Category Archive 'Ayn Rand'
02 Feb 2017

Happy Birthday, Ayn!

,

They will be showing “Atlas Shrugged, Part 1” (2011) online at 8:00 PM EST tonight. HERE

13 Dec 2016

Trump the Randian?

, , , ,

The Washington Post suggests he is, and that he is filling his cabinet with fellow attendees of the August-in-Colorado annual retreat.

Donald Trump has decided to risk a confirmation fight, officially nominating ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state this morning. Tillerson and Trump had no previous relationship, but the Texas oilman and the New York developer hit it off when they met face to face. One of the things that they have in common is their shared affection for the works of Ayn Rand, the libertarian heroine who celebrated laissez-faire capitalism.

The president-elect said this spring that he’s a fan of Rand and identifies with Howard Roark, the main character in “The Fountainhead.” Roark, played by Gary Cooper in the film adaptation, is an architect who dynamites a housing project he designed because the builders did not precisely follow his blueprints. “It relates to business, beauty, life and inner emotions. That book relates to … everything,” Trump told Kirsten Powers for a piece in USA Today.

— Tillerson prefers “Atlas Shrugged,” Rand’s novel about John Galt secretly organizing a strike of the creative class to hasten the collapse of the bureaucratic society. The CEO listed it as his favorite book in a 2008 feature for Scouting Magazine, according to biographer Steve Coll.

— This has now officially become a trend. Trump is turning not just to billionaires but Randians to fill the cabinet:

Andy Puzder, tapped by Trump last week to be secretary of labor, is an avid and outspoken fan of Rand’s books. One profiler last week asked what he does in his free time, and a friend replied that he reads Ayn Rand. He is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which is owned by Roark Capital Group, a private equity fund named after Howard Roark. Puzder, who opposes increases in the minimum wage and wants to automate fast food jobs, was quoted just last month saying that he encouraged his six children to read “Fountainhead” first and “Atlas Shrugged” later.

Mike Pompeo, who will have the now-very-difficult job of directing the Central Intelligence Agency for Trump, has often said that Rand’s works inspired him. “One of the very first serious books I read when I was growing up was Atlas Shrugged, and it really had an impact on me,” the Kansas congressman told Human Events in 2011.

— Trump has been huddling with and consulting several other Rand followers for advice as he fills out his cabinet. John A. Allison IV, for example, met with Trump for about 90 minutes the week before last. “As chief executive of BB&T Corp., he distributed copies of ‘Atlas Shrugged’ to senior officers and influenced BB&T’s charitable arm to fund classes about the moral foundations of capitalism at a number of colleges,” the Journal noted in a piece about him. “Mr. Allison’s worldview was shaped when he was a college student at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and stumbled across a collection of essays by Ms. Rand.”

— Ayn Rand was perhaps the leading literary voice in 20th century America for the notion that, in society, there are makers and takers, and that the takers are parasitic moochers who get in the way of the morally-superior innovators. Her books portray the federal government as an evil force, trying to stop hard-working men from accumulating the wealth that she believes they deserve. The author was also an outspoken atheist, something that oozes through in her writing. Rand explained that the essence of “objectivism,” as she called her ideology, is that “man exists for his own sake, that the pursuit of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose, that he must not sacrifice himself to others, nor sacrifice others to himself.”

Ragnar Danneskjöld for Secretary of the Navy?

20 Aug 2015

Ayn Rand’s Narnia

, , , ,

HelpingIsFutile

Mallory Ortberg delivers another of her amusing Ayn Rand parodies. This time imagining what you’d get if Ayn Rand had written C.S. Lewis’s Narnia stories. Personally, I find them much improved.

If the witch understood the true meaning of sacrifice, she might have interpreted the Deep Magic differently, for when a willing victim who has committed no treachery, dies in a traitor’s stead, the stone table will crack and even death itself will turn backwards.”

“Oh, how interesting,” Lucy said. “What is the true meaning of sacrifice, Aslan?”

“It is an artificial anti-concept,” Aslan said in his low, golden voice. “It is the ultimate force of destruction. The very word self less suggests self-immolation, a complete annihilation of one’s own self for the sake of others. Sacrifice destroys knowledge, skill, talent, usefulness, all in the name of duty. It destroys love and self-esteem, which are the same thing. Self-sacrifice is an immoral nightmare.”

“I don’t quite understand,” Lucy said. “Does this mean Edmund is going to die instead of you?”

“Let us put it this way,” Aslan said. “If I exchange a penny for a dollar, have I made a sacrifice?”

“No,” Lucy said.

“But if I were to exchange a dollar for a penny instead,” Aslan said, sounding rather as if he had a locomotive in his throat, “would I be making a sacrifice then?”

“Y-e-s,” Lucy said.

“And you understand why your brother is not the dollar, in this analogy,” he said.

“So Edmund must die,” Lucy said triumphantly, “or else you would be betraying your own values!”

“Exactly,” Aslan said. “Have a penny.”

Edmund burst into tears, like a Communist.

“Oh, do be quiet,” Lucy said to Edmund. “I want to listen to Aslan explain his plans for a transcontinental railroad into Calormen again.”

Read the whole thing.

03 Aug 2015

Clintons “Earned” $141 Million Since 2007

, , , ,

ClintonsCash

Tigerhawk has a few choice words about the leading (Rand villain) couple of America’s “aristocracy of pull.”

The news today had its uplifting moments. Vox choked out a spectacular story about the arresting wealth gathered in by Bill and Hillary Clinton since 2007, and graced it with a headline so snarky that Donald Trump might have written it: “Hillary Clinton has paid more in taxes than Jeb Bush has ever earned.” The short version is that the Clintons have “earned” — more about the use of that word in a moment — $141 million since 2007. I don’t care who you are, that’s some decent coin.

The second best part about the Vox story is the searchable list of all the organizations, mostly large business corporations, that have paid the Clintons enormous sums to hear their talking points in person. Scroll down and make your list of boycott targets (I was sad to see my old law firm Latham & Watkins in that corrupt crowd, by the way). …

Is there a single person alive who believes that corporations, trade associations, NGOs, unions, and the like pay the Clintons enormous sums for speeches because they believe their members actually want to hear the Clintons say the same tedious talking points they have been spewing for years? If that were the only value received no profit-minded enterprise would pay the Clintons these vast fees because they would earn, well, a shitty rate of return.

No, the Clintons are not paid to speak. Businesses and other interest groups pay them for the favor of access at a crucial moment or a thumb on the scale in the future, perhaps when it is time to renew the Ex-Im Bank or at a thousand other occasions when a nod might divert millions of dollars from average people in to the pockets of the crony capitalists. The speaking is just a ragged fig leaf, mostly to allow their allies in the media to say they “earned” the money for “speaking,” which is, after all, hard work.

We have such people as the Clintons (and the tens of thousands of smaller bore looters who have turned the counties around Washington, D.C. in to the richest in the country) because they and their ilk in both parties have transformed the federal government of the United States in to a vast favors factory, an invidious place that not only picks winners and losers and decides the economic fates of millions of people, but which has persuaded itself that this is all quite noble. Instead, the opposite is true: This entire class of people, of which the Clintons are a most ugly apotheosis, are destroying the country while claiming it is all in the “public service.” It is disgusting. We need to say that, at least, out loud.

Of course, all of this was prefigured years ago in a novel some of you will know.

15 Jul 2015

Ayn Rand: 30 Years Deceased and Still Freaking Out the Left

, ,

aynrand2

Milo Yiannopoulos celebrates the publication of the novel version of Ayn Rand’s generally forgotten play, Ideal, with a nice essay poking fun at Rand-hating, Rand-villain progressives.

There’s just one problem with all the preening and posturing this author is subjected to: In order to sneer at Rand, you have to read her. That’s why you’ll sometimes see ridiculous social media spectacles of angsty liberal bloggers and overwrought students burning copies of the Fountainhead. And just how many Vox bloggers have made it all the way through Atlas Shrugged ? The next time someone is rude about that novel in your earshot, ask him to name a single character besides John Galt and you’ll see what I mean.

In a sense, Ayn Rand is a victim of her own totemic success. By appealing to such atavistic human drives, she has become shorthand for a whole range of gauche, aspirational working-class anxieties about other people that the liberal left likes to sneer at. Mock Ayn Rand and you are mocking the entire value system of the right-wing media, the Koch brothers, Wall Street, the Tea Party, and whomever else you don’t like—in a manner every bit as mean-spirited as anything Rand ever wrote.

Which is not to say that Ayn Rand was a particularly nice person in print. She is ruthlessly unforgiving in her mocking portraits of spoiled middle-class train wrecks. And if there’s one thing earnest socialists hate, it’s being mocked. Rand skewers the preoccupations and hypocrisies of metropolitan liberals with such ferocity that their only response is slack-jawed horror and social ostracism. …

History can be unkind to progressives, so their impotent fury is understandable. It has a habit of reminding us that, regardless of noble intentions, progressivism tends to make the world a worse place to live and further impoverish the poor. Rand predicted almost everything that ordinary people loathe about state-sponsored late capitalism, in particular the rampant corruption and bailout cronyism of an overweening government. Far from being pleased at the power Wall Street wields, if Rand were alive today she’d pull her hair out over the state of the state. Atlas Shrugged is no longer fanciful; if anything, it was a conservative prediction.

Rand’s critics might argue that she appeals to the worst of human nature—that her writing plays on our jealousies, our insecurities, our most antagonistic impulses. Ayn Rand is right-wing porn: capitalism, self-reliance and self-interest at their most outrageously unapologetic. But that, of course, is what makes her so fabulously readable.

Read the whole thing.

23 May 2015

Slavoj Žižek on Ayn Rand

,

Marxism’s clown philosopher offers his own take on the great libertarian novelist.

His supposed aperçu is just a typical bit of Slavonic verbal acrobatics. Rand’s philosophy is “an embarrassment” only in the sense that it is a direct contradiction of 2000 years of Judeo-Christian ethical prescription thereby flying in the face of deeply-ingrained cultural assumptions.

It is amusing though to see the characteristically-indiscreet Žižek freely acknowledging the extent of Rand’s influence in a perverse sort of outlaw solidarity.

12 Apr 2015

Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows

, , ,

hprand

Mallory Ortberg has another episode of Harry Potter as written by Ayn Rand.

“The Ministry of Magic has fallen,” Neville said in despair.

Harry laughed long and loud. “You should not mourn the government,” he told Neville. “The state has never shed a tear for you. Why waste your tears on it?”

He picked up his wand. “For my part, I withdrew my consent to be governed years ago. Taxation is destroying private resources.” A smile played across Harry’s lips. “I hope they destroyed the national bank, while they were at it. I should like to see the goblins of Gringotts face their real enemy — deregulation.”

***

HERE LIES DOBBY, the stone read, A FREE ELF.

Underneath, in slightly smaller letters, it continued: What is the basic, the essential, the crucial principle that differentiates freedom from slavery? It is the principle of voluntary action versus physical coercion or compulsion. Freedom, in a political context, has only one meaning: the absence of physical coercion. It does not mean freedom from the landlord, or freedom from the employer, or freedom from the laws of nature which do not provide men with automatic prosperity. It means freedom from the coercive power of the state—and nothing else. If one upholds freedom, one must uphold man’s individual rights; if one upholds man’s individual rights, one must uphold his right to his own life, to his own liberty, to the pursuit of his own happiness—which means: one must uphold a political system that guarantees and protects these rights—which means: the politico-economic system of capitalism. Intellectual freedom cannot exist without political freedom; political freedom cannot exist without economic freedom; a free mind and a free market are corollaries. Since knowledge, thinking, and rational action are properties of the individual, since the choice to exercise his rational faculty or not depends on the individual, man’s survival requires that those who think be free of the interference of those who don’t. Since men are neither omniscient nor infallible, they must be free to agree or disagree, to cooperate or to pursue their own independent course, each according to his own rational judgment. Freedom is the fundamental requirement of man’s mind. A rational mind does not work under compulsion; it does not subordinate its grasp of reality to anyone’s orders, directives, or controls; it does not sacrifice its knowledge, its view of the truth, to anyone’s opinions, threats, wishes, plans, or “welfare.” Such a mind may be hampered by others, it may be silenced, proscribed, imprisoned, or destroyed; it cannot be forced; a wand is not an argument. It is from the work and the inviolate integrity of such minds—from the intransigent innovators—that all of mankind’s knowledge and achievements have come. It is to such minds that mankind owes its survival.

The gravestone was seven and a half feet tall.

***

NINETEEN YEARS LATER

“I’m taking the children down the Platform 9 3/4s to see them off to school,” Ginny said to Harry. “Want to come?”

“I build trains,” Harry said, adjusting his hat so that the brim sat low over one eye, “I don’t watch children board them.”

Ginny respected him for it.

17 Feb 2015

Ayn Rand 110th Birthday Humor

,

AynRandLaughs
Ayn Rand laughing and smoking in Valhalla.

Ayn Rand would be 110 years old this month. Her birthday was February 2nd.

Mallory Ortberg (who keeps everyone at Galt’s Gulch in stitches every summer) imagines a Harry Potter novel as written by Auntie Ayn:

“Don’t you see?” Dumbledore said. “Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one that rises against them and strikes back!”

“Of course,” Harry said calmly. “Tyranny is any political system (whether absolute monarchy or fascism or communism) that does not recognize individual rights (which necessarily include property rights). The overthrow of a political system by force is justified only when it is directed against tyranny: it is an act of self-defense against those who rule by force.”

Harry took up his wand. “First I’m going to kill Snape,” he said evenly, “and then I’m going to dissolve the estate tax.”

“But why -” Dumbledore began.

“Wealth must be earned, not kept,” Harry said. “A man who inherits wealth he does not deserve will lose it in a generations’ time. He has no inherent right to keep it if he cannot earn it, but it does not then stand that the government has a stronger right to it. It is his, to keep or to lose, as long as he is living.”

Read the whole thing.

——————————-

Meanwhile, Jim Dowd contends that Ayn didn’t really die in Manhattan in 1982, but has been living on, all these years until quite recently, secretly in Massachusetts.

110 year old philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand perished in a snowstorm that covered much of the Northeast this week. Thought to have died in 1982, it was revealed she simply faked her own death to avoid paying debts on the successful treatment of her lung cancer which ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, her being philisopically opposed to Medicare.

Having escaped to East Gloucester to live under an assumed name, she was known for loudly rejecting help from neighbors. “Do not condescend to me with charity,” she shouted at Bob D’Palazola who just recently tried to remove snow from her driveway with his snowblower as he had for many elderly neighbors on the street.

“I thought she was nuts,” said the plumber and good Samaritan, “Considering how much she smokes there is no way she should be out there shoveling herself. I tried to get her reconsider but she started yelling about how indebtedness corrupting the fiber of the soul of man and I’m like screw it, Ill just go do my brother-in-laws house.”

Other neighbors were shunned by the centenarian objectivist when they attempted to bring gifts of fresh baked cinnamon buns and hot cocoa during a “senior wellness check” organized by residents. Mary Ellen Katzen, a local volunteer, claimed to have been berated at Rand’s door. “She started yelling about how the strong owe nothing to the weak and I was just like, ‘have some cinnamon buns’ but she batted them away told me to blow them into brass coins and spread them at the winds for the poor of spirit. What does that even mean?”

Read the whole thing.

22 Jan 2015

Sullydish Readers Defend Rand

,

Ayn-Rand-008

Andrew the Illegal Immigrant, like many other people, blogged about the recently-gone-viral letter from Ayn Rand to her niece who wanted a loan, but (being a Rand villain) Andrew described Rand’s missive as “amazingly horrible.”

Andrew Sullivan does get these occasional fits of actual integrity in his blogging, though, and yesterday he passed along this highly effective demurral from one of his readers:

I don’t see what is so “horrible” in what Ayn Rand wrote to her niece. First, the niece didn’t ask for $25 as a gift; she asked to borrow it. If you read the letter, Rand gives TWO examples of where a similar request was made, and the money was NOT used to accomplish the stated goal, nor was it paid back. Second, Rand didn’t insist on charging interest, merely getting the principle back. Third, she simply insisted the niece be honest and A) spend it on what she said, and B) pay the loan back when she had the chance instead of spending on something else.

Or if you don’t want to be horrible like her, I too could use some new clothes to improve my employment opportunities, and a $250 (inflation adjusted from 1949) Amazon gift credit in reply would help. And you shouldn’t be horrible about insisting that I really use it for clothes, or that I pay it back, much less according to some terms. If you did insist, you would be “horrible” just like her.

This is the one thing often missed in Ayn Rand’s works: the heroes keep their promises, and pay what they owe “to the last dime”, often at great cost.

And another of Andrew’s readers added:

I’m a bit miffed at how ill treated this letter is in your post. What an invaluable lesson this is about debt! …

Most people in the US think nothing about taking on a new credit card – or a fancy new degree – and the mountain of “irresponsibly” laid down debt literally destroys their lives. It destroys their entrepreneurial spirit; it destroys their educational, relational, and employment opportunities; it destroys their quality of life and entrenches mild- to severe poverty; and it degrades them psychologically and virtually eliminates any taste for risk taking and enterprise, locking them into “getting by” employment to constantly service the debt.

Would that they had someone as wise as Rand cautioning them to think reeeeealy hard before taking on $40,000 for that BS Degree or $10,000 for a late-model car when they could be driving around a reliable beater. Think of the suffering that could have been alleviated if such lessons were taught to the entire generation of then-17 year old millennials who are currently groaning under their debt.

And let’s look at the massive handicap our national debt has on this same generation and their children. Would that anyone in Congress had had an aunt as shrewd as Ms. Rand! Look at the Greek debt or historic Latin American debt. How “horrible” would it have been to have a tut-tutting aunt make people painfully aware of the potential repercussions of their decisions before undertaking them? How much global suffering could have been avoided with a little more tough love from a wiry, stick-in-the-mud Aunty like Ayn Rand?

Read the whole thing.

19 Jan 2015

Letter From Auntie Ayn

,

ayn-rand50

Mallory Ortberg shares with us a characteristically morally engagée letter from Ayn Rand to a relative who asked her for a small loan.

The Letters of Ayn Rand is a thing of beauty and a joy forever. It is a perpetual source of comfort and inspiration to me. Every morning, Ayn Rand must have thrust herself forth from her steel bed and asked herself “What is the most Ayn Rand thing that I can do today?”

On May 22, 1949, the answer was to write a letter to her young niece, who had sent her a short note asking to borrow $25 for a new dress. …

Read the whole thing.

Andrew Sullivan (characteristically anti-mind, anti-man, anti-life) thought that this letter was “horrible.” Some of us, on the other hand, find dear old Ayn’s dramatic moral scrupulousness endearing, if perhaps just a little tiny bit daft.

30 Dec 2014

Dagny’s Texts

, , ,

Dagny_Taggart_by_kait_wrait
Kait Wraith, Dagny Taggart

Mallory Ortberg imagines Dagny Taggart texting:

Francisco
Francisco are you awake?
Francisco?

what is it
Francisco, I can’t sleep
I’m sorry
I had a bad dream
the one about the Communists?
I don’t want to talk about it
tell me about the root of money again, Francisco

what time is it?
Come on, Francisco
tell me
I’ll help get you started
“Money is a root of exchange…”

Dag, please
I have to work in the morning
“Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist…”
you don’t even need me to tell you what money is
I like the way that you tell it best
all right
all right, I’ll tell you about the root of money
do that voice you do for the looters, ok
do your looters voice

I’ll do my looters voice
k

14 Dec 2014

If the Left Could Learn One Thing…

, ,

SmugLiberal

Robert Tracinski was challenged to identify one thing the Left could learn from Ayn Rand. Naturally, he felt initially at a loss to restrict the list to one thing. So he thought and thought, and concluded in the end that the left really needed to learn to think critically.

The War on Poverty has spent trillions of dollars over 50 years and has merely fixed poverty into place. Yet if you advocate the expansion of the welfare state, you are regarded as proving how deeply you care about the plight of the poor. Criticize the welfare state, and you are regarded as callous and indifferent to all human suffering.

If your brain is now feeding you a torrent of counter-arguments, half-remembered bits of Paul Krugman columns about how European socialism or the Great Society was really a roaring success—all I’m asking is that you take a few moments to stop that process and really, genuinely consider whether those of us on the right might have a valid point to make about the achievements of capitalism or the shortcomings of the welfare state. Assess how comfortable you are doing this. Assess whether you’re even able to do it, whether you’ve ever bothered to find out enough about our counter-arguments to fairly consider them.

Then ask yourself this. Which big-government regulatory or welfare programs would you choose to eliminate? Realistically, they can’t all be successful. Any task requires a certain amount of trial and error, and certainly there must be some programs where the costs have overwhelmed any conceivable benefit. Can you name such a program? Would you campaign to eliminate it if a politician proposed its repeal?

If you can’t name such a program, if you’ve never really asked yourself the question, ask yourself why.

The gap between the left’s laudatory self-image and the less-than-spectacular results of its programs is widely interpreted on the right as evidence that smug self-congratulation is the real purpose. It doesn’t matter whether a government program actually works, so long as you can pat yourself on the back for being progressive enough to vote for it. But I’m beginning to wonder whether the actual goal is the avoidance of evil thoughts. Ask yourself: how much of your political self-image is tied up in regarding yourself as better and purer than those wicked “deniers” on the right?

Read the whole thing.

04 Dec 2014

Nathaniel Branden, 9 April 1930 – 3 December 2014

, , , ,

Ossian
Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy-Trioson (1767-1824), L’apothéose des héros français morts pour la patrie pendant la guerre de la Liberté [Apotheosis of the French Heroes Who Died for their Fatherland During the War for Liberty also known as “The Spirit of Ossian Welcoming Napoleon’s Marshals into Valhalla”], 1802. Musée National du Chateau de Malmaison, Rueil

Reason and Huffington Post are both reporting this morning that Nathaniel Branden died yesterday in Los Angeles after a long illness.

Reason:

Nathaniel Branden, the man who turned Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy into a popular intellectual movement, died today at age 84.

He and Rand famously broke over complications involving a long-term affair of theirs that ended badly in 1968; the tale is told at length from his perspective in his memoir—the most recent edition called My Years with Ayn Rand—and interestingly, from his ex-wife Barbara Branden’s perspective in her 1986 Rand biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand.

After the break with Rand in 1968, Branden had his own highly successful career as a hugely popular writer on psychology, and he is a pioneer of the vital importance of “self-esteem” in modern culture.

Unlike the way the concept has been denatured over the decades, Branden, still Objectivist at heart, wrote with the understanding that creating a worthwhile and valuable life from the perspective of your own values was key to self-esteem, and thus to psychological health. That is, self-esteem wasn’t something that should be a natural given to a human, nor our birthright, but something to be won through clear-eyed understanding of our own emotions and their sources, and our values and how to pursue them.

Branden was vital to the spread of Rand’s ideas in two distinct junctures: by creating and publicizing the ideas inherent in her fiction through nonfiction and lectures via the Nathaniel Branden Institute in its lectures and magazines from 1958 to 1968 (a task Rand would almost certainly not have attempted without his prodding and aid).

Then, after Rand broke from him and all “official” Objectivists were required to revile him, Branden was a living example that intelligent admiration for and advocacy of Rand’s ideas need not be tied in with thoughtless fealty to Rand as a person, or to the pronouncements of those who controlled her estate, with all the attendant flaws and occasional irrationality: that one need not be an official Randian to spread the best of Objectivism.

Read the whole thing.

———————————

HuffPo:

Born in Brampton, Ontario, April 3 1930, as Nathan Blumenthal he received a BA in psychology from the University of California Los Angeles, an MA from New York University and a Ph.D from the California Graduate Institute.

As an undergraduate he wrote a letter to Ayn Rand regarding her novel The Fountainhead, which earned him a phone call from the novelist/philosopher. He and his girlfriend, Barbara Weidman, visited Rand’s home north of Los Angeles and became close friends and associates.

After the publication of Rand’s magnum opus Atlas Shrugged, Branden created the Nathanial Branden Institute and presented lectures on Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism. Branden systematized Rand’s philosophy, something she had not done, and presented lectures on the ideas, published as The Vision of Ayn Rand.

These lectures were attended in person, or heard on tape, by thousands across the country and around the world including by many leaders of the nascent movement of modern libertarian.

Branden also began a romantic relationship with Rand, with the knowledge and consent of his wife, Barbara, and Ayn’s husband, Frank O’Connor. As is often the case in such relationships it did not end well and Rand and Branden had a stormy split in 1968.

Branden went on to promote his psychological views on self-esteem. He acknowledged his role in creating a spirit of intolerance within Rand’s circles, but he never repudiated the fundamental ideas, and in fact, defended them his entire life.

Read the whole thing.

———————————

The young Nathaniel Branden was apparently an enfant terrible, notoriously arrogant, inflexible, and intolerant. He is generally supposed to have been principally responsible for the cult-like quality of Ayn Rand’s private circle, and reports abound of the young Branden conducting inquisitorial trials for deviationist infractions leading to the defendant’s excommunication and expulsion.

But, after the notorious break-up with Rand, he behaved with admirable dignity and restraint. While Rand hysterically denounced him and slandered him with false accusations, he avoided responding, merely relocating to the other side of the continent and building a new career as a pop psychologist counseling Californians on how to cure their neuroses by cultivating self-esteem.

It was amusing to see how thoroughly the former head of the rigid and formal Rand Jugend became Californianized. The later Branden began to speak well of pot smoking, and had himself photographed in guyabera shirts lounging beside a swimming pool.

Despite all that, he remained staunchly libertarian, and advocated essentially the same kind of politics and economics he had when he was Ayn Rand’s lover and deputy fuehrer. The only real difference was in his new-found personal modesty and sense of humor, overlaid with a thick layer of California squishiness.

His memoir of his time with Ayn was tasteful, discreet, and obviously quite honest. Reading his later writings, no one was ever moved to worship him in the way true believers once had, but one could not avoid kind of liking him and according him a bit of grudging respect. Molliter ossa cubent.

nathaniel-branden

29 Jul 2014

Randian Harry Potter, Book 2

, , ,

HarryPotterMerpeople

Mallory Ortberg‘s Randian Harry Potter is back.

The merpeople brandished their spears fiercely. Harry looked around. Ron, Hermione and Gabrielle Delacour drifted lazily through the water, arms bound uselessly behind their backs. Where was Fleur? And where was Krum?

Harry turned to face the merpeople. “The true test is not whether a Triwizard Champion can perform an act of charity — an act of mercy — whether I am capable of saving these victims, these leechers, these children. I can, I assure you. The question is whether I can do without them, whether I can exist solely as my own entity. Whether I can perform an act of accomplishment.”

Harry carefully began placing the heaviest stones he could carry over the rope connecting Ron and Hermione, until they were hopelessly enmeshed in the lake bed.

“The answer, of course,” he said clearly, “is that I can.” He swam away. He swam alone. He had lost the task, perhaps, but he had won the only tournament that truly matters — the tournament of self.

“I hope you’re not expecting me to apologize,” Harry said without looking up the next day when a very muddy and a very angry-looking Ron and Hermione appeared in front of the door to his study. “And don’t come any closer. You’ll track lake water all over my new rug.”

Hat tip to Leah Libresco.

Earlier episode.

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Ayn Rand' Category.















Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark