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Thread: Ayn Rand

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    ancient atoms hypatia_'s Avatar
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    Ayn Rand

    What are your thoughts on her writing?
    “the sense of being which in calm hours arises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source.... Here is the fountain of action and of thought....

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    Registered User Darcy88's Avatar
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    I rate her alongside Stephenie Meyer as a writer and Glenn Beck as a thinker.



    Gore Vidal on Rand:

    "This odd little woman is attempting to give a moral sanction to greed and self interest, and to pull it off she must at times indulge in purest Orwellian newspeak of the “freedom is slavery” sort. What interests me most about her is not the absurdity of her “philosophy,” but the size of her audience (in my campaign for the House she was the one writer people knew and talked about). She has a great attraction for simple people who are puzzled by organized society, who object to paying taxes, who dislike the “welfare” state, who feel guilt at the thought of the suffering of others but who would like to harden their hearts. For them, she has an enticing prescription: altruism is the root of all evil, self-interest is the only good, and if you’re dumb or incompetent that’s your lookout."
    “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”

    - Kurt Vonnegut

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    ancient atoms hypatia_'s Avatar
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    I'm not sure where people get the whole "down with altruism" and "greed is good" theme from her work. I certainly didn't.

    According to Gore Vidal, Alexander Fleming selfishly studied science, when he could have been helping people at homeless shelters. But alas, his passion and decision to do nothing but follow that passion (the core of objectivism) led to his discovery of penicillin.
    “the sense of being which in calm hours arises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source.... Here is the fountain of action and of thought....

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    Registered User Darcy88's Avatar
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    Here you go:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51pMod2Aaso

    First thing she says is that "altruists are evil." The best part is around 3:30 where she says that its fine to help others as long as "its not your primary aim in life and you don't regard it as a moral virtue."

    The funny thing I find is that many Christians like Ayn Rand even though she's one of the most anti-Christian thinkers of all time.
    “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”

    - Kurt Vonnegut

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    Registered User maxphisher's Avatar
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    If you aren't gathering a "down with altruism" message from Rand, then you haven't read anything that she has written. Elsworth Toohey is the epitome of Rand's demonizing of altruism. Also, greed is the evil that is hidden behind Rand's theories of individualism. Her characters are presented as individuals who practice noble selfishness; however, she pretends that greed is not the common lifeblood behind capitalism. Of course, she also pretended that she didn't thrive on the hero worship that she demanded from her sycophantic followers.

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    ancient atoms hypatia_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxphisher View Post
    If you aren't gathering a "down with altruism" message from Rand, then you haven't read anything that she has written. Elsworth Toohey is the epitome of Rand's demonizing of altruism. Also, greed is the evil that is hidden behind Rand's theories of individualism. Her characters are presented as individuals who practice noble selfishness; however, she pretends that greed is not the common lifeblood behind capitalism. Of course, she also pretended that she didn't thrive on the hero worship that she demanded from her sycophantic followers.
    Elsworth Toohey was a villain in the Fountainhead, so yes, he totally demonized altruism. He was in direct conflict with the protagonist Howard Roark. It seems like you are the one who hasn't read anything she has written.

    Quote Originally Posted by darcy88
    Here you go:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51pMod2Aaso

    First thing she says is that "altruists are evil." The best part is around 3:30 where she says that its fine to help others as long as "its not your primary aim in life and you don't regard it as a moral virtue."

    The funny thing I find is that many Christians like Ayn Rand even though she's one of the most anti-Christian thinkers of all time.
    When one says "altruists are evil," it's all about frame of reference. To you perhaps, it is a very selfish concept to say, "don't help others." But when one views altruism as doing what YOU do best in order to BEST help others, then it is quite different.

    I think you bring up an interesting point about Christians liking her. Is it so odd that she is an anti-Christian thinker and developed a Christian following? Perhaps someone clearly articulating the pillars of objective thinking is just what they needed? :P
    Last edited by hypatia_; 05-13-2013 at 02:23 PM.
    “the sense of being which in calm hours arises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source.... Here is the fountain of action and of thought....

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    You make sense, Darcy.
    hypatia, it's all a matter of perception. ROFMAO

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    Registered User Grit's Avatar
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    I read Atlas Shrugged, and that's it. I read it because Bioshock (2009? Game of the Year) was based on it. I really liked it, the multiple-page preaching speeches aside. I scanned through them, especially when they were just metaphor after metaphor for the same thing.

    She's clearly a pro-capitalist. Atlas Shrugged is a fantastic example of why capitalism should work. It makes the reader angry when these titans of industry are being shackled by jealous, lazy bureaucrats. Of course, it isn't as simple as Ayn Rand claims.

    Quote Originally Posted by cafolini View Post
    You make sense, Darcy.
    hypatia, it's all a matter of perception. ROFMAO
    Nice contribution, although I'm afraid I'm unfamiliar with the phrase ROFMAO. Please keep it coming, I don't know how we would manage without you.
    While the truncheon may be used
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    Registered User Darcy88's Avatar
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    I can sort of understand where Rand was coming from since she and her family were rather negatively impacted by the Bolshevik revolution and she must have feared, as many did at the time, that Communism would sweep across the globe. But you have to ask yourself which world you would rather live in. One where charity and compassion are placed aloft as the highest virtues, or one where they are demonized and discouraged, where Rand's "I" is valued first and foremost. The answer should be obvious.

    The other irony with Rand is that the big government welfare state policies which she so despised are the best safeguard against Communism. They temper the suffering and therefore the wrath of the masses and mitigate against revolution.
    “To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”

    - Kurt Vonnegut

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    ancient atoms hypatia_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafolini View Post
    You make sense, Darcy.
    hypatia, it's all a matter of perception. ROFMAO
    Please expand. Simply stating your opinion in binary format does not warrant very good discussion! :P

    Quote Originally Posted by Darcy88 View Post
    I can sort of understand where Rand was coming from since she and her family were rather negatively impacted by the Bolshevik revolution and she must have feared, as many did at the time, that Communism would sweep across the globe. But you have to ask yourself which world you would rather live in. One where charity and compassion are placed aloft as the highest virtues, or one where they are demonized and discouraged, where Rand's "I" is valued first and foremost. The answer should be obvious.

    The other irony with Rand is that the big government welfare state policies which she so despised are the best safeguard against Communism. They temper the suffering and therefore the wrath of the masses and mitigate against revolution.
    I think that's a big part of understanding Rand is trying to see her writing from her frame of reference.

    Here's my frame:

    Living your life being told how to think, how to live, what path to take (go to college, get a job, start a family, work until you retire), Rand's philosophy of objectivism as it pertains strictly to human nature (ignoring the complexities of her political views), was extremely refreshing to me.
    Last edited by hypatia_; 05-13-2013 at 04:09 PM.
    “the sense of being which in calm hours arises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source.... Here is the fountain of action and of thought....

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    Expanding. R O F L M A O

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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    The funny thing I find is that many Christians like Ayn Rand even though she's one of the most anti-Christian thinkers of all time.

    That's simply because many professed Christians are the most anti-Christian thinkers.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
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    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    http://http://www.firstthings.com/ar...-with-ayn-rand

    When it comes to Rand, I think this essay says it all quite well.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
    The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.- Mark Twain
    My Blog: Of Delicious Recoil
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    ancient atoms hypatia_'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    The funny thing I find is that many Christians like Ayn Rand even though she's one of the most anti-Christian thinkers of all time.

    That's simply because many professed Christians are the most anti-Christian thinkers.
    Why would someone profess a religion if they thought the opposite? And I will check out your article, thank you. I enjoy legitimate criticisms of authors rather than people posting R O F L M A O as if that were a method of discussion.
    “the sense of being which in calm hours arises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source.... Here is the fountain of action and of thought....

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    Dance Magic Dance OrphanPip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hypatia_ View Post
    Elsworth Toohey was a villain in the Fountainhead, so yes, he totally demonized altruism. He was in direct conflict with the protagonist Howard Roark. It seems like you are the one who hasn't read anything she has written.
    Uh, you seem to be confused, Toohey is a straw man of an altruist used by rand to demonize altrusim. This is precisely what Max wrote.


    Quote Originally Posted by hypatia_ View Post
    When one says "altruists are evil," it's all about frame of reference. To you perhaps, it is a very selfish concept to say, "don't help others." But when one views altruism as doing what YOU do best in order to BEST help others, then it is quite different.
    Either way Rand would say it is evil. According to her your goal should never be to best help others. It has nothing to do with the way you choose to help people.

    Quote Originally Posted by hypatia_ View Post

    According to Gore Vidal, Alexander Fleming selfishly studied science, when he could have been helping people at homeless shelters. But alas, his passion and decision to do nothing but follow that passion (the core of objectivism) led to his discovery of penicillin.
    How would that be according to Gore Vidal? Saying that advocating greed in all situations is a pernicious philosophy, does not imply a belief that one must act selflessly at all times. Moreover, it requires quite a bit of arrogance on your part to apparently be able to define Fleming's motivations. Who knew that Fleming decided to get into researching sepsis and bacterial disease while treating injured soldiers in WWI all because he just simply loved science so damn much.
    Last edited by OrphanPip; 05-13-2013 at 09:59 PM.
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