Tag: Ayn Rand

Quote of the Day: Abundance

 

“America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to ‘the common good,’ but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance—and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.” – Ayn Rand

Reactions to the Billionaires’ Space Race underscore this quote’s relevance today. Bezos and Branson using their bucks to travel into space has triggered a lot of jealousy and envy. Their flights have been decried as a stunt. There are calls to tax or ban this type of space travel.

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.

On Reading ‘Atlas Shrugged’

 

This post is a refutation of objectivism as presented in Atlas Shrugged. Paradoxically, the problem with doing so is not that the question is too hard but too easy. It’s simple to say that Rand writes bad characters and ponderous speeches and dismiss the lot of it out of hand. There are two problems with that approach. The first is that it convinces nobody. If you do find her ideas compelling then easy mockery does nothing to expose their flaws. The second is that Rand actually had a number of excellent observations, ideas that shouldn’t be discarded even if she’s a lousy writer (and the writing isn’t all lousy either). What follows is an honest attempt to understand and refute the philosophy of objectivism. We’ll start by looking at Rand’s best ideas.

What Rand Does Well

Rand herself lived through the Bolshevik revolution, and escaped to America only by “going Galt” in that she wrote off everything she had in the Soviet Union and made it here with only what she could carry. That’s entirely to her credit, as is her subsequent prosperity in The Land of the Free. Having lived through that part of history she has an amazing grasp on the arguments of the communists, their appeals to a sort of morality, and the fatal flaws that doom the prospect of a socialist utopia. Indeed, she often seems to have a prescient vision of how society has progressed. This is not because she’s accurately predicted the advancement of mankind’s morality, but because mankind’s morality doesn’t advance. All these things she describes were problems in her day, are problems in our day, and will be with us until the Lord returns in glory.

Weaponized Compassion

The woke reformer is attempting to immanentize the eschaton much like the communist idealist of Rand’s day. The communist urges us to have compassion for the working man; the woke evangelist urges us to remember the suffering of those who are discriminated against. In both cases, they demand that we break our eggs to make their omelet, and as with the communists I’m not holding my breath waiting for that woke omelet to appear.

Member Post

 

https://heartlanddiaryusa.com/2019/03/25/who-is-ayn-rand-the-woman-who-can-stop-the-motor-of-the-green-new-deal/#comment-281 When I read Mr. Miele’s article this morning, it resonated with me why I loath AOC, and her handler’s plan to destroy America as we know it. Preview Open

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Member Post

 

This is the last, number fifty, of a series of short biographical sketches I gathered together for my latest Kindle, Leap For the Sun: Heroes From American History. I originally posted eleven of them at Ricochet. Kind comments inspired me to expand the number and kindle them. ********** Preview Open

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Donald J. Trump: Randian Hero!

 

atlas_holding_up_the_celestial_globe_-_guercino_1646So many pixels have been rendered lately for the sake of hyperbolic takes on Donald Trump that I just have to get in on it. Why should I deny myself the fun? And far from a jeremiad on incipient fascism, my hyperbolic take is one of acknowledgement of the heroic: Donald J. Trump is that hero, a hero right out of the pages of an Ayn Rand novel… and I’m going to make you see it.

I can hear the scoffing protests now. “Donald Trump is base, abrasive, rough, and uncouth,” and so was Ellis Wyatt. “Donald Trump inherited his money;” so did Francisco d’Anconia. “Donald Trump attacks people;” so did Ragnar Danneskjöld. “Donald Trump only wants to make money and put his name on everything;” so did Hank Rearden. “Donald Trump just wants to blow things up;” so did Howard Roark. “Donald Trump is horrible to women;” actually, “horrible” was how Howard Roark treated Dominique Francon, and Trump doesn’t come close.

In Rand’s novels, polite society, in fact just about everyone, hates the hero. Like Donald Trump, each hero is rich, successful, driven, ornery, and unapologetic. In one case, one of Rand’s heroes is hated by his own mother. The media in Rand’s novels print nothing but lies and dark innuendos about her heroes, and most of the people in the story believe those lies and innuendos. And sadly, even though at this point we should really know better, most of us in the real world believe similar wildly biased narratives.

Member Post

 

I know that about 99% of Ricochetti are familiar with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, having devoured it during high school or college. Since Obama’s Fundamental Change, several of my acquaintances have either left, or have vowed to leave the United States depending on how the election turns out. But what if there was a place where […]

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Member Post

 

This may come as a shock to some people, but I’m big on Ayn Rand.  Like so big on Ayn Rand that I describe myself as an Objectivist.  I’m one of those lunatics who actually takes her seriously and tries to live my life by her philosophy.  (Pity my wife.)  (And everyone else in my […]

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What I Really Think about Libertarianism

 

My libertarian friends may be surprised to hear this, but my respect for libertarianism has grown quite a lot since my introduction to Ricochet two years ago. Admittedly, my estimation at the time was pretty low. I had lots of libertarian undergraduates, and I also encountered a handful of professors and grad students with broadly libertarian views, so I was well familiar with that “I’m-conservative-but-not-a-moral-nag” snobbery. That bothered me only a little bit. My real reasons for dismissing libertarians were twofold.

First, libertarianism struck me as reactionary in broad sense. It presents itself as a universally applicable theory about the relationship between the individual to the state, but on that score, I found Ayn Rand far less insightful than Thomas Aquinas, Plato or Aristotle. Her influence, I saw, related to more idiosyncratic conditions of her time: the rise of the administrative state. That was, I supposed, a real problem in our time, but in historical terms it was still contingent; not every society has these same problems. As a political theory, then, it seemed to me that libertarianism drew unjustifiably broad principles on the basis of historically distinctive challenges.

Member Post

 

Earlier today Peter posted about how a young friend of his discovered National Review’s scathing 1957 review of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus Atlas Shrugged.  That review was so brutal that Ayn Rand refused to ever speak to William F. Buckley again.  Peter asked the following question on behalf of is young friend: Preview Open

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