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September 17, 2021

Voices from the Flats – I Me Mine: The Unholy Trinity Of Ayn Rand

By Don Millard


“Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper’s bell of an approaching looter.” – Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand was out of her Vulcan mind.

This is a simple fact that can be verified by anyone with even minimal Google skills. She was the Albert Schweitzer of Selfishness and the Mother Theresa of Greed all rolled into one. This, naturally, makes her a hero to the Right and qualifies her for sainthood. Too bad she was an Atheist.

Her philosophy, so she said, was one of pure reason, unstained by taudry emotion. But as sane people know, one of the quirks of being a human is serving the heart as well as the mind.  Ayn Rand believed you should only serve yourself. In her world, everyone was free to agree with her version of individual freedom and all others were worthy of contempt and scorn. She considered altruism immoral and selfishness a virtue.

Ayn Rand called her philosophy “Objectivism”. For the layman, “Objectivism” is Latin for “I don’t give a shit about anyone but myself.” It’s self-absorption with a bow on top. She makes the Kardashians look like Anna Karenina.

“The best aspect of Christmas, is that Christmas has been commercialized.” – Ayn Rand

Her most famous and last novel is “Atlas Shrugged”, a 1200 page Caligula of Capitalism set slightly in the future of America. In this tome, the heroes are all titans of industry and anyone else with less talent or less money is referred to as a “looter”. Aren’t these the same looters that made these titans wealthy? Thereupon is one of the biggest disconnects in the novel, that these wealthy supermen somehow attained their fortune in a vacuum.

To show the world how unappreciated they are, and how the country couldn’t get along without them, the novel’s chief hero, John Galt, organizes a strike. (how Leftist of him!) Galt somehow manages to convince the rest of the country’s titans to follow suit , causing the collapse of the entire economy and untold suffering. And this, dear readers, is the HERO. Drive safely.

Did I mention that Ayn Rand was out of her Vulcan mind?

Before she created her own idealized superman characters, let’s take a look at someone in real life who was able to win the admiration of this little sociopath: Serial Killer William Hickman.

In 1927, William Edward Hickman made national headlines when he kidnapped a 12 year old girl from her school, raped her, and dismembered her body, which he then sent to the police in pieces.

She wrote in her notebook that Hickman had “no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul. Other people do not exist for him and he does not see why they should. “

She also wrote of Hickman, “He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel other people.”

As sick as all of this is, why any of this matters is because of the high philosophical perch Ayn Rand now holds in our nation’s psyche. The book has also been praised by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and her own cult. The Ayn Rand Institute distributes 400,000 copies of “Atlas Shrugged” to high schools each year, sort of like a scholastic Gideon’s Bible. According to the Library of Congress, “Atlas Shrugged” is the most influential book in America, second only to the Bible. Indeed, “Atlas Shrugged” is the Bible of Assholes. How schizophrenic is it that in this country the top two books couldn’t be more at odds with each other. One book is a tribute to greed and selfishness and the other book contains the teachings of the biggest “Collectivist” of them all, Jesus Christ.

“Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group — whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called ‘the common good’.” – Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand’s current influence can be seen directly in the form of GOP Rep Paul Ryan, the latest “Wonder Boy” to be trotted out by Republicans as the one who will save us from our debt crisis. Philosophically, Paul Ryan is Ayn Rand’s Jimmy Olsen, trumpeting her sick message to a new generation.

“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” Ryan said at a D.C. gathering four years ago honoring the author of “Atlas Shrugged” and “The Fountainhead.”

At the Rand celebration he spoke at in 2005, Ryan invoked the central theme of Rand’s writings when he told his audience that, “Almost every fight we are involved in here on Capitol Hill … is a fight that usually comes down to one conflict–individualism versus collectivism.”

Ryan is so enthralled with Rand that he requires all of his staffers to read “Atlas Shrugged”. I’m guessing most buy the Cliff Notes. Joining Ryan in this obsession is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who requires his staffers to read Ayn Rand as well. Check, please!

Ryan has also said “Rand makes the best case for the morality of Democratic Capitalism.”

That Ryan was inspired by Rand to go into public service tells you all you need to know about his values and worldview. This is the same wunderkind who wants to privatize Social Security and turn Medicare into a voucher program. Paul Ryan is playing a philosophical game of “Dungeons & Dragons” with people’s lives. If this doesn’t scare the hell out of you, it should.

One of the central tenents of Ayn Rand’s philosophy is that “taxation is theft”. This same attitude can be seen in the Tea Party today who believe the same thing. The ultimate irony, however, is that this bunch that sees taxation as theft are the biggest looters of them all. These are the people who truly want something for nothing. They believe they exist independently of the government and that somehow roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, even firemen and police just magically manifest themselves free of charge. They are the ultimate something for nothing gang. And yet, these are the very people who brag about what rugged individuals they are and call anyone else who believes otherwise a “Statist”. It’s a sad dance.

“Love like money, has to be earned.” – Ayn Rand

To put all of this in proper historical context, we need only to look at Alan Greenspan, the “Maestro” of the American economic collapse. In the 1950’s

“Ayn Rand is the greatest human being who ever lived.”

Greenspan was not only a big admirer of Ayn Rand but was a close friend as well as a member of her inner circle. (Some even suggest boy toy.) Greenspan and Rand remained friends until her death in 1982. He even invited her to the Oval Office to stand by his side at his swearing in when he joined the Ford administration in 1974 as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors. He should have stuck to jazz.

In “Atlas Shrugged” Ayn Rand’s hero purposely collapses the economy to show the evils of government regulation. But the joke was on her, because in reality, John Galt turned out to be Alan Greenspan, who actually collapsed the economy by applying her economic principles. Atlas Shrugged? More like Atlas Mugged.

Can we all sue Ayn Rand for whiplash?

The final nail in Ayn Rand’s irony casket came when she was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1974, years after urging all of her followers to smoke because it represented “man’s victory over fire.” Rand had dismissed medical studies proving smoking caused cancer as nothing more than Communist propaganda.

Nothing says rugged individualism like nicotine addiction.

This fierce critic of FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society, who called all government programs a drain on society, quietly signed up for and received Social Security and Medicare under her married name. She died alone in 1982 of lung cancer.

And the atlas shrugged.



136 Responses to “Voices from the Flats – I Me Mine: The Unholy Trinity Of Ayn Rand”
  1. Rick says:

    It’s pretty obvious the author of this article either didn’t read “Atlas Shrugged” or didn’t “get it” when he did read it. (Cliff notes, perhaps?) His description of the “looters” as anyone who was not a captain of industry is a patent misrepresentation of the book’s characterization. Looters are the parasites, those that don’t contribute the monetary, intellectual or labor capital upon which society is constructed, but rather those that confiscate the results of such capital and divert such resources to serve themselves and other parasites.

    This book will always be relevant, as long as there are those who believe in punishing accomplishment by taking away the fruits of our labor.

  2. Wesley Nason says:

    The number of replies to this vitriputive blog represents the typical visceral reaction of collectivists to the philosophy of rational self interest espoused by Rand. The author has misrepresented what Rand said in too many ways to recount in this small space. Also, the fact that Glenn Beck or the other shills of the religious right try to align themselves with Rand does not mean that Rand would approve of or endorse these buffoons were she alive today.

    While she championed the capitalist economy and the innovative industrialists who built our country, she never represented that all businessmen were good and vividly illustrated the type of ‘businessman’ who uses and is used by the political system.

    To those who are not inclined to take book reviews at face value, I encourage you to read Anthem, We the Living, The Fountainhead, or Atlas Shrugged and draw your own conclusions instead of relying on these ‘Cliff Notes.’

    Happy Birthday, Ayn, on your 106th. May your memory and your works enjoy many more.

  3. Mel Witko says:

    I have read Atlas Shrugged and felt quite ill through most of it. Particularily disheartening was the treatment of Eddie Vickers. Eddie was the right hand man of one of the protaginists, (hard for me to use that word describing these people), Dagny Taggart, who runs a railroad. A number of times in the story, Eddie saves the railroad from disaster by his resourcefullness and loyalty to Dagny. However when the “heroes” of this novel are ready to escape to their hidden Utopia he is not deemed worthy because he is not a “producer”. It is this logic exactly that makes this book so repugnant.

  4. Ladybirddeb says:

    I am absolutely blown away by the ignorance and irresponsibility of Mr. Millard’s post on Ayn Rand! And I am frankly SHOCKED that this blog would post it. It misrepresents, distorts, belittles and derides Rand’s philosophy to such an extent that it is clear that Mr. Millard does not understand it. I have read extensively the work of Ayn Rand as well as the often fascinating and always thoughtful work of Rand scholars from the Objectivist Institute. Some of it I agree with, some of it I don’t, but my opinions at least are based on understanding and are my own. I would take no exception with Mr. Millard disagreeing (publicly or privately) with Rand’s philosophy, if he wasn’t misrepresenting it and he wasn’t cherry-picking Objectivist words and phrases to arbitrarily use in his own emotionally-charged context rather than the context of the author.

    Mr. Millard, I recommend that you spend less time Googling and less time “tripe-ing” up the Internet, and a bit more time actually reading FIRST-HAND the plethora of PRIMARY SOURCE MATERIAL produced by Rand. Knee-jerk reaction without any underlying understanding is a dangerous and baselessly divisive game.

  5. Steven J says:

    Forgive me, but when I read the book I thought Dagny Taggart was reaally hot. I was 19. I knew it was some extravagant extrapolative unreasonable phantasmagoric fantasy, but I still liked it. It was “Anthem” that creeped me out. So badly that I felt bad about liking “Atlas.” But I did think Dagny was hot, and she was a pre-feminism hero. I think there was a similar character in “The Fountainhead.”

  6. LibertyLover says:

    Just a side note about Ryan having been helped by Social Security Insurance after his father died when he was 16 and his mother was left a widow…

    Seems Ryan is a hypocritical “looter.”

  7. Memphis, NY says:

    I have not had time to read all the comments I hope this is not a repeat
    “With his father’s passing, young Paul collected Social Security benefits until age 18, which he put away for college.”

  8. after reading Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead together, I was shocked to realize that BOTH of her main female characters were RAPED, and ENJOYED IT.
    That’s all I need to know to know she’s out of her mind.

  9. Tallahassee Lassie says:

    I have really enjoyed this article and the discussion.

    To those of you who wonder how someone can reconcile their admiration of both Rand and Jesus, let me explain: they pick the passages from Atlas Shrugged that justify their world view (just like they do with the Bible) and ignore the rest. In other words, it’s not what is actually written that matters, only their interpretation of it.

    Now, excuse me while I try to erase the image of Greenspan being someone’s boy toy by applying a hot poker to my mind’s eye.

    • Cammie says:

      I have been amazed by how many rightwingers who believe they are Christians because they believe Jesus preached about “freedom.” And you know how they define freedom…buying and selling. They won’t even touch the story about Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple. As I always say, these frightening people would have been the first to call for Jesus’s crucifixion if they’d lived back then. (Actually, they did – they were the Pharisees.)

  10. Kelly Walters says:

    I LOVE O’Toole Fan! Don knocked it outta the park! Thank you!!!

  11. Bretta says:

    So she represents the ultimate hypocrite as well? Denouncing government, taxation, regulation, then at the end receiving government payouts.

    Her RWNJs are consistent at least: the people I know of who are on government benefits are also Republicans.


  12. DK says:

    The article doesn’t do a very good job describing Rand or her philosophy. Don’t get me wrong, I love criticizing her beliefs, but if you’re going to criticize somebody you should do it properly. Her fondness for Hickman, for instance, was when she was about 23 years old – barely into adulthood, and when she had been in America for less than two years after leaving behind a life that had completely broken her family. She was hardly stable at the time, to put it kindly. I’m not condoning her views, but Hickman is a popular example but if she really did just love sociopaths, why didn’t she follow through on these views over the next fifty years and praise more?

    Other bits gloss over what she actually said and wrote. For instance, Atlas Shrugged actively addresses the idea that the common man makes the titan of industry rich. Hey, you can disagree with her view (I certainly do), but it’s not like it’s some detail she completely ignored.

  13. Cammie says:

    I confess that when I was much younger, I read and got suckered by The Fountainhead. The characters were so compelling, such obvious heroes, compared to the despicable leeches who were trying to take them down. But eventually, I woke up when I observed the real world around me and discovered – in the immortal words of Ice T – “SH@! AIN’T LIKE THAT!!!”

    • Cammie says:

      Correction: Atlas Shrugged, not The Fountainhead, is the book I got suckered into thinking the titans of industry are victimized by the masses.

      The Fountainhead actually made some relevant points about how genius in the arts is often marginalized for the sake of mediocrity. Interestingly, you see that most often today in pastimes and TV shows that rightwingers dearly love…NASCAR, reality TV, awful generic “Christian” rock music and fake country music, bland McMansion architecture, corporate chain restaurant food….

  14. meme says:

    ayn rand was not perfect, nor are her writings.
    if you can agree on the definitions of the words, communism, socialism, capitalism,
    you might also agree as a definition all three are viable means.

    the problem is that once you introduce humans into the definition, you dilute the

    has no one ever experienced reverse discrimination, or discrimination?

    while reading her books, i came to the thought that she was basically expressing
    compassion/empathy for a group of people that were discriminated against.

    anyone and everyone can or will take an idea and bastardize it to further their own agenda.

  15. I read at least three of Rand’s books about 40 years ago when I was in high school. They were not assigned reading, but people kept bringing them up in our honor’s government class. The conversations made more sense and I enjoyed reading the books. But at some point a few years later, I realized that I didn’t believe in anything Ayn Rand was preaching in her books.

    I had no idea that Paul Ryan has apparently based his whole political philosophy on a novel. Not history or a study of economics, but a novel, written by a woman who was so selfish and so uncaring for anyone who wasn’t as greedy as she was.

    I knew a little bit about Rand, but not until long after I read her books. It all makes more sense now. And the idea that so many repubs in power think she’s wonderful explains a lot and is so very disturbing.

    • Alaska Pi says:

      She also wrote non-fiction and published periodicals . She started an institute which operates to this day. ( I linked to wikipedia rather than cootie up MF with her Institute’s site )

      While her novels may be the doorway for many, especially young adults, this objectivism hoo-hoo she advocated has it’s home in the non-profit institute which works hard to affect policy in this country …

  16. DergahAnchorage says:

    Got mugged in Oakland in 1966 when I was sitting on the curb reading “Atlas Shrugged”.

    The guys were more after my watch than the book. They would have been looters in the book but then, I would have been one too. These looters knew compassion, they kept saying make it easy on yourself as they took my watch and wallet. Ha.

    I think I am getting better at understanding those who like this book.

  17. CRFlats says:

    Poor Ayn, she never knew the difference between “collective” and “community”. I consider myself a raging individual, and part of that individuality is the knowledge that I am accepted within a community. I live in a small town. We are dependent upon one another and we accept our differences. I am also a liberal thinker, and by definition, acceptant of other points of view. We accept our differences, and we understand we are more powerful because of them. The additional irony of the new Randbots, is that they are the new “collective mind” and do not accept “different” or independent thought. Tsk,tsk.

  18. mag the mick says:

    Anyone ever seen a picture of British occultist and crazy guy, Aleister Crowley? Slap a bad wig on the man, drape a scarf around his neck, and you’ve got Ayn Rand. I mean it! A coincidence? I think not!

  19. GoI3ig says:

    I read “The Fountainhead” back in high school. I can’t even remember what class had that on the reading list 30 years ago. Perhaps it was a Philosophy class I had, since it did present all different view points? Isn’t it ironic that she availed herself of social programs for which she held such disdain.

    It reminds me of the Palins traveling in to Canada for the “free” medical services. Can anyone say hypocrite?

    • Cammie says:

      They STILL get free medical services – all because Todd Palin is twenty-five percent native Alaskan – through the Indian Health Services medical plan.

  20. auni says:

    I actually heard Ayn Rand speak in Portland around 1963 or so.

  21. ang says:

    I can only remember reading one of her books. Anthem.

    At the time I was living in the bigoted little town of Alamosa CO. I was the new kid and there was tons
    of pressure to “fit in” as it is for all teens. ‘Fitting in’ means you’re not good enough as you are, so different as to be shunned by all. Collectivism in Anthem was forced on the people. Being told to ‘fit in’ sure felt like force at 15 in that F-upped town.

    I read Anthem and got some strength to get though that awful time in my life.
    For that, I would thank her.

  22. beth says:

    Speaking of people idolized (and/or idealized) by those who cannot –or will not– see the great disconnect beween what the object of their adoration says and does in public and what that object of their adoration says and does in their private life, did y’all happen to catch today’s Doonesbury?

    Thank you, Don Millard, for the great article; and thank you, AKM, for sharing it with all of us. I read Rand while in my senior year of HS — it wasn’t an assigned text, just a ‘something to read.’ Even then her works bugged me…her characters — such pompousness and self-claimed privilege! Euccch.

    I see the “ain’t she sump’in’!” adoration of Ayn equally as mindless and equally as unearned as the “ain’t she wunnerful!” adoration of $arah. Very sad, that. beth.

  23. PeggnoinSoCal says:

    One of the things I have always loved about this site is the excellent writing. AKM, you have a wonderful gift.
    Further proof of your gift is the depth of thought you stimulate. Today’s post and comments are an excellent example. Thank you.

  24. Lee323 says:

    Selfishness (and self-centeredness) is one human trait which is expressed the earliest in life. Immediately after exiting the bony birth canal, infants have to make their needs known because they can’t supply those needs themselves. Toddlers’ behavior is a sometimes amusing, sometimes infuriating study in self-absorption and selfishness. Teenagers’ introspection and excruciating self-examination represent another developmental stage which is dominated by “self.” Essentially, parents and the larger society have to inculcate the values/benefits of selflessness and service to others; it’s a learned behavior in good measure.

    Human society has evolved to balance the needs/benefits of the individual with the needs/benefits of collective living. It’s a fine balance which is perpetually being challenged by one side or the other. When it swings inordinately far towards the individual’s needs, the society regresses towards the chaos of immaturity. When it swings too far towards society’s needs, the society represses the individual and his unique dreams for himself.

    Ayn Rand may have been an excellent writer, but her views towards the individual and his relationship to the larger society were simply regressive and immature. Countless millennia of human biological and cultural evolution mock her ideas.

    My epitaph for Ms. Rand and her “objectivism” is the poem “The Hollow Men” by T.S. Elliot, part of which follows:

    “Here we go round the prickly pear
    Prickly pear prickly pear
    Here we go round the prickly pear
    At five o’clock in the morning.

    Between the idea
    And the reality
    Between the motion
    And the act
    Falls the Shadow” (snip)

    This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.”

  25. aussiegal77 says:

    It’s no accident that the Bible teaches that the love of money is the root of all evil. Notice it is not money (or wealth, prosperity) that is bad – it is the LOVE of money. To pursue wealth and gain out of a LOVE for it – it is the root of all evil.

    • ks sunflower says:

      As you know, aussiegal, I am no longer a Christian, but I find truth in the teachings (as I do with other sacred books of other religions). I am in absolute agreement with you on this: it is the LOVE of money that causes much suffering and pain and can be categorized as evil because of that.

      Thank you for making the distinction and for saying what most of us would agree with because it resonates in our hearts and in our experience.

      It is what separates us from the self-absorbed, greedy politicians who simply want power for its own sake or to line their own pockets and those of their backers.

      As Leenie17 said in comment 5.1.2: “Just how much money do these greedy pigs need?”

      Once you have established financial security for yourself and your family, what good is money unless you use it to make the community or world a better place to live? Most of us simply want enough money to live without fear of illness, injury, or disaster wiping us out, enough to help our children get a good start in life, and retire without fear or discomfort. Most of us contribute to causes we believe in and share what we can with friends, neighbors or those in need.

      I don’t think it was to be an either-or situation. We do need to look after ourselves so we are not undue burdens to our families, friends or communities, but we also need to realize and share with them or at least work to ensure that they have assistance when they (or we) need it. By narrowing our allegiances too narrowly to ourselves or our families, we undermine ourselves in the end. We are dependent upon ourselves and interdependent with others. How else could we even come together as a community or a nation or survive as a species?

  26. Lilybart says:

    These GOPers have to decide; are they Randians or Christians, because you can’t be both.

  27. TX SMR says:

    I loved The Fountainhead, and still do. The artistic temperament of Howard Roark (Frank Lloyd Wright?) was what appealed to me, and his love’s perilous fascination with difficult men, as I was deeply in love with someone who was pure emotional poison at that time of my life.

    I read Atlas Shrugged, too. And another that is sort of Anna Karenina-ish, can’t recall the name right now.

    They’re fiction. Anyone who subscribes to her fiction writing, takes it on as a political philosophy is just plain crazy.

    Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a much more potent philosopher and student of life, politics & the world in general. Ayn Rand lived in her own made-up-crazy world, wrote some books that I really enjoyed, and still do, and that’s as far as it goes. I love Robert Ludlum, Robert Crais, Anne Lamott and hundred of other authors — but they’re not my heroes, I don’t particularly admire them as exceptional people or feel that they have some profound insight that others lack, and would never dream of imagining that they could or should shape my own personal political philosophy. What kind of crazy person does that? Okay, Paul Ryan and Alan Greenspan, and a bunch of other nutters in love with L Ron Hubbard. Boy, that’s some interesting company to keep.

    This seems like Chicken Little stuff to me.

    • Baker's Dozen says:

      1984 is fiction. So are Animal Farm and Brave New World. But they’ve got a political message. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who read them purely for their attributes as entertainment. I look at Ayn Rand the same way. She was espousing a certain approach to life and used fiction as her vehicle. Couldn’t read them myself. I thought the writing was long winded and banal.

  28. Leota2 says:

    I remember trying to read Atlas Shrugged in high school. One of my hippie teachers encouraged me.
    She thought I should read it and be aware of what the world might morph into if people like Rand’s fictional characters got a foothold. I thought it outrageous and just dystopian fiction and a truly unreadable piece of swill. Maybe it’s not so dystopian these days. But its still unreadable swill.

  29. Lacy Lady says:

    Bubbles@ 14—–interesting post.
    I am aware of most of this, but wonder where the —trilateral commission—-New World Order plays into this. I checked out a book on this many years ago, and then it disappeared from the library.
    It listed all the members of the trilateral commission.( from several countries) I noted that the Kennedy’s were not a part of this commission. If my memory serves me correctly, I think the Rockefellers ,Vanderbilts, Bush, and many wealthy people were listed. Many on the list were bankers from several countries. I would not be surprised if the Koch brothers were listed, but I just don’t remember.
    It is very distrubing that Ryan & Justice C. Thomas, require their staffers to read “atlas shrugged”. Whew!!!

  30. vyccan says:

    Mr. Millard, I thank you for sharing this information which I find interesting as it relates to current politicians. I read Ms Rand decades ago as a late teen/early twenties, and vaguely remember skipping the longwinded sections, yet enjoying the books as fiction. In fact, typical book hoarder that I am, they’re probably on one of my bookshelves somewhere in the basement. There has been increased mention of Ms Rand in some of the news I’ve been reading/watching in the last year or so, and it’s interesting to me to be informed that there were underlying philosophies which made no impact on me then, but which I wouldn’t want to see enacted now. Your viewpoint is appreciated. Thanks.

  31. Mo says:

    But wait, there’s more!

    Oh. Y’all are way ahead of me and caught this last year at Firedoglake:

    Really juicy quotes here, don’t miss it if you haven’t already read it.

    My favorite quick-hard-summarty is Ellis Weiner’s:

    “In short, Atlas Shrugged is one of the worst books ever written–and, in the words of Gore Vidal, ‘nearly perfect in its immorality.'”

  32. jimzmum says:

    L. Ron Hubbard. Now there is a tortured, twisted soul. I actually read “Battlefield Earth”. I did throw it up against the wall a few times, but I did finish it. Read it in 1983, because our son, then 8 wanted to read it, and I thought I’d best read it first.

    • A fan from CA says:

      Good point. Everyone should understand the underlying philosophy of Scientology. It is an extension of the me-centric philosophy of Rand. I bothers me that John Travolta is Oprah’s best buddy. Me, me, me.

      It’s no accident that Scientology headquarters is in the narcissistic capital of the world Hollywood.

      • jojobo1 says:

        That’s why I can’t understand how her supporters go along with her when she is that close to the Scientology’s and their religion(Greta & husband).BTW did not know Oprah and Travolta were that close but I do like him..I have read up on that religion and what and how they teach their beliefs. Not my cup of tea and I would not think it was palins or her followers either.Maybe they don’t know what the Scientology’s religion is all about.

      • Wesley Nason says:

        Scientology as an extension of Objectivism? You are nuts.

  33. Mo says:

    Matt Taibbi has this one nailed, to the floor, with an industrial nailgun, in Griftopia when he describes Ayn Rand as another L. Ron Hubbard.

    His chapter on Any Rand and Alan Greenspan should be required reading any time either of these names are mentioned.

  34. kiksadi50 says:

    she wrote some great books. there are 2 great movies.The Fountainhead with gary Cooper & Patricia neal & The Passion of Ayn Rand with helen mirren & peter fonda.I don’t agree with her philosophy but she was an interesting woman during a period in our country where women weren’t validated for having a philosophical or political opinion.she also supported equal rights for women, & a womans right to choose.Rand was a brilliant thinker,I just didn’t happen to agree with her thoughts.That’s different than calling her “crazy”.Now palin,she’s crazy.

    • bubbles says:

      good point Kiksadi,

    • Alaska Pi says:

      Quite franlkly , I think she was a rotten person.
      A couple of the novels, approached merely as literature , have some value.
      Her vehement negation of all things associated with the authoritarian right ( stalinism/communism of the time) had some value but morphed into an ever increasing disdain for activities in government beyond police and judiciary, putdown of all who were not neoliberal capitalists, etc.
      Her legacy of greed is a part of what almost collapsed this country recently…

    • A fan from CA says:

      Brilliant and crazy are not mutually exclusive. Van Gogh comes to mind. In SP’s case it’s just crazy. That is why she is self destructing before our eyes every time she opens her mouth these days.

    • Baker's Dozen says:

      It would appear that her stands for equal rights and the right to choose were more self serving than anything.

    • dreamgirl says:

      I disagree. Ayn Rand was a sexual deviant who threw orgies to make Kinsey look like a novice. She was a manipulating woman who made a name by knowing how to write her narcissistic rants. If by brilliant thinker = manipulative sexual predator with a narcissistic overview, then I agree she was brilliant at getting her views read by the masses.

      • kiksadi50 says:

        thats a lot of labels to throw around without citing your sources.My point was,my world view changed after reading Rand.It expanded.I was 22 yo.I was in a growth period of viewing the world differently from the perspectives my childhood had presented me with.Reading Rand opened up my mind to new philosophys & ideas that had never been presented to me before. I was raised to try to be open minded & curious.I like exploring new ways of viewing the world, & I try to not immediately condemn ideas that do not resonate with me.I read her books,I thought about what they said & I ultimately rejected Rand’s beliefs.It’s called keeping an open mind.p.s.I don’t think its any of my business how consenting adults choose to be sexual with each other.In fact,I really don’t care.If I examined & judged the intimate lives of every artist,writer,musician etc that I admire or have learned from,& rejected their work because I didn’t approve of their personal behaviors I would cheat myself of one of the greatest sources of pleasure in my life.I am increasingly turned off by the lack of acceptance of differing ideas by many people who reply on Mudflats.All I said was I read her books & thought they were interesting.I read Rolling Stone too,but it doesn’t mean I like the music of all the musicians they interview or put on the cover.

  35. James M Maltese says:

    Veracity question (I do not question yours). Citation please.
    You state, “The final nail in Ayn Rand’s irony casket came when she was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1974, years after urging all of her followers to smoke because it represented “man’s victory over fire.” Rand had dismissed medical studies proving smoking caused cancer as nothing more than Communist propaganda.”
    Capitalism Magazine (that’s really it’s name) states: “(Miss Rand smoked for many years, until her doctor told her to quit. She put the cigarette out in his office and never smoked again.)”

    • A fan from CA says:

      And by then it was too late. Haven’t you answered your own question?

    • Baker's Dozen says:

      Well, she was a stupid woman, wasn’t she!
      My grandmother, who I never knew, died of lung cancer in the mid ’40’s. My grandfather, after her diagnosis, asked the doctor if smoking had anything to do with it, and he said no, he smoked himself. My grandfather told him he was full of s*#@ and didn’t know his job. Grandfather, with his fourth grade education, changed doctors and also put out his cigarette and never smoked again.

      Ayn Rand is just another example of the fact that you don’t have to have the good sense God gave cats to get out of the rain to become rich, famous, or admired, and to even be thought intelligent.

      Yale has proved many times that you can’t fix stupid. Not even with a college education. Institutions of higher learning should be ashamed to have graduates with reasoning and logic skills on a par with a fried egg.

  36. aussiegal77 says:

    The wages of sin is death – taught by Jesus Christ (the greatest human being ever lived, not Rand) thru his disciples who gave up all to follow Him.

    Death in this particularly sad case was bitter and alone. I can not imagine a worse existence. Ayn Rand’s selfishness consumed her – as is its wont – and she died alone and unloved. No, cult adoration is not Love – it is delusion.

    It infuriates me when the same Conservatives who yell that this is a Christian nation turn around the tout Atlas Shrugged. That book is chock full of everything that is the antithesis of the Bible. Schizoprenic is exactly the word to describe it.

    • aussiegal77 says:

      Watch Undercover Boss one time and you will see that the titans of industry would be nothing if it weren’t for all the worker bees in the ranks doing their job faithfully day in and day out. Everyone contributes something to the economy.

      Only the truly evil would exalt themselves above all others and demean another human being’s very existence for the sole reason of lifting up themselves. They are the worst parasites on society.

      • Mo says:

        Good on ya, aussiegal.

        Here’s Matt Taibbi, agreeing with you:

        AVC: You also spend a lot of time criticizing the cult of Ayn Rand and her acolytes. Greenspan was a devotee, heavily influenced by her books, and even spent time socializing with her. You, on the other hand, characterize Rand as “a bloviating, arbitrary, self-important pseudo-intellectual” and call Atlas Shrugged an “incredibly long-winded piece of aristocratic paranoia.” How influential are Rand’s ideas in the financial world, and why is that a problem?

        MT: I think [she] is very influential, even if people aren’t specifically referencing [her books]. I just hear the Randian philosophy constantly when I talk to Wall Street people, this whole excuse that “Everything we do is okay, because we are the producers. We’re the productive members of society. Everybody else is a parasite, therefore what’s good for Goldman Sachs is good for America.” This whole mindset is so deeply ingrained in a lot of people in this particular part of America that I don’t think there is any way you can talk about modern Wall Street without talking about these ideas.

        You know, maybe it’s not Ayn Rand in particular that’s responsible for it, but the ideas that are in her books are incredibly widespread. They’re important in the sense that a lot the things these people do they couldn’t do if they didn’t have some kind of intellectual justification for it. If you’re going to sell $30 million of worthless mortgage-backed securities to some pension fund in Minnesota, and you know that’s going to bankrupt some janitor who’s been saving up his pension his entire life, you can’t do that if you don’t think it all works out well in the end for everybody. This provided the moral cover for people to do that stuff, so that’s why I thought it was worth writing about.,47077/

        • aussiegal77 says:

          And that is exactly why Randian philosophies are so incredibly attractive to so many people. The clear message is “It’s ok to want good things for myself. And anyone who disagrees is probably trying to take what is rightfully mine!”

          I think the most insidious notion is this idea of entitlement. That somehow certain people are entitled to certain things because of their station in life while others are not entitled to anything because of their station in life. It’s entirely against the American philosophy of Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness. There is no caveat there – it’s not Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness for the Entrepreneurs and all you other people can shove it.

          I’ve often wondered why this contradiction escapes so many so called Constitutional Conservatives. But again – like Matt Taibbi says – they need a moral justification for fundamentally immoral and self serving actions.

          • aussiegal77 says:

            I left out one thing – we can’t help what family we are born into. Not all us were born into money and wealth. Most of us in fact are born to parents who are middle class or working class. That’s just not something we can control. So those are lucky enough to be born into privilege need to realise that they are not more entitled to anything than those of us who are not. In fact – it is my personal view – that the more you are blessed with, the bigger responsibility to do good with it.

    • Didn’t Rand receive dreaded government assistance at the end of her life..? I think probably the republicans prefer not to acknowledge that fact..

    • Wesley Nason says:

      There have been more people killed in wars and inquistions in the name of Jesus Christ than perhaps in the name of Muhammed. But it looks like Muhammed will catch up.

      Most of the wars and mass killings in human history have been justified by organized religions and state socialism (Nazi Germany, Bolshevik-Leninist-Stalinist Russia).

      Rand would have no truck with the religious right of the Republican party, as anyone who has read and understood her message should know.

      aussigal does not seem to know much about Rand or her friends, and she probably doesn’t understand the depth of human suffering caused by zeolots who have killed in the name of religion.

  37. dreamgirl says:

    The Virtues of Selfishness: Yup. The calling card of the GOP and their corporate overlords… f-kers.

  38. Cassie Jeep says:

    In the past two years I have noticed, through my book club and through a personal acquaintance, Ayn’s name re-emerging as if her writing are new. Those of us who encountered this drivel two generations ago may be a little shocked that people our own age and younger are embracing these ideals as “new” and “innovative” and “live inspiring”.

    We should not be surprised that the greed that has overtaken America is seeking justification.

    Rand stands ready to justify all the greed and, yes, avarice mankind can desire.

    • A fan from CA says:

      With so many people hurting economically a philosophy of selfishness can take hold of the human heart. When someone is unemployed for a long time the daily struggle just to survive takes hold and everyone else becomes irrelevant unless they can help you survive.

      Cons want a lot of people to be consumed with a daily struggle to survive. It gives them power by making folks open to their narrative. It is why they are so opposed to “infrastructure” projects. It would put a lot of people to work and it would benefit commerce. FDR and the Dems of the day understood that the WPA was the best way to fight the Cons of their day.

    • LibertyLover says:

      After 30 years of Republican propaganda to privatize SSI and Medicare, etc. This isn’t any surprise.

  39. dreamgirl says:

    She was a Simone de Beauvior wanna-be.

  40. barbara says:

    i read everything i could find by Ayn Rand up until i was about 21 or 22 years old, when a half read paperback went into the trunk of my car after a day at the beach and was never opened again. early on i really enjoyed the big fat books she wrote. but i was so young, dumb, or naive that i never took her message of greed to heart. or maybe it’s because i am such a die-hard, bleeding heart, soul-level liberal.
    my sorry interpretation was more that people need to be true to themselves and follow their own paths to greatness.i suppose i was inspired, but i was never so inspired that i lost sight of the virtue of the common good, or caring for others. thank you for this education.

    • Writing from Alaska says:

      I had a similar experience, but tired of her insistence that any kind of altruism was some kind of weakness. I thought of, and still think of, altruism as something that is also innate to human kind. She didn’t leave anyone that choice, and anyone who wanted to help others was just trying to ‘leech’ off the wealthy. I thought her philosophy was kind of interesting except that it totally disregarded most of humanity – that seemed like something of a weakness. (!)
      I didn’t see anywhere here an explanation of her past. She was living in Russia as a young girl when the Russian Revolution. Her father owned a small business as I recall. After the Revolution, he was considered one of the ‘rich’ and they lost everything. As a result, she lived her life with a deep seated, obsessive resentment against communism, thus – Atlas Shrugged, et al.

  41. dreamgirl says:

    When I 1st read The Fountainhead, in my early 20’s, I initially enjoyed the book , but remember flipping many pages once she started “ranting”.

    I then started reading Atlas Shrugged and that lasted about 25 pages until I threw it in the garbage. (where it belongs). Later when I read up about Ayn Rand had what a crazy bi*ch she was, did I realize how smart my young-self was.

    May she rot forever.

  42. bubbles says:

    Texasgal2009 over at Palingates linked to this site.
    earlier on the revolution thread KN and Sunflower had an interesting exchange on Naziism and the Right’s adaptation of many Nazi tactics.
    i find these two threads are similar in many ways.
    Report: The Kochs, A Nazi Past, Oil & The Foundation of The Right
    Notorious Nazis Ilse Koch, her husband Karl Otto Koch and Erich Koch are the ghosts of Koch Industries, who seized the U.S. conservative political agenda years ago and seem capable of seizing the government in total through the Tea Party. Ilse Koch was the Nazi’s specialist in making objects from human skin; was the only woman charged with war crimes; and along with her husband was in charge of one of the most horrific horror camps in Nazi Germany….and this:

    Besides evidence the American Koch was related to Ilse’s family, Erich Koch (a high level Nazi official in charge of Prussia) invites Fred Koch to sell his oil in Nazi Germany when he is banned from doing business in the US. After the fall of Nazi Germany, Erich Koch and Fred expand the oil empire to the Soviet Union. Erich Koch had been in charge of Prussia for Hitler so his ties to the Soviet Union ran deep. A few years later the Soviets took Fred Koch’s oil and prosecuted Erich for war crimes – Fred Koch returned to the US, became anti-communist, and was allowed to do business in the States again.

    American Fred Koch, and through association the Kochs from Germany, establish the John Birch Society in the 1950s in NY, which becomes the policy center for American conservatives. The society was built on Fred Koch’s oil money in the 1950s and can be thought of as the center of neo-conservative politics as well as the Tea Party movement. The ideologies of each are not the same – but the Tea Party fits into the neo-conservative put for colonial corporate police state as a sort of consumer citizen of the neo-conservative strategy mad as hell at the government and the legacy of liberalism, postmodernism, multiculturalism, taxes….etc.

    • bubbles says:

      my comment awaiting moderation. prolly too long.
      anyhoo. there is an interesting tie in concerning the Koch Brothers and their terrible legacy of hatefulness and where the money came from. i got it from Texasgal over on Palingates’ open thread.

      • A fan from CA says:

        I don’t think trying to tie the current generation of Cons to potential, maybe relatives back in the 1930/40ies to be very productive.

        I’d rather see the lights shined on what they are up to these days.

        • bubbles says:

          if you know where a person has been you will know where they are going. the truth of the matter is that people are products of their upbringing. some people accept and continue the sins and omissions of their forebears, others may reject and discontinue those same practices; go another way. still they are reacting ton stimulae from the past.
          all of us bring the past with us. it informs everything that we do.
          if you want shine a light on the future fine. i give the Tea Party. btw did you even bother to read the link?

          • dowl says:

            Bubbles, you are correct. Sankofa moments are required to be wary of where we’re headed. Thanks for the head’s up / look back.

  43. Alaska Pi says:

    Ayn Rand’s extreme reaction to the authoritarian left makes sense in some contexts.
    Her novels reflect a place on the libertarian right which SHOULD raise eyebrows but for some reason continue to appeal to a more generalized notion of individual v society well after the commie-under-every-bed thingy evaporated.
    Her so called philosophy fails almost every philosophical test but did and has become a rationale for propping up neoliberal thought and activity.
    Her so called ideals and institutute would be hilarious were it not for the folks like Greenspan who have diverted this country into becoming an economic playground for self important capitalist aristocrats who get away with telling all of us to eat cake…
    Glad to see this AKM-
    Mr Ryan is a pox on Congress and America. With the FCIC report out, we have an obligation to ourselves to tell him to sit down and shut up since it’s pretty obvious all those objectivisty ideals are what dang near sunk our boat here.

    • A fan from CA says:

      I sure hope that American become more economically knowledgeable. I cringe when even Rachel Maddow jokes how complex economics are. It’s a not rocket science. We have been told it’s to complex by a lot of double talking heads. I hope the FCIC reports get a lot of good analysis on an ongoing basis. We really need to understand just how we got to this point. Ryan just wants to continue the downward spiral started by Reaganomics. David Stockman was the spokesman for this disaster of economics and even he has come out and is saying he was WRONG, passing it off to youthful folly.

      • Mo says:

        OK, Mike Konczal at Rortybomb has what you’re looking for on this one:

        I disagree with the notion that economics is so easy that anyone who can balance a checkbook can understand things. That’s precisely the reasoning used by ignorant teabaggers, republicans, Wall Street apologists.

        And actually _being_ an economist requires some serious math chops and reading comprehension skills. Check out Brad DeLong’s blog sometime a take a look at his course requirements.

        Although I would argue that if you can follow Paul Krugman’s columns, you’re ahead of most.

        • Kath the Scrappy says:

          I love reading Paul Krugman’s columns!! He lays the info out in such a logical way, while pulling in all the details of what’s impacted in the process!

          & I’m no economist for sure.

        • LibertyLover says:

          I also enjoy reading Paul Krugman.

          His articles are common sense and don’t say things that don’t make any sense like: “if you decrease taxes on the rich, revenues to the government actually increase.” (only if you are cooking the books and/or borrowing to cover the spread – like Reagan did, which we only have to end up paying interest on.)

  44. Wonderful post! Very illuminating. I always knew Ayn Rand was somehow the antithesis of what I believed and innately knew, and you not only captured the ideas very well, but you surely called out the new kid on the block who blathered on and on for the Repugs Tues. night. Will the Republican craziness ever end? It’s like they are on a psychotic carnival ride and their brains have been addled.

  45. benlomond2 says:

    I read “Atlas Shrugged” about 20 years ago- Classic Book Club selection..found it an entertaining fiction read…. 🙂

    • dreamgirl says:

      Well done. I literally threw it in the garbage after 25 or 30 pages . Her “visage” almost masked her soul. She was an ugly one personified. (not unlike her “fans”….)

  46. Eic says:

    Concur with Polarbear. Let’s get things done. To me that means we need to run our country like we all run our households (hopefully). We can’t spend what we don’t have. Few of us have found success in taking loans to get out of debt. Additionally, living the life as a child under the cognizance and control of our parents was something we all, as teenagers and maturing adults, needed to leave. How different is that feeling of restriction we felt iwhen growing up from the recognition (conscious or unconscious) that about 60% of efforts are given to a government that then distributes them to some who may not have been as willing to work and contribute as we were. What save person would not want to escape such bondage?
    As one who has read Rand, Orwell, Huxley, C.E.S.Woods, Twain, Sun Tzu, Miyamoto Musashi, Clausewitz, Lord Acton — and yet detested the study of history in my past – I’ve come to recognize the wisdom of Rand’s ideas and value of learning about how people have thought and acted previously.. People have not changed – ever. We generally vote for our own interests and work to feed ourselves. As the author, Don Millard, has done here, he has written about what he is interested in; what matters in his life. He has well demonstrated adherence to Rand’s ideas in that we perform best when we work for ourselves. Historically, socialism and large governments collapse when they fail to acknowledge the value of the contributions of individuals. At present, the People’s Republic of China has come to support that idea with their increased acceptance of capitalism. For those who have nor finished, read Atlas Shrugged for the theme. Then look at your own motivations. You’ll see how insightful Rand was.
    And congratulations on so well demonstrating your individuality, Mr. Millard.

    • A fan from CA says:

      Rand has done a wonderful job of expressing herself. She was a masterful writer and that is why she so easily disgusts those who believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

      You mention that 60% of government monies are given to “some who may not have been as willing to work or contribute as we were”. I assume you mean those Afghans and Iraqis? Or are those all the “welfare queens”? So do you live in a place with only private police and fire service? Do you only drive on toll roads and dirt trails? How the suspension doing on you car?

      Some thing I always wonder about those of you who don’t want “government” is why you don’t just immigrate to some of the places on earth that don’t have functioning “government”. Heck, most of them never get snow so there is no need for any “collective services” to form for snow removal. Also too, no nasty fees for water service either. Just wait for the next rain to collect some in your very own personal barrel. And best of all you can have all the guns you want to spend any free time guarding your water barrel.

      • Mo says:

        Oh lord, Rand-bots.

      • Sarafina says:

        Agreed, A fan from CA.

        Eic (earned income credit?) said:

        “Let’s get things done. To me that means we need to run our country like we all run our households (hopefully). We can’t spend what we don’t have. Few of us have found success in taking loans to get out of debt.”

        An individual household is not a country. How much do you budget for defense at your house? The very size and various line items are not compatible. A national budget CAN run a deficit and make money. The problem is G W Bush and his merry band of soulless thieves tried to remove every penny in 8 years. The resulting hole is very deep.

        However, the U.S. is making money off of bailing out GM. They recently sold some stock for a nice profit. The banks, imo, should have been allowed to a) fail outright or b) faced serious downsizing as a price for bailout.

        And I think your 60% figure is bogus.

        btw, have you paid your annual fee for private fire department services this year? You know what happened to that other guy.

      • Hell, I see MANY Xtians who ADORE Randian bullshite..

    • leenie17 says:

      Agree with A fan from CA and Serafina but have one more point to make.

      You (Eic) claim that “we generally vote for our own interests”. However, that is currently being proven patently false as many middle class people continue to support the very party that is working to bring about their demise. There is no doubt, by their actions over the past several decades, that the Republican Party is ONLY interested in creating legislation that helps the very wealthiest among us become even richer. They strive to eliminate programs and policies that help the people who are their most vocal supporters and yet these people still repeatedly return to office the same legislators who will do the most damage to their lives. They vote in lockstep for the politicians who push the emotional hot buttons and use the phrases that are designed to inflame their emotions. These politicians make the same promises again and again but, once in power, break every single one of them. And still the voters don’t learn to STOP touching the hot stove.

      That is NOT voting for their own interests!

      • dahlia97 says:

        I agree with your point that voting for Republicans isn’t voting for your own interests, and I agree with Fan and Sarafina. And I would like to add that I (and many others) do not only vote for what directly is in my interest but also for what will be beneficial for others e.g. I would vote for health benefits for people who don’t have health insurance even tho. I myself am well covered. I’m willing to pay taxes to support public schools even tho. I don’t have children in school.

        It’s all about being a part of a community. Workers are valuable to society just as the owners who provide the jobs. And without community to buy their products, they would not have accumulated their wealth. Although in today’s market, the corporate owners think they don’t need the American market…they can now sell to whole new populations overseas (as well as get their sweatshop workers for pennies an hour). They feel disconnected from their own community.

        People like Ayn Rand are full of fear– they are so worried about freeloaders….and they are fearful there isn’t enough abundance for everyone (I’ve gotta get mine!). So they make decisions based on those beliefs and thus, create a community where there isn’t enough for everyone.

        • A fan from CA says:

          Well, said dahlia. Some of us believe in abundance while others have a view of the world as a place of paucity. It is this point of view that is dividing our country.

          The Fear generated by the Con noise machine is all about a world of paucity. Ryan’s “we’re about to go off the economic cliff”. A world of paucity is a scary place.

          Obama’s message of Hope is just the opposite. There is no problem to big for Americans to solve. We are the country that went to the Moon when challenged. Now we can harness new sources to meet our energy demands. Let’s roll.

        • leenie17 says:

          “It’s all about being a part of a community”

          Absolutely! I don’t have any children, have never needed welfare, food stamps or unemployment insurance (thank goodness) and won’t qualify for social security or medicare for more than a decade yet. And yet I fully support all of these programs and willingly pay higher taxes when necessary to pay for them. I’ve know too many people in my lifetime who HAVE needed these programs to want any of them to disappear.

          The services that our taxes pay for are what make ours a civilized society (well, most of the time!), and life would be very sad indeed if we were all in it alone. I have never understood how people who are so greedy and selfish can claim to be such devout Christians and accuse the liberals (who really DO want to help out the less fortunate) of being godless heathens. Seems to me that it’s the other way around. But, then again, I’m one of those godless heathens so what do I know? 😉

          • 1smartcanerican says:

            Kudos to you lennie17! I am with you on this.

          • Kath the Scrappy says:

            Yes, leenie17, A fan from CA, and Serafina are ALL on the right mark! Thank heavens I never wasted a minute reading this crazy ol’ coot Ayn’s writings! (Thanks for the Cliff Notes, which more than satisfied my past curiousity!!!)

            Just think back to the olden days of Typhoid or Cholera epidemics. If everyone said “hey, YOU are on your own so FU & take care of yourselves?” “I’ve got my riches and no bad bug stuff could ever harm ME!”

            When we take care of our weakest in society, we ALSO take care of ourselves. Me, I’ve never had kids but have NEVER begrudged paying for other people’s kids to be educated. Always figured the public school system gave me an education.

            IMO, this was a helpful & educational writing that does explain what I’m seeing playing out in today’s politics. Scares me greatly!

          • dowl says:

            Leenie, et al, most flatters are probably not Ayn Rand fans because we recognize others as human. We also recognized those who grift for gold in the name of God–therein lies the rub with our representative democratic republic especially since January 20, 2009.

            Lord help us all.

        • Sarafina says:

          This is exactly what I have been seeing for the past 10 years or longer. There is no community, except for 9/11 when we were told to 1) go shopping then 2) start spying on our neighbors. This lack of having a stake in the common good has fractured society and allowed the soulless moneygrubbers to succeed. For a while, at least.

          Thank you for stating this so well.

      • Sarafina says:

        Exactly!!!!! Say it LOUD, say it PROUD, leenie17!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Simple MInd says:

      I’m glad you’ve read all those authors. Reading is a good thing. Anyway, its actually not true that we can’t spend what we don’t have. We do it all the time. Its not true that most households don’t use borrowed money. Nearly every homeowner in the country borrowed money to buy a house, sometimes unwisely. Essentially every business in America operates on credit. As a country, we’ve borrowed money to fight every war we’ve been in but then I suppose its okay to borrow money to fight wars but not to care for Americans at home. Is it better not to go into debt? Sure. However, that doesn’t mean should never do so. I have an elderly aunt who refuses to own a credit card, but its silly to perpetuate the myth that we can run a nation like my aunt runs her grocery budget. This “debt is evil” blather is just code. We didn’t hear anything from the Republicans or TeaPartiers while Bush was running up the deficit. This new-found concern for deficit spending is all just cover for your next statement – that it is bad to take money from hard workers to give to freeloaders. Are there freeloaders and welfare cheats? Sure. Are there lots and lots more of poor Americans who just need help? Definitely. Now, we could discuss just who are the “hard workers” in American and who is getting all the money, but that’s another post. For now, let’s just look at the Republican “me first” philosophy. Basically it means “every man for himself”. Sure, privatize Social Security. Go ahead and invest that Social security in Enron stock. After all, its your money. Then the money is gone. Now what are you Ayn Rand worshippers going to do? Let Grandma eat catfood because she made a dumb investment? No. The success of individual endeavor should be celebrated. But the true measure of a great person is their willingness to help others.

    • LibertyLover says:

      Because Rand grew up in Russia and because of her experience of her family’s business being confiscated by the overthrow of the czars, Rand’s understanding of government is understandable. We all bring our personal life experiences to our belief system.

      But Rand continually conflated capitalism with a form of government. Capitalism is not a form of government as is evidenced by The Communist China’s embracing of capitalism as economic leverage. The United States is a Democratic Republic and it’s economic base is capitalism.

      As humans, we have a need to live in society. That is how we evolved. We lived in tribes. We had hunters, we had gatherers, we had medicine men and women and everyone had their role in society. Individually, we never would have survived without the group. When man quit being nomads and became a farmer society, it became even more so. You are right: people have not changed -ever. And even when we are alone in our little homes and apartments, we still reach out to like minded people over the internet now. Social bonding is strong in humans.

      Rand was wrong. Her selfish views run counter to the whole of human existence. We are as interdependent upon one another as surely as we were back when we were nomads.

      As for the economy, we cannot cut spending alone and seek to get out of this hole that we are in… we have to grow our way out of it. Like we did after WWII. We need investment in the infrastructure and we need to re-examine our trade laws. We need to bring back factories to our shores and we need to support our own people with the social safety nets that should exist for the least of us.

  47. Frank222 says:

    rand was not a bad writer, but philosophically rancid. I remember my father saying her threw her book accross the room 1/3 of the way thru when it came out – woudn’t read another one.

  48. overthemoon says:

    Its my understanding that, later in life, Rand recanted the Individualism philosophy of her early years, saying it was naive and misguided. I’ll try to find the references to that.

  49. Kimosabe says:

    Both Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are terrific reads! And oh what steamy sex scenes! Philosophically they are the counterpoint to Marx, and equally idealistic yet realistically impossible. She brings us both Mark Zuckerberg and Bernie Madoff. Rand is important to understanding where the free-market right comes from. And oh, you forgot to mention that Senator Rand Paul is named for her.

    • Ewwwwww…but it’s not even her name … She’s a total fake.. She was born in Russia ..her real name is Alicia Rosenbaum- aka. Ayn Rand….fraud– object of desire of republicans…they are just like her.!

  50. jimzmum says:

    Oh, Miss Ayn. How you do go on. I read your books. Studied your philosophy of greed. Tossed you to the curb when the semester was over 40 years ago. Sold your books in the uni buy back store, and I never did that, and haven’t sold a used book since.

    Thank you for bringing this to the table, AKM.

  51. Polarbear says:

    Sigh. Could we drop the ideology of any flavor, and just get things done? If we had a moratorium on all new legislation except the budget, and everyone in government focused on just making what we have right now work for us, then our lives would be very good.

    • A fan from CA says:

      If we just tried to get along with what we have right now in government then the downward trajectory institutionalized by “Trickle Down” policy will further deteriorate our economy.

      A vibrant investment economy is essential to a healthy capitalistic system. Wall Street is no longer a place were business, both old and new, can go for funding. Rather it has become a casino were bets are place for already existing companies. The top economic tier is currently holding something like 2 Trillion in funds back from investment. What has happen over the past decade by the Financial Class is creating a Randian style “strike” on the economic health of the USA.

      Thanks for the “Atlas Mugged” term, it really does describe what has been going on.

      • Polarbear says:

        Good point, Fan. I do not disagree.

      • leenie17 says:

        Years ago, when this country was young and the horizons were unlimited, the rich tycoons were fighting to be first in line to invest in innovation. Railroads, manufacturing, automobile and aerospace industries, big oil, film and television, technology, and on and on…

        Yes, their motivation was to ultimately make themselves money, but they enthusiastically invested their own capital into development of these new businesses. They also took great pride in supporting culture and the arts. Now, the people with the money all too often hoard it and expect someone else to make the initial investment so that they can eventually profit without assuming any of the risk OR they figure out how to use the money of the middle class instead of their own. They pay teams of high priced lawyers to find ways to avoid paying their fair share of taxes and generously support politicians who work to further cut their taxes and reduce regulations so that their profits can increase, not to reinvest, but to add to their bulging off-shore bank accounts.

        We have reached the age where many of the most wealthy in our country demonstrate a nauseating level of greed, and will do anything, ethical or not, to accumulate more wealth. There is absolutely no good reason why people on Wall Street or the CEOs of large companies should be making the obscene kinds of profits they are when small businesses are struggling to survive because no one is willing to invest in them.

        Just how much money do these greedy pigs need?

  52. ex-alaskaguy says:

    thanks for pointing that out. I hadn’t taken the time to research her but I suspected that was how she might be by the company she keeps, or rather follows her. a rascally bunch to say the least. nice work.

  53. calaz says:

    I have tried to read the book before. I failed at that, so thank you for giving me the cliff notes.

    My favorite is the you ended “This fierce critic of FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society, who called all government programs a drain on society, quietly signed up for and received Social Security and Medicare under her married name. She died alone in 1982 of lung cancer.”

    Just want you to know how very much I enjoy your insights and the flats. Thank you.

    • dowl says:

      I did read the cliff notes (or something similar from the web only recently) when I noticed that the GOTP’ers were entralled by Ayn Rand. The notes made no sense and did not spur me on to borrow Atlas Shrugged from the library.

      The Ayn Rand fans are to reckoned with–they are probably homeschoolers (no offense to homeschoolers) and they reproduce.

      • I can’t see them being home-schoolers, at least not the Christian ones. It doesn’t take much to see that Rand does not believe in any religion. If they have their kids read it, then they haven’t bothered to t read it themselves, or they don’t understand it.

  54. delnorteco says:

    Why are all the GOPers and Teabaggers heros, freaks?…

  55. Kat says:

    Bravo! And many thanks!

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