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Ayn Rand: the right wing's version of Marx


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Good article about an especially bad (but trendy) form of political dogma

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/05/new-right-ayn-rand-marx

 

It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the postwar world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.

 

Rand was a Russian from a prosperous family who emigrated to the United States. Through her novels (such as Atlas Shrugged) and her nonfiction (such as The Virtue of Selfishness) she explained a philosophy she called Objectivism. This holds that the only moral course is pure self-interest. We owe nothing, she insists, to anyone, even to members of our own families. She described the poor and weak as "refuse" and "parasites", and excoriated anyone seeking to assist them. Apart from the police, the courts and the armed forces, there should be no role for government: no social security, no public health or education, no public infrastructure or transport, no fire service, no regulations, no income tax.

 

Rand's is the philosophy of the psychopath, a misanthropic fantasy of cruelty, revenge and greed. Yet, as Gary Weiss shows in his new book, Ayn Rand Nation, she has become to the new right what Karl Marx once was to the left: a demigod at the head of a chiliastic cult. Almost one third of Americans, according to a recent poll, have read Atlas Shrugged, and it now sells hundreds of thousands of copies every year.

 

Like all philosophies, Objectivism is absorbed, secondhand, by people who have never read it. I believe it is making itself felt on this side of the Atlantic: in the clamorous new demands to remove the 50p tax band for the very rich, for instance; or among the sneering, jeering bloggers who write for the Telegraph and the Spectator, mocking compassion and empathy, attacking efforts to make the word a kinder place. It is not hard to see why Rand appeals to billionaires. She offers them something that is crucial to every successful political movement: a sense of victimhood. She tells them that they are parasitised by the ungrateful poor and oppressed by intrusive, controlling governments

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Good article about an especially bad (but trendy) form of political dogma

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/05/new-right-ayn-rand-marx

 

 

"Almost one third of Americans, according to a recent poll, have read Atlas Shrugged, and it now sells hundreds of thousands of copies every year."

 

Doesn't the Ayn Rand foundation (or somesuch organisation with charitable status) give out millions of copies of Atlas Shrugged to schools every year?

I believe that children are our future. Unless we stop them now.

 

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Maybe a third of Americans have a copy of" Atlas Shrugged" but I seriously doubt they have read it ,the same with "Das Kapital" I bet loads of people have it but never got past the first few pages.The Canadian band Rush are devotees of Rand this fact put me right off them as I am shallow like that:loopy:

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Never read it, does it speculate on what would happen is a certain number of conditions were met or does it say you must do this, you must do that? If it's the latter it doesn't resemble Marx in any sort of context.

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Never read it, does it speculate on what would happen is a certain number of conditions were met or does it say you must do this, you must do that?

Nope.

 

It's part steamy romantic potboiler (Dagny Taggart, what a strumpet!), part science-fiction story, part lecture (John Galt's famous speech).

 

It's an entertaining read for the most part, although the "villains" are somewhat 2 dimensional.

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There's an interesting interview with Ayn Rand here:

 

 

She comes across as a rather sad, lonely, overly-masculinised figure to me.

 

You can perhaps understand her philosophy once you understand that she was rebelling against the very authoritarian communist state that existed in Russia in the 1920's. Most of her books are a backlash against this and it can be clearly seen in her early dystopian novel 'Anthem' where collectivism has essentially destroyed people's sense of the individual. She's popular in the US because she's the archetypal anti-communist.

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