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Ellen Stuttle

"a president capable of saying it..." - Ayn Rand

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I'm quoting from the concluding passage of "The Sanction of the Victims."

This was the last speech Ayn Rand gave.  She delivered it on November 21, 1981, in New Orleans, before an audience of businessmen attending seminars sponsored by the National Committee for Monetary Reform. She died less than four months later, on March 6, 1982.

//Quote - Ayn Rand, "The Sanction of the Victims"//

"As for me, I will close with a quotation which is probably familiar to you - and I will say that the battle for capitalism will be won when we find a president capable of saying it:

'The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.

'But to win it requires your total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is a sacrifical animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person. Fight for the virtue of your pride. Fight for the essence of that which is man: for his sovereign rational mind. Fight with the radiant certainty and the absolute rectitude of knowing that yours is the Morality of Life and yours is the battle for any achievement, any value, any grandeur, any goodness, any joy that has ever existed on this earth.'"

//end quote//

I think that Trump is almost "a president capable of saying it." Not letter-perfect, and some of the glitches might bode trouble, but close enough to give the U.S. a chance of avoiding self-sacrificial disaster.

I'm not sure if I ever read "The Sanction of the Victims" before yesterday (2/3/17).  Probably I read it approximately when it was published in the April 1982 The Objectivist Forum.  But I had the feeling reading it yesterday of reading something new to me.

Why I read the piece now is because the topic of "sanction of the victim" came up as a side subject on the thread titled "Sexual Ethics," and my curiosity was aroused enough to overcome my resistance to buying the essay collection - The Voice of Reason - in which it appears.  (I've been resistant to buying that book, speaking of sanction, because it includes Peter Schwartz's "Libertarianism: The Perversion of Liberty.")

I think that Rand's speech "The Sanction of the Victims" is very relevant to themes on which Trump campaigned, and I wish that it were available as a free e-read - also that it would be reprinted as a separate piece and widely disseminated.

The complete book, The Voice of Reason, is available as an e-book for $14.99, and as a paperback from Amazon for $13.79.

The speech is also reprinted in Why Businessmen Need Philosophy, edited by Debi Ghate and Richard E. Ralston, Kindle edition $13.99, paperback $17.00.

You can read part of the text on Google books - The Voice of Reason linkWhy Businessmen Need Philosophy link.  (Both omit a swath from the middle, but the second link includes about a page's worth of the text which is omitted from the first.)

Ellen

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2 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

You can read part of the text on Google books - The Voice of Reason linkWhy Businessmen Need Philosophy link.  (Both omit a swath from the middle, but the second link includes about a page's worth of the text which is omitted from the first.)

On Google Books you can also learn if a local library has it. Click on Get this book in print, then Find in a library, then enter a zip code.

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4 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

I think that Trump is almost "a president capable of saying it." Not letter-perfect, and some of the glitches might bode trouble, but close enough to give the U.S. a chance of avoiding self-sacrificial disaster.

Ellen,

That is exactly what I saw when I first came out for Trump right at the beginning of his campaign.

It's been quite an eye-opener that so many official Objectivist leaders didn't--and still don't--see it.

Throughout the centuries, a theme has sometimes appeared in religious-leaning stories or nonfiction that if Jesus were to re-appear as someone of the times and preach the same essence as he did back then, but with different metaphors and storylines, he would be ignored, labeled a kook, gather some followers, be seen as a threat, then ultimately be crucified all over again.

I get the same sense with Rand's work, especially after seeing the predominant O-Land reactions to President Trump. From the way Rand was so discouraged in the end, I suspect she suspected this kind of blindness to essence among those who admired her.

Michael

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I'm rewatching that video and a funny thought just hit me.

What would Rand have thought of her arguments defending the American businessman being used to promote folks like Al Gore (and other progressive business/political celebrities) and sell him to the public as an "enlightened businessman"?

That kind of "businessman" is not vilified by the mainstream press. On the contrary, he is a businessman hero.

True, Rand made a swipe against populism, but her main referents were the political climates of the 30's or so. (She even cited a book from back then within the context of the swipe.) 

I don't want to channel her, but I don't think she would have been comfortable with how the government recently screwed the American middle class with trade agreements that allowed other countries (through their own manipulative trade laws) to throw a monkeywrench in the normal supply/demand balance just to favor a relatively small number of crony capitalist corporations in bed with the government--and keep things rolling in the lulls through endless unwinnable wars for profit.

I don't think she would have called Trump's popularity with the current screwed middle class and other producers "populism."

But I do think many O-Land people will hear her use the word and do a kneejerk without probing the concept to see if it really fits today what she was talking about back then.

Michael

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I just finished the Rand video above.

It's been a long time...

It's interesting to see which of her predictions panned out, for example, like feminism as it was happening would produce a bunch of mediocre politicians who would become a nuisance by constantly trying to tell people what they could not do, and which did not pan out, for example, like Reagan would become a failed ghost to history like Herbert Hoover.

To speculate, if Trump had appeared in the context back then, I think she would have despised him. If she had lived and seen today's world, I don't think she would have (except, maybe, for what she would call pandering to Christians). In both cases, I seriously doubt she would have ignored or downplayed his productive achievements like the current Objectivist leadership likes to do. (In fact, to keep speculating, in the "despise" scenario, I can almost see her calling Trump's achievements his "saving grace.") 

But as to today's world, I think many things, including the Internet, would have colored her views. Most of all, I think 9/11 with the World Trade Center crashing down next door to her would have sent a seismic jolt through some of her premises. 

But who knows?

Michael

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1 hour ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

To speculate, if Trump had appeared in the context back then, I think she would have despised him.

Trump couldn't have appeared in the context back then.

I'm still mixed as to feelings about how she'd react today.  I think she might have been so turned off at the beginning by the bombastic style, she'd then have had trouble changing her mind as the campaign progressed, but I think she might have developed an ear for underlying message.

Thing is, though, even speculating about how Rand would react if she were alive today (and very old) is so out of context of so much that happened in the development of the Objectivist world, over which I think she'd have had such fits those things wouldn't have happened (like the formation of ARI for starters).

As to 9/11, I've often thought that if she'd been here when that happened, the explosion emanating from her would almost have been seismic itself.

Ellen

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16 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

//Quote - Ayn Rand, "The Sanction of the Victims"//

"As for me, I will close with a quotation which is probably familiar to you - and I will say that the battle for capitalism will be won when we find a president capable of saying it:

'The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it’s yours.

//end quote//

I think that Trump is almost "a president capable of saying it." Not letter-perfect, and some of the glitches might bode trouble, but close enough to give the U.S. a chance of avoiding self-sacrificial disaster.

a president capable of saying it”. Just words? :)
12 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Ellen,

That is exactly what I saw when I first came out for Trump right at the beginning of his campaign.

It's been quite an eye-opener that so many official Objectivist leaders didn't--and still don't--see it.

Throughout the centuries, a theme has sometimes appeared in religious-leaning stories or nonfiction that if Jesus were to re-appear as someone of the times and preach the same essence as he did back then, but with different metaphors and storylines, he would be ignored, labeled a kook, gather some followers, be seen as a threat, then ultimately be crucified all over again.

I get the same sense with Rand's work, especially after seeing the predominant O-Land reactions to President Trump. From the way Rand was so discouraged in the end, I suspect she suspected this kind of blindness to essence among those who admired her.

Michael

Once again, it’s all about projection, folks. Does MSK see it or imagine it? I will start imagining President Trump is a little more like MSK does when I see Trump--contrary to his vow during the campaign--act to reduce future Social Security and Medicare benefits, which are now roughly half of federal spending. Of course, reductions such as raising the eligibility age for benefits don’t require an immediate effect on payouts. They can be designed to affect payouts after 2020 on people who are under age 60-65 now. Trump’s vow is one of those dark clouds in my analogy.

During my career my work required me to often “look” at a financial future of 10 years, 20 years, and sometimes more. Should a President be oblivious to anything past the next election?

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3 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

Trump couldn't have appeared in the context back then.

I'm still mixed as to feelings about how she'd react today.  I think she might have been so turned off at the beginning by the bombastic style, she'd then have had trouble changing her mind as the campaign progressed, but I think she might have developed an ear for underlying message.

Thing is, though, even speculating about how Rand would react if she were alive today (and very old) is so out of context of so much that happened in the development of the Objectivist world, over which I think she'd have had such fits those things wouldn't have happened (like the formation of ARI for starters).

As to 9/11, I've often thought that if she'd been here when that happened, the explosion emanating from her would almost have been seismic itself.

Ellen

The "style". Has it been apparent to you Ellen that substance has been in retreat from style for a long while now?

I mention this in recall of our art debates. "Beauty" was much extolled, by some. Content generally dismissed.

We've had this fascination (Di and I) from the build up of Trump's campaign til his Presidency for the often venomous reactions from her and my circle of acquaintances and business colleagues, many of whom are all about and in, theatre, dance and journalism. It has reached the point we won't spend time with many, let alone discuss the subject of Donald Trump. Seems we have gotten ourselves reputations as "right-wingers" ;) Here. In South Africa! It had me thinking about the cause of their spite and how universal it's been. I figured that true to type, Trump's 'aesthetics' was at least 60% of these actors' etc. objections to him, and a sacrificial morality, the rest. (Actors and directors for some reason believe they're the upholders of all our morals, I've long observed). They also justify themselves with his so called "hateful" and -phobic expostulations and not to appear shallow, his policies. All this in obedience to CNN and BBC and their extreme bias. And we've detected on US streets and campuses (etc.) that "image" is the very same cause of the young and not so young trendies' fear and loathing. Trump isn't pretty nor warm enough - not like Obama, et al; not in delivery nor "style" nor appearance. Not to the Peter Pans of the world who refuse to grow up.

This is what recent aesthetics has descended to and created, I think. Style has now defeated substance. The Left are plainly emotion- and appearance-driven, in alignment with that.

Seeing we're channelling Rand, I have the sense she'd have attacked this obsession with the superficial, i.e. "beauty" and "feelings", and come out for Trump's "content" (mistaken or not) above physical appearances, his blunt honesty over warm gush.

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28 minutes ago, anthony said:

[....]

Tony,

Although the "style" factor might be dominant in reactions of some, I think, as you've pointed out yourself previously, that the strongest source of leftist venom is recognizing substance - awareness that the pot of gold at the end of the leftist rainbow, which had seemed just within grasp, is being snatched away.

Regarding the young on college campuses, they're told that Trump is anti-blacks, women, gays, Muslims, the pin-up groups, and they believe it.  (Note: I'm generalizing, not making a statement about each and every young person on college campuses.)

Ellen

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I am also generalizing of course, but the more I hear, from disparate people, the more I notice that there is one, 'general' opinion, without nuance. Collectivists are like that. Social media has a lot to do with it. Ellen what was puzzling to me, is that this is here, not the USA, and "the pot of gold" has not been lost (directly) to these people personally.

(It still interests me how all the big name philosophers connected "aesthetics" to their ethics. So don't write off the aesthetic element just yet...)

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7 hours ago, Ellen Stuttle said:

Trump couldn't have appeared in the context back then.

I'm still mixed as to feelings about how she'd react today.  I think she might have been so turned off at the beginning by the bombastic style, she'd then have had trouble changing her mind as the campaign progressed, but I think she might have developed an ear for underlying message.

Thing is, though, even speculating about how Rand would react if she were alive today (and very old) is so out of context of so much that happened in the development of the Objectivist world, over which I think she'd have had such fits those things wouldn't have happened (like the formation of ARI for starters).

As to 9/11, I've often thought that if she'd been here when that happened, the explosion emanating from her would almost have been seismic itself.

Ellen

You can't mix up Rand and Trump. It's a waste of mental energy. Her context has gone by the wayside. If she had lived longer her world would have continued to evolve somewhat, but even in her lifetime she claimed to have thrown in the towel on contemporary culture--intellectual and otherwise. Some of that was likely her health and old age. If you're young you can project yourself into a better future--one you will be helping to make. At the end of your life, there you are!

--Brant

edit: I see from the Rand video above that she was still fighting for the future at the end of her life as best she could--that fighting for the future was the leitmotif of her life

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