Ayn Rand advocates should be

Discussion in 'Religion & Politics' started by Slavoj Jizzek, Dec 15, 2013.

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  1. Slavoj Jizzek

    Slavoj Jizzek
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    Hanged from the testicles until death (they're all men biologically male so it works). Ayn Rand fanboys, Randians, Randroids, etc. espouse ideological inconsistencies and aggressive imperial method of argumentation (assertion of x as if x was generally accepted and all who question x are idiots) makes them a royal pain in the ass to deal with. I've come to the conclusion that they're worse than socialists. The only thing worse than a statist idealist is an anarchic idealist.

    In a recent argument with a pack of them in a comment section, they took the position that all collectivism, voluntary or not, was a violation of rights. You read that correctly, belonging to a religious institution or even your own family is a violation of the basic principles of "individualism" and therefore a violation of one's individualist rights. Let's reduce to absurdity what this means. An invasion of rights requires arbitration and punishment by the law. In other words, Randroids believe that individuals should be legally punished for voluntarily associating with a group. Yes, they believe in invoking the power of the state to shut down voluntary collectives (Mormanism in particular pisses them off). Of course all of this is profoundly unconstitutional (like everything the Randians really espouse). This all happened when they decided Mike Lee wasn't conservative enough because he praised voluntary community cooperation at a private event and tossed off a one-liner insult about the dumb dyke yid cunt while he was at it.

    What we can derive from this is that they hate religion and their families. Yes, they are 13 year old boys fresh from finishing Atlas Shrugged whom girls will not talk to. Some of them pass through life to age 40 like this.

    Just like Rand herself, these morons also take carte-blanche pro-Israel positions. They're even more fiercely pro-Israel than the GOP fundamentalist chicken-hawks. There's a reason the ADL and the ACLU give them a wide berth. The Ayn Rand Institute in particular is the Trojan Horse inside the conservative gates. They're not libertarians. They're a combination of scheming yids and pissed off rebellious teenagers who hate mommy and daddy more than the garden-variety socialist. Every time I hear the ARI open their mouths, it's to take a shot at conservatives, even the most ideologically pure conservatives. I've rarely heard them fuck with socialists. This can hardly be a coincidence.

    I know a couple of you have to have had some encounters with these assorted ponyfags. Care to share?
     
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  2. GSTalbert1

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    <3 this thread, <3<3<3

    Yes yes yes and yes. I will be back to comment more here again and again because this crazy bitch has permeated American society. There's two reasons why Rand is so popular:


    A - she's russian, so she has a very different perspective on things that russians would get, and laugh at, but Americans don't and it appears to them "unique"

    and

    B - she stitches various philosophical terms together in ways that on the surface seems pretty, but looks like a fucking vomit when you look deeper, by applying eccentric definitions and hopscotching metaphysics to get the results she wants (she wants what any spoiled aristocratic brat wants, whatever the hell she feels like wanting). Americans read this and see words like "freedom" "justice" "individuality" "integrity" etc and they see the values through the signposts they've been taught to view these terms with. As a result they read into Rand what they want to read. After they're hooked and full on Randroids they try to apply her philosophy to their lives which obviously comes with some difficulties which causes them to read deeper into Rand's shitty books and they adopt her views as they slowly come to understand them and once they fully drink her poison they end up becoming a crazy self-doubting cat piss soaked old russian hag like the grand bitch herself.

    There's much much more...
     
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  3. Maysam

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    If there is a retarded cult like this about any person, that person is almost always severely overrated.
    And I don't care if its Ayn Rand, Immanuel Kant (lol Cunt), motherfucking Goethe or Shakespeare or Hobbes.
    They were just humans, except maybe Cunt Kant, he was an autist.
     
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  4. Bottom Feeder

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  5. Boudica

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  6. GSTalbert1

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    Yeah I've thought that before, The Member Formerly Known As Baya is an excellent example of Randian thinking. What's interesting is that he's never read Rand and thus developed it independently through his autism as it renders him incapable of reading anything longer than a paragraph or two.
     
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  7. jack

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    Ayn Rand was another reason to kill the jews.
     
  8. inquire or hack

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    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/27/ayn-rand-the-tea-partys-miscast-matriarch/
     
  9. GSTalbert1

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    This is the article that Buckley, with Chambers, trolled Ayn Rand with. Ayn wouldn't allow anyone to ever mention either of them again in her presence and would call in advance to social events to see if they would be there so she could cancel. BUTT-FUCKING-HURT

    Big Sister Is Watching You
    By Whittaker Chambers
    Several years ago, Miss Ayn Rand wrote The Fountainhead. Despite a generally poor press, it is said to have sold some four hundred thousand copies. Thus, it became a wonder of the book trade of a kind that publishers dream about after taxes. So Atlas Shrugged had a first printing of one hundred thousand copies. It appears to be slowly climbing the best-seller lists.
    The news about this book seems to me to be that any ordinarily sensible head could possibly take it seriously, and that, apparently, a good many do. Somebody has called it: “Excruciatingly awful.” I find it a remarkably silly book. It is certainly a bumptious one. Its story is preposterous. It reports the final stages of a final conflict (locale: chiefly the United States, some indefinite years hence) between the harried ranks of free enterprise and the “looters.” These are proponents of proscriptive taxes, government ownership, Labor, etc. etc. The mischief here is that the author, dodging into fiction, nevertheless counts on your reading it as political reality. “This,” she is saying in effect, “is how things really are. These are the real issues, the real sides. Only your blindness keeps you from seeing it, which, happily, I have come to rescue you from.”







    Since a great many of us dislike much that Miss Rand dislikes, quite as heartily as she does, many incline to take her at her word. It is the more persuasive, in some quarters, because the author deals wholly in the blackest blacks and the whitest whites. In this fiction everything, everybody, is either all good or all bad, without any of those intermediate shades which, in life, complicate reality and perplex the eye that seeks to probe it truly. This kind of simplifying pattern, of course, gives charm to most primitive story-telling. And, in fact, the somewhat ferro-concrete fairy tale the author pours here is, basically, the old one known as: The War between the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness. In modern dress, it is a class war. Both sides to it are caricatures.

    The Children of Light are largely operatic caricatures. In so far as any of them suggests anything known to the business community, they resemble the occasional curmudgeon millionaire, tales about whose outrageously crude and shrewd eccentricities sometimes provide the lighter moments in Board rooms. Otherwise, the Children of Light are geniuses. One of them is named (the only smile you see will be your own): Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian d’Anconia. This electrifying youth is the world’s biggest copper tycoon. Another, no less electrifying, is named: Ragnar Danesjöld. He becomes a twentieth-century pirate. All Miss Rand’s chief heroes are also breathtakingly beautiful. So is her heroine (she is rather fetchingly vice president in charge of management of a transcontinental railroad). So much radiant energy might seem to serve a eugenic purpose. For, in this story as in Mark Twain‘s, “all the knights marry the princess” — though without benefit of clergy. Yet from the impromptu and surprisingly gymnastic matings of the heroine and three of the heroes, no children — it suddenly strikes you — ever result. The possibility is never entertained. And, indeed, the strenuously sterile world of Atlas Shrugged is scarcely a place for children. You speculate that, in life, children probably irk the author and may make her uneasy. How could it be otherwise when she admiringly names a banker character (by what seems to me a humorless master-stroke): Midas Mulligan? You may fool some adults; you can’t fool little boys and girls with such stuff — not for long. They may not know just what is out of line, but they stir uneasily.

    The Children of Darkness are caricatures, too; and they are really oozy. But at least they are caricatures of something identifiable. Their archetypes are Left Liberals, New Dealers, Welfare Statists, One Worlders, or, at any rate, such ogreish semblances of these as may stalk the nightmares of those who think little about people as people, but tend to think a great deal in labels and effigies. (And neither Right nor Left, be it noted in passing, has a monopoly of such dreamers, though the horrors in their nightmares wear radically different masks and labels.)

    In Atlas Shrugged, all this debased inhuman riffraff is lumped as “looters.” This is a fairly inspired epithet. It enables the author to skewer on one invective word everything and everybody that she fears and hates. This spares her the plaguey business of performing one service that her fiction might have performed, namely: that of examining in human depth how so feeble a lot came to exist at all, let alone be powerful enough to be worth hating and fearing. Instead, she bundles them into one undifferentiated damnation.

    “Looters” loot because they believe in Robin Hood, and have got a lot of other people believing in him, too. Robin Hood is the author’s image of absolute evil — robbing the strong (and hence good) to give to the weak (and hence no good). All “looters” are base, envious, twisted, malignant minds, motivated wholly by greed for power, combined with the lust of the weak to tear down the strong, out of a deep-seated hatred of life and secret longing for destruction and death. There happens to be a tiny (repeat: tiny) seed of truth in this. The full clinical diagnosis can be read in the pages of Friedrich Nietzsche. (Here I must break in with an aside. Miss Rand acknowledges a grudging debt to one, and only one, earlier philosopher: Aristotle. I submit that she is indebted, and much more heavily, to Nietzsche. Just as her operatic businessmen are, in fact, Nietzschean supermen, so her ulcerous leftists are Nietzsche’s “last men,” both deformed in a way to sicken the fastidious recluse of Sils Maria. And much else comes, consciously or not, from the same source.) Happily, inAtlas Shrugged (though not in life), all the Children of Darkness are utterly incompetent.

    So the Children of Light win handily by declaring a general strike of brains, of which they have a monopoly, letting the world go, literally, to smash. In the end, they troop out of their Rocky Mountain hideaway to repossess the ruins. It is then, in the book’s last line, that a character traces in the air, “over the desolate earth,” the Sign of the Dollar, in lieu of the Sign of the Cross, and in token that a suitably prostrate mankind is at last ready, for its sins, to be redeemed from the related evils of religion and social reform (the “mysticism of mind” and the “mysticism of muscle”).
    That Dollar Sign is not merely provocative, though we sense a sophomoric intent to raise the pious hair on susceptible heads. More importantly, it is meant to seal the fact that mankind is ready to submit abjectly to an elite of technocrats, and their accessories, in a New Order, enlightened and instructed by Miss Rand’s ideas that the good life is one which “has resolved personal worth into exchange value,” “has left no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous ‘cash-payment.’” The author is explicit, in fact deafening, about these prerequisites. Lest you should be in any doubt after 1168 pages, she assures you with a final stamp of the foot in a postscript: “And I mean it.” But the words quoted above are those of Karl Marx. He, too, admired “naked self-interest” (in its time and place), and for much the same reasons as Miss Rand: because, he believed, it cleared away the cobwebs of religion and led to prodigies of industrial and cognate accomplishment.

    The overlap is not as incongruous as it looks. Atlas Shrugged can be called a novel only by devaluing the term. It is a massive tract for the times. Its story merely serves Miss Rand to get the customers inside the tent, and as a soapbox for delivering her Message. The Message is the thing. It is, in sum, a forthright philosophic materialism. Upperclassmen might incline to sniff and say that the author has, with vast effort, contrived a simple materialist system, one, intellectually, at about the stage of the oxcart, though without mastering the principle of the wheel. Like any consistent materialism, this one begins by rejecting God, religion, original sin, etc. etc. (This book’s aggressive atheism and rather unbuttoned “higher morality,” which chiefly outrage some readers, are, in fact, secondary ripples, and result inevitably from its underpinning premises.) Thus, Randian Man, like Marxian Man, is made the center of a godless world.
    At that point, in any materialism, the main possibilities open up to Man. 1) His tragic fate becomes, without God, more tragic and much lonelier. In general, the tragedy deepens according to the degree of pessimism or stoicism with which he conducts his “hopeless encounter between human questioning and the silent universe.” Or, 2) Man’s fate ceases to be tragic at all. Tragedy is bypassed by the pursuit of happiness. Tragedy is henceforth pointless. Henceforth man’s fate, without God, is up to him, and to him alone. His happiness, in strict materialist terms, lies with his own workaday hands and ingenious brain. His happiness becomes, in Miss Rand’s words, “the moral purpose of his life.” Here occurs a little rub whose effects are just as observable in a free enterprise system, which is in practice materialist (whatever else it claims or supposes itself to be), as they would be under an atheist Socialism, if one were ever to deliver that material abundance that all promise. The rub is that the pursuit of happiness, as an end in itself, tends automatically, and widely, to be replaced by the pursuit of pleasure, with a consequent general softening of the fibers of will, intelligence, spirit. No doubt, Miss Rand has brooded upon that little rub. Hence, in part, I presume, her insistence on “man as a heroic being” “with productive achievement as his noblest activity.” For, if Man’s “heroism” (some will prefer to say: “human dignity”) no longer derives from God, or is not a function of that godless integrity which was a root of Nietzsche’s anguish, then Man becomes merely the most consuming of animals, with glut as the condition of his happiness and its replenishment his foremost activity. So Randian Man, at least in his ruling caste, has to be held “heroic” in order not to be beastly. And this, of course, suits the author’s economics and the politics that must arise from them.
    For politics, of course, arise, though the author of Atlas Shruggedstares stonily past them, as if this book were not what, in fact, it is, essentially — a political book. And here begins mischief. Systems of philosophic materialism, so long as they merely circle outside this world’s atmosphere, matter little to most of us. The trouble is that they keep coming down to earth. It is when a system of materialist ideas presumes to give positive answers to real problems of our real life that mischief starts. In an age like ours, in which a highly complex technological society is everywhere in a high state of instability, such answers, however philosophic, translate quickly into political realities. And in the degree to which problems of complexity and instability are most bewildering to masses of men, a temptation sets in to let some species of Big Brother solve and supervise them.

    One Big Brother is, of course, a socializing elite (as we know, several cut-rate brands are on the shelves). Miss Rand, as the enemy of any socializing force, calls in a Big Brother of her own contriving to do battle with the other. In the name of free enterprise, therefore, she plumps for a technocratic elite (I find no more inclusive word than technocratic to bracket the industrial-financial-engineering caste she seems to have in mind). When she calls “productive achievement” man’s “noblest activity,” she means, almost exclusively, technological achievement, supervised by such a managerial political bureau. She might object that she means much, much more; and we can freely entertain her objections. But, in sum, that is just what she means. For that is what, in reality, it works out to. And in reality, too, by contrast with fiction, this can only head into a dictatorship, however benign, living and acting beyond good and evil, a law unto itself (as Miss Rand believes it should be), and feeling any restraint on itself as, in practice, criminal, and, in morals, vicious — as Miss Rand clearly feels it to be. Of course, Miss Rand nowhere calls for a dictatorship. I take her to be calling for an aristocracy of talents. We cannot labor here why, in the modern world, the pre-conditions for aristocracy, an organic growth, no longer exist, so that impulse toward aristocracy always emerges now in the form of dictatorship.
    Nor has the author, apparently, brooded on the degree to which, in a wicked world, a materialism of the Right and a materialism of the Left first surprisingly resemble, then, in action, tend to blend each with each, because, while differing at the top in avowed purpose, and possibly in conflict there, at bottom they are much the same thing. The embarrassing similarities between Hitler‘s National Socialism and Stalin’s brand of Communism are familiar. For the world, as seen in materialist view from the Right, scarcely differs from the same world seen in materialist view from the Left. The question becomes chiefly: who is to run that world in whose interests, or perhaps, at best, who can run it more efficiently?

    Something of this implication is fixed in the book’s dictatorial tone, which is much its most striking feature. Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal. In addition, the mind which finds this tone natural to it shares other characteristics of its type. 1) It consistently mistakes raw force for strength, and the rawer the force, the more reverent the posture of the mind before it. 2) It supposes itself to be the bringer of a final revelation. Therefore, resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final (because, the author would say, so reasonable) can only be willfully wicked. There are ways of dealing with such wickedness, and, in fact, right reason itself enjoins them. From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: “To a gas chamber — go!” The same inflexibly self-righteous stance results, too (in the total absence of any saving humor), in odd extravagances of inflection and gesture — that Dollar Sign, for example. At first, we try to tell ourselves that these are just lapses, that this mind has, somehow, mislaid the discriminating knack that most of us pray will warn us in time of the difference between what is effective and firm, and what is wildly grotesque and excessive. Soon we suspect something worse. We suspect that this mind finds, precisely in extravagance, some exalting merit; feels a surging release of power and passion precisely in smashing up the house. A tornado might feel this way, or Carrie Nation.

    We struggle to be just. For we cannot help feel at least a sympathetic pain before the sheer labor, discipline, and patient craftsmanship that went to making this mountain of words. But the words keep shouting us down. In the end that tone dominates. But it should be its own antidote, warning us that anything it shouts is best taken with the usual reservations with which we might sip a patent medicine. Some may like the flavor. In any case, the brew is probably without lasting ill effects. But it is not a cure for anything. Nor would we, ordinarily, place much confidence in the diagnosis of a doctor who supposes that the Hippocratic Oath is a kind of curse.
     
  10. GSTalbert1

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    Garbage and Gravitas
    Ayn Rand was a melodramatist of the moral life: the battle is between the producer and the moochers, and it must end in life or death.
    Corey Robin

    St. Petersburg in revolt gave us Vladimir Nabokov, Isaiah Berlin and Ayn Rand. The first was a novelist, the second a philosopher. The third was neither but thought she was both. Many other people have thought so too. In 1998 readers responding to a Modern Library poll identified Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead as the two greatest novels of the twentieth century—surpassing Ulysses, To the Lighthouse and Invisible Man. In 1991 a survey by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club found that with the exception of the Bible, no book has influenced more American readers than Atlas Shrugged.

    One of those readers might well have been Farrah Fawcett. Not long before she died, the actress called Rand a "literary genius" whose refusal to make her art "like everyone else's" inspired Fawcett's experiments in painting and sculpture. The admiration, it seems, was mutual. Rand watched Charlie's Angelseach week and, according to Fawcett, "saw something" in the show "that the critics didn't."

    She described the show as a "triumph of concept and casting." Ayn said that while Angels was uniquely American, it was also the exception to American television in that it was the only show to capture true "romanticism"—it intentionally depicted the world not as it was, but as it should be. Aaron Spelling was probably the only other person to see Angels that way, although he referred to it as "comfort television."



    So taken was Rand with Fawcett that she hoped the actress (or if not her, Raquel Welch) would play the part of Dagny Taggart in a TV version of Atlas Shrugged on NBC. Unfortunately, network head Fred Silverman killed the project in 1978. "I'll always think of 'Dagny Taggart' as the best role I was supposed to play but never did," Fawcett said.

    Rand's following in Hollywood has always been strong. Barbara Stanwyck and Veronica Lake fought to play the part of Dominique Francon in the movie version of The Fountainhead. Never to be outdone in that department, Joan Crawford threw a dinner party for Rand in which she dressed as Francon, wearing a streaming white gown dotted with aquamarine gemstones. More recently, the author of The Virtue of Selfishness and the statement "if civilization is to survive, it is the altruist morality that men have to reject" has found an unlikely pair of fans in the Hollywood humanitarian set. Rand "has a very interesting philosophy," says Angelina Jolie. "You re-evaluate your own life and what's important to you." The Fountainhead"is so dense and complex," marvels Brad Pitt, "it would have to be a six-hour movie." (The 1949 film version has a running time of 113 minutes, and it feels long.) Christina Ricci claims that The Fountainhead is her favorite book because it taught her that "you're not a bad person if you don't love everyone." Rob Lowe boasts that Atlas Shrugged is "a stupendous achievement, and I just adore it." And any boyfriend of Eva Mendes, the actress says, "has to be an Ayn Rand fan."

    But Rand, at least according to her fiction, shouldn't have attracted any fans at all. The central plot device of her novels is the conflict between the creative individual and the hostile mass. The greater the individual's achievement, the greater the mass's resistance. As Howard Roark, The Fountainhead's architect hero, puts it:

    The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid.

    Rand clearly thought of herself as one of these creators. In an interview with Mike Wallace she declared herself "the most creative thinker alive." That was in 1957, when Arendt, Quine, Sartre, Camus, Lukács, Adorno, Murdoch, Heidegger, Beauvoir, Rawls, Anscombe and Popper were all at work. It was also the year of the first performance of Endgame and the publication of Pnin, Doctor Zhivago and The Cat in the Hat. Two years later, Rand told Wallace that "the only philosopher who ever influenced me" was Aristotle. Otherwise, everything came "out of my own mind." She boasted to her friends and to her publisher at Random House, Bennet Cerf, that she was "challenging the cultural tradition of two and a half thousand years." She saw herself as she saw Roark, who said, "I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one." But tens of thousands of fans were already standing with her. In 1945, just two years after its publication, The Fountainhead sold 100,000 copies. In 1957, the year Atlas Shrugged was published, it sat on the New York Times bestseller list for twenty-one weeks.

    Rand may have been uneasy about the challenge her popularity posed to her worldview, for she spent much of her later life spinning tales about the chilly response she and her work had received. She falsely claimed that twelve publishers rejected The Fountainhead before it found a home. She styled herself the victim of a terrible but necessary isolation, claiming that "all achievement and progress has been accomplished, not just by men of ability and certainly not by groups of men, but by a struggle between man and mob." But how many lonely writers emerge from their study, having just written "The End" on the last page of their novel, to be greeted by a chorus of congratulations from a waiting circle of fans?

    Had she been a more careful reader of her work, Rand might have seen this irony coming. However much she liked to pit the genius against the mass, her fiction always betrayed a secret communion between the two. Each of her two most famous novels gives its estranged hero an opportunity to defend himself in a lengthy speech before the untutored and the unlettered. Roark declaims before a jury of "the hardest faces" that includes "a truck driver, a bricklayer, an electrician, a gardener and three factory workers." John Galt takes to the airwaves in Atlas Shrugged, addressing millions of listeners for hours on end. In each instance, the hero is understood, his genius acclaimed, his alienation resolved. And that's because, as Galt explains, there are "no conflicts of interest among rational men"—which is just a Randian way of saying that every story has a happy ending.

    The chief conflict in Rand's novels, then, is not between the individual and the masses. It is between the demigod-creator and all those unproductive elements of society—the intellectuals, bureaucrats and middlemen—that stand between him and the masses. Aesthetically, this makes for kitsch; politically, it bends toward fascism. Admittedly, the argument that there is a connection between fascism and kitsch has taken a beating over the years. Yet surely the example of Rand—and the publication of two new Rand biographies, Anne Heller's Ayn Rand and the World She Made and Jennifer Burns's Goddess of the Market—is suggestive enough to put the question of that connection back on the table.

    She was born on February 2, three weeks after the failed revolution of 1905. Her parents were Jewish. They lived in St. Petersburg, a city long governed by hatred of the Jews. By 1914 its register of anti-Semitic restrictions ran to nearly 1,000 pages, including one statute limiting Jews to no more than 2 percent of the population. They named her Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum.

    When she was 4 or 5 she asked her mother if she could have a blouse like the one her cousins wore. Her mother said no. She asked for a cup of tea like the one being served to the grown-ups. Again her mother said no. She wondered why she couldn't have what she wanted. Someday, she vowed, she would. In later life, Rand would make much of this experience. Heller does too: "The elaborate and controversial philosophical system she went on to create in her forties and fifties was, at its heart, an answer to this question and a memorialization of this project."

    The story, as told, is pure Rand. There's the focus on a single incident as portent or precipitant of dramatic fate. There's the elevation of childhood commonplace to grand philosophy. What child, after all, hasn't bridled at being denied what she wants? Though Rand seems to have taken youthful selfishness to its outermost limits—as a child she disliked Robin Hood; as a teenager she watched her family nearly starve while she treated herself to the theater—her solipsism was neither so rare nor so precious as to warrant more than the usual amount of adolescent self-absorption. There is, finally, the inadvertent revelation that one's worldview constitutes little more than a case of arrested development. "It is not that chewing gum undermines metaphysics," Max Horkheimer once wrote about mass culture, "but that it is metaphysics—this is what must be made clear." Rand made it very, very clear.

    But the anecdote suggests something additionally distinctive about Rand. Not her opinions or tastes, which were middlebrow and conventional. Rand claimed Victor Hugo as her primary inspiration in matters of fiction; Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac was another touchstone. She deemed Rachmaninoff superior to Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. She was offended by a reviewer's admittedly foolish comparison of The Fountainhead to The Magic Mountain. Mann, Rand thought, was the inferior author, as was Solzhenitsyn.

    Nor was it her sense of self that set Rand apart from others. True, she tended toward the cartoonish and the grandiose. She told Nathaniel Branden, her much younger lover and disciple of many years, that he should desire her even if she were 80 and in a wheelchair. Her essays often quote Galt's speeches as if the character were a real person, a philosopher on the order of Plato or Kant. She claimed to have created herself with the help of no one, even though she was the lifelong beneficiary of social democratic largesse. She got a college education thanks to the Russian Revolution, which opened universities to women and Jews and, once the Bolsheviks had seized power, made tuition free. Subsidizing theater for the masses, the Bolsheviks also made it possible for Rand to see cheesy operettas on a weekly basis. After Rand's first play closed in New York City in April 1936, the Works Progress Administration took it on the road to theaters across the country, giving Rand a handsome income of $10 a performance throughout the late 1930s. Librarians at the New York Public Library assisted her with the research for The Fountainhead. Still, her narcissism was probably no greater—and certainly no less sustaining—than that of your run-of-the-mill struggling author.

    No, what truly distinguished Rand was her ability to translate her sense of self into reality, to will her imagined identity into material fact. Not by being great but by persuading others, even shrewd biographers, that she was great. Heller, for example, repeatedly praises Rand's "original, razor sharp mind" and "lightning-quick logic," making one wonder if she's read any of Rand's work. She claims that Rand was able "to write more persuasively from a male point of view than any female writer since George Eliot." Does Heller really believe that Roark or Galt is more credible or persuasive than Lawrence Selden or Newland Archer? Or little James Ramsay, who seems to have acquired more psychic depth in his six years than any of Rand's protagonists, male or female, demonstrate throughout their entire lives?

    Burns, an intellectual historian of the American right, is better informed and more judicious than Heller, a journalist who sometimes sounds like a foreign correspondent in need of a good interpreter (she identifies Trotsky as Lenin's "former sidekick" and says that Rand's characters are two-dimensional because they are meant to embody political ideas rather than emotional complexity, as if Dostoyevsky, Stendhal and a host of other writers, including the inferior Mann, hadn't managed to do both). But even Burns is occasionally seduced by Rand. She writes that Rand was "among the first to identify the modern state's often terrifying power and to make it an issue of popular concern," which is true only if one sets aside Montesquieu, Godwin, Constant, Tocqueville, Proudhon, Bakunin, Spencer, Kropotkin, Malatesta and Emma Goldman. She claims that Rand disliked the "messiness of the bohemian student protestors" of the '60s because she was "raised in the high European tradition." And what tradition is that? Operettas and Rachmaninoff? Melodrama and movies? She concludes that "what remains" of enduring value in Rand is her injunction to "be true to yourself," which is a notion I seem to recall figuring in a play about a Danish prince written several centuries before Rand's birth.

    To understand how Alissa Rosenbaum created Ayn Rand, we need to trace her itinerary not to pre-revolutionary Russia, which is the mistaken conceit of these biographies, but to her destination upon leaving Soviet Russia in 1926: Hollywood. For where else but in the dream factory could Rand have learned how to make dreams—about America, about capitalism and about herself?

    Even before she was in Hollywood, Rand was of Hollywood. In 1925 alone, she saw 117 movies. It was in movies, Burns says, that Rand "glimpsed America"—and, we might add, developed her enduring sense of narrative form. Once there, she became the subject of her very own Hollywood story. She was discovered by Cecil B. DeMille, who saw her mooning about his studio looking for work. Intrigued by her intense gaze, he gave her a ride in his car and a job as an extra, which she quickly turned into a screenwriting gig. Within a few years her scripts were attracting attention from major players, prompting one newspaper to run a story with the headline Russian Girl Finds End of Rainbow in Hollywood.

    Rand, of course, was not the only European who came to Hollywood during the interwar years. But unlike Fritz Lang, Hanns Eisler and other exiles among the palm trees and klieg lights, Rand did not escape to Hollywood; she went there willingly, eagerly. Billy Wilder arrived and shrugged his shoulders; Rand came on bended knee. Her mission was to learn, not refine or improve, the art of the dream factory: how to turn a good yarn into a suspenseful plot, an ordinary person into an outsize hero (or villain)—all the tricks of melodramatic narrative designed to persuade millions of viewers that life is really lived at a fever pitch. Most important, she learned how to perform that alchemy upon herself. Ayn Rand was Norma Desmond in reverse: she was small; the pictures got big.

    When playing the part of the Philosopher, Rand liked to claim Aristotle as her tutor. "Never have so many"—uncharacteristically, she included herself here—"owed so much to one man." It's not clear how much of Aristotle's work Rand actually read: when she wasn't quoting Galt, she had a habit of attributing to the Greek philosopher statements and ideas that don't appear in any of his writings. One alleged Aristotelianism Rand was fond of citing did appear, complete with false attribution, in the autobiography of Albert Jay Nock, an influential libertarian from the New Deal era. In Rand's copy of Nock's memoir, Burns observes in an endnote, the passage is marked "with six vertical lines."

    Rand also liked to cite Aristotle's law of identity or noncontradiction—the notion that everything is identical to itself, captured by the shorthand "A is A"—as the basis of her defense of selfishness, the free market and the limited state. That particular transport sent Rand's admirers into rapture and drove her critics, even the friendliest, to distraction. Several months before his death in 2002, Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick, the most analytically sophisticated of twentieth-century libertarians, said that "the use that's made by people in the Randian tradition of this principle of logic...is completely unjustified so far as I can see; it's illegitimate." In 1961 Sidney Hook wrote in the New York Times:

    Since his baptism in medieval times, Aristotle has served many strange purposes. None have been odder than this sacramental alliance, so to speak, of Aristotle with Adam Smith. The extraordinary virtues Miss Rand finds in the law that A is A suggests that she is unaware that logical principles by themselves can test only consistency. They cannot establish truth.... Swearing fidelity to Aristotle, Miss Rand claims to deduce not only matters of fact from logic but, with as little warrant, ethical rules and economic truths as well. As she understands them, the laws of logic license her in proclaiming that "existence exists," which is very much like saying that the law of gravitation is heavy and the formula of sugar sweet.

    Whether or not Rand read Aristotle, it's clear that he made little impression upon her, particularly when it came to ethics. Aristotle had a distinctive approach to morality, quite out of keeping with modern sensibilities; and while Rand had some awareness of its distinctiveness, its substance seems to have been lost on her. Like a set of faux-leather classics on the living room shelf, Aristotle was there to impress the company—and, in Rand's case, distract from the real business at hand.

    Unlike Kant, the emblematic modern who claimed that the rightness of our deeds is determined solely by reason, unsullied by need, desire or interest, Aristotle rooted his ethics in human nature, in the habits and practices, the dispositions and tendencies, that make us happy and enable our flourishing. And where Kant believed that morality consists of austere rules, imposing unconditional duties upon us and requiring our most strenuous sacrifice, Aristotle located the ethical life in the virtues. These are qualities or states, somewhere between reason and emotion but combining elements of both, that carry and convey us, by the gentlest and subtlest of means, to the outer hills of good conduct. Once there, we are inspired and equipped to scale these lower heights, whence we move onto the higher reaches. A person who acts virtuously develops a nature that wants and is able to act virtuously and that finds happiness in virtue. That coincidence of thought and feeling, reason and desire, is achieved over a lifetime of virtuous deeds. Virtue, in other words, is less a codex of rules, which must be observed in the face of the self's most violent opposition, than it is the food and fiber, the grease and gasoline, of a properly functioning soul.

    If Kant is an athlete of the moral life, Aristotle is its virtuoso. Rand, by contrast, is a melodramatist of the moral life. Apprenticed in Hollywood rather than Athens, she has little patience for the quiet habituation in the virtues that Aristotelian ethics entails. She returns instead to her favored image of a heroic individual confronting a difficult path. Difficulty is never the result of confusion or ambiguity; Rand loathed "the cult of moral grayness," insisting that morality is first and always "a code of black and white." What makes the path treacherous—not for the hero, who seems to have been born fully outfitted for it, but for the rest of us—are the obstacles along the way. Doing the right thing brings hardship, penury and exile, while doing the wrong thing brings wealth, status and acclaim. Because he refuses to submit to architectural conventions, Roark winds up splitting rocks in a quarry. Peter Keating, Roark's doppelgänger, betrays everyone, including himself, and is the toast of the town. Ultimately, of course, the distribution of rewards and punishments will reverse: Roark is happy, Keating miserable. But ultimately is always and inevitably a long ways off.
    In her essays, Rand seeks to apply to this imagery a superficial Aristotelian gloss. She, too, roots her ethics in human nature and refuses to draw a distinction between self-interest and the good, between ethical conduct and desire or need. But Rand's metric of good and evil, virtue and vice, is not happiness or flourishing. It is the stern and stark exigencies of life and death. As she writes in "The Objectivist Ethics":

    I quote from Galt's speech: "There is only one fundamental alternative in the universe: existence or nonexistence—and it pertains to a single class of entities: to living organisms. The existence of inanimate matter is unconditional, the existence of life is not: it depends on a specific course of action. Matter is indestructible, it changes its forms, but it cannot cease to exist. It is only a living organism that faces a constant alternative: the issue of life or death. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action. If an organism fails in that action, it dies; its chemical elements remain, but its life goes out of existence. It is only the concept of 'Life' that makes the concept of 'Value' possible. It is only to a living entity that things can be good or evil."

    Rand's defenders like to claim that what Rand has in mind by "life" is not simply biological preservation but the good life of Aristotle's great-souled man, what Rand characterizes as "the survival of man qua man." And it's true that Rand isn't much taken with mere life or life for life's sake. That would be too pedestrian. But Rand's naturalism is far removed from Aristotle's. For him life is a given; for her it is a question, and that very question is what makes life, on its own, such an object and source of reflection.

    What gives life value is the ever present possibility that it might (and one day will) end. Rand never speaks of life as a given or ground. It is a conditional, a choice we must make, not once but again and again. Death casts a pall, lending our days an urgency and weight they otherwise would lack. It demands wakefulness, an alertness to the fatefulness of each and every moment. "One must never act like a zombie," Rand enjoins. Death, in short, makes life dramatic. It makes our choices—not just the big ones but the little ones we make every day, every second—matter. In the Randian universe, it's high noon all the time. Far from being exhausting or enervating, such an existence, at least to Rand and her characters, is enlivening and exciting.

    If this idea has any moral resonance, it will be heard not in the writings of Aristotle but in the drill march of fascism. The notion of life as a struggle against and unto death, of every moment laden with destruction, every choice pregnant with destiny, every action weighed upon by annihilation, its lethal pressure generating moral meaning—these are the watchwords of the European night. In his famous Berlin Sportpalast speech of February 1943, Goebbels declared, "Whatever serves it and its struggle for existence is good and must be sustainedand nurtured. Whatever is injurious to it and its struggle for existence is evil and must beremoved and eliminated." The "it" in question is the German nation, not the Randian individual. But if we strip the pronoun of its antecedent—and listen for the background hum of triumph and will, being and nonbeing, preservation and elimination—the similarities between the moral syntax of Randianism and of fascism become clear. Goodness is measured by life, life is a struggle against death and only our daily vigilance ensures that one does not prevail over the other.

    Rand, no doubt, would object to the comparison. There is, after all, a difference between the individual and the collective. Rand thought the former an existential fundament, the latter—whether it took the form of a class, race or nation—a moral monstrosity. And where Goebbels talked of violence and war, Rand spoke of commerce and trade, production and economy. But fascism is hardly hostile to the heroic individual. That individual, moreover, often finds his deepest calling in economic activity. Far from demonstrating a divergence from fascism, Rand's economic writings register its impression indelibly.

    Here is Hitler speaking to a group of industrialists in Düsseldorf in 1932:

    You maintain, gentlemen, that the German economy must be constructed on the basis of private property. Now such a conception of private property can only be maintained in practice if it in some way appears to have a logical foundation. This conception must derive its ethical justification from the insight that this is what nature dictates.

    Rand, too, believes that capitalism is vulnerable to attack because it lacks "a philosophical base." If it is to survive, it must be rationally justified. We must "begin at the beginning," with nature itself. "In order to sustain its life, every living species has to follow a certain course of action required by its nature." Because reason is man's "means of survival," nature dictates that "men prosper or fail, survive or perish in proportion to the degree of their rationality." (Notice the slippage between success and failure and life and death.) Capitalism is the one system that acknowledges and incorporates this dictate of nature. "It is the basic, metaphysical fact of man's nature—the connection between his survival and his use of reason—that capitalism recognizes and protects." Like Hitler, Rand finds in nature, in man's struggle for survival, a "logical foundation" for capitalism.

    Far from privileging the collective over the individual or subsuming the latter under the former, Hitler believed that it was the "strength and power of individual personality" that determined the economic (and cultural) fate of the race and nation. Here he is in 1933 addressing another group of industrialists:

    Everything positive, good and valuable that has been achieved in the world in the field of economics or culture is solely attributable to the importance of personality.... All the worldly goods we possess we owe to the struggle of the select few.

    And here is Rand in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1967):

    The exceptional men, the innovators, the intellectual giants....It is the members of this exceptional minority who lift the whole of a free society to the level of their own achievements, while rising further and ever further.

    If the first half of Hitler's economic views celebrates the romantic genius of the individual industrialist, the second spells out the inegalitarian implications of the first. Once we recognize "the outstanding achievements of individuals," Hitler says in Düsseldorf, we must conclude that "people are not of equal value or of equal importance." Private property "can be morally and ethically justified only if [we] admit that men's achievements are different." An understanding of nature fosters a respect for the heroic individual, which fosters an appreciation of inequality in its most vicious guise. "The creative and decomposing forces in a people always fight against one another."

    Rand's appreciation of inequality is equally pungent. I quote from Galt's speech:

    The man at the top of the intellectual pyramid contributes the most to all those below him, but gets nothing except his material payment, receiving no intellectual bonus from others to add to the value of his time. The man at the bottom who, left to himself, would starve in his hopeless ineptitude, contributes nothing to those above him, but receives the bonus of all their brains. Such is the nature of the "competition" between the strong and the weak of the intellect. Such is the pattern of "exploitation" for which you have damned the strong.

    Rand's path from nature to individualism to inequality also ends in a world divided between "the creative and decomposing forces." In every society, says Roark, there is a "creator" and a parasitic "second-hander," each with its own nature and code. The first "allows man to survive." The second is "incapable of survival." One produces life, the other induces death. InAtlas Shrugged the battle is between the producer and the "looters" and "moochers." It too must end in life or death.

    It should come as no surprise to find Rand in such company, for she and the Nazis share a patrimony in the vulgar Nietzscheanism that has stalked the radical right, whether in its libertarian or fascist variants, since the early part of the twentieth century. As Heller and especially Burns show, Nietzsche exerted an early grip on Rand that never really loosened. Her cousin teased Rand that Nietzsche "beat you to all your ideas." When Rand arrived in the United States, Thus Spake Zarathustra was the first book in English she bought. With Nietzsche on her mind, she was inspired to write in her journals that "the secret of life" is, "you must be nothing but will. Know what you want and do it. Know what you are doing and why you are doing it, every minute of the day. All will and all control. Send everything else to hell!" Her entries frequently include phrases like "Nietzsche and I think" and "as Nietzsche said."

    Rand was much taken with the idea of the violent criminal as moral hero, a Nietzschean transvaluator of all values; according to Burns, she "found criminality an irresistible metaphor for individualism." A literary Leopold and Loeb, she plotted out a novella based on the actual case of a murderer who strangled a 12-year-old girl. The murderer, said Rand, "is born with a wonderful, free, light consciousness—resulting from the absolute lack of social instinct or herd feeling. He does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning or importance of other people." That is not a bad description of Nietzsche's master class in The Genealogy of Morals.

    Though Rand's defenders claim she later abandoned her infatuation with Nietzsche, Burns does an excellent job of demonstrating its persistence. There's the figure of Roark himself: "As she jotted down notes on Roark's personality," writes Burns, "she told herself, 'See Nietzsche about laughter.' The book's famous first line indicates the centrality of this connection: 'Howard Roark laughed.'" And then there's Atlas Shrugged, which Ludwig von Mises, one of the presiding eminences of neoclassical economics, praised thus:

    You have the courage to tell the masses what no politician told them: you are inferior and all the improvements in your conditions which you simply take for granted you owe to the effort of men who are better than you.

    But Nietzsche's influence saturated Rand's writing in a deeper way, one emblematic of the overall trajectory of the conservative right since its birth in the crucible of the French Revolution. Rand was a lifelong atheist with a special animus for Christianity, which she called the "best kindergarten of communism possible." Far from representing a heretical tendency within conservatism, Rand's statement channels a tradition of right-wing suspicion about the insidious effects of religion, particularly Christianity, on the modern world. Where many conservatives since 1789 have rallied to Christianity and religion as an antidote to the democratic revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the more farsighted among them have seen religion, or at least some aspect of it, as the adjutant of revolution.

    Joseph de Maistre, the most visionary of France's early counterrevolutionaries, was one of the first to speak of this. An arch-Catholic, he traced the French Revolution to the acrid solvents of the Reformation. With its celebration of "private interpretation" of the Scriptures, Protestantism paved the way for century upon century of regicide and revolt originating in the lower classes.

    It is from the shadow of a cloister that there emerges one of mankind's very greatest scourges. Luther appears; Calvin follows him. The Peasants' Revolt; the Thirty Years' War; the civil war in France...the murders of Henry II, Henry IV, Mary Stuart, and Charles I; and finally, in our day, from the same source, the French Revolution.

    Nietzsche, the child of a Lutheran pastor, radicalized this argument, painting all of Christianity—indeed all of Western religion, going back to Judaism—as a slave morality, the psychic revolt of the lower orders against their betters. Before there was religion or even morality, there was the sense and sensibility of the master class. The master looked upon his body—its strength and beauty, its demonstrated excellence and reserves of power—and saw and said that it was good. As an afterthought he looked upon the slave, and saw and said that it was bad. The slave never looked upon himself: he was consumed by envy of and resentment toward his master. Too weak to act upon his rage and take revenge, he launched a quiet but lethal revolt of the mind. He called all the master's attributes—power, indifference to suffering, thoughtless cruelty—evil. He spoke of his own attributes—meekness, humility, forbearance—as good. He devised a religion that made selfishness and self-concern a sin, and compassion and concern for others the path to salvation. He envisioned a universal brotherhood of believers, equal before God, and damned the master's order of unevenly distributed excellence. The modern residue of that slave revolt, Nietzsche makes clear, is found not in Christianity, or even religion, but in the nineteenth-century movements for democracy and socialism:

    Another Christian concept, no less crazy, has passed even more deeply into the tissue of modernity: the concept of the "equality of souls before God." This concept furnishes the prototype of all theories of equal rights: mankind was first taught to stammer the proposition of equality in a religious context, and only later was it made into morality: no wonder that man ended by taking it seriously, taking it practically!—that is to say, politically, democratically, socialistically.

    When Rand inveighs against Christianity as the forebear of socialism, when she rails against altruism and sacrifice as inversions of the true hierarchy of values, she is cultivating the strain within conservatism that sees religion as not a remedy to but a helpmate of the left. And when she looks, however ineptly, to Aristotle for an alternative morality, she is recapitulating Nietzsche's journey back to antiquity, where he hoped to find a master-class morality untainted by the egalitarian values of the lower orders.

    Though Rand's antireligious defense of capitalism might seem out of place in today's political firmament, we would do well to recall the recent revival of interest in her books. More than 800,000 copies of her novels were sold in 2008 alone; as Burns rightly notes, "Rand is a more active presence in American culture now than she was during her lifetime." Indeed, Rand is regularly cited as a formative influence upon an entire new generation of Republican leaders; Burns calls her "the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right." Whether or not she is invoked by name, Rand's presence is palpable in the concern, heard increasingly on the right, that there is something sinister afoot in the institutions and teachings of Christianity.

    I beg you, look for the words "social justice" or "economic justice" on your church website. If you find it, run as fast as you can. Social justice and economic justice, they are code words. Now, am I advising people to leave their church? Yes.

    That was Glenn Beck on his March 2 radio show, taking a stand against, well, pretty much every church in the Christian faith: Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist—even his very own Church of Latter-day Saints.
    On her own, Rand is of little significance. It is only her resonance in American culture—and the unsavory associations her resonance evokes—that makes her of any interest. She's not unlike the "second-hander" described by Roark: "Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another. Not an entity, but a relation.... The second-hander acts, but the source of his actions is scattered in every other living person." For once, it seems, he knew whence he spoke.
    But after all the Nietzsche is said and Aristotle is done, we're still left with a puzzle about Rand: how could such a mediocrity, not just a second-hander but a second-rater, exert such a continuing influence on the culture at large?

    We possess an entire literature, from Melville to Mamet, devoted to the con man and the hustler, and it's tempting to see Rand as one of the many fakes and frauds who periodically light up the American landscape. But that temptation should be resisted. Rand represents something different, more unsettling. The con man is a liar who can ascertain the truth of things, often better than the rest of us. He has to: if he is going to fleece his mark, he has to know who the mark is and who the mark would like to be. Working in that netherworld between fact and fantasy, the con man can gild the lily only if he sees the lily for what it is. But Rand had no desire to gild anything. The gilded lily was reality. What was there to add? She even sported a lapel pin to make the point: made of gold and fashioned in the shape of a dollar sign, it was bling of the most literal sort.

    Since the nineteenth century, it has been the task of the left to hold up to liberal civilization a mirror of its highest values and to say, "You do not look like this." You claim to believe in the rights of man, but it is only the rights of property you uphold. You claim to stand for freedom, but it is only the freedom of the strong to dominate the weak. If you wish to live up to your principles, you must give way to their demiurge. Allow the dispossessed to assume power, and the ideal will be made real, the metaphor will be made material.

    Rand believed that this meeting of heaven and earth could be arranged by other means. Rather than remake the world in the image of paradise, she looked for paradise in an image of the world. Political transformation wasn't necessary. Transubstantiation was enough. Say a few words, wave your hands and the ideal is real, the metaphor material. An idealist of the most primitive sort, Rand took a century of socialist dichotomies and flattened them. Small wonder so many have accused her of intolerance: when heaven and earth are pressed so closely together, where is there room for dissent?

    Far from needing explanation, Rand's success explains itself. Rand worked in that quintessential American proving ground—alongside the likes of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Glenn Beck—where garbage achieves gravitas and bullshit gets blessed. There she learned that dreams don't come true. They are true. Turn your metaphysics into chewing gum, and your chewing gum is metaphysics. A is A.
     
  11. Baya Rae 4900

    Baya Rae 4900
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    Ayn Rand isn't as important as you think she is.
     
  12. inquire or hack

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  13. MrGask

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    Wasn't Glenn Beck going to build her island paradise in Idaho awhile back? Whatever happened with that? (Don't bother, I am sure it failed to come to anything)

    Throughout my experience, I have found that people who espouse their ideals (generally in an attempt to impose them on others), have no idea (or maybe just no desire) how to live them. People that generally live their ideals are mostly too occupied doing so to try and impose them on others.

    IDK if that really makes any sense, but it is my general impression of humanity.
     
  14. Aroukar

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    Convergent evolution, perhaps?
     
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  15. Baya Rae 4900

    Baya Rae 4900
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    @inquire or hack So who exactly does she have sway with? The militarists? The fundamentalists? The unionists? The corporatists? With one of the 99.99% of Americans who believe in one form of taxation, regulation, subsidisation or another? Ayn Rand isn't relevant. She has no bearing on American culture or society. If she did then America wouldn't be as it is now.

    My views are completely different than Rand's. They always have been.
     
  16. Massgrav

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    So all "Randians" live alone in the woods right? Or are they sitting around on cafés in the "trendy" districts writing "poetry" on their iMacs? Rich cunts that want the death squads of their utopic minimalist state to protect them and their toys from the poor people. A kick to the groin, a firebomb in the face and no pasaran is what I say.
     
  17. Slavoj Jizzek

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    By chance looking for a comparison of Rand and Solzhenitsyn, I stumbled upon a google copy of "Ayn Rand: the Russian Radical."

    This seems to more-or-less confirm what I suspected.

    It keeps coming back to that all-or-northing zero sum mentality of hers
    Indeed. In her world all unions, even voluntary ones, are evil. I wonder what kind of severe trauma fucked this dumb cunt up in her young life to the point where having any sentiment for anything that isn't your child (until it comes of age) or yourself is viewed as morally evil.

    The most potent irony is that in her and her followers' labeling of even voluntary association, duty, and collective organization as "evil," they by default render a request to some "big other" in order to end the evil, effectively using the state to enforce their own will. In a libertarian world, people cannot prevent voluntary collectivism and the right of oneself to sell oneself into a form of slavery.
    As I was typing this I recalled another amusing duplicity of Randroid thought. Many of them, and especially on the comment section, were tossing around the assertion that if you did not have absolute ownership of yourself, it is immoral. Therefore it is legally impossible for someone to consent to become a slave. The only other place I've heard this line of argumentation espoused is by....NEETs. That's right, once again Randians have more in common with their Socialist cousins than with any other functional political ideology.

    Worse yet, Randian NEET-ism is practically unworkable. You can't subsist on your own without collective cooperation. This is especially true considering the people in question are the pizza-roll munching assholes who spend 6 hours a day of their 25-year-old lives playing LoL. They can't feed themselves with a fucking refrigerator full of ingredients much less grow/raise and harvest their own. Part of me believes people adopt the Neitzchian individualist anti-family stance out of sheer frustration and contrariness to their own worthless dependence on others.

    The concept of wage-slavery used to come up on /pol/ every other day to which a popular graphic was used in retort conveying a thought experiment where the punchline was that even if you were the only sentient life on Earth, you would still have to expend effort to survive and therefore would still be a wage slave.

    Taking issue with the concept of constantly being under the heel of a boss or employer is a completely legitimate stance, but this ridiculous notion of voluntary contract, or "wage slavery" is more what-if-ism and wishing the sky was polka-dotted.

    I'm beginning to finally piece together that much of what Eastern thinkers describe goes completely misinterpreted in the West. After reading Moldbug for a day or two, I began reading Zizek in a completely different way, one that I believe is more faithful to his actual message.



    Here's my point. Every time Zizek says "capitalism" replace it with "democracy." In Eastern discourse, democracy and capitalism are interchangeable as they had neither before the 21st century, and arguably don't today. Better yet, "democracy" more aptly fits what he describes as "capitalism." Sterilized 3rd person charity is hardly a prominent feature of capitalism in non-democratic societies. However, in order to talk the marxists out of pushing economic liberties off the wall, free-marketists in democratic societies have to in a sense socialize capitalism on the market-level. Libertarian dictatorships or monarchies just count on voluntary collectivism to act as the alleviator for suffering and tell marxist rabble-rousers to fuck off (an admirable action and one not available to us).

    Instead in the US, we can look at the democratization of Capitalism through the vehicle of gun control. Let's examine firearms made in central Europe. The Walther P99, Glock 19, and Sig Sauer P250 both have something in common: no external safety. In the US, firearm ownership is much less restricted than Germany or Austria, yet almost no gun manufactured by a US company lacks an external safety, unless it's a sub-compact model. Gun manufacturers must make ridiculous voluntary concessions (safeties, limited magazines even when not in states which prohibit it, sold with gun locks, instructions not to store it cocked, etc.) in order to satisfy the gun-grabbers enough that they won't go door-to-door ending the matter like that.

    Democracy is, of course, tyranny at the hands of the majority who cannot agree on anything other than the fact that they wish to gang up on one group at a time until everyone is equally miserable. Pointless displays and concessions must be made to placate the democracy into thinking they are indeed getting their way. I do not think Zizek is against basic property rights or anything of the like. What I think he is against is the ridiculous apparatus which attempts to make free exchange and exercise into a mini-socialism. Marxist agitators in the US and Europe merely tend to read it at face value as a condemnation of the private property system as with the Rand problem. They ought to read Zizek's scathing criticisms of the Western Academy and progressives. If they're dumb enough to think he doesn't know when he's criticizing the modern progressive that he's criticizing a hardline Marxist, they're quite dumb indeed.
     
  18. Baya Rae 4900

    Baya Rae 4900
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    Lawlman

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    Despite outright stating or otherwise implying my beliefs it seems that everyone is more interested in turning me into a strawman of their enemy's ideology. This all too common mentality of Humanity will be its undoing. In any case I'd like to know if there's anyone here smart enough to actually know what my beliefs are.
     
  19. Gayligula

    Gayligula
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    Emperor of your ass

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    Who the fuck is Ayn Rand and why are you talking about her?
     
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  20. Baya Rae 4900

    Baya Rae 4900
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    Lawlman

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    She's a bogeyman.
     
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  21. inquire or hack

    inquire or hack
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    Alan Greenspan, Paul Ryan, and Clarence Thomas come to mind.
     
  22. Baya Rae 4900

    Baya Rae 4900
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    Lawlman

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    So no one of any importance, in other words.
     
  23. Maysam

    Maysam
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    Pilot

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    Faggotism?

    Stop trying to play a game nobody wants to play and just tell us your beliefs directly and without riddles, abstraction and shit or just shut the fuck up about it.
     
  24. Baya Rae 4900

    Baya Rae 4900
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    Lawlman

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    I have. :mad:
     
  25. GSTalbert1

    GSTalbert1
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    Girlvinyl

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    You're beliefs have already been proven to be themselves a bizarre autistic collection of strawmen, you run away every time.
    You don't have any, like all autists you just pretend you do.
     
  26. Baya Rae 4900

    Baya Rae 4900
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    Lawlman

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    I don't like debating with autistics like you because you're stupid and crazy. Anybody who has ever read one of the many exchanges between us would conclude the same thing. At first I couldn't figure out whether you were trolling or whether you were genuinely stupid and crazy. Now I know.
     
  27. GSTalbert1

    GSTalbert1
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    Girlvinyl

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    So you agree that the gold standard is bullshit.

    and we pointed out your bullshit. You just run away scared like every autist does.
    He already pointed out how. You addressed none of his points, because you're too stupid to understand what's being said. Address his points or run away like the little autistic bitch you are.

    You don't know what her views are and you don't have any other views other than you want video games to be free so you don't have to throw temper tantrums in front of your family to get them to buy you more shit.

    I'm pointing out what your bullshit actually means and everything that's wrong with it. Naturally you're too stupid to bullshit your way out of it so you run away butthurt.


    Everyone thinks your a dumbfuck autistic lazy worthless bitch who will never have sex and will always live with his parents. That's why we love you The Member Formerly Known As Baya.
     
  28. Baya Rae 4900

    Baya Rae 4900
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    Lawlman

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    I'm not debating with you.
     
  29. GSTalbert1

    GSTalbert1
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    Girlvinyl

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    The Member Formerly Known As Baya ragequit lol
    You realize this means you're saying you're wrong, lol no you're too stupid to understand that. Go play agaInst AI on easy mode now.
     
  30. Twaek

    Twaek
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    Y'know, for a guy who credits his brains as much as you do, you'd think you'd notice the pattern here.