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Oct 01 2013

Ayn Rand Illustrated

Read the story of Ayn Rand’s life. She was not a nice person…

savages

…and it’s hard to feel much sympathy when her ideology collides with reality, and she gets her comeuppance.

smoke

I confess, I chuckled at that part.

101 comments

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  1. 1
    Alverant

    And then Rand ran to the government she hated so much for money because her trashy books weren’t paying the medial bills.

  2. 2
    Anthony K

    So, what happened next? Did she go Galt and leave her parasitic neoplasm to wither and fail without her?

  3. 3
    Anthony K

    And then Rand ran to the government she hated so much for money because her trashy books weren’t paying the medial bills.

    I suspect her proximal bills were more pressing.

  4. 4
    barnestormer

    I love Daryl Cunningham’s life of Ayn Rand! I read up to the beginning of the affair with Nathan a while back and had to stop because there wasn’t any more. Thanks for this reminder that there’s still a whole downward spiral of downward spirals still to go.

  5. 5
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    My chum and all-round good egg Darryl Cunningham drew this. Please go check out his books ‘Psychiatric Tales’ and ‘Science Tales: Lies, Hoaxes and Scams’. He’s not a wealthy man and could do with the sales.

  6. 6
    David Wilford

    The problem some writers have is that they take creating their own reality beyond the confines of fiction. L. Ron Hubbard went into the religion business with Scientology, while Rand opted for bogus Objectivist philosophy. Both fail to pass a reality check.

  7. 7
    Anthony K

    My chum and all-round good egg Darryl Cunningham drew this. Please go check out his books ‘Psychiatric Tales’ and ‘Science Tales: Lies, Hoaxes and Scams’. He’s not a wealthy man and could do with the sales.

    Okay. Done. Thanks for the suggestion.

  8. 8
    Rob Grigjanis

    David Wilford @6:

    Both fail to pass a reality check.

    But both passed the ‘you can fool some of the people all of the time’ test quite handily, and very destructively.

  9. 9
    JohnnieCanuck

    Wouldn’t the bills be more of a visceral nature, than at one end or the other of an appendage?

  10. 10
    mikehuben

    If you are interested in more criticisms of Ayn Rand:

    Criticisms of Objectivism (or Ayn Rand)

    and

    Ayn Rand

    at my old and new Critiques Of Libertarianism sites.

  11. 11
    imnotandrei

    I’m just glad the Illuminatus! trilogy got to me first. After Hagbard Celine and _Telemachus Sneezed_ (Who is John Guilt?) _Atlas Shrugged_ never had a chance. ;)

  12. 12
    tbp1

    My father died of lung cancer. I honestly wouldn’t wish that on even as nasty a person as Ayn Rand. That said, I can sort of understand PZ’s final comment, especially given the odes to cigarettes in her books, and that she reportedly would kick people out of her inner circle if they refused to take up smoking.

  13. 13
    pacal

    Actually in many respects Ayn Rand was a Stalinist. Her attitude towards the Native Americans was that they had failed to use the land properly in a progressive manner. I.E., inaugurate Industrial Capitalism and so of course could be conquered and dispossessed by those who would use the land properly. In other words Europeans.

    Thus stomping on people in order for “progress” to happen was right and good and there was only one right and proper way to use the land.

    So much for being anti-coercion and so much for people having the right to dispose of their property has they see fit.

  14. 14
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Pacal

    Actually in many respects Ayn Rand was a Stalinist.

    Objectivism is basically Stalinism with the places of the working class and the capitalist class reversed in the rhetoric.

  15. 15
    julial

    Anthony @#4, perhaps it was her lateral bills. Those make for a really odd duck.

  16. 16
    Endorkened

    Anthony K @2
    It’s the other way around, actually… what right did she have to demand that her cells restrict their growth according to the needs of the clamoring masses?

  17. 17
    Mark Plus

    Frankly progressives display a double standard regarding public health. They scold the population for smoking, but they make life easy for promiscuous gay men because gay men tend to vote Democratic. And from the perspective of epidemiology, the dispensation given to a group which travels the world and engages in exchanges of bodily fluids with strangers makes no sense at all.

  18. 18
    Mark Plus

    The Rand phenomenon drives progressives nuts because it demonstrates progessives’ inability to control the human mind, despite their strongholds in education, Hollywood, academia and government. Ayn Rand, an otherwise obscure immigrant, managed to inject a set of ideas into the culture which progressive central planning didn’t order, which interferes with progressive political goals, and which progressives simply can’t get rid of. In fact, every attack on her philosophy just draws more attention to it from people who might not have otherwise looked into it.

    Rand certainly sounds nutty and confused in some ways, I admit. But she must have gotten a few nontrivial things right for progressives to feel so threatened by it.

  19. 19
    Eric O

    This comic is quite good. I particularly liked the bit about Rand’s early life. To some degree, I can empathise with her despite finding her views distasteful.

  20. 20
    ck

    pacal wrote:

    Actually in many respects Ayn Rand was a Stalinist.

    Not to mention the cult of personality that surrounded her (and still surrounds her miserable books). It’s a philosophy that seems to be designed to be an exact mirror of Stalinism that will inevitably produce the same outcome. Look at the U.S. today, with its crumbling infrastructure and slowly declining wages as laws and regulations are removed that help enrich the already wealthy, with the Randians still claiming the way to prosperity is to reduce or eliminate still more taxes and regulations. We’ve achieved Ayn’s dystopia by following her recommendations for building a utopia. Perhaps we can try something different now (perhaps by starting with the premise that there are no easy and universal solutions to diverse and complex problems).

  21. 21
    ck

    @Mark Plus

    Go away, homophobe.

  22. 22
    SallyStrange

    I’m a bit disappointed that the author left out the part where Ayn Rand literally hero-worshipped a child-murdering sociopath. Oh well. Very well done altogether though. I felt bad for poor old Frank O’Conner.

  23. 23
    SallyStrange

    Also, LOL at the old argument from “struck a nerve.”

  24. 24
    SallyStrange

    Where’s my moustache? I must twirl it to properly plot how to control the human mind! MUAH HAH HAH HAH HAAAHH!

  25. 25
    nich

    They scold the population for smoking, but they make life easy for promiscuous gay men because gay men tend to vote Democratic.

    I know right? My mother, a lifelong smoker? Totally was denied to the right to marry my lifelong smoker dad. And I’m SO tired of the fact that my gay co-workers can fuck each others brains out right next to my desk, but the smokers have to go outside. Stupid Obama!

    Now excuse me. It’s time for my antifreeze guzzling break.

  26. 26
    PZ Myers

    Mark Plus, #17:

    And from the perspective of epidemiology, the dispensation given to a group which travels the world and engages in exchanges of bodily fluids with strangers makes no sense at all.

    Who, men and women?

    You know nothing about epidemiology, and your understanding of the social behavior of human beings is kind of typical of a Randian.

    If you can’t stifle your homophobic bigotry, you will be banned. Only warning.

  27. 27
    unbound

    And then Rand ran to the government she hated so much for money because her trashy books weren’t paying the medial bills.

    @1 – And like the christians she despised, she rationalized her taking from the people as not really being against her philosophy after all.

    @18 – Ayn Rand got famous for only one reason. She created a philosophy that the rich loved. They could continue to be selfish and then point to a “philosopher” that said that not only was it okay, but it was actually good for all of humankind in some way that couldn’t really be demonstrated, but dang it sounds great that being a selfish bastard is good (somehow). Other than posts like this that pop up from time to time, no one I know gives Ayn Rand a second thought except to chuckle that people did (and still do) think she had a workable philosophy.

  28. 28
    PatrickG

    This quote always seems almost a necessary regurgitation when Rand comes up:

    “Many men of course became extremely rich, but this was perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of because no one was really poor – at least no one worth speaking of.” — Douglas Adams

  29. 29
    nimbus0

    Ayn Rand was misguidedly idealistic and plain crazy, everyone knows that. Nonetheless, her work contains interesting and unique ideas, some less relevant to reality than others. You can say she was a bad writer, that she was evil, that she fostered generations of intellectual hubris, or whatever. She still made a real, if bizarre, contribution to the sum of human philosophy or literature or whatever you want to call it. Her books are worth reading if you want to experience a point of view you won’t find anywhere else, provided of course you’re not naive enough to internalise what you find.

    What I’m trying to say is that bashing Ayn Rand just because pseudo-intellectuals regurgitate her ideas is like beating a leperous albino crocodile just because it’s worshipped by the tribe of savages who brutally murdered your uncle. It doesn’t achieve anything because Rand/the crocodile weren’t dangerous in the first place – the pseudo-ints/savages would’ve been crazy even without their object of worship. All you end up doing is dishonouring a repulsive but undeniably unique entity that never meant to cause you any harm.

  30. 30
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    29
    nimbus0

    All you end up doing is dishonouring a repulsive but undeniably unique entity that never meant to cause you any harm.

    You mean she didn’t have the power to cause any harm, though if her policies were in effect it certainly would be incredibly harmful. She wanted to harm us (all of society, really), she just couldn’t, or hasn’t been able to yet. Whether or not her intent is to harm (she obviously thinks it’s the right way to live), that doesn’t matter. She is already harmful because people have listened to her and followed her ideas. The people that follow her ideas certainly want the power to cause harm and we are certainly not wrong in bringing down their beloved mascot. She’s the symbol they all rally around and promote. She HAS to be brought down with criticism.

  31. 31
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    the dispensation given to a group which travels the world and engages in exchanges of bodily fluids with strangers

    AKA “humans”.

  32. 32
    toro

    From the archives: Ayn Rand gets hers from one of my main primates in comics, R. Crumb

  33. 33
    ck

    Naked Bunny with a Whip wrote:

    AKA “humans”.
    It could be birds. It’s birds, isn’t it?

  34. 34
    ck

    Oops. I brokequote. Second line is mine.

  35. 35
    toro

    Sorry, fouled up R. Crumb link in comment #32 – this should get you there.

  36. 36
    nimbus0

    @30
    I’m not arguing against criticism of her ideas. I’m against the largely ad hominem attacks you can find here against her ideas (e.g. the comic explaining how her sad life made her into the person who made those horrible ideas – not to say that I didn’t enjoy the comic heheh). I would argue that she wasn’t an evil person – her ideas were meant (by her) to help people achieve their potential and ultimately be happy. Of course, her ideas have been laid low by criticism time and time again, and rightly so. Despite that, she (and her ideas) should be remembered as unique and interesting, but ultimately flawed, rather than evil and wrong.

  37. 37
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Despite that, she (and her ideas) should be remembered as unique and interesting, but ultimately flawed, rather than evil and wrong.

    No matter how evil, illogical, and wrong they were. Which is your problem. They were wrong.

  38. 38
    octopod

    I’m not sure saying that her sad life made her into the person who had those ideas is an ad hominem attack — that’s just biography. The argument that her ideas are horrible stands on its own merits and has been made many times. Her ideas aren’t evil because she was a malevolent person; they’re evil because they’re harmful when implemented. And unfortunately at our present moment in time it’s not possible to disentangle the critique of the disastrous practical legacy of her ideas from their academic interest as a possible failure mode of human philosophy.

    Unique, interesting, flawed, evil, illogical, and wrong is a completely plausible combination of attributes for a single thing, and my impression is that all of them describe Ayn Rand’s ideas pretty well.

  39. 39
    What a Maroon, el papa ateo

    the dispensation given to a group which travels the world and engages in exchanges of bodily fluids with strangers makes no sense at all.

    Hmm, you’ve got a point there. So we should ban air travel?

    FUCK LOCAL!

  40. 40
    nimbus0

    @37
    I agree that they were wrong in the sense that they were untrue and not good for describing reality or anything like that. I disagree that they were wrong in the sense related to ‘evil’ i.e. that they are inherently bad and that she was wrong to create them.

  41. 41
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I disagree that they were wrong in the sense related to ‘evil’ i.e. that they are inherently bad and that she was wrong to create them.

    Look at the liberturds who picked up on her philosophy. Liberturdism is evil, making her philosophy evil. Begone apologist….

  42. 42
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy

    Nimbus0#40
    They’re evil in that when implemented they cause great harm. This makes them inherently bad; they have no redeeming features, no upsides, no good points. Just malevolent lies, which are hardly unique.

  43. 43
    Martin Wagner

    the dispensation given to a group which travels the world and engages in exchanges of bodily fluids with strangers

    I wasn’t aware gay people got such a thing. What “dispensation,” exactly? Are they awarded frequent flamer miles, or what?

  44. 44
    consciousness razor

    nimbus0, #29:

    She still made a real, if bizarre, contribution to the sum of human philosophy or literature or whatever you want to call it.

    Like what?

    And pick one: philosophy or literature (or even something else), not “whatever.” Abject failure in either case, but I’d like to know what exactly you think this is about.

    On other other hand, if you do actually want to claim she made a real contribution to “whatever,” then I guess I can accept that. “Whatever” has surely had its landscape (if that’s what you call it) substantially changed, if perhaps bizarrely, since her doing whatever it is she might have done. Some deep thoughts right there, nimbus0. Rand would be proud.

    What I’m trying to say is that bashing Ayn Rand just because pseudo-intellectuals regurgitate her ideas is like beating a leperous albino crocodile just because it’s worshipped by the tribe of savages who brutally murdered your uncle.

    She was a pseudo-intellectual herself, so your analogy fails. Hard.

    That’s before we even get to the racist implications of “the tribe of savages,” but maybe concepts or language just aren’t your thing, the way it is for people in philosophy or literature … or whatever.

    All you end up doing is dishonouring a repulsive but undeniably unique entity that never meant to cause you any harm.

    She “dishonored” her fucking self. Read and listen to the shit she fucking said. It’s fucking harmful, whether or not she meant it to be harmful. And I don’t see evidence that you’ve read her mind. So you find a way to do that, then make your claim that she didn’t mean it, as if that fucking matters.

  45. 45
    SallyStrange

    interesting and unique ideas

    Meh.

    “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.” –JK Galbraith

  46. 46
    SallyStrange

    Rand influenced Greenspan. Greenspan basically set the stage for the economy to crash.

    Don’t tell me Rand’s ideas haven’t harmed anyone.

  47. 47
    Al Dente

    Rand gave a strawman definition of altruism:

    What is the moral code of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value. -Ayn Rand Philosophy: Who Needs It, p. 61

    and then attacked it. We’re supposed to be impressed by her “thoughts”?

  48. 48
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    Nimbus0

    I agree that they were wrong in the sense that they were untrue and not good for describing reality or anything like that. I disagree that they were wrong in the sense related to ‘evil’ i.e. that they are inherently bad and that she was wrong to create them.

    Why and how? Back that up. You make the claim, you substantiate it.

  49. 49
    AJ Milne

    Her ideas aren’t evil because she was a malevolent person; they’re evil because they’re harmful when implemented.

    I think even when they’re not implemented, the fact that they are respected by some does contribute to the overall political atmosphere, and not in particularly healthy ways.

    It’s essentially an Overton window argument. Rand and objectivism create a whole ‘rapacious capitalism is justified because otherwise individual rights to create are suppressed, really, oh horrors’ space that otherwise might not as much be there. She tries to make de facto robber barons heroes. She fails, with most of us, but those she convinces do still vote, on occasion. And write letters to the editor, and so on. Her general demonization of those in need, and those, even, who would be so craven as actually to try to help them probably does contribute to that particular stream you find throughout economic and political discourse. It would be there, anyway, to some degree, sure, you can generally expect–and the critics who pointed out the fascist overtones in Atlas Shrugged could probably tell you how, in fact, authoritarian regimes of that stripe generally do also demonize ‘the mentally defective’ and ‘the criminal’ and ‘the lazy’ as a plague ensuring the downfall of society, and were doing so well before Rand got published. But Rand generates another set of excuses–or, really, pretty much the same excuses with a slightly different packaging.

    It’s a broad strokes criticism, but it’s really, I’ve always figured, some mangled committment to ‘purity’ makes the mess she made. She takes directions and notions which in moderation might not be bad advice, and seems to figure what’s good medicine by the tablespoon and mixed with other critical ingredients, well, it should logically be way better if refined to perfect chemical purity and then forcibly piled on by the metric tonne with a dump truck. As in: yes, we do want and need individual rights even within larger groups; ruling these out entirely does make miseries. But demanding groups abrogate individual rights not at all is simply not practical; in practice, her view of how you’d do this comes out to an argument for predation by a single dominant actor; provided he acts alone for, apparently, the sake of ‘creating’, no one else may even organize or cooperate to stand up to him. Likewise, yes, actually, sometimes it serves an artist or inventor to say entirely to hell with what anyone else thinks; I’m doing my own thing, and in this fashion, new ground may indeed be broken. But art is also communication and communion, and technologies generally act on more than their supposedly necessarily singular creator, so being actually required never to care what anyone else makes of the products of your creativity, is, well, pointlessly and arbitrarily limiting at best, potentially actively sociopathic at worst.

    I think what’s also scary about Rand is how oddly seductive it has proven to be, to some. Possibly even to those whose seduction poses larger societies some of the greatest risks. The privileged and wealthy are given a justification for keeping whatever they get, walling themselves off from an apparently dangerous, grasping underclass; the already narcissistic and self-centered told go ahead, listen to no one else, do your thing, anyone challenging you or criticizing your vision is just a no-talent leech and you’ve no need for those miserable failures who are surely merely jealous of your glorious creative radiance…

    So Ayn, seriously, brilliantly done… And just so long as you’re at it, could you perhaps also hand every arsonist a jerry can full of gasoline, and some matches, and assure them in stilted poetry and lengthy speeches by men in suits behind podiums that all fire is a cleansing and beautiful thing? Thanks awfully.

  50. 50
    nimbus0

    So, just out of interest, do you guys think that Ayn Rand should be censored? Should her books exist in public libraries, or be discussed in university subjects?

    I’d respond to some of the comments criticising what I said, but I don’t think it would get us anywhere.

  51. 51
    SallyStrange

    So, just out of interest, do you guys think that Ayn Rand should be censored?

    So, just out of interest, when did you stop beating your wife?

  52. 52
    Muz

    I would dispute the idea that ‘she never meant any harm’. She meant her ideas to harm people and behaviour she saw as evil, which was just about everyone when you get down to it.

  53. 53
    Rey Fox

    the dispensation given to a group which travels the world and engages in exchanges of bodily fluids with strangers

    Rock musicians?

    Her books are worth reading if you want to experience a point of view you won’t find anywhere else, provided of course you’re not naive enough to internalise what you find.

    Nah, life’s too short for crappy lit.

  54. 54
    imnotandrei

    So, just out of interest, do you guys think that Ayn Rand should be censored?

    Nompe. Just receive her just ridicule and dismissal.

  55. 55
    anteprepro

    I would argue that [they weren't] evil [people] – [their] ideas were meant (by [them]) to help people achieve their potential and ultimately be happy. Of course, [their] ideas have been laid low by criticism time and time again, and rightly so. Despite that, [they] (and [their] ideas) should be remembered as unique and interesting, but ultimately flawed, rather than evil and wrong.

    So, just out of interest, do you guys think that [The Bible] should be censored? Should [The Bible] exist in public libraries, or be discussed in university subjects?

    I think the above edit should make the issue a tad clearer, no?

  56. 56
    Jafafa Hots

    Ya know, there’s nothing inherently EVIL about a racist system, it just turns out to beimpractical if your goal is making everyone happy.

    But it’s not like morally wrong or nothin’.
    No!

    My parents had alternative ideas about child-raising, like – not being there, not providing food, that kinda thing.
    But that didn’t make them BAD parents, they just tried a failed parenting experiment.

  57. 57
    Lyn M: ADM MinTruthiness

    the dispensation given to a group which travels the world and engages in exchanges of bodily fluids with strangers

    Doctors without borders? Or am I thinking of the Red Cross?

  58. 58
    shala

    interesting and unique ideas

    “The government is evil.”

    There. I saved you 2000 pages of “unique ideas.”

  59. 59
    chigau (違う)

    re: exchanging bodily fluids with strangers
    men and women
    humans
    Red Cross
    rock musicians
    Doctors without Borders
    and
    FUCK LOCAL
    frequent flamers

    oh my fellow Hordelings, how I do love you!

  60. 60
    ck

    imnotandrei wrote:

    Nompe. Just receive her just ridicule and dismissal.

    Indeed. It can serve a very important role in society as a warning to others: Taking someone else’s simple answers to complex problems that had tragic consequences, and inverting them doesn’t make them magically right (or lacking the same tragic consequences).

  61. 61
    JJ831

    the dispensation given to a group which travels the world and engages in exchanges of bodily fluids with strangers

    Rock musicians?

    College?

    Also

    exchanges of bodily fluids with strangers

    Blood Drives?

  62. 62
    JJ831

    Ahh, Lyn and Chigau beat me to it :)

  63. 63
    Tashiliciously Shriked

    So, just out of interest, do you guys think that Ayn Rand should be censored? Should her books exist in public libraries, or be discussed in university subjects?

    I’d respond to some of the comments criticising what I said, but I don’t think it would get us anywhere.

    Have fun taking your ball home.

    To answer; no she shouldn’t be censored. Her books can be discused and exist in libraries. Why would they not be? Shit ideas need to be exposed and evicerated for the shit ideas they are.

  64. 64
    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    I disagree that they were wrong in the sense related to ‘evil’ i.e. that they are inherently bad and that she was wrong to create them.

    What does it take for something to qualify as “evil” to you?

    So, just out of interest, do you guys think that Ayn Rand should be censored? Should her books exist in public libraries, or be discussed in university subjects?

    How does that follow from any of the criticisms made?

    I’d respond to some of the comments criticising what I said

    Hah.

  65. 65
    BrianX

    nimbus:

    Why censor? There’s no point in doing so. Samizdat always wins.

    Anyway, as for whether she’d be appropriate for a university course… well, it depends on the course. But she certainly shouldn’t be taught uncritically as her fans would like.

  66. 66
    canman

    This is my favorite Ayn Rand comic:

    http://cloudfront-assets.reason.com/assets/db/1258492011849.jpg

  67. 67
    Alethea Kuiper-Belt

    Really? I don’t find it particularly funny.

    This is mine: http://www.angryflower.com/atlass.gif

  68. 68
    thetalkingstove

    Canman, #66

    This is my favorite Ayn Rand comic:

    Meh. A comic should be funny, or informative, or make the reader think. If it’s nothing more insightful than ‘Rand was a bit annoying but basically I agree with libertarianism so critics should calm down’ then what’s the point…

  69. 69
    Enopoletus Harding

    Rand influenced Greenspan. Greenspan basically set the stage for the economy to crash.

    Don’t tell me Rand’s ideas haven’t harmed anyone.

    -This strongly reminds me of the ‘Stalin was an atheist, therefore atheism hurts people’ canard. And isn’t there a character in Atlas Shrugged (Robert Stadler) with uncanny resemblance to whom Greenspan later came to be?

    Really? I don’t find it particularly funny.

    This is mine: http://www.angryflower.com/atlass.gif

    -You haven’t read the book. Rand makes it explicit that those in Galt’s Gulch have to do menial labor they have never done for most of the rest of their lives and fully understand that they are poorer than they were in the outside world.

  70. 70
    morsgotha

    Canman @ #66

    Well the important thing is you have found a way to feel superior to both. [in this case randians and anti-randians]

    http://xkcd.com/774/

  71. 71
    Daz: Experiencing A Slight Gravitas Shortfall

    Monitor note:
    Please remember to use Nyms and/or comment numbers:

    If you are replying to a specific comment, use the comment number and poster's name.

    The Rules

  72. 72
    saganite

    Very interesting and a nice read.
    I knew there was a ton of personal drama, cultish nonsense and bullying and the like in Rand’s story, but I didn’t know too much about the various people actually involved. Looking forward to more pages.

  73. 73
    voidhawk

    The comic actually makes me feel sorry for her. I get the impression of a very lonely person with severe childhood trauma.

  74. 74
    hillaryrettig

    Pacal 13 –

    Interesting point about Rand being a Stalinist. Her family was persecuted during the Bolshevick revolution and later when their business (a pharmacy) was nationalized and they also starved. So she can really be seen as a trauma victim, and according to trauma theory victims tend to grow up to enact one of the three roles in the trauma triad: victim, perpetrator, onlooker.

    I don’t know whether psychologists would apply this to someone witnessing a geopolitical trauma, but it would seem to apply here.

    I really look forward to the day when “authoritarian personality” is considered a recognized psychological malady.

  75. 75
    Anri

    nimbus0 @ 50:

    So, just out of interest, do you guys think that Ayn Rand should be censored? Should her books exist in public libraries, or be discussed in university subjects?

    Put me down for the “nope, just analyzed and mocked in equal measure” list.

    I’d respond to some of the comments criticising what I said, but I don’t think it would get us anywhere.

    No! Don’t pull a Galt and Withhold Your Brilliance! Tell us, o sage, tell us!

    - – -

    Enopoletus Harding @69:

    -This strongly reminds me of the ‘Stalin was an atheist, therefore atheism hurts people’ canard. And isn’t there a character in Atlas Shrugged (Robert Stadler) with uncanny resemblance to whom Greenspan later came to be?

    Except, of course, that Stalinism is not applied atheism, while our current societal mess is largely due to applied Randism.

  76. 76
    Howard Bannister

    All you end up doing is dishonouring a repulsive but undeniably unique entity that never meant to cause you any harm.

    …have you read the Paul Ryan budget?

    Paul Ryan who assigns Ayn Rand readings to his interns?

  77. 77
    gussnarp

    Wow, she really does sound like a cult leader, doesn’t she?

  78. 78
    Ingdigo Jump

    All you end up doing is dishonouring a repulsive but undeniably unique entity that never meant to cause you any harm.

    Correction she maybe never meant to cause YOU harm.

    She clearly had disdain and wished harm on “takers” like me

  79. 79
    gussnarp

    I found this an interesting and exceptionally fair take on Rand. Certainly it comes from the point of view of a person who rejects Objectivism, but it really does try to paint a fair portrait, I think. If there’s any ad hominem in this comic it’s targeted at Greenspan, the only person in here active in recent political events. And I think it’s worth understanding what kind of ideology is driving a person who has had powerful effects on our economy and government policy of late and is at least partially responsible for where we find ourselves now.

  80. 80
    neilb48239

    @22, Sally Strange,

    I’m disappointed that the author left out the part where Ayn Rand was a hypocrite and welfare queen: she denounced government assistance and yet, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, she secretly received Social Security and Medicare payments under the alias Ann O’Connor (her husband was Frank O’Connor). It calls into question just how much Ayn Rand really believed in Objectivism – or if Objectivism is truly liveable.

  81. 81
    Ingdigo Jump

    or if Objectivism is truly liveable.

    Spoiler: it’s not

    Not unless you’re some sort of sea turtle that has been self sufficient since day 1

  82. 82
    shala

    All you end up doing is dishonouring a repulsive but undeniably unique entity that never meant to cause you any harm.

    Her characters sure do. In Atlas Shrugged, it’s said that Nat Taggart murders a state legislator. He also tosses a person who offers him a government loan down three flights of fucking stairs.

    This isn’t just limited to government cronies either. In The Fountainhead, Gail Wynand tosses one of his own workers down two flights of stairs and has his ankle broken for…telling Wynand not to get huffy.

    The main character, Howard Roark, also rapes a woman while working in a granite quarry.

    This is just her fiction. Her views on war are probably her most vile, which is saying a lot. Seriously, look at this:

    “This is a major reason people should be concerned about the nature of their government. The majority in any country at war is often innocent. But if by neglect, ignorance, or helplessness, they couldn’t overthrow their bad government and establish a better one, then they must pay the price for the sins of their government, as we are all paying for the sins of ours. And if people put up with dictatorship—as some do in Soviet Russia, and some did in Nazi Germany—they deserve what their government deserves. Our only concern should be who started the war. Once that’s established, there’s no need to consider the “rights” of that country, because it has initiated the use of force and therefore stepped outside the principle of rights.”

    along with

    “We are responsible for the government we have, and that is why it is important to take the science of politics very seriously. If we become a dictatorship, and a freer country attacks us, it would be their right.”

    So she never meant to cause any harm, except that if a war ever breaks out and turns south, the winning country can do…pretty much anything it wants to you by those guidelines. If we take the rhetoric that the right spews to its fullest, incidentally, by Ayn Rand’s view a country like Somalia could invade the U.S., it would be their right, and the citizens there would be utterly fucked.

  83. 83
    SallyStrange

    I’m disappointed that the author left out the part where Ayn Rand was a hypocrite and welfare queen: she denounced government assistance and yet, after being diagnosed with lung cancer, she secretly received Social Security and Medicare payments under the alias Ann O’Connor (her husband was Frank O’Connor).

    I could swear that the comic does get into her getting Medicare, though the bit about the alias.

  84. 84
    SallyStrange

    Sorry, NOT the bit about the alias.

  85. 85
    leebrimmicombe-wood

    Sally, if you drop Darryl a line he may yet edit the strip. He’s been known to accept feedback.

  86. 86
    ledasmom

    Near where I live there is an exceedingly bland and ordinary apartment complex called “Fountainhead”. This generally amuses me.

  87. 87
    scienceavenger

    I would agree with Nimbus insofar as noting that Rand asked a lot of good questions and had reasonable stated goals: Do humans need a philosophy and what sort should they have? Their philosophy should be rational, based on their nature, and not based on whims or force. People should strive to be productive, etc. Pretty safe ground there.

    The problem was that her answers were for shit: she had no understanding (admittedly) of human psychology, didn’t seem to grasp at all that we are interdependent social beings, more like ants than tigers, had little appreciation for science or culture (ie humanity’s accumulated knowledge prior to her existence), and worst of all, irritatingly went through all sorts of mental gymnastics to rationalize her personal peccadilloes into lofty philosophical truths. Her meanderings on smoking are embarrassing, even compared to some of her other nonpolitical commentary.

    She acted as though she were the font of all knowledge, sprung fully formed from the head of Aristotle. In reality, she was more like a clueless Dr. Frankenstein, wanting to improve the world, but having no idea what she was doing, created instead a monster that is consuming the world. The current government shutdown is Objectivism realized.

  88. 88
    Anthony K

    I’m disappointed that the author left out the part where Ayn Rand was a hypocrite and welfare queen

    Hypocrite and welfare recipient are covered under “libertarian.”

    For further examples, see Ron and Rand “I can’t wait to get a job in the government I hate so much, just like my taxpayer-funded daddy” Paul.

  89. 89
    Howard Bannister

    Anthony K @ 88

    Don’t forget Paul “SS survivor’s benefits made sure I didn’t starve to death” Ryan, looking to chop SS for the rest of us.

  90. 90
    Anthony K

    More in the annals of libertarian consistency: Nick Gillespie of Reason (yeah, seriously) arguing that the problem with the current US government (or lack thereof) is that Obama isn’t tyrannical enough.

  91. 91
    JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness

    80
    neilb48239

    @22, Sally Strange,

    I’m disappointed that the author left out the part where Ayn Rand was a hypocrite and welfare queen:

    As someone who’s been homeless and still struggling on welfare, I really, really hate that phrase. I don’t care who it’s attached too. Welfare queens, as the repubs have dubbed and the meme perpetuates, do not exist.

  92. 92
    Anthony K

    Wow, she really does sound like a cult leader, doesn’t she?

    For whatever it’s worth, that’s pretty much exactly how Nathaniel Branden described her, citing her intolerance of anyone who disagreed with her even slightly as one of the reasons for their breakup.

  93. 93
    Ingdigo Jump

    I would agree with Nimbus insofar as noting that Rand asked a lot of good questions and had reasonable stated goals: Do humans need a philosophy and what sort should they have? Their philosophy should be rational, based on their nature, and not based on whims or force. People should strive to be productive, etc. Pretty safe ground there.

    I see no reason to credit Rand for what is either trivial, or retreaded ground.

  94. 94
    MJP

    There is nothing in Rand’s philosophy that is both true and original. What is true is not original, and what is original is not true.

  95. 95
    Enopoletus Harding

    @Anri, #”75″

    Except, of course, that Stalinism is not applied atheism, while our current societal mess is largely due to applied Randism.

    -Greenspan certainly didn’t apply the advice of Francisco’s money speech (which, BTW, differs markedly from the conventional libertarian understanding of money).

  96. 96
    SallyStrange

    Greenspan applied the “regulations bad; government evil; selfishness good” part of Randian thinking, which is, as far as I can tell, the main thing that libertarians are on about. Not sure what speeches by individual characters has to do with whether a.) Greenspan was heavily influenced by Rand and b.) whether those influences are part of what caused Greenspan to make all those horrible decisions that eventually led to the Great Recession.

  97. 97
    lpetrich

    Adam Lee of Daylight Atheism has been blogging on Atlas Shrugged. Some of it is very bizarre, to say the least.

  98. 98
    Anri

    Enopoletus Harding @ 95:

    Interesting speech, but unfortunately:

    “So you think that money is the root of all evil?” said Francisco d’Anconia.

    No.
    Next!

    Also from the site:

    The Myth of Catastrophic Global Warming

    But, hey, maybe that was just an off day, right?

    The reason that that ‘money speech’ differs from typical Libertarian thought is that Libertarian thought is often callous, privileged and repulsive, but has at least the veneer of consistency. The speech declaims that a country cannot go on half-rich and half-poor (apparently having missed, oh I dunno, pretty much all of human history), but then talks about ‘looters’ who crawl from under their rocks to swarm upon the self-effacing wealthy.
    If a nation divided into rich and poor cannot survive, who are these ‘looters’?
    Not the poor, surely, who would not exist in the Utopia described… perhaps they live beneath well-appointed, comfortable rocks.

    The speech talks about things produced by the labor of brutes.
    What brutes?
    The rich, who deserve their wealth?
    The poor, who will not exist in a good society run by (one presumes) the rich?

    And this:

    But money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to make it or to keep it.

    Whew!
    I was afraid – just for a second there – that wealthy scoundrels might exist!
    Thank goodness – now all I have to do to see if someone is a good person is check if their net worth has remained above average for a decade or so.
    I was concerned that looters might get wealthy in some way – hey, yanno I was just reading a speech that said…
    Oh, wait…

    Please, please tell me you don’t believe this embarrassing, pretentious, fantasy-laden bullshit.

  99. 99
    Ingdigo Jump

    You know this did give me an idea for a potential D&D or style campaign. One where a God like Hermes is actually on the ball and makes sure wealth is attracted to virtue. Things would look very different

  100. 100
    Ingdigo Jump

    Hermes from Greek mythology who IIRC had coinage and trade as his domains…not Futurama

  101. 101
    Anri

    Ingdigo Jump @ 99:

    You know this did give me an idea for a potential D&D or style campaign. One where a God like Hermes is actually on the ball and makes sure wealth is attracted to virtue. Things would look very different

    Would paladins still have to tithe 90% of their income? That could get frustrating.

    “Here we are, Father Arn, my purse from the adventure.”
    “Thank you, and bless you, mighty son.”
    “Now I’m off to -” *ching* “-hunh? Oh, um… well, here’s *another* purse from… well, I’m not really sure, but here you are, Father.”
    “Bless you, my son.”
    “And now, I’m off to -” *ching* “Aw, c’mon!”

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