Thomas
 
  3  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 09:26 am
@Phoenix32890,
Phoenix32890 wrote:
You might want to take a look at this:[/b][/color]

http://tfasinternational.org/ila/AynRand-ForTheNewIntellectual.pdf

He might---or he might not. I'm not holding my breath for anyone to read a 160-page document, when they've already decided they don't like what they're going to read. So let me see if I can do a 160-word explanation instead.

Rand's core maxims were self-ownership and non-aggression, where self-ownership implies that people also own everything they produce by their own labor, plus everything others have voluntarily given them. "Non-agression" means it's immoral to use force or fraud, except in responding to force or fraud. In particular, taxation is wrong because it's force. (In the case of Social Security, she probably also believed it was a Ponzi scheme, and hence fraud.)

Rand never said "Greed is Good". She did write a book, The Virtue of Selfishness, in which she basically elaborates a point of Adam-Smith's: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages." About taking advantage of the poor and the middle class: Rand never said that's okay. (160 words)

There is much to criticize about Rand's worldview. I am emphatically not a Rand-head myself. But to claim she was a hypocrite for accepting some money from the Social Security Administration is just a cheap smear. Rand didn't force or defraud anyone to get those payments. There's no claim that she took out more than she'd put in. Unless something else happened during this episode of her life, she remained well within the bounds of her worldview.
failures art
 
  3  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 10:36 am
@Thomas,
I do not object to the fact that she accepted SS or MC. She did pay into these programs and was no less entitled to them. Certainly, if she needed them, I' am glad she had access to them. My objection is to the effort made to conceal this fact. I believe the hypocrisy resides in that her statements regarding SS and MC were not restrained to the programs themselves, but also those who would accept them.

She entered her own cross-hairs and to save face obscured her behavior. It would have been more honest to simply be upfront about taking advantage of a system that had (what she claimed was) her money. That however would have encouraged others to accept that somewhere in these "immoral" government programs lies a truth about their necessity. Ego/pride versus the reality of her own situation.

A
R
T

Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:16 pm
@failures art,
Quote:
My objection is to the effort made to conceal this fact.


Maybe I am missing something, but how is it known that she attempted to "conceal" the fact that she was utilizing programs to which she was forcefully obliged to contribute?

I don't care for government handouts, but I do not consider SS & Medicare handouts, and am happy to get the check in the mail every month. Actually I pay a pretty penny for my Medicare (and Medigap), and my husband is still paying into SS, although he does not get anything more out of it. I probably would have done much better if I had invested all the money that I paid (and am still paying) into those two programs, and gotten insurance myself.

Thomas- I know that most people would not want to read the 160 pages, but that is exactly my point. How come that people who don't really know much about Rand's views, and won't even take the time to read and absorb them, are such experts about her???
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:19 pm
@failures art,
failures art wrote:
My objection is to the effort made to conceal this fact.

What makes you think she concealed this fact? She had a pseudonym under which she published her writing, and a "civilian" name under which the authorities knew her. The same is true for hundreds of authors. How is that concealment?
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:25 pm
@Pemerson,
Ayn Rand not only wrote fiction but also wrote essays where she tried to create a new system of philosophy because the traditional philosophers that she studied in school were misguided.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:28 pm
@Thomas,
Agree. I would expect that her social security number was under her real, legal name, and not her "nom de plume".
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:37 pm
@Pemerson,
Yes, to some people, she WAS a "cult figure". When I used to go to her lectures, I saw young people who treated her like a rock star. Even then, I thought that those folks were goofy. In those days, even I was a little goofy myself, but I had the wherewithal to know that, bottom line, I needed to think for myself.

Often, when a charismatic figure emerges, there are a group of "true believers" who will hang on to their every word. I can think of a few right now who have caused untold suffering in this world because people chose to accept their precepts wholesale, instead of thinking things through individually.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:39 pm
@Phoenix32890,
Did you hear Ayn Rand do any preaching that it is wrong to take government assistance, Phoenix?
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:43 pm
I think that Rand's defenders here should read up on or watch The Fountainhead. Rand personally oversaw the entire script, and not only was it a mess from beginning to end, it directly laid out her opinions, which were completely contrary to how she comported herself privately.

Quote:
The Insanity of Ayn Rand: The Fountain-Brain-Dead.

Yikes, darlings!

I watch a lot of old movies on TCM, mostly because TCM are my initials. (I'm Tallulah Clytemnestra Morehead) and I just finished watching a doozy of a terrible movie on TCM, one that has to be seen to be disbelieved: the ultra-hilarious piece of right-wing objectivist claptrap, the movie of Ayn Rand's ridiculous novel, The Fountainhead, starring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal, as glamorous, sexy Fascists, I mean an architect and his best gal.

I'm afraid Juliette's blowing up the H-Bomb on that island on Lost must have screwed up the Time-Space Continuum. This can't be Normal Reality, because this movie is the most absurd piece of twaddle I have sat through since the final season of Roseanne.

Enormously well-hung Gary Cooper plays Howard Roarke, the most brilliant, unpopular, and egotistical architect in the world. The movie is all about how people are always trying to get Howard Roarke to design buildings just like the same ones everyone else designs, but Howard is too great to listen to anyone, even his clients. People are always telling him his designs are too outré, although his houses are all Frank Lloyd Wright rip-offs, and his office buildings are all rectangular glass and steel structures that look exactly like every souless office building clogging the downtowns of every major city in the world, the very style that Jacques Tati spent his great movie Playtime attacking. "We can't take a chance," they always say to him, as though they were gambling their lives building an office tower or a block of flats. Has the designer of Disney Hall in Los Angeles been lynched yet?

The villain of the story is a newspaper architectural critic, who wields tremendous public power. He writes a column of architectural criticism, and his slightest word can bring the city to a halt. What planet is this? When the publisher fires the architectural critic, the staff walks out in support of the critic, and the paper buckles under to the critic, and the publisher shoots himself. Star Trek is more realistic.

Howard does not consider architecture to be a collaborative art. Rather, it's the solitary work of a lone artist, toiling away in an attic somewhere. Making even the tiniest change in any of his designs is intolerable to Roarke.

He means it. When a block of flats he designed are built while he is on a vacation with Patricia Neal, with changes made at the orders of the people paying for it to be built, Roarke dynamites it. He stands trial for blowing up this building he didn't own, in the middle of Manhattan, without so much as a blasting permit. It's a wildly illegal, irresponsible, dangerous, negligent act of overwhelming egotism, an SMD: a Snit of Mass Destruction.

He's found innocent, and the jury and the whole courtroom erupts into applause at this horrific miscarriage of justice. He has admitted committing the crime on the stand. His defense was that he has way better taste than the pigs who paid for it, so he should be able to blow it up. The jury buys this idiocy. The movie paints him as a hero.

The first clue that Howard Roarke has something weirdly wrong with him comes early on. He's going out of business. A friend offers him a loan, and he refuses it. Okay. He has too much pride to take help. That's fine. But he says, "I never ask for nor give help."

What? He never "gives help"? He never helps anyone?

Yup. That's exactly what he means. He's anti-helping his fellow man. In his trial summation, six minutes of Gary Cooper giving a completely unhinged, turgid speech, he actually says, "The world is perishing in an orgy of self-sacrifice ."

Whatever finishes off mankind, it won't be an excess of self-sacrifice. The movie is pro-selfishness and egoism (which is just egotism misspelled), and anti-altruism. It preaches, at length and in a superior tone, that Altruism is Bad. And it means it.

The "love" story subplot is a scream. Patricia Neal is an architect's daughter who hates anything that makes her happy, because her taste is too supurb, and the masses with their bad taste will destroy anything she likes, so she deliberately throws out any stuff she has that she likes (We first meet her dropping a lovely nude statue down an airshaft), and she refuses to marry the man she loves, and instead marries a man she finds creepy, to avoid being happy, so happiness can't be taken from her. She'd rather be miserable, than be happy, and risk being made miserable by the masses. If you can find any sense in that, let me know.

So she's vacationing in a lovely home that adjoins a marble quarry where they dynamite rock all day, every day. Let me repeat this: she is intentionally vacationing in a house next door to a site that is blasting rocks with dynamite all day long, every day. You can't get more relaxing than that.

Her idea of sight-seeing is riding her horse to the quarry and then wandering around, drooling over the hunky, muscular workmen driving pickaxes into walls of granite. This is, in my opinion, the only sensible thing in the whole movie. And her favorite workman is Howard Roarke, who is working there after driving himself out of business with his too-high standards of taste. She first sees him holding a jackhammer, drilling away into into solid rock. She is turned on by the ever-so-subtle sexual implication of his drilling into rock with a jackhammer. She must imagine she has a marble hymen.

Now she can't get him out of her mind. She rides around on her horse, imagining Howard and his drill while she's being jostled in the saddle. At one point she rides up to him and slashes him across the face with a riding crop, which makes him grin, and the unforgettable final shot of the film is her riding up over 100 stories in an outdoor elevator (No elevator can go that far. It takes three to get to the top of the Empire State Building.) to where Howard is standing, on top of his not-yet-finished "Tallest building in the world." The shot tracks in on his crotch as he stands astride his masterpiece, the world's-biggest-phallic symbol.

The movie was written by the novelist-nutball, Russian-American, writer-philosopher Ayn Rand. She promoted a form of highly-anti-communist philosophy called "Objectivism," probably because it is so objectionable.

Being virulently anti-Communism-and-Socialism, she believed that ownership and rights of property were sacrosanct, although when Howard Roarke, her Ideal Man, blows up other people's property because he doesn't like it, it's a righteous act, not a violation of other people's rights of property. Ayn was a hypocrite.

Ayn wrote every word of dialogue, and forbade a word of it to be changed. She was the Howard Roarke of screenwriters. What she was not was a good writer of dialogue, none of which sounds like human speech, and all of which sounds like a lecture from a Fox News lunatic.

Ayn insisted that Gary Cooper say every damn word of her summation speech, which is utterly nuts from beginning to end. Jack Warner, no slouch in the anti-Commie department himself, ended up cutting it down a little. It's still six minutes of Gary Cooper standing in one place, making a completely insane-yet-boring speech, in praise of selfishness, condemning altruism, and stating that there are only two types of humans: "Creators" and "Parasites." That's it. No shades of gray. No middle-management.

When Ayn learned that some slight cuts had been made to her speech, she squawked and hollered, but she did not blow up Warner Brothers, nor set fire to the negative and all prints, nor even beat Jack Warner into paste with a poker (Damn!), which makes her a raging hypocrite. It's what Howard Roarke would have done. It's what Bette Davis would have done.

Ayn is having a small vogue right now (very small, as the country is becoming far less happy with rightwing nutballs), because her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, an insane novel that makes The Lord of the Rings seem like a speedy short story, is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary just now. This means that the people who began reading it the day it came out, are nearly through it by now, those that haven't hanged themselves.

Ayn believed in a woman looking up to The Ideal Man, and Howard Roarke is Him. And Ayn claimed she wrote it for Gary Cooper, so he's her sexual ideal. Well, at least she's left Hugh Jackman for me.

Have you ever seen a photograph of Ayn Rand? For a woman who wants strong muscular men to drill her like a jackhammer, Ayn went to a lot of trouble to look like a Bloomsbury literary Lesbian. In fact, she looked rather like a young Rosa Klebb, only not as sexy.

Ayn died the day after John Belushi died, although I don't think she did so to cheer us up again.

Life is too short to spend any of it reading the insane horrors which are the writings of Ayn Rand. Read my book instead.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tallulah-morehead/the-insanity-of-ayn-rand_b_211209.html

Cycloptichorn
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:47 pm
@Thomas,
I need to make a minor correction:

Thomas wrote:
Rand never said "Greed is Good". She did write a book, The Virtue of Selfishness, in which she basically elaborates a point of Adam-Smith's: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities but of their advantages." About taking advantage of the poor and the middle class: Rand never said that's okay. (160 words)

Although Rand did publish a book titled The Virtue of Selfishness, the book where she elaborate the invisible-hand doctrine is Capitalism---the Unknown Ideal. Her themes in The Virtue of Selfishness are that---
  • people's egos are much more inclusive and wholesome than authoritarian minds give them credit for, and
  • stomping on people's egos to instil a mystique of self-sacrifice will therefore be counterproductive.
My mixing up the two books doesn't affect the conclusion though: In neither does she come anywhere close to saying that "greed is good". At best, that's how Oliver Stone's parodized what she said in his movie Wall Street. Ayn Rand's ideology would probably hold that greed is stupid because it tends to impoverish you in the long run. And it would condemn the Bud and Gordon-Gecko characters because their spying and insider dealings involved fraud.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:53 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
I think that Rand's defenders here should read up on or watch The Fountainhead.

I don't see how your cut-and-paste would change our defense against this particular charge of hypocrisy. Whether she was insane or not, your copy-and-paste does not support the claim that she was an insane hypocrite for accepting Medicare.

This is after granting you, for the sake of discussion, that your copy-and-paste supports anything. Nothing in it gives me the impression that the author was motivated by a dispassionate search for the truth, rather than, say, having fun with a partisan smear.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:54 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I agree that the film of The Fountainhead was a mess. It was stilted, and not terribly interesting. Not so the book.


Quote:
Have you ever seen a photograph of Ayn Rand? For a woman who wants strong muscular men to drill her like a jackhammer, Ayn went to a lot of trouble to look like a Bloomsbury literary Lesbian. In fact, she looked rather like a young Rosa Klebb, only not as sexy.


Not only have I seen a photograph, I have seen her in person, many times. . She was short and squat, and not terribly attractive, physically. But when she opened her mouth, the breadth of her intelligence shone through.

0 Replies
 
failures art
 
  3  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:58 pm
I understand the writer pseudonym bit. Eminem's real name is Marshal Mathers, and I'm sure his SS card doesn't say Eminem. It is that she mislead people into believing that she would never accept such things because it was immoral; "parasitic." She was perfectly content to let people think she was above accepting such things. This was not true.

I think this was blushing.

A
R
T
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 12:59 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Cycloptichorn wrote:
I think that Rand's defenders here should read up on or watch The Fountainhead.

I don't see how your cut-and-paste would change our defense against this particular charge of hypocrisy. Whether she was insane or not, your copy-and-paste does not support the claim that she was an insane hypocrite for accepting Medicare.

This is after granting you, for the sake of discussion, that your copy-and-paste supports anything. Nothing in it gives me the impression that the author was motivated by a dispassionate search for the truth, rather than, say, having fun with a partisan smear.


I don't believe the motivations of the author are the matter under discussion here, but rather, the fact that Rand's stated views and beliefs are not consistent with her actions.

Rand consistently promoted a black-and-white worldview, one in which there were two types of people: producers and parasites. And her lead characters all famously upheld this view.

Let us recall the famous Oath that John Galt took:

Quote:
I swear—by my life and my love of it—that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.


Where in there does it say 'unless I need assistance, in which case, sign me up?' The fact that she 'paid into' the Social Security system is immaterial, because we all know that those payments aren't stored in a bank; they are spent on others. She literally DID live for the sake of another man and she DID ask others do do that for her, when she was 0lder and in need.

She could have chosen to follow Galt's oath and simply die rather than accept SS monies paid by others for support. But she didn't, because she loved her life more than she believed in her ideals.

---

Part of the problem for Rand is that Randians tend to attempt to use her philosophy to justify all sorts of crazy opinions about the world and the way that our society should be ran. When the differences between her stated worldview and her choices in life are revealed, it isn't helpful to their cause.

The fact that it is only now, long after her death, revealed that she had feet of clay just like everyone else? Not a coincidence. I highly doubt that she would have wanted this knowledge publicized during her life and I would bet that some efforts were expended to keep this a secret.

Cycloptichorn
djjd62
 
  3  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 01:01 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
well said
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 01:04 pm
@Phoenix32890,
Phoenix32890 wrote:
Thomas- I know that most people would not want to read the 160 pages, but that is exactly my point. How come that people who don't really know much about Rand's views, and won't even take the time to read and absorb them, are such experts about her???

Because it's easy to dig up some propagandist's third-hand account using Google, and to persuade yourself that copying and pasting such accounts establishes you as an expert. Just a guess.
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 01:08 pm
@wandeljw,
Quote:
Did you hear Ayn Rand do any preaching that it is wrong to take government assistance, Phoenix?


I don't believe so. Her problem was with the government taking money from people who produced, and giving it to people who didn't. From what I learned, in her mind the appropriate way to deal with people in need was through private charitable organizations, where people gave money or services as they wanted.

The operative word here is "uncoerced". If a person wanted to give to charity, it was the individual's choice.

Early in the 20th century, there was little government assistance. People in need would go to private charities that were funded through donations. People would not expect charity as a "right".

My mother used to tell a story about her mother. Mom had six siblings. Her father was a tailor, so his work was seasonal. My grandmother worked as a janitor in her building, for a reduction in rent. On the weekends, she sold goods from a pushcart.

One day, a lady from the local charity came to the door, offering aid. My grandmother threw her out. She was humiliated that someone wanted to give her charity. No matter how poor, she worked for what she had.
djjd62
 
  4  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 01:09 pm
@Thomas,
or it could just be that its fun to denigrate public figures

and it is

and they deserve it, especially if they exist in the political realm
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 01:10 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

Phoenix32890 wrote:
Thomas- I know that most people would not want to read the 160 pages, but that is exactly my point. How come that people who don't really know much about Rand's views, and won't even take the time to read and absorb them, are such experts about her???

Because it's easy to dig up some propagandist's third-hand account using Google, and to persuade yourself that copying and pasting such accounts establishes you as an expert. Just a guess.


One would think that you would be able to recognize the difference between a light-hearted movie review and a scholarly article, intended to persuade a viewer one way or the other. Sadly this doesn't seem to be the case.

I also take exception with your use of the word 'propagandist.' It's misplaced here.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  4  
Reply Mon 14 Feb, 2011 01:12 pm
@Phoenix32890,
Quote:
Early in the 20th century, there was little government assistance. People in need would go to private charities that were funded through donations. People would not expect charity as a "right".


Well, this is true. But it's also true that living conditions for the poor at that time were perfectly horrid, poverty was crushing, and diseases amongst the poor and indigent were for the most part untreated. Abortions were as dangerous as they were common.

I have no problem with nostalgic looks into the past, but let us be honest: private charity did not do the job that public works have done. Not in the slightest.

Cycloptichorn
 

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