Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ayn Rand Loved Titans, Not Mankind?

Atlas Update: Web-searches suddenly hit here on May 21, 2011 -- Why?

Here’s a challenge for Randians.
What Marx provided the Leftists, Rand provided the Statists: a false flag behind which they hide their true intentions from the gullible.
I say this because members of both camps contain power lusters and misanthropes. Whatever else they have done, and will do yet, to achieve their goals, their results prove to be devastatingly misanthropic. (Can we guess which element is truly in charge?)

Key Observations:
Consider that Rand’s pièce de résistance was titled for a bloodless titan.

Consider that she kills, without any sense of loss, the two most identifiable and likeable humans in her novel. 
  • Taggert’s wife Cheryl1 commits suicide out of frustration and despair.
  • Eddie Willers is torn apart by the mob while doing his job beyond the call of duty (like the men we remember today*). He did it in habitual defense of the property of Rand’s “heroine” who had herself abandoned the field without telling him, her long-time loyal friend. Dagny (Rand?) displayed no gratitude.
Key Cautionary:
What individuals — who are wary of ideologies but are disorganized — need to see is that the Marxists and the Statists are two ends of the same vise, with real humans in the middle. That is the struggle going on in Atlas Shrugged and that we are witnessing today, with we in the middle being set up to cut each other's throats

Initially I very much liked Atlas Shrugged. It seemed a welcome antithesis to the Leftism that was whirling for the 40-50 years on either side of its publication.

Know men by their deeds not their words:
So what first alerted me to the deceitful side of Rand? The actions and words of her most lauded acolyte, Alan Greenspan.

When Greenspan said “who in their right mind would buy a 4.5% fixed mortgage when a 3.75% variable is available?” I knew he either was intentionally deceitful, or someone had something terrible they used — and he succumbed — to get Greenspan to abandon those who trusted him. Like Rand did Willers.

A Unique Observation?
I’d like to know: Am I the first person you have read to make this observation about Rand? I’ve not seen it written elsewhere.

Could it be because those on the Left, who are more inclined to criticize her, would never make such a comparison? And certainly not from the libertarians who shun from their ranks any who did not conform to a certain level of coldbloodedness. Nor from the corporatists (often mistakenly accepted as conservatives) who we know seek legislation that gives advantages to themselves and disadvantages, cripples or demolishes their competitors.

The Challenge:
On this day of remembrance, where acolytes and apologists of Rand are among those who question the wisdom of willing self sacrifice, I’d like to hear a defense of her attitude to the common man.

Not the “man” she paints as a defiant titan like Galt or Reardon or Rourke, and of independent means, but a common man who is a success in his own right, in the decent things he does and the loyalties he demonstrates — like Willers.

Conclude with Safety in Mind:
For the rest of you, this day for remembrance of fallen heroes may be of aid when you decide it is time to jump out from between the jaws of the tyrants’ vise.

Oh, and let me be clear:
And I'm not saying that providing cover for the Statists was Rand's intention starting out. It's simply that her philosophy didn't consider all the ways in which schemers could use her thesis. And surely her advancement, especially in Hollywood, had something to do with her brilliance being seen as useful by the power seekers. As her cult of personality grew, surely she came to love her adulation. She may have chosen to look the other way as the Statists took advantage. She was too bright not to have noticed.

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*Note, the bulk of this was written on Memorial Day and referenced here and published here. But it deserved a place at this site because I'm pretty sure Ayn Rand was no fan of Blaise Pascal. He'd have seen her as just another casuist who lost her moral underpinning.

1It surely seems that in this crowd of Objectivists, none see what I am proposing. I suspect it is because of their reverence for Rand. Are they misled or have they willfully permitted themselves to be misled?

3 comments:

  1. So your criticisms of Rand derive from an individual who publicly abandoned her philosophies and the fate of a character in her book? (A fate said character did not, in fact, encounter?)

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  2. Orphan -- Are you referring to Greenspan and Willers respectively?

    In the case of Greenspan, he is simply the most well-known personage who gained some advantage from his association with her. Many libertarians (there was dissension) allowed him more latitude in questionable Fed advances because of it. Remember, my point was not that was what she planned, but that her philosophy provided him (the example) and others cover under which to increase personal power while actually not being the creative Titans she favored.

    Maybe my memory is weaker than I imagine. How was Willers' fate different from what I stated? As for Cheryl, well one could say Dagny had no responsibility to her; but Rand sure as shooting was brutal to her, and without offering the character a clue although there were many opportunities for her to do so through Dagny.

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  3. Note: for reasons only known to Google, the July 11, 2010 date listed in the post is not correct.

    This was published on either Memorial Day or D-Day in 2010. That is why I refer to the day being one that honors fallen heroes.

    Some characters are not allowed in the new Blogger format that became mandatory last month (Oct 2012), so now I cannot put this alert into the body of the copy.

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