Was Ayn Rand a sociopath?

Rand
Yikes!

One of the most read and commented-on pieces  ever published here was called “Was Ayn Rand a Sociopath?” It’s gone now, and I doubt I would have deleted it, but it is possible. I did delete a few hundred posts a couple of years ago, extricating myself from Montana blogs and politics. Maybe that piece was collateral damage.

This came to mind recently as I have been doing a deep dive, trying to understand climate science and the pseudoscience of Anthropogenic Global Warming. I find myself in league with some Randians, and it gives me that not-so-fresh feeling.

To recap on Rand, I suggested that her real-life behaviors showed a callousness that was reflected in her writing and philosophy. She did not believe in romantic love, for example. Those of us of normal makeup know that it is real, and spectacular. She missed out. She was married, but carried on an extramarital affair out in the open, indifferent to any feelings her husband might have had.

However, keep in mind the marital selection process contains in it subconscious impulses that guide us towards an appropriate partner. A closeted gay man might choose a frigid woman, a submissive man might choose a ball-crushing woman, and a sociopathic woman devoid of normal emotion woman might select a man of similar makeup. Who knows?

AtlasIn her book, Atlas Shrugged, there is a scene in which Hank Reardon finally beds Dagny Taggart. After perfunctory copulation, they discuss romance, love and marriage. It turns out that it is a completely rational process, and boring as hell. As I recall, Reardon went on for several pages as Taggart took it all in. In real life, she would be showing him the door early in his speech, saying “Good night. Don’t ever darken my door again.”

This shallowness is reflected in Rand’s philosophy, where survival is not an option for any who do not cut it in the competitive capitalist world. As she viewed it, our society was comprised of producers and consumers, black and white, and the few producers carried the world on their shoulders. Therefore, any attempt to make life easier for the common man could only be done at the expense of the John Galt’s around us. If they shrug, let go of the burden, we degrade as a society into a world of scarcity and poverty.

It is interesting that many Randians actually have this self-image, imagining themselves carrying others on their back. A few years back there was a trend among them them called “Going Galt.” The problem they had was that once gone, no one knew they had abandoned us.  I imagine they reappeared, ever so shyly sneaking in the side door.

It’s bullshit. We are far more a cooperative species than competitive. Randian economics, when put in practice, quickly leads to disaster. Whatever one thinks of government, itself a corrupt enterprise in so many ways, regulated enterprise yields a better world that one run by the imagined John Galt’s. It a lousy choice we are given, but that is the way life plays out on this whackadoo planet.

Ayn Rand normally appealed to younger people of fertile mind, which led to quite an intellectual boom among her followers. As with most movements of bright people, they sought each other out, formed clubs and other groups and tried to expound on the philosophy. Some even made pilgrimages to New York to meet the muse. I have no issue with this. I do the same thing, seeking out those of similar makeup as myself.

I read Atlas Shrugged as a much younger man, and came away thinking that her writing skills were sparse. Of course, she did not write her fiction to sell it as such, but rather to exhibit her philosophy. Nonetheless, it is easy to see why the recent Atlas Shrugged movie trilogy based on the book played to empty houses. They are snoozers, worse even than The Hours.

All this is written to suggest that my alignment and infatuation with some of right-wing economic makeup is uncomfortable, but I am moving forward anyway. I suggest, in the process, to adults who are still Randian as a hangover from a youthful exploration, that she was someone we needed to go through, to ingest and then grow away from. Her utopian views are as dysfunctional as any others. The only reason we cannot dispense with them in total is that they cannot be tested. To do so would invite disastrous consequence, something that our real (and hidden) leadership understands.

60 thoughts on “Was Ayn Rand a sociopath?

  1. Rand seems to me to be more about the branding and marketing of incrementally more extreme practices of usury than advancing any new philosophy. She could be one of the many female “sheepdogs” (project actor) that sucked women away from traditional family roles into the homogeneous, debt-slave/consumer identity trap. American exceptionalism’s uber-capitalist (cult) mindset seems to be nearing the end of the line. What is left to destroy, or inflate, that hasn’t already been mined to exhaustion. Mileposts along the way: Reagan institutionalized greed by breaching centuries-old social norms — based loosely on some moral law. Now Trump (Agent Orange) presents us with the image of a clown riding his tricycle in tighter and tighter circles while “tweeting.” Copies of copies of images and symbols with no original. The Randian dream is going nowhere.

    http://www.alastairmcintosh.com/articles/1998_usury.htm

    “Some may be surprised to discover that Adam Smith, despite his image as the “Father of the Free-market Capitalism” and his general advocacy of laissez-fair economics, came out strongly in support of controlling usury (Jadlow, 1977; Levy, 1987). While he opposed a complete prohibition of interest, he was in favour of the imposition of an interest rate ceiling. This, he felt, would ensure that low-risk borrowers who were likely to undertake socially beneficial investments were not deprived of funds as a result of “the greater part of the money which was to be lent [being] lent to prodigals and projectors [investors in risky, speculative ventures], who alone would be willing to give [an unregulated] high interest rate” (Smith, 1937: 339).”

    “The great twentieth century economist John Maynard Keynes held a similar position believing that “the disquisitions of the schoolmen [on usury] were directed towards elucidation of a formula which should allow the schedule of the marginal efficiency to be high, whilst using rule and custom and the moral law to keep down the rate of interest, so that a wise Government is concerned to curb it by statute and custom and even by invoking the sanctions of the Moral Law” (1936: 351-3).”

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  2. Rand looks like Aleister Crowley in a wig. Dorothy Parker wrote of Atlas Shrugged “This is a novel that should not be tossed aside lightly. . . it should be thrown with great force”.

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  3. “All this is written to suggest that my alignment and infatuation with some of right-wing economic makeup is uncomfortable, but I am moving forward anyway.”

    As others have said, you can say anything in the mass media (sort of), if you frame it in terms of right/ left, or some other official dualism. So we have Rush Limbaugh and other pundits pushing AGW “conspiracy theory,” framing it in terms of liberal/ socialist radicals trying to destroy capitalism.

    This is then picked up by the mainstream as a way to blackwash any honest critic (any non-ideological critic) of AGW: “Oh, you don’t believe in AGW? You must be a right-wing conspiracy theorist… And anti-science, a religious nut, etc.”

    Rush has actually made some decent critical points about AGW (I too enjoy his skill at rhetoric, lol.) But in many many groups, he has been vilified to the point that if an idea becomes associated with him (as with Trump’s AGW skepticism), it will lead many to an emotional discomfort with the idea. And then even those who can think critically will hesitate to bring it up, because they know they’ll have to try (and fail for most) to get over that emotional trigger built into the topic.

    All this rambling to say, AGW skepticism is not inherently right-wing, it’s just being framed that way in the media for propaganda and polemical purposes, perhaps.

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    1. Above all, we should seek evidence and facts, which are neither right nor left, or center or on the cutting edges. They just exist.

      I enjoy listening to Rush now and then. Either he’s calmed down or I have moderated, or both.

      Don’t know why your comment went to moderation … wait! use of the word “trigger.”

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  4. In addition to her indisputable addiction to nicotine (she was a chain smoker) there’s no question that Ayn Rand was a habitual consumer of amphetamines starting in 1942, when she was prescribed Benzedrine for weight loss (a common medical practice in that era) and discovered that it gave her the energy to put in the long hours needed to finish the first of her two major novels, The Fountainhead. Rand liked the boost that “speed” gave her, and from that time until at least 1972 – a period of 30 years – she continued to use amphetamines, moving on to Dexedrine and Dexamyl. ~From a blog I tried to post.

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    1. You’re having trouble posting a link? Don’t know what that is about, but you could try breaking it in pieces so that it is no longer HTML, then we on this end can reassemble it. What is the name of the blog?

      I knew she was a chain smoker, did not know about amphetamines. Continued use of them surely damages the brain, may have led to her monstrous ego. She was, literally, out of her mind.

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    1. Nathaniel Rand seems like a project himself, being enthralled by a homely woman based on philosophy. It does not work like that. If she is ugly, she is ugly. Men do not go gaga over ugly women. The guy supposedly changed his name based on his attraction, but it just does not play well in a real world. He was playing out Atlas Shrugged, she was his Dagny. At last the fog clears. A project! Just kind of a dumb one.

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  5. (another excerpt) ~Rand claimed to value rationality above all else, and to live by the principles laid down in her novels. “I have always lived by the philosophy I present in my books — and it has worked for me, as it works for my characters,” she wrote in the afterword to Atlas Shrugged. And she violently denounced drug use by others, writing in one essay that “it is so obscene an evil that any doubt about the moral character of its practitioners is itself an obscenity.”

    It’s profoundly ironic that someone with Rand’s (claimed) principles would herself become a drug addict. But self-delusion was one of Rand’s defining traits. As Charles Murray wrote in 2010 in the Claremont Review of Books: “Rand … faked reality throughout her life, beginning in small ways and ending with the construction of a delusional alternative reality that took over her life.”

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    1. Good find! I mentioned to MM when we were in communication that she seemed like a project, though probably not that specific words. I was surprised that he treated her as a genuine article.

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  6. Vladimir Nabokov? This major spook, check out the MMG read on him & see how Ms ‘Rand’ was close friends to one of Vlads sisters. And in 1958 BOTH Vlad & Rand were on the best sellers list.

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      1. Alisa Rosenbaum was a woman with more wisdom in a broken toenail than some Velikovsky clown could write in hundreds of pages.

        Her philosophy still stands strong today, and the (lack of) logic people use against her “the crapitalists run away with her philosophy and used it [but didn’t understand it of course]” is just as stupid as someone saying that wearing a moustache makes one a Hitler or opposing scientists (quite some here, including myself) makes one a Mao Zedong.

        Character assassination is easy, but illogical. Salvador Dalì hung out with dubious people and (allegedly?) had some fecked up sexual ideas, but his artwork is what counts and no matter what the decent portrait painter from Taos says, he is nowhere close to the magic surrealism of the Catalan master.

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          1. I am calm, don’t know why you mention this.

            My point is that the use by other people, in case of Rand’s philosophy even abuse, is no argument against her points.

            The oligarchs are afraid of capitalism (the free market) and have done everything to corrupt it (crapitalism). We don’t have capitalism, we have corporatism (financial fascism); those corporations rely on state support. Competition, the natural situation, is outlawed even in many cases. Try to start a bank and see how it goes. So if some bigshot head of a corporation ran off with Rand, it doesn’t mean Rand is bad, it means that head didn’t use his/her head.

            Same for individualism. What Rand has outlined is individualism in thought. Truth seeking is all about that, if applied correctly, it is the mainstream view that tries to push groupthink and collective conformation.

            Ayn Rand may have been a sociopath, or not, but as long as you don’t (need to) have a relationship with her, what is the relevance? Why assassinate her character, instead of looking at the wisdom in the philosophy, which is very much going against the mainstream, even though “they” abused her thoughts?

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          2. My attitude about Randianism is that it vastly oversimplifies complex human affairs. “Capitalism” is no more a viable system than “communism”, each applying an ‘ism’ to human behavior that is mostly cooperative and mutually supportive. Rand’s position, that we are all isolated islands, that selfishness and greed are positive attributes, fit her temperament, but does not describe most humans. Her idea that we are all being carried on the back of super-achievers is not only wrong, but leads to selfish, arrogant and annoying people who imagine they are carrying the world as they piss on everyone around them. They do us all a favor by going Galt.

            “Individualism” is a vague term. I have been self-employed most of my career, and was a lousy employee, resenting anyone having authority over me. That makes me an individual, not an individualist. I owe my success to my own efforts but also to the support of others who saw talent in me. I accomplished nothing alone. No one does. We are a mutually supportive society.

            Your comment about Velikovsky was a passive aggressive shot at me. I felt your boil going on behind it. Because it is passive aggressive, you can deny that you intended it as it was intended.

            See? I read your book.

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    1. Non sequitur.

      If Rand had ever experienced romantic love, she would be able to describe it. She could not. She did not understand it. It would be like asking a blind person to describe the color red.

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  7. Yet another excerpt: Evidence from more impartial sources, however, indicates that at times Rand used amphetamines heavily – at least heavily enough to cause her friends to be deeply concerned. One of them, the journalist Isabel Patterson, wrote to her: “Stop taking that Benzedrine, you idiot. I don’t care what excuse you have – stop it.”

    Certainly symptoms of amphetamine addiction – irritability, mood swings, paranoia – showed up in Rand’s personal relationships, especially later in her life. The members of the cult-like inner circle she assembled around her in New York were terrified of the fierce, bitingly cruel attacks she would unleash against any of them who disagreed with her. Even her devoted husband Frank O’Connor would sometimes be the target of her scorn.

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    1. Whatever she used to calm the demons in her head in later life had nothing to do with her intellectual capacity while writing her best sellers.

      Individualists, especially ones raised in a religious family, traditionally struggle with mortality.

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  8. That pin on Rand (fake name from a type writer?) lapel is a insiders signal. It was also present at her funeral in the form of a large arrangement of flowers.

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    1. Rand Corporation separated from Douglas Aircraft after WWII … it was part of the Pentagon Papers psyop, Daniel Ellsberg an employee. Remember how Ellsberg was threatened with life imprisonment for releasing the papers, and was let off because of a bungled break-in of his psychiatrist’s office? It could not have been more plain if G Gordon Liddy had left a note that said “I did this, and here is where I am staying right now.”

      Anyway, “Rand” merely means Research and Development. It’s odd that Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum chose that name around that time.

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  9. ““Individualism” is a vague term. I have been self-employed most of my career, and was a lousy employee, resenting anyone having authority over me. That makes me an individual, not an individualist. I owe my success to my own efforts but also to the support of others who saw talent in me. I accomplished nothing alone. No one does. We are a mutually supportive society.”-Mark T.

    Let me read your book. Your sympathies toward a collectivist society are rooted in guilt based on years of cheating the Government out of taxes.

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      1. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and being aware of that am never sure I am right about anything. I used to believe in AGW, and had to do a 180 on that, for instance. You on the other hand have never changed your beliefs about anything in all the years I have known you, never moved forward, in stasis, singing the same verse to the same old song over and over again. Your world view is wrong.

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  10. Twenty-three years later, Greenspan wrote an essay entitled

    “Gold and Economic Freedom,” which was included in Rand’s book,

    “Capitalism, the Unknown Ideal.” In this essay, and repeatedly

    afterwards, Greenspan insisted he was an advocate of the gold

    standard. The philosophy of Objectivism recommends

    laissez-faire capitalism. And yet Greenspan oversaw and

    manipulated the American fiat money system as Chairman of the

    Federal Reserve for 20 years.
    ~That is from a link. ALAN GREESPAN & Rand go way back together. Alan’s wife? TV Spook show host https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrea_Mitchell

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  11. In his article, “The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult,” Murray N.

    Rothbard writes: “Strengthening the ties within the senior

    collective was the fact that each and every one of them was

    related to each other, all being part of one Canadian Jewish

    family, relatives of either Nathan or Barbara Branden. There

    was, for example, Nathan’s sister Elaine Kalberman; his

    brother-in-law, Harry Kalberman; his first cousin, Dr. Allan

    Blumenthal, who assumed the mantle of leading Objectivist

    Psychotherapist after Branden’s expulsion; Barbara’s first cousin,

    Leonard Piekoff; and Joan Mitchell, wife of Allan Blumenthal.”

    Nathaniel Branden had changed his name from Blumenthal to Brandon

    in the mid-1950’s, just as Ayn Rand had changed her name

    in 1926 from Alyssa Rosenbaum.

    *

    *

    Strangely enough, this unique group, which started having

    get-togethers at Rand’s New York apartment in 1943 every Saturday

    night, also included Alan Greenspan, destined to become Chairman

    of the Federal Reserve, 1987-2008. He was appointed by President

    Ronald Reagan following a series of high level posts in government

    under Presidents Nixon and Ford. It was in 1974 that Ayn Rand

    personally attended an official ceremony in the Ford White House

    for the swearing-in of Greenspan as the Chairman of the U.S.

    Council of Economic Advisers.

    *

    *

    Alan Greenspan, Washington, D.C.

    *

    *

    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    *
    Greenspan’s presence, however, can be explained also on a sort of

    ‘family’ level. He was the former husband of Joan Mitchell,

    the wife of Nathaniel Branden’s cousin Allen, also part of

    the group. Rand nicknamed Greenspan “the undertaker.”

    Rothard adds: “The only non-relative in the class of ’43

    was Mary Ann Rukovina, who made the top rank after being

    the college roommate of Joan Mitchell.”
    Another excerpt^^. This Greenspan & the younger lover couple appear more and more like handlers of Rand. Manipulators all. That is what these ‘aristocrats’ do to themselves (power struggles) and to the rest of humanity. To their amusement. To their deviant desires.

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  12. The source was spaced as seen above. Odd, and yes was a difficult read for the eyes. Did Rand support the traditional art worlds old master’s & reject the modern junk? If so that may be a big reason why Taos is not doing a more through paper on her & the company she kept. As well as the company that handled her.

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  13. Using the abusers as a measure to discredit the original source.

    Not understanding the difference between egoism (a virtue according to Ayn Rand and I agree; going after your own individual and those of your family interests) and egocentrism (selfishness; a vice; disregarding and trumping the interests of others), character assassination, lack of logic, fear of facts, it’s clear how this clownesque clique is playing their cards.

    Embrace your governminds then, take comfort in immoral illogical ideas. Those awake to the scam know this is as stupid as 100s of pages of Velikovsky.

    Feck “passive aggression”, it’s what it is.

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    1. I knew you were seething. Passive aggression is cowardice, the indirect attack combined with plausible deniability. Now you’ve come out in the open. And again, my only problem with Velikovsky is evidence … not the lack of it, but the abundance, not of Venus and all of that, which we will never know, but of entire islands of flash frozen animals, cities at 11,000 feet where food production is impossible. Etc. you actually have to do more than one book, and more than 100 pages.

      So your best option now is full frontal assault, like last time, when you said I was “batshit crazy.” If I were, of course, i would be the last to know, but I am suspicious it is more like you than me.

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      1. I am over these feuds, I don’t care if you’re stubborn, or evasive or blind.

        I share my thoughts and ideas. If others catch on, nice. If they don’t, then not.

        Or to speak in terms of the topic at hand:

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        1. If she wrote that stuff, questionable, it was certainly designed to appeal to fertile young minds. But you gotta grow out of it, come to know the real world, as this psycho-bitch never did.

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          1. I “gotta grow out to know the real world”? Hilarious; I have traveled more than you, and spoken to the real life local people in the countries I have visited, not the tourist trap image you get from a magazine. In former times I would go offensive, now I know your character, stubbornness and I don’t want to inconvenience you in your views.

            We can both establish that you fail to address the real arguments. And we can both be fine with that. Have fun, Mark, and don’t be inconvenienced by factual actual life. It may discomfort you. Freddie Mercury = Dr. Phil, no discussion.

            Glück auf!

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  14. There is so much hot air and outright lies in this hit piece it would be impossible to break them all down (not that it would do the dishonest author any good). Here are a few teasers:

    “She did not believe in romantic love-”

    That is simply not true. There is nothing that she has said or done to indicate such (in fact just the opposite). Either this is an outright lie or the author is just taking this from who knows where without any fact checking (this will be a reoccurring theme).

    “As she viewed it, our society was comprised of producers and consumers-”

    Misleading. In a free society, everyman is a producer and a consumer (the former making the later possible). Only in our welfare state society is it possible to be a class of “consumers” who producing nothing. Given that everything that is consumed must first have been produced, anyone who consumes without producing logically lives off the production of others, either by their charity (if he deserves it on his own merit) or by exploitation (as is done today).

    “It’s bullshit. We are far more a cooperative species than competitive.”

    This is a red herring. The issue isn’t when one should cooperate or compete (that is a concrete issue depending on the context), the real issue is one’s freedom to act for his own rational self-interest (whatever form that takes). Implicit here is a false equivalence between selfishness and predation, or to put it another way, the view that other people are not a rational value except as sacrificial animals. I have yet to meet someone of high self-esteem who is afraid of being evaluated rationally and selfishly.

    “Randian economics, when put in practice, quickly leads to disaster.”

    There is no such thing as “Randian economics”. Ayn Rand wasn’t an economist, nor did she have any unique economic theories per se. If by “Randian economics” you mean laissez-faire capitalism (which she advocated on philosophical grounds), all I can say is back up your claim with some facts. As it stands now this isn’t even worth rebutting.

    “Of course, she did not write her fiction to sell it as such, but rather to exhibit her philosophy”

    Misleading at best. Here are her own words: “The motive and purpose of my writing is the projection of an ideal man. The portrayal of a moral ideal, as my ultimate literary goal, as an end in itself.” (from The Romantic Manifesto chapter “The Goal of My Writing”). Emphasis on “as an end in itself”. Ayn Rand wrote many non-fiction books elaborating on her ideas, but the goal of her fiction writing was primarily artistic (the author’s amateur evaluation notwithstanding).

    I could do this with every sentence but my time is better spent elsewhere.

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    1. All righty then, only so many hours in a day. Normally folks like you come here, proclaim for all that you are right about everything (RAE), and storm out. I was once married to a narcissist, though in terms of the suffering such people impart on others, I doubt the distinction between that and sociopath has much meaning, just one of slight degree. But one aspect of my ex’s narcissism was that even though not bright in an IQ sense, never having read anything beyond cheap fiction, she would never admit to being wrong about anything. This strikes me as possibly endemic in Rand’s followers, never being wrong, evidence be damned. I will address a few of your hostile words below, and hope your comment was meant to be the great storm out, leaving an environment where you are not RAE and back to your cocoon.

      You say that it is is “simply not true” that she did not believe in romantic love. I refer you to the long and tedious scene in Atlas where Reardon beds Taggert. He then lays on her the facts of his existence, that coupling among humans is meant to be mutually beneficial without the interference of romance. It is a cold and calculated matter. Anyone who has ever experience romantic love (even as we know it cools) knows that to be false. Only someone who had not experienced it could write that awful bed scene.

      Me: “As she viewed it, our society was comprised of producers and consumers-”
      You: “In a free society, every man is a producer and a consumer (the former making the later possible).”
      You simply restated what I said.

      Me: “It’s bullshit. We are far more a cooperative species than competitive.”
      You: “This is a red herring. The issue isn’t when one should cooperate or compete (that is a concrete issue depending on the context), the real issue is one’s freedom to act for his own rational self-interest (whatever form that takes). Implicit here is a false equivalence between selfishness and predation, or to put it another way, the view that other people are not a rational value except as sacrificial animals. I have yet to meet someone of high self-esteem who is afraid of being evaluated rationally and selfishly.”
      Me: I don’t have time or energy for unpacking of that convoluted paragraph. I think it restates the obvious, that we are both self-interested and cooperative. Only a few a predators … those in desperation, and narcissists and sociopaths.

      You: “There is no such thing as “Randian economics” … If by “Randian economics” you mean laissez-faire capitalism (which she advocated on philosophical grounds) …”
      Me: Very hard to critique something that people “believe in” but that does not exist in real life, laissez-faire capitalism. All functional and successful societies grant a measure of economic freedom while placing necessary and rational limits on it to prevent chaos and collapse. So it is a rare thing to see, the most recent example the deregulation of the power grid in California. Chaos ensued, but Randians, of course, blame the whole thing on gubbmint.

      Me: “Of course, she did not write her fiction to sell it as such, but rather to exhibit her philosophy”
      You: “Ayn Rand wrote many non-fiction books elaborating on her ideas, but the goal of her fiction writing was primarily artistic (the author’s amateur evaluation notwithstanding).”
      Me: If that is the case, we have here the portrait of the artist as a really bad writer.

      You: “I could do this with every sentence but my time is better spent elsewhere.”
      The inevitable narcissistic storm out. Enjoy your RAE existence. If you peruse this blog over time, you’ll see that neither I nor the other writers and most commenters are so lacking in humility as to not acknowledge and occasionally being wrong, sometimes wildly so. That is life on the real planet.

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      1. Most of your response is just projection, hot air, and name-calling. It is easier to smear others for their ideas than to actually uphold anything yourself. Anyone who upholds anything is an “extremist”, a “narcissist” and “thinks they are smarter than everyone else” (all based on nothing but your own impression), while you feel safe holding no firm views yourself. I would suggest looking in the mirror and asking yourself if your cynicism is so noble or if you are guilty of the same perverse motivations you project onto those who challenge you. You can pat yourself on the back for being “openminded” when it is convenient and easy, that doesn’t excuse the ridiculous smears, falsehoods, and evasion that you have committed here.

        Anybody can change their mind, very few can check their premises.

        As for the rest of your response, I’ll just say a few things.

        “You say that it is is “simply not true” that she did not believe in romantic love. I refer you to the long and tedious scene in Atlas where Reardon beds Taggert… Only someone who had not experienced it could write that awful bed scene.”

        All I can say is, speak for your self brother! If you would rather leave romance in the realm of animalistic urges and vague feelings, that’s your right. But don’t try and monopolize romantic love because someone else’s descriptions don’t jive with you. Again all you are offering is your smears backed up by nothing but your opinion and feelings. If you have any relevant facts I wouldn’t mind hearing them.

        “You simply restated what I said.”

        No, I didn’t. You said Ayn Rand viewed society as made up of producers and consumers (as two separate groups). I said they are one and the same in a free society. Production precedes consumption (modern economic non-sense notwithstanding) and consumption is the end goal of production. Only in a slave society do some men live off of the production of others.

        This distinction is important. There is not a “producer class” and a “consumer class” (the way Marxists have a “Capitalist class” and a “worker class”), there are only individuals who produce, trade and consume according to their ability, desires, and context. A janitor is as much of a producer as Bill Gates, at least in the moral sense. Crony businessmen are as much parasites as a welfare queen.

        “I think it restates the obvious, that we are both self-interested and cooperative.”

        If that is obvious to you, then I’m not sure where we are in disagreement (at least as far as morality is concerned). This is what happens when you start with vague smears backed by nothing, you end up having to backtrack and say “well actually I agree”. This wouldn’t have been an issue if you started with facts and were clear from the beginning.

        “All functional and successful societies grant a measure of economic freedom while placing necessary and rational limits on it to prevent chaos and collapse.”

        “Rational limits” is so vague it includes everyone who isn’t an anarchist (which Ayn Rand most certainly wasn’t). Capitalism is the system in which private property, freedom of trade and freedom of production is protected as an absolute (as opposed to when the government feels like it). Those are the “rational limits” on the economy in a free society. If you properly defined your terms, there would be something to respond to here. As it stands this is a ridiculous strawman at best.

        As far as practical defenses of Capitalism, there are better sources than Ayn Rand. What economic system is best is also too big of a topic for a debate in the comment section. My point is not to show that Capitalism is practical, but that you aren’t very clear on what your issue even is.

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        1. So this is what it is like to be “mansplained” to … I think I am getting it now, why Randians annoy me so. You’ve got it all figured out, or so you say, but you can never quite … ‘splain things. You are utopian in viewpoint, and as such, are useless. There is no world in which your philosophy functions, producers are not fed upon by consumers, even as you say they are one and the same. You and her followers end up isolated and talking down to us, and we simply hope you go away and leave us alone. There is no capitalism, in case you want to lift your head out of the book and look about. There are only self-appointed and annoying advocates for her lost and useless philosophy, which has at its base economics, which is why Alan Greenspan admired her so. At least now I know how Dagny felt after Howard explained relationships to her … no, wait! She did not do as I suggested, showing his sorry ass the door. Her failing. But she was merely Ayn’s self-projected image.

          There are no John Galt’s. We make them up. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs pushed the same technology, which was preceded in time by DARPA, and wrapped with a ribbon and handed over to them. Same now with Elon Musk and SpaceX, fake fake fake. But now I begin to see the purpose of the Ayn Rand project, to plant in our minds the idea that a few really smart people are the reason for our success as a society.

          I sense your Dagny has tired of you. So have I. Do us a favor. Go Galt.

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  15. I will respond tomorrow, too much to absorb late in the day for a senior citizen. I will offer this, however … Rand offered a magnet for intelligent people to communicate, pre-Internet. I was enthralled by her in my forties, but was not sucked in. Too much noise around her, more like a project.

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        1. Not sure if I sent my last comment? Don’t think so
          Anyway – on your side on this one. Sociopath etc. And a fraud. I sent Liam the article. Good luck convincing him. See : James Holzhauer

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          1. There is a commenter above, “Big swede,” read Rand in his younger years, bought it, formed that outlook. I’ve known him for decades, nice guy, smart and all. I don’t imagine I have it all figured out, but it seems to me that Rand was a “stop” in the thought process, no more forward movement after her. There come a point when you have to examine the models when the real world and the models do not flesh out. One or the other is flawed, and it is not usually the real, totally f****** up world. It does not conform well to various philosophies.

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  16. I’ve never got on the bandwagon. Was probably too old when I was introduced. I had heard of Ayn Rand (Ron Paul/Rand Paul), but never read any of her books until Liam became really interested in Objectivism. Atlas Shrugged is a boring book. I say that while wondering if I’m just not smart enough to get it. Because the IQ of most Objectivists is higher than mine I’m sure…so what gives?
    There’s a pied piper element to it all that unsettles me…

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  17. Anton Levey or LeVay as he too changed his last name, also credits his ‘church of satan’ on Rand’s writing but adding ‘ritual & ceremony’. He too is another g’mint spook/project officially in 1966.

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