Listen to The LoLo Show
  1. If you don't have an account click the "login or signup" tab in the upper right & create one. To make things easy you can quickly create it using your facebook, twitter, or google login. Your real identity & your login credentials for those sites will remain private. Just be sure to choose an alias when you set it up. PS: Even if you haven't been to SFN in years, your old login will still work.

Ayn Rand Hates Tea Party

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Tom from T.O., Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Tom from T.O.

    Tom from T.O. Closed by User

      • Ayn Rand: the Tea Party’s Miscast Matriarch

    Gary Weiss, long time Wall Street reporter and author, has written a new book, due out this week from St. Martin’s Press, on the rising influence of Ayn Rand in modern politics. Titled Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul, the book removes the propaganda mask that has been so adroitly affixed to Alan Greenspan’s page-boy coiffed goddess of laissez-faire capitalism and the Tea Party’s mother ship.
    While lecturing others for most of her life on the meaning of morality, Rand had extramarital sex for more than a decade with a younger man who worked for her. His wife was among her inner circle of friends and Rand herself was married. A believer in acquiescence to selfish desires, Rand published a 1964 collection of essays with Nathaniel Branden titled The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism. Adding particular poignancy to the title, Branden was the young subordinate with whom she was sleeping.
    Rand, and her supporters, including Alan Greenspan, viewed altruism as evil: altruism is evil, selfishness is good. And tens of millions of dollars of corporate money is backing that philosophy today in America, no doubt to give obscenely paid CEOs a sip of Rand’s guilt-free narcissism while stoking the fires for more deregulation of a country just crawling back from the crippling effects of deregulation. This is the mindless irrationality of Rand’s brand of rationality.
    According to Weiss, Ayn Rand built her Objectivist philosophy that permeates today’s Tea Party around individual self interest and eliminating government run social welfare programs, but she herself was on Medicare and Social Security.
    Even after the attack at Pearl Harbor, Rand was against the U.S. entering World War II. She viewed government force as evil, but her own followers were regularly purged, shunned and vilified. She was an atheist, as are all true Objectivists, according to the grande dame of radical capitalism.
    Alan Greenspan, the man who chaired the Federal Reserve Board for 18 years, guiding U.S. monetary policy under four presidents, was a member of Rand’s Collective in New York City, which Weiss likens to a cult: “For much of its existence the Collective was for all intents and purposes a cult. It had an unquestioned leader, it demanded absolute loyalty, it intruded into the personal lives of its members, it had its own rote expressions and catchphrases, it expelled transgressors for deviation from accepted norms, and expellees were ‘fair game’ for vicious personal attacks.”
    More troubling about Greenspan, who during his term as Fed Chair, aided in the gutting of critical Wall Street regulations, including the repeal of the depression-era Glass-Steagall Act which barred the merger of insured deposit banks with investment banks and brokerage firms, was his blind loyalty to Rand’s cultish propaganda.
    Weiss produces a gem from The New York Times Book Review from 1957. Greenspan was defending his idol after her most famous work, Atlas Shrugged, had been thrashed in multiple reviews. Greenspan dutifully makes his case in Randian-speak: “Atlas Shrugged is a celebration of life and happiness,” he wrote. “Justice is unrelenting. Creative individuals and undeviating purpose and rationality achieve joy and fulfillment. Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.”
    According to Weiss, Rand was not very joyous or fulfilled during her later years, but rather “a fussy and bitter old woman, shuffling around her neighborhood in a house coat.”
    Were major reviewers in the 50s wrong about Rand’s seminal work, Atlas Shrugged, as they unmercifully trashed it? “When I read it years ago,” Weiss writes, “Atlas Shrugged left me cold. To me it had the intellectual level of a pulp science-fiction novel. It was absurdly long and it was boring.” I have to personally admit to finding it gratingly verbose and boring when I read it in college. Perhaps Rand’s brilliance and that of Greenspan elude the Objectivist-challenged among us. I decided to reach out to an expert on such matters.
    I emailed Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities and English at Yale University. Professor Bloom did not mince words: “Ayn Rand was a writer of no value whatsoever, whether aesthetic or intellectual. The Tea Party deserves her, but the rest of us do not. It is not less than obscene that any educational institution that relies even in part on public funds should ask students to consider her work. We are threatened these days by vicious mindlessness and this is one of its manifestations.”
    Professor Bloom may have been referring to the dust up last year when it was revealed that corporate money was contractually mandating the reading and teaching of Rand at publicly funded universities.
    Gary H. Jones, an Associate Professor in the College of Business at Western Carolina University, addressed the topic in the July-August 2010 issue of Academe, the magazine of the American Association of University Professors: “Recent donations from the charitable arm of BB&T, one of the nation’s largest banks, have raised the issue of external influence…At the center of the concerns about these donations is the requirement that objectivist Ayn Rand’s novels be taught in special courses extolling capitalism and self-interest…the BB&T gifts raise questions of both substance and procedure. Faculty members at several universities did not even know of the gifts or that BB&T’s donations had curricular implications until after the agreements were signed. At the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, for example, three years passed before faculty members learned that a million-dollar gift agreement establishing a new course contained language requiring both that Rand’s lengthy paean to laissez-faire capitalism, Atlas Shrugged, be assigned reading and that professors who teach that course ‘have a positive interest in and be well versed in Objectivism.’ ”
    In that same article, Brian Leiter, director of the Center of Law, Philosophy, and Human Values at the University of Chicago called the book “badly written and simpleminded.”
    I asked Professor Jones for an update on the views he expressed in 2010. As it turns out, there is a growing “collective” of people who think Rand’s writing is unworthy of the halls of learning. Jones replied in an email: “For all the right reasons it is the faculty of educational institutions who are charged — by regional accrediting bodies — with having primary responsibility for university curriculum. Despite this, wealthy foundations, notably BB&T, offer money to schools of higher education with stipulations directly affecting curriculum, e.g., mandating or ‘encouraging’ the assignment of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Frequently, this has been done surreptitiously through the side door of private university foundations – foundations shielded from state sunshine laws and, too often, any faculty input concerning possible curricular ‘strings.’ A more abstract criticism of this unwelcome process is made by the use of Rand’s own free-market argument against her: That Atlas Shrugged should rise to the level of academic consideration, in economics, on its own merit—without subsidy. (Which it doesn’t.)”
    The corporate gambit to infuse the deregulatory, small government mantra into the hearts and minds of young voters is far more Machiavellian than previously understood. And a spontaneous outpouring of interest in Ayn Rand’s books now seems more like a well-funded enterprise by deep and intertwined corporate pockets. Weiss provides his own thoughts on the likely corporate motive early in the book: “The only societal problem in the world of Atlas Shrugged is that government is mean to business and unfair to the wealthy.” (See Part II of this article tomorrow, which will explore in-depth the new radical right duo on campus: joint funding of economics programs by one of the brothers grim, the Charles G. Koch Foundation, and BB&T.)
    Weiss frequently references the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI), the organization that took over the marketing of Rand’s books and writings after her death in 1982. I visited their web site to see if this might be another astroturf group, creating the illusion of spontaneous outpourings of public zeal. I learned the following:
    Possibly Weiss had in the back of his mind the Co-Chair of the Board of the Ayn Rand Institute: Arline Mann, Managing Director and Associate General Counsel of the Board of Goldman Sachs & Company.
    • This user has been removed from public view.
  2. Luther Full Member

    Tea Party: 茶话会; 茶会; 茶党,指2009年,在美国各地抗议高额税收,提倡缩减政府债务和联邦预算赤字的美国居民; 该词来源于波士顿倾茶事件; 一说“Tea”一词为“tax enough already”的首字母缩写词
  3. Jellyfishlips Full Member

    Looks like some paragraphs were inadvertently cut out, Tom. This is by no means all of it, but I found this section the most interesting while pertaining to the Tea Party and libertarianism. From the same article:
  4. jigzaw Full Member

    Wah- people still read Ayn Rand even though we journalists keep purposefully misinterpreting her work and misrepresenting her views and keep blaming her for Greenspans actions even though he did them years after he left her group and she had died (not to mention she opposed the Fed entirely, and wouldn't have approved of his actions)- wah.
  5. Luther Full Member

    Her work is very difficult to misinterpret. Have you ever read Atlas Shrugged? I have. John Galt's 70-page speech, which is excruciating to read, pretty much sums up her belief system. There is nothing subtle about it.
  6. Tom from T.O.

    Tom from T.O. Closed by User

    Sorry, I could not post all of it due to length, and yes, you posted the indictment by Ayn Rand of the consevative and tea party ideology. She would have hated and scorned the tea party, and those GOP'ers who quote Rand are being disengenuous.
  7. jigzaw Full Member

    This is true.

    Yeah, I've read Atlas Shrugged and every other book she wrote (fiction and non). She is difficult to misinterpret, but they bend over backwards to do so. Take the article above, which blatantly says she opposed the U.S. fighting WW2 even after Pearl Harbor.. That's quite a statement considering I don't believe she ever publicly said a thing about it and even her fans to this day have legitimate disagreements about what she thought of WW2. Her personal life was probably nuts (if her detractors are to be believed.. she was dead long before those allegations came out and could never refute them), but her writings are very clear and usually when I read the typical hit piece on her the image of her philosophy is usually not one that I recognize from her books. Her primary focus was on each person's individual freedom, but they always find a way to twist it to mean some bizarre fascist idea about superior people being allowed to hurt and violate the rights of the common person, which couldn't be further from what she actually advocated. It's simply an agenda-driven thing where people who are opposed to capitalism must demonize someone who wrote brilliantly about it, similar to how anti-communists demonize Marx and equate him with Stalin, even though Marx would probably have strongly disapproved of the massive murder that so many have done under the banner of his philosophy.
  8. Tom from T.O.

    Tom from T.O. Closed by User

    A friend of my brothers here in Canada was very smart and he won a scholarship to England, he was a Rhodes scholar. When he came back, he kept worshipping Ayn Rand, even though he studied sciences. I read Atlas Shrugged due to him, and when I saw him again, I argued with him and just remember thinking to myself, "Does this Rhodes shcolar genius realise he is using a work of fiction to justify real life policy?" Her fiction is a fantasy, that cannot be applied to the real wolrd as her fantasy is laughable in its over-simplification. She shares that with Karl Marx, whose assumptions about human nature ere laughable in their utter simplicity, to the point of being non sensical. Both Marx and Rand would have benfited immensely from being forced to run a profitable business for ten years. Both of them indulged their silly illusions.
  9. jigzaw Full Member

    Her fiction left a lot to be desired, but I'm still a fan of her essays. Her defenses of personal liberty and analyses of how "good intentions" are usually excuses for dictatorship are second to none.
  10. Tom from T.O.

    Tom from T.O. Closed by User

    I liked Atlas Shrugged, I was just stunned that greedy fucks used a work of fiction in a self serving manner to justify themselves. I have never read her essays, but I don't think I will because she gives the Marx vibe, it's just too much self-indulgence. They love the sound of their own voice. Try riding a horse at the front of the battle lines in a losing battle, like George Washington did.
  11. HanzoTheRazor Full Member

    jigsaw obviously knows more than this Pam whoever

Share This Page

Stern Show Related Books