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. Desargues Says:

    She looks like a male haut fonctionnaire from the late Forties who'd put on a wig and sneak out to drag shows while the wife is visiting an aunt in the province. Even a modicum of self-awareness must have made her know that the path of sexual conquest had been forever denied to the likes of her. Oh, the cruel torments of having to win by other means!

  2. Daniel Says:

    One thing that makes my skin peel about Rand is the way people call their politics "Randian" or "Objectionist." You never hear people call their politics "Twainian" or "Melvilleian" or whatever famous author from the last two hundred years. No one would call their politics "Orwellian" because it would make them sound like a raving lunatic, even though "1984" is a good book. It makes you sound douchey. Just call yourself Liberal, Conservative, or Moderate and be done with it. You can't put all of your eggs into one basket like that, it's not natural. Who derives all of their politics from one novel? Plus good authors generally put some nuance into their books in terms of political commentary, they tend not to go overboard and say "fuck anyone who sees differently!". I haven't read any Rand, but I've perused enough of the internet to see that she essentially wrote her books as one lengthy slam page against the liberals.

  3. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    I have to disagree there Daniel; Rand spent time "creating" he retarded philosophy of Objectivism; the ideas are put forth in her novels in some ways but that does not constitute the full extent of what she wrote on them. This is to say that she actually spent time writing that shit she called a philosophy. Sad.

    Also, it is really an insult to Stalin and the Bolsheviks to compare their "authoritarianism" to Rand, since the Soviet Union was forced by external and internal factors to adopt such a stance, whereas Rand was just an insane bitch with an ego problem. Nobody was trying to kill Rand, though she must have wished someone cared that much. If anything her philosophy is even more ironically similar to that of Hitler, who had a similar contempt for altruism, and lived with a "survival of the fittest" mentality which became increasingly apparent in his last days.

  4. displaced Capitalist Says:

    I just love how that teabagger blogger who proposed that objectivists should "go Galt" was asking for a job at the same time.

    Their hypocrisy is so amusing. Didn't Colbert have a fun time with that guy? (Or was it Stewart?)

  5. BeyondBelief Says:

    I think scientist should "go Galt" and call it "Einstein Shrugged"

    Where will all the Creationists and science deniers be then?

  6. BeyondBelief Says:

    Errr… that would be "scientists" plural.

  7. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    Thanks for the link, I was surprised to read that her father made an attempt at "shrugging" and they both must have been dismayed with the USSR, far from collapsing as a result, went on to industrialize in ten years and defeat the Axis invasion thereafter. In those days the prevailing idea was that the Communists had put the masses in charge while overthrowing their "natural betters". Needless to say those who believed in the concept of "natural betters" were shocked to face the full force of Soviet industry in 1941-45.

  8. JohnR Says:

    You know, my morning has been pretty crappy, but then I read this and I'm actually feeling happy again. Thanks, Ed!

  9. dbsmall Says:

    I, for one, am tired of being left out. I want to snark (or embrace)! I want to speak, knowledgeably, about Ayn Rand and Objectivism. (And I want the knowledge to be direct from her works, rather than from criticism of them.)

    So, I have Atlas Shrugged on my nightstand, and I expect I'll be reading it between Thanksgiving and New Years.

    This much I know: all of the self-described Objectivists that I've met are
    – Very bright
    – Socially awkward (and therefore looking for an explanation that makes their behavior "rational")
    – Bitter and disappointed—feel like their inherent value or contribution hasn't been appropriately rewarded. (Most of us outgrew this at 6 or 7.)

    Given this description, I can't confidently say I'll object to Objectivism ;)

  10. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I have seen more than one license plate cover, asking the infamous questions, "Who is John Galt?"

    Really? Your SUV doesn't know?

  11. Overlady Says:

    I read Rand when I was in High school, and my friends and I thought her work was HILARIOUS! Which is a strange reaction, I know, given how seriously idiots seem to take it. It never occured to us that ANYONE could POSSIBLY take it seriously!

    For starters: In the Randian Universe, who was going to birth and rear the Children? Dominique? Howard Roarke? It is a world without children. Because any Hero Objectivist would kill a child the instant it became inconvenient or irritating.

  12. jc Says:

    What really boggles my mind is the number of conservative Christians (or the Limbaugh types that pander to them) who embrace this shit. In light of these bios, it looks for all the world virtually identical to Anton LaVey-style Satanism. Obviously a lot of them are expert cognitive dissonance generators and all… but, I mean, really….

  13. Brandon Says:

    "Also, it is really an insult to Stalin and the Bolsheviks to compare their

  14. Brandon Says:

    "Also, it is really an insult to Stalin and the Bolsheviks to compare their

  15. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    What's the matter there Brandon? Having trouble operating a keyboard?

  16. Wes Says:

    "it looks for all the world virtually identical to Anton LaVey-style Satanism."

    That would be because LaVey basically took all his ideas from Rand. In fact, if I remember correctly many passages from the "Satanic Bible" are directly plagiarized from Rand.

    So, yes, the goofball fundamentalists who idolize Rand really are promoting a philosophy roughly identical to Satanism. Just one more reason to laugh at religion.

  17. Aslan Maskhadov Says:

    Aw come on, now you are comparing them to Lavey? As far as I know, LaVey's followers actually had sex; a lot of it. Contrast to that to Rand's male followers.

  18. Brandon Says:

    Yeah, Aslan, I'm just learning the ropes of this "copy and paste" thing, it's confusing :-) I'm not sure why my original post didn't go through. Suffice it to say, as objectionable as I find Ms. Rand's ideology, I'm not particularly concerned what somebody who legitimizes Stalin's crimes has to say about her.

  19. Barry Says:

    The Randians are aghast at this post:

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/11/ayn-rand-the-bitch-is-back/

  20. Thom Says:

    Wow, and some thought Rand had issues.

  21. Djinn n Chthonic Says:

    Note that these cultists share quite a few characteristics. Rand reminds me of another kook, the equally-fucked-in-the-head Jane Roberts, who "channeled" Seth and wrote all those awful (in both philosophy and prose) Seth books. If only the Objectionable cult had done as well as the Sethians, I'd not have to read about any of these sticky night drool stains on the pillow of America.

  22. Goatherd Says:

    Bet she would have loved the individualism of the linguistics "expert" who raised his child by speaking to him only in Klingon for the first 3 years of life.

    The only positive thing I can say about Rand is that her female characters were written to be entitled to sexuality.

  23. Doug Simmons Says:

    Wow. That's a while buncha venom desperately looking for a vein. I sympathize, but you're squandering all this perfectly good bile comparing and contrasting "belief systems". Talk about the penultimate straw man…

  24. upshifter Says:

    You people have a cluster-suck mentality; a return to the tribe.

    Your problem with Rand is her insistence that, "The task of man is to set himself free from men."

    Your herd instinct is strong, and not unlike other cults you let the herd define you. In that respect you are no different than other Socialists like the Nazis and the Communists.

    Fragmented people can't be whole persons like they were designed. They get their backbone from a group of other fragmented people. The group, or your "Cluster-Suck" as I like to call it, becomes a whole consisting of fractured and incomplete people.

    So, since you like science so well that it is a religion for you, then you better shake hands with that Behaviorist, B.F. Skinner. You've been conditioned and are prime candidates to be manipulated and used by sociopaths.

    Progressives are warmed over Marxists with a smiley face.

  25. Dax Says:

    Hmm. Well, you should definitely stop writing about psychology on this site – Jung, cognitive biases, sociopathy, and whatever else you fancy yourself expert in. You're quite the narcissist. Good luck with your angry, misogynistic, fragmented / objectified "followers". I totally agree with upshifter.

  26. Ed Says:

    Did objectivists just call me a narcissist? Oh, that's rich.

  27. sil-chan Says:

    To me, the richest part is that they accuse you of a herd mentality… while defending one another.

  28. nutflipped Says:

    Hear, Hear. Ayn Rant is the progenitor of Neoconservativism. A vile harbinger of things to come in America. She is just communism in disguise.

  29. nutflipped Says:

    A simple question, why would a "heroic being of reason" change her name from Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum? Was Socrates' real name papadopulos? Surely there is certain amount of deceit when someone's changes their real name and takes on a fantasized persona.

  30. Vorant Says:

    Its rather sad you intellectual midgets (including the author of the above rant) can't see the forest for the trees.

  31. Jim Says:

    Ed, while your regular readers probably don't have the logical capacity to realize this, your rant is nothing more than ad hominem invective. A legitimate seeker of truth will find absolutely nothing valuable in what you said. The world would be better served by a thoughtful, rational disputation of the point of view you feel so threatened by. Of course, that would require that you "first seek to understand, then to be understood." You must not understand the ideas well enough to thoughtfully criticize them. What else can we conclude? Ad hominem attack is always the refuge of the ignorant. I realize that "journalism" today is filled with this kind of drivel (on both sides!), but you should try to make a positive contribution to modern thought. It would be much more rewarding for you. To do this, you must become an honest seeker of truth yourself, rather than an ignorant mouthpiece for a particular point of view.

  32. Aroused Says:

    Your herd instinct is strong

    upshifter: Please don't misuse Nietzsche so.. It makes the

  33. Aroused Says:

    Your herd instinct is strong

    upshifter: Please don't misuse Nietzsche so.. It makes the √úbermensch cry.

    (also: this comment box is so totally suck.)

  34. Stopping by Says:

    I've read through the posting, and all of the replies, and I see a lot of things that concern me.

    First and foremost is the hasty generalizations that some people seem to enjoy leaping to about those they observe. Someone that takes care to be perceptive of other people and their social condition is suddenly a 'sociopath,' and someone that believes they are entitled to live their own life, pursue their own goals, and be unashamed of their ability or ambition is suddenly a neoconservative (nutflipped), baby-killing (Overlady) Satanist (jc).

    Oh, and apparently everyone is a socialist. Let's brush all this mud from ourselves and begin a discussion of Rand, shall we?

    I will say that I agree with Jim above that the post does not offer much in the way of substantial philosophical or literary criticism. Oh, there are plenty of slams and disgusting comparisons (NOthing is worse than Twilight). But if all you're going to say is that she was probably picked on in school, back that up.

    I feel like this happens every time I talk to someone about Rand. If they're on the anti-Rand side, they are militant (see: Background of this post), and for some reason extremely angry. Their mouths tear open and out comes nothing but empty sludge. Let's calm down, breathe, get out our copies (I assume… that you've read?), and take some new notes.

    I personally agree with the woman, not on every point, but my experience resonates enough with what she says for me to understand her, generally speaking. I won't make this point too long, but I will take the space to discuss a recurring motif that I see: the proposed selfishness of people who claim to align themselves with objectivist philosophy.

    Confidence, self-worth, and selfishness are all very different things, and yet for most people seem to be synonymous. They are all defined and dealt very differently by Rand. But to specifically address selfishness, the idea is that nothing of worth (monetary, physical, or emotional) should ever be traded for less than itself. Pure and simple.

    I can only guess that this idea is where the selfish arguments are finding their nests, but let me say something: this does NOT mean that people can't be nice to each other or help each other out when things are rough. If you had read the end of Atlas Shrugged, I feel like I wouldn't have to explain this. Galt helped Taggart, nursing her to health and giving her a place to stay, for technically no money.

    But it wasn't charity. He did it for exchange for the worth of the pleasure derived from her company, and recognized the insult to her ability and worth that would result from his denial of reimbursement.

    This is already a lot more than I'd like to write, but for those thinking of posting: please please please consider your words and try to back them up with concrete arguments. Philosophy is beautiful in that what works for one may not work or be clear with others. For that reason, we must not beat each other over the head with it. Religious nutjobs do enough of that for everyone.

  35. silly objectivists Says:

    "your rant is nothing more than ad hominem invective."

    You obviously don't know what ad hominem is. Ed wasn't arguing against Objectivism, here, and his intent *was* invective. His only debatable point, which you missed, was that Rand was a sociopath. And he offered some good arguments to that end. Care to address them, or is Red Herring all you have to offer?

    "To do this, you must become an honest seeker of truth yourself, rather than an ignorant mouthpiece for a particular point of view."

    You are presumptuous to nonchalantly assume that this short essay on Rand's being a sociopath represents the author's full point of view with regard to Objectivism. Again, Ed was not arguing against Objectivism, he was making an observation about the cult's leader. Those of you commenting on here who do not realize this need to take a course in reading comprehension–especially you Objectivists (I thought you were supposed to be smart! Well, I'm not impressed.).

    If you wish to argue about the merits of Objectivism, I'm sure Ed could do that. But, as he makes clear, that debate has already been settled for him–it is not valid to claim that he has never considered the question by accusing him of ad hominem with regard to this essay. Ad hominem is a personal attack used *as* an argument. Personal insults and invective do not count as ad hominem. Please figure this out, and stop using phrases you do not understand.

  36. Kog Says:

    regarding the comments about satanism :
    lavey's satanism, as far as i could conclude based on reading the original print of the "satanic bible" was more of a "secular humanist" point of view than anything else.
    Having never /bothered/ to read ayn rand's "atlas shrugged" (it really seems to me to fit in the same category of books as 'moby dick', more useful to keep a table level or hold a door shut), i'm not sure how rand's objectivism fits in in relation to the idea that 'you are responsible for you, and just you.' that secular humanism generally supports. although, i suppose one could extend teh idea that 'you are responsible for just you' idea to cover 'you are only responsible for yourself, and the things beyond yourself that you fell you should be responsible for'. perhaps someone could link me to a short cliff notes of rand's work sans cultism for a comparison? i would actually be muchly appreciative of this, because like my experiments in investigating scientology, i am curious to the underlying ideas behind 'objectivism'.

  37. AnarchoRelativist Says:

    Let me preface this by stating that I am not an objectivist, nor am I particularly impressed with Rand's writing skills, or her philosophy.

    But woah, your rant is such a load of impotent rage and meaningless opinion spouting, you are at least as bad as she was.

    My recommendation, take some lsd and go listen to some Robert Anton Wilson lectures. You will feel better afterward.

  38. Captain Awesomeface Says:

    For more information on the damages done to society by the rampant growth of mid- to late-20th century narcissism, check out the BBC doc Century of the Self. The ideas discussed there as well as Rand style philosophies of selfishness and cruelty have effectively divided us all for easier manipulation. It's fascinating to me that a social animal, evolved in tribes dependant on communal action for existence, has warped into such a greedy distortion of itself over time. I can still find hope for us all in the fact that, according to a 2003 Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society study, worldwide global charity is the globe's 7th largest economy at $1.3 trillion, and employing 39.5 million people. That beautiful fact in addition to the success of Nash's Equilibrium in modern economics can be held as candles in the dark. But the massive greed and forced consumerism so perverted and pervasive in our society make me shudder yet. Divided we fall.

  39. Indeed Says:

    Condescendingly calling someone a "shitty writer" is an irony almost too good. But yes, actual commentary: there are a fair number of decent ideas to be gleaned from a reading of Atlas Shrugged or the like- but sans willingness to do so, those points will be missed. (Hint: the good ideas are not the ones that concern how to treat your fellow man). Overall, this was truly admirable invective for a pinko lobotomized chimp. That is who wrote this, correct?

  40. Mark Johnson Says:

    Every critique of Ayn Rand (that I've found) attacks her as a person or attacks her writing style, but no one directly discusses her ideas. Just because an author is dislikable doesn't mean their works should be discounted.

    In fact, the lack of good balanced criticism of Ayn Rand makes me think her critics have nothing of importance to say. Calling someone a sociopath is an attack ad hominem, it is a fallacy, it is not an argument.

  41. Space Monkey Says:

    If Ayn Rand had developed a better sense of humor, people would have taken her more seriously.
    Personally, I think she would have made an outstanding on-call dominatrix for unemployed humanities professors. alas she decided to write philosophy and fiction, so we have to settle for intellectual punishment instead. Like most S&M it can be enjoyable, especially if you were raised Catholic.

    Over the years I've found that her philosophy is, at best, the most useful means of annoying the hell out of my Hippie College friends. Think about it, there is nothing more antithetical to hippiedom than Objectivism. That alone is a good reason to study Ayn Rand. LOL!

  42. Marti Says:

    Vorant, your short jab at the intellects of anyone who opposes Rand does nothing but enforce the opinion that Randians are name-calling whiners. At least go on at length as to why we are intellectual midgets.

  43. Cal Says:

    Did I see correctly that someone here said Satanists get laid? If anyone who has passed the age of puberty still believes Satanism isn't a load of shit is probably not the kind of person that anyone else would consider a person. As far as it's relation to objectivism, they're essentially the same thing, only objectivism uses prettier words and satanism is pretty up front about it's "Me first" mentality. Both are clearly the product of the disillusioned rich and indulgent attempting to make they're life styles of waste and uselessness into a legitimate philosophy. If you've ever read the "Satanic bible" (although what Satan has to do with anything I will NEVER know) with any kind of critical thought, you'll realize that the book basically doesn't need to exist. As much as the book suggests what you should do and why you should do it, it suggests just as equally that you don't have to. LaVey could have just as easily written "Do what ever the fuck you want" on a piece of paper, copied it a thousand times, and handed it out to people for basically the same effect. Of course, he wouldn't have made as much money that way, so clearly that wasn't the route he was going to take.

  44. editec Says:

    When I was a 14 year old boy, Atlas Shrugged truly rocked my world.

    Of course it did.

    What emotionally healthy 14 y.o. isn't in his heart of hearts, narcisstic enough to identify with that self-agrandizing, bearly post pubescent philosophy?

    Then life happened.

    Life informed me that other people matter.

    It taught me that if my neighbors are in trouble, that's not a good thing for me,

    Thanks to the current economic meltdown, we are getting a taste of unbridled ourcomes from people who do worship at the alter of Ayn Rand.

    Our last chairman of the FED claimed that "Atlas Shrugged" rocked his POV when he was in his 40s!

    Uhappily, his Randianeque mismanagement of money matters were instrumental in leading us into the current economic crises.

    " I trusted the bankers" he testified before Congress.

  45. Tiger Says:

    I would have to agree with some others before me, that is to say that "politics" and emotions are a bitter mixture. Also, Ayn Rand did not approve of her following political groups. Furthermore, it seem like generalizations like these don't really solve anything, this is just an opportunity for venting. Lastly, I would say that I enjoy reading novels about futurism such as Rand and Orwell, but it can be up to personal interpretation. It doesn't mean you should piss on others and take everything you can, its about making your own decisions, selfishly or selflessly.

  46. Me Says:

    Oh the folly of you liberals is not even amusing anymore.

    If I cant teach you to fly, I will teach you to fall faster!

  47. ianam Says:

    "Ad hominem attack is always the refuge of the ignorant. "

    Then your ignorance must be great indeed, Jim.

  48. Arthur Shuey Says:

    Name calling and unreasoned contempt does not constitute argument. Objectivism has much in common with classical economics, a valid science the straying from which is eating the United States today. I find that most people who disdain Objectivism want to receive more from Society than they give, and the Objectivists would frown on that as the head bull in a pasture would frown upon letting the ticks on his herd decide where the herd grazes.

  49. debi cortez Says:

    I read all of Ayn Rands book when I was 12 years old and I thought her books were about how to be satisified in a cruel world. Then I grew up and realized the books were about being narcisstic that espouses a just me rocks the world philosophy.

  50. Haggis Says:

    I have no idea what objectivism is and only a vague idea of what Rand is about.

    The effect this article has had on me was: hmm if so many people are happy to read a 2 page long insult about Rand's character and writing style maybe it would be worth to read some of her work.

    Seriously, the level of "pretend hatred"(i hope it's not real at least, that would really be sad) in this post is higher than what you see in most troll posts. Hey actually if this is a trolling attempt it does kind of make sense. If that is the case, good job, if not i suggest sticking to criticizing someone's ideas not his personality,social status, etc.

  51. 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?

  52. 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.

  53. Geo Says:

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

  54. 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.

  55. 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.

  56. ThisIsMoronCity Says:

    bored*

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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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  62. 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.

  63. PATRICK Says:

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

  64. 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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