Libertarian History/Philosophy

Now Playing at Reason.tv: Brian Doherty on Ayn Rand's Legacy

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reason Senior Editor and Radicals for Capitalism author Brian Doherty takes the modernist measure of novelist, philosopher, and cult figure Ayn Rand.

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  1. I hope that when you use an image like that you don’t have to send Len Peikoff a check.

  2. The design of the Rand stamp has always weirded me out. It’s Deco meets Soviet Constructivism.

  3. False advertising. That logo makes Ayn Rand look pleasing to the eye, when she was, in fact, the ass product of Danny DeVito and Natasha Badinov.

  4. I will now refer to Doherty as “Book Plug Brian” from now on…

  5. I will now refer to Doherty as “Book Plug Brian” from now on…

    What word did you formerly use in place of ‘book’?

  6. To be frank I’ve always found Rand’s notion of “evil” to be well, problematic and something which could lead to some rather unpleasant and “unexpected” outcomes.

  7. The design of the Rand stamp has always weirded me out. It’s Deco meets Soviet Constructivism.

    Love of art deco is about the only thing I have in common with Rand’s artistic preferences. You’ll notice that recent printings of all of Rand’s books use art deco designs on their covers. I sometimes wonder if Rand modeled herself somewhat on Tamara de Lempicka, an art deco painter who also had to flee the Bolsheviks.

  8. The design of the Rand stamp has always weirded me out.

    You should see someone about that. I’ll take it over the Elvis stamp any day. Not that Rand was nearly as important as The King. Of schlock.

  9. False advertising. That logo makes Ayn Rand look pleasing to the eye, when she was, in fact, the ass product of Danny DeVito and Natasha Badinov.

    This is a nit I have to pick. As a Rocky and Bullwinkle aficionado, I demand accuracy in smart ass blogging. Natasha Fatale is not now, and has never been, married to, or had sexual relations with, Boris Badenov. Slander like this cannot, nay, will not, be permitted. Desist or face my unholy wrath.

  10. J sub D,
    Holy Christ, I’m sorry.
    At this piont, I need the way-back machine.

  11. Natasha Fatale is not now, and has never been, married to, or had sexual relations with, Boris Badenov.

    I think you’re wrong about the sexual relations dah’link. But I don’t know what your definition of ‘is’ is.

  12. Brian,

    What the hell are you looking at in that video?

  13. Holy Christ, I’m sorry.
    At this piont, I need the way-back machine.

    All is forgiven, Jamie Kelly.

    I think you’re wrong about the sexual relations dah’link.

    Never! Natasha Fatale is my first two dimensional sexual infatuation. She’d never “do” Boris. Fearless Leader, maybe.

  14. My thanks to Taktix for answering my question: How long does it take in this video for Doherty to pitch his book? Apparently, not very.

  15. WAS AYN RAND A RACIST AND SUPPORTER OF
    ULTIMATE EMINANT DOMAIN?

    The comments below are from a speech by Ayn Rand at West Point in 1974 about American Indians …

    “They didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using . . . . What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their ‘right’ to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent.”

  16. Jamie (and with fealty to J sub D),

    Don’t apologize, I laughed my ass off.

  17. Thanks Barry. You’ve shown this nest of rabid Randroids that the woman had glaring flaws.

    Except that there are few hardcore Rand folks here, and everyone already knew that AR could be more than a bit batty.

  18. No good can come of a politics that divides the world into a productive class and parasites, and fantasizes about the former getting their revenge on the latter.

    We’ve been down that road from all kinds of different directions, and it always brings us to the same place.

    Whiff of the gas chamber indeed, Mr. Chambers.

  19. Isn’t Ayn Rand dead? Can we leave her there please? Call a halt to Galt. Dead is dead qua dead; selfishness is altruism, businessmen are Aryans, to the gas chambers go!

  20. WAS AYN RAND A RACIST AND SUPPORTER OF
    ULTIMATE EMINANT DOMAIN?

    Err, no, but she wasn’t a big fan of misspelling and ignorant-ass context-droppers such as yourself.

    I suppose I could explain that she was saying that the whole “mixing land with labor” thang, a notion to which many smart folks around here ascribe, was essential for ownership and Indian-Americans had a tendency to want to corral literally millions of square miles for “hunting grounds”, “holy lands” and just because “our people have always roamed there”. Ayn Rand was calling bullshit on that stuff.

    I mean, I could explain all that, but providing some context isn’t what you were going for anyway. You want to score a cheap point.

    Additionally, I suppose we have reached a point in dialogue where you call someone a racist and stop listening to anything they say. Too bad for you Ayn Rand was explicitly not a racist, she explicitly castigated them, and no punk-ass little shit like yourself is ever going to change that. FOAD, FWIW

  21. No good can come of a politics that divides the world into a productive class and parasites, and fantasizes about the former getting their revenge on the latter.

    I believe that Animal Farm simplified the divisions of the world in the same way that Atlas Shrugged did. Was Orwell wrong as well?

  22. RAND WAS A RACIST? hey so is ron paul!! especially jews.

  23. I’ve always wondered how American Indians can make the claim that the land was stolen from them when they, themselves, did not believe that land could even be owned (or so it is said.) People who don’t believe in property rights look sort of foolish claiming that theirs have been violated.

  24. J sub D – I went out with a Russian woman for a while. I actually got her to say “moose and squirrel” a couple times, but she was baffled by the reason why I wanted her to. I think she believed that she was saying something that sounded really dirty.

  25. John-David,

    Orwell pointed to specific individuals as being parasites in Animal Farm.

    Rand took a much more collectivist approach, and depicted whole classes of people that way.

    That’s a pretty considerable difference.

  26. If Ayn Rand had written Animal Farm, there would have been no Snowball, no internal fighting, no good pigs at all.

  27. I suppose I could explain that she was saying that the whole “mixing land with labor” thang, a notion to which many smart folks around here ascribe, was essential for ownership and Indian-Americans had a tendency to want to corral literally millions of square miles for “hunting grounds”, “holy lands” and just because “our people have always roamed there”. Ayn Rand was calling bullshit on that stuff.

    And she was dead wrong about that. Indian groups all over the country mixed their labor with the land, tending crops in fields just like the Europeans. The non-agricultural societies on the plains were the exception, not the rule, and certainly not the universal reality she claimed.

    Repeating this old, discreditted, historically-ignorant stereotype that was used to justify their eviction and the theft of their land, and lumping together such unlike people’s as the Lakota and the Wampanoag is order to shill for that eviction and theft, looks pretty damn racist to me.

  28. Rand took a much more collectivist approach, and depicted whole classes of people that way.

    joe – Rand had good poor people, and evil rich people. The main “class” division was the attitude the person held.

    There is a very “Snowball-esque” figure in We the Living, a devoted Red who fought during the civil war and is later betrayed by political intriguers. IIRC, she also showed a great deal of in-fighting among the politicians in Atlas Shrugged. Her point was analogous to Orwell’s – the ones who believe they are really trying to create a better world are no match for those who want to seize power for themselves.

    I don’t have any serious disagreement with your assessment of her discussion of First Nation peoples.

  29. Baked Penguin,

    I guess I could have been clearer – I didn’t mean “class” to mean “economic class,” but “category” or just “swath.” My point was, she just tarred whole segments of the population as The Productive or The Parasites.

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