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The author of Goddess of the Market, a genuinely interesting and useful bio on Ayn Rand, writes in Bloomberg that if Mitt Romney loses, it will be the end of the Republicans' and the conservatives' fascination with Ayn Rand. No,...really. (see link, below) And you thought that Mitt was a me-too, middle-of-the-roader closet liberal! Nope. Just because he chose Ryan as his running mate that makes him an advocate of Objectivism (even though Ryan dis-avowed his allegiance to Ayn Rand, Yup, Mitt a loyal lifelong member and one-time "Bishop" of the Mormon church (whose religion bears no similarity on ethical stances with those of Ayn Rand), was really preaching Objectivism all along. Disguised so well that bona fide Objectivists did not recognize it. How do we know?. Well, wasn't Paul Ryan a one-time admirer of Rand? And werent there Rand admirers in the Republican Party who ultimately backed Mitt as an "anything-but-Obama" alternative. Anyway, Dr. Burns so asserts. Probably just what the crony-capitalists at Bloomberg would want to hear. .http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-06/will-this-election-settle-republicans-ayn-rand-debate-.html
Our President, " Professor" Barack Obama, in a recent attack of Paul Ryan's GOP budget proposal, labelled it as "thinly veiled social Darwinism," showing his misunderstanding of both. Articles have started popping up in the media trying to explain what he meant. I suppose this means that they're going to dig up Richard Hofstadter's revisionist history screed, Social Darwinism in American Thought, which made his reputation in the academic world, showing that neither Hofstadter, nor those that applauded his book, had bothered to actually go back and read Spencer, relying instead on interpretations of Spencer by his ideological enemies. However, in Hofstadter's case there is no excuse for him not being familiar withe the topic he was writing about. So it is more likely that he knew exactly what he was doing in fabricating a caricature of Spencer that would have been unrecognizable to Spencer's contemporaries. The best summary of this smear came out today on Reason Online, by Matt Welch, and the Cato Institute's David Boaz weighs in, below: http://reason.com/bl...winism-nonsense http://www.cato-at-l...cial-darwinism/ The Ludwig von Mises Institute has some excellent essays comparing what Spencer really said to what Hofstadter, et al, claims he said. (e.g., "Herbert Spencer as an Anthropologist," by Robert L. Carneiro. The Journal of Libertarian Studies, Vol. V, No.2, Spring, 1980. http://mises.org/jou...s/5_2/5_2_2.pdf ). Another excellant essay on this issue is "Origins of the Myth of Social Darwinisn: The Ambiguous Legacy of Richard Hofstadter's Social Darwinism in American Thought," by Thomas Leonard. (2009) http://www.princeton...papers/myth.pdf (forthcoming in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization) And some guy by the name of George H. Smith, had the temerity to try to set the record straight by including in his book, Atheism, Ayn Rand, And Other Heresies, (Prometheus Books, 1990) a chapter entitled, "Will The Real Herbert Spencer Please Stand Up?" .
Never listened to Amy Peikoff's radio blog - probably because I didn't even know it existed. Anyway, she has Yaron Brook on for a full hour on Paul Ryan, and practically everything or issue that could be brought up in that Grand Canyon-sized subject. It's too long to summarize, he brings up most of the points that others have made here on OL (is he a "closet" reader of this forum??). Actually, this is a very good discussion and more realistic than past ARIans might have been. But don't read too much into what I am saying, just listen. Here is the link, http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amypeikoff/2012/08/13/dont-let-it-go-unheard