Atlas Shrugs, Pours Another Brew, and Belches Loudly

 

Ayn Rand, for all the often justified criticism she and her Objectivist philosophy receive, deserves credit for her prescient portrayals of the modern institutional and intellectual challenges to western civilization. Her two major works, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, are, in my opinion, required reading for any culturally literate critic of today’s progressive left.

In particular, Rand highlighted the collapse of meritocracy. In Atlas Shrugged, anti-competitive legislation (e.g., the “Anti-dog-eat-dog” bill) captured in caricature the rent-seeking behavior of today’s large and entrenched corporations, as they seek to stymie entry into the sectors they dominate by less well-connected upstarts. This is an expression of simple greed, on both the corporate and political sides.

In contrast, in The Fountainhead we find something more sinister, in part because the motives are more complex and obscure, in Ellsworth Toohey and his deliberate and brilliantly executed battle against meritocracy itself (a theme also found in Atlas Shrugged).

Now (and with a tip of the hat to Glenn Reynolds), we see this:

Geoscientists call for action on tackling racial inequality in field

Here is a typical gem from the article:

Our subjects [physical geography and geoscience] are built on a legacy of imperialism and are impacted by structural barriers that discriminate against minority groups. It’s up to the entire geoscience community to make anti-racist changes and be positive allies to Black, Asian and minority ethnic students and colleagues.

The woman who said that wasn’t a Gender Studies professor or a teacher in some similarly fluff subject like education or journalism. No, Natasha Dowey, Ph.D., is a lecturer in physical geology at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK.

Disparity must, we are assured, be the result of a “legacy of imperialism,” and the pursuit of knowledge will only succeed, apparently, if the appropriate mix of skin tones and genitalia is present in the laboratory.

I don’t know how to characterize the ongoing self-immolation of academia in the name of “diversity.” It isn’t clear that profit, per se, is a significant factor. I don’t believe that those participating in it are really bent on destroying western civilization for the sheer nihilistic thrill of it. But I think that the greedy corporations and politicians, the nihilistic burn-it-all-down Tooheys of the world, and the perplexingly misguided diversity-at-all-costs enthusiasts are all trying to drag us down the same road, and to the same end.

I also don’t think that United Airlines is interested in crashing planes, and that they honestly believe that it’s worth hiring cockpit crews based on skin color and sex rather than on a strict meritocratic basis. That also takes us to the same end, I think, albeit at a higher terminal velocity.

Ayn Rand anticipated the not so much war against as irresponsible disregard for meritocracy. Woke mediocrity is becoming the new standard.


Or perhaps not really. Go read the comments on the linked article. People aren’t as foolish as the woke professoriate would seem to suggest. We are top-heavy with shallowness; normal people understand that wokeness is nonsense. Go read the comments, and smile.

 

Published in Culture
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 46 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    Geotechnical work has long been a convenient part of a highway or bridge project for large engineering firms to hand to affirmative action DBE/MBE/WBE consultants. I suppose the more theoretical Geoscience field operates a little differently.

    • #31
  2. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    What a headline. :)

    Atlas just needs to scratch himself to complete the picture.

    I actually thought of including that, but thought it would be too… coarse.

    He’s wearing a stained white tank-top?

    A Goddess-Beater?

    Just working class Bronxish.

    • #32
  3. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown
    @CliffordBrown

    Henry Racette: I also don’t think that United Airlines is interested in crashing planes, and that they honestly believe that it’s worth hiring cockpit crews based on skin color and sex rather than on a strict meritocratic basis. That also takes us to the same end, I think, albeit at a higher terminal velocity.

    Except that carbon is evil, so UA needs to buy intersectional indulgences. AND. If I understand the trend correctly, the cockpits are far more automated, and crews trained more to follow the program instructions, not to be Sullys. So, intersectional “merit” combined with bureaucratic compliance may be “meritocratic” under current conditions.

    • #33
  4. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: I also don’t think that United Airlines is interested in crashing planes, and that they honestly believe that it’s worth hiring cockpit crews based on skin color and sex rather than on a strict meritocratic basis. That also takes us to the same end, I think, albeit at a higher terminal velocity.

    Except that carbon is evil, so UA needs to buy intersectional indulgences. AND. If I understand the trend correctly, the cockpits are far more automated, and crews trained more to follow the program instructions, not to be Sullys. So, intersectional “merit” combined with bureaucratic compliance may be “meritocratic” under current conditions.

    At least until they have too many crashes.

    • #34
  5. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    More reason for cautious optimism:

    Commentary (paywalled, but you can read the first page or two):

    The Left Will Never See It Coming

    The gist of the piece is that the left is burying its head in the sand when it comes to the popular rejection of Critical Race Theory and its enablers, and that this deliberate rejection of the truth will leave the left unprepared for the conservative backlash against this noxious and racist indoctrination.

    Then the Left will just get the force of government and social pressure to do what it wants.  That is how it usually gets its way.  That is how we got the whole gay marriage thing.  Everywhere it was voted on it lost but still it happened and any that decided it was wrong and spoke against was sanctioned including prison.  This is what will happen with this also.   CRT is here to stay and those that do not actively support it will be sanctioned.  

    • #35
  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: I also don’t think that United Airlines is interested in crashing planes, and that they honestly believe that it’s worth hiring cockpit crews based on skin color and sex rather than on a strict meritocratic basis. That also takes us to the same end, I think, albeit at a higher terminal velocity.

    Except that carbon is evil, so UA needs to buy intersectional indulgences. AND. If I understand the trend correctly, the cockpits are far more automated, and crews trained more to follow the program instructions, not to be Sullys. So, intersectional “merit” combined with bureaucratic compliance may be “meritocratic” under current conditions.

    At least until they have too many crashes.

    That too will be Whitey’s fault.

    • #36
  7. John Racette Inactive
    John Racette
    @JohnRacette
    • #37
  8. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    More reason for cautious optimism:

    Commentary (paywalled, but you can read the first page or two):

    The Left Will Never See It Coming

    The gist of the piece is that the left is burying its head in the sand when it comes to the popular rejection of Critical Race Theory and its enablers, and that this deliberate rejection of the truth will leave the left unprepared for the conservative backlash against this noxious and racist indoctrination.

    Then the Left will just get the force of government and social pressure to do what it wants. That is how it usually gets its way. That is how we got the whole gay marriage thing. Everywhere it was voted on it lost but still it happened and any that decided it was wrong and spoke against was sanctioned including prison. This is what will happen with this also. CRT is here to stay and those that do not actively support it will be sanctioned.

    Ah, my faux androgynous friend, were you to predict something other than defeat I would begin to worry that someone had hacked your account and was posting under your names.

    • #38
  9. Eugene Kriegsmann Member
    Eugene Kriegsmann
    @EugeneKriegsmann

    I have read and heard a lot of criticisms of Ayn Rand’s two major works. I read both, a couple times actually, and enjoyed them. They are preachy and silly from a literary standpoint, but she is spot on when describing the direction the left is attempting to take the country. The books struck me as quite prescient when I read them the first time. I was teaching then, and what has now become de rigor in the general culture was still only being pushed in the public schools and universities. The explosion of Wokeism into the general culture exposed everyone to what I had been dealing with for many years in faculty meetings and manditory workshops, all of which could have been taken from Atlas Shrugged leftist characters. My last principal was Barack Obama before Obama hit the scene, only he was white. The rhetoric was the same.

    What made Rand’s work so prescient is that the left really never changes its tactics. They use the same format wherever they do their thing. You would think with so much prior evidence that we would have found ways of dealing with it long before it got started. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. They have infiltrated deeply into government agencies, like the FBI and the upper ranks of the military. They actually make Joe McCarthy’s claims of Communists infesting the government credible. These are not people of good will. They aren’t just misguided. They are insidious and evil. Their intent, if boiled down to its essence, is their own personal agrandizement as they move up the ladder of power in their organization. The sheep who follow them are largely dull-witted tools who actually believe the nonsense. Yeah, Rand for all her bluster and over-blown silliness, wrote books that we all should have paid a lot more attention to.

    • #39
  10. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Fake John/Jane Galt (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    More reason for cautious optimism:

    Commentary (paywalled, but you can read the first page or two):

    The Left Will Never See It Coming

    The gist of the piece is that the left is burying its head in the sand when it comes to the popular rejection of Critical Race Theory and its enablers, and that this deliberate rejection of the truth will leave the left unprepared for the conservative backlash against this noxious and racist indoctrination.

    Then the Left will just get the force of government and social pressure to do what it wants. That is how it usually gets its way. That is how we got the whole gay marriage thing. Everywhere it was voted on it lost but still it happened and any that decided it was wrong and spoke against was sanctioned including prison. This is what will happen with this also. CRT is here to stay and those that do not actively support it will be sanctioned.

    Ah, my faux androgynous friend, were you to predict something other than defeat I would begin to worry that someone had hacked your account and was posting under your names.

    You get me wrong.  I am not predicting that the Right will lose.  I am predicting that the Left will win.  Mostly because it is willing to do what it takes to win.  Which is everything and anything that makes them get their way.  

    • #40
  11. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Henry Racette: Her two major works, Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, are, in my opinion, required reading for any culturally literate critic of today’s progressive left.

    I think We The Living should be ranked higher on the list of required reading.  AS and TF can be too-easily dismissed as fantasy, but WTL was based on lived experience.

    • #41
  12. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Henry Racette: Or perhaps not really. Go read the comments on the linked article. People aren’t as foolish as the woke professoriate would seem to suggest. We are top-heavy with shallowness; normal people understand that wokeness is nonsense. Go read the comments, and smile.

    Henry, I am in your debt, as I took your advice and read through the comments and it was definitely a thing worth doing! They certainly do confirm that we, the smelly, irredeemable, Wal Mart shopper, one half of the USA are not nearly as stupid and knuckle dragging group as they are convinced we are. I also got a smile out of your statement above about being top heavy with shallowness, with which I agree absolutely, because it reminded me that we have, in our National Legislature, a member of Congress who actually expressed concern, on the public record, that the Island of Guam might capsize if we sent many more troops there. I would say that transcends mere shallowness and gets into the realm of being mentally disordered! 

    • #42
  13. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Henry Racette: Or perhaps not really. Go read the comments on the linked article. People aren’t as foolish as the woke professoriate would seem to suggest. We are top-heavy with shallowness; normal people understand that wokeness is nonsense. Go read the comments, and smile.

    Henry, I am in your debt, as I took your advice and read through the comments and it was definitely a thing worth doing! They certainly do confirm that we, the smelly, irredeemable, Wal Mart shopper, one half of the USA are not nearly as stupid and knuckle dragging group as they are convinced we are. I also got a smile out of your statement above about being top heavy with shallowness, with which I agree absolutely, because it reminded me that we have, in our National Legislature, a member of Congress who actually expressed concern, on the public record, that the Island of Guam might capsize if we sent many more troops there. I would say that transcends mere shallowness and gets into the realm of being mentally disordered!

    I remain guardedly pessimistic.  Is there evidence that a wide-ranging share of the general population comments on that site, or any other?

    • #43
  14. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    Is there anyone in the developed world who still does, you know, actual work? Like, they go to a job and do stuff related to their job?

    My Lady and I must say this phrase or something like it almost every time we watch the news of all these street thugs who seem to travel all over the country, with their bail guaranteed by the likes of, it pains me to say it, The Vice President of the United States; no one seems to have a job (what a quaint concept! so 20th Century!) to have to get to, but most of them do have Apple Watches and the best sneakers money can buy. Almost makes one believe someone is funding all of this mayhem but I don’t guess I can say that, can I , without risking being called [the list is endless]! Sincerely, Jim

    • #44
  15. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    Is there anyone in the developed world who still does, you know, actual work? Like, they go to a job and do stuff related to their job?

    My Lady and I must say this phrase or something like it almost every time we watch the news of all these street thugs who seem to travel all over the country, with their bail guaranteed by the likes of, it pains me to say it, The Vice President of the United States; no one seems to have a job (what a quaint concept! so 20th Century!) to have to get to, but most of them do have Apple Watches and the best sneakers money can buy hands can steal. Almost makes one believe someone is funding all of this mayhem but I don’t guess I can say that, can I , without risking being called [the list is endless]! Sincerely, Jim

    Might be more accurate.

    • #45
  16. Jim George Member
    Jim George
    @JimGeorge

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Jim George (View Comment):

    Charlotte (View Comment):
    Is there anyone in the developed world who still does, you know, actual work? Like, they go to a job and do stuff related to their job?

    My Lady and I must say this phrase or something like it almost every time we watch the news of all these street thugs who seem to travel all over the country, with their bail guaranteed by the likes of, it pains me to say it, The Vice President of the United States; no one seems to have a job (what a quaint concept! so 20th Century!) to have to get to, but most of them do have Apple Watches and the best sneakers money can buy hands can steal. Almost makes one believe someone is funding all of this mayhem but I don’t guess I can say that, can I , without risking being called [the list is endless]! Sincerely, Jim

    Might be more accurate.

    Amazing! About one minute after I hit the button, I thought to myself “why did I write such a non-sensical thought as to indicate that these thugs paid for anything?” Thanks, Jim

    • #46
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.