I am no expert on Ayn Rand and Objectivism… AND I had friends for many years who were and because of them I read Atlas Shrugged 12 times… and a few other books by Ayn Rand… (the Fountainhead, Anthem and We the Living). You might find it interesting to note, as I did, in India in the late 1980’s, I found a bunch of Rand books there that had been banned in the USA. Books that were considered too dangerous for Americans to read perhaps?
To equate Ayn Rand and the GOP as being some sort of ideological match as some people are doing is just plain ludicrous. Rand must be rolling over in her grave at the thought. She did not laud greed as a virtue as this article suggests. In fact, greedy moochers were enemies of all according to Rand. I also don’t think Rand wanted to privatize everything. She was AGAINST stealing and cheating and people who do this. If you are a person who wants to rule others and force them to believe as you do and think Rand is telling you to do so, you are wrong. She hated tyrannical Moochers. (More below).
Rand did not idealize selfish individuals who could not care less about the world they lived in or how they impact it as this article suggests.
What I am here to refute are these lies and myths going around about Rand’s books and the ideology behind them. Get a grip. Most people know that the right wing lie all of the time and twist and distort the Bible for their own agenda. Same is true with Rand’s work.
What I know about Rand is that she grew up in Communist Russia during the Russian Revolution (witnessed tyranny firsthand) and wrote about the corruptness and abuses of power she saw in that system of government. She despised and outed corporate welfare queens, hated bureaucrats who trade political favors, and parasitic people who are lazy and do not work because they refuse to use their minds and talents to contribute anything to anyone. People who trade on and exploit their weaknesses to extort value from others. I don’t think Rand was even against government per se. Gasp. Really?
Rand was against tyrannical moochers. Users. Vultures. People who manipulate to get what they want while refusing to give anything of value in return.
She rebelled against fascism and a totalitarian society not government per se.
“Ayn Rand’s novelette Anthem (1938) tells the story of one man’s rebellion against a totalitarian society. When the novel’s hero, Equality 7-2521, commits the unpardonable crime—independent thought—he sets himself in conflict with the moral strictures of his world—a world in which all expressions of individualism have been suppressed, where the very word “I” has been banished from the language—a world of joyless, selfless men permitted to exist only for the sake of serving the group.”
Dagny Taggart, the heroine of Atlas Shrugged, had a brother who is a prime example of a tyrant moocher who wants to force his ideology onto others through unfair laws and propaganda. He delights in stealing and cheating and not paying his fair share. He is rich and powerful due to his family’s legacy not IN HIS OWN RIGHT. He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and uses that to get what he wants in life. Sound familiar?
A non millionaire worthy of distinction that Rand honored was Dagny’s best friend Eddie Willers, a conscientious young man who loved to work and enjoyed doing his job. He used his mind for good and paid his fair share in life. He was an independent minded guy who contributed to society.
Like the Vulcans in Star Trek, Rand revered the mind (rather than the sentimentality of emotions) and the human spirit of people who use their gifts and talents to invent masterpieces of innovation, self reliant visionaries who could look at something ordinary and create something extraordinary out of it, and those who produce solutions to problems that benefit society as well as regular every day folks like Eddie who just go to work every day.
Did Rand have personal issues? Sure, she did. And some of her ideas about romance and relationship were skewed. So what? Everyone has issues.
Selfishness was a virtue to Rand (but not a lack of empathy or compassion) because she saw the evil of people who live to punish others, destroy life in all forms (who are pro death) and martyr themselves for others and/or those who seek other people’s approval, who have NO self esteem nor courage of their own convictions. People who refuse to think for themselves on issues. People who have NO moral convictions. People without any moral compass whatsoever. Sheep. Rand hated people who refuse to think for themselves. Individuals who are good Germans and tow the party line were anathema, the source of all society’s ills to Rand. She’d hate people who watch Faux News and drink the Kool-Aid.
Wealth was NOT the end all be all product with NO regard for how it was attained nor how it is used. It was a side benefit, the frosting on the cake, a reward given to those who deserved it for producing VALUE for all of life.
Rand spoke volumes against people who were vultures and parasites who decreed their own superiority through their own unwillingness to be useful in any way, shape or form. People who brag about their ineptness and emptiness. People who lie and are dishonest hypocrites who never do an honest day’s work in their lives.
What John Galt pointed out to the visionaries and innovators in the book was how they were being enslaved by dishonest vultures and parasites who passed unfair laws and tried to thwart, block and obstruct their genius in every possible way. He showed them how the moochers who did not deserve the fruits of the labor of the producers were getting in their way and that they did NOT have to work for these self appointed overlords and spoiled brats of laziness and weakness. Moochers like Dagny’s brother were the scum of the earth to Rand. As were people who sold out their integrity and goods they produced with their minds.
I don’t know that Rand was against social safety nets per se. She did rail against social workers who helped people who refused to work. She did discuss how the moochers put people out of work but not much about how people who wanted to work had no jobs because of the inequality and rigged system. She did show how destructive and dangerous the moochers are. They caused all kinds of catastrophic events, from collisions of trains to disasters of food crops.
She did not extol greed nor laud the accumulation of money for its own sake. Hoarding cash and taking advantage of others were also not ideals she would have subscribed to. Using privilege as a weapon and power at all costs were NOT what she idealized.
I think that she would have been against Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan and the Tea Party and all that they stand for. Just as Jesus would not approve of the so-called Christians who hate in his name, Rand would have been against Paul Ryan and his budget and the right wingers who laud her work and twist/distort it for their own agenda.
Any questions? Things do not make sense? Check your premises and assumptions. And/or ask Nathaniel Branden who knew Ayn Rand personally. Or read Atlas Shrugged yourself. I think you just might find it to be different than what it is supposed to be about. Just like the Bible.
Branden’s framework, of six “pillars” of self-esteem:
- Living consciously: the practice of being aware of what one is doing while one is doing it, i.e., the practice of mindfulness.
- Self-acceptance: the practice of owning truths regarding one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors; of being kind toward oneself with respect to them; and of being “for” oneself in a basic sense.
- Self-responsibility: the practice of owning one’s authorship of one’s actions and of owning one’s capacity to be the cause of the effects one desires.
- Self-assertiveness: the practice of treating one’s needs and interests with respect and of expressing them in appropriate ways.
- Living purposefully: the practice of formulating goals and of formulating and implementing action plans to achieve them.
- Personal integrity: the practice of maintaining alignment between one’s behaviors and convictions.
“I am a libertarian (but not a member of the Libertarian Party).”