophants such as yourself ready to fellate them at the drop of a hat, why should they ever bother with honest work?

  • ||

    You're retarded Moral Orel, the commenter above never said ubqualified minorities were responsible:

    "The FedGov caused the current depression by its easy money policies and by stupid anti-discrimination aimed at getting unqualified minorities into home ownership."

  • John||

    Ayn Rand was right, doesn't matter what you lefties say, doesn't matter because you are doing to this country exactly what she said you would. All your policies, your programs, your need to "help" everyone. This is a world of your creation, you have done this.

  • ||

    Two Points. One family is a transaction. The fact that you obtain benefits often too etheral to quantify doesn't detract from the fact that you're chosing one life over another. Two - the train wreck, they did deserve it. The fact that innocents were caught up in the disaster is just what happens in life, and what usually happens.

    By the way, I'm sixty-five and like many others of my generation haven't gone on from Rand.

  • Comrade Laissez Faire||

    "Rand sarcastically notes that many people would regard the dead passengers as innocent victims of a tragedy and then, in a series of brief character sketches, endeavors to show that they were far from innocent: All had benefited from evil government programs, promoted evil political or philosophical ideas, or both."

    That's how I feel about 911 victims that voted for Republicans and Democrats, being that it is the predatory world policeman foreign policy on the part of federal legislators and presidential administrations of those two parties that agitates such aggression from abroad.

    Same goes for U.S. military personnel injured or killed abroad that support intrusive and meddlesome Demopublican foreign policy instead of a Jeffersonian or Swiss-style foreign policy absent of trying to right the wrongs of the world by the initiation of political, military, or covert force.

  • Joe||

    I always liked the train wreck scene and thought it represented that ideas have consequences. Rand was a bit nutty but how does the train wreck scene have anything to do with Rand having totalitarian tendencies? I had grown away from her books over the years and thought they were childish until I started seeing some of the things in Atlas Shrugged in real life such as the Feds calling in all of the banks and intimidating even strong banks into taking Tarp money.

  • Joe||

    By the way, according to some things I have read and according to a buddy of mine who teaches a "History of Social Thought" class, even Spencer himself was not really a Social darwinist. He has been misinterpreted and misquoted for years, partly because he (typical libertarian, ha-ha) did not reference others in his writings (according to my source anyway). He apparently was a system builder (like Rand and Rothbard I suppose). ANyway, it would be interesting if he is being condemned all these years for something he never really said.

  • ||

    The resurgence in Rand's popularity is periodic and predictable. Suddenly, "unexpectedly," every five years or so, pretentiously "intellectual" sophomores rediscover her with the same shallow, unquestioning enthusiasm with which they greet "Dungeons and Dragons," but at least with D&D, there's a lot more depth than in the pseudo-philosophy of the hopelessly narcissistic and basically infantile Rand.

  • Lady Blakeney||

    Just wondering If you were you waving your linen handkerchief a la Leslie Howard as you typed your post?

  • abercrombie milano||

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