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After Ayn Rand Week, the Healing Begins

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How little you have to do to get into the feature well of a slick magazine these days. Thomas Mallon's takedown of Ayn Rand in The New Yorker is not online, but it is so phoned-in and lacking in protein that even this synopsis of the article feels padded.

There's 1943-vintage prissy caviling about Rand's writing style. ("It is, in fact, badly executed on every level of language, plot, and characterization.") There's 1957-vintage hyperventilating about the author-as-dictator. ("[T]he narrative voice of this implacably anti-Communist author is a bellows of Stalinist bad breath.") There is much guilt by association. (Mallon treats Alan Greenspan's distancing himself from Rand as an indictment of Rand rather than of Greenspan.)

But there is no attempt to engage the material or address its continuing popularity. Kurt Vonnegut, in most ways the anti-Rand, said a person who attacks a book is like a person who puts on armor to attack a banana split. Mallon's war on Rand's heterodoxies leads to some unintentionally interesting dead ends. When he declares that Rand's fiction belongs "in the crackpot pantheon of L. Frank Baum" and "is no closer to the canon of serious American novels than Galt's Gulch is to Brook Farm," is Mallon implying that there's some canon of American lit in which The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is not taken seriously, at least as a book with plenty of historical and sociological interest?

Mallon condemns as typically Randian overwriting the following passage, which describes The Fountainhead protagonist Howard Roark using a blowtorch: "it seemed as if the blue tension eating slowly through metal came not from the flame but from the hand holding it." Had Mallon been willing to venture an original opinion, he might have been able to make something out of this. King Vidor's adaptation of The Fountainhead is a completely entertaining movie, and as this nicely composed shot indicates, part of the movie's success lay in Vidor's finding ways to translate Rand's purple descriptions into interesting images:

 

Pat Neal looks at Coop, but she's thinking of Klaatu.

Though the tool and the scene differ from the above passage, the movie works very hard to take Rand's evocation of modernist architecture, strong/silent males, and glamorous blondes completely seriously. If you're writing an assessment of Rand's enduring popularity, you'd at least want to take into account the interplay between style and philosophy—an area in which Rand is remarkably similar to her contemporaries the Existentialists, who were loved at the time and are remembered today as much for their cigarettes and leather jackets as for anything they had to say about the relationship of existence and essence.

"Rand may be," Mallon continues, "in an aesthetic sense, the most totalitarian novelist ever to have sat down at a desk." It's worth remembering that there were, in fact, real totalitarian novelists: Fyodor Gladkov and many others for the Soviet Union, Kurt Eggers, Hans Baumann and a few others for Nazi Germany. They wrote actual, approved propaganda and curried artistic favor with their respective dictator/critics.

But by talking about the "aesthetic sense," Mallon may be moving toward a legitimate insight. Jean-Luc Godard criticized Steven Spielberg along the same lines, saying, "He gives you an emotional situation, then tells you how you have to respond to it." The difference is that Spielberg's post-1990 output has mostly been aimed at justifying establishment opinion. (You can't go wrong saying World War II veterans were brave, the Holocaust was horrible, and the Arab-Israeli conflict is complex.) Mallon may believe that Rand's propaganda merely aimed to flatter Americans' belief in themselves as rugged individualists, but he doesn't say so. In any event, the messages Rand was sending were very much at odds with the views of mid-century political scientists, literary dons, and most other keepers of establishment opinion. If she's a totalitarian, who's the Maximum Leader?

All interesting questions. Unfortunately, Mallon doesn't want to ask them. His purpose is to tell you Ayn Rand's books aren't worth reading, which is not particularly daring, given that this view of Rand is still widely shared among middlebrow thinkers. But it's a weird goal for a writer to have. You might even call it totalitarian.

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  1. “But it’s a weird goal for a writer to have.”

    You’re right, and there’s the rub — Mallon is hardly a writer, At best he’s a regurgitator. A professional vomiter of other’s out-of-context words and phrases.

    1. His purpose is to tell you Ayn Rand’s books aren’t worth reading

      But people do anyway, regardless of what Rand’s detractors have been doing for over 60 years. So the joke is on them. They have demonstrated their impotence.
      Rand endures, and they are forgotten.

      1. So is L. Ron, so I’d temper any Objectivist triumphalism.

        1. The Change-Of-Subject Dodge: “Rand endures…,” then you connect Hubbard with the “forgotten” of Rand’s detractors, and you wrap the whole thing as some kind of dreadful warning.

          Okay, you fuckin’ dumbass; you’re out of the epistemic pool. Off to your mommy’s station-wagon with you.

        2. Not everyone who reads L Ron becomes a scientologist.

  2. leave my brow out of this. Just because I refuse to tweeze doesn’t mean you should make fun of me.

  3. The fellow’s clearly frothing with anger – probably because he was assigned to do a book review on a person/topic he vehemently disagrees with.

    1. You think that’s why he’s angry? I figured it was because knows he’ll never be remembered for anything he’s written. Naturally, he resents Ayn Rand. He probably resents Stephen King even more.

      -jcr

  4. Oooooooh, look how big his drill is! And he looks like he really knows how to work it.

  5. King Vidor’s adaptation of The Fountainhead is a completely entertaining movie…

    If you like overblown presentations of already melodramatic material, maybe. Not even Douglas Sirk’s portrayals of forbidden loves could compete. I’ll give Vidor points for composition and cinematography. But there is little to no subtext or psychological realism to the characters. Perhaps that’s deliberate, but it detracts from suspension of disbelief.

    By contrast, the Italian Addio, Kira! and Noi Vivoi, adapted from We the Living, are models of restraint. With cheap sets, they lack the surface beauty of Vidor’s Fountainhead, but the far more realistic acting never knocks you out of the story.

    1. Don’t diss Douglas Sirk. He anticipated Michael Jackson’s memorial with the final scene of Imitation of Life (one of the great comedies of all time).

      As for The Fountainhead, the big problem with it is that Rand seems to have had no clue how to write a screenplay. The book has a withering takedown of “modern” art, which couldn’t really be translated into the movie. Other than that, the characters should all be seen as archetypes.

      1. I’ll happily second that Sirk thumbs up. If you can’t get a major charge out of any of Sirk’s color pictures, well, you just don’t know what it’s like to weep so heplessly that your mascara becomes a fright to look at.

  6. Jean-Luc Godard criticized Steven Spielberg along the same lines, saying, “He gives you an emotional situation, then tells you how you have to respond to it.

    What a fucking hypocrite. Godard was didactic about his Marxist beliefs. I suppose the only mitigating factor was that he was blatant about it – rather than presenting a situation, he would have the characters sit and give Marxist diatribes straight into the camera.

    1. I agree.

      The other thing nobody ever mentions about the show-then-tell-then-give-explicit-instructions school of narrative is that a reader appreciates it. Who wants to be sitting there, like some moron, rereading paragraphs you skimmed, trying to figure out, “Pinkus Wadspork: Is he going to be a villain or a hero in this Ayn Rand novel?”

      People are grateful when the author keeps reminding them.

      1. thats bullshit and you know it.

      2. Right, kind of like Nobel Prize winner Eugene O’Neill, and his wonderful, Nobel prize-winning plays. You never have to wonder how the characters are doing, because they’re happy to tell you if they’re happy or (more likely) sad. Yep, they’re gonna tell you, probably more than once.

        And if some idea one of them has is a pipe dream, another character is going to be real fucking happy to tell you that. Several times, in fact.

  7. The difference is that Spielberg’s post-1990 output has mostly been aimed at justifying establishment opinion.

    With the notable exception of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, which was an intricate tapestry of subversive themes once you get past the sweet, mindless veneer. Especially the lawnmower scene.

    1. If we’re gonna start counting Spielberg’s producer credits against him, we’ll be here for months.

  8. Octopuses are highly intelligent, likely more so than any other order of invertebrates. The exact extent of their intelligence and learning capability is much debated among biologists,[7][8][9][10] but maze and problem-solving experiments have shown that they do have both short- and long-term memory. Their short lifespans limit the amount they can ultimately learn. There has been much speculation to the effect that almost all octopus behaviors are independently learned rather than instinct-based, although this remains largely unproven. They learn almost no behaviors from their parents, with whom young octopuses have very little contact.

    An octopus opening a container with a screw cap

    An octopus has a highly complex nervous system, only part of which is localized in its brain. Two-thirds of an octopus’s neurons are found in the nerve cords of its arms, which have a remarkable amount of autonomy. Octopus arms show a wide variety of complex reflex actions arising on at least three different levels of the nervous system. Some octopuses, such as the Mimic Octopus, will move their arms in ways that emulate the movements of other sea creatures.

    In laboratory experiments, octopuses can be readily trained to distinguish between different shapes and patterns. They have been reported to practice observational learning,[11] although the validity of these findings is widely contested on a number of grounds.[7][8] Octopuses have also been observed in what some have described as play: repeatedly releasing bottles or toys into a circular current in their aquariums and then catching them.[12] Octopuses often break out of their aquariums and sometimes into others in search of food. They have even boarded fishing boats and opened holds to eat crabs.[9]

    In some countries, octopuses are on the list of experimental animals on which surgery may not be performed without anesthesia. In the UK, cephalopods such as octopuses are regarded as honorary vertebrates under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and other cruelty to animals legislation, extending to them protections not normally afforded to invertebrates.[13]

  9. No discussion of totalitarian literature can be complete without Shoggoth’s enigma tales. All the suspects are always guilty; the challenge comes from determining exactly who is guilty of what.

  10. Do these crank smokers not read the fiction that gets published in their own magazine? Over the past year, it’s been mostly excruciating postmodern stories from British authors, or translations of European writers. Invariably, the stories are about successful middle-class adults and the minutiae they obsess over until the story ends abruptly with a line that’s intended to reveal some profound metaphor about the universal modern-day life. No plot, no interesting conflicts, no effort at creativity.

    Barf.

    1. Not this time. Another irony of Mallon’s article is that in the same issue The New Yorker is running a story by Stephen King.

    2. The same can be said of NPR essays.

  11. Frankly, Ayn Rand is an easy target and a snap to take down. She wasn’t very original, she was an immoral monster, and she nurtured the camp following that you represent right here on reason.com. Those who expect a full engagement with Rand expect the impossible.

    I swear the rumors about Libertarians are true. You’re just a bunch of Republicans who smoke pot.

    1. Those who expect a full engagement with Rand expect the impossible.

      because that would require actually reading her?

    2. I swear the rumors about Libertarians are true. You’re just a bunch of Republicans who smoke pot.

      Rand said in 1970 that libertarians are the hippies of the right, so I guess you’re in good company. For once.

      1. Actually, we’ve traded in the smoke for tinctures. Makes getting a buzz in public so much easier.

    3. Ray Butlers is a great example of the sort of worthless cunt who usually takes potshots at Rand.

      The bottom line is that every last one of the so-called aesthetic critiques of Rand is rooted in an opposition to her political and moral views. Ray’s problem with Rand is that she attempted to devise a set of moral proofs. This makes Ray angry for two reasons: her moral conclusions differed from his, and the fact that she even bothered to try to prove them at all calls attention to the fact that Ray hasn’t bothered to try to prove his.

      At least Rand actually tried to argue about her basis for thinking Ellsworth Toohey or James Rearden were immoral monsters. Ray just declares that Rand was. This is because he is a cunt.

    4. Hell no! I sell pot to schoolchildren while twirling my monocle. Never smoke the product, man! Eats into the fuckin’ bottom line, you know?

  12. I bet he meant to say “L. Ron Hubbard” instead of “L. Frank Baum”—either way, he seems to love him some ad hominem reasoning.

  13. He said L. Ron Hubbard too. I think he put them together because of the Ls.

    By the way, fans of Fear and other gems of mid-century genre fiction will take exception to Mallon’s offhand diss of Adm. Hubbard.

  14. Rand’s continuing popularity? Yeah, among right-wing crackpots.

  15. I can’t think of any straightforward case for Baum as a “crackpot.”

    The way I’d put him out of bounds is by painting him as a creepy pre-internet “white knight” suffragette-ophile, and the Oz books as “Enlightened, worldly older M ISO open-minded young Fs” ads disguised as atta-not-boy fairy tales.

    His biography’s maybe just barely suggestive enough to hang that load on.

    If she’s a totalitarian, who’s the Maximum Leader?

    Rhett Butler.

    1. I can’t think of any straightforward case for Baum as a “crackpot.”

      Well, he was a Theosophist.

      1. The original Age of Aquarians, New Age, Crystal Power, etc.

  16. Edddward. Edddward.

  17. “Rand may be,” Mallon continues, “in an aesthetic sense, the most totalitarian novelist ever to have sat down at a desk.

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  18. cigarettes and leather jackets

    Ah. Gillespie’s an Existentialist?

    Edward, you’re not even trying anymore.

  19. No, you see, Brandybuck, in the minds (such as they are) of Mallon and Edward and other such idiots, wanting others to leave you alone means forcing them to live by your philosophy; not allowing others to steal from you is the same thing as stealing from them. Thus, libertarianism = totalitarianism. Bog help us all, i wish i was being sarcastic.

  20. I don’t care what a retarded fetus like Thomas Mallon has to say.

    Fuck his existence.

  21. It’s worth remembering that there were, in fact, real totalitarian novelists: Fyodor Gladkov and many others for the Soviet Union, Kurt Eggers, Hans Baumann and a few others for Nazi Germany. They wrote actual, approved propaganda and curried artistic favor with their respective dictator/critics.

    Barack Obama is on the phone. He says he has a commission for us…

  22. Modern literary reviews (or even political literary reviews), of fifty-plus year old novels are laughable to begin with. The literary novel is, unfortunately, so dead that a critic can only be talking to a clique of uncollected survivors who aren’t looking for Janet Evanovich’s next novel by number.

    There’s no doubt in my mind that Rand wasn’t Steinbeck or Hemingway. But only an ass could overlook her ability to pin her finger down so precisely and poignantly on the thematic point she was making, while also conveniently looking the other way regarding her success as a female novelist of her time.

  23. Rand wasn’t Steinbeck or Hemingway

    Have you read either of those authors lately? Their stature diminishes yearly.
    Soon they will disappear altogether.

    1. I read the old man and the sea in eighth grade. It filled me with the desire to find Hemmingway’s grave and piss on it.

      -jcr

      1. So true, so true. If you arranged a Hemingway grave-visit, I’d buy a seat on the bus and drink cheap beer the while trip.

        I used to refer to the crapmeisters collectively as “Hemingbeck,” because I was a piano major and a “Steinway” was good for something.

      2. I’ve never read Hemmingway – I suppose I should someday – but I have read several of Steinbeck’s novels (high school requirement.) Steinbeck just sucks – some of the most depressing crap I’ve ever read.

    2. Steinbeck’s status I think has been declining steadily for the 30 years I’ve known about him. Hemingway’s school has not died off yet, so his reputation still has built-in support.

      Both have a very important advantage: short works that are as good as their masterpieces and present a low opportunity cost to any reader.

      1. My point was that I don’t think Rand was as preoccupied with being a literary stylist as either of those writers. I could have just as well used Faulkner. Regarding low opportunity cost, you can make that case regarding many writers who write both short fiction and novels.

  24. Thomas Mallon’s purpose in life is to prove that Ellsworth Toohey is not an entirely fictional character.

    -jcr

  25. Romaniticism is foreign to the modern hip ironist, but between Rabbit Redux and Atlas Shrugged, I prefer the latter, if for nothing else but the more inspiring sense of life.

    1. I’d rather use both to kill bugs.

    2. She was a rubbish Romantic, though. It makes sense that she was inspired by Victor Hugo, who was nearly as bad himself.

  26. Rand could be a terrible writer. I found We the Living to be fantastic, but Anthem, Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead were terrible. The “dialogue” is laughable, people speak like melodramatic robots, and her characters usually lack even basic nuances as she constructs her world of heroes we should idolize and villians who we should hate. It’s instructive that she declared her love of Victor Hugo’s stuff as he was over the top in his lack of nuance in characters and melodrama in story. Now, having said that, even Rand’s later stuff was at least as good and influential as, say, Upton Sinclair or Harriet Beecher Stowe, both of whom are recognized as part of the literary canon. Rand should be too.

    1. Agreed on Atlas Shrugged, but the others you mention were pretty good.

      1. I see the ad on the side of the page for We the Living movie, has anyone seen this? I really thought We the Living was a fantastic book, probably my fav book by a woman. I’d love to see it done today by a really good director and with someone like Isabella Rosselini in her day was. It would kick ass.

        1. Hey MNG! I saw the 1942 movie, “We the Living (Noi Vivo),”

          Tell ya what… you get your guys at HRW to give me some of that Saudi money you HRW guys get for bashing Israel and I’ll tell you about it.

          “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

        2. MNG, read my comments upthread.

    2. Continuing your final point: What runs would anybody be scoring today by pointing out that the prose in Uncle Tom’s Cabin is not up to code? That’s been conventional wisdom since the turn of the 20th century, and it was elite opinion when the book was new. Forcing a reappraisal of Stowe as a stylist was one of the major scores of feminist lit critics.

      Now The Jungle‘s literary offenses don’t seem to attract as much attention, and you might actually find new material going through that book’s descriptions of meat and Poles. But would The New Yorker dispatch somebody to attack Upton Sinclair as a longwinded crank, who unlike Rand strenuously sought high public office?

      1. Short answer: No.

        The review is obviously fueled by indignation among lefties that this woman is still well-known, influential and selling books. With the added threat that celebs like Angelina Jolie could increase her popularity with a feature length film and $50 million dollar marketing budget.

        I mean, think of the T-shirts sales! Reason would have to open a FACTORY.

    3. One big problem that I have with critics of Rand is that they usually judge her stylistic choices using the very, very narrow frame of reference of postwar literary naturalism.

      I am particularly amused when left-leaning figures do this, since if Rand was some island native with a bone through her nose they would demand that we judge her by the literary standards of her own time and place, lest we be accused of being insufficiently willing to embrace cultural norms other than our own.

      If the standards being applied to Rand’s work by MNG in the post above are correct, there was no literary creation of any value prior to Tolstoy. Just about the entire literary history of Britain, France, Germany, and the United States is filled with products of no value, because the dialogue is insufficiently naturalistic and the characterization is insufficiently nuanced. This includes Faust, and the Bible, Paradise Lost, and the Divine Comedy – all garbage.

      1. That’s a great point, well made.

        Personally, I might’ve preferred a more powerful waft of napalm in the morning, but I’m not kidding: I wish I’d thought of that.

    4. MNG says:
      “Rand could be a terrible writer. I found We the Living to be fantastic, but Anthem, Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead were terrible.”

      Errm, I’m pretty sure that Anthem was INTENDED by Rand to be a sort of prose-poem written in a style vaguely suggestive of the King James Bible (speaking of best-selling books that have stilted dialogue, poor character development, and cockamamie plots…). So whether you like Anthem or not, you shouldn’t evaluate it as a novel, because that’s not the genre it belongs to.

    5. “…her characters usually lack even basic nuances…”

      What the fucking fuck is a “basic nuance”?

  27. fuck the nyorker. It doesnt compare to its former self decades ago.

    1. None of us do.

      1. None of do does.

        1. Does? Hey, now!

  28. Anthem was decent because it was short. If only A.S. would have leaned more toward brevity.

  29. Some how I just have a feeling we will never see the end of it, I mean really.

    Jess
    Ultimate-Anonymity.com

    1. Anonymitybot, now with subtle insight and a whiff of melancholy!

  30. she was an immoral monster

    We’re all immoral monsters, now.

    1. Perhaps if we had a moral monster to compare, it would help — the Cookie Monster doesn’t count.

      1. Yeah, the Cookie Monster’s more amoral, overall.

  31. “she was an immoral monster”

    As opposed to such moral beings as Picasso or Hemingway…Really, this is very irrelevant when judging someone’s art imo.

  32. MNG-While I agree with you in general, it is true that Rand held herself up as a living example of her philosophy. In other words, she explicitly invited such scrutiny.

  33. But there is no attempt to engage the material or address its continuing popularity.

    Sounds like the proponents of “health care reform” and any real-world objections anyone might actually have with their grand scheme.

  34. But there is no attempt to engage the material or address its continuing popularity.

    Actually, it’s been addressed countless time. It’s exhausting to keep up with the Cult of Ayn Rand.

  35. You R?hmites are such fans of Ayn Rand, eh?

    What about Ayn Rand’s comments on the Middle East, HERE?

    Golly gee…. I guess Ayn Rand’s opposition of Muslim hitlerian style genocide is worse than her telling Nathaniel Branded that he should be impotent for the next 20 years.

    “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

  36. While NPR and Public TV take their fair share of (deserved) abuse around here, many stations are showing The Soviet Story, which (from what I’ve seen of it), is a pretty unflinching look at the atrocities of Communist Russia.

  37. Slate had a “review” of the two recent Rand biographies that was a similarly regurgitated hit job.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2233966/

    My favorite Rand reviews are the ones where the writers get basic aspects of the plot of Atlas Shrugged completely wrong by projecting their own statist views onto Rand’s characters. When they start writing that the strikers deliberately caused the tunnel disaster or that they are “seizing power,” you know the reviewer either a.) did not read the book, or b.) has a mind so hobbled by years of indoctrination that he or she is literally unable to understand the point Rand was making.

    1. Oh that rapscallion Johann Hari! What will he think of next? Not too long ago, he and the Objectivists were on the same side, both agreeing on the urgent necessity of and the good things that would come from invading Iraq.

  38. Ah, here’s Underzog to say something stupid. Underzog, what do you call six million dead Underzogs?

  39. Why aren’t you allowed to simply dislike fountainhead and atlas shrugged as novels?

    1. Then you wouldn’t be writing thousands of words about them in a major magazine at the end of the first decade of the 21st century.

      1. I don’t get how you journalism types can do that. You can write a few thousand words daily that everybody else who writes hates, so they write a few thousand words about how much your words suck.

        I admire your set.

        1. Everyone knows bloggers and journalists are assholes. 😉

          1. Dude! I am like totally a published author of like books and stuff! Just click my handle!

  40. Just had to say that was the worst last paragraph in a blog post I have ever seen. If I dont think romance novels are worth reading, I am a totalitarian? If I dont think vampire novels are worth reading, I am a totalitarian? If I dont think Al Gore’s books are worth reading, I am a totalitarian? If I, ok that could go on forever. Dumb! Just effing dumb.

    1. Tim, you need to go easy on the irony, it’s blowing some gaskets around here ….

    2. No, all that makes you racist and vampirist. Have any zombie bashing to add?

    3. I inadvertantly left out sexist too.

      HAT TRICK!

  41. Is that a Jackhammer in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

  42. I’m a fan of Rand’s ideas, not necessarily her writing. I still get the decoder ring and the “I Support Child Labor” t-shirt*, right?

    *something an English professor once accused me of, after discovering my philosophical ponderings during a class discussion. He wasn’t kidding.

    1. Better that children should labor than starve to death digging through the garbage dumps.

      1. So true, so true [as I light my fine Cuban cigar with the tallo of fat Western Europeans]

  43. Can’t one appreciate Rand and still disagree with her politics/ personality?

    This is the problem with literature and literary society in the American age. For centuries it’s been little more than a highbrow TMZ; the booboisie is better off not reading than enabling these sycophants. They’ve been fellating Shakespeare for so long that any other literary tradition is ignored.

  44. Fiction writers shouldn’t try to tell you how to live, they should pose questions. Ayn Rand didn’t have any questions because like a good dogmatist she already had all the answers. But how disingenuous to introduce her utopian views in fiction. We’re supposed to live a certain way in the real world, but living that way is only possible in the fantasy world she created.

  45. What a dismal standard of discussion! And this is ‘Reason’ magazine?

    On the other hand, could it be that the subject just tends to attract polarized opinions?

    As for ‘endurance’ of anything being a proof of anything of the enduring object’s merit, I would like to point out just two examples that seriously call this into question: the Bible and roaches.

  46. All I know about Thomas Mallon is:

    a) His novel “Bandbox” was pure, giddy joy to read and I eagerly recommend it to anyone.

    b) I keep thinking I ought to give “Dewey Defeats Truman” a try next, but haven’t got round to it yet.

    c) I couldn’t care less what he or any other novelist has to say in the pages of The New Yorker these days, nor do I see why anyone else should care.

  47. I was curious how Ayn Rand fans were responding to Mallon’s piece, so I came to “Reason” to hear–the result is that I come away appalled by the low level of the conversation here. Few here have taken on Mallon’s statements; almost everyone here just balks and gets offended. Why is this called “Reason”–a better name would be “Ad Hominen.” And to think I was open to libertarian fews until I got to this page….

  48. I can’t really speak for libertarians; I’ve heard that they are a diverse group that encompasses both the highly visible fanatics and ideologues as well as actually reasonable, thoughtful people. As far as Ayn Rand fans go, however, yes, this is indeed the normal level of discourse. If you actually read her books what else would you expect?

  49. BTW, “reason” in the mouths of Randists appears to mean something different than it does to most people. If you’re looking for philosophy that is genuinely finicky and rigorous about reasoning and empirical reality, try philosophy of science, or “logical positivism.” Randist dogma isn’t really truth in advertising, at least in this area.

  50. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz book series either as collectible or investment at RareOzBooks.com.

  51. I just finished reading The Fountainhead. I am an architect, and therefore I was supposed to be interested in this book, or the movie, but it’s taken me almost 30 years in this country to get to it and to be ready to it.

    It was a wake-up call to me, and now I am going through the agony of reclaiming my will to create for the sake of creation, and it is the toughest thing I have ever gone through: and as someone born in Communist Hungary to communist parents: I have had a lot of “freeing the human spirit” to do.

    America is a lot worse that Hungary was during the 34 years of me living there: people are dead inside, have no desire of their own, have no opinion of their own, were never taught to think, they own nothing that doesn’t own them.

    Rand’s philosophy, including the way he communicates it, her writing, is like a call to the human spirit to put up a fight. I thought I had a fighting spirit, but in fact I was just thrashing around like a fish on dry land, never knowing how to get back to the life-giving water.

    Ayn Rand’s writing may not be as dramatic for many, but it’s only because they are more invested in cowardice and looking-good than courage, and responsibility.

    Or in serving some totalitarian power’s effort they are personally hellbent on destroying humanity.

    They are doing a good job.

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