Ayn Rand, welfare queen

I have to confess: I’ve never read Ayn Rand. Not once.

But I still think this is pretty amusing.

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93 replies
  1. 1
    flukebucket says:

    Funny but not at all surprising.

  2. 2
    Zam says:

    Next you’re gonna tell me there is a conservative preacher who likes the buttsex.

  3. 3
    cleek says:

    cue 100 raging YOU SUCK comments.

  4. 4
    JCJ says:

    Is there anybody who is even slightly surprised by this?

  5. 5
    bago says:

    Some people need their comfort zones punctured. Unfortunately, it usually takes a tragedy.

  6. 6
    A Writer At Balloon-Juice says:

    RINO!

  7. 7
    Ija says:

    I don’t really blame her for taking government assistance even though it clashed with her principles. Hey, not everybody is willing to die for his/her principles, and that’s just fine. What is utterly contemptible is the fact that she did it in secret, and did not renounce or modify her principles afterward. This isn’t just a case of “I got mine, so screw everybody else”, this is “I got mine in secret and screw everybody else”.

  8. 8
    burnspbesq says:

    Pre-empting matoko-kun:

    HEADFAKE!

  9. 9
    morzer says:

    Go careful, ED Kain, or Alan Greenspan is gonna unfriend your ass on Facebook.

  10. 10
    Tom Levenson says:

    Wlhat’s depressing is the comment thread over there. All the “no, this was really OK” stuff. Why? Because…shut up, that’s why.

  11. 11
    phantomist says:

    Some people say that she only did it to teach the government a lesson.

  12. 12
    morzer says:

    @Tom Levenson:

    No comparisons between Ayn Rand and Frodo of the Nine Fingers?

  13. 13
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Her doltish followers refuse to accept that she lied in order to “preserve” her precious principles, if only in name.

  14. 14

    Rand’s actions mirror, for me, those of anti-choice activists who get abortions and then are out there protesting the next day. Their situations are different, are extreme, are the kind that should be excused–it’s all those other losers who suck.

  15. 15
    J.W. Hamner says:

    Hmmmm… on the one hand, I don’t think most people who charge hypocrisy really understand what it means. For example: trying not to have a drink but failing is not being a “hypocrite”… it’s a failure certainly, but it’s not hypocrisy. On the other hand, in this case I actually do think we have someone who believed one thing and acted the opposite. So an order of mixed feelings for me, thanks.

  16. 16
    rob! says:

    Ayn Rand and Rush Limbaugh sure did love sucking on the government teat! I wonder if Ayn had a tail like ol’ Rushbo does?

  17. 17
    shecky says:

    The justification that she paid into the system, so she isn’t hypocritical for taking back, rings hollow. It seems that this line of thinking takes all the wind out her Randian sails. If this is justifiable, is there any form of government welfare/service that can’t be justified after the fact when it fits the whim of the recipient? I mean, aren’t there principles involved?

  18. 18
    Punchy says:

    I bet she was teh hawt, and her nickname was Ayn Randy.

  19. 19

    @Ija: I think you nailed it. Taking advantage of policies or government programs that you disagree with isn’t hypocritical in itself, especially if you roll with the whole “I’m just getting my money back out” sort of attitude. It’s the fact that she did it in secret–that she cheated the government, essentially, by getting benefits under a false name–that makes her a hypocrite to any but those people who can justify any action with the argument that they’re above conventional morality. And those people are irredeemable assholes anyway.

  20. 20
    Jules says:

    Hahahahahaha…sigh…of course she did.

    Ayn was a “kleptoparasite” all along.

  21. 21
    Mark S. says:

    Even if everything else she wrote was (Paradise Lost X The Canterbury Tales X The Inferno) ^2, she would still be a shitty writer due to the train wreck chapter. That is seriously the shittiest, most ham-fisted writing I’ve ever come across.

  22. 22
    freelancer says:

    @morzer:

    We’re compatriots, but fuck you for getting that song in my head.

  23. 23
    morzer says:

    @freelancer:

    Which song?

  24. 24
    Chad N Freude says:

    @Punchy: The randy part is a matter of record.

  25. 25
    freelancer says:

    @morzer:

    Don’t be coy. Just to square us, I’m gonna refrain from calling you the N-Word.

  26. 26
    Wag says:

    Even if everything else she wrote was (Paradise Lost X The Canterbury Tales X The Inferno) ^2, she would still be a shitty writer due to the train wreck chapter. That is seriously the shittiest, most ham-fisted writing I’ve ever come across.

    Can you imagine the right wing freak out if Ward Churchill had written a similar chapter describing the failing of each of the dead from a terrorist attack?

  27. 27
    morzer says:

    @freelancer:

    New song to me, honestly. The last LOTR parody I saw was the vuvuzela one.

  28. 28
    freelancer says:

    @morzer:

    The MST3K crew started singing it in one of the LOTR rifftrax. They ate each other for lunch because it was annoying enough as a joke.

    It was either in the Two Towers riff or the Return of the King riff.

  29. 29
    Cris says:

    @Ija: What is utterly contemptible is the fact that she did it in secret, and did not renounce or modify her principles afterward.

    It’s more than that. The fact that she did it in secret is simply evidence that she was conscious of the hypocrisy.

    What really makes it contemptible is the tenor of her opposition to the system she partook. I’m reminded of the classic campaign finance arguments. Remember when Obama chose to forgo matching funds, so he wouldn’t be subject to campaign spending caps, and people claimed he was a huge hypocrite? But the thing is, Obama wasn’t saying “politicians who spend lots of money are horrible scum.” He was saying the system was bad, needed reform, but he was going to work with the system he had.

    That simply wasn’t the case with Rand. Some of her apologists in the BoingBoing thread want to make that argument: that she was opposed to government assistance, but had to work within the system she had. Bullshit. She wasn’t simply “opposed,” she was on the record saying that anyone who took government assistance was a moocher, a bottom feeder, a person not worthy of consideration. She didn’t mince words about it and she deserves to be condemned in her own words.

  30. 30
    E.D. Kain says:

    @morzer: He would never do that. NEVER.

  31. 31
    Cris says:

    @freelancer: I’m gonna refrain from calling you the N-Word.

    Nazgul?

  32. 32
    E.D. Kain says:

    @J.W. Hamner: It’s hypocrisy not because she tried and failed but because she was so bloody scornful of others in her situation (or in worse situations).

  33. 33
    KG says:

    @Brian S (formerly Incertus): was it a false name though? She was married to Frank O’Connor and apparently worked a variety of jobs before making it big as a writer… so it is possible that she paid into the system as “Ann O’Connor.” And as a widow, she probably would have been able to collect from her husband’s benefits. It would have been nice though, if she would have realized that if even she needed help, then maybe everyone may need some help from time to time, and that some sort of social safety net might not be a bad thing. But then again, it’s hard for a lot of people to see past themselves and reconsider their position.

  34. 34
    kdaug says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    And because she lied about it.

    Ain’t the crime, it’s the cover-up.

    That’s what pulls off the veneer.

  35. 35
    Jeff Spender says:

    @Mark S.:

    My girlfriend likes Ayn Rand. We’ve had endless debates about this and we’ve agreed to disagree about the literature (she’s better at the literature thing than I am, so I find this highly confusing).

    She decided to do an internship at the Ayn Rand institute. To say the least, she was not convinced. Objectivism = ridiculousness.

    She did tell me that if I had gone there, I would be ostracized because I would ask complex and uncomfortable questions about objectivism that they wouldn’t like to answer because, frankly, they wouldn’t be able to. They’d shout something about A = A or something about the free market or I didn’t understand Dear Leader’s masterpieces.

  36. 36
    Ash Can says:

    @E.D. Kain: How she must have hated herself as she accepted government aid under that false name. The more I learn about her, the more I think her mind was a terrible, dark, diseased place.

  37. 37
    gwangung says:

    @Ash Can: Meh. We knew that from her frank and open admiration of a serial killer.

  38. 38
    Brassknuckle Diplomacy says:

    It’s not even that she did it under one of her lesser known names that bothers me, although it does add an extra layer of slime. It’s the pure hypocrisy.
    I know some people are accepting the excuse that if one pays into government programs, one should not feel any apprehension about benefitting from them, but if one makes an entire career out of treating other people who take government help as moral degenerates and still decides it’s ok in their special case, then that person is an irredeemable asshole.

    Rand didn’t just disagree with social spending, she depicted it as downright evil. So yes, sorry, she’s a disgusting fucking hypocrite, full stop.

  39. 39
    kdaug says:

    @Brassknuckle Diplomacy:

    Roger that.

    Now on to people who are still alive, and believe this shit…

  40. 40
    freelancer says:

    @Ash Can:

    ow she must have hated herself as she accepted government aid under that false name. The more I learn about her, the more I think her mind was a terrible, dark, diseased place.

    She didn’t hate herself. Humans don’t do that. She rationalized it as OMFG, I’m special! I deserve to live, and anything that will help me do that and maintain my status, well, I have that coming because I’m such a genius.

    I agree with you though about her mind being a terrible dark place.

  41. 41
    daveNYC says:

    @Ash Can:

    How she must have hated herself as she accepted government aid under that false name.

    Eh, bullshit. People like that, they’ll focus their hate on some other schmuck who somehow as forced them into this position. It’s not her fault, it’s FDR’s or whoever setup the program and then caused the economy to not make her wealthy enough to pay her own bill.

  42. 42
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Ash Can: Maybe some sort of anti-social disorder. I try to give her at least some benefit of the doubt given her childhood during the Russian revolution which was probably a traumatizing experience for her. Those early experiences can really impact a person’s thinking for the rest of their life. But still.

  43. 43
    kdaug says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    I try to give her at least some benefit of the doubt…

    No, mate. Ashbin of history. Move on.

  44. 44
    mclaren says:

    I was gonna post that, but figured you guys would get around to it.

    But…I mean…it’s like the gay fundamentalist preachers. You know it had to be true.

    It just had to.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    E.D. Kain says:

    @kdaug: Yes. That’s probably for the best.
    @mclaren: Ha! That’s exactly what I was thinking of when I read this…

  47. 47
    Turgidson says:

    @shecky:

    The teatards’ rationalization (and that’s all it is) for your very accurate observations would be that the real objects of their contempt are “those people” (who often are some shade of brown – what a coinkidink!) who get govt handouts without actually paying into the system…because they’re too poor to be taxed, of course…but somehow that’s their fault too because SHUT UP THAT’S WHY!!!!

  48. 48

    @Turgidson: Absolutely. A lot of the emotion and anger that you see is because of the underlying hatred of “those people” who are the presumed recipients (until they need help themselves, of course).

    But even if you could take that part out of the picture (difficult, but) there’s still that other difference between the right and the left. Which is, if there’s a government program that helps people when they need it, and 100 people get that help, but 99 of them “deserve” it and paid taxes to support it when times were better for them, but one person is taking advantage when they don’t actually need it . . . A liberal says, well, that sucks that someone would take advantage like that, but there’s no way to completely prevent that sort of thing, there will always be an asshole who can figure out how to game the system no matter how hard you try, but the important thing is 99 people who really needed a hand in a tough time got the help they needed.

    The conservative will focus like a laser on the one scammer and that’s all you’ll hear about from them. They’re willing to take the needed help from the other 99 to prevent one “undeserving” leech from getting any of their hard earned tax money. In fact, if you listen to them (and this is certainly the impression that Rushbo and his ilk try to convey) you’d get the impression that every government program that helps ordinary folks is giving money to 99 of the “undeserving” and well, there might occasionally be one (like St Ayn) who gets some help, which they, of course, deserve.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Janet Strange:

    Janet, absolutely, and to further the point, the “Conservative” is actually projecting their own lack of any internally driven ethics onto everyone else…they assume that others will attempt to scam the system as they would do if they thought they could get away with it. They can’t imagine that people will not attempt to take much more than was intended from the system, as they would do. Heck, the entire mortgage mess, to include the various financial “innovations” is based on precisely that attitude…let’s game the system and take the chumps’ money!

  50. 50
    shecky says:

    At least we know now that you can Go Galt and keep your government cheese, too.

  51. 51
    Dan. says:

    I am shocked- shocked! – that there is hypocrisy going in this establishment!

  52. 52
    Nicole says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Maybe some sort of anti-social disorder. I try to give her at least some benefit of the doubt given her childhood during the Russian revolution which was probably a traumatizing experience for her. Those early experiences can really impact a person’s thinking for the rest of their life. But still.

    Not just a child during the Revolution, but a bourgeois Jewish child growing up in an anti-Semitic city. Her family was fairly well-off before and they lost absolutely everything. Plus, she was frighteningly intelligent, which, as many a person here who grew up the smartest person in class can attest, is not exactly a ticket to popularity with your peer group. So yeah, some childhood issue there.

    I already knew she collected Social Security, so it doesn’t surprise me she took Medicare, too. She could never have admitted it; her whole philosophy was based on one having the correct “principles” and those who acted against those principles were conflicted and weak. So what would that say about her to admit she needed help? She really bought into her own image.

    What I find so appropriate in a sadly pathetic way is that she developed lung cancer. She wrote an ode to smoking in Atlas Shrugged and her followers were pressured to smoke, whether they wanted to take up the habit or not. Her belief was that it was a symbol of man’s dominance over that most primal of elements, fire- that he could hold it at his fingertips. Even as an impressionable teenager, reading her stuff, I remember thinking, “So, wouldn’t holding a sparkler all the time accomplish the same thing, without the yellow teeth and bad breath?”

  53. 53
    slightly_peeved says:

    Some of her apologists in the BoingBoing thread want to make that argument: that she was opposed to government assistance, but had to work within the system she had.

    If you espouse a philosophy that you believe to be the complete and absolute truth, you don’t talk bullshit about ‘working within the system’. Gandhi sure as hell didn’t work within the system of the Raj.

  54. 54
    brad says:

    Much as I’d like this to be pure, unmitigated hypocrisy, turns out her legal name was Ann O’Connor, so she didn’t do it in secret*, nor was there fraud involved. And she gave herself and her followers an out for just such an occasion, apparently. But then enabling such selfish hypocrisy was the whole point of her work.

    *-Well, not totally in secret, tho neither did she make it particularly public, either.

  55. 55
    S. cerevisiae says:

    ED needs to see Night of the Lepus.

  56. 56
    Flugelhorn says:

    Interesting. Let’s play Devil’s Advocate, shall we?

    How many of you environmentalists live in a House with A/C and Heat? …flush your toilets? …drive a car? …buy products that came to your area via gas driven vehicles? …use a computer powered by electricity derived from strip mining coal? …have a private jet? (Barb Streisand and John Travolta come to mind) …cry when your street doesn’t get plowed fast enough by gas guzzling monster trucks?

    How many of you don’t pay taxes, or get more money back in the form of services than you put in via tax? As there are over 50% of the US population who fall into this category, I imagine many of you. How many of these same people want to increase taxes on the so-called rich so that more can be given to you and others who do not pay taxes?

    Are the people I described above hypocrites? Well, I guess they are. Is Ayn Rand a hypocrite for partaking of services that she had been paying for since she first drew a paycheck or was she simply living in the world we have and reclaiming some of her lost earnings that were forcibly taken by the government?

    It’s tough to have the courage of your convictions. It’s easy to ask for more and more when you have not contributed as others have. Or is it? Oh, it’s mortifying to ask for a hand-out, but it’s not so hard when you use the government as your proxy.

    Last week I gave someone a $50 per week raise as a thank you. I had just given him a raise at the beginning of the year, but I felt he deserved more because I gave him a bit of more responsibility and he is a hard worker and does an amazing job. He gets to take home $13 extra a week after taxes. Isn’t that nice. Some of you should be thanking him for working so hard and succeeding at his job. Cry out about “Galtian Overlords” all you want. The plain truth of the matter is, many of us have these people to thank for having anything at all. Isn’t that sad? You might be in a situation where you had no control at all over what happened to bring you to the state you might be in, but one thing we know for sure is, this man with the $13 extra in take home out of $50 sure did not put you there.

    Food for thought.

  57. 57
    JGabriel says:

    Flugelhorn:

    Last week I gave someone a $50 per week raise as a thank you. … He gets to take home $13 extra a week after taxes. Isn’t that nice. Some of you should be thanking him for working so hard and succeeding at his job. Cry out about “Galtian Overlords” all you want. The plain truth of the matter is, many of us have these people to thank for having anything at all. You might be in a situation where you had no control at all over what happened to bring you to the state you might be in, but one thing we know for sure is, this man with the $13 extra in take home out of $50 sure did not put you there.
    __
    Food for thought.

    Leaving aside that I have no clue what any of that has to do with the price of ethics in Galt’s Gulch, I’m perplexed by the idea that you’re giving a $2600/year raise (~$50/month after taxes according to you) to someone who is apparently in a 75% tax bracket.

    Something does not compute.

    .

  58. 58
    JGabriel says:

    I’m just thinking that a $50/month raise in take-home pay probably doesn’t significantly improve the quality of life for someone who is already in the 75% tax bracket. Ya know?

    I’m also wondering where in the US, where the federal top income rate is about 33-35%, anyone is paying 75% of their income in taxes.

    .

  59. 59
    J.W. Hamner says:

    @E.D. Kain:
    @kdaug:
    You both make good points, and it’s hard to argue against the hypocrisy charge here… it’s just that, in general, I find the charge abused so I’m a little hesitant to level it.

    However, writing a couple of terrible anti-government novels and then seeking government assistance for your illness under an assumed name is probably a textbook definition of hypocrisy.

  60. 60
    Barb (formerly Gex) says:

    @JGabriel: You take all the fun out of innumeracy.

  61. 61
    Tattoosydney says:

    @JGabriel:

    /the sound of crickets, a tumbleweed rolls though

  62. 62
    gypsy howell says:

    @Nicole:

    Plus, she was frighteningly intelligent

    I’d like to see that little factoid proved. I’m sure she told everyone she was “frighteningly intelligent”, but I certainly don’t see much evidence of it in her writings or philosophy. Frighteningly soc iopathic yes, but frighteningly intelligent? Doubt it.

  63. 63
    Donut says:

    @JGabriel – something does not compute because Flugelhorn is completely full of shit – in fact, the whole post is utter shite.

    @Flugelhorn, I can’t even wrap my head around your point, whatever it’s supposed to be, but I’ll try. Can you name one popularly known and admired “environmentalist” who has constructed and promoted an entire philosophical system out of saying people who drive cars or have an HVAC system or live in city where snow plows are necessary in the winter are leeching scumbags who deserve the scorn and disdain of their more environmentally superior betters? No. You can’t. Because no such person exists. And please don’t embrass yourself with “but AlGoreisFAT!!!!” If you could find such a person, maybe we could compare him/her to Rand and have a discussion, but that person is an invention of your small mind, just like your “employee” and the “raise” you gave him. Ms. O’Connor’s whole schtick (and yeah, I think it was a schtick, as in a long, long, long con) was heaping scorn on those who supposedly don’t produce for society, and yet she didn’t have enough of her own money in the end to live as she wanted without taking Medicare and Social Security. That is hypocrisy, you moron. I hope those programs gave her a better quality of life at the end – which is all those programs are designed to do for people.

    You write:

    Is Ayn Rand a hypocrite for partaking of services that she had been paying for since she first drew a paycheck or was she simply living in the world we have and reclaiming some of her lost earnings that were forcibly taken by the government

    Which tells me that apparently even a masterful Galtian overlord producer employer such as yourself has missed the fact that everyone regardless of income pays in to SSI and Medicare. You dolt. Anyone who gets those benefits gets them because they have paid into the system. Yes, it’s true not everyone pays income taxes, but income taxes and SSI/Medicare taxes are completely separate parts of federal spending. Dumbass.

  64. 64
    JGabriel says:

    Flugelhorn:

    Is Ayn Rand a hypocrite for partaking of services [ed. note: Medicare and Social Security, according the article linked at top by E.D. Kain] that she had been paying for since she first drew a paycheck …

    Ayn Rand migrated to the US in 1926, at the age of 21. One assumes Rand received her first paychecks in Russia, which was unlikely to contribute to the US’s social programs.

    Especially since Social Security didn’t start until 1935, when Rand was 30. Medicare, of course, wasn’t passed until 1965, when Rand was 60.

    One doubts that Rand ever paid much into Medicare, and in any event, she certainly wasn’t paying into either program since her first paycheck.

    .

  65. 65
    JGabriel says:

    @Barb (formerly Gex): Au contraire. I like to think of myself as putting the fun back in numeracy.

    .

  66. 66
    E.D. Kain says:

    @Nicole: Interesting. Thanks. Yes, being a Jewish girl whose family lost everything in the revolution would be really hard. So therein lies my sympathy. If only she’d softened up when she realized Social Security and Medicare are not the same thing as the Gulags.

  67. 67
  68. 68
    Svensker says:

    @Flugelhorn:

    No, the difference is that she excoriated people who used government services. They were moochers. I was a Randite when I was a kid and this would have absolutely shocked me.

  69. 69
    dmsilev says:

    @JGabriel: You’d think nitwits like Flugelhorn would eventually learn that if a lie is too implausible, nobody will buy it. Guess not.

    dms

  70. 70
    Bob says:

    @Flugelhorn: shorter you, “Al Gore is fat.”

  71. 71
    Sputnik says:

    Why am I not surprised?

  72. 72
    Bob says:

    @morzer: Yeah, AG discovers ED’s “flaw.”

  73. 73
    Tattoosydney says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Interesting. Thanks. Yes, being a Jewish girl whose family lost everything in the revolution would be really hard. So therein lies my sympathy.

    Some people have a miserable childhood entirely filled with fear and/or grinding poverty (unlike Ms Rand’s relatively well off early childhood).

    Some people don’t grow up to preach to the world about the master race and their evil, fat, quivering lipped leech of an enemy, the poor.

    Some people don’t write turgid, ranty polemics masquerading as novels, filled with leaden (yet purple) prose and dry, bitter sex scenes between damaged people, that make you want to press chopsticks into your eyes to make the pain stop.

    Some people aren’t dickheads.

  74. 74
    Jounalmalist says:

    In Ayn Rand’s case a bailout was justified because she was too big to fail.

    Anyway definitely not a hypocrite! After all, she always preached the gospel of selfishness, and suckling on the teat of the welfare state served her self-interest well.

  75. 75
    Chris says:

    When you think about it, this isn’t necessarily hypocritical. Ayn Rand believed in self-interest as the ultimate and the only moral virtue. Using Social Security and Medicare money was convenient to her, and nothing else matters, therefore she took it. Sounds exactly like the kind of behavior she built her ideology on.

  76. 76
    Chris says:

    @Tattoosydney:

    This, to the power of a gajillion. I think we’ve all met people who had rough childhoods, possibly including people who grew up under brutal dictatorial rule (I know I do), and yet managed not to turn into complete sociopaths. Nope, she’s not getting a break from here.

  77. 77

    @Chris: Of course! I’m surprised that it took so long for someone to make this point. (I didn’t think of it.) But yes, when you consider her infatuation with William Edward Hickman, who murdered and mutilated a 12 year old girl, it makes perfect sense.

    She enthusiastically quoted him justifying his actions, “What is good for me is right.”

    So, yes. That was all that mattered to her. What was good for her, was right. End of discussion. Renahan, the character in her never written novel that she intended to model on her “ideal man” i.e. Hickman, she wrote in her journal, “is born with a wonderful, free, light consciousness — [resulting from] the absolute lack of social instinct or herd feeling. He does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people … Other people do not exist for him and he does not understand why they should.”

  78. 78
    jcricket says:

    My big problem is that people keep giving Libertarians props for “being consistent”.

    You know who’s consistent? The ruling Junta of Burma. Fred Phelps is very, very consistent and honest about his views.

    Is the bar really so low that simply being willing, a la Rand Paul, to state your bat-shit crazy ideas in public makes you somehow “brave” and “respectable”?

    You know what I respect? People who think before they talk, and who recognize reality and propose solutions that have a chance of actually working. Sure, you could cut the deficit by 90% by simply not spending all the money we spend right now – which would work for maybe a year, before plunging the economy into a Depression b/c that money’s the only thing standing between most people and poverty (or most state’s infrastructure and crumbling death). If I simply stopped constraining myself by reality and consequences I could offer very consistent answers for every situation.

  79. 79
    dcdl says:

    @Donut:

    Which tells me that apparently even a masterful Galtian overlord producer employer such as yourself has missed the fact that everyone regardless of income pays in to SSI and Medicare. You dolt. Anyone who gets those benefits gets them because they have paid into the system. Yes, it’s true not everyone pays income taxes, but income taxes and SSI/Medicare taxes are completely separate parts of federal spending. Dumbass.

    Thanks. Some people would like to think that only they pay into the system and deserve the benefits, but that isn’t reality.

    @Tattoosydney:

    Thanks for pointing that out. Other people are here in America from a variety of revolutions and the majority aren’t freaky like that. My husband’s family is one of them. He is Cambodian and before his family fled Cambodia they were responsibly well off. His father worked for the U.S. Embassy and were told to leave as quickly and quietly as possible. That worked until they started being shot at. They had nothing when they came to America. And his uncle and family hid in the jungle for years until they made into a camp for refuges and then were beaten and starved. What I’ve learned from them is you can be a victim or you can move on with your life and use the resources available to you.

  80. 80
    Roy G says:

    This may be new, but Rand’s hypocrisy is old news. She had an affair with a much younger married man, Nathaniel Branden, who became her acolyte, then she Shrugged it off, revealing the ultimate attitude of her philosophy, which is why she has so many admirers on the right – basically, I can do whatever the f I want to, because i’m Special!

  81. 81
    Marlowe says:

    Ayn Rand was too big to fail.

    Anyway definitely not a hypocrite ! She preached the gospel of selfishness, so suckling the teats of the welfare state was nothing if not self-serving.

  82. 82
    Benjamin Cisco says:

    @JGabriel: I read this and got a mental image of one Wile E. Coyote, standing in Galt’s Gulch, with a tiny umbrella overhead, gradually being engulfed in the shadow of a falling object directly over his head…

  83. 83
    gelfling545 says:

    If you really have not read Ayn Rand, please don’t. You could use those precious hours of life for something more valuable like watching grass grow.

    A friend of my family who was, himself, 1/6 of the conservative party in our town got me to read her work when I was about 19. Even at 19 it struck me as incredibly ill-written with an almost child-like philosophy – not the sweet, innocent child-like but that child-like that says everything really is about ME and I should have and do whatever I want and no one else matters.

    I was raised very strictly with the one exception that I could read whatever I wished so I had experienced a some great literature and some really good stories by that time in my life. Even as a teenager, though, I realized that Rand’s work did not fall into either category.

  84. 84
    Johannes says:

    At the risk of enflaming the discussion, I’ll confess to having long held the opinion that Rand is one of the very, very few authors whose works I would describe as evil. Like Nietzsche (without the irony), she wears away at the social order, but worse than Nietzsche, she has no transcendence, no hope of evolution. Worse, she had the experience of two world wars and Soviet communism to give her occasion to re-think her views. Despite this, she comes down with a plausible seeming justification for valorizing one’s worst instincts, from rape to murder, to mass murder. She makes Cheney look like St Francis of Assisi.

  85. 85
    Suzan says:

    @E.D. Kain:

    Then her lack of sympathy or empathy for anyone else who has suffered is more appalling.

  86. 86

    Is there anybody who is even slightly surprised by this?

    Me.

    I didn’t think she’d wait until she had an illness.

  87. 87
    HeftyJo says:

    Heh, if you look you can see that this was actually something that surfaced on the internet back in April of 2009. Why is this being pulled back down off the shelf and dusted off again right now? OH LOOK SQUIRREL!! Couldn’t be that this is just a way to distract people from serious problems that are occurring TODAY could it? Naahhh…. Seems to me that none of this changes the fact that Social Security has officially started to run in the red. But I certainly see what is going on here. Posts like this give liberals the opportunity to hurl their favorite ad hominem at the evil rethuglicans and pound their chest in righteous indignation. Carry on…

  88. 88
    Ken says:

    @Nicole: “She wrote an ode to smoking in Atlas Shrugged and her followers were pressured to smoke, whether they wanted to take up the habit or not.”

    This sort of thing is where Rand strayed across the line between “philosopher” and “cult leader”. Actually, barged right across it, and just kept going. Control of such aspects of the lives of the followers is one of the checkpoints for identifying cult behavior.

  89. 89
    kay says:

    I think libertarians misunderstand the whole basis of these programs. They have nothing to do with sympathy or empathy, and no one who is sane approaches them as depositing a finite sum and then withdrawing that sum.

    They’re akin to insurance. It’s about risk. Ayn Rand (I’m assuming) used a hell of a lot “more” Medicare that she paid for if she had lung cancer. The rest of us subsidized that. We did that not because we’re just really nice people, but because we make a rational risk assessment, and we know we need a big pool to mitigate the downside effects of the health lottery.

    Social Security operates under the same assumptions. While it’s fabulous if you have plenty of money when you’re old, we need you to contribute to a “floor”, because we’re going to take care of you anyway.

    Rand would have gotten the care. This way, someone paid for it. We all did.

  90. 90
    hardtoport says:

    I can’t think of anyone who has done more damage with their ‘philosophy’ than Ms. Rand. A shame this wasn’t exposed in the 90’s so it could have been refudiated.

    What kind of surprises me, though, is why didn’t Rand have a billionaire rightwinger underwriting her life, back when it counted? It was her personal mis-fortune that she wasn’t born in the 50’s….she’d have had an entire industry of cheerleaders and financial resources protecting her private welfare to make sure that she’d never have had to count on government to help her out. Like that ‘self-made’ man, Rush, and the entire group at Fox News.

  91. 91
    Chris says:

    @hardtoport:

    What kind of surprises me, though, is why didn’t Rand have a billionaire rightwinger underwriting her life, back when it counted? It was her personal mis-fortune that she wasn’t born in the 50’s….she’d have had an entire industry of cheerleaders and financial resources protecting her private welfare to make sure that she’d never have had to count on government to help her out. Like that ‘self-made’ man, Rush, and the entire group at Fox News.

    What’s in it for them? I think billionaire rightwingers found mainstream conservatives like William F. Buckley to be a much better investment.

    Ayn Rand was too militantly atheist, and too in-your-face about her elitism, to be the kind of propagandist they needed. Buckley and all those who came after him knew how to preach the same economic gospel as Rand (which is the only part the zillionaires care about), but in the language of Christianity and American exceptionalism and all those things the common man wants to hear. Which probably explains why all that money went to them instead.

  92. 92
    SoINeedAName says:

    “Atlas Shrugged”?

    Hell, no!

    Instead he had his palm up … waiting for a government handout!

  93. 93
    Henry says:

    In defense of Ayn Rand, fortunately, her writings are available for those who are interested enough to read them. Her position on public welfare is stated in her article “The question of Scholarships,” published in The Objectivist, June 1966.

    “Since there is no such thing as the right of some men to vote away the rights of others, and no such thing as the right of the government to seize the property of some men for the unearned benefit of others–the advocates and supporters of the welfare state are morally guilty of robbing their opponents, and the fact that the robbery is legalized makes it morally worse, not better. The victims do not have to add self-inflicted martyrdom to the injury done to them by others; they do not have to let the looters profit doubly, by letting them distribute the money exclusively to the parasites who clamored for it. Whenever the welfare-state laws offer them some small restitution, the victims should take it.”

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