INSTITUTIONALIZING SOCIOPATHY

My opinions about Ayn Rand have been stated unambiguously. There is no silver lining to anything Rand, not her infantile "philosophy", sub-Twilight writing skills, or legions of socially retarded acolytes who devote their "lives" to annoying the living shit out of the rest of the world and wondering what it would be like to talk to a woman. The great thing is that I don't have to pretend differently. It is perfectly acceptable in the academic world to treat Rand's Objectivism like the intellectually bankrupt farce it is. If I say Catholicism is a big pile of bullshit, I will get fired or at least seriously disciplined. If a student makes some Ron Paul argument about abolishing the Fed I am not allowed to laugh at him. But Ayn Rand? She is taken as seriously as astrology. If a student complained I think the people in the Dean's office would hit him with pies.

Objectivism and creationism are two sides of one coin, which explains why no one is obligated to take either seriously in academia. Creationists seek academic validation for their childish beliefs and ignorance. "Intelligent Design" is a feeble attempt to dress up their stupidity as a science. Objectivists similarly seek validation from philosophy departments for their adolescent selfishness and malignant narcissism. Philosophers aren't likely to consider "Being a self-absorbed, delusional prick" to be a coherent belief system on its own, so they call it an -ism in an effort to polish the turd. So far, no dice.

My intuition has always been that Rand herself was essentially a sociopath – not because it is a good, nasty pejorative but because I literally think she fit the characteristics of a sociopath. Her novels are thousand-page catalogs of warning signs. Rapes, murders, bombings, and mass killings of innocent nobodies, only to have the author reveal that they are not innocent at all. Every victim deserves it in Rand's fiction and every protagonist is a borderline psychotic who is utterly incapable of feeling love or kindness toward anyone but himself. She exalts mass murderers, sexual deviants, egomaniacs, and flat-out assholes. Her books don't feel like novels. They feel like the revenge fantasies of the 12 year old fat kid who everyone picks on and nobody befriends as he silently fumes in study hall, doodling violence in the margins of his notebook and hatching a plot to make everyone worship him or else.

Two new biographies of Rand have been released, Goddess of the Market by Jennifer Burns and Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne Heller. Both are ably parsed in this outstanding review by Johann Hari. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. In short, the biographers provide all of the evidence I'd ever need to support the hypothesis that Rand was Ted Bundy with a bigger vocabulary and enough self control to avoid crossing the line into serial killer territory herself.

A Russian Jew from a broken home with an aristocratic mother, "Rand" fled the Bolshiveks (after developing a deep hatred for the way their ideology upset her world of servants and leisure) to Hollywood and set about creating a movement that diametrically opposed Communism. Selfishness was praised, kindness was derided, and vast swaths of humanity were written off as "lice" fit only for disgust and extermination. But the overarching irony to Rand's entire silly career is how completely she embraced the worst excesses of Soviet Communism in developing her "Institute" and career as a philosopher and idol – authoritarianism, absolute prohibition of dissent, and a cult of personality that would embarrass Stalin, Hoxha, Kim, and Turkmenbashi. Because she was a shitty writer her novels were filled with characters who were ham-fisted stand ins for herself, characters who suffered the same basic contradiction and psychological disorder: overwhelming hatred for almost everyone on Earth coupled with a desperate, deep-seated psychological need to be liked. But Rand did not simply need to be liked. She needed to be worshiped in ways befitting the demigod she believed she was.

When she got addicted to uppers in her later life it is an interesting coincidence that both she and her insular cult of acolytes began resembling another great charlatan of the 20th Century – L. Ron Hubbard and his "movement." The high priestess of spiritual and intellectual freedom surrounded herself with sycophants and worshipers from whom she tolerated not the slightest bit of dissent. Expressing any individuality in the world of the great individualist herself was forbidden. Most sociopaths and narcissists inevitably turn into a parody of themselves as the followers they worked so hard to brainwash wander away one by one. In Rand's case she became a parody of what she claimed to despise, dying alone and unloved in her tiny cult where conformity and fanatical devotion to the Ideology were taken to levels that no Bolshivek could have imagined possible.

Thus will it be for everyone who subscribes to her sorry excuse for a belief system. But unlike The Master herself, the great unwashed masses of teabagging Objectivists truly will die alone and unable to delude themselves into thinking they commanded the army of acolytes they felt they deserved.

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71 Responses to “INSTITUTIONALIZING SOCIOPATHY”

  1. Calenithron Says:

    Ah, Ayn Rand–poster child for the "I'm-really-smart-and-I-hate-everything" crowd. Wait, I feel one of her slogans coming on right now–"I will never allow another man to be responsible for my own happiness, but I will always accuse all other men of being responsible for my own unhappiness!" I recall finally succumbing to the annoying urges of one of my Objectivist acquaintances and starting "Atlas Shrugged", and after wading about one-third of the way through the cardboard characters and comic-book dialogue I took Dorothy's advice and "…hurled it with great force" across the room (I think the final straw was Dagwood's snarky quote about "You know the people who complain that billboards block their view of nature? Those are the people I hate."). I believe there is more truth and beauty in one of Kahlil Gibran's question marks that in all the thousands of Ayn Rand's exclamation points, splattered like a Jackson Pollack sneeze across her pages. I have a hypothetical scenario for the Objectivists out there: Ayn Rand, in one of her chain-smoking fits, starts a building on fire, and she is hopelessly trapped inside. A young aficionado, strolling along outside, glances up at her shrieking form crying for help from a third-story window, and wonders: "Should I risk my own life to save hers?" In which reaction would he show the truest devotion to Ayn Rand's ideology?

  2. Sinjin Smythe Says:

    Think about this for a moment, some peculiar people have all chipped in their disdain for Ayn Rand. Not much else going on in their little lives. The majority of whom have little idea of what they speak. Seems vaguely familiar, almost like Bush bashers. Hate for hates sake. Missing the point is an art form you folks have apparently perfected.

  3. Geo Says:

    You can rail against Ayn all you want, you impotent crybaby. I like her and her ideas.

  4. socratesone Says:

    You're article would have been better if it had a POINT, or some ARGUMENTS to back up your assertions about Rand, and by "assertions" I mean meaningless jabs and insults.

    I DON'T LIKE RAND, but at least I can explain why without sounding like a two year old.

  5. ThisIsMoronCity Says:

    I stumbled upon this interesting exchange while sitting here board to death in my beautiful apartment downtown Chicago.

    It is no coincidence that with great accuracy I could categorize the likes of this article's author and those who follow him into poor, ugly stoners who are probably swimming in an ocean of debt brought on by some shitty liberal arts degree from a no name private college.

    You are a moron if you think Ayn Rand's message was so cut-and-dry that she was advocating 100% selfishness in all aspects of life. Take it from a successful young man who worked his ass off to escape a poor family to attain a life of luxury, there are winners and losers in this world, and their philosophical beliefs are reflected as such.

  6. ThisIsMoronCity Says:

    bored*

  7. Rebecca Says:

    I read 'Anthem'. What struck me was the ending where she had her protagonist and his companion climbing a mountain. The protagonist realises that he has made it on his own. His success was through his own accomplishments and effort.
    I was working for Emergency Services at the time of reading the book and imagined a different ending where he fell down broke a leg or was seriously injured and had to be rescued by Emergency Services. Thus dismissing completely his view that his accomplishments & survival was purely down to his own efforts.
    I am employed but my friend is not. He had been desperately looking for work now for about 4 months. He has been sending off application after application, ringing around companies and visiting warehouses looking for work. It has been a hard time for him. Fortunately he gets unemployment benefits (I am in Australia) so he is not living in the street.
    We were talking about what it is like to be unemployed and how many of the unemployed are abused for their situation. What he said will stay with me. 'Many workers do not realise that they are one step away from unemployment'.
    We are all one step away from ill fortune.
    Just because a person is successful does not mean that they should dismiss others who are unsuccessful. Yes hard does amount to something but do not overlook the hand of fate that can deliver the broken leg or serious injury or the wrong place wrong time employment lay off's that may occur.

  8. Rebecca Says:

    'Yes hard WORK does amount to something but do not overlook the hand of fate that can deliver the broken leg or serious injury or the wrong place wrong time employment lay off's that may occur.'

    Apologies everyone, the word work was suppose to be in that last post.

  9. Francisco Says:

    It's funny. When I was 16 yr old, socially retarded, I liked Ayn Rand's philosophy too. But then you start developing your own ego, individualizing in a healthy way. Then you take major philosophy courses and you find out that NO ONE CARES for Objectivism because its epistemology and metaphysics are faulty.

  10. KDE Says:

    I'm inclined to believe Rand was part of something much bigger.

    She was part of priming a middle-elite to an elevated level of self-importance, justifying the scuttling of such important institutions as public education, and ultimately laying the groundwork for a destructive culture of personal gain at the cost of everything else.

    Not surprisingly, most Objectivists I've met support America's costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Once you've got a nation's character bankrupt, you may as well bankrupt them financially too.

    This is just the sort of destructive ideology certain groups which shall not be named adore, because it makes nations defenseless to them.

    A lot of you are in for a nasty surprise when you find out who your masters have been all along.

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  12. Tim Says:

    I know nothing about anne rand, nor have I read her books. Before I read this I did not have much of an opinion of her what so ever. However, I would be inclined to disagree with you, inclined being the operative word. Heres why. If I'm ever to read something and by the time I'm finished I realize that character assassination, over the top metaphors, inferences, generalizations, and assumptions as well as flat out crude and demeaning language was used I cannot except its validity. You could be 100% right, but I don't trust anyone who makes a point the way you just did. Sorry, Its just not very professional or trustworthy.

  13. PATRICK Says:

    ur just going on a rant… a rant is no way to establish truth

  14. Carl Pham Says:

    Only an academic needs a few thousand words to squeal "yucky yucky poo don't touch!" She really makes your sphincter clench, doesn't she?

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