Ayn Rand

4 Prominent Ayn Rand Recanters

Sometimes famous people admit they admire Ayn Rand. And then sometimes they recant. Why?

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Every sentient being should be aware that a core unquestionable intellectual underpinning of progressive Internet modernity, one as undeniably certain as that A is A, is that Ayn Rand was an idiotic villain and all her fans are malign, childish bozos. (If you are sadly uneducated on this fact, start here.)

Still, among the millions of benighted folk who have bought and loved the in-print-for-decades-and-going-strong novels and nonfiction of the controversial Russian emigre, are the occasional prominent person willing to buck that consensus. 

And then sometimes the consensus bucks back, and a Rand fan becomes a Rand recanter.

Rand's first biographer (and for many years a close friend and associate of hers) Barbara Branden (see her excellent The Passion of Ayn Rand [1986]) told me something interesting about those who later deny their youthful indiscretion in admiring Ayn Rand when I interviewed her for my book Radicals for Capitalism

people figured out how unpopular her ideas were, and maybe they didn't outgrow anything, maybe they were just afraid to admit to it publicly because the wrath of God would descend on them from people they knew.

Branden's take on the phenomenon of Rand recanting captures a lot, but it can get a bit more complicated. 

Herewith, 4 examples of Ayn Rand Recanters.

1) Neil Peart, the "I'm really a good guy, stop riding my ass" recanter.

Peart, drummer and lyricist for rock band Rush, would clearly rather not be asked about his early-career loud enthusiasm for Rand and her ideas. The well-reviewed 2010 documentary on the band, Beyond the Lighted Stage, mentions her barely at all. (I recall not at all but am using less certain language as I don't have a full transcript to consult.) Rand's importance is ignored by the film, though she was central to one of the core conundrums of Rush history: why did rock intellectuals and tastemakers hate on this excellent band so much and for so long?

After years of Peart's lyrics dissing metaphorical arboreal labor unions, declaring his mind is not for rent to any God or government (Rand's top two villains), and hat-tipping explicitly in the liner notes to the concept LP 2112 to the "genius of Ayn Rand," he felt the albatross of 18-minute prog suites and silly '70s stage garbs was enough for one poor percussionist to bear, and decided to drop the burden of Rand.

Peart most recently tried to distance himself from Randian libertarianism in a Rolling Stone profile of the band, as discussed here by Matt Welch, who quoted the core of Peart's apostasy: 

Rush's earlier musical take on Rand, 1975's unimaginatively titled "Anthem," is more problematic [than 2112], railing against the kind of generosity that Peart now routinely practices: "Begging hands and bleeding hearts will/Only cry out for more." And "The Trees," an allegorical power ballad about maples dooming a forest by agitating for "equal rights" with lofty oaks, was strident enough to convince a young Rand Paul that he had finally found a right-wing rock band.

Peart outgrew his Ayn Rand phase years ago, and now describes himself as a "bleeding-heart libertarian," citing his trips to Africa as transformative. He claims to stand by the message of "The Trees," but other than that, his bleeding-heart side seems dominant. Peart just became a U.S. citizen, and he is unlikely to vote for Rand Paul, or any Republican. Peart says that it's "very obvious" that Paul "hates women and brown people" — and Rush sent a cease-and-desist order to get Paul to stop quoting "The Trees" in his speeches.

"For a person of my sensibility, you're only left with the Democratic party," says Peart, who also calls George W. Bush "an instrument of evil." "If you're a compassionate person at all. The whole health-care thing — denying mercy to suffering people? What? This is Christian?"

"Outgrew" is the closest thing to an explanation, and there is no explanation at all for his reasoning that libertarianoid Rand Paul (whose name is no relation to Ms. Rand's) is anti-woman and anti-brown people, or what about his "sensibility" matches the Democrats.

Peart clearly vibed with a general anti-authoritarianism he saw in Rand, and with her objection to enforced equality. But a more nuanced attempt to distance himself from Randian libertarianism in an interview Peart did for a feature in the libertarian magazine Liberty in 1997 (by the Institute for Justice's Scott Bullock) made it clear that Peart's attraction to Rand was more about her underlying sense of individualism and the nobility of the artist and his intentions than it was about all the complicated policy implications that Rand, and her libertarian fans, drew from her philosophy.

Bullock skillfully teases out the fact that Rand's morality implied a belief in free markets as well as a general individualist sense of "freedom" seemed to have never quite been embedded in Peart's DNA. And indeed Fountainhead's individualist message is largely that the creative artist can and ought to follow his own whims and spirit no matter what markets do (while never suggesting anyone should be forced to support a great artist, or prevented by force from supporting mediocre ones).

It remains one of the great cultural mysteries of Rand that despite her work's deeply powerful didacticism—even her enemies usually recognize it as powerful—a vanishingly small proportion of readers who adored the novels adopt or sometimes even get their political implications. (For Atlas Shrugged at least I can't imagine being able to get through the novel as a progressive or progsymp without feeling like a dog having your face shoved in a pile of excrement you left on the carpet for hundreds of pages.)

From Bullock's great 1997 Peart profile:

Contrary to Rand's rejection of any form of government welfare, Peart supports a safety net for those in need. Although he would prefer that welfare be funded voluntarily, he is not convinced that private charity alone could support the truly needy. Also, Peart was turned off by Rand's attacks on hippies and Woodstock…

Although Peart is now inclined to write off Rand's hostility toward the Woodstock kids as a "generational thing," it was her essay on Woodstock and rock music which forced him to realize that he did not agree with Rand on every issue.

"That was when I started to not become a Randroid, and started to part from being a true believer. I realized that there were certain elements of her thinking and work that were affirming for me, and others that weren't. That's an important thing for any young idealist to discover—that you are still your own person."

Over the years, Peart has made fewer direct references to Rand, and he admits that one cause of the decline has been the intense hostility such sentiments have evoked among rock critics, especially in Britain: 

"There was a remarkable backlash, especially from the English press—this being the late seventies, when collectivism was still in style, especially among journalists. They were calling us "junior fascists" and "Hitler lovers." It was a total shock to me."

That seems like a smoking gun: Peart's aversion to crediting Rand much now seems largely based on exactly the phenomenon Barbara Branden fingered: public pressure.

2) Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) : the "I'm a God-fearing man, don't be afraid of me in the White House" recanter.

Ryan was happy to discuss Rand's political wisdom early in his congressional career, including telling me in 2009 that, as per Rand, "we owe it to the American people to give them a clear choice: Do you want a collectivist welfare state or do you want to get back to being a free market? We need to make a moral, not just practical or statistical, case."

But by the time he was Mitt Romney's vice presidential candidate in 2012, Ryan was ferociously wiping the sweat of his reputation as a Rand-lover off his fevered brow.

As I wrote:

Ryan began denying Rand earlier this year. Here's what he said to National Review in April:

"I reject her philosophy," Ryan says firmly. "It's an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person's view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas," who believed that man needs divine help in the pursuit of knowledge. "Don't give me Ayn Rand," he says.

Ryan, from his twisty TARP endorsement, is the worst sort of Rand villain: a man whose knowledge and understanding embrace free markets, but who traduces them for reasons of phony "practicality" or belief that one has to go against one's values to defend them….

Alas, making a moral case for capitalism–which is the same as the moral case for human liberty–requires a voting record that shows an actual belief in the notion that government has, if any, only the powers that the individual can rightly grant them. That's the power to defend one's individual right to life and justly acquired property. That does not include many, many things Ryan as congressman has supported, from TARP to Medicare Part D to auto bailouts (as un-Randian as you could imagine, as Conor Friedersdorf noted in his article rightly dubbing Ryan a Rand villain) and the Patriot Act.

By the time someone runs for high office, trying to suss out what they sincerely believe is impossible. But I suspect that a young Ryan did indeed think of himself as a Rand devotee (while always rejecting the atheism) but the "realism" of being a congressman and running for vice president beat it out of him. In its way, then, another variation on Branden's "afraid of what the neighbors will think" motive for Rand apostasy.

3) Alan Greenspan, the "my life will seem a shame and a scam unless I recant" recanter.

The very first time superstar former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's name ever appeared in the New York Times was a 1957 letter to the editor defending the author of Atlas Shrugged for her "celebration of life and happiness. Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment" in her novel.

From there, Greenspan went for years being lauded and/or slapped for his role in making the Federal Reserve, a giant machine of government price controls, inflation, and cronyism seem like the very fountainhead of the modern "free market economy."

While an active Rand disciple and before he became chieftain of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan wrote a sharp essay in 1966 for a Rand-edited journal about the gold standard, explaining it as the only proper money for a free people, and declaring "that gold and economic freedom are inseparable, that the gold standard is an instrument of laissez-faire and that each implies and requires the other." (Rand loved it so much she included it in one of her own books, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.)

Ron Paul, when a congressman grilling Greenspan at hearings, liked to ask Greenspan if he stood by it still. As Paul told me in 2006:

[In a 1999 meeting] I dug out my copy of The Objectivist Newsletter [edited by Ayn Rand] where he wrote his gold article [in which Greenspan praised the gold standard as a source of economic stability, guarantor of economic liberty, protector of savings, and check on government's power to inflate and spend]. When we started talking I flashed it out and said, "Remember this?" He said, "Yes, I certainly do."

I opened it up to his article and said, "Remember writing this article? Would you autograph it for me?" And while he was autographing it I said, "You want to write a disclaimer on it?" "No, I read it recently," he said, "and I wouldn't change a word."

Toward the end of his reign I brought that up again in a congressional hearing. I was a little more confrontational with him about what he used to think and why it's different now, and he said, "That's a long time ago, and I no longer subscribe to those views." He did put a disclaimer on it. The first encounter was private, and the second was a public statement.

When Greenspan was named to President Gerald Ford's Council of Economic Advisers, a proud Rand attended the ceremony. She was a woman who could, alas, still be bamboozled by status and gewgaws of respectability connected to the U.S. government and Republican politicians, though her philosophy should have inoculated her against that soul-shame.

For years, as well detailed in this 1997 profile of Greenspan's relationship with Rand and her ideas by R.W. Bradford, Greenspan would make vaguely libertarian anti-regulation and pro-gold standard comments in public, while noting that even as chairman of the Federal Reserve he did not have the power to implement such ideas. He'd point out that libertarian ideals such as abolishing antitrust were, while still endorsed by him, clearly beyond the politically possible, so, whatever.

By 2008, the retired Greenspan was betraying free market principles by foolishly claiming that it was lack of sufficient regulation and a flaw in his own free market ideology that led to the mortgage-driven 2008 economic downturn rather than recognizing and stressing the role of his own Fed's interest rate policies, federal mortgage lending policies, or the moral hazard of well understood "too big to fail" bailout ideology at least as much.

Oh, Greenspan will still rise from the crypt to bitch about entitlement spending, but he represents the sort of equivocating compromiser with values that anyone who used to understand Rand would have to hate, including himself. But his reputation is now irreducibly connected with the Federal Reserve and the aftereffects of its policies, and he seems to have sold any belief in the virtues of a genuinely free market to blaming other things for clearly Fed-connected downturns. If Rand was right, then most of his career was wrong. That's hard to admit.

4) Travis Kalanick, the "let's just change the subject, mm?" recanter.

Kalanick, CEO of Uber, the rideshare app that has outraged the world through acts like applying economic logic to its pricing scheme which substituted willingness and ability to spend hated cash money for the luck of being first in line as a method of rationing rides, signalled his plutocratic evil a few years back by using as his Twitter avatar an image from the cover of Rand's novel The Fountainhead.

While not defending himself or her as a full-on devotee, he's merely cagey, not denying her three times and more, to the Washington Post in July 2012. At the same time he's implicitly granting the radioactive nature of being linked to old Ayn:

I noticed your Twitter avatar is the cover of Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead."

I don't know what you're talking about. [Laughs.] It's one of my favorite books. It's less of a political statement. It's just personally one of my favorite books. I'm a fan of architecture.

The Randian philosophy has come to bear on this situation, you would admit.

That's probably true. I'd say there's an uncanny resemblance, especially on the "Atlas Shrugged" side.

Too much a dude to want to seem locked down to some nerdy "philosophy," Kalanick began making light of the association without arguing against it or saying where he and Rand disagreed. As a Financial Times profile last May put it:

He thinks [Fountainhead is] an "awesome book" but takes issue with the way the press latched on to the association: "All of a sudden, I'm a raging objectivist, or whatever it is."

Kalanick is already hated so much for Uber's aggressive "act first, get legal permission later" practices and willingness to play dirty tricks against both competitors and journalists that he must imagine, who needs to have all the hate Rand trails with her add to the hatepile?

Peart and Kalanick have, bless them, as artists and entrepreneurs, made a worthwhile impact on the world that will last. (Hard to say the same for Greenspan and Ryan.) And it is no one's obligation to never change one's mind.

But you will note none of them seem willing to explain in philosophical depth how and where things they once thought were true or wise are no longer. Barbara Branden's former husband Nathaniel, lieutenant to and longtime lover of Rand's, had this to say once about those who consider Ayn Rand not just wrong but an evil menace (which is the vast majority of those who deign to write about her at all).

Rand's detractors, Branden wrote, rarely deign "publicly to name the essential ideas of Atlas Shrugged and to attempt to refute them. No one has been willing to declare: 'Ayn Rand holds that man must choose his values and actions exclusively by reason, that man has the right to exist for his own sake, that no one has the right to seek values from others by physical force—and I consider such ideas wrong, evil and socially dangerous.'"

Certainly, it can't do those who must face most rock critics or fans, or most GOP voters and donors, or endless testimonial dinners for one's historical greatness in keeping the fiat money game afloat a while longer, or a plethora of city regulators, any good at all to be weighted down with Ayn Rand's reputation.

Worse even than her reputation might be the annoying prick at the conscience that Rand represents. As Barbara Branden once wrote: "In Ayn's presence, and in her work, one felt that command: a command to function at one's best, to be the most that one could be, to drive oneself constantly harder, never to disappoint one's highest ideals."

That's a burden that any frail human would want to lay down toot sweet, especially if in doing so one earns the plaudits of a world of reflexive Rand haters for "maturing" out of such a "childish interest."

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381 responses to “4 Prominent Ayn Rand Recanters

  1. I’ve never read Rand.

    1. I’ve made it a few hundred pages in to Atlas Shrugged three or four times. Then it becomes too much effort for no reward. She’s a horrible writer.

      Cliff’s Notes, baby.

      1. She can’t write worth shit. 50-page speech? Sheeesh!

        1. The irony of Atlas Shrugged is that the truly brilliant parts like the parable of 20th century motors and Francisco’s money rant are pretty short.

          The book could have easily been 200 pages and covered all the important points that she wanted to make.

      2. She does tend to just bludgeon you with the same points over and over again.

        1. Rand is one of those writers who got worse as she aged. I think We The Living is probably her best work, and that’s the one she wrote in her 20s about how much the Soviet Union sucked. It works a lot better than the other books because Rand philosophizes a lot less and seems to understand the ‘show, don’t tell’ concept. Her writing gets progressively worse the more she tries to frame her novels in her philosophy.

          1. I suspect she started with the assumption that everyone is stupid and people need to have any point she’s trying to make endlessly hammered into them.

            1. Some people do. We call them progressives.

              1. And they still don’t get it. I had a friend in college who thought John Galt was supposed to be the bad guy in the story.

            2. Yeah and she was right. Even with her repeating the same points over and over most people have no idea what she’s talking about. It’s bizarre, like they’ve never heard of metaphor.

      3. I gave up at John Galt’s 3 hour speech. I just couldn’t take that.

        I’ve been told the Fountainhead was great though.

      4. She was not a horrible writer when she made Anthem, We The Living, and Foutainhead, and The Night of Jan 16th. Those were all solid.

      5. The illiterati should try Equality, by Edward Bellamy

    2. I read “Anthem” (its about the size of a kleenex compared to her other books)

      i skimmed Atlas Shrugged and decided it was not worth the effort at the time. Sort of like how I passed on Lord of the Rings until the movies came out.

      oh, and Brian

      http://www.salon.com/topic/ayn_rand/

      Salon naturally has an Ayn Rand tag, to go along with “White People” and “Libertarians”, etc. You will find Salon are particularly fond of using the word “Dystopia” w/ Rand, in addition to the perennial-favorites, “Vile” and “Toxic”

      1. You won’t see this, I’m sure, but you shouldn’t assume the (excellent) LotR films do justice to the books.

    3. Your not missing much. The Fountainhead seemed to be a little less masturbatory than Atlas Shrugged.

      1. Fountainhead… masturbatory…

        go on…

    4. The handle proves it.

    5. You’re not missing much. Some of the ideas are interesting, but the heavy-handed presentation is just meh.

    6. Your loss. Atlas Shrugged might be bad, but her other books are quite good.

    7. It took me a full year to get through Shrugged. I’d pick it up, thumb forward for a convenient stopping place. Keep thumbing. Keep thumbing. Keep thumbing. Finally I’d put it down. Only when I had a lot of time and was exceptionally bored would I read the thing. Glad I did, just so I understand the references, but damn that was torture.

      1. See David read. Read, read, read. See Ann read.

    8. I read Anthem and it left me with no desire to read the rest of her work, even though I already owned a copy of Shrugged.

      1. How can people not like Anthem? It was a short sweet and vastly better than Brave New World.

        1. I had to read it in high school in grade 11 (yes, as you can tell I went to high school in Canada). Definitely a much faster and better read than some of the other dystopia stuff we read that term.

    9. I seem to be in the minority here. I 1st read Fountainhead (for enjoyment, not school related) in the 8th grade. Went on to read and enjoy Shrugged, which I re-read about every 5 years or so.

      1. Most of these deep thinkers have the attention span of a fish, or they consider stream of unconscious gibberish to be the superior writing style (as opposed to the actual genius of Rand). For all those who say Rand was a shitty writer, I would say that I have to wonder what they consider to be good, but I really don’t.

        1. Has anyone read David Friedman’s fiction? I am wondering if it’s any good.

        2. I can’t understand why people complain about Rand’s writing style so much. I’ve read Atlas in both English and Portuguese, my primary language, and the text seemed to be quite well-structured. And enjoyable. It was easy to relate to characters like Dagny, or Cherryl.

          Galt’s speech wasn’t too long, also. I remember reading it all in a single session before bed.

          1. See? The libertarian party is illegal in Brazil, where machine judges decide which parties taxpayers will be forced to subsidize and vote for and the Constitution–in reaction to a US-propped dictatorship of prohibitionism–entrenches socialism everywhere. Yet there are objectivists and libertarians working for change, and Ayn Rand videos appear on Youtube with subtitles so that folks can make up their minds firsthand. There is a libertarian party in Uruguay–the first country in South America to do like Colorado and legalize weed.

            1. If I’m not mistaken, there could be a libertarian party in Brazil in 2016: Partido Novo.

              That’s really exciting. It would be great to see them doing well in a few years!

      2. I doubt you are truly in the minority but if you are I’m right there with you.

        1. Me too! I believe I have read everything she published except Fountain Head. The non-fiction books were my favorite, especially “Philosophy, who needs it?”

      3. Atlas is out in Portuguese. The translator left out entirely: “You can’t have your cake and let your neighbor eat it, too.” The expression, so natural in English, hits cultural dissonance. The Spanish version bravely translates the expression, but the oddness persists. Much of Atlas is from the teens and twenties. The Soviet movie “Strike”, Warren Harding’s girlfriend penning “The President’s Daughter,” the Crash of 1929, Herbert Hoover (Mr Mowen) and the Railroad Unification Plan of 1931, Mabel Willebrandt, Texas Guinan and Pauline Sabin as the strong women in the prohibition battles, and Ragnar as Bill McCoy the bootlegger instead sinking relief ships sent by Woodrow Wilson to the European starvelings. Mencken and Douglas Fairbanks blend into Francisco, and there was even an actual Rearden metal, called “Chromal,” an alloy produced by a Mr. Harden at the Stockholm Metallurgical Institute in September of 1931. True, there was some fiction stirred into it, but the factual content is what disturbs the looters. Like Harry Houdini and John Scarne before her, Ayn taught Americans the way altruism destroyed Europe and served as bait for suckers. Small wonder they’re pissed!

        1. Well crafted, Hank. Bravo!

    10. Your loss.

  2. Again, Neil Peart is a pretentious piece of shit whose lyrics suck the biggest of balls, and whose drumming is so intrusively over the top, it’s hard to play along with.

    Fuck him.

    Geddy Lee is pretty cool, and a decent bass player. Alex Leifson still hasn’t learned how to solo, but he’s a passable guitar player.

    What were we talking about?

    /can’t get past what an asshole Peart is

    1. Because the can’t pretend a stranger is a long awaited friend?

      1. +1 Universal Dream.

      2. I gave up after Moving Pictures. That and Permanent Waves were excellent Never liked 2112. YYZ is by far their best song. MAYBE BECAUSE THERE ARE NO LYRICS.

    2. It is practically impossible to find a really good drummer that doesn’t play out of the pocket wayyyy too much. I blame a lot of this on Peart.

      Neil, we’re trying to put together a band and you’ve helped create a generation of drummers that won’t do their fucking jobs.

      Part of the reason it seemed to work in Rush (at times) is that it’s a 3-piece band with a bass player that knows how to hold the band together and a guitar player that (as you noted) didn’t bask too much in the spotlight.

      1. Alex is the leader of the band…

    3. “Attention everyone. Neil has left the premises. I repeat. Neil has left the premises.”

    4. I can give Neil a pass for “growing out” of Ayn Rand, or whatever, but to suggest that Rand Paul hates women and brown people, and invoking Christian compassion as a reason for government healthcare is just retarded.

      1. He didn’t grow out of Rand so much as he never understood her in the first place, which is the only way you could hear “nationalized healthcare” without immediately recognizing the huge amount of plunder that would pay for it. And its unfortunate bureaucratic overhead, of course.

        And Rand isn’t the most subtle writer on the planet, so it says a lot about Peart that he’d fail to understand the most basic elements of her thought.

      2. The exact quote from the interview was “Rand Paul very obviously hates women and brown people.” Somewhere there is a brown female admirer of Rand Paul pondering what Neil thinks of her…”very obvious” means only an obtuse dip shit couldn’t see Rand for what he is. I guess she has to choose between being a moronic dupe or a self hating “brown woman” committed to her own destruction.

  3. Too much a dude to want to seem locked down to some nerdy “philosophy,” Kalanick began making light of the association without arguing against it or saying where he and Rand disagreed. As a Financial Times profile last May put it:

    He thinks [Fountainhead is] an “awesome book” but takes issue with the way the press latched on to the association: “All of a sudden, I’m a raging objectivist, or whatever it is.”

    Admittedly this is more common than you think. I knew a couple architectural students in university who thought the Fountainhead was the bestest thing ever. But they loathed her other work and the overall idea of Objectivism.

    1. May be that’s because the Fountainhead is actually a very anti-capitalist novel, when you sit down and think about it.

      1. But when you think with your brain, it is not.

        1. Then it is time to get a new brain. Howard Roark refuses to give the customers what they want. Instead, he wants to design buildings the way he wants to design them. Imagine hiring someone to paint your house and coming home to find out they picked hot magenta, because they thought hot magenta is more aligned with their principles. Then, if you take them to court, they blow up your house! Yes, very capitalist.

          1. The book wasn’t about capitalism it was about 1) architecture being shitty at the time and 2) living your life to make yourself happy Not ending up like Peter. Spoiler alert: Roark had a contract clause stating that the house he designed for his friend would not be altered. Not saying blowing it up was right, but you misrepresent what happened.

            1. Gotta agree with Cyto. Moreover, there are plenty of sentiments that, while not libertarian to exercise, are perfectly relatable on a human level — say, smashing in someone’s car with a tire iron after finding out he was sleeping with your wife. Doesn’t make it correct in a libertarian sense, but there’s nothing wrong with such a thing making it into literature, nor is such a thing being endorsed merely because the reader is asked to sympathize with the sentiment.

              1. Beating the crap out of the guy fucking your wife isn’t a ‘libertarian’ response, it’s what a man does in a situation like that. And rightly so.

              2. Doesn’t make it correct in a libertarian sense, but there’s nothing wrong with such a thing making it into literature, nor is such a thing being endorsed merely because the reader is asked to sympathize with the sentiment.

                Well I’d agree with this, but the problem is that Rand attempts to defend it by framing it in the context of her (pseudo)Objectivist philosophy with the courtroom speech. Roark effectively argues that it’s his right to destroy his own work, and frames it as acceptable in Rand’s ‘Prime Movers vs. parasites’ narrative. The problem with this is that the argument rests on Roark being the sole ‘creator’ of the project, when he’s not. Roark just leveled the work of others but we’re only supposed to care about his work for it to be consistent with Randian values. She’s not framing it as human error, but acceptable moral behaviour.

                Trimmed down and slightly different movie version of speech here.

            2. You miss the main point. Capitalism is about satisfying the customer, not about satisfying your vision of what the customer should want.

              I didn’t say I didn’t agree with the message of the book. Sometimes, following your dreams means you will be poor. However, capitalism is about satisfying the masses. The more people you can please, the richer you will be. If you complain about people’s shitty tastes, you are no better than some ivory tower professor whining about why people prefer Bieber to Beethoven. It’s not your place to dictate to other people what they should like.

              BTW, I know many “Peters” that are happy. Sometimes you can make a living doing what you love, and sometimes you can’t. So you work to live and follow your passions in your spare time. There is nothing wrong with that.

              1. “You miss the main point. Capitalism is about satisfying the customer, not about satisfying your vision of what the customer should want.”

                The assumption behind that statement is that both sides agree to the deal. In the Fountainhead, the customer violated the contract terms. The architect didn’t feel like the Courts would hold the customer up to the actual terms, so then he took action.

                1. “The assumption behind that statement is that both sides agree to the deal. In the Fountainhead, the customer violated the contract terms.”

                  I am not talking about that particular incident in the book. I am talking about the whole premise of the book. Howard Roark repeatedly refuses to provide a service that the customers request. Rather, he wants to do his own thing and is angry and disappointed when people don’t appreciate his vision. He is like Elon Musk with his ridiculous Teslas: “I am gonna make this electric car and you are gonna fucking like it.” And when people don’t, it’s their fault for being simple-minded and short-sighed. Fuck that.

                  1. “Howard Roark repeatedly refuses to provide a service that the customers request.”

                    That’s called free will. One is not a ‘customer’ until a deal is agreed to. Those who valued his products became his actual customers.

              2. “Satisfying the masses” or “the customer” has nothing to do with the principles of Capitalism.

                Commerce can only happen when at least two people associate with the intent of trade. Capitalism simply means that those people who choose to act with the intent to trade should be free from coercive influenece. It’s not about money, it’s about free trade. That is, trade free from coercive influence. This is the most misunderstood aspect of Capitalism among the uninitiated, and the most misrepresented aspect among those who despise it.

                When people interact with the intent of trading values, they have the choice of whether or not to compromise the value they offer. Roark chose not to compromise his architectural vision, which; 1) limited the potential pool of customers to people who either exactly matched his set of values or who didn’t give a flying fuck either way (if you recall from the novel, he encountered both types), 2) made him unpopular among those who claimed to be his peers, and 3) wasn’t by any means a certain path to wealth and public acclaim.

                Point 3 had no bearing on Roark’s activities…he didn’t care about wealth or acclaim.

                1. Yes, this exactly. Capitalism allows you to get rich if you effectively satisfy enough of the right people with your work. Or to chose to satisfy yourself and hope people like it. Or whatever.

                  There is no moral imperative to satisfy the masses. You are likely to make more money that way but capitalism doesn’t require this. Your choice.

                  1. The Fountainhead supported the free market as an economic system, but criticized those who were willing to sacrifice their integrity to make more money. The two ideas aren’t contradictory. It’s like supporting drug legalization while also having contempt for crack dealers.

            3. Except Roark doesn’t do that. He says “I’m not painting it anything but hot magenta, and if you want it painted anything else, go hire someone else.”. He doesn’t blow up a building because it was built against his wishes, but because those wishes were his entire pay. He had an agreement, do it my way or find another design. They did neither. So he took the only option left that was acceptable.

      2. No it’s because the Fountainhead is full of “My art is incorruptible and my own” moments that fill the hearts of idealistic university students who think they’ll never have to compromise. Then they get to spend the next twenty years designing modernist blocks.

  4. Speaking of recanting…

    It took “liberals” to get full control to bring back the speakeasy and by extension, the Revenuers.

    Seattle Mayor Ed Murray says the city is planning a crackdown on illegal indoor smoking lounges after complaints of crime and violence.

    http://www.seattletimes.com/se…..g-lounges/

    What’s next, a dourly dressed woman to lecture me on pornography?

    Oh wait, that was Lena Dunham last week. Again, I’m woefully behind the trends.

    1. Wait, hookah lounges are illegal in Seattle? Here in NYC I believe they get the God (ok, Allah) exemption. Which is why there are dozens of them in my neighborhood.

      Oh, and “crime and violence”? Correlation does not equal causation much??

      1. I believe that Hookah lounges got an exemption here in Seattle as well because “banning them would be racist”. The article was slim on details, but I suspect these are just smoking-smoking lounges. Ie, I walk in and light up a cigar.

        1. The linked article is so poorly written that it’s hard to tell much of anything from it.

          1. What more do you need to know? Light up… go to jail!

            *sound of cell doors slamming*

    2. Sounds like my kinda bars

  5. A better start here link. 🙂

    1. Again:

      A better start here link.

    2. The squirrels are sabotaging my links.

      Google: site:salon.com “ayn rand”

        1. Google: bang my head against a wall until I pass out?

  6. What other prominent recanters can we think of? Ted Turner would seem to be one: he used to give business associates copies of “Atlas.” Some successful adherents just keep more or less quiet about it: Ed Snyder, owner of the Phila. Flyers, comes to mind.

    1. I don’t know about ‘recanters’ but anyone claiming to be a ‘big fan’ of Rand while also embracing Christianity tend to miss the point? When Paul Ryan was going on about his belief in Randian ideas a couple years ago I was repeatedly saying how lucky he is that Rand is six feet under so she can’t razz him like Rage Against the Machine did.

      1. I believe this is what’s known as a “dog whistle” to the left or “signaling” to the right.

      2. I read some of her writings and I’m Christian. But I didn’t go all Cult of Personality on her and embrace everything she said, she’s not perfect after all.

        1. Likewise.

          I don’t think that you have to agree to her atheism to agree to many of the important ideas presented in Atlas Shrugs. Her ideas about self-determination and freedom are true even if there is a God.

      3. JT-

        Kind of dumb… As a “big fan” of athiesm, am I allowed to be “pro-life”? (don’t give a shit about 1st trimester abortion, skeptical about 2nd- especially after 22 weeks- and consider any abortion after 26 weeks where the baby isn’t already dead to be murder. Maybe because I was a 29th week birth in 1964).

        The only Rand I’ve read is “Anthem” and “The Virtue of Selfishness”- and I’ve seen “The Fountainhead” once. As Wyoming Knott asked Prof De la Paz In “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”–

        “Are you a Randite”?

        “No. But I could live with them.”

        And any “libertarian” who thinks “Rage Against the Machine” is relevant should go back to sucking Karl Marx’s cock…

    2. I moved to Atlanta a few years ago and there is a lot of Ted stuff around town so I got curious about the dude.

      He’s got a strange political philosophy. It’s more of a set of random, bipolar pet issues and biases than anything resembling a logically coherent philosophy.

      1. CAPTAIN PLANET!!!!!!! !!

      2. Don’t forget the time that he named himself manager of the Braves for a game until the league shut him down. He was a Trump-style egomaniac before he was even in his forties.

        All billionaires are crazy. Ted Turner is a billionaire, ergo Ted Turner is crazy.

        1. Yes. Once you achieve a certain level of wealth, you start to become surrounded by yes-men who tell you that all your ideas are brilliant. You slowly start to loose grip on reality and start thinking of yourself as a demi-god. Sanity slowly slips away. So yes, all billionaires are crazy.

  7. Worse even than her reputation might be the annoying prick at the conscience that Rand represents.

    Yes. This is what people have a hard time squaring with. Her objectivist take on conscience is not what people are used to through their traditional religion and belief systems. It’s much easier to recant than to say either (1) I agree with her on almost everything, but I think there is a higher moral good than making yourself as economically valuable as possible or (2) I agree with her but I don’t have the will power to really walk the walk.

    Personally, I think it’s pretty easy to agree with her regarding governance while disagreeing with her life philosophy. As much as she tries to tie the two together, I never really bought that part of her argument.

    1. ^^THIS^^

    2. I think there is a higher moral good than making yourself as economically valuable as possible

      She never said any such thing. What she advocated was pursuing happiness, whether or not you got rich doing so. The people who bugged out to Galt’s Gulch were typically giving up quite a bit of wealth to do so.

      -jcr

      1. It’s amazing that people think that’s what she said, when the opposite is a consistent theme in her works. Just off the top of my head, characters who openly abandoned wealth or wealth making opportunities inRand’s work.
        John Galt, bigtime, his motor was worth something like 1% of America’s GDP from transport alone. Even assuming that he got dudded for 90% of that value, he would still be a multi-millionaire.
        Howard Roark. Did not ask for a cent of the Cortlandt Homes money, even though he knew Peter Keating would have paid through the nose.
        Midas Mulligan shut down a massively successful bank just to not loan to 3 parasitic losers.
        Francisco D’Anconnia. Biggest copper mining company in the world, deliberately destroyed by it’s owner.

        Can you see now why I say above that people don’t understand her?

    3. I agree with her on almost everything, but I think there is a higher moral good than making yourself as economically valuable as possible

      If you believe in “progressive taxation” and/or the “social contract”, why isn’t making yourself “as economically valuable as possible” the highest possible moral good?

  8. Next, you’re going to tell me DONALD TRUMP recants Rand. Every fiber of his being shrieks, “I’m an Objectivist, and PROUD!” Right?

    WHERE IS MY TRUMP NEWS, REASON!!! I GONNA KICK TOMORROW!!! SRSLY!!

  9. As long as they don’t start recanting Robert Heinlein, or ruining more of his books with bad movies, I’m good.

    1. He has the dubious honor of being the only author to make me violently chuck a library book at a wall. I have too much respect for books for that. (I even have a hard time writing in my paperback proofs for corrections). Let alone books that belong to someone else. (Not mine to wreck).

      1. Which one? I had heard only good things about him except for Stranger in a Strange Land.

        I’m about to start reading Altered Carbon.

        1. “The Cat Who Walked Through Walls”

          1. I listen to that audio – not his best by a long shot but hardly a Red Wedding reaction (the one time I threw a library book).

          2. That one was really bad. I also was unable to make it through Stranger in a Strange Land.

        2. Moon is a Harsh Mistress isn’t particularly subtle (at all) but I found it enjoyable.

          1. It’s a far better story of libertarian revolution than Atlas Shrugged, anyway.

            1. I thought the way it all goes wrong in the end was a pretty nice touch.

              1. I can’t wait to see how awful the movie is probably gonna turn out to be.

      2. It’s important to separate everything Heinlein wrote before 1975 from everything he wrote afterward.

        In 1975 he got really sick and suffered a prolonged impairment to the bloodsupply to his brain which prevented him from writing, doing math etc. He described that period, where he couldn’t do things that he once had known how to do – eg recognizing a function was easy to integrate but having no idea how to do it – as the most hellish torture he had ever endured.

        After he recovered and started writing again, every book, and I mean every motherfucking book, was driven by his horror at his mortality and his desire to live forever. It wasn’t that he was afraid of dying a heroic death; the loss of his faculties and the decay of his body filled him with horror.

        1. Yeah – but I still liked his stuff. Would have preferred it if he hadn’t taken that turn, maybe.

        2. That does not explain the completely trainwreck that is I Will Fear No Evil, which was published in 1970.

          1. I just read that he had peritonitis while working on it and it almost killed him. 😛

        3. My favorite by far is “The Door Into Summer”. Just a tale of an inventor who manages to get everything he ever wanted and is happy as a result. Simple, fun with a few great scenes.

  10. I don’t Recant = I Decant!

    1. I want that. I… i think i NEED that.

    2. “It is NOT a heresy, and I will NOT recant!” By Rob Zombie

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRshPCM9lhk

  11. Who would want a wine jug shaped like Ayn Rand?

    1. It imparts not-so-subtle smoky overtones to your wine.

  12. The desire is strong to maintain attendance at early evening social functions where alcoholic drinks served in ridiculous glasses

  13. Oooh. Let’s have another argument about whether Rush is any good or not.

    1. I once tried to like Rush. That lasted half an album. I don’t get it. It should be something that I like, but it just doesn’t work.

      1. so much this.

        Rush stinks. End. of. Story.

        Listen to some Be Bop Deluxe if you want to hear some interesting time changes
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1LKV6RLLI

        1. OMG YOU KNOW BE BOP DELUXE YOU ARE THE ONLY OTHER PERSON IN THE WORLD I HAVE ALL THEIR ALBUMS PLUS BILL NELSON’S RED NOISE!

          And you’re from Michigan.

          Interesting….

          *calms down some*

        2. So Spinal Tap was a documentary….

    2. OK. Good is about the best they’ve ever been.

    3. No way, assholes, Rush is the greatest thing ever!

      No, actually, I don’t believe that. Anymore. Though I did as a teenager.

      I can quite understand why people don’t like them, but to say they suck is pretty silly. You can’t criticize an artist based on your aesthetic preferences. They do the thing that they do very well.

      1. They wrote this and made it a hit:

        All this machinery making modern music
        Can still be open-hearted
        Not so coldly charted it’s really just
        A question of your honesty, yeah, your honesty

        One likes to believe in the freedom of music
        But glittering prizes and endless compromises
        Shatter the illusion of integrity, yeah

        Anyone else writing lyrics like that?

        1. He certainly was a bit silly and pompous sometimes, but I do think that Peart wrote some very good lyrics, including that one. Several of my favorites are from teh album Grace under Pressure.

          1. My poker face
            My my my y my my poker face
            My poker face.

            etc.

            POETRY

    4. Rush is at his best when Mark Steyn guests hosts.

  14. “Begging hands and bleeding hearts will/Only cry out for more.”

    “For a person of my sensibility, you’re only left with the Democratic party,”

    It is hard to believe these come from the same person.

    BTW I am thinking of using the first line on the bum that comes wandering down my subway car looking for a handout.

    1. the *next* bum GAHHH EDIT BUTTON BLARRGH

      1. USE IT ON THE BUM

    2. Peart’s daughter and wife died horribly and suddenly about a decade ago (I think) and Peart became a born-again Christian in response (I think). I think a lot of Peart’s idiocy is typical born-again Christian nonsense about ‘what God really means to him’.

      1. SOOOOO far off base. Neil has nothing but disgust for Christians, has written at length about it, and frequently conflates Islamic Radical Terrorists with run of the mill folk that go to church on Sundays. His essays on riding a motorcycle through the Bible Belt are insufferable as he equates Chistian-themed billboard messages with Madrasas.

        1. Hey, I knew is that his family died and he spends a lot of time lecturing people on what ‘Jesus’ really wanted, which has always been a born-again dog whistle for me. It’s funny how born-again Christians and elitist agnostics sound so similar.

        2. My Marxist aunt equates a company like Hobby Lobby not wanting to pay for abortion coverage and certain types of contraception with Muslim men forcing clitorectomies on young girls. In her mind they are EXACTLY the same thing.

      2. The thing is, Peart’s Rand fascination was probably rooted in typical Boomer anti-authoritarianism from the 60s and 70s, which naturally would have extended to suspicion of Western government structures. Now that the progressivism of that generation is considered the status quo, Peart like a lot of other left-wing Boomers has shifted his stance to wondering why government can’t get things done, not realizing that they spent years undermining the idea that Western culture produced anything of value, including constitutional republican government.

  15. I’ve never understood why Rand’s fans AND detractors give her such a prominent role in the development of libertarian thought. She was a crappy novelist and a deeply unpleasant human being who had some good things to say about self esteem. So what?

    1. For a really long time she was the most common avenue for people interested in ‘libertarian’ ethics. Hell, outside of the U.S. her books are the most ‘mainstream’ of ‘libertarian’ work.

      1. More so than Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” though?

        1. Since Rand’s infamy has become well-known? I don’t know. One of the few advantages’ Rand’s work gets is that she’s demonized so much that it actively gets people to read them. Controversy sells.

          1. That’s why I read Atlas Shrugged…usually I just read Sci/fi and Fantasy.

            1. Atlas Shrugged IS sci-fi.

        2. I think Thoreau is more famous for “Walden,” which is a story about a man’s path of self-reliance and living off the land, while his mom did his laundry.

    2. All but one of her novels were pretty good.

      She was extremely important to the development of libertarian thought like it or not. Most of the big-time intellects had some association with her. She was the main alternative to Rothtard.

      1. Eh, as far as the philosophy goes, i’m a Spooner man from way back.

        1. I will admit that Rand’s ranting and raving that non-Oist libertarians ‘stole her ideas’ is terrible self-absorbed horseshit. She doesn’t need to be perfect, but her philosophy pretty much is.

          1. No, it really isn’t anything close to perfect.

            1. Yes it is, like it or not.

              1. Your belief that it is so and your constant repetition that it is so doesn’t actually make it so. You’d have to be an objectivist to believe that.

                1. Since Cytonumnutz was totally wrong about Trump he needs a new horse to flog.

            2. Uh… gotta agree with Sparky here.

              1. Then you’re both wrong. Not a surprise.

              2. Both you and Sparky are dilettantes who don’t know what you’re talking about. The leftoids know that Rand was right, her writing is like sunlight to the altruist-collectivist vampires, and *that* is why they hate her (with such obvious, meniacal desperation).

                You libertarian types are a bit different; you aren’t as bad as the left, but you share many of their corrupt premises–namely, you hate the idea that anyone could ever be right about anything, you want it all to be indeterminate and subjective.

                1. Not true. For instance, i am objectively correct when i say that Rand burned strawmen in such quantities that you could see the bonfire from space.

                  You get bonus points for using the word “dilettante” and then misspelling “maniacal.”

                2. I’ll just leave this here:
                  The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult by Dr Murray Rothbard

                  We conclude our analysis of the Rand cult with the observation that here was an extreme example of contradiction between the exoteric and the esoteric creed. That in the name of individuality, reason, and liberty, the Rand cult in effect preached something totally different. The Rand cult was concerned not with every man’s individuality, but only with Rand’s individuality, not with everyone’s right reason but only with Rand’s reason. The only individuality that flowered to the extent of blotting out all others, was Ayn Rand’s herself; everyone else was to become a cipher subject to Rand’s mind and will.

                3. I’m not sure if you’re calling me a lefty or a libertarian. Either way, it shows your lack of intelligence. I think Rand was not much of a writer and that’s the extent of my thoughts about Rand. I think Objectivism contains some worthwhile points and is by no means perfect.

                  I suspect Libertarius is another one of those people who thoroughly believes he has all the answers.

                  1. After further review, I suspect Libertarius is someone’s sock.

                    1. Libertarius is our resident blowhard student-of-Objectivism (not Objectivist!) crackpot who reminds us that stereotypes exist for a reason.

                      For a good time, ask him his opinion of Kant.

                    2. You guys get defensive real easy, I barely tried and there you are with your little fangs out…

                    3. There are few epic rants more enjoyable than an Objectivist ranting about Kant.

    3. Her books sold incredibly well and inspired a lot of people to look into libertarianism, and she was running a libertarian-like cult organization in the 60s and 70s? It’d be silly to say she does not deserve a prominent role in libertarianism’s history.

  16. I read Ayn Rand. I read both Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

    I thought parts of Atlas Shrugged were pure genius.

    As a commercial real estate developer, I thought that if any architect ever destroyed one of my investments because he had to compromise with the government entities whose approvals I need in order to build, then a courtroom would be the last thing he’d be worried about.

    I’m not exactly a recanter, but just because I liked Atlas Shrugged doesn’t mean I have to like everything else she ever said or did. I especially reject the assertion that we have to make everyone else rational before we can build the kind of society we want to live in. That’s horse puckey. I have more faith that Jesus will come back someday than I do that the world will ever achieve the level of rationality Rand and her O People say is necessary.

    I guess that’s one of the other reasons I’m not an Objectivist. I’ve spent plenty of time around other Objectivists and…although I liked some of them, what I liked about them wasn’t the part of them that was Objectivist.

    So, I’m not really a recanter, but sometimes I think O People see people like ISIS sees people. There are only three kinds of them: true believers, the ignorant, and the kafirs.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kafir

    I’m sure O People consider me a disbeliever because I’ve seen their truth, and I rejected it.

    1. She should have made her Fountainhead protagonist a painter that destroyed a mural because the purchaser subsequently changed part of it.

      1. I heard she worked with Frank Lloyd Wright, and that was the influence for her architect genius.

        Regardless, it speaks directly to my philosophical disagreement with her.

        You strive for success no matter how bad the government gets. It is a tragedy when the government defeats an entrepreneur, but it is a triumph when an entrepreneur succeeds despite the government interference.

        No doubt, I would do better without the government interference, but a hero is somebody who won’t let petty government get in the way of his success.

        Meanwhile, somebody’s gonna have to pay for all those building materials! What about the time value of money! What about splits to the investors! What about the interest on the land loan and construction loan?

        You destroy a building like that, you’re now rebuilding it at an economic loss.

        1. It’s more relevant that an architect is a hired hand to do the bidding of the developer. So he’s not the type of pure artiste that she imagined. Plus destroying all of the capital that a large building requires and risking serious injury to innocents all because of ego and hurt feelings is evil.

        2. She kissed up to Wright at a party once when she was doing research for the book, but he blew her off as just another hanger-on.

          I don’t think that Rand was thinking politically when Roarke blows up the building. Her later political stances came from an earlier position of uncompromising individualism to the point of absolute social isolation, and that was what was on display with HR throughout the book. It’d also explain why she was such a petulant horse’s rear her whole life.

        3. Ok the building wasn’t owned by investors but by the government, and why should he pay? He had a contract, if the government wants to use the design, they have to use it as is, no changes. If they build it any other way they’ve violated the contract, and they don’t have the right to build it at all. That was the ONLY condition he had. If you use my stuff to make something after specifically agreeing not to make it as a condition of getting my stuff, yes I’m allowed to blow it up.

    2. So, I’m not really a recanter, but sometimes I think O People see people like ISIS sees people. There are only three kinds of them: Prime Movers, the ignorant, and the parasites.

      Switched it from Islamic culty terms to Objectivist culty terms.

      Atlas Shrugged has a pretty cruel scene about dozens of people dying in train accident. And Rand makes sure to go through most of the passengers to try and convince the readers that the passengers deserved to die for their parasitic, heretical ways.

      1. Boy I really fucked the italics on that one. Switch’em around.

      2. Yeah, that was really fucked up.

        She could have made them victims of Top Men? just as easily, that she tried making them all villains says that something was fucked up about her world view.

        1. Except that she’s right, they did all share the blame to some extent. that’s the point. Do I have to explain that the train was a metaphor for modern society, and the crash for the massive disasters and slaughters that characterized it? The Nazis, the Soviets they didn’t fall from the sky, they were the result of the vicious philosophies that were believed by almost everyone. Blaming the victims is necessary to the extent that the actions of the victims helped cause the disaster.

          But hell just call Rand evil for actually holding people responsible. I’m sure another just century of blood will cure the problem.

      3. “Atlas Shrugged has a pretty cruel scene about dozens of people dying in train accident. And Rand makes sure to go through most of the passengers to try and convince the readers that the passengers deserved to die for their parasitic, heretical ways.”

        That was the part that I thought was pure genius.

        She went through that train with something like Gunther Grass’ stream of consciousness floating eye–and showed how they had all contributed to their own predicament in their own way.

        Rand was in desperate need of an editor, but I wouldn’t change a thing about that passage. The passengers did it to themselves and the people around them.

        Incidentally, that’s real life. There is so much economic suffering in this country, and it’s entirely self-inflicted. How many hundreds of thousands have died in America’s drug war–and whose fault is that? Don’t blame the politicians. Blame your parents. Blame your coworkers. Blame your friends.

        The truth is so dark not even Rand or Ron Paul will speak it. The problem in this country is the American people.

        1. That’s relatively close to how I see it. It’s an illustration of the people getting exactly what they asked for good and hard, even unto death.

        2. Great point. Some people seem to want Rand to be a monster.

          1. Because there’s nothing monstrous about demonizing an entire group of people and saying they deserve to die right? There’s no possible way you could imply someone is a monster with a statement like that.

            1. Only if you’re a moral compromiser who helps evil survive.

            2. She doesn’t say that they deserved to die, only that they were part of the problem that killed them. Now you can call her a monster for telling this truth, or call those who deny it monsters for contributing to the deaths of millions. Up to you.

        3. Hmm, interesting interpretation. I see it as the exact opposite, a deliberate attempt to construct an evil ‘other’ that is the only thing holding her amazing ‘Prime Movers’ back. The people in the train are not treated as actual people, but caricatures to prop up Rand’s arguments.

          It just comes off as a petty attempt at karmic argumentation. ‘They got what was coming to them because of their actions’. No, many of their interactions were actually fairly unrelated to the actual events that occur, Rand just needs to demonize them into ‘parasites’ rather than treat them as actual human beings.

          A train of strawmen die, and Rand stands on the burnt remains to tell everyone how garbage they were. Top philosophical argumentation there.

          1. A train of strawmen die

            Those aren’t strawmen. Her villains are real.

            1. Something tells me you don’t get out and meet people much.

              1. You’ve never met anyone like the people on Rand’s train? Really? Then you’ve never got out and this is your first day on the internet too. Pick any one of the examples from the train and I’ll find you someone just like them. Hell the journalist that thinks violence is OK “in a good cause” and doesn’t define “good cause” is most American journalists commenting on foreign affairs.

        4. The truth is so dark not even Rand or Ron Paul will speak it. The problem in this country is the American people.

          Alas, the problem in most countries is the people. Something of a truism, I think.

        5. Agreed. There is a speech in V for Vendetta that is similarly themed. Look in a mirror, bitches!

      4. It wasn’t so much that they “deserved to die” but that circumstances that they had never thought about had ended in this catastrophe.

        She gives several reasons why they had never thought about about these things and one of them was the fact that social pressures had made them think that way.

        I believe that the point of that passage is that people need to take responsibility for their lives or they will find themselves victims of events that could be disastrous.

    3. Not saying blowing up that building was right but Roark did get a contract clause saying ‘no changes’.

      There are only three kinds of them: true believers, the ignorant, and the kafirs.

      The difference is that Islam is wrong and Objectivism is right, and Oists don’t slaughter non-Oists. DUR

      1. I didn’t say they were alike in every way.

        I said they were alike in one way.

        1. Well…so what? Is that view so wrong? Plenty non-Oist libertarians here seem to have a similar stark view.

  17. IMO the left hates Rand because she was fundamentally anti-Christian and the modern left is a Christian heresy. They’re holding on to the collectivist, anti-market (and other) elements of 19th century christianity even as the reject the concept of god – or more accurately replaced Yahweh and Jesus with The people and Science!

    1. They fucking LOVE science.

      1. Not so much when the science complicates or invalidates their progressive narratives.

        But the rest of the time! Boy, do they!

    2. I don’t think that as many leftists reject the notion of god as you imagine. A lot of people, like Peart, have the genuine belief that God wants us to help the less fortunate through coerced government welfare and charity programs.

      1. The left certainly believes in a god. A god that can create wealth simply by printing paper, a god that can create or destroy rights with a stroke of a pen, a god that can cure the world of inequality…. Yeah, they worship a god alright. Their god is government.

        1. Many, many of them also believe in the regular God from the Bible. And that that god wants people to do all of those things. I know what you are getting at, a lot of lefty atheists and agnostics do seem to put the state where many people put god. But plenty are not atheists.

          I don’t know why people think that the left is so entirely anti-religious and anti-God. The Pope is practically a communist, for fuck’s sake. The Anglicans and many American protestant denominations are full-on progressives.

          1. Many, many of them also believe in the regular God from the Bible. And that that god wants people to do all of those things.

            Well, actually, if you’re as shamelessly materialistic as the majority of ‘Christian/religious leftists/statists’, then you’re a pretty bad Christian. Christianity certainly isn’t about mankind carving out a utopia on earth.

            1. I have no comment or opinion on what makes a good Christian. I know many people who would say the exact opposite of what you did regarding being a good Christian.

              I don’t have a dog in this fight.

              1. I’m not a Christian either but if you’re not an anti-materialist, you’re not a Christian. Jesus is pretty bloody clear on that point. Everything in this world is just a preparation for the next. The fact that massively materialistic people (both right-wing and left-wing) declare themselves to know what Jesus wanted is hilarious to me because they can’t get his fundamental position.

                1. I’m not a Christian either but if you’re not an anti-materialist, you’re not a Christian

                  Not sure that’s quite true, at least not in reference to the type of Christianity that emerged triumphant (and the forms of such which had strongest roots in Judaism). For starters, early Christians affirmed the bodily resurrection, the material world was affirmed as a good creation of God’s (albeit one that is currently in a corrupted state), acknowledged that Earth and Heaven would be renewed (and in a sense were in the process of being renewed through Christ and His followers), etc. Renewing the material world isn’t quite the same as quitting it.

                  But yes, Christianity does stand foursquare against the collection of wealth or value for its own sake (e.g., consumerism) so prevalent in many developed societies.

                  1. I was more referring to the actual teachings of Jesus, i.e. an actual ‘follower of Christ’ rather than the Christian dogma that has developed historically (one could argue that a more materialist church is just a natural response to gaining massive political and social influence). Jesus is pretty consistent in his rejection of materialistic values. There’s a few statements he says that can be taken in a more materialist sense, but they’re all in the context of treating other people with respect. Someone here, for example, recently pulled out a Luke quote (I believe?) about how if you agree to do a job for a certain amount of money, you do it for that amount.

                    But the brand of materialism and statism that many modern day people subscribe to is a complete contrast to Jesus’ beliefs. So it’s always hilarious to hear people attempting to use Jesus to justify their arguments.

                    1. Meh. A libertarian forum probably ain’t the right time to have the discussion, but the more credible sources for Jesus’ sayings, teachings, and praxis — while not “materialistic” in the vulgar sense of the word — aren’t exactly esoteric on the level of, say, Gnosticism. For example, a healing ministry (attested to by all of the sources I can think of) hardly makes sense in the context of pure rejection of the material, ditto an emphasis on bodily resurrection.

                      But we can both agree that the political programs of the left and right are hardly congruent with the methods or preachings of Jesus.

                    2. But what about the time Jesus held a knife to the rich man’s throat until he gave all his wealth to the poor? Or the time He lobbied the Roman government for single-payer healthcare to take care of those lepers?

                2. I think that is probably correct as far as that goes. No good Christian should be involved in government or give a crap about politics (oops, i guess I do have opinions), according to much of what Jesus says in the Bible. But I’m not going to tell anyone that they are wrong about their religion. By that standard, there are probably a couple thousand Christians in the world. Maybe the Bible got it wrong. Who am I to say?

                  1. But I’m not going to tell anyone that they are wrong about their religion. By that standard, there are probably a couple thousand Christians in the world.

                    I’m pretty sure this is the closest thing to ‘actual Christians’ in awhile. Didn’t go well.

          2. So they want government to be God on earth. As much as I hate the phrase, that appears to be a distinction without a difference.

            1. I don’t know. Rulers and governments have been claiming to be God’s representatives on earth forever. I think there is a big difference. Lots of people think that God wanted people to create the Church. But they don’t think the Church is God. For a lot of people the state is just an extension of that. Another way that god uses people to enact his will.

              1. Rulers and governments have been claiming to be God’s representatives on earth forever.

                Now they represent “The Will of the People,” which in practice is no different than “The Divine Right of the King.” The difference is that instead of their power coming from God, it comes from Democracy. Instead of “God has spoken,” it’s “The People have spoken.” That’s it. That’s the only difference. Only the costumes have changed.

                1. I’m trying to see it from a believer’s perspective. From my usual agnostic/atheist perspective, yeah, there is little difference. God was invented by people for mostly the same reasons the idea of “good government” was.

                  1. God was invented by people for mostly the same reasons the idea of “good government” was.

                    Sometimes I wonder if, because people with power (government) rarely face justice in this life, people invented the idea of God and an afterlife so they could believe people with power eventually face justice.

                    1. That is a pretty common theory regarding the creation of/belief in an afterlife.

                    2. I bet that at least has a lot to do with the popularity of religion historically. When life is difficult and full of injustice, it’s very appealing to imagine that there is a better world somewhere and justice for the assholes who oppress you.

                    3. It’s much more appealing than believing that everything gets even worse in the afterlife. 🙂 It’s also much more useful to the assholes running things in this life. One wouldn’t want the peasants to get the idea that they have even less to look forward to later – they might revolt or something.

      2. They do tend to very conveniently forget the whole “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” bit.

        1. But when you try to discuss the parts of the Bible that contradict their opinion of what God meant to say, you get everything from name-calling to “Look over there!” to a flat denial that Christianity has any basis other than their own emotions. Fundamentalists at least base their arguments on something to which you can point.

          1. Fundamentalists, sure. But they tend to be a lot less political. Most Christians, liberal or conservative politically, are quite selective about which parts to believe.

        2. I’ve always found the ‘Jesus refusing political power offered by the Devil in the desert’ to be a better example of how Jesus explicitly rejects political, earthly power.

        3. The standard “pay your taxes” narrative regarding that story never sat well with me.

          Jesus wasn’t telling the Pharisees to pay their taxes to an unpopular Roman authority, which was the trap they’d set for him to make him appear weak. He told them basically that the coin was Caesar’s, to give it back to him, and to keep holy things holy.

      3. By ‘god’ you mean Obama, right?

        1. No, I mean that character from the Bible, or some similar being.

          1. Pretty sure that’s Obama.

            /PB

            1. It is kind of amazing how some people will talk about Obama. I was talking to someone recently who seemed to credit Obama for the political liberalization in Burma.

            2. Oh, you mean the character mentioned in Rev. 13:1?

              1. Opinions are divided on whether he is the second coming or the antichrist.

                1. Nah, neither. Obama is just what you get when your daddy strains you through a cheap, leaky condom.,

      4. Rationalizing immoral acts by essentially claiming it’s “what God wants” has no ideological restrictions.

        1. Indeed. If it’s what God wants, it can’t be immoral by definition.

    3. There’s something to that. Most atheists are more properly described as some sort of post-Christian, if we’re being kind. Ayn Rand was a lot of things, but she wasn’t a Christian in any part of her praxis or belief (quite consciously against it as a matter of philosophy).

      1. Yes, especially since she was originally of Jewish heritage.

        1. Even that she specifically rejected. Her analysis of the doctrine of “original sin” was virulently hostile.

    4. Speaking of God…

      interesting article from the Beast – “Anti-Racism is the New Religion

      Some interesting points. Agree with most of it, while feeling icky knowing that people like ‘Murkin think of this as intellectual vindication…when its not.

  18. I love how Peart so perfectly summarizes thaty ‘bleeding heart libertarians’ are narcissistic know-nothing shitbags who have the same need for social signalling that liberals do but with a greater want for special attention.

  19. Is she subtle? No. It doesn’t make for high art but that was part of what I enjoyed about Atlas Shrugged. The binary characters are either willing to have their fortunes rise or fall based on their own talent and hardwork, or they are leeches looking to patronize and manipulate the mechanisms of the state to achieve their ends. Maybe it’s because in real life neither team really gets their cronyism sufficiently exposed. Maybe it’s because I had just quit being a lobbyist myself after years of asking myself “is this really the kind of system I want to be a part of?”

    She still desperately needed a strong-willed editor but that book was exactly what I needed. And I first read that at 30, not 15.

    1. A good project would be to completely rewrite Atlas Shrugged so it reads better.

    2. I read Atlas Shrugged about fifty years ago, and I’m still in awe of the characters she portrayed. I’ve known quite a few recanters, and I don’t really blame them. I think lots of folks think that Rand was throwing out a challenge at them personally, and I never thought that. I think she was well aware of the radical extremists she was portraying, but believed it was necessary in order to draw a clear picture of what is good and what is bad. She just hit way too close to home for many readers.

  20. There’s hiding your views out of fear of persecution, and then there’s being embarrassed by your views. I don’t understand why anyone would hold beliefs that he is embarrassed by.

    1. “I don’t understand why anyone would hold beliefs that he is embarrassed by.

      Here on this website, your beliefs have been shown to be thoroughly embarrassing–every day for years!

      You’re so stupid, Tony.

      Just because you’re not embarrassed to walk around covered with shit and a shit eating grin? Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be embarrassed, Tony.

      1. And I feel the same about all of you. The point is, if you really believe something deeply, why would you be embarrassed to say so? I’m thinking of John, who only opaquely acknowledges that many of his beliefs come from religious conservatism. If you’re on the side of the creator of all the cosmos, what does it matter if you get to sit at the cool kid’s table on some website?

        1. Again, your stupidity shows.

          You’re saying John is embarrassed that his beliefs come from religious conservatism, and also that he was afraid of anyone finding out–so he told you?

          That doesn’t make any fucking sense, Tony.

          You’re an idiot.

          P.S. The most concise and complete formulation of libertarianism I ever heard was, “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”. If everyone willingly abided by that principle, we would have instant Libertopia world wide.

          1. I’m a fan of “Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.”

            1. In both of these cases, what do you do about the person who doesn’t abide by those rules?

              1. That’s why I’m not an anarchist.

                Government has a legitimate purpose in protecting our rights.

                We have a military to protect our rights from foreign threats.

                We have a police force to protect our rights from criminals.

                We have a criminal court system to protect our rights from the police!

                Etc.

                However, ” IF IF IF everyone willingly abided by “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”, we would have instant Libertopia.

                And if that’s the way you came to libertarianism, then welcome. We need more like you.

                1. …IF everyone willingly abided by “Do unto others as you would have done unto you”, we would have instant Libertopia.

                  Really? Then how should a masochist treat people?

                  The Golden Rule isn’t a moral code. It is predicated on there being a code that is accepted by most people.

                  That’s why Rand’s tying morality to reason and through reason to rational self interest is important. Her philosophy was much better than her novels. Her fiction always retained a residue of her former Nietzschean beliefs even if she rid Nietzsche from her explicit philosophy.

                  The only fiction of hers that was completely free of Nietzsche was “Anthem”. It was almost as if Anthem was written by someone else. If you want to see just how bad the Nietzschean influence was in her works then read her early plays. They are utterly hideous with monsters as protagonists.

                  In the Fountainhead Wynand may be a depraved psychopath but he is a ray of sunshine compared to what she put in “Red Pawn”.

                  Rand never fully purged her fiction of Nietzsche. Even in Atlas the common man, Eddie Willers, is left to die by Dagny and Galt as they fly away from the collapsed society. Willers, not possessing the mental powers of the elite minds, must struggle on his own because there must be no charity for the weak, not even for a man who dedicated his life to Dagny’s railroad and on whom she often relied for his honesty and hard work.

                  I came to Rand through her philosophical writings, not her novels.

                  1. Dagny didn’t leave Eddie to die.

                    She asked him not to go to CA, essentially telling him it was too late. Nno, she didn’t specifically tell him to come with me I’ll save you. But I think the inference was there.

                    But she let Eddie make his own decision (albeit without full and perfect information).

                    What I found more disturbing about that is that Dagny didn’t give up the RR until it was destroyed.

                    She didn’t have to make the sacrifice like all the others had of walking away and abandoning her business.

              2. That’s where decentralized legal theories become so, so interesting.

            2. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”.

              1. Indeed. His right are your rights.

                That’s why I stand up for the rights of terrorists.

                Because those are my rights, too, I’m really standing up for my own right not to be tortured.

                Yeah, love your neighbor as yourself.

                Especially if you want to live in the kind of world where your neighbors respect you and your rights.

                1. my own right not to be tortured.

                  This right can be rescinded just like the right to not be jailed.

                  1. If you believe that, then it’s even more important to stand up for your neighbor’s rights.

            3. I’m a fan of “Don’t hurt people and don’t take their stuff.”

              Similarly I kinda like “Don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, and don’t murder.”

          2. Or a socialist paradise, depending on what people really want done unto them.

            1. Just because you’re a masochist doesn’t mean everyone else is, Tony.

              But don’t worry. In Libertopia, you’ll be free to hire someone to take your paycheck, redistribute it, and beat the shit out of you if you don’t hand it over, too.

              …if that’s what you want, Tony. If that’s what you want.

              1. In libertopia there is nothing preventing a bunch of people buying some land and turning it into a socialist paradise. So long as everybody is participating volunarily, nothing immoral about socialism.

                1. That doesn’t give Tony the boner that coercion does.

                2. So long as everybody is participating volunarily, nothing immoral about socialism.

                  Yep. I’ve said many times that individualists do not oppose collectivism. We oppose coercion. Collectivism is fine so long as everyone involved is participating voluntarily. It crosses the line when it becomes coerced.

                  1. Individualism and collectivism are polar opposites.

                    1. Individualism and collectivism are polar opposites.

                      Not really. Do individualists oppose churches, community organizations, companies, corporations, and other ways in which people act collectively in a voluntary manner? I don’t think so. Individualists do not oppose collective action. We oppose coercion.

                      Yes, you are right in that most collectivists want their collectivism to be imposed on others by a coercive government, but in that case the gripe is with coercion, not collective action.

                    2. Oh, and add families to the list. Families are a form of collectivism. Do individualists oppose families? Again, I don’t think so. Don’t be distinction-challenged like Tony. You got it right in your 1:37 comment. It’s coerced collectivism that is the polar opposite of individualism. Collectivism without coercion is find and dandy.

                    3. As I noted in my “correction”, I think if you substitute “collectivism” with “collective action”, you are more correct, and Cytotoxic’s objection disappears.

                  2. I’ve said many times that individualists do not oppose collectivismcollective action. We oppose coercion. Collectivism Collective action is fine so long as everyone involved is participating voluntarily.

                    FTFY

                3. “So long as everybody is participating volunarily, nothing immoral about socialism.”

                  The problem with socialism, in that case, is that eventually you run out of your own money.

                4. And when people start having babies, you realize you need an opt-out rather than an opt-in system and we have a modern state.

              2. But don’t worry. In Libertopia, you’ll be free to hire someone to take your paycheck, redistribute it, and beat the shit out of you if you don’t hand it over, too.

                …if that’s what you want, Tony. If that’s what you want.

                I’m imagining that Libertopia would have a booming S&M scene centered around asshole middle aged men in suits beating people for money for all the former state addicts.

    2. Tony:

      There’s hiding your views out of fear of persecution, and then there’s being embarrassed by your views. I don’t understand why anyone would hold beliefs that he is embarrassed by.

      The relationship between Ayn Rand and the right is kinda like the relationship between Karl Marx and the left.

      You know, how of course he’s crazy and his underlying philosophy is flawed, but they really see where he’s coming from.

      And, similar to how democrats hate being called socialist, right up until the moment it seems really hip to be labelled socialist, in which case, duh, of course we’re socialists.

      1. Intelligent liberals don’t give a shit about such labels. We recognize that the world is complex. Only idiots like libertarians care about fitting into a preformed holistic cosmic order.

        1. Tony, isn’t calling other people “idiots” kind of like calling the kettle black? Crawl back into your little statist, shit worm hole, fucking assmunch.

  21. Ayn Rand was inflexible. This is the main reason most people reach a point where they recant her and go for something else, IMO.

    I will give her some props for recognizing and trying to meet Nietzsche’s challenge of an atheistic ethic apart from Christianity (most atheists seem fine with just putting a fresh coat of paint on the Judeo-Christian ethic rather than actually evaluating what it means for one’s ethics to derive from a source outside of the crucified prophet-deity).

    That respect diminished when the shallowness of that ethic falls apart, but at least she tried.

    Either way, very valuable for libertarian thought and about as close as you get to a Grand Unified Theory of Life as approached by a libertarian type.

    1. I will give her some props for recognizing and trying to meet Nietzsche’s challenge of an atheistic ethic apart from Christianity

      This is actually a pretty good point about Rand. For all her flaws she was at least attempting to respond to Nietzsche’s entirely justified criticism of ‘secular’ ethics. She didn’t succeed, and its interesting to realize that the majority of Rand readers end up jumping in a ‘slave morality’, libertarianism, but she still gets credit for that.

      1. She didn’t succeed

        Yes she did.

        1. WELL I’M CONVINCED

        2. When Objectivists just continue to bleat out ‘NUH-UH’ to your statement it’s not surprising at all that they’re a minority ideology within a minority ideology.

          1. Just you wait until they start calling you a cheap fraud and wishing impotence upon you for 20 years!

    2. To be fair, anyone pitching a philosophy kinda has to be inflexible with it. It has to be the responsibility of the readers to know what is worthwhile and what should be rejected.

      1. Part of Rand’s inflexibility, though, was pretty firmly stating that Objectivism HAD to be swallowed wholesale. You don’t get to pick and choose the pieces of Objectivism that work for you, or else Objectivists will get all pissy.

        1. Well sure. And the same goes for Christianity, for example.

          I don’t think you start building a new philosophy by telling people they can take the parts they like and leave the rest. Anyone who swallows any particular philosophy whole is someone not to be trusted.

        2. Yeah…if a philosophy isn’t integrated, it’s not a philosophy. You can’t just drive the parts of a car that work for you, you need the whole thing.

          Now if you want to change some components because you think Rand made a mistake, then…oh boy…you’re getting into the UGLY internal politics of Objectivism.

          Objectivism is a philosophy and therefore and open system. Those who say it is a closed system do not believe in Oism but are believers in The Word of Rand. Ex: Pope Peikoff.

          1. I’d rather drive a hovercraft.

            1. Well wouldn’t we all?

            2. I’d prefer a flying car.

            3. You may be able to see here why people who have swallowed the philosophy hook, line, and sinker should not be trusted.

            4. I’d rather drive a hovercraft.

              I wouldn’t. Do you know how difficult those things are to control? It’s like being on ice all the time. No thanks.

      2. I’d say the Buddhists do a pretty good job with that.

    3. “Rand was inflexible”

      Yeah…so what? Reality is inflexible too.

      1. This is why you fail.

        1. Ha ha no. Still bi-winning.

    4. Ayn Rand was inflexible. This is the main reason most people reach a point where they recant her and go for something else, IMO.

      But of course – she was an absolutist. Most people dislike and do not believe in the validity of absolutes – particularly moral absolutes. They prefer wiggle room.

      1. Because in morality there are no absolutes. Morality is inherently subjective.

        1. Rand didn’t think so. Probably why she called her philosophy Objectivism. Btw, you do realize that you just typed one, don’t you?

          1. “They prefer wiggle room.” Rand was just too tough for most of the little pussies that disavow her. They’re young and idealistic when they first read her, then they get old and flabby and unsure. She was writing heroic literature with romanticized characters, and most folks are incapable of incorporating that into their own lives.

            On his death bed, Geronimo supposedly confided to a family member, “I wish I’d never surrendered.” He was a real hard ass, and it just occurred to me this evening — as I near my 70th birthday — how similar was his face with that of Ayn Rand’s.

        2. No, some morality is absolute.

          The moral principle that one cannot take another’s life, absent a reason such as self-defense, is ABSOLUTE.

          That is the principle that gives me the right to defend my life from someone else’s attack.

    5. The Syphlitic Madman predated the Soviet Revolution depicted in the movie “Strike.” But young Ayn was philosophically impressed by Mencken, who did a good job on Friedrich back in 1907, then abdicated with the “Treatise on Right and Wrong.” Atlas was a good response do Mencken’s waffling.

  22. Toot sweet! Wee. Say saw.

  23. Atlas Shrugged has over 5,000 reviews on Amazon, and presumably only a fraction of them are Rand-bots. But the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. This is a lot higher percentage than I ever come across in the company of self-declared libertarians, including the Reason commentariat. I’d even heard plenty lot of my liberal friends agree it is a unique and interesting book to read even with its many flaws. Libertarians in my experience are a lot less forgiving.

    1. Of course I use the term “plenty lot” in its scientific sense…

    2. “”Libertarians in my experience are a lot less forgiving.””

      Libertarians are more likely to already have read some core political-philosophy a la John Locke, Adam Smith, Emerson, etc…. and be way ahead of the average reader on the ‘theory’ side.

    3. “Libertarians in my experience are a lot less forgiving.”

      I’ve noticed a distinct libertarian tendency to enthusiastically attack their allies for deviation on a single issue, or for a slightly different approach to liberty issues. Plus in Rand’s case, there’s the fact that progs will try to tie you to her and assume you agree with her whole philosophy.

      While a non-libertarian, without all that baggage, can feel safe saying, “gosh, some of this stuff sounds interesting!”

    4. I’ve noticed that a great many self-described libertarians (myself included) have a hell of a difficult time avoiding expressing themselves as collectivists. Liberty will probably always be a work in progress–within and amongst minds.

    5. Note to foreign readers: Unlike Englishmen and Australians, Americans use the term “liberal” to mean closet socialist.

      1. That’s because “liberals” are only ever liberal with someone else’s wealth, liberty, and life – ie. only when someone else is footing the bill for their “good works”.

  24. I’ll say it again, the way Rand argued for individualism was to counterpoint statists, and so she gave into their skeletal layout to begin with, so when people read what she has written, it has the carryover tang of statism. In short, it FEELS like a form of statism (of the might makes right variety) to those who aren’t paying attention.

    Of course, I’m not an Objectivist but rather an Absurdist; one of the rare ones who couches their resulting individualism in free markets rather than leftist syndicalism. I could never completely buy into the A is A as it was too constraining and simplistic. The market will sort out the best use of A, and if you use too much Force with regard to A, you end up damaging or destroying it.

    1. I could never completely buy into the A is A as it was too constraining and simplistic

      But…it’s still true.

    2. You know who else used too much Force?

      1. Palpatine?

  25. “I reject her philosophy,” Ryan says firmly. “It’s an atheist philosophy.

    Because you can’t pander to Republicans without God.

    1. You can’t pander to National Socialists without Jesus and the Common Good before the Individual Good.

  26. I’ve always hated Rush. There – I said it.

  27. I really don’t like Ayn Rand’s Nietzschean attitudes, and the way she portrays liberty as primarily a boon for the superior people (as she sees them), but I really hate to join the pile-on against her by the kind of people who say “For a person of my sensibility, you’re only left with the Democratic party.”

    Ick!

    Still, the fact is that if Ayn Rand didn’t exist, the progs would probably invent someone like her – the viewpoint she espouses sounds a lot like the ideas progs impute to *every* liberty-fancier.

    1. It’s also interesting to see all the St. Peters who disavow her when they realize that otherwise Rolling Stone won’t like them.

      Rolling Stone sucks, Rush has a good beat and is great to listen to in the car. RS should be kissing Peart’s ass, not vice versa.

  28. Things you left out: Babs “reluctantly” shared her husband Nate with Ayn, who was married to Frank O’Connor. When Ayn found out that Nate was involved with a third woman, something Babs knew about, Ayn broke off relations with both Brandens, claiming it was a financial dispute, though, in fact, it was a matter of passion rather than profit. Guess Ayn herself was a little sensitive to “public pressure” herself.

    1. That wasn’t it. It’s a little more complicated than a woman-scorned scenario.

      Branden lied to Rand about the third woman and his waning attraction to her for years, and Rand spent countless hours of therapy trying to understand why his libido wasn’t what it once was. When the truth finally came out, it wasn’t NB who revealed it, but his wife, who felt that NB had been misleading and deceiving Rand for years.

      1. Who was the therapist?

  29. “Rand’s importance is ignored by the film, though she was central to one of the core conundrums of Rush history: why did rock intellectuals and tastemakers hate on this excellent band so much and for so long?”

    ‘Rock intellectuals’ is a horribly pretentious name for a collection of failed short story writers who nothing about music. The best they deserve is ‘rock journalist’.

    And they hate Rush for the same reason they have hated the music of many other people (some with politics that they actually agree with): because these people make music that is difficult to follow, especially for failed short story writers with very limited musical knowledge.

    There might be a listener in the world who hates Rush because they are beneath that listener’s lofty and educated musical sensibilities. I am sure such a listener is possible, but I have never met one (though I have met many people who pretended to be one).

    There are very few educated listeners. Period.

    1. I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.

      It doesn’t matter if a musician appeals to snobs, the snobs can go jerk each other off and leave the rest of us alone.

      If it’s the kind of music you like to play in the car, the volume turned up as much as you dare without being a jerk to other drivers, and you like singing along with the lyrics, then it’s good music. Period.

      1. Asking listeners to learn something about actual music isn’t snobbery. Musical ignorance is no more justifiable than any other kind of ignorance, it is just very common.

        It doesn’t matter much unless you actually take music seriously. But if you do take music seriously, it is kind of sad.

        Sad and annoying.

        1. OK, sure, and I know music used to be one of the essential Liberal Arts, etc., but of course, knowledge of Latin and Greek were once essential for an educated person, too. Who says A must say B.

          And guess which group drives music sales, the snobs or the regular folks?

          1. We’re not strangers to looooove
            You know the rules, and so do I

        2. OK, sure, and I know music used to be one of the essential Liberal Arts, etc., but of course, knowledge of Latin and Greek were once essential for an educated person, too. Who says A must say B.

          And guess which group drives music sales, the snobs or the regular folks?

        3. Purists generally tend to be douchebags.

    2. Rock critics just hate progressive rock in general.

      Look at all the crap Yes and ELP got from critics.

  30. [Part 1 of 2]

    There has only ever been one pure “objectivist” person in history, i.e. a person who exactly fitted Rands personal “objectivist” criteria – Rand herself.

    35 years ago I did not understand that only Rand could ever 100% conform to Rand’s own stated morality/values, and so I went through an uncomfortable period back then, trying to force myself to become more like Rand’s supposed ideal.

    This made me extremely unhappy 🙁

    What got me out of “objectivism” was a book called “How I found Freedom In an Unfree World” by Harry Browne, which pointed out that all moralities are ultimately personal and inevitably subjective, an idea which is, strangely enough, an important part of the central premise of all Austrian economic theory, where the subjective morality concept is part of what is what is termed “Methodological Individualism” .

    Despite Rand’s public admiration of Austrian economists like Ludwig Von Mises, she never apparently “got” that the foundation of his entire system was based on the assumption of ” Methodological individualism” and subjective valuation; a collection of assumptions that are in total opposition to her own.

    [continued in pt.2]

    1. Subjective value doesn’t imply subjective morality and it’s strange that anyone would think it does. The fact that I like lemon ice-cream doesn’t mean that if I think it’s OK to steal lemon ice-cream it is. Subjective morality is a contradiction in terms. If it’s right it’s right whether you, I or anyone believe it is. If your morality depends on belief, then it’s simply taste.

  31. [pt 2 of 2]
    Rands “objectivist” assumptions inexorably lead its followers to statist conclusions/solutions; in contrast, the core assumptions of methodological individualism and subjectivism inevitably lead to anarchism and anarcho-capitalism, in my opinion.

    The whole “pure objectivist” thingy died with her- she was the only “true” objectivist, i.e. the _only_ person actually capable of exactly conforming to her own stated values/morals .

    One need look no further that the modern, laughable, pathetic, so-called “objectivist movement” , which seems to consist of a growing number of proto-fascists [i.e. full blown statists] like L. Peikoff who appear to be intent on “admiring”/promoting the state of Israel, and in mindlessly supporting/reinforcing/preserving the official blatant lies of the 9/11 story as told by the US gov.

    Final thought: perhaps it is these modern, err, “objectivists” that former Rand followers are trying to distance themselves from? It would not surprise me, for one, and I would not blame them , either :-).

    Regards, onebornfree.
    Personal Freedom Consultant:
    http://www.freedominunfreeworld.blogspot.com

    1. This one slinks right past all facts and bravely appeals to guild-by-association with Leonard and the Republican hangers-on from the Goldwater campaign. But Rand witnessed as Christian superstition declared selfishness a genetic evil, and the overwhelming majority of German voters eagerly supported the application of altruist eugenic theory to the extermination of all persons Jewish. The champions of Christian National Socialism were still being tried as she wrote Atlas Shrugged–before the geometry of DNA was ever worked out by scientists just as eagerly smeared today from exactly the same ratholes. Yet modern genetics illuminated by game theory in the work of Richard Dawkins illustrates how her ethical reasoning was two decades ahead of the genetic interpretation of the evolution of the species by natural selection. The same people who hate Darwin’s reasoning are certain to dismiss hers with incomprehension no less bovine.

  32. You know what the worst aspect of Rand’s work is? It’s that if enough people read her books and take her idead to heart, real freedom could break out! Nothing’s worse than an angry mob of uppity tax serfs!

  33. I’m not saying they are the perfect opposites, but?.is it my imagination or is it true that far more people are comfy ascribing to Marx than Rand?

    1. “ascribing” what to Marx vs Rand?

      1. Themselves: I am a Marxist….I am a Randist.

    2. It’s as good a sign as any that humanity is unbelievably naive and prone to falling victim to the silliest of memes.

      I suspect that people ascribe huge amounts of bonus points for utopian/socialist good intentions no matter how ludicrous the ideas are, which is why cranks on facebook are always opining about how wonderful the world would be if money didn’t exist and people weren’t so greedy (other people, of course), etc.

  34. Is it just these anecdotes, or are Rand devotees much more likely to bend on principle than Rothbard devotees?

    Assuming Rand Paul is a closet Rothbardian, maybe the hypothesis is false…

  35. I enjoy her writing except for the sex scenes… LAME.
    My opinion/taste only, of course.

  36. “That seems like a smoking gun: Peart’s aversion to crediting Rand much now seems largely based on exactly the phenomenon Barbara Branden fingered: public pressure.”

    There are the truths that objectively correspond to reality, and the truths that advance one socially.

    Most people are much more motivated by the latter. It’s not that the latter is pretending, their brain just detects socially useful propositions as truth.

    Once you really grok that, the mystery evaporates as to how so many people say so many palpably nonsensical things.

    1. Yeah, it’s not really difficult to choose between making millions of dollars and shooting yourself in the foot.

  37. They recant because they want to be popular with the dumbed-down, low-information, liberal crowd.

    1. Why would you want to be popular with dumb people?

      1. Because democracy is a popularity contest, and a dumb person’s vote is just as valuable as a smart persons?

        1. It would be unthinkable for me to change or pretend to change my political views in order to become popular with Christian fundamentalists.

          1. Sure, but that’s only because you have so many progressive liberals to pressure you into staying with your status quo. But if you did decide to switch with conservative Christian fundamentalists, there’s still enough of them to keep you comfortably safe with a large segment of the population. It’s only if you get smart and become a libertarian will you find yourself shunned and hated by most of your current peers.

          2. That makes sense. Your political views are largely irrelevant.

          3. Whatever the failings of Christian fundamentalists, nearly all of them are intellectually superior to the average left-wing rent boy.

            -jcr

      2. Well there’s this thing called “money”….

  38. To be honest – and this is coming from an Objectivist going on 30 years – I did not enjoy Rand’s fiction. Her nonfiction was much more appealing and useful to me, probably because I’m a technology driven, take-it-apart-to-see-how-it-works kinda guy. The nonfiction presented the “nuts & bolts” of her philosophy. Her fiction wasn’t what attracted me to Objectivism in the first place, anyway…

    1. +1 I was introduced to Rand through her non-fiction (a friend gave me a copy of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal) and I’m very glad I encountered her that way because if I had tried to read any of her fiction other than Anthem first, I wouldn’t have become nearly as interested in Objectivism as I did.

    2. I went from Atlas straight to her non-fiction, while also devouring the library of recorded speeches that used to be posted online (it’s gone now). After that I started reading Peikoff and his recorded stuff, also loved David Harriman’s book about induction in physics.

      1. Hey, Libertarius. Which of Rand’s non-fiction books would you recommend? I’m probably going through a similar path myself.

        Oh, and thanks for mentioning David Harriman’s book. That’s one more for my wishlist.

        1. “Philosophy Who Needs It?” is a great place to start. (It’s a collection of essays and I think the best way to understand what Rand was really trying to say).

          Almost all of the criticism I see of Rand comes from critiques of her fiction, as if having to use narrative and the other conventions of that medium don’t require some concessions and considerations that might not make the analogies quite perfect – or at least allow for differing interpretations. No one ever seems to consider that Rand was also a woman writing these kinds of political novels in the 1950s. People utterly ignore the context in which she wrote.

          The non-fictions stuff is so much clearer, so much more concise.

          Even though I’m not an atheist, I’m not the least bit offended by her ardent atheism, nor her disdain (or outright hatred) for the ideology of altruism. George Gilder resolves this all very well for me. “Wealth and Poverty’s” introduction explicitly deals with this.

          Yeah, I don’t get all the hate on Rand by libertarians. She argued strongly that there was a moral defense of capitalism and yet somehow people are killing her over it. Odd.

          1. Thanks for the suggestion, AFSlade! This book will be my next purchase on Amazon.

            I suppose most libertarians don’t like her because she wasn’t too fond of them. And, in her defense, the libertarians of that time were probably different from the ones we have today, like the Students for Liberty. Those guys are awesome.

            Personally, I find it hard for us to spread the idea of liberty to the general public without a firm hierarchy of concepts, an integrated philosophy. I’ve been a libertarian for a few years now, but I don’t really get the notion of a Non-Agression ‘Axiom’ being self-evident, or natural. Capitalism benefits greatly when it’s the result of a rational morality.

            “If we want to defend liberty successfully, we need to understand and be able to articulate, among other things, where rights come from, why we have them, and how we know it.”

            I could be wrong, but I don’t think libertarianism has any way of addressing the major moral codes of our age: utilitarianism, altruism and egalitarianism. These are all in conflict with the Rights to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

            It would be interesting to see more libertarians giving her a chance.

            1. Both Capitalism – the Unknown Ideal and The New Left – the Anti-Industrial Revolution are required reading. She correctly identified the left even then as statists. For her political economy commentary she is unsurpassed in my book.

      2. Apparently, Harriman has committed blasphemy and has consorted with demons at Barbara Branden’s funeral. He is no longer associated with Objectivism. Seriously, he jumped ship and is now with David Kelley’s organization.

        Like you, I came to Rand through her philosophical works, not her fiction although the first book of hers that I read was Anthem. That inspired me to read The Virtue of Selfishness and For The New Intellectual. I read the Fountainhead later and mostly enjoyed it at the time. It was years later that I came to see that Wynand was a sociopath, Dominique was a bitch on steroids and Roark, though brilliant, had serious problems in dealing with women.

  39. You need to ask the philosophical students of Ayn Rand about her views, in epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, etc., not the celebrities most of whom are responding to the shallowest understanding of her ideas. I encountered Rand’s views in 1961 and have never believed one needed to recant (I took up academic philosophy to make sure about here grasp of the issues). Sure, a bit of adjustment here and there may be needed but in substance the old lady was basically right. No need to wring one’s hands for still championing her views, none. That’s coming from one of the three founders of the Reason phenomenon!

    1. Speaking of Rand as a philosopher, I do enjoy causing radfems to go into conniptions when I ask them why they’re so hostile to the only significant female philosopher of the 20th century.

      -jcr

      1. I’ve noticed they have the same problem with prominent Republican women–though I hardly worship and often despise them, too.

      2. You wouldn’t consider Simone de Beauvoir to be significant?

        1. Truly I’d only heard her name before reading it in your post.

          Thank you. She was a significant philosopher, of her time.

          But, in a 100 years I doubt anyone will remember her except in the remotest of academic circles (ie, history of philosophy).

          Likely, in 100 years, people will still be arguing about Rand.

          Rightly, or wrongly, Rand will probably be the only woman philosopher of the 20th Century to be remembered.

    2. Sure, a bit of adjustment here and there may be needed but in substance the old lady was basically right. No need to wring one’s hands for still championing her views, none. That’s coming from one of the three founders of the Reason phenomenon!

      I first encountered Rand’s work in high school, during the sixties, and I agree. Even after all these years I still subscribe to most of her basic principles as I understand them. Btw, Professor Machan, some of us here, at least, have been reading Reason long enough to know who you are. Thanks for your part in founding it.

    3. Amen. /semi-sarc

    4. “You need to ask the philosophical students of Ayn Rand about her views, in epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, etc., not the celebrities most of whom are responding to the shallowest understanding of her ideas.”

      Best comment so far. However, it’s still best to go to the horse’s mouth and read her stuff first hand. She’s very different from most writers but well worth the effort of understanding. Too many of her “students” appear robotic and only speak in canned phrases. They sound like failed AI experiments.

  40. Interesting article, and one that I think would be very relevant with many of Reason’s readers. Greenspan in particular has always bothered me, and Peart is just disappointing. Barbara Branden makes a very good point, and this illustrates the power of peer pressure, which of course would still exist without government, and thus, one of the reasons an anarchist society is a viable possibility.

    But I still wonder about the extreme hostility against Rand, while deliberately ignoring what she actually said.
    Ayn Rand herself probably didn’t help by being so obstinate and confrontational, and I’m sure that many people were bothered by the fact that she wasn’t a college or university professor, but merely a writer. Also, while her fiction was good to a point, her non-fiction explains her Objectivist views more clearly and more concisely than the fiction does.

  41. Was this “article” about anything?

    1. It was about your failure to comprehend English. Sorry you missed it.

  42. When the Objectivist movement was in its heyday during the 1960’s, America’s persecuted minority, according to Rand, was big business. Income tax levels reached 90% and do-good ‘liberalism’ was the main internal threat while the Soviet Union was the outside threat.

    Today, much of big business and politically-connected business is in bed with regulatory agencies to keep out newcomers and the non-politically connected. Income tax levels are much lower today, many once-productive people are retired or on food stamps, and Russia is no threat at all (despite what we hear from the military-industrial complex). Central banks have run amok enriching banks and leveraged financial institutions with computer money. Declaring that selfishness – or even self-interest – is virtuous in this climate, just won’t work. Objectivism is still the answer but the problem needs to be restated.

  43. Becoming a man means putting away childish things. Rand’s philosophy, rightly called “The Philosophy of selfishness” by Hitchens is childish to be sure.

    I read Atlas and it is horrid. The novel is so redundant that it could be shortened to a pamphlet and nothing would be lost.

    1. Rand’s philosophy, rightly called “The Philosophy of selfishness” by Hitchens is childish to be sure.

      Oh, fuck off.

      -jcr

    2. That’s just too simplistic a pot shot to address. She offended a lot of simpletons by defining their typical thought patterns. I suspect she would have reached a greater audience if she didn’t insist on redeeming words like “selfish.” Libertarians often have the same problem, attempting to redeem words like “anarchist” and “capitalism”–or worse yet, “anarcho-capitalism.”

      One can agree with the principles of peaceful and voluntary human interaction without insisting on being an ass about it.

      1. Robert Heinlein admired and agreed with Ayn Rand in almost every particular. He also had a native writer’s command of English and a sailor’s scrap and gumption. Observe that the drooling cowards so eager to kick sand in a girl’s face without ever refuting a specific argument scatter like rats at the thought of taking on Bob on exactly the same points.

    3. “…rightly called “The Philosophy of selfishness”

      Objectivist philosophy is based on metaphysical reality, including the reality that man, like most living things, must act to preserve himself – self-preservation. If you find this ‘childish’, then just stop breathing, eating, or drinking. You won’t make it to adulthood.

    4. “…rightly called “The Philosophy of selfishness”

      Objectivist philosophy is based on metaphysical reality, including the reality that man, like most living things, must act to preserve himself – self-preservation. If you find this ‘childish’, then just stop breathing, eating, or drinking. You won’t make it to adulthood.

    5. Observe the specificity with which the premises are identified, challenged, demolished and replaced with truth. This is a textbook example of collectivist smearing by innuendo.

    6. “Becoming a man means putting away childish things.”
      Like trying to pretend that calling someone childish wins the argument.

  44. Ayn Rand is really rehashed Aristotle. Most people really dont understand the level that she wrote at. Funny I never hear about people bashing Aristotle, Plato or Socrates.
    I’m a Rush fan. I think Neil wrote that song and was forced to mention/credit Ayn Rand because the theme was hers. This article puts the cart in front of the horse. Neil is not a recanter; he is an introvert that doesnt give many interviews because after 40 years is still hounded by hostile left-wing reporters about the same things.

  45. I always enjoy Brian’s insights, but this particular article is priceless.

    “…and Rush sent a cease-and-desist order to get Paul to stop quoting ‘The Trees’ in his speeches.”

    Now THAT is sad. Anyone who claims to agree with everything Rand said or wrote is most likely a strange form of hypocrite (how can you agree with her and NOT disagree with her at the same time, if you’re your own person, as Peart indicates?) However, to go so far as to use the state to chase away valid criticism is deeply disturbing. Someone named Molynew comes to mind, as well as a certain other “anarchist” who threatens legal “counsel” in response to copyright violation.

    Walker being chased away based on atheism’s appearance to most as “evil,” I can understand–particularly for politicians, for whom being unprincipled seems to be a requirement for success. It’s the typical conundrum: how can a libertarian be elected as a politician? As Rand might have said: “check your premises.” How, indeed, can a libertarian BE a politician? The same applies to Ron Paul, though it’s hard to spot too much inconsistency in his actions, and he did successfully grab the bully pulpit with his political position. One could argue it was what he was after, but I would like to hear him answer the question: “How can a libertarian be a politician?”

    (cont’d)

  46. (continued from above)

    Perhaps they all needed to stress the things they like about what Rand had to say–if they dared to have integrity–and disagree openly about what they DON’T. If I were a voting person, this would be enough to keep me from voting for the listed politicians.

    Greenspan found the ultimate ring of power–that’s all that needs to be said about him. It would happen to us too, and probably Ron Paul, if he became President.

    Kalanick seems to some sort of objectivism hipster, who was for it when it was still cool (I.E., no one knew or cared.)

    As for me, objectivism reeks of cult of personality. A lot of what she wrote–particularly market realities–ring true. The pompousness never did, nor did the apparent need to be a “true Scotsman,” which unfortunately, haunts libertarianism as well. I don’t have to agree 100% with Rothbard or Rand, or any combination of the two.

    Ultimately, in the case of Rand, it seems you can’t be a true Scotsman, by definition, unless you praise everything she ever said. That doesn’t seem to be quite as daunting with Rothbard, some of whose ideas I openly reject, as well, while agreeing with him much more.

    Finally, I sat next to Nathaniel Branden at a FreedomFest, and respected his ability not only to avoid completely trashing Rand, and disavow her altogether, but to publicly defend her from the most unnecessary trashing. She brought many important contributions to philosophy and liberty–even the philosophy OF liberty.

  47. Thank you for this article, Brian. I suppose there’s nothing more shameful than being recognized as an Objectivist for most people these days. Hell. One of my leftist colleagues decided to give Atlas Shrugged a go and was hilariously criticized by his friends.

    Their overreaction only made him more interested in reading the book though.

  48. You can replace Ayn Rand with Gay Marriage and it’s the same thing.

  49. As someone who went through a Rand phase in college (read all her books, fiction and nonfiction, subscribed to The Intellectual Activist, etc.) and has been a Rush fan since high school, I found this article very interesting.

    For what it’s worth, I went to see Rush’s recent R40 concert in Boston, and they played “Anthem”, so they clearly haven’t disavowed all of the individualistic ideas expressed in that song and the book that inspired it.

    I don’t think it’s completely accurate to describe Peart as just folding to social pressure, though that might be part of it. After his wife and daughter died, he spent a lot of time bicycling around Africa (yes, really) and his exposure to the crushing poverty that many Africans suffer clearly affected his worldview.

    It’s also important to remember that Rand was strongly and absolutely pro-choice on abortion. So that’s an issue where Peart is the one who agrees with Ayn Rand, while Rand Paul and Paul Ryan disagree. That could be the origin of his belief that “Rand Paul hates women” though the “hates brown people” part is much harder to justify.

    Personally, I still count The Fountainhead as one my favorite books, but I gave up on Objectivism because I couldn’t accept the logical contradictions in Rand’s ethical system. My opinion is that she was a great writer (except for the 30-page speeches), but a second-rate philosopher.

    1. Okay, I’ll bite – what are the logical contradictions? I’ll take just the three most obvious ones (please, with citations to the texts where these occur) since there seem to be so many you found.

      1. Yeah, me too. What are some of the “logical contradictions”.

        1. The central one is this: She says that man’s foremost value must be to exist for his own sake, because without existence, no other values are possible. If that’s true, then if it’s a choice between your own death and theft or even murder, the rational man would choose to steal or kill.

          But she then says that it’s always wrong to initiate the use of force. Where does that even come from? She argues that in order to be able to use reason one must be able to act without being coerced, but that’s a reason why a self-interested person would want to be free from other people’s coercion, not why he wouldn’t use coercion to further his own interests.

          From a pragmatic point-of-view, you can argue (and I would agree) that a society that minimizes coercion is one that maximizes freedom, rationality, happiness, and prosperity. But that’s a consequentialist argument, and Rand’s philosophy is fundamentally normative rather than consequentialist.

          There’s a perfectly logical reason why people who value freedom should favor a society based on non-coercion. But there’s no logical reason why a purely selfish person who has power and privilege due to the political system would choose to give up those advantages, even if they are based on coercion (and they usually are).

  50. I never liked Ayn Rand; she’s a poor writer and a mediocre philosopher. There are many authors who are more articulate and provide a more coherent analysis of economics and politics.

    1. Care to name a few of those authors?

      1. Rand never pretended to be an economist, so anyone at all would have more to say about that. Rand was a moralist, not an economist.

        On politics, she said that Goldwater lost because he wasn’t philosophical enough in his speeches. She lived in her own little world after the Collective came into existence and was almost completely out of touch with how politics actually works from the age of 40 forward.

  51. Two years before “Atlas Shrugged” the Solomon Asch experiment on “Opinions and Social Pressure” measured how 3 in 4 will lie like curs to fit in with the crowd. What makes Ayn special is that she was ahead of the pack in clearly stating ethical values. Nathaniel Branden summed up her teaching in fewer than sixty words:
    1. That man must choose his values and actions by reason;
    2. That the individual has a right to exist for his own sake,
    neither sacrificing self to others nor others to self; and
    3. That no one has the right to seek values from others by physical force,
    or impose ideas on others by physical force.
    Yet where is the looter with guts enough to take these declarative statements apart, to declare them wrong, evil, socially dangerous, and back the repudiation with cogent argumentation?

  52. I knew this about Neil Peart, for awhile I was fucking ticked off at Rush and the guys, I wouldn’t listen to them after reading that “Rolling Stones” article, it fucking pissed me off because I saw Rush as a bunch of fucking back stabbing traitors who sold out their ideals to become typical, brain dead, rich, socialist celebrities, hypocrisy bleeding out of every orifice. Here I was thinking “These guys make awesome music and they don’t give a fuck what anybody thinks of them.” It seems that they do, and the other thing that ticked me off was the fact that Peart said Rand Paul hated brown people and women. Look, I am not a Rand Paul fan but where the fuck did he pull that out of his ass? Paul goes down to Central and South American countries and helps them FREE OF CHARGE as a doctor. Who the fuck does he think he is? So yeah, I’ve mellowed and I’ve listened to Rush again but my enthusiasm for the band has dimmed. I can’t respect anybody who gives a shit about what their co performers, critics and the press think of them.

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  54. Like many others who’ve commented, I tried reading Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, in the 80s, due to my being influenced by Rush. I’ve been a huge Rush fan for about 35 years. But I only read the first hundred pages, or so, of each book.

    I don’t know much about Rand Paul, but I know a ton about feminism. When Peart says, “Rand Paul hates women,” I’m getting the sense (which I get from many unenlightened, dogmatic individuals who blindly believe in the ideology of contemporary feminism, because they merely want to be “good” and protect women) that he doesn’t know much about it. Having “studied” Peart’s writings for so many years, I’m certain that, if he were to educate himself on the true tenets and goals of academic and cultural feminism, he would have a whole lot to say about it…and a whole lot to disagree with.

    Feminism is not AT ALL about equality. They’re actually much more closely aligned with the “Priests of the Temples of Syrinx.” In his remaining years, I hope Neil educates himself on the issues and on the realities, rather than on the blind ideology.

    Feminism is the true religion of The West, the only remaining ideology which is not allowed to be questioned.

  55. Its not about the author, its about the words. Even the shittiest of human beings can say write the most marvelous thoughts. Ayn Rand was one of the most moral humans to exist … and still, was human. She was born, she lived, she died. The words live on.

    “People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don’t sit looking at it – walk.”

    “Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.”

    “Rights are not a matter of numbers – and there can be no such thing, in law or in morality, as actions forbidden to an individual, but permitted to a mob.”

    “The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”

    “Evil requires the sanction of the victim.”

    “I am. I think. I will.”

    ~Ayn Rand

  56. “Toot sweet”? Really, Mr. D?

    When non-libertarian people — especially progressive types out for blood — hear or realize that I am libertarian, at least 50% of the time they say or write something to the effect that I am probably just another Randroid. While it is true that I have read some Rand, I didn’t do so at all until well into my 30s (years after I learned about libertarianism and joined the Libertarian Party). I had tried to read “Atlas Shrugged” off and on since a teacher recommended it to me in high school, but I could never get past the first 100 pages. It just didn’t grab me at all. Finally, I had been at my job long enough to earn a sabbatical, and I promised myself that I would do at least three things with the time: 1) Spend a lot of quality time with my toddler son; 2) Get that ham radio license I had wanted since high school; and 3) Restart, and this time, finish, “Atlas Shrugged.” Amazingly, this time, it stuck, and I must admit being hooked soon after I got past the once-formidable 100 page “cliff.” I went on to read some of her short essays, but nothing else. I am actually glad that I came to Rand after my own personal libertarianism was well-formed; her words and ideas helped me to better define and augment my views, rather than providing the foundation and infrastructure for them.

  57. Rand is the perfect storm to challenge the overwhelming mass of the faith based:

    AntiTheist
    AntiTheocratic
    AntiCollectivist
    AntiAlruist

    The number of people who don’t dogmatically adhere to one or more of these faiths is vanishingly small.

    — Der Einzige

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