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Ayn Rand sightings

william.scherk

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Two long and involved articles that touch -- if only briefly -- on Randian ideas in culture.  The first features Arthur Robinson (of interest to our intrepid Brant Gaede) and the second drags its hooks through 'right wing' science-fiction. Although I am familiar with some of Arthur Robinson's activities, the article on him has dug up a lot of detail, and is fairly well-written -- despite its bias.

The 'right-wing' science fiction article has a case of over-reach, but as with the Robinson article, digs up some material that might be of interest to OLers, if only to encourage critical attention.

The Grandfather Of Alt-Science
Art Robinson has seeded scientific skepticism within the GOP for decades. Now he wants to use urine to save lives.

By Daniel Engber
Filed under Science Skeptics
Published Oct. 12, 2017

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STAR WARS & GOD EMPERORS
The Sci-Fi Roots of the Far Right—From ‘Lucifer’s Hammer’ to Newt’s Moon Base to Donald’s Wall
Pournelle, Gingrich and Trump see a future that must be secured by authoritarian institutions that group together humanity’s best and prevent the rest from stifling them.

David Auerbach
DAVID AUERBACH
09.17.17 1:00 AM ET

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A  weird little website  unearthed some Ayn Rand notes from her FBI file, apparently -- in an online publication dating back to August of 2016 (posted by the executive editor there, JPat Brown).  The story, at Muck Rock, is predictably arch and sarcastic and rests upon a few unexamined assumptions, but some of the docs featured at the site are sort of interesting -- if you are a historian of Rand.

 

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-- I did a little searching around OL to see if this had already appeared on site. If I find an earlier reference I will cross-link here and there.

[MSK made reference to this and another item in press: see Ayn Rand Helped the FBI Identify It’s A Wonderful Life as Communist Propaganda]

 

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New material for Ayn Rand fans ... from ARI's "New Ideal" section at their website.  Click and go screen capture on the new publication "A New Textbook of Americanism":

newRandARI.png

-- excerpt:

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Finally, the book includes never-before-published Rand comments from a philosophy workshop for scholars. These excerpts from the workshop, part of a series held between 1969 and 1971, offer a glimpse of Rand’s engagement with several thorny issues in political thought. Two issues caught my attention. One is Rand’s stress on the importance of objectivity in a proper political system, both in the functioning and procedures of the law and in the government’s use of retaliatory force. The other comes up in her critique of international law and the “laws” of war; here Rand discusses her view of what’s morally permissible, on the battlefield, to a country waging a war in self-defense. To read these excerpts is to gain a deeper appreciation for the distinctiveness of Rand’s political thought. Because she upholds the ideals of reason and individualism, in her political thought she differs fundamentally from not only conservatives and liberals but also libertarians and especially anarchists.

See also the Table of Contents that covers the 'new' material -- via Amazon's Look Inside (screen capture):

newRandTOC-1.png

newRandTOC-2.png

 

 

Edited by william.scherk

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Some history William? Ellen knows stuff.

From: Ellen Stuttle To: atlantis Subject: ATL: RE: Rodin and Rand Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 23:33:44 -0400 Bill Dwyer writes:  I'm left wondering whether Mary Ann Sures consulted Rand before venturing forth with an opinion on this. Had Sures' impression been different from Rand's, I'm sure her article never would have been published.

Roger replied, "I don't understand how your final two sentences relate, Bill. Since the article ~was~ published, their impressions ~were~ the same."

Bill replies: I meant, I wondered if she consulted Rand to determine Rand's views before deciding what to write....Sures was an Objectivist in good standing, and could easily have feared the wrath of Rand if she expressed a contrary view.  It is a sure bet that if she wanted to get her article published, her opinions had to conform.

The likely way that article got written is this... Once upon a time, there was a split between AR and Nathaniel Branden, in the summer of '68.  Meanwhile *The Objectivist* was months behind publication schedule.  When publication of the magazine resumed in

September, the issue # was Volume 7, Number 5 -- that is, the issue for May.  There then proceeded to be a race to catch up with schedule, and Rand basically *told* various of her associates:  "Write something on such and such topic."  It wasn't a question of her associates "wanting" to get an article published, but of their being enlisted to save the ship by getting the magazine caught up.  They were back on a timely schedule by January '69.  However, the articles except those by Rand herself and by Peikoff continued to be for the most part a "filler" type of article.  From what I was told by some of those who wrote articles during that time, Rand "heavily edited" their contributions.

One article went so far as to include outright falsehood, the article by Allan Blumenthal on "The Base of Objectivist Psychotherapy," in which he says, "(I am indebted to Ayn Rand for the definition of psycho-epistemology, and for the conception and development of this method of treatment.)" Ellen S

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Not quite a full Ayn Rand sighting, and only as fresh as a year old, but someone went to a lot of trouble to put this together. Those someones at the Foundation for Economic Education, as it turns out. Well, Jeffrey Tucker and Jennifer Grossman and a bad wig. Yes, that Jennifer Grossman.

I felt an involuntary cringe a couple of times, but that is probably witchcraft.

Headline: That Day I Interviewed Ayn Rand

Video:

 

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1 hour ago, william.scherk said:

Not quite a full Ayn Rand sighting, and only as fresh as a year old, but someone went to a lot of trouble to put this together. Those someones at the Foundation for Economic Education, as it turns out. Well, Jeffrey Tucker and Jennifer Grossman and a bad wig. Yes, that Jennifer Grossman.

I felt an involuntary cringe a couple of times, but that is probably witchcraft.

Headline: That Day I Interviewed Ayn Rand

Video:

 

Capes and Dollar Signs????????  Good grief!

 

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15 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Not quite a full Ayn Rand sighting, and only as fresh as a year old, but someone went to a lot of trouble to put this together. Those someones at the Foundation for Economic Education, as it turns out. Well, Jeffrey Tucker and Jennifer Grossman and a bad wig. Yes, that Jennifer Grossman.

I felt an involuntary cringe a couple of times, but that is probably witchcraft.

Headline: That Day I Interviewed Ayn Rand

Video:

 

Cringe-worthy? Sure. But I like the fact that Undead Ayn is physically more attractive than the original. That's a very rare occurrence in zombie physics. Usually the undead person looks much worse than she did in her original living condition.

J

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16 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Capes and Dollar Signs????????  Good grief!

The capelet-dress worn by the badly-wigged Grossman is I think inspired by this Rand outfit:

randCape$broach.png

I imagine Rand hadn't shown as much thigh at the time of the photo as does Grossman's costume:

unnamed-3.jpg

 

Edited by william.scherk

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Even if tiresomely stale and unpersuasive, this article shows Rand's enduring relevance. "She Nasty Girl." Lives in lib heads hurr hurr.

How Ayn Rand contributed to America’s greed

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The “Atlas Shrugged” author made selfishness heroic and caring about others weakness

Being at this forum since 2006, I could thoroughly masticate the article, even if I am un-Objectivist (and/or deranged as my loyal opposition declares).  My first recourse would be to curse the mystical thinking about altruist humankind. I mean, in my Arch Objectivish voice, a slice of fishy sarcasm on a slab.

The article is rather long, and you can almost see the atrocious reference-list from which the writer has squeezed old juice. A bit bitter and old, add emotive language, infuse up a taint of awfulness, so Rand's philosophy can be blamed for yet another era's woes. If I had to read a lot of this material in a row with no bike rides I would immediately lurch to the right. Maybe not all the way to the right of Ted Keer, but still.

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[...] After being banished by Rand, Nathaniel Branden was worried that he might be assassinated by other members of the Collective, so he moved from New York to Los Angeles, where Rand fans were less fanatical. Branden established a lucrative psychotherapy practice and authored approximately 20 books, 10 of them with either “Self” or “Self-Esteem” in the title. Rand and Branden never reconciled, but he remained an admirer of her philosophy of self-interest until his recent death in December 2014.

Ayn Rand’s personal life was consistent with her philosophy of not giving a shit about anybody but herself. Rand was an ardent two-pack-a-day smoker, and when questioned about the dangers of smoking, she loved to light up with a defiant flourish and then scold her young questioners on the “unscientific and irrational nature of the statistical evidence.” After an x-ray showed that she had lung cancer, Rand quit smoking and had surgery for her cancer. Collective members explained to her that many people still smoked because they respected her and her assessment of the evidence; and that since she no longer smoked, she ought to tell them. They told her that she needn’t mention her lung cancer, that she could simply say she had reconsidered the evidence. Rand refused.

 

How Rand’s philosophy seduced young minds

When I was a kid, my reading included comic books and Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. There wasn’t much difference between the comic books and Rand’s novels in terms of the simplicity of the heroes. What was different was that unlike Superman or Batman, Rand made selfishness heroic, and she made caring about others weakness.

 

Rand said, “Capitalism and altruism are incompatible....The choice is clear-cut: either a new morality of rational self-interest, with its consequences of freedom, justice, progress and man’s happiness on earth—or the primordial morality of altruism, with its consequences of slavery, brute force, stagnant terror and sacrificial furnaces.” For many young people, hearing that it is “moral” to care only about oneself can be intoxicating, and some get addicted to this idea for life.

I have known several people, professionally and socially, whose lives have been changed by those close to them who became infatuated with Ayn Rand. A common theme is something like this: “My ex-husband wasn’t a bad guy until he started reading Ayn Rand. Then he became a completely selfish jerk who destroyed our family, and our children no longer even talk to him.”

To wow her young admirers, Rand would often tell a story of how a smart-aleck book salesman had once challenged her to explain her philosophy while standing on one leg. She replied: “Metaphysics — objective reality. Epistemology — reason. Ethics — self-interest. Politics — capitalism.” How did that philosophy capture young minds? [...]

In the Old Days, nine separate accounts would snack on this for three days. I am expecting Brant will take the first bite after me.

"How ugly was the graphic illustration of Rand herself in the Salon republication of the Alternet original?" you ask ...

Edited by william.scherk

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