Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature

Via FrumForum, I found this interesting blog called Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature. Here, the blog reprints the famous Winston tunnel scene — the deaths-by-suffocation of several passengers on a train. Rand strongly implies that the passengers deserve to die because of their political opinions:

It is said that catastrophes are a matter of pure chance, and there were those who would have said that the passengers of the Comet were not guilty or responsible for the thing that happened to them.

The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 1, was a professor of sociology who taught that individual ability is of no consequence, that individual effort is futile, that an individual conscience is a useless luxury, that there is no individual mind or character or achievement, that everything is achieved collectively, and that it’s masses that count, not men.

The man in Roomette 7, Car No. 2, was a journalist who wrote that it is proper and moral to use compulsion ‘for a good cause’

…..

And so on for another 2-3 pages.

I normally wouldn’t bring up something so grim this close to the cocktail hour, but the wooden writing and cardboard (at best) character sketches make it more comical than disturbing.






75 replies
  1. 1
    Keith G says:

    Had a boyfriend in college who was an Rand aficionado. We didn’t last. He was way too emotionally needy.

  2. 2
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    And then there was the Ayn Rand-Contra affair, in which conservatives sold their brains and used the money to hold gullible voters hostage.

    Kind of an unsung scandal really, conservatives have never been the same since.

  3. 3
    Cat Lady says:

    the application of Randian property rights turns out in practice to be as unclear to Randians as it is to anyone else

    And thus the epitaph for libertarians is written. Good riddance to bad garbage.

  4. 4

    Hmm. Undesirables and leeches on society who get on a train, and then they die horribly.

    Hmmm.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  5. 5
    Alwhite says:

    Ayn had a mental illness, her well-to-do family lost everything to the Soviet revolution. This caused her to become unhinged. If you read her sludge with that understanding it actually makes sense.

    Other people who suffered great loss are able to still see shades of gray but her mind was so twisted it wrapped back in on itself and her philosophy was as evil as the one she thought she opposed.

  6. 6
    Yutsano says:

    @Cat Lady: I wish it could be that simple. But bad ideas are like bad odors, you think they’re finally gone or washed out then suddenly they hit you in the face again with full intensity. What’s even worse is that there’s a new generation just itching to take on the ideas of neo-Randian philosophy with a vengeance. If we had really been paying attention we could have seen Scientology emerging from this philosophical muck. Now we’re stuck with both.

    EDIT: Both based on fictional works by prolific, verbose, but not necessarily talented writers. It’s obvious Ayn didn’t have an editor. And if she did, that person needs to be dug up and their bones burned. Or if they’re still alive, cut with a thousand vegetable peelers and dropped in high concentrate citric acid.

  7. 7
    Mark S. says:

    It’s too bad tim’s not here to leave twenty or so comments about how mean liberals won’t let him read Atlas Shrugged.

  8. 8
    gbear says:

    Well Ayn’s dead now too. Maybe it’s the best she deserved.

  9. 9
    ronin122 says:

    @Keith G: Had a girlfriend a couple years ago who had discovered Glib philosophy. I broke up with her because it was clear she was going to be clingy and dependent. Obviously not a statistic but is there something about Randoids being more dependent than the rest of us “leeches”?

  10. 10
    gnomedad says:

    Heh; glibertarian “Bridge of San Luis Rey”.

  11. 11
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    The man in Bedroom A, Car No. 1, was a professor of sociology

    I thought the scientists and thinkers and leaders went on the “A” train, the craftspeople who actually built and did things were on the “C” train, and then the “B” train would be the one with the libertarians and whatnot?

  12. 12
    aimai says:

    I don’t find the stilted writing makes it any the less horrifying. Although it is certainly ironic that she seems to unconsciously repeat the language of communist rhetoric on the useless kulaks and capitalists or revolutionary rhetoric generally on “parasites.” Rand has just flipped that language on its head–rather than deciding that each person is deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness because of their human status she has decided that “some are more deserving than others” because of their (imagined) productive status.

    aimai

  13. 13
    Corner Stone says:

    @ronin122:

    I broke up with her because it was clear she was going to be clingy and dependent.

    So you’re saying she had no top shelf.

  14. 14
    Anticorium says:

    Up, up, down, down, go Galt, go Galt, B, A, start.

  15. 15
    Yutsano says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: I saw what you did there.

    @aimai:

    rather than deciding that each person is deserving of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness because of their human status she has decided that “some are more deserving than others” because of their (imagined) productive status.

    Ayn of course being the ultimate arbiter. After all, we might not acknowledge a skill is useful…until we ourselves have need of that skill. For example, it might make no sense to me to train someone how to kill another man, until the country is attacked and the trained killer is the best person to mount that defense. My terminology is not the best, mostly because I’m stepping outside my personal philosophical box here (I personally believe there are benefits to having a professional military beyond having them know how to kill people) but hopefully my point is made. What is productive today may be utterly useless tomorrow.

  16. 16
    Corner Stone says:

    @Yutsano:

    (I personally believe there are benefits to having a professional military beyond having them know how to kill people)

    Agreed. What else would we do with all the black and brown people?

  17. 17
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    The man in Roomette 3, Car No. 11, was a sniveling little neurotic who wrote cheap little plays into which, as a social message, he inserted cowardly little obscenities to the effect that all businessmen were scoundrels.

    Her style reminds me less of glibertarians and closer to reading the worst, most vile current-day Wingnut blog. Breitbartian, really.

  18. 18
    Citizen Alan says:

    @gbear:

    Well Ayn’s dead now too. Maybe it’s the best she deserved.

    Better than she deserved, IMO. I do not think it an understatement to say that Ayn Rand was a profoundly evil human being, the architect of a vile philosophy which may yet bring about the end of our civilization, since Objectivism provides the closest thing to a philosophical argument against legislation on climate change. After all, if a rich man’s property rights trump all other concerns and any humanitarian impulses he might have should be dismissed as “the Sanction of the Victim,” why should anyone care about what’s going to happen to the human race 100 years from now? Drill, baby, drill!

    With the possible exception of Jiang Qing, Chairman Mao’s wife, I do not believe any woman in the last 100 years has done as much as Ayn Rand to promote human misery.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    Michael says:

    The man in Roomette 3, Car No. 11, was a sniveling little neurotic who wrote a cheap little plays blog into which, as a social message, he inserted cowardly little obscenities to the effect that all businessmen libruls, negroes and latinos were scoundrels.

    Fixted it to fit the Breitbartian notions of Teabigots.

  21. 21
    ricky says:

    Just because some seriously disturbed people are hung up on a bad writer as the literary light of their short sighted political vision does not mean any of the rest of us want to be dragged into the tunnel to read a critique of the work.

    Especially when the train’s engineer might have suffocated as well.

  22. 22
    Roger Moore says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    The man in Roomette 3, Car No. 11, was a sniveling little neurotic who wrote cheap little plays into which, as a social message, he inserted cowardly little obscenities to the effect that all businessmen were scoundrels.

    Wow. She had no self-awareness at all, did she:

    The man woman in Roomette 3, Car No. 11, was a sniveling little neurotic narcissist who wrote cheap little plays enormous novels into which, as a social message, he she inserted cowardly little obscenities to the effect that all businessmen were scoundrels ordinary people were parasites.

    Fixt that for her.

  23. 23
    Yutsano says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: I would sooo get that shirt! In fact I may have some good shopping ideas for the holidays now. Merci beaucoup!

  24. 24
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    The man in Roomette 3, Car No. 11, was a sniveling little neurotic who wrote cheap little plays into which, as a social message, he inserted cowardly little obscenities to the effect that all businessmen were scoundrels.

    Written works that exist only as poorly-crafted vehicles for pontificating about politics sure do suck. Ayn Rand sure had those people pegged!

    ETA: Bah, Roger beat me to it. :P

  25. 25
    El Cid says:

    Taking a train in and of itself makes you a collectivist who deserves to die.

  26. 26
    monkeyboy says:

    I recall something I think written by Charles Stross about James Bond. That Bond was a pretentious, psychopathic upper class twit and that only by opposing him with even worse people could people root for him.

  27. 27
    Davis X. Machina says:

    So, if your “Mary Sue” or “Gary Stu” is an asshole, there’s a good chance you are an asshole, too?

    Whoocoodanode?

    This world is truly a place of wonders.

  28. 28
    ricky says:

    @Michael:

    Fixted it to fit the Breitbartian notions of Teabigots.

    Breitbartian notions breed breitbarterrorist nations.
    But don’t get all wee wee’d up over it.

  29. 29
    burnspbesq says:

    Just so y’all know, Doug did not wreck your days by linking to the Amity Shlaes article that is linked to in the FrumForum article.

    I, however, am not so compassionate.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/.....2de0RP4ebo

  30. 30
    Geezer says:

    Libertarians are always “Atlas” this and “Galt” that. You’d think someone with a sense of honesty would namecheck “The Virtue of Selfishness”, but that’s one Randian phrase you never hear.

  31. 31
    Stillwater says:

    @Mark S.: It’s too bad tim’s not here to leave twenty or so comments about how mean liberals won’t let him read Atlas Shrugged.

    That’s low. Like snake belly low.

    I read one of her silly books because some friends said it was the goodstuff. I can’t remember which – the one with ORourke – and I had to close it when Ayn had her hero say that ‘he loved nature, that’s why he wanted to improve it’. Those words struck me as a gross corpuscle of bile waiting to pop right there on the page. I quickly closed the book.

  32. 32
    scarshapedstar says:

    The sociologists will be the first to die in the Ron Paulocaust.

  33. 33
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Roger Moore: @FlipYrWhig:
    @Michael:

    I was actually saying that her writing reminded me of exactly the way the Wingnuts like Breitbart spit and sputter about artists, intellectuals, and liberal bloggers.

    You might have gotten that but I couldn’t be sure. And yes, her lack of any sense of irony or self-parody was stunning. So is his, come to think of it.

  34. 34
    Mike Schilling says:

    It has all the insight and depth of a Jack Chick tract:

    The man in Roomette 7, Car No. 2, was a rabbi who taught that Jews could get into heaven without accepting Christ.

  35. 35
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Me, I’d caution anyone who has any propensity to take Rand’s interpretation seriously to any degree by reminding them of the Golgafrincham solution.

  36. 36
    Stillwater says:

    @burnspbesq:

    But “Atlas Shrugged” is becoming a political “Harry Potter”

    You know, I’m glad she wrote this article. I’ve been chafed by an inability to find an appropriate analogy for the shocking and awesomely ascending impact AS has had on contemporary culture, especially on young people in the gaming community who often confuse elaborately decorated fiction with fact, as well as for it’s appeal among adolescents of all ages …..

    Now I won’t have to scratch that itch anymore.

  37. 37
    Jay C says:

    …but the wooden writing and cardboard (at best) character sketches make it more comical than disturbing.

    I agree, DougJ -though I think you are being too kind to Rand’s writing style – it is a mystery why her trite, stilted and (hideously) dated potboilers are taken as Brilliant Insights Into Society by anyone with a brain (over about 14).

    Although I guess that’s the answer: I think Rand’s fundamental appeal is to the arrogant, self-important asshole in all of us (a far larger subset of the population, I’m sure, than we’d like to think) – providing a pseudo-political rationale for reassuring us that said arrogant self-important assholery is justified. As long as we can cite Ayn Rand as the Authority.
    QED

  38. 38
    Mike G says:

    ‘Undesirables’ on a train who are then killed by poison gas.
    No, no unpleasant associations there at all.

    What an improvement on Stalinism is Randroid ideology.

    It just struck me what this reminds me of — the Left Behind books.
    The same barely-disguised glee about the deaths of the untermensch ‘outsiders’ who don’t believe, the smugness of the ‘in-group’ who will be ‘saved’, the puerile, all-preachiness-and-little-content clunky literary style.

  39. 39
    Chad N Freude says:

    @burnspbesq: Ms. Shlaes’s (heavens, all those esses) article contains this magnificent sentence

    But “Atlas Shrugged” is becoming a political “Harry Potter” because Rand shone a spotlight on a problem that still exists: Not pre-1989 Soviet communism, but 2009-style state capitalism.

    Harry Potter is John Galt? John Galt is Harry Potter? When are they going to release the movie with Galt riding a broomstick?

    Reading the excerpt on the Ayn Rand Contra site, I thanked every deity in the cosmos that I have never read any of her books. Although I really like the film version of The Fountainhead (as unintentional comedy).

  40. 40
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Stillwater: Damn! you posted that while I was typing mine. However, I think the comparison should be milked for all it’s worth.

  41. 41
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Stillwater: She also includes the line:

    “You get the feeling plenty of Atlases are shrugging these days, in part because their tax burden is getting heavier.”

    …and links the word “tax” to a .pdf that shows…. well, just go look at it. Puts it in perspective very well actually, the fact that our current rates, even those projected next year, are historically low, compared to some eras astonishingly so, and all of this foaming at the mouth comes down to going from 35% to 39%. on the tiny percentage of incomes at the very top. The 35% being after the Bush tax cuts, before that in various years that rate was in the 90s. Capital gains taxes are historically low by any measure.

    And that’s her link.

  42. 42
    Julie says:

    Personally, I owe a debt of gratitude to Ayn Rand. Reading “The Fountainhead” on the advice of my teen crush Alex P. Keaton/Michael J. Fox led me to the realization that I really wasn’t Young Republican material, after all.

  43. 43
    Chad N Freude says:

    When I posted the comment asking about the Atlas Shrugged movie @Chad N Freude, I didn’t know about this, found linking through Ayn Rand Contra etc.

  44. 44
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: The top 1% pays x% of taxes is really misleading. If the bottom 99% are too poor to pay any taxes, the top 1% pays 100% of taxes. Which is outrageously unfair and soshialist.

  45. 45
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Chad N Freude: I know they always rely on that utterly dishonest way of framing it.

    Also if the top tiny percentage are raking in more and more of the overall percentage of the money (partly because the top tax rates are historically low), then they pay more taxes. Not a higher rate, just more because they’re making more.

    I’d call it “technically true but collectively nonsense” but actually it’s just good old fashioned bullshit.

  46. 46
    Stillwater says:

    @Mike G: The same barely-disguised glee about the deaths of the untermensch ‘outsiders’ who don’t believe, the smugness of the ‘in-group’ who will be ‘saved’, the puerile, all-preachiness-and-little-content clunky literary style.

    What is Tribulation Force?

    Songs about genocide for 500 please Alex.

  47. 47
    burnspbesq says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    The top 1% pays x% of taxes is really misleading

    Well, of course it is. The question you should ask when somebody trots out that factoid is “well, what percentage of total income does the top 1 percent of the income distribution earn?” That percentage – call it y – is SUPPOSED TO be greater than x. Remember, we are supposed to have a PROGRESSIVE income tax, on the theory that people with more income get more benefit from the existence of the state that (among other things) protects their property from being forcibly taken by people with a higher marginal propensity to consume (i.e., the poor).

  48. 48
    PurpleGirl says:

    From the WSJ via Bob Cesca’s Awesome Blog: A chart showing the 2011 taxes comparing Obama to Bush for various income levels/situations.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....47682.html

  49. 49
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    Meanwhile, while magic starburst devotees of her silly novels embrace imaginary economic theories, her actual honest-to-god devotee who knew her in real life now has this to say:

    Facing a firing line of questions from Washington lawmakers, Alan Greenspan – the former Federal Reserve chairman once considered the infallible “maestro” of the U.S. economy – admitted Thursday that he was wrong to trust free markets to regulate the financial system without stronger government oversight.

    Welcome to the reality-based world, Alan.

  50. 50
    QuaintIrene says:

    but the wooden writing and cardboard (at best) character sketches</blockquote
    That sum's up her writing style perfectly. I remember slogging thru 'Fountainhead' in college, and constantly thinking, whenever Roarke showed up, 'This is supposed to be the hero??" He's like a blank space in the book.

    And on a similar vein, the latest whiner about the Bush tax cuts lapsing is Donald Trump. He fears that 'producing' people will leave the country if the cuts aren't extended.
    Feel free to go Galt, badger head.

  51. 51
    Ken says:

    The man in bedroom 6, car 2 said mean things about me in third grade. And the girl in bedroom 5, car 3 turned me down when I asked her on a date in seventh grade. And the man in bedroom 9, car 2 picked me last for baseball in gym class.

    Odd, really, how the teenage mind and the sociopathic mind can be so difficult to tell apart.

  52. 52
    Stillwater says:

    @Chad N Freude: I think the comparison should be milked for all it’s worth.

    A quick Google search revealed this:

    In a recently released study by the Cato Institute, Harry Potter ranks below only John Galt in shaping the views of individuals who would like to live in an alternate universe. 91% of all respondents to an online gaming community/NRA poll expressed a desire (very much, somewhat) to live in a world where Atlas in fact Shrugs. This represents a siginificant shift from prior data, in which Aragorn was cited as the greatest fictional hero, with over 83% of all respondents (a record at the time) expressing a desire (very much, somewhat) to be the King of Middle Earth.

    Another study showed that 86% percent of all self-identified libertarians believe that John Galt was an historical figure who actually lived, while only 34% of the same group believed that Harry Potter had actually defeated Voldemort.

  53. 53
    Yutsano says:

    @PurpleGirl: You know what? Screw the middle class cuts staying in effect. Let them all lapse. Everyone needs to start paying their bills in this country.

  54. 54
    Jose Padilla says:

    The love of Ayn Rand’s life was a serial killer, William “Hacksaw” Hickman (so named because he killed and dismembered a little girl). In her journals she wrote about her love for a man who had no respect for ordinary morality and just did what he wanted. She based the main character of one of her early novels on Hickman. If you think about it, this tells you everything you need to know about the right-wing in America.

  55. 55
    El Cid says:

    @Jose Padilla: Look, you might ransom and dismember a little girl, but at least you don’t support big gubmit and soshulism. You libruls need to get your priorities straight.

  56. 56
    Stillwater says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    You get the feeling plenty of Atlases are shrugging these days, in part because their tax burden is getting heavier.”

    And Shales’ is right, as usual. Some research on the semantics of the word ‘heavier’ are relevant here. Studies have shown that, while conservatives and liberals agree that the word ‘heavier’ is an actual word in English language (77% of conservatives, 100% liberals), they disagree about what the word actually means. Here’s a quote from the study:

    Liberals tend to associate the word with a relation, in the sense of ‘more than’ or ‘greater than’. This may be due to living in high-rise apartments on the upper east side of Manhattan and other coastal urban towers, where weight is a serious concern, and many overweight liberals wish they weren’t so heavy. COnservatives on the other hand, associate the word with an absolute property: what others may refer to simply as weight.

    [snip]

    The results of the poll, as it applied to questions involving the ‘heaviness of the tax burden’ indicated that conservatives responded affirmatively to the question ‘if your tax burden decreases through tax cuts, is your burden heavier’ by saying, 99.86% of the time, ‘yes, yes it is’.

    The paper goes on to demonstrate, via the polling, that conservatives believe the concept of weight is really made up by liberal scientists anyway.

  57. 57
    Mark S. says:

    Amity Shlaes is about the only person who gives McMegan a run for pure hackery.

  58. 58
    jinxtigr says:

    Who’s the one putting up the laundry list of bitch-fests? Some blogger?

    …oh… ;)

    People read hundreds of pages of that? Such people should be killed ;)

  59. 59
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Stillwater: I knew we were collapsing into Idiocracy, but this is truly horrifying. What’s really scary is that the hero worship and belief in Galt historicity is undoubtedly based entirely on what they heard/read somewhere/were told, not on reading Atlas Shrugged.

  60. 60
    RSA says:

    @Stillwater:

    In a recently released study by the Cato Institute, Harry Potter ranks below only John Galt in shaping the views of individuals who would like to live in an alternate universe. 91% of all respondents to an online gaming community/NRA poll expressed a desire (very much, somewhat) to live in a world where Atlas in fact Shrugs.

    That’s rich (so to speak). I’m reminded of a bit from a short story (by Roald Dahl, I think) in which one of the characters reflects that everyone who believes in reincarnation seems to have been a member of the rich, land-owning nobility in a past life. Sure, all those uebermen would love to live in an Atlas Shrugs world, in which external circumstances did not force them to live in their parents’ basement.

  61. 61

    That train scene–there was a time when Ayn Rand horrified even some conservatives, and not simply because her prose was so iron-pounding.

    Whittaker Chambers, reviewing Atlas Shrugged for National Review, wrote that never in a lifetime of reading had he read a novel of such unrelieved shrillness, implacable arrogance, and oppressive dogmatism.

    His review famously ended:

    “From any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, ‘To a gas chamber–go!'”

  62. 62
    Restrung says:

    My first EP will be called “Leftover Randian Sludge: Tales from the 25th High School Reunion.”

    No lyrics, no rhythm, no tuning… Maybe I’m too good to bother even recording it. errr?

  63. 63
    JGabriel says:

    @QuaintIrene:

    [Donald Trump] fears that ‘producing’ people will leave the country if the [Bush tax] cuts aren’t extended.

    And go somewhere with lower taxes, like Belize or Somalia?

    Yeah, right.

    .

  64. 64
    Liberty60 says:

    @Alwhite:

    her philosophy was as evil as the one she thought she opposed

    I agree- libertarianism is the mirror image of Marxism, a grand hypothetical construct, based on faith and immune to facts or evidence.

    Reasonable people argue over the dividing line between public and private endeavors, between individual rights and collective responsibility, individual freedom and civic order; but true Marxists and libertarians hold no such shades of gray- for them, all of the complexity and dilemmas are wiped cleanly away, in a pure simple order.

    Not surprising the main adherents are megalomaniacs and freshmen encountering the big world for the first time.

  65. 65
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Liberty60: I read a bit more of that blog, and it’s kind of funny…Ayn Rand hated libertarians even more than Marxists. The blogger looked at her arguments, deconstructed them, and tried to make heads or tails of it. Turns out that she was a spiteful woman consumed by bitterness.

    But of course, we already knew that.

  66. 66
    Mark S. says:

    @James Wolcott:

    Glad to see Mr. Wolcott’s not stuck in moderation this time. For a counterpoint, though, here’s one of the commenters at FrumForum:

    Rand was also the first figure on the American Right that that execrable whoring opportunist William F. Buckler Jr decided to purge. I’ve always found it ironic that Buckley dispatched an ex-communist spy to do his dirty work excommunicating a great champion of liberty and human freedom.

    Of course, Buckler wrote the obituary for Rand that said, “Ayn Rand is dead. So, incidentally, is the philosophy she sought to launch dead; it was in fact stillborn.” So I guess he sometimes did his own dirty work.

  67. 67
    DougJ says:

    @James Wolcott:

    It’s hard to imagine Rich Lowry, let alone Andrew McCarthy or K-Lo, writing that incisive a review. More likely they’d be defending the crazed right-wing tract from the slings and arrows of Jim Manzi.

  68. 68
    Batocchio says:

    @Chad N Freude:

    The Harry Potter series, full of witches, wizards, elves and dragons, still has much more psychological realism than anything Ayn Rand ever wrote.

  69. 69

    James Wolcott:
    >Whittaker Chambers, reviewing Atlas Shrugged for National Review, wrote that never in a lifetime of reading had he read a novel of such unrelieved shrillness, implacable arrogance, and oppressive dogmatism.

    Actually, Whittaker Chambers was vilified for years after for that review. However, we here at the Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature blog reckon he was pretty much on the money. For those interested, Greg revisits Chambers’ notorious review with running commentary here.

  70. 70
    Triassic Sands says:

    …but the wooden writing…

    Rand’s writing is wooden, but that should be expected since her ideas are also wooden…and infested with termites.

    Having suffered through her turgid prose long ago, I would now consider reading Rand to be a form of cruel punishment. When one gets to my age there is far too little time left to waste even a second on Ayn Rand. I just wish I had realized that the same was true decades ago when I read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

    Now, many years later, I still consider “John Galt Speaks” to be at the top of my list of the worst things I’ve ever read.

  71. 71
    WereBear says:

    Judging from the success of the 20th century religions, the crazier, the better. All you need is a couple of fairly well off followers, or even one quite rich follower, and you can acquire the trappings of success which pull in the crowds.

    If I were to do it myself (and, sadly for my bank account, I’m not cynical enough to do that,) I would emphasize the “simplify your life” angle. It is very powerful.

  72. 72

    @El Cid: The passengers were all parasites and deserved to die because they only had enough talent to earn the money needed for a ticket on the train, instead of having the wherewithall to build their own railroads.

    I’ve read a lot of Rand’s work and was once a major proponent – but eventually, you have realize that she goes round and round in tighter and tighter circles until she disappears up her own ass.

  73. 73
    Svensker says:

    @JGabriel:

    [Donald Trump] fears that ‘producing’ people will leave the country if the [Bush tax] cuts aren’t extended.

    Oh, that made me laugh so hard I almost peed myself. Donald Trump considers himself a “producer”? He who inherited $2billion and turned it into $2.5billion? (or whatever, numbers approximate) Yeah, the Donald has really been out there innovating and producing value for people. He has certainly made my life better just by his very existence. Thank you, Mr. Trump!

  74. 74
    David Moisan says:

    @Liberty60:
    Exactly.

    I refer you to “Marxism of the Right”.

    This explains the really wacky columns we get in the Salem News from Barbara Anderson, she of Proposition 2-1/2 in Massachusetts. She’s gone around the bend more than once but only because the News is now somewhere to the right of the WSJ.

    See also Mike Huben’s Critiques of Libertarianism. Good stuff.

  75. 75
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Jose Padilla:

    “The love of Ayn Rand’s life was a serial killer, William “Hacksaw” Hickman (so named because he killed and dismembered a little girl). In her journals she wrote about her love for a man who had no respect for ordinary morality and just did what he wanted. She based the main character of one of her early novels on Hickman. If you think about it, this tells you everything you need to know about the right-wing in America.”

    Amen.

    I pull that out every time I run a randian.

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