Ayn Rand

Reason.tv: Ayn Rand & The World She Made—Q&A with Anne Heller

|

Anne C. Heller's critically acclaimed and best-selling 2009 book, Ayn Rand and the World She Made, is new in paperback (we're tempted to say that it makes a great Christmas gift, though it's clear that Rand didn't believe in the holiday or the altruism that attaches to it!).

Reason's Nick Gillespie talks with Heller about Rand, whom the biographer says remains the great explicator of capitalism's virtues and remarkably undervalued by the literary establishment.

"How many novelists of ideas do we have in post-war America?" asks Heller, who says the most surprising thing she learned about Rand during her research was her fearfulness. From double-locking doors to wearing heavy rubber gloves while washing dishes to avoid germs, Heller argues that Rand bore the scars of a Jewish childhood spent in the virulently anti-Semitic confines of czarist Russia and the fledgling Soviet Union.

As Gillespie noted in his review of Ayn Rand and the World She Made and Jennifer Burns' Goddess of the Market, Heller's biography is a rich, sympathetic treatment of a major cultural figure that simultaneously analyzes and humanizes Rand's major, continuing influence on 20th- and 21st-century America.

Approximately 6.30 minutes. Shot by Jim Epstein and Adam Hawk Jensen. Edited by Josh Swain.

To watch Reason.tv's video series about Ayn Rand, Radicals for Capitalism, go here

To read Reason's archive of articles about Rand, go here

Go to Reason.tv for downloadable version of this video and subscribe to Reason.tv's YouTube channel to receive automatic notification when new material goes live.

NEXT: This is What a School-Board-Meeting-Shooter's Facebook Page Looks Like

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

  1. I have to admit, I’m a pretty libertarian guy but I’ve just never gotten into the Ayn Rand thing. I tried reading Atlas Shrugged and got about twenty pages into it before I couldn’t take it anymore. As political vehicle it evidently is inspiring, but as literature – or even a good yarn – it sucks.

    And what’s with the cult she was running out of her apartment? The way she conducted herself with and controlled others smacks more of Dear Leader or Jim Jones than anything remotely enlightened.

    1. Maybe it’s connected to how becoming an Objectivist turns you into a cultist.

      1. Is this connected to how disagreeing with Episiarch makes you into a statist?

        1. To be fair, since he’s an anarchist, virtually all of us are statists in his eyes. I’m a minarchist, for instance. Statist.

          1. Anarchy means never having to say anything of consequence.

        2. No, it’s connected to how being an Objectivist turns you into a cultist. Can’t you read?

          And ProL is a fucking statist.

          1. Do you just have one category–STATIST [pointing finger in a Sutherlandesque scream]–or is there a statist continuum? If it’s the latter, I’m curious to hear what you call someone who is much more statist like, say, a fictional construct like Tony.

            1. TurboStatist GT500 Shelby Edition?

            2. Extra Crispy Fried Statist.

              1. If he were real, that would so offend him.

            3. PL, thanks for destroying the continuum. For shit sake, don’t tell me Tony’s a fake. Next your going to tell me Epi’s straight.

              1. Oh rectal, why do you even try? You’re so much epic fail that I have to almost admire your determination. Almost.

                1. Epi, my little titty baby, are you having a bad day with Cytotoxic? 🙂

                  1. I have his ass all over my foot. Can’t get it off.

                    1. Oh my god, internet chest-beating! You are the gift that just keeps on giving. What retarded internet thing will you do next? Oh, I know: tell me you can beat me up! That would be pure gold.

                    2. Count yourself lucky it’s your foot.

          2. Being an Objectivist does not turn you into a cultist. I like Rand’s ideas but thought that her emotions got the better of her sometimes. She’s not out Jesus and anyone who treats her so is a Radroid not an Objectivist.

            Why am I speaking to someone so childish as an anarchist? The adult table is over there and so am I.

            1. And here we see the cycle once again: come in, engage, insult, and then declare talking with me is beneath you. You’re more predictable than Warty’s colon.

              So, next should be you changing your handle and engaging again but pretending it isn’t you. That about right?

            2. But Rand’s actions created a cult. No one in her inner circle could have a disagreement with her on anything. And then when she named Peikoff her “intellectual heir,” she just compounded the problem. Now Peikoff acts exactly like her, demanding that anyone who disagrees with him be excommunicated from Objectivism. Whether she meant to or not, she created a cult.

              1. I believe that by the time of her death, Rand was rather bitter about the way her ideas weren’t taking off. Naming the detestable Randroid Peikoff as her inheritor was a self-indulgent move that continues to hurt The Movement. However, it was Peikoff, in sublime douchebaggery, that named himself Ayn Rand’s “Intellectual Heir”.
                @Epi: please do us a favor and move to your paradise of Southern/Central Somalia.

                1. Did you just fucking pull the Somalia card out? On H&R? Either you are a master of irony or you are the most tone-dead Randroid idiot I’ve ever seen.

                  I’m going with the latter. It still gave me a laugh, but trust me, it wasn’t with you.

              2. Even when I was in high school and inhaling Ayn Rand fiction as fast as I could buy it, I knew sending in that postcard to the Objectivists would lead to unending mailings, phone calls and pressure. A sheltered kid like me could see it had the trappings of a cult.

                1. Well I wouldn’t say they were THAT actively trying to convert people, they sort of just let people come to them. They were more about excluding the “impure” than reeling everyone in.

                2. Nobody ever contacted me. The “cult” thing is simply a hackneyed smear by her detractors.

                  1. Then what was the point of them putting postcards for Objectivism in all her books? Just for the hell of it? To gratuitously kill some trees? Give me a fucking break – it was so they could ply you with literature.

                    1. How is that cultist?!?

                    2. Seriously? Like, really? How is that not not cultist?? And why the fuck would I need to take a class? Now THAT screams “cult!!!”. Any philosophical idea you care to explore is free and available on teh intertubez.

                    3. Jesus H, Kristen. You’ve never heard of advertising? Stop before you really humiliate yourself with your paranoid rant.

                    4. Any philosophical idea you care to explore is free and available on teh intertubez.

                      No “teh intertubez” in Rand’s heyday – she died in 1980 or 81 (82?)

                    5. I don’t think Objectivism is a “cult.” But as an organization, at least looking at it from the top, it worked kinda like a cult. Especially the way rhetoric could be conveniently self-serving.

                      Look at it from sexy POV. Grand Vizier Rand gets to screw who she wants, dump who she wants, and everyone has to buck up and roll with it for “The Cause.” That’s Cult 101 from Muhammad to that kid-toucher-preacher who abducted Elizabeth Smart: Dirty old men (and one dirty old woman) using The Movement to justify a nice roll in the moral dung-heap, victims and all.

                    6. Yeah you’d get a mailing about classes and such, but no one would be calling you or pressuring you.

                    7. Mostly it was so they could sell you some literature: The Objectivist Newsletter, or The Objectivist, various pamphlets and books, tapes, etc.

              3. How is one excommunicated from a philosophy?

                1. By daring to offend Pope PeikOff I.

                  1. How does this Pope stop you from accepting and understanding ideas though? I never asked anyone’s permission before I began study and integrate the philosophy.

                2. Well when other Objectivists are not allowed to talk or be near you, and are told to discredit anything you say or do for the rest of your life (see the Brandens), what is that?

                  1. I would call it being an asshole. The philosophy is in some books which you can buy and think about without checking with anybody first. You can also disagree with any part of it you want without checking in with any body.

                    1. Dude, you think Rand or Peikoff would let anyone who disagrees with them call their philosophy Objectivism? This is exactly the issue in the McCaskey affair. Does Peikoff get to decide what Objectivism is, or is it an open intellectual system? Peikoff and Rand would say no.

                    2. Saying that you are an objectivist is saying that you agree with objectivism. I am not an Aristotelian because I disagree with some of his ideas. I am a libertarian because my views fit within the very wide definition which says nothing about Metaphysics or Epistemology and is mostly a political philosophy.

                    3. libertarian[ism]… says nothing about Metaphysics or Epistemology and is mostly a political philosophy

                      Indeed, libertarians fail because they attempt to get by with just politics while ignoring the other branches of philosophy. They’re permanent adolescents.

                    4. Being a libertarian doesn’t mean that you must eschew all other philosophy. There just isn’t a set philosophy for everything. It’s hardly a failure that a political/moral philosophy is only a political/moral philosophy.

                    5. I didn’t say otherwise. My point is that libertarianism is an “open” system because it isn’t an entire philosophy and there was no single author. Aristotle, Plato, Kant and Rand all had “closed” systems because they consistently(for the most part) carried their premises through all the branches- Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics, Politics and Esthetics. Alterations to one principle affect the rest. They’re not closed out of arrogance or a desire to exclude, they’re closed because they are structures with one principle built on the other. If you think something is wrong, you would have to solve all the contradictions which arise from the change. By the time you do that, the old name refers to the old philosophy and you should name the new one whatever you want. Hellerism has a good ring to it.

                    6. Uh no, very few philosophies are actually closed. Rand did not, and probably could not, apply the basic Objectivist absolutes to EVERY area of thought. This is why there are still disagreements over philosophy in the Objectivist movement. If the system was in fact closed, then there either wouldn’t be any disagreements, or the disagreements could easily be settled by an application of Objectivist absolutes.

                    7. “Rand did not, and probably could not, apply the basic Objectivist absolutes to EVERY area of thought.”

                      Nor did she claim she had. She knew there was still a lot of work for specialists to do in applying her work to Law or Physics or whatever but she would not, I assume, accept any alterations to the philosophy they are applying.

                      “If the system was in fact closed, then there either wouldn’t be any disagreements, or the disagreements could easily be settled by an application of Objectivist absolutes.”

                      That would be true if every problem only involved one single principle. It gets a little tricky in the real world because any number of principles can apply to a given problem and in different degrees. People don’t always agree on how to do that in every case. Although, Objectivism does claim that, in the application of absolutes, wherever people disagree, at least one of them is necessarily wrong. So in that sense you’re right. It’s just not always crystal clear to everyone. Myself included. If the people who say that Objectivism is a simpleton’s philosophy are right then I’m really stupid because I’ve been sudying it for years in my spare time and I still have big holes in my understanding.

                3. They really scrub your brain.

                  1. Who really scrubs my brain? People here are usually a little more skeptical than that. But you mention Rand and suddenly everyone sees shadow lurkers.

                    1. Hey! I found some subscription postcards in my copy of Reason. Beware! Reason is a cult! They want to send you information!

      2. Objectivists are libertarians from the bizarro world. There, instead of effectively having no power, they run the entire world from their underwater dystopia, using a network of powerful shell megacorporations, against which the Republicans and Democrats, even working together, can only flail against ineffectively. (Of course, the lesser parties’ progress is hampered by the fact that, from time to time, each sides with the Objectivists to backstab the other for the always unrealized promise of political favors from the megacorporate global oligarchy.)

        That is why all Objectivists, even the women, have goatees.

  2. “…though it’s clear that Rand didn’t believe in the holiday or the altruism that attaches to it!”

    Why should the act of giving gifts to people you care about be considered altruism?

    1. I agree – I think that’s a total misinterpretation of Rand’s thinking. Giving gifts to loved ones gives pleasure to the giver, which is an ultimately selfish act, which would meet with Rand’s approval.

      She once said on the Donahue show that she’s not advocating running out of a burning building without thinking of anyone else, she explained that altruism would be rescuing stranegrs from a a burning building while leaving your spouse/children/loved ones to burn.

      1. If I may split hairs on one point, she didn’t advocate doing whatever gives you pleasure. She advocated acting in your rational long term self-interest. Giving gifts to and celebrating with those I love is absolutely in my self interest.

        1. Yes – I worded it more simply than the point deserved.

          1. Though I think she would’ve advised against giving any gifts to my aunt Deborah.

            1. What an awful woman.

              1. My aunt Deborah? Wow, you really are right about everything miss Rand.

    2. It was a joke, nerd.

  3. “… to wearing heavy rubber gloves while washing dishes to avoid germs …”

    I hear she also wore two rubbers on her big swinging dick.

    I guess if Ayn were alive today she’d totally deplore Reason’s “please give us some money” routine. Root, hog, or die, motherfuckers!

    1. Stop spelling my name wrong!

    2. I guess if Ayn were alive today she’d totally deplore Reason’s “please give us some money” routine.

      Why?

      1. If she were alive today, she’d be a commenter at Hit & Run, insulting libertarians in new and increasingly long-winded ways.

        1. Yes, but I don’t think she would be against Reason soliciting donations from the people that benefit from its work.

          1. I think she’d be a paywall advocate.

        2. Dude, her disciples are doing it for her every day. But your forgot to add “nonsensical” to “new and increasingly long-winded ways”.

          1. Let’s hope she wouldn’t be as caught up in her cult as many of them are.

        3. If she were alive today, she’d be a commenter at Hit & Run

          If she were alive today, she’d probably be glued to a computer and the internet 24/7 – if she wasn’t to set in her ways to learn to use one. She’d have loved the intertubez and its world of ideas.

        4. she’d be a commenter at Hit & Run, insulting libertarians

          She wouldn’t give you the time of day.

          1. Probably so. She once wrote that although she was willing to answer questions, she was finished arguing or debating anyone concerning her views.

          2. Sure she would. The woman obviously had some rape fantasy issues, and we have a known rapist posting here.

            1. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

      2. You want to have anal with Vanneman?

        1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

          Oh Rectal, you so crazy.

          1. Holy shit! Now you’re trying to have anal with me. For Christ sake, is that kosher?

            1. Heller, you know the tribe has enough lawyers; quit trying to fuck in the ass to make new ones.

              1. Now Rectal is trying to get a rise out of me by being anti-Semitic. Little does he know that I don’t take retards seriously.

                1. Heller,don’t be such a sensitive bitch.
                  The love of my life was a jew 😉

                  1. Rectal, come back to me on that when you learn what the phrase “I don’t take retards seriously” means.

                    1. You must be sniffing the gas you use to kill all those cute mice. I always wondered if you feel a little awkward putting them down. You don’t have a pictured of HIM next to the chamber, do you?

                    2. Sniffing carbon dioxide? Dumbass.

                    3. Sniffing carbon dioxide? Try again dumbass.

                    4. Anal Vanneman, Rectal,dumbass, calling me he…Hmm,you are obsessed with it, aren’t you? Sorry, I don’t have a dick but maybe Epi can bend you over.

                    5. *Yawn*

                      It’s been real fun, but I can tell you’re all out of gas. Maybe you should go back to your “blog” and read the all those comments people have been leaving (like three). Talentless hacks like you are just too pitiful.

                    6. Heller your so sweet! Not only do you read my blog but you read all the comments too.

                      Are you the secret fan who emails me all those remarks about dying laughing playing my little game?

                    7. Uh no, I’ve read one of your posts because it mentioned me. I’ve never read anything else on your blog.

                      And no, I wouldn’t waste my time sending you emails.

                    8. So you only ever came to my blog once? Heller, you need to get better at lying to girls cause you’re never getting laid otherwise.

                    9. So you only ever came to my blog once?

                      Reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit is it? I said I’ve only read a single post on your blog. I never said anything about the number of times I’ve visited your blog.

  4. And here comes the Objectivist flamewar…

  5. Just because she’s not the World’s Greatest Novelist doesn’t mean her ideas are illegitimate.

    Personally, I enjoyed the action sequences in Atlas Shrugged (fuckin-a, that train crash scene would be fantastic in movie form. Or the plane chase scene. Or the Xylophone detonation scene.). I found The Fountainhead deadly dull.

    1. I liked The Fountainhead, but it’s hard to take seriously the idea that functionalist modern architecture is morally superior to other forms. Did she also object to icing designs on birthday cakes?

      1. I am reading The Fountainhead and I like it. I don’t think Ayn found the older architectural forms morally inferior, she just hated that the ‘new’ architects were terminally and dogmatically uncreative, only ever poaching what was done before.

        1. At points she’s just railing against Greek columns being everywhere, but if you pay attention to this point while reading, I think you’ll see that she’s really suggesting that anything nonfunctional in architecture is somehow corrupt.

          1. The idea was not that ornamentation was corrupt, it was that classical architecture is second-handed. It’s just someone copying someone else’s ideas and taking them out of context. Rand’s ideal architect in real life, who inspired Howard Roark, was Frank Lloyd Wright. If you’ve ever seen one of his houses, they do have ornamentation, but they are natural, they are like extensions of the environment that the house is in.

            1. Funny, I seem to recall she always denied the Roark/Wright equivalence. But my memory is going so I may be wrong on that.

              1. You owe me 1000 bucks

                1. You owe me an intelligent comment. I’ll pay when you pay, so we might as well call all bets off.

                  1. Heller, we can’t all be so intelligent as to never graduate. Holy cow, are you trying to pull a Van Wilder?

                    1. I work at a university lab you dumbass.

                    2. What? Little baby Heller finally graduated? Fuck, you should have told me! I had a bronzed test tube made for your little diploma. I had it engraved: Love Pipette & Culture Tube

                    3. I like how Rectal just goes on obliviously, never really facing how stupid he really is.

                    4. Heller, you can call me “he” all you want to but I’m not interested in seeing you dress as a girl. I’m sure you’d make a cute JAP 🙂

                    5. I’m sorry Rectal, it’s just that none of the women I know are complete dumbasses. Until now, I’ve only known men to be as stupid as you are.

                    6. I always thought you were raised by lesbians-so cute, you even talk like them!

                    7. Don’t you have a “blog” to be “writing?”

                    8. Yes, I have one ready but I’m tempted to scrap it for my new blog Heller Has Two Mommies.

                    9. Go ahead. Just know that no matter how much you annoy people on this site, and no matter how much you write on your blog, NO ONE WILL EVER GIVE A FLYING FUCK ABOUT YOU. That’s all.

                    10. Heller, FLYING FUCKS are really really dangerous. Boys, do Not Try This At Home.

                    11. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

              2. You aren’t.

                1. Wrong on that, I mean. (damn threaded comments.)

          2. Ironically much of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture is totally non-functional

            1. It’s not ironic at all; Rand wasn’t anti-ornamentation.

          3. ProL:
            I always read her problem as being the thoughtless nature of the ornamentation. Why is the Greek column there? Because fancy buildings have Greek columns! I can be put in that state when I see hemicylindrical columns built into a facade. I have to go punch the nearest kitten. It is one thing to evoke a feeling or create an homage to a past style. Entirely different to slap stuff together.

            1. Yes, but its a moral failing? It’s not like we’re talking about infringing on some living person’s proprietary rights.

              1. In Rand’s system of morality the most grievious sins are those against oneself. Her philosophy says one needs a morality even if there are no other people.

            2. Remember the VERY beginning, where Roark criticized the Parthenon? He was railing against the non-functional aspects. He spoke of how while it was made of stone, it was shaped and put together in ways only useful when building such a structure out of wood. One point of that part was that as materials change, the design and engineering should change to take advantage of the new materials.
              This exact same idea is revisited in Atlas Shrugged when the new bridge to be built out of Rearden Metal is being designed.

              Anyway, the point you got out of it is still correct, but it is not the full condemnation.

              1. Rearden Metal…I think we’ve found the new name for the next evolution of heavy metal! Now, the only question is what will it sound like?

        2. Then you should check out her non-fiction. Everything for her came down to morality. To her, art is an expression of an idea, and if that idea is wrong or immoral, then the art is immoral. If you didn’t realize that the Fountainhead was partly about how art represents morality, then you didn’t understand the book.

          1. She’s not alone in the kind of thinking. I used to know an art professor who regularly mixed ethics and aesthetics.

            1. Yes, that’s the biggest problem I’ve had with her. At some point we have to delineate between morality, which there should only be one set of, and ethics, which are up to each individual person. I’m not a moral relativist, I’m an ethical relativist. Rand thought that there was only one reasoned, moral ethics. But this is clearly not true. There are infinite ways to achieve happiness, Objectivism is not the only way nor is it the best way for all people.

              1. I think what you call morality; she called ethics(or morality interchangeably). And what you call ethics; she called goal directed action or teleological something or other. She viewed ethics as the branch of philosophy where you study Metaphysics and Epistemology to derive principles for living within that framework. But she also said that every one will rightly be different where goals or concretes are concerned.

                Where it gets tricky is that her morality was not built around what you do to or for others. Instead, it was about what you do to or for yourself primarily. People can’t seem to shift to that perspective. Even just to investigate.

                1. Yes I have investigated it. My problem with her is that she put forth that Objectivism was the only/best way for man to achieve happiness. That is simply not true.

                  1. Define “happiness”. Rand defined it as a state of “non-contradictory joy” – meaning that today’s pleasure shouldn’t be wiped out by a hangover tomorrow.

                    1. Yes, all roads besides Objectivism lead to impermanent happiness.

                      That makes so much more sense.

                    2. I think the main point is that all roads besides reason lead to impermanent happiness or no happiness at all. She held that, moral principles are absolute and derive from the nature of being a rational animal in an intelligible world. IF she was wrong about any major part of it she was probably wrong at the level of premises.

                      Either way, you say she was wrong about being right about everything. I say what,then, was she wrong about?

                    3. Yes moral principles are absolute. Ethical principles are not. Moral principle deals in irreducible laws. Ethics deals in outcomes.

                      For example I disagree with her that altruism is somehow immoral. Since altruism is not coercive, I cannot see why it is irreducibly immoral. What Rand could argue convincingly is whether or not altruism is ethical, but that all comes down to a sort of utilitarian look at the theoretical effects of altruism. Does altruism lead to happiness? Rand would obviously say no, yet there is clear proof of those who have lived altruistic lives and achieved happiness. But again, I disagree that an action that is non-coercive can be immoral.

                    4. “Since altruism is not coercive, I cannot see why it is irreducibly immoral.”

                      It isn’t irriducible and neither is coersion. For her, Ethics is that branch that determines Morality. Her Ethics wasn’t other-dependant. She didn’t treat non-coersion as an irreducible primary but as a conclusion from the first two branches. Like this:Reality is an absolute and must be understood or it will fuck you up, Reason is man’s tool for understanding and prospering within reality, coersion is an attempt to fake reality which sets you up to fail by corrupting your capacity to deal with reality including the reality of other men’s minds and values.

                      Altruism is immoral because it is sacrifice of a value for a lesser value or non-value. This is the opposite of the purpose of ethics in her view.

                      You seem to view morality as “how to do right by others” and ethics as “how to do right by yourself”. She thought of doing right by others as sort of a bonus and happens to be a result of doing right by yourself and there were no separate branches of ethics and morality.

              2. “It is important to stress, however, that even though moral values are inextricably involved in art, they are involved only as a consequence, not as a causal determinant: the primary focus of art is metaphysical, not ethical. Art is not the “handmaiden” of morality, its basic purpose is not to educate, to reform or to advocate anything. The concretization of a moral ideal is not a textbook on how to become one. The basic purpose of art is not to teach, but to show?to hold up to man a concretized image of his nature and his place in the universe.”

                1. What if your art is surreal and non-romantic? Is it not art just because Rand redefined art to suit her philosophy?

                  1. It’s not really as sinister as all that. She basically used Aristotle’s definition of art. So according to Rand and Aristotle and a few others, no, it’s not art. Big deal. What’s the point ot philosophy if you don’t define stuff? Do you accept anything as art just because someone says it is? Or do you have a definition of art and exclude(YOU AUTHORITARIAN FASCIST!!) some pieces as unartistic?

                    1. It’s not really as sinister as all that. She basically used Aristotle’s definition of art. So according to Rand and Aristotle and a few others, no, it’s not art. Big deal. What’s the point ot philosophy if you don’t define stuff? Do you accept anything as art just because someone says it is? Or do you have a definition of art and exclude(YOU AUTHORITARIAN FASCIST!!) some pieces as unartistic?

                      Where did I imply sinister intent?

                      Anyway, my problem with this idea is that I don’t see why surreal art should not be described as art because it does not meet the criteria of representing reality. Why can’t art represent something unreal? To me, any aesthetic form that represents an idea can be art. Rand would argue that surreal art is harmful or useless or bad, but none of those things should exclude it from the realm of art.

                      Again, this comes back to the problem of Objectivists not being able to distinguish between irreducible absolutes (morality, the definition of art) and non-absolutes (methods of reaching happiness, methods of judging the quality/usefulness/success of art).

                    2. “As a re-creation of reality, a work of art has to be representational; its freedom of stylization is limited by the requirement of intelligibility; if it does not present an intelligible subject, it ceases to be art.”

                      This is the only “such and such is not art” quote I’ve seen and I don’t think this definition disqualifies surrealism. Also she never said it has to be romantic to be art, though she did think that it is worthless if it isn’t. I think she started calling her cat “the Professor of esthetics” because it peed on a Jackson Pollock or something that someone had given her. Oh yeah and then there’s this strange little nugget.

                      “There is no art that uses glue as a medium”

                  2. What if your art is surreal and non-romantic?

                    What if it is? What’s your point?

                    Is it not art just because Rand redefined art to suit her philosophy?

                    She didn’t “redefine” art. She defined it. (“Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments.”) She never said crappy art wasn’t art. But what you seem to be saying is that there are no standards, that there is no such thing as “crappy” art, because one cannot define “crappy.” If that’s the case, then you can never offer an opinion about any kind of art. After all, who would take you seriously when you have no standards, if words have no meanings? By the way, the abstract expressionists fooled millions with that approach, so having elastic, nonobjective standards of aesthetics can be a money-maker, for a while, until the public catches on to the scam.

                    1. But what you seem to be saying is that there are no standards, that there is no such thing as “crappy” art, because one cannot define “crappy.”

                      A definition of art is not the same thing as a standard of good art. If Rand was saying that surreal art is crappy art, that does not exclude surreal art as art. I never said that there are no standards in art. Until now we were talking only about the definition of art, not art quality. You seem to be confusing the two.

          2. I am sorry then. I haven’t read her nonfic but that will come for me after the fiction as part of my conversion to Objectivism.

            1. I wouldn’t convert until I actually knew what her ideas were…

              1. I’m converting as I read her ideas.

            2. So you are a cultist. Got it.

              1. I’ve solved the riddle near the top of the page! Disagreeing with Epi = cultist. Ah Epi, our Somalian version of Max Chony.

                1. The Somalia card twice?!? Oh, this is priceless.

                  Are you a teenager? You have to be to be this clueless.

                  1. The early teens are the appropriate time for the Ayn Rand phase.

                    1. Real Tony or Fake Tony… it’s all the same boring.

                    2. There’s no real Tony, dude.

              2. Concern troll is concerned.

          3. Everything for her came down to morality.

            That’s only partly true. For Rand everything came down to values – “that which one acts to gain or to keep.” Of course, the choosing and pursuit of those values does constitute morality for her.

            1. heller|12.15.10 @ 4:13PM|#
              At some point we have to delineate between morality, which there should only be one set of, and ethics, which are up to each individual person. I’m not a moral relativist, I’m an ethical relativist.

              What you are is confused. Morality is ethics. You can’t separate them.

              1. No, ethics is merely a consistent pattern of reasoning. it is possible to be ethical and immoral. or so my ethics teacher has been telling me for the past few weeks…

              2. Actually I can easily separate them since they are not always synonymous.

                Morality is a set of rules that dictate conduct.

                Ethics is a way of achieving happiness.

                Yes, sometimes people describe morality as ethics, but this is not the same thing as “a way of achieving happiness.” Rand compounded the two, stating that just as there is only one absolute morality, there is only one absolute way to achieve happiness. This is wrong.

                These concepts existed and were defined before Ayn Rand came along, you know.

                1. She didn’t compound the two. She derived morality from Ethics. First “how does one achieve happiness?” then “What sort of rules does that require?”

                2. Ethics is a way of achieving happiness.

                  Of course. But it’s not the “definition” of ethics. A code of ethics is the same thing as a code of morality. How you’ve managed to separate the two is beyond my understanding. You seem to be inventing your own definitions.

                  1. But they are clearly separate. Acting morally will not guarantee that you reach happiness. Reaching happiness does not guarantee that you acted morally to get there.

                    Now Rand would disagree with me on theoretical grounds here. For instance, she would say that a bank robber wouldn’t reach true or permanent happiness with his immorally gotten wealth. But this theory is dependent on an empirical outcome rather than philosophical absolutes. And I think it’s clear that there is much empirical evidence of people who acted immorally but lived happy lives.

                    Rand was simply wrong that morality and ethics are dependent on one another.

                    1. “she would say that a bank robber wouldn’t reach true or permanent happiness with his immorally gotten wealth. But this theory is dependent on an empirical outcome rather than philosophical absolutes.”

                      No it isn’t. He would be harming himself even if he was in no danger of getting caught. His mind(his tool for perceiving reality) gets repurposed as a tool for covering up and hiding reality. He is afraid of the truth and he feels a need to keep those whose love and respect he wants from discovering the truth. He has turned reality into his mind’s enemy. Anyone who has to lie to gain trust or love knows on some level that he is not worthy of either and only experiences fleeting moments of happiness until he reminds himself of his hidden ugliness because he is once again called upon to lie. It just sounds like poetry but it’s not. It’s the reason people like Madoff or some of those Enron guys are so miserable and hang themselves or say they are relieved when they get caught.

                    2. “Acting morally will not guarantee that you reach happiness.”

                      Ayn Rand’s morality says that the pursuit of your own happiness is your highest moral calling. It teaches you how to pursue it but, No, it does not guarantee that you will achieve happiness.

                      “Reaching happiness does not guarantee that you acted morally to get there.”

                      Happiness is the outcome of achieving your values. If loot is something you value and you think stealing is fine then a big successful robbery will make you feel happy for a while. But it won’t last because of what I talked about up there^^

      2. She also objected to an architect being a good architect, i.e., someone who doesn’t merely doodle building designs, but can manage the needs and desires of all interested parties.

        1. Okay, that was funny. Nice.

        2. Isn’t that exactly the goal of functional Modernism?

          1. Wasn’t Howard Roark’s goal. Even though he didn’t own the building, he felt entitled to dynamite it because it wasn’t allowed to be his perfect vision. Waah. She should have written about a painter.

            1. You know, in Europe, that sort of thinking has the force of law in the doctrine of the droit moral.

            2. He dynamited the building because his designs were used in a way forbidden by his written agreement with Peter Keating. He agreed to design it if and only if it would be built exactly so, with no alterations. His terms and conditions were not met.

              1. It’s been alot of years, but I don’t remember any written agreement. There was, however, a secret one: In return for letting Keating pass the work off as his own he had to promise that it would be built exactly as designed.

                1. In the book, he and Peter signed a written agreement. This was omitted from the movie adaptation.

            3. It’s also important to remember that Howard Roark isn’t the ideal Objectivist.

    2. I made it about two pages in and said “fuck this shit”. I was kind of hoping to like it, so it could be my Battlefield Earth or whatever, but eh. That put me off trying to even start Atlas Shrugged. Though I enjoyed Bioshock, so that has to count for something.

  6. And she loved Christmas, though one would have to read her non-fiction to realize that.

    1. Hey no thanks buddy. Too many ideas in those books. We’d rather just squawk about bad prose, cults and germophobia so we can pretend she never presented any ideas. Thinking is hard.

      1. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

        Thinking isn’t hard at all for people who get all their ideas from one woman. That’s sort of the point for you, isn’t it?

        1. Pissant’s world must be a frightful place.

          1. Now now, Cyto; you’re not fooling anyone.

            1. I wish I knew how to get that superscript into the name title. Alas, no. Also, the comment count appears to be stuck at 24.

            2. I’m pretty sure that’s someone making fun of AP. The layers are piling up.

              1. You are wrong.

                1. Nah this is the real Anonypussy. He thinks he can hijack the insult by using as his handle. Typical anonypussy.

                  1. I am many things to many people. I am an enigma. I drive Episiarch to distraction. I laugh and laugh.

                    1. Really, because it seems like Episiarch pretty much ignores you most of the time. But good to know that you feel powerful because you thought you distracted someone on the internet. Aim high!

                    2. @heller

                    3. Episiarch pretty much ignores you most of the time

                      You haven’t been paying attention. He’s obsessed with me. And now you are. Everything is falling into place.

                    4. Did you always have these delusions of grandeur?

        2. Which ideas would those be?

      2. Can you point to where the author “pretend(ed) she never presented any ideas”?

      3. Right, no one here wants to discuss her philosophy, just ad hominem attacks, because we hate Rand for no reason:

        Then you should check out her non-fiction. Everything for her came down to morality. To her, art is an expression of an idea, and if that idea is wrong or immoral, then the art is immoral. If you didn’t realize that the Fountainhead was partly about how art represents morality, then you didn’t understand the book.

        reply to this
        Pro Libertate|12.15.10 @ 4:02PM|#
        She’s not alone in the kind of thinking. I used to know an art professor who regularly mixed ethics and aesthetics.

        reply to this
        heller|12.15.10 @ 4:13PM|#
        Yes, that’s the biggest problem I’ve had with her. At some point we have to delineate between morality, which there should only be one set of, and ethics, which are up to each individual person. I’m not a moral relativist, I’m an ethical relativist. Rand thought that there was only one reasoned, moral ethics. But this is clearly not true. There are infinite ways to achieve happiness, Objectivism is not the only way nor is it the best way for all people.

        reply to this

        1. Yup, exactly my biggest problem with Objectivism. It makes a moral judgement on what are essentially aesthetics.

          Of course, I’m not even close to being a member of the elite, successful classes, so maybe my problem with it is that I’m just a bitter prole.

          1. Nah, you probably just have an inferiority complex like so many of Rand’s detractors who haven’t the slightest idea what she was writing about and who demonstrate their ignorance in public blogs.

            1. I agree anyone who disagrees with Rand is a troglodyte with no substance in their criticisms. We can just ignore anyone who disagrees with Rand.

            2. Dude! You’re doing what I criticize her detractors for doing. You’re psychoanalizing rather than arguing for or against her ideas. They were actually discussing her philosophy. That’s no better than just calling them cultists or something.

              1. Guilty as charged. I sunk to their level. I should be forced to read Rothbard as punishment.

      4. I would say that her ideas are pretty powerful, and appealing to many. Its an excellent reference to the value in her ideas that they can survive beyond the long-winded boring literary packages they’re bundled up in, or the cult-tendencies she exhibited in managing her “movement.”

        I wish Karl Marx would’ve dressed up Das Kapital and the Manifesto in some dime-store mind-numbing fiction. Removed of academic pseudo-credibility, it would’ve looked as bad as it is, millions of lives would’ve been saved.

  7. [W]e’re tempted to say that it makes a great Christmas gift, though it’s clear that Rand didn’t believe in the holiday or the altruism that attaches to it!

    Not true. Ayn Rand wrote in favor of celebrating Christmas. An excerpt:

    The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: “Merry Christmas”?not “Weep and Repent.” And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form?by giving presents to one’s friends, or by sending them cards in token of remembrance . . . .

    1. Indeed, Eric. Goes to show you that most libertarians are clueless when it comes to Ayn Rand.

  8. “How many novelists of ideas do we have in post-war America?”

    All of them? They’re mostly ideas about having a job where you can bang interns, TAs, and PR ditzes, but those are good ideas.

  9. I read some of her columns from the 60’s when she wrote for the L.A. Times, and I think I remember her saying she loved Christmas…

    Especially how nowadays (even in the 60’s) it’s more of a mainstream secular than religious holiday…consumption, production and buying stuff for loved ones.

  10. Ms. Heller; very, very good.

  11. I wonder how many Objectivists coming here today will realize part (okay, most) of the fun in mocking Rand and not treating her ideas seriously is watching the cultists froth at the mouth in response?

    Really, it’s one of the easiest trolls in the known universe. And yes, I ought to be ashamed of myself but I just can’t resist trolling the terminally humourless.

    1. ^^^
      It brings out the retards, certainly.

    2. God damn it, T, don’t give it away. Wait, what am I saying? They can’t help it; they’re cultists.

    3. The humorless can never grasp their humorlessness. If they had that much self-reflections, they’d have a sense of humor in the first place.

      There are no sacred cows, just cud-chewers that haven’t yet been shipped to the slaughterhouse.

      1. That was deep. You should put that in a fortune cookie or write it in a youtube comment.

        1. Wow. That really hurt. I’m going to go have myself a good cry.

            1. It’s due to my sensitive nature as a limp-wristed cosmotarian. But then, all the right people hate me, so by John’s definition, I’m awesome.

            2. He’s really more of a sissy.

              1. We all know you’re the bottom in this relationship. Not even a power bottom at that.

                1. But I’m capable of generating an enormous amount of power!

                  1. And we all appreciate that. We really, really do.

      2. That was deep. You should put that in a fortune cookie or write it in a youtube comment.

        1. Failed writers are so bitter.

          1. Who’s a failed writer?

            1. The guy you were responding to.

              1. Dude, considering how bitter you are, you’re either projecting or have your irony blinders on.

                1. You’re more predictable than Warty’s colon.

                  1. You’re so unoriginal that your unoriginality is original.

                    1. Are you purposely obtuse, or just unbelievably stupid?

    4. “the fun in …not treating her ideas seriously is watching the cultists froth at the mouth in response”

      It seems Biographers are in on the joke.

    5. Last week, someone cut and pasted a statement from Rand on libertarians where she claimed we are collectivist. I wished I could find that, it had an unerring resemblance to the Chewbacca defense.

      1. I think it was underzog.

  12. Incidentally, I read Heller’s book a while ago, and enojoyed it quite a bit. It’s a fair treatment of the woman that manages to avoid hagiography or character assassination. And Heller certainly does not pretend that Rand didn’t have ideas.

    1. Yeah I thought Heller was pretty balanced. Of course the only thing you’ll hear from hard-core Objectivists is that Rand was perfect and that anyone that says anything different is just jealous or something.

      1. I’ve never encountered any Objectivists who have said any such thing. Citation, please, of somebody claiming Ayn Rand was “perfect.”

        1. Well I hang out with Peikoff’s admirers, so you obviously aren’t encountering the Objectivists I’m talking about.

          1. Cite one of them, then. Who among them claimed that Ayn Rand was perfect?

            1. Oh they won’t say it explicitly, that would be silly. But they will shut their ears at any criticism of Ayn Rand.

              1. I see. You made it up. Gotcha.

                1. Why are so many Randroid cultists into using unnamed handles? Or are you all just anonypussy? You’re all certainly passive aggressive enough to be.

                2. I didn’t make anything up. You don’t know my friends, you ignorant retard.

        2. And these are the people who will block you on facebook because you said that you weren’t going to pass judgement on the McCaskey affair.

  13. Unofficial list of topics guaranteed to generate huge amounts of comments:

    Sarah Palin
    High Speed Rail
    Ayn Rand and Objectivism
    WikiLeaks
    Mosque
    Illegal Immigration
    Abortion
    Climate Change

    Did I miss anything?

    1. You forgot Last Thread on a Friday.

    2. Oh damnit, forgot:

      Food (organic, GMO, whatever)
      Topics that reference or potentially involve science fiction
      Anything to do with women

    3. The Dragon/Falcon 9 launch?

      1. They still haven’t posted it yet??

        1. No, and I heard that someone was working on a post/article.

          1. If it isn’t mentioned here, it didn’t really happen?

            1. Pro L’s reality is entirely dependent on the whims of the Kochtopus. It’s sad, really.

              1. I don’t mind not seeing a post or an article, but I’m rather surprised that it wasn’t even mentioned. Weird.

                1. It was staged at a Hollywood studio. We have censored the reports.

                  1. What we need is somebody to leak the launch to Julian Assange. More openness! Now!

    4. Some anonymous editor noticed the Randian subterfuge going on for the past few weeks. As I’ve been pointing out, the Wikileak’s post have been attracting them like flies here to defend statist thuggery.

      BTW, when do I get my decoder ring, Reason?

      1. (hands sr7 decoder ring from box of Fruity Pebbles)

      2. statist thuggery

        Anarchists are so imaginative.

    5. Did I miss anything?

      Evolution – Intelligent Design (sometimes)

      Healthcare

  14. This is as good a place as any. Chait calling out Gillespie and de Rugy for their bullshit.

    1. Chait is the only one selling a load of bullshit.

      Let’s see, so Chait added up the cuts over 10 years and AHA! it’s really 24%! Wow, you caught us Chait! What is Chait’s actual problem with this? Well if we cut 24% of spending, we’d have to cut programs! We apparently can’t have that. We can only cut spending without reducing government output. That’s turd #1.

      Chait then claims that we can’t balance the budget without raising taxes. That’s turd #2. The cuts proposed by Congress that appear in the NYTimes budget “puzzle” are all relatively painless, and added together can balance the budget without raising taxes:

      http://www.nytimes.com/interac…..aphic.html

      Then Chait claims that the idea that the Bush tax cuts raised the amount of income tax revenue the rich pay for should mean that the Clinton tax increases should have decreased that amount, when that amount in fact went up, as it has been since the 1970s. This is turd #3. The point is that you would expect the trend of increasing income tax revenue payed by the rich to DECREASE when taxes are cut, but the cut didn’t do this. So the rich did pay more DESPITE the tax cuts.

      1. “The real story here is that the proportion of pre-tax income earned by the top 1% has been rising since the late 1970s. The rich paid a higher share of the tax burden in 2008 than in 2001 because they earned a higher share of the income.”

        1. I’ll bite: what’s their share of income and of income tax?

        2. Yes, I just said that Tony:

          Then Chait claims that the idea that the Bush tax cuts raised the amount of income tax revenue the rich pay for should mean that the Clinton tax increases should have decreased that amount, when that amount in fact went up, as it has been since the 1970s.

          The percentage of income tax revenue and the percentage of income for the top 1% have risen at the same rate (the percentage of income tax revenue has remained at double that of the percentage of income for the top 1% since the 1970s). So De Rugy’s point that the Bush tax cuts resulted in the rich paying a larger share than they payed before remains true. And the fact that the tax cuts did not reduce this share despite the share of income rising AT THE SAME RATE AS USUAL is significant. If Chait thinks the rich aren’t paying there fair share, then either the tax burden should have risen at a lesser rate then the rise of income share.

          1. That last sentence should read ‘If Chait thinks the rich aren’t paying their fair share, then the tax burden should have risen at a lesser rate then the rise of income share.’

        3. Also, care to respond to Chait’s turds #2 and #3?

          1. Chait then claims that we can’t balance the budget without raising taxes. That’s turd #2. The cuts proposed by Congress that appear in the NYTimes budget “puzzle” are all relatively painless, and added together can balance the budget without raising taxes:

            Yeah I’ve played that game. I only get acceptable outcomes when I raise some taxes. My fast-and-loose principle is not to punish the poor and elderly to give welfare to the rich. They don’t need it. Fuck your abstractions. The rich in this country are the parasites right now.

            So the rich did pay more DESPITE the tax cuts.

            Nobody’s arguing a causal relationship between the tax cuts and the increasing income of fewer people, though they certainly don’t help with THAT problem. Income has been consistently increasing for already rich people. That’s why fewer people are paying more. That’s why they don’t need a tax cut, but the opposite.

            Now I realize that this too is not politically possible, given that Republicans won’t play anymore until their plutocrat friends get their precious 4.9% tax cut. And anyway it’s a weak economy, so let’s all party (even though the cuts for the rich are wasted). But when it comes to actually being necessary to pay for deficits, if you’re advocating for poor people to pay for extending welfare for the rich, then screw you.

            1. Yeah I’ve played that game. I only get acceptable outcomes when I raise some taxes. My fast-and-loose principle is not to punish the poor and elderly to give welfare to the rich. They don’t need it. Fuck your abstractions. The rich in this country are the parasites right now.

              The only game you’re playing is pretend. Pretending that reducing/reforming welfare is “punishing the poor.” Pretending that not taking more money is “welfare for the rich.” How warped does your mind have to be to think that cutting welfare is a punishment, and that not punishing is welfare? The only parasite, an entity that takes resources from its host without its consent, in this country is the government.

              Nobody’s arguing a causal relationship between the tax cuts and the increasing income of fewer people, though they certainly don’t help with THAT problem. Income has been consistently increasing for already rich people. That’s why fewer people are paying more. That’s why they don’t need a tax cut, but the opposite.

              Read that sentence again. There IS a direct causal relationship between cutting/raising taxes and percentage of income tax payed, just as there is a direct causal relationship between percentage of income and percentage of income tax payed. So if the percentage of income tax payed increases at the same rate as usual, despite a tax cut, and with the percentage of income increasing at the same rate as usual, then how could you possibly say that the rich need to be paying more? What you’re proposing is basically a doubly accelerating real income tax. A doubly “progressive” income tax in which the rich pay not only a higher share of their income than others, but one in which that share accelerates past their growth in income percentage.

              You are such an equivocating bastard! You mention that the income of the rich has risen, but you neglected to mention that the income of EVERY income bracket has risen! Check out the Tax Foundation’s data. It’s adjusted for inflation too! But I forgot you probably have Das Kapital on your nightstand, and that you adhere to the pie theory of economics. Yes, if the rich make more money, that must mean they are taking it away from the poor! Parasites! Come back to reality Tony.

              Now I realize that this too is not politically possible, given that Republicans won’t play anymore until their plutocrat friends get their precious 4.9% tax cut. And anyway it’s a weak economy, so let’s all party (even though the cuts for the rich are wasted).

              Huh? Obama could have easily let the tax cuts expire without any damage to his welfare bills. Everyone knows that. Even Dramatic Olbermann knows that. Quit kidding yourself Tony, no one is safe from being fucked over by their party. Again, come back to reality.

              But when it comes to actually being necessary to pay for deficits, if you’re advocating for poor people to pay for extending welfare for the rich, then screw you.

              No, screw you you equivocating douche. The pay aren’t “paying” when the taxpayers don’t give them something. Do you understand? The words ‘pay’ and ‘welfare’ have meanings that you have to adhere to when using them, Tony. You can’t pay with something you don’t have (although the government would disagree) and you can’t get welfare by keeping what you already own! Quit hijacking the English language you two-faced double-talker!

              Really you have no reason to complain here, the rich are paying more than ever, and most of the spending cuts proposed don’t even cut welfare for the poor! The only necessary cuts that are about welfare:

              -Increase the Medicare eligibility age to 68
              -Cap Medicare growth starting in 2013
              -Reduce Social Security benefits for those with high incomes (THAT’s welfare for the rich)

              1. Quit hijacking the English language you two-faced double-talker!

                I’m no doing that anymore than you guys do. If we are cutting social security and medicare when we could simply be raising taxes on rich people, then I feel I am entitled to call it stealing from the poor to give welfare to the rich. The abstractions I was referring to earlier was this mindless bullshit about how it’s “their” money. Semantic nonsense. If you’re reducing services on the poor and giving tax breaks to the wealthy, it’s wrong, morally, fiscally, and every other way.

                1. What the holy fuck?!?!?!
                  “If we are cutting social security and medicare when we could simply be raising taxes on rich people, then I feel I am entitled to call it stealing from the poor to give welfare to the rich.”
                  Fuck you, you overbrined cuntpickle. Taking away an arbritatrily defined, ahem, ‘benefit’ is stealing, but taking away private property, which is specifically defined even if you think it wasn’t ‘earned’, is giving welfare…jesus ice dancing christ you are one ignorant fucktardian dipshit.

                  The phrase “I feel I am entitled to…” is the fucking source of all of your fucking stupidity, get over your goddamned ‘feelings’ and get back to us
                  with something, anything… Please?

                  Or, just choke on a fucking Buick.

                2. The abstractions I was referring to earlier was this mindless bullshit about how it’s “their” money. Semantic nonsense.

                  Yes, ownership, one of the foundations of our society, is just semantics. Who are you to complain when someone steals money from you. You don’t really “own” that money. God damn you’re a fucking lunatic.

  15. Anyone notice that Rand’s devoted detractors never attack her ideas, but rather her personality? It’s always a personal instead of intellectual debate. When you’ve got nothing, you resort to name-calling. Smearing is so much easier than thinking.

    1. Ever notice that Rand’s devoted supporters always ignore those who criticize her philosophy, and always claim that all her critics are merely smearing her personality?

      1. I haven’t noticed that. Honestly.

        1. Maybe you aren’t around enough hard-core Objectivists, or maybe you’re just ignoring teh stupid?

          1. True, I’ve never even met one. I try really hard not to ignore anything. Objectivists always seem to answer philosophical objections, they just ignore personal attacks against Ayn. Any time I ask people what their problem with her philosophy is, it’s always about who she slept with or something about her cult and how I just don’t get it because I’m a humorless Randroid. It’s not convincing. It doesn’t take any thought to do that. Though I appreciate that you got specific upstream.

        2. Also, did you notice your own comment?

          Fiscal Meth|12.15.10 @ 5:19PM|#
          “the fun in …not treating her ideas seriously is watching the cultists froth at the mouth in response”

          It seems Biographers are in on the joke.

          So here we have Fiscal Meth saying that Ayn Rand’s biographers don’t treat her ideas seriously, even though the biography I read, Heller’s, clearly does. So what was that about Objectivists not ignoring and waving away legitimate criticism?

          1. True. I haven’t read this one. I was guessing from the interview.

    2. Yeah, that’s where I criticize Ayn Rand. From what I know of her, I would find her a very off-putting, controlling person. And certain episodes of her life betray a tendency to accommodate her philosophy to what she wanted that minute, vs. the other way around.

      When it comes to Great Thinkers informing a libertarian bent, Epicurus and George Orwell do quite nicely, no Movement needed. And as a bonus I’d actually enjoy having a beer with either one of them.

  16. This is as good a place as any. Tony making new friends just to stick it to Reason.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/73064.html

    Beltway ‘Libertarians’ ? the State
    Posted by Lew Rockwell on December 14, 2010 09:21 AM

    Writes Tony:

    ReasonTV consults four security “experts,” all of whom defend the US national security state, and one who calls Assange a deluded anarchist and anti-American activist.

    1. LOL, I wonder what they would say if they knew what Tony’s politics really are.

      1. I was tempted to write Lew and ask him. Or, at least point out to him that video is not very representative of what the editors of Reason (MM, perhaps being an exception, he does seem fixated on the personalities involved in the matter) have been advocating. I just got too busy with other things, and lost interest soon after that though.

        1. You should write him.

          1. After supper I’ll do that. I think I know what Tony is up to. He might not pay any attention to the content here but he has figured out some of the sides involved in the libertarian movement. He is simply trying to ferment disagreement amongst us (as if that was really necessary).

            For Tony, it is all about the Democratic Party. He rues the fact that libertarians are a thousand times better than democrats are in practice on civil liberties and we are a constant reminder of the short comings of the Glorious Party. From such jealousy, Nemesis was born.

            1. It’s academic, really, in that Tony is not what we would normally consider human. Dr. Raglan taught joe how to externalize his rage at being mocked so many times on the board into a twink homunculus to carry on his glorious struggle against the class enemies he gave up trying to re-educate when he ran off the board with his dick tucked in after Obama turned out to not be the 2nd coming of JFK and instead was shown to be Carter with a penchant for being Bush II when the lights were out.

              1. I think it’s more likely that joe is Tony’s brood.

                1. joe had a sense of humor, so that makes him the real one. It makes more sense that Tony is the turd joe left in the foyer on the way out. And besides, joe lives on in the comforting echo chamber of Yglesias’ Chatroom for Emotionally Stunted Sadbeards.

                  1. joe’s sense of humor, while it existed, was shriveled and vestigial. Yeah, it was there, but it didn’t see the light of day very often, and when it did, it wasn’t very funny.

                    1. Couple of old hens gossiping. So sad.

            2. He rues the fact that libertarians are a thousand times better than democrats are in practice on civil liberties

              In practice? You mean your theory vs. their practice, since as fringe ideologues you don’t ever have any power.

              1. Wait did Tony just say that libertarians don’t have any power? Then how are your friends going to blame America’s economic collapse and political failures on libertarians??? You’re so silly Tony.

                1. Well Republicans, who do have power, use a lot of your rhetoric in their neverending mission to enrich the rich.

                  1. And Democrats, who have more power at the moment, also enrich the rich, minus all that cool rhetoric. So what’s your point?

  17. FWIW – Ayn Rand hated conservatives and campaigned against Reagan before she died.

    She hated WF Buckley in particular because of his idiot ‘Yale God Man’ book.

    1. It’s not worth anything here, none of us here, save a few, are conservatives! Dumbass.

      But anyway, one of Rand’s best friends was Isabel Paterson, and before she was successful she was hanging out with the conservative-libertarian crowd alot.

  18. Anne, I notice you are a donor to Obama and the Democratic party. What do you think Ayn’s opinion of Obama and the current Democratic leadership would be?

    1. Rand would certainly prefer Obama over the hair-trigger war monger McCain and his theocrat Bible Spice sidekick.

      The theo/war statism of conservatives is more toxic than the regulatory statism of liberals.

      Besides, as I noted earlier, she hated Reagan. No way in hell she would like McNasty.

      1. Actually a lot of Objectivists are hawks. I love it when shrike projects his political views onto others.

        1. So you are a conservative – call me not surprised.

          The few true libertarians here (like fluffy or kehole and not me) don’t leap to the defense of warmongers and theocrats like McFlashback Keating Five and his burnt offering side-cunt ‘reach for the fundies’ odor-hole VP joke.

          1. Once again, shriek proves there is no level of stupidity he can’t top.

            1. You never post substance – only rancor.

              I combine both – while you are bereft of the combination.

              1. Without fail! This is an amazing talent you have, shriek. If only you could use it to help others.

                1. Are you crying? There’s no crying! There’s no crying in anarchy!

              2. Yes, I suppose even a steaming shit is substance…

          2. I’m not a conservative you illiterate trog…

      2. The theo/war statism of conservatives is more toxic than the regulatory statism of liberals.

        Did she write an entire book about the “theo/war statism”? Or was it about the “regulatory statism”?

        1. She wrote a book?

      3. And the Health care bill you’re always defending? Rand would approve? You know, she wrote books so you don’t have to make up stories about what she thought. You could just reaad about it.

        1. Parroting other fools is easier than thinking for yourself.

  19. Randian Objectivism is a joke. Any student of philosophy can poke holes through her simpleton’s epistemology, and it falls flat on its face. She managed to find the other horrible extreme opposite state totalitarianism…corporate totalitarianism. They take you to nearly the same place in the end.

    1. [Right side of face squished together like a stroke victim, takes a drag from cigrarette holder held in a black velvet glove]

      I AM Logos!

      1. *shutters*

    2. Judging by the fact that you think Objectivism has something to do with corporate totalitarianism, it seems that you know very little about it. I enjoy poking holes in Ayn Rand’s philosophy, but I have not found it easy, possibly because I actually know what her philosophy is. It’s always easy to poke holes in a straw man.

    3. “Any student of philosophy can poke holes through her simpleton’s epistemology, and it falls flat on its face.”

      In the words of Black Francis “Gouge Away”. In other words, what epistemological holes would those be?

      1. 1. Objectivist epistemology is a version of foundationalism, one of a number of views that holds that knowledge has foundations, that there are privileged starting points for knowledge, that justification runs uni-directionally from foundations to superstructure. In other words, no foundational concepts can be updated?

        2.Meaning is confused with reference. The meaning of a concept is supposed to be the existents it refers to. This leads to or encourages several further mistakes.

        It helps support the false claim that a concept must be based on two or more instances. That would rule out the possibility of a concept of something that is or may be unique, for example, a black hole if there turned out to be only one, or the origin of life on earth. It also runs into problems with theoretical concepts from the sciences, such as black holes (again) or neutrinos, which were formulated before any instances were known.

        A different problem is with concepts that have no referents. We do not, for example, mean the same thing by centaur and mermaid? However, if meaning were the same thing as reference, we should conclude either that they have the same meaning (because they have the same referents, i.e., none), which is absurd or else that they have no meaning (because they have no referents), which is likewise absurd.

        3. Rand confused universals with concepts. Roughly speaking, universals are features in the world which may be multiply exemplified, while concepts are our means of classifying things.

        1. 1.She pointed out that there are certain axioms you have already accepted if you are pursuing knowledge. First existence exists. Next for something to be, it must be something and it must be itself(the law of identity). You have implied that establishing axioms is bad but you haven’t said why or what’s wrong with her’s. And, no. Existence and Identity will never need to be updated.

          2.”To form a concept, one mentally isolates a group of concretes (of distinct perceptual units), on the basis of observed similarities which distinguish them from all other known concretes (similarity is “the relationship between two or more existents which possess the same characteristic(s), but in different measure or degree”); then, by a process of omitting the particular measurements of these concretes, one integrates them into a single new mental unit: the concept, which subsumes all concretes of this kind (a potentially unlimited number). The integration is completed and retained by the selection of a perceptual symbol (a word) to designate it. “A concept is a mental integration of two or more units possessing the same distinguishing characteristic(s), with their particular measurements omitted.”

          If there’s just one of anything, nothing needs to be omitted to form a category. It is just itself with each and every measurement and attribute.

          As for the centaur and mermaid, all of these things exist: men, women, toros, fish, fish tails, horses, horse legs. Make any concepts you want. And name them anything you want.

          3.No she didn’t. She used a sort of genus/species system, just like our brains do.

          1. …that was supposed to be “torsos” after “women”

          2. …that was supposed to be “torsos” after “women”

          3. …that was supposed to be “torsos” after “women”

            1. oops oops oops

              1. Good work nevertheless.

  20. +1 that

  21. You are right. I did combine 2 distinct points there inadvertently. Objectivism, the philosophy, has nothing to do with corporate totalitarianism itself. It does fit miraculously well with her worship of corporatism though.

    1. WTF, Rand didn’t “worship corporatism” either. Why do you think that’s true?

      1. *insert soulless capitalism* typo, my bad

  22. I Hate Ayn Rand. She was a terrible writer and an even worse human being. Her philosophical writings are unintelligible trash and her creative works are unimaginative crap. Atlas Struggled is probably the worst novel ever written. Her ideas are self-serving bullshit; morally bankrupt, spiritually impovished, and logically laughable. Fucking over others cannot possibly be the highest idea to which a rational man can aspire. Objectivism is the philosophical equivalent of stealing pencils from a blind man; which I’ve heard Rand actually did once when her typewriter ribbon ran out of ink. She was a user and she probably went to hell when she died. Oh, and she had a face like Hitler’s sister. Why do they still stock this woman’s books at Barnes and Noble?

    1. Worst review ever.

    2. Worst review ever.

    3. MGoodman is a troll, no one can be that fucking stupid…..with the possible exception of Tony, Chad, Shrike and a few others.

      1. MGoodman is probably only about 18 years old judging by the 1992 in his (her) email addy. Is that old enough to be out trolling on a site like H&R?

    4. Worst review ever.

    5. Yeah!! Barnes and Noble should only stock the Bible.

  23. srsly.

  24. it’s clear that Rand didn’t believe in the holiday or the altruism that attaches to it!

    It’s clear that the author of that nonsense can’t find the time to correct it, even though it would take only a one-minute search, as several of the commentators have noted.

    1. Or, you know, it’s a fucking joke and you Randroids are a bunch of humorless cult-tards.

      1. Name-calling is so witty.

  25. ZOMBIE!! RUN!!

  26. Anyway, Rand celebrated Christmas. Says so in “The Early Ayn Rand”.

    1. Yeah, so she could have a rape fantasy with Santa Clause! Haw haw haw!

      1. Come to think of it, I think Rourke was fixing Dominique’s fire place. MAybe you’re on to something.

        1. Also, she was, like, ugly! And dude, what’s with that cigarette holder? Did she want to rape it? Haw haw haw!

          1. Didn’t Ayn tell you not to collectivize?

            1. Heller’s unique interdisciplinary approach prepares its graduates for fulfilling careers finding solutions to society’s most pressing social problems.

              1. I’m not affiliated with the Heller School of Social Policy and Management, if that’s what you’re referring to. Try again.

  27. Ayn Rand’s favorable opinion of Christmas can be found here:

    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/christmas.html

  28. Seriously, why do you guys keep repeating that Rand didn’t like Christmas or gift-giving? Are trying to throw up the same tired straw men all of her detractors do? Here’s a quote, direct from the horse’s mouth, as it were:

    “The secular meaning of the Christmas holiday is wider than the tenets of any particular religion: it is good will toward men… The charming aspect of Christmas is the fact that it expresses good will in a cheerful, happy, benevolent, non-sacrificial way. One says: ?Merry Christmas? ? not ?Weep and repent?. And the good will is expressed in a material, earthly form ? by giving presents to one’s friends, or by sending them cards in token of remembrance.” – Ayn Rand, 1976

  29. How about mbt kisumu sandals this one: there are X driving deaths a year- what % of driving deaths (or serious injuries) involve alcohol, or other intoxicating substances? kisumu 2 People are pretty darn good drivers when they are not impaired.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.