How Ayn Rand became Libertarians’ sociopathic pixie dream girl

There is unrest in the forest
There is trouble with the trees…


I was seriously into Ayn Rand in HS. I not only read everything, I actually subscribed to the ridiculously expensive (and slender) rag, The Objectivist (I think that’s what it was called). I started to rethink things when I found that she would quote seriously long swaths from Galt’s mind-numbing speech and call the thing a new essay. At least I grew out of that phase and was all the better able to argue about her with people, being pretty well-versed in the whole mess.

Damn you for linking to that wretched hive of spending six hours at work not doing anything productive.

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I looked on rifftrax. They haven’t done it for any of the Rand movies. I can’t blame them.


That’s only true in a meaningful way if you leap to the assumption that there is a world external to yourself, and that solipsism is false.

You can’t disprove solipsism, there isn’t enough reliable data to do it. Any solution is in fact a fudge, or a leap of faith to the conclusion that either the external world in fact exists separately from yourself. Or you choose to behave as if it were.

Now we’re in my philosophical wheelhouse. I don’t exactly know why, but as a little kid I had to work through solipsism manually without help. Eventually I just decided that if I wanted to maintain sanity, then I should stop checking for changes in small details that weren’t supposed to change, and instead enjoy whatever surprises the real world (or perhaps just my imagination) have in store.

Can’t tell if I’ve fallen victim to a Poe?

In anycase, it’s called indoctrination, and the younger you start repeating a lie to a child, the better it works. Just look at religions! They’ve become experts in lying to children and telling them things are true without any evidence, even in cases where there’s evidence against the assertions. Immensely successful.

Which reminds me:


…only Heinlein was also an ingenious SF author.

I absolutely positively HATE his philosophy and politics. It doesn’t matter that different Heinlein novels expouse slightly different ideas. Every single Heinlein novel I’ve read contains revolting ideas, and often presents them in a way that suggests that the author agrees with them, supports them, or at least finds them worth seriously contemplating.

I’m not particularly fond of his writing style or his characters, either.

Yet, I keep returning to his works every now and then. Because the man had ideas. To me, he’s the master of the “involuntary dystopia”, where the author shows the terrible consequences of his ideas, without ever realizing that the future worlds he describes are not utopias.

From what I’ve heard, reading Rand is not as enjoyable.


Did you have any success?

Reminds me of my own point that I trust powerful entities about as far as I can throw them. I can’t throw the average big corporation far at all. A democratically-elected government, I can at least throw out of office in the next election. Which is a lot farther.


I attempted to read Rand once. I would have had more fun if I had spent all that time repeatedly hitting myself in the head with the book.

Bad writing, even worse philosophy. About the only thing I share in common with Rand is a distrust in government, and we would disagree massively about the reasons why and what government actually is.


Correlation and cause being what they are, perhaps it’s been vetted as unworthy for application to the real world?

That said, I thought the libertarians were big fans?

I recall her “romance” to be more BDSM without safety words, or going further, outright rape.


The way I look at Ayn’s beliefs is that she writes about a very narrow part of the human experience. The part she fixates on – the ego, ambition, production, materialism, creativity, genius, industry – is perfectly valid and worthwhile to a certain extent, but there is much more to life than just that. She has a very narrow view of life. I don’t demonize her for it though. If you’re in that phase where you need some rationale to motivate you to do something big with your life, her philosophy is fine. I don’t like her style of fiction writing – too long winded and redundant, especially for an :‘American’ writer. Her philosophy books are better to read because she’s good at expressing ‘difficult’ concepts simply. ON the other hand, she may not be that great of a philosopher overall because she is so narrow and dogmatic, and she just ignores other important facets of life, like the nature of the mind for example.
The eight circuit model of consciousness is far more enlightening overall than her corpus.

Their brand of comedy depends on the ability to get a snarky comment in edgewise once in a while. Not well-suited for lengthy monologues.


Sometimes I regret that I believe there is no hell.

It’d be comforting to think it were possible that somewhere Ayn Rand and Margaret Thatcher are sitting in a pool of molten lead arguing the finer points of contrast between them.


Here’s a quote re: Rand from Krugman - but I think he himself clipped it from a 3rd party. Wish I had the original source to thank as the comparison the author makes is spectacular…

‘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’


If you talk to Libertarians they say the example of Somalia is “unfair” or “not relevant” because the US is a developed society. But they still have no explanation of why if their views prevailed, the rich wouldn’t simply acquire weapons and help and set themselves up as warlords, exactly as happens there.


In Jurgen, by James Branch Cabell, the devils complain that the damned have a much too high opinion of their own wickedness and so competitively demand worse tortures to prove how evil they were - which overworks the devils.
Rather than expensive to heat pools of molten lead, it would be cheaper and just as effective to stick the two of them in a room where their books and speeches were continually read out to them.


Exactly. Isn’t it a central tenet of Randites and other radical libertarians that the Hobbesean view of humanity’s state-of-nature defines our essential, unalterable individualism?

As such, it seems to me to to be indisputably true that Somalia is indeed the perfect contemporary environment where libertarians can not only survive, but thrive - even if that life would be just as Hobbes described it:

Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

I for one would gladly donate to a “Back to Nature” fund meant to “relocate” enthusiastic Randites.



William F. Buckley couldn’t stand Ayn Rand because when they first met at a party she told him, “you’re much too intelligent to believe in God.”

(That kinda makes me like her, to be honest.)

Buckley got his back in the pages of National Review. Whittaker Chambers’ slash-and-burn book review of Atlas Shrugged (“Big Sister Is Watching You”) contained a line that still pisses Objectivists off:

From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: “To a gas chamber — go!”


It was a somewhat facetious comment… I understand indoctrination, but many Randians seem to be self-made Randbots. Do they think that the bad writing is a sign of great writing and hence swallow what is fed to them hook line and sinker? Is being immune/inured to bad writing a co-symptom of not recognizing bad ideas/logic? Perhaps Randians come from very religious households where the bible was worshiped and thus associate a thick, difficult to read book as something one should use as a life guide?