October 25, 2012
Run Along Now, Children
Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that's a pretty narrow vision. It's not one that, I think, describes what's best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a "you're on your own" society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.
You have been schooled, Selfist* Knuckle Draggers. Learn from it, as my man Barack has.
*no, this isn't a typo
Posted by Cassandra at October 25, 2012 07:42 PM
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I think Ayn Rand had something here: If teens were to be given her books and '7 Habits of Highly Effective People', we would not be having this discussion.
Personally, I think Mitt sleeps with them under his pillow, but I could be wrong.
Posted by: PuffOnMeds at October 26, 2012 08:08 AM
Yanno, wasn't Obama just talking up the wisdom of children?
Perhaps he should take his own advice.
Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 26, 2012 08:47 AM
"Perhaps he should take his own advice."
To hear many in the know tell it, he considers and/or accepts nothing but...
Posted by: bthun at October 26, 2012 09:20 AM
You show me a 17 year old that makes it through "Atlas Shrugged" and I'll show you someone who is never going to vote Democrat. Because anyone THAT dedicated isn't going to backslide into Nanny Statism.
Posted by: MikeD at October 26, 2012 09:47 AM
He prolly got briefed as to the question, had Hillary give him the Cliff Notes version of it and then put the statist twist on it.
Being Objective isn't being selfish. I think self-improvement should be the focus of every teen, instead of sexting.
Posted by: PuffOnMeds at October 26, 2012 10:26 AM
Huh . . . evidently reading Ayn Rand is a one-shot learning deal.
Whodathunkit! I read Atlas Shrugged for the first time when I was 12. Every single time Ive read it since, I've learned something new.
But I guess, according to the Grand O, I should've stopped at one reading and not added further useless knowledge to my brain.
Self-Improvement at any level is, evidently, supposed to be a one-trick pony if you are the Grand O . . .or his virgin voter followers.
Posted by: Nina at October 26, 2012 12:55 PM
OOoh...Virgin Voter Followers. Would they be Vested Voting Virgins? Vote early and often?
Should that go on the 'do me next' thread?
I think I need to read Atlas Shrugged. If it is anything like GWTW, it only improves with age and perception of the reader.
I am familiar with Ayn Rand's philosophy, but have never delved into her novels. Skimmed here and there, but never sat down to get into it.
Posted by: Carolyn at October 26, 2012 02:31 PM
You'll find Atlas Shrugged a very challenging book - by which I mean, the book is constantly challenging the reader to live what Theodore Roosevelt called the strenuous life, especially in the life of the mind. This isn't an easy message, and it's an easy one to resent, and to caricature (the mouseover text in that last link is simply ridiculous). People who don't like her message will be eager to hear that -- after all, if it's rebutted by a line or two from Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten, then you can safely ignore it, and don't need to consider such a hard way of living...
She may not have been much of an academic philosopher. People who know that field, as I do not, tell me she was very bad at representing the views of other philosophers; and she tied parts of her philosophy to ideas about psychology, such as the "blank slate," that are simply not true. But she had the gifts of a first-class polemical journalist, and the moral content of her work is sound and powerful. My favorite piece of hers is "The Anti-Industrial Revolution" - an essay in her book The New Left - it lays out the moral stature of the Green movement in a way that's still valid after fifty years.
Posted by: Joseph W. at October 27, 2012 04:51 PM
I think Rand's preentation and simplification of the philosophy of others is again kind of a "Cliff's Notes" version of philosophy.
From reading a lot of Ayn Rand years ago, I did accept one profound thought: ideas have consequences. Even if you don't know where your ideas come from, they do have consequences.
If more Americans had a deeper understanding of where new and old ideas came from, they would be more skeptical of government and some of the truly stupid and evil ideas that are presented to the public under the rose of "progress".
The roots of that wonderful organization called "Planned Parenthood" are, in fact, pretty ugly. It may be valid to have an organization that will give un-biased birth control advice to young women, but Planned Parenthood ain't that. The history of Planned Parenthood and Margaret Sanger are not obscure or difficult to access, just pretty awful.
And Ayn Rand did favor abortion.
There was a very disturbing post by Richard Fernandez at the "Belmont Club" a few days ago, juxtaposing the silly add by Lena Dunham with one by "Jane Roe" regarding abortion. And it ended with with a scene from "The Two Towers", where Theoden is dressing in armor for the battle of Helm's Deep, and muses, "how did it come to this?"
How indeed, has it come to this? Ideas have consequences.
Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 28, 2012 01:43 PM
On what basis did Rand favor abortion? Was it eugenics, Sanger-style, or for the convenience of the mother? Was it to be supported by the state?
Even if she favored abortion, wouldn't state-funded abortion clashed with her philosophy?
Posted by: Carolyn at October 28, 2012 03:08 PM
Carolyn, Ayn Rand favored abortion rights as a woman's "right to choose". I am sure that you are right about her opposing government funding of such, but that is a hypothetical that we can never know at this point. Although she might have written about it sometime in the past.
Rand was terribly impressed with the space program, culminating in Project Apollo, yet she was also appalled at the government spending on this. So she was pretty conflicted about that, too. She thought that Kennedy's "New Frontier" was fascism, also. And that didn't make her too many friends at the time.
Posted by: Don Brouhaha at October 29, 2012 08:50 AM
Rand also hated Libertarians, whom she basically considered to be theives.
Moreover, most of them are my enemies: they spend their time denouncing me, while plagiarizing my ideas. Now, I think it’s a bad beginning for an allegedly pro-capitalist party to start by stealing ideas.
I don’t think plagiarists are effective. I’ve read nothing by a Libertarian (when I read them, in the early years) that wasn’t my ideas badly mishandled—i.e., had the teeth pulled out of them—with no credit given. I didn’t know whether I should be glad that no credit was given, or disgusted. I felt both. They are perhaps the worst political group today, because they can do the most harm to capitalism, by making it disreputable.
Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 29, 2012 10:36 AM