"Ayn Rand is a Dick" - excerpt from a new book by Mike Monteiro

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/03/20/ayn-rand-is-a-dick-excer.html

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There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged . One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs. – John Rogers

Obligatory John Rogers quote.

edit: Corrected spelling of Rogers. Thanks, @MalevolentPixy!

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I think Rand go even further. You not only have the right to be a dick but a duty. Society works best if everyone is a selfish as possible. “I’ve got mine and you should be grateful for it”.

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I’m just going to quote myself

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He’s not wrong, Ayn Rand IS a dick. I mean you sort of have to be when this guy turns out to be your biggest disciple…

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I first read Ayn Rand before I was aware of the greater social implications of objectivism. Based on the too-brief descriptions I read I placed it in the realm of classical Stoicism. I first read a short sorry or novella the name of which I can’t recall (post-apocolyptic society, man finds flashlight and fixes it; that’s a bad thing I guess?). I found it completely inscrutable so I read the first half of Atlas Shrugged. Only two times have I quit a book midway in protest; Little House on the Prairie (racism, ignorance and complete fabrication; plus Pa is a dolt) and AS. It started dawning on me that these people were heartless sociopaths and the book seemed to be lauding them for it. The sex sceen really did me in. I regretted quitting for a few years until I realized that my hot take was the right take. Civilization isn’t built by the will of a few gods-among-men, it’s the consensus of kindness and compassion and a general will to grow as a species. Yeah, trains are nice, but their usefulness in society is predicated on humans working toward the common good.

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Anthem. This was my first introduction to Rand as well. It was inspiring to a 14 year old boy in high school who worried about being the same as everyone else to read a story where being different is praised (by the author, not society). Thank god my ADHD defeatism didn’t let me even attempt to read Atlas Shrugged…

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Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter (and suspected ghost writer of her books) was a friend of Ayn Rand.

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Yeah, after trying to read it to my kids I read about her under the assumption that I was missing something and that there would be a payoff at the end. In fact, there’s almost nothing about her that is appealing, they only lived on the prairie for like a year and a half before running back to Minneapolis with their tails between their legs and she likely stole most of her later material from her daughter. She’s also an incredibly tedious, flat writer.

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Awesome! Another book I want to read. Added to the backlog.

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This site has an interesting breakdown /taking a blowtorch to it criticism of Rand’s works

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Yes, she is.

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Also obligatory:

She wasn’t a very good designer, either.

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Can you imagine the some things that she would design? Cars that run on human sweat?

Or node locked tractors.

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i’ve never been able to understand the cultish embrace of the Dear Leader Ayn Rand by her supposedly free-thinking libertarian followers. it is just funny. or it would be, were it not for the amazing damage that these people have inflicted on our society.

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Ayn Rand is a dick!!

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I once read an essay explaining how Anthem was a sequel to Atlas Shrugged. After the inevitable collapse of society in the latter when the “geniuses” decide to abandon the world and move out to their own utopia (see angry flower comic) the survivors decided not to repeat the same mistake and create the collectivist world of Anthem to make sure no individuals are able to destroy the world and that it’s safer not to become reliant on technology again.

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One of the saddest, most pathetic* characters in The Fountainhead was the young woman who dedicated (i.e. wasted) her life toward helping disabled and underprivileged children.

*I’d describe that character as “pitiable” but this is what Ayn Rand had to say about the concept of pity:

“This is pity,” he thought, and then he lifted his head in wonder. He thought that there must be something terribly wrong with a world in which this monstrous feeling is called a virtue.”

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I bought it early on in college but was never able to sit still to read it. Years later I learned what hot mess it was connected with. So glad I didn’t waste any time on it.

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