Jump to content






Photo

Taking Tea with Ayn Rand


  • Please log in to reply
3 replies to this topic

#1 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:32 PM

Taking Tea with Ayn Rand

An engaging analysis of the new book by Gary Weiss, Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul, from The Columbia Journalism Review.

The author, Daniel Luzer, compliments Weiss as a movement historian but questions his assessment of Rand’s influence. He calls Ayn Rand “the GOP’s crotchety, misanthropic little immigrant grandmother.” (Yes, he calls the writer who devoted her career to the worship of man’s greatness misanthropic. For that bit of obtuse, dim-witted vitriol, I think we can reasonably tag him Daniel Loser.)

Weiss, an investigative journalist formerly with Business Week, has made a career exploring the underside of American finance. In this book he looks at the rise of Objectivism from its early days—when Rand’s small cadre of followers regularly gathered at the author’s midtown Manhattan apartment— through the rise of Rand acolyte Alan Greenspan, up to today, where John Galt signs predominate at Tea Party rallies, the Republican Party simply refuses to govern or increase taxes, and certain congressmen (e.g. Paul Ryan) propose austerity budgets influenced by the dead novelist.

Such an exploration, understandably, takes one fairly seriously down the rabbit hole of Objectivist ideas. It was a fascinating trip. I had no idea, for instance, about the weird, communist-style purges that took place in the movement when Rand was still alive. She had a loyal group of followers but she wasn’t terribly loyal to them. Objectivists denounced and then ignored members of the group who disagreed with her. Once people were removed from her inner circle (which they ironically nicknamed “the collective”) they simply ceased to exist; they were never to be mentioned again. Nathaniel Branden and his wife, who were initially very prominent Objectivists, were removed and vilified when Branden simply decided to stop sleeping with Rand. The purges continue; today there are different sects of Objectivists, including the Atlas Society, which is opposed by the main, de jure Objectivists, affiliated with the Ayn Rand Institute. Objectivists and Libertarians also are bitter rivals.

. . .At times [Weiss] seems to argue that Rand is almost singlehandedly influencing most of the reactionary policy ideas we see today. Privatization of social security: Rand. Opposition to Obamacare: Rand. Hostility to consumer protections: Rand. Lack of sympathy for environmental safeguards: Rand. Support for weirdly low tax rates for the American superrich: that’s also Rand.


Despite his obviously miniscule understanding of Objectivism, Luzer demonstrates some level of insight by correcting Weiss’ with regard to any connection between Rand’s ideas and the policies of Alan Greenspan.

. . .[The] role of the chairman of the Federal Reserve is to supervise and regulate banking institutions, protect the credit rights of consumers, and manage the nation’s money supply in order to achieve maximum employment, stabilize prices, maintain the stability of the financial system, and contain risks in financial markets. Perhaps I’m missing something, but the very notion of the Federal Reserve therefore seems anathema to Rand’s doctrine.


Despite his antipathy to Rand, Weiss’ book (and reviews like this one) cannot help but stir increased interest in Rand’s books and ideas, and that has to be a good thing for Objectivism.

#2 George H. Smith

George H. Smith

    $$$$$$

  • VIP
  • 5,687 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Bloomington, IL
  • Interests:Books, ideas, jazz, chess, and intelligent people

Posted 31 March 2012 - 05:48 PM

I haven't read Weiss's book, but if this excerpt is any indication, he is an loathsome little twit:

http://www.facebook....5151966&sk=info

Here is an example:


An Objectivist America would be a dark age of unhindered free enterprise, far more primitive and Darwinian than anything seen before. Objectivists know this. What perhaps they do not always appreciate, given their less than fanatical approach to reality, is what turning back the clock would mean. Or perhaps they do not care.

When Alan Greenspan spoke out against building codes, he knew perfectly well what a lack of adequate building and fire codes would mean. Fifteen years before his birth, 146 people, mostly young women, were burned alive or leaped to their death from the fire at the Triangle Waist Factory just east of Washington Square Park in New York City. There was no requirement for employers to provide a safe workplace, so none was provided. Triangle’s owners crammed their employees into crowded workspaces without proper exits, and inadequate fire codes meant that the fire stairways were insufficient. The result was that dozens of workers’ corpses piled on the sidewalk on March 25, 1911. Anywhere in the world where building codes are inadequate or absent, the result is always the same: Dead people.

In an Objectivist world, the reset button would be pushed on government services that we take for granted. They would not be cut back, not reduced -- they would vanish. In an Objectivist world, roads would go unplowed in the snows of winter, and bridges would fall as the government withdrew from the business of maintaining them -- unless some private citizen would find it in his rational self-interest to voluntarily take up the slack by scraping off the rust and replacing frayed cables. Public parks and land, from the tiniest vest-pocket patch of green to vast expanses of the West, would be sold off to the newly liberated megacorporations. Airplane traffic would be grounded unless a profit-making capitalist found it in his own selfish interests to fund the air traffic control system. If it could be made profitable, fine. If not, tough luck. The market had spoken. The Coast Guard would stay in port while storm- tossed mariners drown lustily as they did in days of yore. Fires would rage in the remnants of silent forests, vegetation and wildlife no longer protected by rangers and coercive environmental laws, swept clean of timber, their streams polluted in a rational, self-interested manner by bold, imaginative entrepreneurs.


Yeah, that's what O'ists want -- lots of crispy corpses, unplowed roads, falling bridges, drowned mariners, uncontrolled forest fires, polluted water, and much, much more. We don't care, you see -- unlike those who favor big government.

Anyone who writes garbarge like this should not be taken seriously on anything relating to Ayn Rand.

Ghs

#3 Brant Gaede

Brant Gaede

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 15,595 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tucson, AZ
  • Interests:All kinds of stuff

Posted 31 March 2012 - 06:59 PM

Disasters happen in human affairs. Disasters like the Civil War, WWI, WWII--all caused by a "dark age of unhindered free enterprise."

--Brant

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#4 Dennis Hardin

Dennis Hardin

    $$$$$$

  • Members
  • 1,494 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:San Pedro, California
  • Interests:Philosophy, psychology (Ph. D., licensed therapist)

Posted 31 March 2012 - 07:32 PM

Apropos Ayn Rand and the Tea Parties, here's a link to a post about a letter from David Kelley defending Rand in this month's PLAYBOY.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users