People of the Book

Why have libertarians gotten more out of literature than conservatives have?

After gifting us with such lists as the top 50 conservative rock songs, this year National Review offered, under the guidance of political reporter John J. Miller, the “Ten Great Conservative Novels” of the postwar era.

Miller is a literature buff whose tastes are more inclusive of pop and genre fiction than were those of such highbrow conservative lit gurus as Irving Babbitt or T.S. Eliot. The novels NR selected, though, were all by reputable novelists, some with known conservative sympathies, some not. Their themes promote such modern conservative ideas as the evils of the Soviets, the counterculture’s erosion of proper culture, and the technological destruction of human nature.

National Review presented them not to celebrate a recognized right-wing canon, but to promote works of likely interest for conservatives craving ideological sympathy. As Miller told me, “I do think conservatives respond to art in certain kinds of ways and certain kinds of messages resonate with them. I’m not talking about propaganda, but about insight into human nature and shared worldviews—and a sense when reading this book that you are among friends or someone you can learn from.”

But when Miller sought suggestions for the list on his blog, various commenters protested that the project was unconservative in principle: Stalinists were the ones who had to categorize art politically. Someone who calls himself “Das” noted, “If a novel just plays out and lets life unfold I believe conservatives can claim it as a conservative novel. Why? Conservatives invest themselves in life not politics. … Conservatives don’t grind axes in art, they just let life play out.”

Now, it is true that conservatives have generally avoided the totalitarian temptation to squeeze everything into a political mold. But they have also managed to avoid the creative arts in the formation and shaping of their ideas—this despite their movement’s self-appointed reputation as keeper of the canons of Western culture.

To read the rest of the story, go here.

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  • Suki||

  • The Gobbler||

  • Suki||

    I already know how to put in makeup, just not as fast as Ayn does in that video. Is the the brunette?

  • The Gobbler||

    Did you watch the whole thing? The two chicks making out were damn hot.

  • Suki||

    Yea, I thought that was cute. Are you sure cdgirls.com is really the sort of girls you are thinking about?

  • The Gobbler||

    I love them all.

  • ||

    Oh wow that makes a lot of snse dude

    www.feds-logging.at.tc

  • Urkobold™||

    "Why Do Libertarians Get More Friction Than Conservatives?"

    THIS IS A GOOD QUESTION. THE REASON LIBERTARIANS GET MORE FRICTION IS THAT WE HAVE LARGER PENISES THAN CONSERVATIVES. MUCH LARGER THAN LEFTIES.

  • practice makes perfect||

    Is it accurate to measure with your mouth?

  • Death Panelist||

    If you can do so by yourself, you're doing a-okay.

  • Urkobold™||

    THOSE WHO CAN, DO.

  • creech||

    Libertarians get more from fiction than conservatives. Really? Most conservatives I know will put the Bible right up there as the source of most of their insights into human behavior and morality.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Creech,

    Most conservatives I know will put the Bible right up there as the source of most of their insights into human behavior and morality.

    I would, too, even though I am a non-believer. Don't dismiss the Bible that readily.

  • ||

    I forget if it was Doherety or Welch who posted on here that all religious writing is crap that gives the answers rather than searches for them.

  • ||

    Yeah; I've always thought that an assertion of religious certainty is extremely arrogant and condescending. To "know" God, wouldn't one have to be God? How can we possibly suppose to understand things that are clearly far beyond our experiences?

    I don't practice any religion, but I've always been much more drawn to the Buddhist idea of asking rather than telling.

  • ||

    I meant that as a slam on Welch or whoever wrote it. Anyone who thinks that religious texts claim to offer a full understanding of God hasn't read them very closely. They generally raise more questions than answers.

  • T||

    The Bible, at least in the Old Testament, says you cannot understand God, so just shut up and do what you're told. Understanding takes a back seat to obedience.

  • ||

    I'll admit to a tenuous -- at best -- familiarity with the Bible. But I have to say, among the "faithful" people I know there is often an unquestioning certainty tied up in their bullshit.

    Of course, to your point, that's very likely a result of their misunderstanding of the philosophy to which they supposedly adhere.

  • Tony||

    The Bible is shit. And no Christian who's not a college professor has ever read it, and the more they bash you over the head with it, the less of it they've read. I am convinced of that. The Bible is one of the hardest pieces of fiction that exist in the world. I studied Joyce in college and I can't get through it all, and I've tried. I do not believe that a bunch of yokels married to Jesus have the ability to read it and get anything out of it.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    I grew up in a fundamentalist church. Nearly everyone had read massive swaths of the Bible. Probably not the obscure stuff like Habbukkuk or the massive geneologies in I Chronicles, but definitely most of the rest of it. I am no longer a Christian, but they're not as stupid as you think they are. Certainly their religion is no stupider than your politics.

  • Suki||

    +1

  • Wegie||

    "....but they're not as stupid as you think they are." They are even more stupid!

  • ||

    As an atheist, I have to disagree.

    First of all, there is the literary aspect. Exodus and Judges, if read as an Epic Tale of the coming of Jews, is comparable to The Iliad and The Aeneid. As poetry, Psalms and Ecclesiastes are marvelous. (I definitely prefer the KJV.)

    As a History of a People, it is no more self-serving than other historical works (even ones written in the present.)

    As a guide to living, it is eminently practical for a group of nomadic herders. (Although necessary for a commercial society, usury is a real problem for a tribal culture.)

    As a cultural corpus, it is a binding ethos which enabled a people to continue as a people even after conquest and forcible slavery in a foreign land. (I’m thinking primarily of the Babelonian Captivity and the post-Flavian Diaspora Jews, here.)

    I read the Bible as a self-defense measure, being an atheist in a Conservative Christian community. But my atheism does not blind me to the parts that I find interesting or valuable.

  • ||

    Argh.

    Babylonian Captivity.
    Post-Flavian Diaspora.

    Preview, dammit!

  • Kolohe||

    Post-Flavian Diaspora.

    Skanks scattered to the four corners of the globe?

  • ||

    There are great tales in the Bible.

  • Tomcat1066||

    Tony: You studied Joyce in college, but then she took out that pesky restraining order and your life just hasn't been the same since.

    Luckily for you, since then you've gotten into guys and have been much happier.

    We're happy for you. Honestly. Joyce is too. She no longer has to have to look under her car for psychotic icepick killers.

  • ||

    The Bible is shit. And no Christian who's not a college professor has ever read it

    I know several who have. Born-agains. Genuine hard-core, off-the-deep-end Jesus Freaks. A few I worked with spent every available coffee and lunch break minute reading the bible cover to cover. A friend and co-worker noticed one of them getting tantalizingly close to the end, and said, "Just about time to start over again at the beginning, eh?" Which the Freak did. Because she might have missed some revelation the first or second or third time around.

  • AT||

    Hard it is indeed. Shit, it is not.

  • Barack Obama||

    "The Bible, at least in the Old Testament, says you cannot understand God, so just shut up and do what you're told."

    That is exactly how you fuckers should view Me.

    Well, at least Tony gets it.

  • ||

    Wow, you really are coming off as a bigoted idiot here.

  • ||

    Just here?

  • T||

    Become your own messiah, Rhayader. All that is divine is contained within you.

    All that is diabolic, as well, but we don't usually bring that up. Better to focus on the positive.

  • ||

    Sheeeeeit, the diabolic stuff is the fun part though.

  • The Gobbler||

    "To "know" God, wouldn't one have to be God?"

    I know plenty of people who are not me.

  • ||

    No way. I'm no expert on religion but I went to Thailand, and the people are told by their priests that they need to give basically all their worldly possessions to the Buddhist temples. The temples are opulent and fabulously wealthy, while the average Thai family lives in abject poverty.

    In their show "Bullshit" Penn & Teller asserted that the Dali Llama was in charge of a society with two classes: the priests that did basically nothing except their pointless rituals and dispensing fortune cookie advice, and the serfs that spent all their lives working to please them, and received nothing but "spiritual fulfillment" in return.

    Christianity may have its problems, but recognize that the best things about modern society arose from social and technological innovations in what were Christian nations, not Islamic or Buddhist. Hardly proves causation, but it is an interesting observation.

    My personal feeling is that Buddhism provides a "safe" cop out for spiritual people that don't want to associate themselves with an organized faith. No one really knows anything about it here. Think about it: Christianity would seem a million times more appealing if you didn't know any hypocrites that live by it.

  • ||

    Very observant.

  • alan||

    John, you are thinking of TC who came in a thread one day and blasted away at the idea of literary and social value in religious text, be it Mohamed, Paul or Anton LaVey, if I recall correctly.

    BTW, where has Timmah! been?

  • ||

    Parts of the Bible are beautifully written. Psalms being the obvious example.

    Most of it is tedious. Revelations comes across as being written by one of my fat, stupid aunts.

  • ||

    Revelations comes across as being written by one of my fat, stupid aunts.

    ...who had bad LSD mixed with mescaline slipped into their tea.

  • Koman Coulibaly||

    Koman Coulibaly believes there is no such thing as bad LSD.

  • Threadwinner Authoritah||

    WINNER!

    Sadly :(

  • BakedPenguin||

    That explains your refereeing

  • AA||

    God is a child on top of an ant hill with a magnifying glass.

  • Astropud||

    Parts of the Bible are beautifully written.

    You have to remember the Bible is not really a single piece. It's a collection of about 40 (?) documents written over the course of centuries. So, literary values and style will change of necessity.

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    Unlike "Western canon" conservatism, libertarianism isn't hampered in its approach to literature and other art forms by an insistence on a false dichotomy between "art" and "entertainment." Avoidance of this dichotomy both liberates the aesthetic imagination and clarifies the history of art, as this wonderful lecture series by Paul Cantor demonstrates.

  • The Gobbler||

    Shouldn't you be at home masturbating to picture of your mother?

  • Gobbler's mommy||

    That's our secret!

  • Brian Sorgatz||

    I don't need to do that, Gobbler, since your mother gives me such good head.

  • Tony||

    But what does the picture of Ayn Rand have to do with anything?

  • ||

    She's a lib magnet?

  • ||

    She was put there to annoy you, I believe. I'd complain.

  • Tony||

    Mission accomplished.

  • ||

    I'll complain for you.

    Hey, Nick, Brian is annoying Tony with this picture of Ayn Rand. Could you make him replace it with something else? Maybe with a picture of Koman Coulibaly?

    Thanks,

    Pro Lib, Esq.

  • dhex||

    it's a wry juxtaposition, as the topic is literature after all.

    [rimshot]

  • Suki||

    She wrote a little bit of fiction that Libertarians get a lot out of.

  • Tony||

    I only respect libertarians who denounce Rand.

  • Jersey Patriot||

    The other day you said you weren't convinced that libertarianism wasn't a front for racial fascism, today you're setting out the bounds of respectable libertarianism.

    How about you fuck off, instead?

  • Tony||

    I can respect whomever I want, I'm not telling you what to believe. It's just that Rand is a 5th rate thinker, which I suppose enablers her fascism. Not just fascism, but Hitler-style. She is a eugenicist, another shallow interpreter of Nietzsche who thinks only people like her deserve to live. She is unfortunately the hero of many an 8th grader, but it really should stop there.

  • ||

    LOL - you aren't worthy to lick the bottom of Rand's shoes. What a steaming pile of crap you are.

  • ||

    a steaming pile of crap

    "Steaming" confers too much on Tony. He is, more properly, a cold and wormy pile of crap.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Assertions

    1-5th rate thinker

    2-Hitler-style-fascist

    3-eugenicist

    4-shallow interpreter of Nietzsche

    5-thinks only people like her deserve to live

    6-good 8th grade hero but should stop there

    Follow-up

    1-Please list thinking categories 1-5

    2-How so?

    3-Oh my! Do tell!

    4-Ayn Rand thought Nietzsche was a nihilist and denounced him for all but a few rare lines of value.

    5-nope

    6-Now that you've graduated 8th grade, you might want to go back and check your work.

  • JoshINHB||

    Tony,

    Rand is not a fascist, that is an actual economic-politial system.

    Rand was a cult leader. A David Koresh for self improtant psuedo intellectuals.

  • -||

    self improtant psuedo intellectuals

    Not bad. Two out of four spelled correctly. Consider yourself exempt from all future short-bus excursions.

  • ||

    I'm gonna have to go with Tony on this one haha. She demanded a philosophical grounding to libertarianism. For example, you had to believe there is no God (and not actively believing in God, was by no means enough). You had to follow her epistimology and metaphysics and everything. Yet for someone who demanded such a grounding, she and her followers were as philosophically unlibertarian as you can be. The blind obedience, the control over every aspect of your life, that's hardly something I would think most of us could get into.

  • Edwin||

    Indeed. Rand was not the best of thinkers. She didn't just point out that oe has a right to one's own earnings, and that charity and love are in a way self-interested. She took it to an ugly conclusion that chairty is a kind of sin. That donating to something that isn't personally close to you was practicing self-sacrificial non-values.

    She seemed to forget that every person is a part of the world, and lives in the world. So helping anyone out is helping out part of his own world. And in general a person SHOULD value others. If you don't, you've got a problem.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    You said "She took it to an ugly conclusion that chairty is a kind of sin."

    She said "My views on charity are very simple. I do not consider it a major virtue and, above all, I do not consider it a moral duty. There is nothing wrong with helping people if and when they are worthy of the help and if you can afford it. What I am fighting is that charity is a moral duty and a primary virtue."

    While no one would mistake this quote as the lyrics of "We Are The World", she is not calling charity a sin.

    It's fine if you hate Ayn Rand, but if you want to discuss someone's ideas, it might be good to actually learn what they are instead of just parroting your sociology professor's strawmen.

  • Edwin||

    No, at some point she actually did say something to the effect of charity being a bad thing. She may have qualified it with her "selfless" thingy, but she said something to that effect.

    Look it up.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    You're thinking of altruism not charity. She thought altruism(otherism; the belief that one should live for others and the idea that the sacrifice of one's own good for the good of others is the only justification for ones life) was bad. She makes this distinction often. Look it up.

  • Edwin||

    That quote alone is pretty bad. Charity is a pretty good thing. If the world were more charitable, it might be better off. Surely, it's better to encourage people to be charitable, given man's egocentric instinct.

    Not-a-moral-duty is one thing, that I can get on board with. But not a primary virtue? Sorry, that's a messed up thing to say. And you end up with some pretty perverse things. When someone really does something truly heroic for the benefit of others, you'll be the dick saying "yeah, whatever". Example: There was a Chinese guy who went out of his way, into a dangerous room that was on fire, to turn off a valve, just to save the other workers, knowing that he could very well die. His face is now all fucked up. Most people would say that's an amazing and noble thing he did. Truly commendable. What is a Randian going to say? "*YAWN* Eh, that doesn't necessarily make him a GOOD person. Has he been following his values lately?" WTF? You see, at a certain point it becomes perverse.

  • Edwin||

    Again, what Rand was missing is that a person SHOULD value other people. Only psychopaths don't value other people. If you left it where she left off on her logic, a psychopath is morally neutral.

    But a healthy person DOES value other people because it MAKES SENSE. No man is an island, we all gain from interaction. And if you help someone somehow, you're ultimately helping the same world that you live in. What Rand was saying does matter a little, like for example if you donated to the Klan, you WOULDN'T be helping the world, but you would techincally be being "selfless". But outside of stuff like that, it is perfectly rational to value charity and charitable people.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "Again, what Rand was missing is that a person SHOULD value other people."

    She agreed with this, as long as you do not value them over yourself.

    "But a healthy person DOES value other people because it MAKES SENSE. No man is an island, we all gain from interaction."

    She agreed with this too. Again, as long as a man is not called upon to regard others as a higher value just because they are not him. Also, you do not gain anything from any interaction in which you die.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    No, an Objectivist(not "Randian") would point out that you, an altruist, find him more heroic *because* he was dismembered in the process, and would have found him even more heroic if he had died in the fire and less heroic if he had saved them without a scratch. If he had avoided injury by taking precautions of his own, he would be regarded as selfish and it would be you saying "*YAWN* that doesn't necessarily make him a good person, he was in no danger at all".

    It's not the lives he saved that make him heroic to an altruist it's the suffering and devastating loss.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    An objectivist would also point out that the people he rescued should pool their money and get the best plastic surgeon in the world to restore their rescuer's face.

  • -||

    Yup.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    She didn't demand anything. She developed a philosophy. That's how philosophy works. You develop a metaphysics, an epistemology, an ethics, politics etc. then you explain it and people either agree with it or they don't. If you want to make a bunch of changes to someone's philosophy, you have to call it something different. A philosopher doesn't just come up with a couple of ideas and leave the rest wide open for lecturers to improvise per their mood. None of the historic ones left it wide open. Kant didn't, Plato didn't, Aristotle didn't and to any extent they may have, it was oversight not an attempt at open mindedness. Does this make them cult-leaders or authoritarians?

  • JoshINHB||

    No telling a "member" of her group to either divorce his wife and marry someone of her chosing or get be "excommunicated" from the group is an indication that she was a cult leader.

    But heh David Koresh had an internally consistent philosophy too.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Who are you talking about? I've read Barbara Branden's biography of Rand. Barbara made sure to highlight every bad thing Ayn ever did, why did she forget to mention this?

    Have you read David Koresh's entire philosophy and checked its consistency for yourself? Neither have I. I doubt it's consistent, even internally. I'll bet its flaws are glaringly obvious, but I've never read it so I won't try to explain why it's wrong.

    See what I did there? I said I probably didn't have anything to add but guesses because I've never read it.

  • JoshINHB||

    Ever heard of Murray Rothbard?

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard23.html

  • JoshINHB||

    Not sure why the first link didn't work

    Try this one.

    Take a few minutes to read it, then tell me why it's bullshit.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I like Rothbard, but this is just a hatchet piece.

    The job of teaching a philosophy which is not yours requires that you teach it exactly as it is. If any of them wanted to teach their own philosophy, they could have done so. What they wanted instead was to learn and be able to teach her very intricate and very official philosophy without deviation. This is a job. Some jobs are hard. Some bosses are ass-holes and get too nosy or demanding. You don't like it you quit. Some of the people should have told her to go fuck herself.

    I've never seen Murray paint free people as victims of their own decisions before. And why? They can't help but do what she says because they want acceptance? Murray knows better and argues against this kind of thinking all the time. He made an exception for this article because didn't like her. Why didn't he deal with her ideas themselves as he does so brilliantly with other ideologies? Who cares if she was unlikeable or paranoid or took amphetamines or whatever? Are the ideas themselves wrong or right? Why?

  • JoshINHB||

    You can't get around the fact that her ideology was a construct designed to maximize her personal power over acolytes.

    Yes she had some good ideas. The problem is that she pushed those ideas to an illogicla extreme to further her own aggrandizement.

    She became the logical conclusion of here philosophy and it should be telling to you that she more closely resembled the totalitarians that she hated than the embodiment of libertarian ideas.

    Two final thoughts.

    You mentioned that her detractors "didn't do their job" - which requires that they were paid to do so. Meaning that you unwittingly validate the idea that the cult of Ayn Rand was really about her personal accumulation of wealth and power.

    2 Rothbard dame to despise her because he was a member of the cult for a time, they did try to break up his marriage and he recognized that she was a failed totalitarian.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Yes, employees are usually hired to make as much money for the employer as possible. This is not evil, it is a very very good thing as Murray Rothbard himself often explains. Employers are not dictators because there is a difference between economic incentive and military force. Been a libertarian long?

    I like Murray Rothbard because I have read him. If I had only read about the shittiest things he's ever done exaggerated by his fiercest critics who hated him personally, I probably would not like him.

    You have just not read enough of her stuff to know what you are talking about. In fact, it seems like you haven't read enough Rothbard from your first of two final thoughts. Sounds more like Chomsky

  • JoshINHB||

    Yes, employees are usually hired to make as much money for the employer as possible. This is not evil, it is a very very good thing as Murray Rothbard himself often explains. Employers are not dictators because there is a difference between economic incentive and military force.

    You are oblivious to the fact that a social, or religious group in the case of Rand, should not be a commercial enterprise.

    This is more evidence that Randism is a cult.

    All human activities and relationships are not economic acts, you sir are a carictature of a libertarian.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "a social, or religious group in the case of Rand, should not be a commercial enterprise."

    Religious group? What?!?

    She was mainly an author. She should give her books away for free and have no employees? What force should cause it to be this way? Did Rothbard lecture for free? What the hell are you talking about?

  • JoshINHB||

    We were discussing an article that recorded her mistreatment of her friends, aka the Rand Cult.

    Your responses to that mistreatment.

    The job of teaching a philosophy...without deviation. This is a job. Some jobs are hard. Some bosses are ass-holes and get too nosy or demanding. You don't like it you quit

    Yes, employees are usually hired to make as much money for the employer as possible... Employers are not dictators because there is a difference between economic incentive..."

    You repeatedly state that these people were employees of Ayn. And that as such they were perfroming tasks at her direction for her enrichment.

    In fact they were not employees. They were members of a social group led by her. As such they had no financial obligation to perfrom teaching duties for her.

    There is no doubt that this structure benefitted Ayn financially and emotionally but I have not seen any evidence that she paid these acolytes and therfor the were not emplyed by here. That you characterize this sopcial group as an employment situation is a sign that it was in fact a cult.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Some were employees, some were endorsed publishers or presenters of her intellectual property. Her endorsement came with terms. Same principle as employment-you don't like the terms, you publish your own ideas without claiming to represent her ideas.

    Just more proof, I'm sure, that it was a cult.

  • JoshINHB||

    BTW-

    I like Rothbard, but this is just a hatchet piece.

    Since Mr Rothbard was intimately familar with Rand, the Brandens, the cult and the "whole scene" your calling it a hatchet job is the same as saying that he is lying about what he wrote.

    I will take his word for it over yours unless you have some proof that he is in fact lying.

  • ||

    Liberals are eugenicists in their own way too.

    How many rates of thinkers are there? *Scratches head*

  • Fiscal Meth(6th rate thinker)||

    If you don't know how many rates there are, then you must be a 7th rater. Take Tony's word for it.

  • Tomcat1066||

    And libertarians all over the world are truly concerned about your respect.

  • Paul||

    Rand wrote libertarian fiction?

  • ||

    Rand wrote fiction? You mean, the Fountainhead is not a realistic depiction of good and evil?

  • Brett L||

    The characters had a lot more depth than those portrayed in Alexander or Troy, to damn with extremely faint praise.

  • ||

    What a waste of time article. Yes, Libertarians are smarter and more imaginative than those of other "tarian" persuasions. Whatever.

  • ||

    Mr. Stuff, meet Mrs. Space. Fill her.

  • Mark this||

    I prefer to compare Reason writers to dogs who like to refresh their scent for the pack

  • Paul||

    Case in point.

  • ||

    Most conservatives I know will put the Bible right up there as the source of most of their insights into human behavior and morality.

    Maybe that's where all the "EYE FOR AN EYE" stuff in the execution thread comes from.

  • Suki||

    Eye eye stuff goes on the pirate thread.

  • Brett L||

    Code of Hammurabi, not a Jew.

  • ||

    But guess who is: Hall of Famer Rod Carew

  • ||

    I get annoyed when the more "serious" people I know talk about how they only read non-fiction; the implication is that their time is too valuable to spend on frivolous fairy tales.

    Personally I've found more actual truth in fiction than in any crappy biography or friggin business book. Non-fiction writers tend to fall very hard for the hindsight narrative fallacy anyway, meaning their stuff is just as fictionalized as any novel.

  • Steff||

    My favorite book is labeled fiction, even though it's more auto-biography than not. And it's the one I buy copies for people at every available opportunity.

    It's not Rand, either.

  • libertytexan||

    Are we supposed to play 20 questions to find out what it is or something or are you unwilling to share good literature with others?

  • GrilledCS||

    I used to read fiction all of the time. For the past few years, I find that I don't read very much fiction at all. I guess your partially right about "wasting time on fairy tales" because I've found that I'm more interested in practical information and historical themes these days than fictional themes.

    However, none of this means that I look down my nose at someone who's reading fiction. I do notice, though, that people who read best selling, trade-paperback fiction seem to gain little intellectual benefit from doing so. Which is fine: there's no rule saying that people can't sit and read just for some light entertainment.

    Eh.

  • ||

    Some of my best friends read fiction.

  • Brett L||

    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance?
    On the Road?

  • GrilledCS||

    I'm betting it's "Zen and...".

  • GrilledCS||

    I'm betting it's "Zen and...".

  • ||

    Hi Steff!

    My favorite book is labeled fiction, even though it's more auto-biography than not. And it's the one I buy copies for people at every available opportunity.

    Your "favorite" sounds alot like mine... Heinlein's "Expanded Universe".

  • ||

    Good point. Like Hugo and his treastise on architecture in the Huncback bookie thingy.

  • Koman Coulibaly||

    Fuck you, America.

  • America||

    Right back at ya.

  • ||

    Well said, Koman.

  • ||

    Hey, Nick, Brian is annoying Tony with this picture of Ayn Rand. Could you make him replace it with something else? Maybe with a picture of Koman Coulibaly Mylie Cyrus' quim?

  • Koman Coulibaly||

    Fuck you, P Brooks. No goals for you!

  • Joe_D||

    But what does that picture of Austin Powers have to do with anything? So, he has bad teeth... so what?

  • ¢||

    The subtitle over there is "Why do libertarians produce better literature than conservatives?" WTF? They don't.

    Libertarian fiction, or at least fiction made by known or self-described or posthumously adopted mascot libertarians, is all ass. Even if you limit "conservatives" to self-identified Republicans, Rand and Heinlein and are so incredibly bad at their jobs, no amount of Left Behind piled up on the other side could make them look even half-assed.

    The best writers are the ones self-described radicals condemn as conservative for being insufficiently (or disobediently) "political."

    Who's the libertarian Celine?

    ...

    Exactly. You can't even imagine it.

  • GrilledCS||

    Celine is depressing.

  • GrilledCS||

    However, I will give Celine some cred for coming up with cool-sounding titles.

  • Stevo Darkly||

    Meh. "The Colour of My Love" is kind of an interesting image, but most of her titles are pretty bland and cliched.

  • alan||

    Yeah, Celine is up there. I even had a book club dedicated to his work. Just a bunch of pretentious Francophiles, like myself.

    But as to Who's the libertarian Celine?

    ...

    Exactly. You can't even imagine it. is ridiculous because though he is not 'cannon', Gene Wolfe (whose politics happen to be populist libertarian) writing is of a higher quality than Celine. Celine was brilliant in scene and style in word play, but he often fucked up both with amateurism that weighed the craft of his work down.

    Wolfe is rarely polemical though except in some of his lesser work like Free Live Free so he isn't identified as a libertarian author.

  • Stevo Darkly||

    Yeah, Celine is up there. I even had a book club dedicated to his work. Just a bunch of pretentious Francophiles, like myself.

    Er ... Celine Dion is not a "he." Those rumors just aren't true.

    You're probably thinking of Lady Gaga.

  • alan||

    However, if you mean the suckage of the polemical libertarian writers versus a Celine who made vivid points about nihilism in his work thus being conservative argumentation in the fiction, I have to agree, he is much better than Rand or Heinlein. It is not even close when measured like that.

  • khatre||

    The Sword of Truth series.
    Fiction but pretty solid libertarian literature.

  • Suki||

    USA ties Slovenia!

  • Koman Coulibaly||

    You are very welcome!

  • Koman Coulibaly||

    Koman Coulibaly laughs at your American politics. Koman Coulibaly takes goals away. Koman Coulibaly owns your country.

    Koman Coulibaly thinks your Ayn Rand is very beautiful. Is she sleazy like most American women?

  • Tony||

    Yeah, I'm having a hard time thinking of any good literature than can be described as conservative or liberal. A lot of good writers could fall into either camp, but what passes for conservatism in modern America is not a movement apt to produce great fiction, as it is authoritarian and hence anti-intellectual.

  • ||

    Yep. It's gotta be spelled-out with an obvious Beginning. Middle. and End.

    Don't ferget the Good vs Evil theme either.

  • The Gobbler||

    Yeah, I'm having a hard time thinking of any good literature than can be described as conservative or liberal. A lot of good writers could fall into either camp, but what passes for conservatism in modern America is not a movement apt to produce great fiction, as it is authoritarian and hence anti-intellectual.

  • Tony||

    Feeble. I gave it right to you. "Yeah, I'm having a hard time thinking..." would have worked better.

  • TickleStick||

    I'll take things an anti-intellectual would say for five hundred, Wink.

  • GrilledCS||

    I don't know what his actual politics are, but Cormac McCarthy, IMHO, deals with themes from a conservative sensibility. "No Country for Old Men" is about an aging sheriff who knows that things have changed for the worse in the world to such a degree that it will be best for him to retire. McCarthy doesn't only embody this in Chigur, the sociapath hitman, but in other things like kids with pink hair and nose rings. (At one point, in a diner scene, a female character wants to smoke and asks the sheriff if he minds. To this, he replies: "This still America, ain't it?")

    "The Road" deals with a father who knows he's going to have to leave his son in a world that holds no hope or future. It's a book about faith, I think, but not any specific kind of faith.

  • ||

    6th grade plot, 8th grade narrative. The kid on the biicycle who gives up his shirt is really Gaia. There, I spoiled it for you.

  • RyanXXX||

    Yea, because everyone knows Westerns and noir haven't played any significant role in American literature or popular culture. Only 8th graders take THAT crap seriously, right?

    Read Blood Meridian and shut up, dumbass

  • ||

    Blood Meridian. Better you should view old Stooges. Pre Shemp.

  • ||

    Oh, and fuck you.

  • ||

    Although he's conservative, I would submit that Cormac McCarthy's novels to be libertarian-ish.

  • PIRS||

    What about Garet Garrett?

    http://mises.org/daily/2751

  • JP||

    OK, the thing is.... good fiction doesn't HAVE any sort of ideological bent. If it does, it's simply propaganda. Good fiction (good literature of any sort, really) is the sort that presents different ideas that aren't necessarily what the author "believes." For example, do we really know what James Joyce's politics were simply by reading "Ulyssyes" or "Dubliners"? How about Shakespeare? Does it matter? Not at all.

    They present interesting ideas about life, death, humanity, etc. in a compelling way. THAT's what makes good literature good literature. Not politics or ideology or anything else.

    Not just because an author has some sort of ideological belief that we agree with. Ayn Rand has a few good ideas in her political writings (not a lot, but a few), but does that make her novels "good"? Because she is a TERRIBLE writer. Her prose sucks and her characters are overwrought and not believable. The Fountainhead is 800 pages of hell as far as I am concerned. What if you agreed with all of her ideas? Would that make her prose better and her plots any less comprehensible? No. No. No.

  • Tony||

    +5

    The central flaw of Rand's work is that it bashes you over the head with a message, and tacks on an "and I mean it" at the end. She thought she was doing something profound and new, when she was really just doing awful fiction, substituting quantity for quality to boot.

    Literature that gets studied for decades and centuries does so because it raises more questions than it offers answers. As the man said, it's useless.

  • Chad||

    I will give Rand some credit: John Galt is a useful metaphor.

    The problem is that libertarians actually believe in John Galts. In reality, individuals don't matter that much. Something equivalent to Berkshire Hathaway, Microsoft and Apple would exist today if their founders had been killed by lightning as kids. We would just be using our Gateways software on our QPhones instead.

  • MWG||

    Spoken like a true collectivist.

  • ||

    Individualism---GOOD
    Collectivism---BAD

  • dhex||

    OK, the thing is.... good fiction doesn't HAVE any sort of ideological bent.

    that's silly as all hell. what you mean is good fiction transcends the ideological trappings of its creator and speaks to people who don't share those concerns.

  • Edwin||

    Collectivist? I'm a libertarian and I realize he's right.

    There are very few people for whom it could truly be said that if they weren't around, the thing they did that was so important wouldn't have been done.

  • ||

    Good thing that there is an alternate universe around to prove this point.

    I'm willing to accept the idea that many great deeds would still have been done in the theoretical absence of specific people from the existence, but that doesn't mean that it still isn't the individual actor who drives all activity. Even if it were a different individual, it still would require an individual actor to accomplish most great works.

    I appreciate how thinkers such as Rothbard and Mises explain history as a series of actions committed by individual rather than some deterministic observation. Although it is easy to see life as being predetermined, individual still have to accomplish things to keep the wheel turning. Trying to separate human action from the individual humans is a dangerous road to go down.

  • MWG||

    ^^

    What tkwelge said.

  • ||

    Like the horrible mistake Tony's mother made??

  • bigterguy||

    Sure, take all those nasty individuals and everyting would still be the same. Except there would be no one here and nothing would have been done. Progress is merely the sum total of the activites of individuals, whithout whom there is no society, no progress.

  • Edwin||

    I've never read Rand's books, and I never intend to. I've only seen excerpts from it, and I can tell they're terrible. Pages devoted to one guy giving a speech, focusing heavily on a philosophical mesaage. Who talks like that? When the hell does that ever happen? It isn't even necessary for her to have written the scenes like that. She could have written much shorter dialogue and gotten the same message through, while creating realistic characters.

  • ||

    I agree. I've never read more than excerpts of Rand, and I have no interest in reading more. I actually think of Anthony Burgess as a fairly libertarian fiction author for his contributions, "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Wanting Seed."

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Turns out that most of the people who hate her books and, will go out of their way to tell you so, have never read any of them.

    Also turns out that most of the people who have actually read any of Ayn Rand's novels or non-fiction think they're pretty great.

  • Edwin||

    "Turns out that most of the people who hate her books and, will go out of their way to tell you so, have never read any of them."

    Yeah, so? Yeah damned right. I read a few pages of it, and it's just a bunch of philosophical gobbledygook. No one really talks like that. No one, in the middle of an everyday situation, starts a whole philosophical diatribe. And from what I understand, all the characters do this throughout the book. If that's true, then I can safely tell you that I'm not going to like those books.

    Sorry if I think characters in novels should be believable.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "No one, in the middle of an everyday situation, starts a whole philosophical diatribe."

    They did leading up to the founding of this country and many other times of historical importance. It was important to them that they be correct and know it so they discussed it. I wish more people went on philosophical diatribes and fewer people thought of it as gobbledygook.

    But, if you'll pardon a philosophical diatribe, wish in one hand, shit in the other and see which one fills up first.

  • Edwin||

    B.S. no one ever did and no one does talk like that. Like just in the middle of a conversation to freggin start a 10-page spiel. Doesn't happen.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    You're right people don't talk by the page.

  • Bryan||

    "No one, in the middle of an everyday situation, starts a whole philosophical diatribe."

    Umm, I spend a lot of time in New York, it happens every day. I received one just for walking through Union Square with a cup of Starbucks not too long ago.

  • JoshINHB||

    Are you admitting that all of her characters act deranged homeless psychotics?

    Refreshingly honest.

  • ||

    Um, people start into long political or philosophical rants all the time. What is strange is that for some reason fiction tends to avoid this.

  • JoshINHB||

    Also turns out that most of the people who have actually read any of Ayn Rand's novels or non-fiction think they're pretty great.

    The same can be said of every religious tract.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    I've read a few religious tracts and I don't think they're pretty great. I think they're pretty bad.

    Again, I have something to say about them because I've *read* them.

  • Copybook conservative||

    Kipling, whatever his faults, expressed with unparalleled vigor the practical conservatism of soldiers and engineers and businessmen. By contrast the wooden, shallow, bookish ideologies of left-liberals and libertarians are pretty thin gruel.

  • Astropud||

    I've never read Rand's books, and I never intend to.

    There are only 24 hours in a day and you need to choose how to spend it. Reading Rand is not high on my list either. (Hayek, yes.)

  • ||

    Whether it is propaganda or not is irrelevant. Battleship Potemkin is blatant propaganda. But it's also a masterpiece of film-making. [High Noon is also a propaganda film, BTW.]

  • Tony||

    Good point, though I disagree about High Noon. Allegory and propaganda are not the same thing, and anyway people disagree about High Noon's message--something that shouldn't be the case with propaganda.

  • ||

    Rio Bravo was a repsonse to High Noon.

  • ||

    Westworld completed the trilogy.

  • JP||

    I agree as well. I mean, you can have great propaganda literature. The problem is, Rand's literature is not well done or well thought out.

    If you're going to go through the whole trouble of making an 800+ page novel without even ATTEMPTING to humanize the characters or make us care about them, why not just write an 800+ page treatise? Rand's novels might as well be. Her characters aren't actually supposed to be real people, they're just mouthpieces for her ideas and ideologies.

    On the other side of that, you have someone like Steinbeck, who, it could be argued, wrote "propaganda" (I'd probably disagree, but whatever, that's not exactly the point). The difference between Rand and someone like Steinbeck is, the people in the "Grapes Of Wrath" and the other "issue novels" Steinbeck wrote act like real people. Tom Joad and Ma and Pa and the preacher might be symbolic of something greater, but they speak and act like real humans rather than authorial creations. I think that's key. Steinbeck doesn't shove the message down your throat like Rand. He may hint at it subtly ("Hey, look at these people suffering! Something isn't right here!") but he doesn't make it the main, obvious point of the story.

    (I hope this makes some sort of sense, it's been two years since I wrote my last English Lit paper so I'm a little rusty of that whole "argument" thing.)

  • ||

    I remember people commenting about how "unrealistic" Dickens' characters were (the loathsome Fagin or Bill Sykes, the ridiculous Mr Micawber). My English novel prof punctuated this neatly with the comment "Haven't you noticed how often have you run into somebody who acts that way?"

    The same thing applies to Rand's characters: I have run into countless Wesley Mouches and Cuffy Meigs over the years. (I will admit, though, that I have never run into anyone as "flawless" as Rand's heroes.)

  • JP||

    I guess I just disagree that Rand's characters are believable in any way. Granted, it's been a while since I read The Fountainhead; maybe I built it up in my head as "bad" so much since reading it that the characters aren't as unrealistic as I remember them. I'll have to revisit it a bit.

    The prose though, still sucks. There's no misremembering that.

  • Sam Grove||

    Rand didn't write her novels to be "classic" literary pieces. She explicitly wrote them to illustrate the impact of ideas in the world and she purposely made her characters as caricature to manifest those ideas in conflict.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    That's why she called it romantic.

  • MWG||

    Sam, outta curiosity... do you consider yourself an objectivist?

  • ||

    Agreed, Heinlein's masterpiece Starship Troopers is and was intended to be a pro-war tract, and as such is propaganda.... but its still brilliant.

  • liberalspwnu||

    I hold Ulysses in high regard, but now all libertarians:

    http://www.capitalismmagazine.com/index.php?news=3251

  • liberalspwnu||

    *not*, not "now"

  • JP||

    Well, if you look at that guy's bio, he's an Ayn Rand lackey to begin with. Notice how he puts "experts" in quotes. Guy probably wouldn't know literary theory if it punched him in the balls.

  • liberalspwnu||

    yeah, but if his views did not resonate with the magazine's readership, would they have allowed him to publish it?

    granted it seems to be a niche website and not one of the main libertarian websites, but i sometimes detect a vein of anti-intellectualism among libertarians. pandering is fine, and taking shots at professors in their ivory towers is all fun and good, but if you take it that seriously that you won't read the western canon, then i think it becomes unhealthy.

  • Chad||

    Exactly. Take the most popular novel of the 20th century, The Lord of the Rings. It is somehow simultaneously a favorite novel of anti-war enviromentalist hippies, yet has profound Christian undertones that bubble to the surface any time you care to look, and a deep conservatism (small "c") that almost bends around to leftist Ludditism. How do you classify something like that in a political context?

  • JoshINHB||

    Your comment implies that you think that anti-war enviromentalism is incompatible with christianity.

    Do you?

    If so why?

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "anti-war enviromentalist-christianity"

    You tip your hand Rand-hater.

  • ||

    Brian, I'm a libertarian and as egotistical as any, but I sure as hell am not going to claim that, as a libertarian, I am able to get more out of literature than people of any other ideological stripe.

    I can appreciate Dos Pasos' USA (written before he repudiated communism) and Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath as much as I can appreciate Huckleberry Finn. The ideology of the authors has nothing to do with how good their work is. I have met Conservatives, Socialists and Liberals who have all taught me much about those and other works. I wouldn't claim to have a deeper understanding than any of those people.

  • Some Guy||

    Because books is the Devil. Cept fer the Bible, which was written in English by Jesus.

  • ||

    Idiot.

    Jeaus didn't write it.

    He Commanded that it become Manifest.

  • ||

    The biggest literary difference between the two movements is this: nobody ever became a conservative after reading a work of conservative fiction.

    Also, it's almost impossible to become a libertarian without reading something whereas it's quite possible to be a fervant two-partyist without ever having read anything.

    Politically-biased literature is only good if it's written by someone who is primarily a writer...not someone who's famous for being a conservative or libertarian (or liberal). The people who get famous as political ideologues first then try to write fiction suck at it.

    Well, back to my copy of Overton Window...

  • alan||

    The biggest literary difference between the two movements is this: nobody ever became a conservative after reading a work of conservative fiction.

    Sure they have. Any one on our side has ever made as powerful a case in fiction for our position as Dostoevsky has for conservative authoritarianism?

    However, I don't look towards fiction for answers beyond the joy of a story well told.

    Where we are really fortunate is Milton Friedman, Henry Hazlitt, Frederic Bastiat, Von Mises, Hayek, and Murray Rothbard spank the living hell out of Keynes, Galbraith, Krugman and the rest of the fools.

  • shrike||

    Realism (think Thomas Hardy) to Existentialism were the basis for individual liberal/libertarian fiction that was represented by Joyce and Henry Miller as well. Those movements place the SELF as lone commander/protagonist instead of a person as part of a supernatural pageant.

    T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound rejected this philosophy outright and lamented the passing of tradition and fealty to a higher order in their work. Ironically, I am a great admirer of Eliot. I consider The Waste Land to be the great literary work of this century despite the fact its themes run contrary to my philosophy.

  • alan||

    Damn Shrike, that was well done.

  • ||

    Plagerism.

  • &||

    Ironically, I am a great admirer of Eliot

    That's irony?

  • Carter||

    Why are Libertarianoids so proud of their bad taste?

  • GrilledCS||

    "Taste" is subjective. So are a whole lot of other things. Embrace this concept,and you might become a "libertarianoid" yourself, Carter.

  • Tony||

    It's not objective, but it's not subjective either. It's a social construct. Embrace that concept, libertarianoid.

  • GrilledCS||

    No, "taste" is, in fact, entirely subjective as an a priori matter.

    Stating that other people have "bad taste" while implicitly prescribing "good taste" to yourself is a "social construct".

    If you're gonna bite back, you might want to ensure that you have your teeth in first.

    And that's what you did.

  • GrilledCS||

    Last line before line above on comment above.

    Damn it.

  • Chad||

    Did you all catch this article the other day in the NYT? Sort of relevant here.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06.....mp;sq=bell executive humanities&st=cse

  • Chad||

    Sorry about the hosed link...

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06.....ef=opinion

  • Comrade Zero||

    Asimov's "End of Eternity" is a far more potent statement against state paternalism than anything by Rand. And yes Asimov doesn't seem to have much of a following here.

  • ||

    I love Asimov.

  • ||

    Asimov tends to be considered "liberal" so the content of the book gets ignored. It's sad the way labels influence the way people read books, but not surprising.

    "Harrison Bergeron" is one of the most effective anti-egalitarian parables ever written but since it was written by a man (Kurt Vonnegut) who later became a staunch leftist I don't know how many conservatives would include that story in their canon.

  • qwerty||

    Interesting article, but the premise (Libertarian fiction is more popular than Conservative fiction because conservatism is more politically powerful) doesn't hold. Left-liberalism has been very successful politically, and yet most literary fiction has a left-liberal perspective, not either a conservative or a libertarian one. So the real question is, why is it that almost everyone who writes literature is a liberal?

    My best guess is basically the Myers-Briggs T vs F factor. People who are hard thinkers, prefer to deal with systems than people, and think linearly are not the types of people who are going to write literature. Conservatives write business books and Libertarians write physics textbooks. Both types tend to see literature as, at best, a hobby, but not really worth serious study.

  • liberalspwnu||

    "People who are hard thinkers, prefer to deal with systems than people, and think linearly are not the types of people who are going to write literature. Conservatives write business books and Libertarians write physics textbooks."

    i wouldn't know, but I think business requires a lot of dealing with people - leadership seminars and all that - while literature can often be isolated as it involves solitary reading and writing. as for physics textbooks, most physics professors are liberal: most people in academia are, but for some reason physics is even further left. engineers are definitely conservative. i think libertarians would write computer science or economics textbooks, or maybe some lawyerly work. most libertarians i know are computer nerds.

  • Some Guy||

    Physicists like to deal with frictionless vacuums, so it makes sense that they wouldn't see problems with central planning.

    Engineers (by the way, I'm a software engineer - for the government) tend to see all kinds of interactions with complex systems that can go horribly wrong, so it makes sense that we're more libertarian, though too many seem to be conservative for some reason that I don't understand.

  • bubba||

    The natural sciences and engineering require a lot of work, but the natural sciences have lower pay. In fact you probably need a doctorate in the natural sciences, so you would put in the same amount of work as a lawyer or doctor, but with much less pay.

    Culturally, conservatives, if they are going to go through that much work, would want to be a lawyer or doctor, or if they want less work than a doctor or lawyer, an engineer or business person.

    The idea that your achievements are a publication in a scholarly journal appeals to liberals more than conservatives. In engineering your recognition is a raise of your salary.

    Engineers are more likely to be men, and men lean conservative. There are a lot of Jewish and Asian physicists, and those people lean slightly liberal.

  • ||

    Engineers tend to be conservative only to the extent that conservative means "support the status quo." I guess engineers are suspicious of change. Most of the engineers in the Soviet Union were firm supporters of the Communist Party - I don't think out of any deep philosophical commitment to Marxism. They reminded me in terms of personality of many American conservatives - white men, suspicious of foreign ideas, loyal to their superiors, paid lip service at least to a rigid code of moral values and were firm believers in the integrity of the system.

  • Astropud||

    Engineers are less inclined to 'fix' something that isn't broken (or at least not too broken) given the potential gain is less than the potential loss. They understand better the likelihood of merely making things worse.

  • Science Fiction?||

    Space travel?

    In real life, wouldn't that stuff require GOVERNMENT SPENDING?

    Well I get the impression, from reading this site, you folks don't care anyway - you just sit around counting your money, bitching about the government and never even trying to do anything about it, or any other problem.

  • ||

    As of a few weeks ago, space travel doesn't require government spending, so you are incorrect with your thinking that government intervention is actually necessary for man to advance technologically.

  • Koman Coulibaly||

    Even Koman Coulibaly knows about Falcon 9. It soared through the sky like that pointless goal you thought you scored.

    Koman Coulibaly laughs heartily.

  • ||

    This may be a stretch, but I'm pretty libertarian and I'd have to rate Bret Easton Ellis among my favorites. Each of his books (though I haven't read Imperial Bedrooms yet) have had underlying themes that disparage the inability of the main characters to take personal responsibility or better themselves.

    Having met Mr. Ellis a few times, I sincerely doubt it was his intention, but nevertheless I perceive a repudiation of self-abuse and narcissism and a desire for his characters to become free-thinkers.

    Maybe it's just me, though. Hell, I think most libertarian literature was written well before libertarianism even existed as a "known" philosophy.

  • jacob||

    Excellent point. I love Ellis's work. However, I'd say the Informers wasn't completely liberterian. The vampires praying on LA's vacuous were not liberterian.

    How was Ellis in person? Humble? Friendly? Cocky?

  • ||

    He was just a bit odd. Used to go to a coffee shop in Richmond's fan district where he hung out. Always came across as friendly, but a little too detatched from reality. Maybe because I was a polar-opposite to the majority of his main characters, our conversations rarely departed from current events in town or sports (he's oddly enough a pretty big sports guy).

    Forgot about The Informers, but since that was really a series of short stories thrown into a paperback, I think I should get a pass.

  • Rudan||

    Does everyone here think Ayn Rand was an amazing writer? I'm a fan of the overall free market sentiments in her books, but her writing is god fucking awful.

  • &||

    Does everyone here think Ayn Rand was an amazing writer?

    "Everyone"? Hardly. Have you bothered to read the comments?

    "Amazing"? No. That's an adjective more suited to descriptions of carnival acts or presidential slight-of-hands. You want amazing? Watch the network and cable-news broadcasts. They spin Administration shit into gold.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    It doesn't seem like very many people here can stand her at all.

    I think her writing is pretty fantastic but I'm biased because I like her philosophy so much.

  • ||

    Her book was really revealing to me, because the characters were so absolutely absurd and characatured... yet somehow exactly like real people I knew of.
    It is something that few authors can do, write good fiction that reads like it was a goofy morality play, only to be true to live in numerous ways.

  • ||

    The short answer for me is no, not an amazing writer.

    I find her prose below average. Her characters are exaggerated, but that is on purpose--the heroes are intended to depict man as he should and could be, not as he always is. Frankly, I enjoy them. As much as I dislike her prose, I have read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged many times; although at times I have to force myself through parts, the characters and ideas are worth the effort, in my opinion.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    "a bunch of yokels married to Jesus"

    Some of them are, Tony, but as a liberal you should know better than to use hate-filled stereotypes. Being gay as you are, you should be above that sort of demagoguery.

  • Astropud||

    LOL. You think liberals are supposed to be immune to using hate-filled stereotypes? They use them just as much as anyone else.

  • Rudyard Kipling ||

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings

    AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
    I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
    Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

    We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
    That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
    But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
    So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

    We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
    Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
    But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
    That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

    With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
    They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
    They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
    So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "Stick to the Devil you know."

    On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
    (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
    Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "The Wages of Sin is Death."

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  • Copybook conservative||

    Kipling whatever his faults, expressed with unparalleled vigor the practical conservatism of soldiers and engineers and businessmen. By contrast the wooden, shallow, bookish ideologies of left-liberals and libertarians are pretty thin gruel.

  • fashion vibramfivefingers||

    i cant understand you .is too pretty fantastic

  • ||

    Ok.

    Heathcliff or Garfield?

  • Scarpe Nike||

    is good

  • قبلة الوداع||

    thank u

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  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
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