October 25, 2012

"Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up."

"Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that's a pretty narrow vision. It's not one that, I think, describes what's best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a 'you're on your own' society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party."

Said Barack Obama.

191 comments:

Triangle Man said...

I predict comments stating that Obama mischaracterized Rand followers, and he is a Communist.

harrogate said...

Exactly right.

Maguro said...

Oooh, Ayn Rand, so scary!

Hold me, Barack!

edutcher said...

This is the guy, talking about how the Republicans treat everybody as 'you're on your own', who went to sleep as our Consulate in Benghazi was under siege without doing anything to help them because he was afraid it would violate Libyan sovereignty and flew off to Vegas the next day.

tiger said...

Stupid people say stupid things.

It's easy for Obama to talk about the need to 'help others' - after all, he's RICH!

He sounds just like Mouch(sp?) in 'Atlas...'

And, yeah, he *did* mischaracterize(sic) Rand's followers.
But then that's to be expected from a man who has been lying about his opposition since before he was elected.

Shouting Thomas said...

Yeah, if you're not in favor of the government running everything, you clearly are only concerned about yourself.

Because the government is so charitable and concerned.

That's the moral of the banking/mortgage scam. They did it for us... the small guys.

"We're from the government, and we're here to help!"

harrogate said...

it's a perfect characterization of Rand. You cannot find a round character in Atlas Shrugged and only the slightest gestures towards it in Fountainhead. The fact that people and circumstances change, too, is largely lost on her. To be a follower of her view of the world is to bow to two-dimensional reality.

David said...

I picked up Atlas Shrugged when I was 17 or 18. It was unreadable drivel. Apparently (or so he would have us think) Obama was able to read it. Probably helped him score with some conservative chicks.

Eustace Chilke said...

So he carved Rand to shreds in one paragraph. Well, maybe. If you get carving credit for a straw man argument. This might impress someone who never read Rand. Most Rand critics, I'm guessing. The idea that Republicans are Randians is also laughable. But, apart from all that, he's got an ok sound byte there. Beats the Big Bird thing I guess.

Paul said...

Obama is just 'bullshitting' you.

He is a Marxist from the 'each according to his ability, to each according to his need" camp.

So yea, he does not understand Ayn Rand in the slightest. He never did understand hard work (just look at all his vacations and golf.)

For you see he is also of the 'some are equal, but some are more equal than others' camp to. And thinks he is 'more equal' than everyone else.

jrberg3 said...

My feeling is that he read the cliff notes of Rand's novels or was given talking points about them from a staffer when Ryan was given the VP nod.

His associations with Republicans are just too convenient for him to have actually read the novels.

YoungHegelian said...

Ummm, as unlike a teenage infatuation with Marxism & Marxists?

You know, when you young, and feeling dissed, and how you know in your young wisdom, you know just what needs to be done to make the world a righteous place.

Because, before you, nobody ever figured out how to do that. Or, rather tried, and ending up murdering several tens of millions. Oooops!

And Triangle & harrowgate, is a single word I've said here not the truth, both in regards to Obama & the left in general?

Shouting Thomas said...

The Republican Party, and especially Mitt Romney, are not running on a policy of obedience to Ayn Rand's books.

Obama's predictably erected another ridiculous strawman.

Just another way for Obama to say that Romney is the devil. Tiresome.

Quayle said...

Two huge flaws in this fuzzy thinking:

1. We all have opportunities to be productive and to serve others. So, this "some people don't have opportunity" is crap.

2. (And this flaw is endemic in the left's vision) How does what Obama says logically - automatically - lead to the federal government needing to be the means and method?

Taking over the world is not necessary to help people. You can help people every hour and still be a nobody in no office with no institutional power.

Which shows you that the game isn't really about providing opportunity and helping others. It is really about the power itself, and having it, and being able to boss others around and punish your enemies.

Basil said...

The President of the United States is talking about this?

garage mahal said...

He does seem to be going out of his way to fuck with conservatives lately. Those delicate feelings bruise easily.

MadisonMan said...

Other 17- and 18-year-olds are doing drugs.

Synova said...

Well, I think that he's probably right about people going through an Ayn Rand "stage".

And he's probably right that what some people get out of it is some selfishness message.

But really I think that indicates shallow thinking about it, and sure, kids that age can be pretty shallow.

What I got out of it is (skimming a bit and skipping 50 page-long speeches) is that valuing altruism is a lie because, in general terms, altruism is funded with other people's money rather than your own. People want to steal your money that you worked for, innovated for, and use your money to purchase their moral superiority. She also rejected the idea that caring for people you knew and had relationships with was morally suspect selfishness and that only altruism directed at strangers could be considered virtue. I thought that was ridiculous, because who thinks that way? Well, I thought no one thought that was when I was in college when I was 20 going through my "Ayn Rand Stage". As an adult I've found that some people really do think that caring for and helping those in relationships to you, your family, friends, employees, people you *know*, is selfish. Ayn Rand approved of that selfishness.

Someone who understood in a shallow manner would only see that she promoted selfish, as in just me, myself, and I.

And yet Obama and many others, when they reject that, go right into purchasing their own moral virtue with money taken from others. And even speak as though "public" funds are more moral than private ones, where profit motivations exist. Profit motivations are presented as suspect while the government has only our best interests motivating it. Didn't Michelle Obama specifically encourage graduates to pursue public service careers? While those creating wealth and jobs in the private sector are vilified because they're trying to make money?

ken in sc said...

Ayn Rand had a lot of problems, but she knew what Communism was really like. 'We the Living' was her best book in my mind. It rivals 'Dr. Zhivago'.

Basil said...

I loved We the Living. Enduring that would tend to influence one's thinking about power and concern for others.

yashu said...

It's like Obama's entire campaign, from beginning to end, involves beating strawman after strawman after strawman.

Synova said...

When I was 20 and reading Ayn Rand I thought she was making up weird stuff that no one really thought.

I thought... that's so silly, people don't really think that way.

But they do. It took another 20 years and a swing in attitudes, but it's clear that she was describing real attitudes about what was owed and who owed it and the righteousness in redistributing wealth to those outside your "selfish" zone.

It's a very cosmopolitan attitude to care for the idea of poor suffering children far away, particularly when you can prove your caring with other people's money.

Dante said...

Then you grow up, and realize people are real assholes that must all be controlled by Obama, who is a superior asshole.

Like the oddity of Lifeline phones which now cost $1.6B a year. Righteously, a lot of that money goes to an Obama TracFone Wireless, whose CEO, F.J. Pollak, gave $156K to Democrats, and whose wife is a bundler who put together $632K for the Obamao.

it's compassion.

Shouting Thomas said...

If Obama doesn't change his tune and come up with something substantive, he's cooked.

Even Inga is beginning to preface her remarks with "If Romney is elected..."

Obama's got to have something more than this. Right?

Michael K said...

" To be a follower of her view of the world is to bow to two-dimensional reality."

Does anyone but you think that Obama is a three dimensional character ?

I wonder if he has ever heard of Adam Smith?

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.

Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.

I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.


No, Obama has never heard of Adam Smith.

n.n said...

Quayle:

Exactly.

He seems to think that individuals are unwilling or incapable of voluntary and charitable redistribution. He instead demonstrates that he prefers involuntary exploitation through various redistribution schemes. He seems to be especially fond of coerced redistribution through an authoritarian monopoly, which is the principal cause of progressive corruption.

As for motive, exploiting vulnerability, envy, fear, hatred, selfishness, and opportunistic behavior, serves to advance his political, economic, and social standing. This is the modus operandi by which his kind operate to improve their personal welfare.

As for the Republicans, they do, in the majority, subscribe to classical liberalism tempered by Judeo-Christian principles, who recognize individual dignity and an intrinsic value of human life. They recognize that there is no instant gratification without consequences and that involuntary redistribution schemes sponsor corruption of individuals and institutions. They also recognize the value of a safety net. I would only advise to reorient the purpose of that social enterprise to focus on rehabilitation.

So, in righteous indignation, Obama has taken the high road and substituted a demonstrably extreme ideology, which has no hope of preserving individual dignity, for another which he perceives as extreme and exploitative. All because he does not respect the individual dignity of other people.

Paul said...

Shit I LIKE being on my own. That doesn't mean I don't have fulfilling relationships with people but it means that at the end of the day I'm my own boss and a free man. That is the American way.

The left is busy trying one way or another to get people to become dependent and give up their liberty. To transfer their power to the state, which is just another oppressive aristocracy.

Idiots like garage are easy prey. They like the ring through their nose and the safety of the herd. They like having someone else take responsibility.

People like me can't stand that ring. Even if it's wrapped in velvet.

chickelit said...

Michael K. wrote: No, Obama has never heard of Adam Smith.

Obama gave Adam Smith the "Invisible Finger."

gk1 said...

No wonder obama was a flop as a leader and has no chance of doing anything constructive even if given another term. His infantile cartoonish understanding of "the other" that will be running congress makes him incapable of brokering a deal. Dump this loser before he does any more damage.

Chase said...

This ia simply another of the President's arrogant and condescending put-downs of everyone that doesn't think like him - seriously, has any President been this patronizing and arrogant outside of Nixon? II have never read and could not care less about Ayn Rand, but he fails the character test of "President of all of America" with his oh-so-holier-than-thou snark. His line "we have these things called aircraft characters" to Mitt Romney - what childish behavior for a President! We have an entire Obama speech telling people they didn't "build that" and the first part of that speech denigrated the people who "think they're so smart" - small business people!In the Rolling Stone interview just released, he implied Mitt Romney was "a bullshitter" - words said by the President of the United States to a 6 year old! A 6 year old! The man has no class and couldn't buy it with his oversized ego. It's a constant litany of condescension towards others from this man, an arrogance that American's of all stripes - except for the most partisan haters - are just so tired of.

He will soon enough will be out of time. The election is cooked, and if you need a true explanation of what is going to happen - despite all the whistling-past-the-graveyard Chicago boys and girls and their media lemmings - then read Peggy Noonan's column from today.

People are so tired of Obama's scthick that even hundreds of thousands of black Americans will secretly vote for Romney and then tell exit pollsters they voted for Barack.

On election day 2000, exit polls were leaking out as early as 8:30 am Eastern based on poll turnoput and liberals and Democrats were sure the election's polls were proving Gore was going to win. Hugh Hewitt was on the air in the morning and he was the only - literally the only - person broadcasting in America prior to noon Eastern who said "Do not trust the exit polls" in several swing states, including Florida, that were favoring Gore. Rush Limbaugh picked up the refrain right after Hewitt and they were correct. A hundred media stories were written about why the exit polls were so wrong.

Hewitt says it's cooked and the internals in 3 major swing states prove it. It will not be a 1% race, nor will it be a close electral college. This is shades of 1980 folks, where not one person in America predicted Reagan would take New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut It was because people really wanted to fire Carter but could not tell pollsters the truth.

Romney need none of the states listed above, but watch out - Barack is on his way out.

C'mon Nov 6!!!!

Paul said...

The most dangerous greed is the greed for power over others. No matter how the lefties try to put lipstick on that pig they all crave power. It is their sole animating force. They have historically left poverty, misery, and death in their wake, and they must be defeated by any means necessary.

The ballot box of course being optimal.

sydney said...

I seriously doubt Mr. Obama ever read Ayn Rand.

bagoh20 said...

Hey Obama, your brother called. He said stop being a rich stuck-up selfish dick.

Henry said...

What did Obama read when he was 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood? I doubt it was Ayn Rand. I haven't read Dreams of My Father. Anyone have a copy? What was Obama picking up?

I don't think Obama's basic critique of Rand is all that off the mark (though his extrapolation of Rand to Republicans is inane). There is something strangely attenuated in Rand's portrayal of human relationships. Her egoists are completely joyless. Her portrayal of architects and engineers as heroic loners runs counter to the deeply collaborative nature of those disciplines. Bell Labs was a lab.

But I would contrast the Ayn Randian teenager with the proto-marxist teenager, the person who considers the entire project of developing others as more important than seeing others as individuals. That "we own you" society is also a narrow vision and deeply illiberal to boot. Do those kids ever grow out of it?

Coketown said...

Um, excuse me? "Ayn Rand is one of those things"? Objectifying women, huh? Objectivist women no less! Women are things now? WAR ON WOMEN!! WAR ON WOMEN!!!

Hahahaha. Ding! Kidding. It was strenuous coming up with something as vapid and idiotic as Obama's statement, but I think I succeeded.

Take your pick, moron. You don't seem to be a big fan of Jesus Christ informing Republican thought. And you're not a fan of Ayn Rand informing it, either.

If only there were some person...some German, maybe...who had the pacifist and altruistic morality of Jesus coupled with the hard-headed atheism of Ayn Rand...hmm...who could that be?

Oh, yeah! Marx! Holy shit, the left wing is right! They really are the happy middle of two right-wing extremes.

Pastafarian said...

The ironic thing about Obama's mischaracterizations isn't the fact that he's commenting on books he's never read; that's par for the course with him.

The irony is that the philosophy often temporarily embraced by adolescents is socialism.

The only people who remain socialists after age 25 or so are those who don't have to go out and work in a real job: those who remain cocooned in the parents' basement, or in academia, or in government work, or in community organizing.

Obama is an arrested adolescent.

Gahrie said...

. We all have opportunities to be productive and to serve others

Something Romney has spent his whole life doing, quietly and without tooting his own horn. As an added bonus he uses his own time and resources, rather than taxes to do so.

YoungHegelian said...

@Chase,

If Obama gets re-elected with unemployment being above 8% and his favorability ratings being below 50% for 18 months, it will be truly a more historic election than his first, which put a black man in the office.

I think you are right. We are in the middle of a preference cascade, and in hindsight we'll see that the signs were all around us.

But, then, honestly, I'm certainly no neutral observer no matter how I may try.

Drago said...

Harrogate: "it's a perfect characterization of Rand. You cannot find a round character in Atlas Shrugged and only the slightest gestures towards it in Fountainhead. The fact that people and circumstances change, too, is largely lost on her. To be a follower of her view of the world is to bow to two-dimensional reality."

LOL

Gee, I can see that someone has just completed their high school lit crit assignment....

edutcher said...

sydney said...

I seriously doubt Mr. Obama ever read Ayn Rand.

Until I see his transcripts, I seriously doubt Mr. Obama ever read anybody.

Brent said...

Just judging Barack on the content of his character.

bagoh20 said...

Let's just add this to the long list of stuff Obama thinks he understands, but doesn't. Shouldn't he be educating us about important stuff like binders, Romnesia, and the evils of insulting Mohammad on Youtube?

Drago said...

garage: "He does seem to be going out of his way to fuck with conservatives lately. Those delicate feelings bruise easily."

LOL

Wherein garage mistakes the lashing out of an in-over-his-head incompetent for serious literary analysis.

too funny

Seeing Red said...

So says the guy who hung out with the disenfranchised marxists in college.

So why were the marxists disenfranchised in the 80s again?

Anyone? Bueller?

Drago said...

The inner obama: "...and I can guarantee you that I'm gonna think that I'm a better writer than just about anyone else......"

chuck said...

Everyone's favorite teenager is smarter than the average 17 year old. Impressive!

Coketown said...

The Stranger graciously redacted the rest of Obama's remarks:

"Now, you know, kids have good instincts. When they're 4 or 5 and feeling altruistic, they might pick up The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. And I think that's where their literary travels should end. And I think that describes what's best about America. That valiant tree, giving and giving, the fruits of his limbs, the shade of his foliage, and ultimately offering himself as a dead stump for others to sit upon. That sentiment, I think, has taken over a big chunk of the Democratic Party."

William said...

That comment applies to Lena Dunham. For that matter, it also applies to Barrack Obama.

The Genius Savant said...

Without reading any of the other comments, I can't think anything other than this is the problem with Liberalism, writ large.

"... not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity..."

I don't think a healthy relationship between men and anyone else, or society, can happen without me developing myself first. And government isn't what is going to make that development happen. And, if I don't develop my own self and the government tries to force us all to artificially "mak[e] sure that everybody else has opportunity" I think that project is doomed to fail, messily so. I think history is replete with examples proving this.

It's also quite rich that the Left downplays the individual while in some areas, like abortion, completely going 100% individual choice at the expense of what is good for society, at large.

Revenant said...

I'm not especially a fan of Ayn Rand, but Obama's mangled description of her philosophy suggests that he wasn't a particularly strong reader at age 17 or 18.

DADvocate said...

Obama mischaracterized Rand followers, and he is a Communist.

When I was 17 and 18 I was reading "The Autobiography of Malcom X", "Steal This Book", "Soul on Ice" and shit like that. Then I grew up.

bagoh20 said...

When I decide to help someone, I don't rob someone else, tell him that giving is noble, and then use his money to buy the firsts guy's friendship. Then again, when I was young, I outgrew leftism and dependency, and moved to self-sufficiency. Affirmative action was not an option for me.

Lem said...

Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up.

So, Obama picked up Alinsky and then what?

Did his vision and stance in the world get widened?

D.E. Cloutier said...

Every major problem in my life had its genesis in a government decision.

Synova said...

It's not just The Giving Tree. The fairy tales and traditional fables, the teaching stories told to generations of children, have been changed so that instead of a warning to work hard and prepare for the future they're about working hard and giving what you've made away to someone who refused to help you.

DADvocate said...

He does seem to be going out of his way to fuck with conservatives lately. Those delicate feelings bruise easily.

garage, you're so cold and heartless. I'll have trouble sleeping tonight. I'll lay awake, for 1 or 2 seconds, wondering if you're as dumb as you portray yourself to be.

Econophile said...

Oh "sure" Obama's read Rand...

But from Althouse's past posts referencing Rand I'm guessing this statement is bringing her back a little closer to Obama, as she's said much the same thing.

Come to think of it, everyone who can't explain (or just hasn't read) Rand expresses some variant of this opinion. I've never heard a convincing refutation of her ideas. Not once. The more I read her the more I like her. And the more impotent and childish her detractors sound to me.

bagoh20 said...

I don't think a healthy relationship between men and anyone else, or society, can happen without me developing myself first."

Of course. It the same as how you should put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. It's not selfish, it's taking responsibility. Only then can you help others instead of just becoming another part of the burden.

EDH said...

Wow. Try to unpack that statement:

1.) Sounds like he's talking about drugs. "Misunderstood" 17 and 18 year-olds were turning to Rand -- the opiate of the young, to paraphrase Marx?

2.) Are young people who feel "misunderstood" typically narcissistic? To the contrary, hasn't the emphasis of the "caring professions" been to instill needed self esteem?

3.) Obama sounds like he's looking back at the himself, the young narcissist, implying that it was a mere stage in his life when he craved the "high life" before following a higher calling. Yet in reality, however, he went on to feed his narcissistic tendencies behind a veil of altruism to become one of the 1%.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity. This condition affects one percent of the population. First formulated in 1968, it was historically called megalomania, and it is closely linked to egocentrism.

sydney said...

Every major problem in my life had its genesis in a government decision.

Me, too!

Shanna said...

Oh man, the Giving Tree! You were supposed to feel sorry for the tree, right? What a depressing book.

I gave my nephews the little red hen. Best kid book ever.

Lem said...

Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up.

This is a variation of the bitter clingers quote.

"... it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Obama feels and understands all.

phx said...

Oooh, Ayn Rand, so scary!

Hold me, Barack!


Not scary. Immature.

mishu said...

So how's me voting for a president that will use the force of government to take more money from other people (mind you, under his plan, my tax rate will allegedly won't change), make me a more magnanimous, generous person who cares more about others?

DADvocate said...

The Giving Tree always seemed like a cautionary tale to me. A story of what happens when you let people take and take without contributing themselves. Eventually, nothing is left. The tree is a John Galt that failed to say, "Enough!"

A person's greatest obligation is to support themselves, then their spouse and children, after that, to contribute to the world as best they can. Liberals teach that most of us should expect stuff to be given to us, to be takers that leave nothing but a bare stump.

bagoh20 said...

The are endless stories of Romney helping people, often at substantial personal sacrifice, but Obama? No wonder he hates Romney. As we were saying earlier today Romney is everything Obama wished he could be. The thing is, nothing is stopping him. He's had the same opportunities. He just prefered to turn his back. He was busy pursuing his destiny.

phx said...

The ironic thing about Obama's mischaracterizations isn't the fact that he's commenting on books he's never read

You don't have any idea about that and yet you say you do. You are not thinking, you are bleating.

Lem said...

Free Taco Bell next tuesday.

There...

I Am so over Ayn Rand.

Seeing Red said...

Barry's never had to stand on his own 2 feet, so I can understand being alone could be quite scary for him.

However, to become an adult....

Seeing Red said...

Because Meeshell said so. Get out of your comfort zone!

edutcher said...

Waiting for "How Obama Lost Me"...

Let me count the ways.

Shanna said...

A story of what happens when you let people take and take without contributing themselves. Eventually, nothing is left.

My cousin and I have an ongoing conversation about takers verses givers.

We have decided that you can never help the takers by giving them anything. They don't feel bad, or learn anything, or decide to stand up for themselves afterward...they only take it as their due and see what more they can get.

Givers can be helped by giving them something along the way, a helping hand when they really need it. Takers need to be given nothing and learn to do on their own. That is the ONLY way to help them.

Government has never been able to devise a form that will sort out the givers v. the takers.

pm317 said...

I am sick of hearing what this guy said. Nov 6 can't come soon enough.

phx said...

I am sick of hearing what this guy said. Nov 6 can't come soon enough.

So wouldn't it be funny if Obama wins?

wyo sis said...


"Someone who understood in a shallow manner would only see that she promoted selfish, as in just me, myself, and I.

And yet Obama and many others, when they reject that, go right into purchasing their own moral virtue with money taken from others. And even speak as though "public" funds are more moral than private ones, where profit motivations exist."


Lately I can feel my lip curling in disgust whenever I read or hear anything Obama says. I don't like that. I need to practice calm.
Thanks Synova for showing me a person can be calm when discussing Obama.

harrogate said...

Drago,

In truth her "literature" does not merit much beyond a high school level approach. In another book of "literary criticism" Rand contends that Margaret Mitchell is better than Shakespeare.

Hey, I like _Gone With the Wind_ as much as the next guy. But that ranking system sort of says it all about Rand's intellectual, ideological, and artistic depth.

yashu said...

Not scary. Immature.

Obama was "picking up" heavy-duty Marxism (and whatever Alinksy and Ayers and Wright are) at an age well beyond "17 or 18."

Scary? Immature? Funny?

EMD said...

I know a guy who can get you the best f-ing Ayn Rand you've ever had. Just 5 bucks a page!

Lem said...

...a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people...

If Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or even that old goat Warren Buffet were to say something like this... I might give it some consideration...
But as EDH only hinted at... the truth is to the contrary of what Obama says here... there is a god damn good reason why the young is encouraged to go to school and get an education FIRST... focus on himself first... there will be plenty of time for getting empty Nobel Prizes and killing the Bin Ladens of the world later.

Triangle man first comment was right.

Lem said...

I know a guy who can get you the best f-ing Ayn Rand you've ever had. Just 5 bucks a page!

Oh, I like what you did there.

phx said...

Obama was "picking up" heavy-duty Marxism (and whatever Alinksy and Ayers and Wright are) at an age well beyond "17 or 18."

I was talking about Ayn Rand, not Obama. And I don't even know if I can trust your characterization of Obama's intellectual development. You're highly ideological, and partisan, yourself.

Synova said...

Shanna, I like that you've pointed out that givers sometimes need help, too, and that's not what defines who is a giver and who is a taker.

I think it's sort of like... moving helpers. Back when you first got out on your own and got an apartment and moved all the time (everyone does this, right?) and when you moved all your college friends (or whoever) would come help you move and you'd buy pizza and coke.

But there's always that one guy, you know him, who figured that was dumb and would never be available. And it wouldn't matter if he'd gotten help moving before, either.

I suppose that some people would say that he's the one who is "Ayn Rand" selfish, but actually he's the taker. He expects help and for a while he gets it until everyone catches on.

But the "givers" are selfish, too, because they know they're going to need help when they have to move and they understand that it's in their own interest to be available and to help out their friends so when it's their turn their friends will show up for pizza.

At some level it's a transaction... I'll help you and I expect to be helped when it's my turn. So it fails a test of altruism. It's just being a good friend.

It's only with the taker, that guy who won't help out, that you get to be altruistic, where you help with no expectation of reward.

In the level of "community" where relationships are close enough that you can know people (your family, friends, small community groups or churches) the taker can't get away with it for long.

With government the taker is rewarded. There's no day of reckoning when the givers decide they've had enough.

Lem said...

So wouldn't it be funny if Obama wins?

We'll always have Benghazi.

EMD said...

We are all dead stumps now.

EMD said...

...a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people...

It's as if the man has never met anyone who is human.





Synova said...

Also what others said about developing yourself being the most important thing you can to for those you have relationships with.

Obama said "relationships with others" but (if he's talking about Rand being wrong) what he means is "relationships with people you don't actually have relationships with because they don't know you and you don't know them."

It's certainly not a case of valuing yourself over those in a relationship with you. Because who is that? It's your spouse. Your children. Your circle of friends. It might even be your employees in a small business. Those are the people with whom you have *relationships*.

Lem said...

...a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people...

The more I think about it... the more phony this quote gets.

Obama paid a substantial sum of money to keep us ignorant of his project of self development.

If it was such an unimportant thing why not share his school records with the world he cares so much about?

yashu said...

I was talking about Ayn Rand, not Obama.

And Obama was ostensibly talking about "a big chunk of the Republican party." So I'm talking about the President of the United States.

And I don't even know if I can trust your characterization of Obama's intellectual development.

That's fine; check it out yourself. I guess it's arguable (or not) that reading and appreciating Ayn Rand as a teenager is a more questionable quality in a politician than finding mentors (in your 20s and 30s and 40s) in Ayers and Wright.

You're highly ideological, and partisan, yourself.

I've never denied that I'm partisan. Ideological? Depends on what you mean to denote by that word. My "ideology," such as it is, isn't very cookie-cutter. I think I'm more of a fox than a hedgehog (but then, I acknowledge that we all have blind spots with respect to ourselves).

exiledonmainst said...

garage wrote: "Those delicate feelings bruise easily."

No, garage, my feelings aren't hurt because your boyfriend doesn't like me. On the contrary, although Rand's faults, both ideological and personal, were legion and she is very far from being my favorite author, she did describe the hollowness of leftism and leftists perfectly. She had your number. And I think that's why leftists can't shut up about her. Those delicate feelings bruise easily.

jr565 said...

Rand is often right, and right about certain things more often than not, but Randians take her far too literally. As a literal philosophy it's crazy.
I recently saw the movie The Fountainhead. And I was agreeing with the points made (though was struck by how stilted the dialogue was), until the movie seemed to suggest that the main character was in he right to blow up his building rather than submit to any degree of intrusion from anyone else from his artistic vision. And he actually argued this before the jury in the movie who agreed with the sentiment. A very strange movie with a message that borders on the bizarre. Again, rand is often right but if you take her position (and a lot of libertarianism) as an absolute it often leads you to absurd conclusions.
Then again you could also make that argument about communism, or practically any philosophy.

10/25/12 10:37 PM

Lem said...

Thanks Synova for showing me a person can be calm when discussing Obama.

They consider it winning when we let it show.

Rules for Radicals #10

“If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”

yashu said...

Speaking of "the hedgehog and the fox" antithesis, I've just become acquainted with the "white elephant vs. termite" one.

I kinda like animal metaphors for intellectual/ ideological/ artistic qualities.

bagoh20 said...

"So wouldn't it be funny if Obama wins?"

I will continue to do what I can to make my way and help others, but I will be saddened by the knowledge that more of the resources I create to help others will be syphoned off by a foolish, misinformed and damaging government bureaucracy where it will be wasted on takers who want nothing more than to remain takers as long as possible.

I'll be disappointed that millions like me will likewise be slowed down in our effort to produce and build jobs and prosperity. I will wait another four years for the passing of a negative reverse synergy this President is characteristically incapable of seeing, let alone reversing.

I will accept the future knowing that regardless of whether the economy improves or not, it will never be as bright as it could have been. I'll try to forget that we decided to sap rather than trust the proven, successful and hardworking among us, and instead facilitated the failures, cheats, and line cutters while we let trillions of dollars of wealth and energy leak out of our vessel for 8 years.

Or we can avoid that in a few weeks when we get a crucial momentary chance to start taking responsibility, to save our own ass, to make the hard choices that will only get harder if we don't. Our prodigy are counting on us. "We are the change we've been waiting for."

phx said...

And Obama was ostensibly talking about "a big chunk of the Republican party." So I'm talking about the President of the United States.

First, you see that even if what you say about the President is true, it doesn't have anything to do with whether what he said about Rand is accurate or not. You're smart, you get that, right?

To your second point, I'm not actually that interested in Obama's intellectual development to pursue the info about Ayers and Wright you are passing on. Particularly as it sounds as if it would require a lot of research, not just a link to someone's web site. Call me "not intellectually curious." I stand accused, girl what can I do?

Third point, I'm not going to quibble with a frenemy I like. I'll settle for partisan, and sometime you can detail your own ideological development to me if you like. I'll be a respectful listener.

phx said...

I will continue to do what I can to make my way and help others

I think that's so touching.

Paul Zrimsek said...

You know, I might even agree with him if only Rand had ever invented a character half as selfish as Sandra Fluke.

wyo sis said...

I read Rand after being raised in a very Christian family and a very small world where everyone was basically fundamentalist Christian.

For me it was a very worldly nonreligious confirmation of what I believe about God as a judge. He presents us with choices, gives us rules, tells us the consequences then opens the gates.

We get to choose how we follow the rules and make choices, but we don't get to be consequence free. Ayn Rand presented that same ethos without being at all religious. It sounds brutal and judgemental, but it's really the only way to be free. You know and you choose.

The part of mercy comes later. But, only a person who has learned and prospered through their own efforts has what it takes to be really merciful, to really be charitable. Only they know what it takes.

bagoh20 said...

Scoff, phx, but that's all there is that's worth doing.

Synova said...

Government "charity" isn't relationship based.

Eric said...

I picked up Atlas Shrugged when I was 17 or 18. It was unreadable drivel.

Well, it's not great literature, but that's not what makes it significant. Of course, Obama seems to think it's a blueprint for the operation of a state, so he did get something out of it.

phx said...

bagoh, please. I don't scoff at anyone who sacrifices to help others, and I don't care what party or movement they affiliate themselves with.

But for someone so intensely partisan as yourself to begin your usual partisan fare with "I will continue to do what I can to make my way and help others"...I mean you can hear how utterly insincere that sounds, can't you? You don't have that bad of a tin ear, do you?

Go out and help people. Don't blame others if you don't. If you love humanity and someone stops you from helping, you'll find another way. You won't whine about how someone "got in my way of doing good."

Lem said...

Government "charity" isn't relationship based.

Synova you are the greatest... I confess to being a slow reader and when you give us a long post it has a good possibility of going unread by me... specially when there are so many good comments coming all at once... but I did get the part of *relationships* you were fleshing out.

phx said...

"got in the way of my doing good."

jvermeer51 said...

Obama can not deal, has absolutely no ability to realize how someone could be different than himself. He's the real out of touch politician.

Lem said...

You know what would be a good invention... a voice reader app... so that when a comment is made I hear it... and I can keep typing a word or two per minute... on a good day ;)

Multitasking!

wyo sis said...

"I mean you can hear how utterly insincere that sounds, can't you?

I hope you bring this degree of incision to your analysis of what everyone says. Even liberals.

yashu said...

phx, you call me and bagoh partisans (and I've accepted that description); I do hope you'll grant that you're "partisan" yourself... no?

Pogo said...

Obama is the fox guarding the henhouse, convincing the hens he has their best interest at heart, not that goddamned rooster.

phx said...

Well I don't analyze what EVERYONE says. And I didn't think I was being particularly incisive. I like arguing with bagoh from time to time though, I actually respect much of what he says and apparently does, even if I don't so much respect all of his most partisan comments.

I've said one or two things to him that weren't deserving of anyone's respect in the past. I'm content if he still argues with me from time to time.

phx said...

yashu, I admit I'm partisan, but I'm nowhere near as partisan as you two are. I don't think so anyway.

bagoh20 said...

phx: "I mean you can hear how utterly insincere that sounds, can't you? You don't have that bad of a tin ear, do you? "

It's not like I promised to stop the rise of the oceans in a carefully prepared speech to millions. I'm just commenting on a blog.

And if you read what I wrote, I said I will continue to do what I do, but I won't have as much to do it with, and nobody else will either, but that only matters to those who actually do it, like Romney. By contrast Obama is not much of a giver for someone who talks about sharing so much, but he's your choice.

traditionalguy said...

There another savage hurricane of independence is repeating the track up the coast from North Carolina headed straight at DC.

The last one like it was in September 1775, and was seen as an omen of revolution that had started two months earlier at the battles of Lexington and Concord.

He knows!

bagoh20 said...

For the record, phx, I'm a lifelong registered Democrat.

phx said...

I don't know. To my ear you just sound a little like Jack Nicholson in Going South.

"I will continue to do what I can to make my way and help others, but I will be saddened by the knowledge..."

"Weeeell, I'm not someone to be treated like a piece of meat, but, oh, all right..."

Tim said...

Who cares what Obama thinks about anything anyway?

I just love the fact he's rooting for the Tigers.

*Everything* he touches turns to shit, so while he's destroying my nation, I might as well enjoy a World Series Championship for my Giants.

Keep up the good work, Barry!

phx said...

That's pretty interesting bagoh20. Never pegged you for registered Dem. Well, it's a funny world and you can't make assumptions.

Chip S. said...

Obama may very well have read Ayn Rand.

He certainly doesn't think he's got any moral obligation to help his half-brother.

wyo sis said...

"I didn't think I was being particularly incisive."
Exactly.
Sarcasm. It's just one of the many services I offer.

Lem said...

So... is Detroit going to look to Obama for another bailout?

phx said...

He certainly doesn't think he's got any moral obligation to help his half-brother.

There's an argument worthy of an intellect. (Rolls eyes).

phx said...

Thanks, wyo sis. Leave your card.

Chip S. said...

There's an argument worthy of an intellect. (Rolls eyes).

Oh right, you're one of those people who has to have everything spelled out.

OK, here you go....

Obama is the one saying that Republicans are selfish, presumably for believing that there are such things as ill-advised regulations such as Dodd-Frank. He's is thereby making claim to moral superiority.

It is therefore germane to consider how well-founded is his claim.

Got it now?

Tim said...

Lem said...

"So... is Detroit going to look to Obama for another bailout?"

Could be.

But they sure as hell don't need anyone who throws like a girl in Moms jeans.

Maybe Michelle is available?

bagoh20 said...

Phx, I'm not just feeding you a line a bullshit to get your vote. I have to look at people every day who are depending on me to help them make a living, to pay their bills, to have a future. It really is hard to accept that I can't give them as much as I want or as much as they are worth because the government many miles away who we are afraid to ever hear from takes almost half of whatever we make. Then we stand in line at the grocery store with people buying groceries with government checks that they sat at home waiting for all day. That's our money, the we worked hard to make. Can you understand the injustice of that reality?

Lem said...

I'm more partisan than all-o-yous.

Mike Bruner said...

Nice premise for that question -- that Paul Ryan is obsessed with Rand. What if he merely appreciates Rand? After all, Ryan has said that Rand "taught me quite a bit about who I am" and also on record that he ultimately rejects her philosophy.

I find Obama's condescending response emblematic of the man. A smarter politician would have used the occasion to praise the aspects of Rand he saw the most value in, even if he ultimately rejects Rand. Instead, he proclaims Rand to be a juvenile phase to be grown out of once a person reaches full, government-loving adulthood. Give me a break.

And just in cold political terms -- Atlas Shrugged sold 500K copies in the last year alone. The fact that Obama doesn't think any of those book buyers are worth courting is kind of amazing.

phx said...

Lem, but when you're not being partisan you sound like you're probably okay. You know, you don't stink completely as a person. So long as you aren't being partisan. That is.

Lem said...

But they sure as hell don't need anyone who throws like a girl in Moms jeans.

lol. I remember that.

BTW thats another dot that I hadn't connected... thanks... but dont ask me what I'm talking about.

its all hush hush on the down low.

yashu said...

yashu, I admit I'm partisan, but I'm nowhere near as partisan as you two are.

Actually, I admit that (in a way) this is true.

I've gathered from some of your recent comments that, though you oppose a Romney presidency and hope Obama wins, that opposition and that hope pale in intensity to bagoh's and mine (reversed like a negative).

That is true. I gather (from your comments) that you don't feel there's as much to fear or dread from a Romney victory as bagoh and I feel there is from an Obama victory.

But I don't think that in itself is proof that bagoh and I are more "ideological" than you. It may have much more to do with certain differences between Obama and Romney.

Not up to debating that right now; just saying that's just as viable an explanation for the difference in intensity.

Tim said...

"its all hush hush on the down low."

Except, I think, with the passing of time, fewer and fewer people would be shocked by that.

It seems to fit, plausibly.

Best for us to retire him, and let him work out his issues in private.

Eric said...

Then we stand in line at the grocery store with people buying groceries with government checks that they sat at home waiting for all day.

As if. Now they get a card that gets filled automatically. There's no waiting for checks.

I try not to let it get to me, but a significant number of people on EBT at my local grocery store are driving $50k+ cars. It may just be that they're just unemployed and bought the car when they had more cash. But I always wonder.

Titus said...

I have just started a new SuperPac...Gays for Romney. Please join me on the bus as we travel to OHIO and knock on doors. NOW is our time and place to make the difference. Change is coming.

Gays For Romney....and ryan.

If you can not travel with us on the bus for the next week please consider giving a large donation to Gays For Romney, which was formally Gays For Gingrich.

Thank you.

and

tits.

phx said...

Not up to debating that right now; just saying that's just as viable an explanation for the difference in intensity.

Okay, noted, and I'll let it pass.

sleepless nights said...

I agree with him though my version was more "leave me alone" than "you're on your own" and I kept at it even longer out of a mixture of stubbornness and idealism. It certainly doesn't survive love.

As someone (maybe here?) said, I'd have more respect for Ann Rand's philosophy if she had died as she preached - alone in the woods, eaten by bears, but she didn't, and there you are. It works for a certain phase of life.

Titus said...

Obama Mom Jeans abs horrible.

Mitt Mom Jeans delish.

Gays for Romney!

tits.

Seeing Red said...

--To your second point, I'm not actually that interested in Obama's intellectual development to pursue the info about Ayers--

Ayres - SDS

1968 riots wife is worse than he is. Dohrn.

Seeing Red said...

Ayere - 9/9/01

Guilty as sin, free as a bird, standing on the US flag for the Sunday mag.

phx said...

Doing the research and making the arguments in order to figure out the extent of Ayres influence on Obama's thinking is not the same as taking your right-wing buddies' word for it.

Lem said...

If titus thinks Romney can win... that says a lot.

Lets see.. titus was correct with Walker, Brown & Obama... good track record so far.

bagoh20 said...

" I gather (from your comments) that you don't feel there's as much to fear or dread from a Romney victory as bagoh and I feel there is from an Obama victory."

There are people passionate on both sides, but the reasons are very different not only in what they fear, but how well founded those fears are, and how serious they are.

The march of progressivism has been pretty steady and successful in growth and influence.

Those on left just want more of what they have been getting pretty reliably for generations. They don't want to give at all - "Forward".

The left fears an end to abortion, available contraception, women's equality, racial equality, etc. I find it hard to see what they fear. Those things are not in real danger. The only argument is who is gonna pay for them. Again, no compromise, even with other people's money. You make it. We take it, we spend it.

Us who want it stopped and even reversed simply have a lot more reality to what we are fighting. On the right we fear a collapse, which is very conceivable since centralized control eventually fails the people every time it's tried. The left, assures us that's not really where they want to go, but then when they are not trying to get our votes, they say and do things that show that's exactly where they want to go - "Forward". To the left, what is forward from here if not more centralized control, bigger government and less freedom?

The fact is, I don't think most liberals would like what's at the end of their path. They don't really believe it goes where it always has. They imagine benevolent leaders trustworthy and good, with infinite wisdom, despite history proving just the opposite. Power corrupts. We are still the same species we have always been, just with more powerful tools.

Carl said...

He's so full of shit. It's exactly backward. 17 or 18 is where you pick up "To Kill A Mockingbird" or "All Quiet On The Western Front" and you feel that you ALONE (or almost alone, maybe your best bud or BF/GF, too, particularly when you've all been drinking) understand everyone else, The Big Picture, those simple and obvious changes that the duffers around you have been too (1) stupid, (2) selfish, or (3) afraid to implement, and which are keeping this beautiful world from being the Utopia it could be.

That's when you're most likely to enlist in grand causes -- in a previous age, go on Crusade or join up the fight the War to End All Wars, or nowadays sign up with Mr. "We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For" to save the planet, make the oceans recede, move past red-state/blue-state and such grubby narrow-minded parochialisms as minding the Constitution, horse-trading in committees to get bills passed with bipartisan votes, balancing the budget before winning the future...

Middle age is where you tire of the grand causes that -- in the end -- seem to do at least as much collateral damage as good, and too many of the leaders of which turn out to be narcissist clowns, cynical murderous thugs, or both. That's when you narrow your vision, and decide just maybe the best to which a mortal can really aspire is to polish his own soul, and be a stout and loyal friend, co-worker, husband or wife, mother or father. And that just perhaps achieving those goals, quietly and without fuss, is the higher ethical achievement after all.

I can see why Obama never really moved past the lecture room. Emotionally, he himself seems kind of stuck at age 18.

Skookum John said...

Francisco d'Ancona's "Money Speech" is the only part of Atlas Shrugged that anyone need read.

For giving it to us, all of Rand's other sins, omissions, and shortcomings are forgiven.

Chip Ahoy said...

Lem, Macs will read your pages to you if you want and you get to pick the voices too.

System preferences, speech, or diction and speech, text to speech.

Female
Kathy
Vickie
Victoria
Male
Alex
Bruce
Fred
or customize with
Anges
Jill
Princess
Samantha
Junior
Ralph
Tom
Novelty
Albert
Bad News
Bahh
Bells
Boing
Bubbles
Cellos
Deranged
Cold News
Hysterical
Pipe Organ
Trinoids
Whisper
Zarvox

I just now played them. They're all quite funny. Someone's got a sense of humor.

In the text to speech pane, select the box "Speak selected text when the key is pressed Current key: Option + Esc but you can change it to anything.

You tell it how fast to read. It's reading this as Alex.

rcommal said...

Ayn Rand is what I did indeed observe a certain key number, though a small number, of cohort middle-schoolers reading back in the day. If you want me to be specific about it, they were reading The Fountainhead, as opposed to something else of hers. This was around and about '73-'74.

I did indeed go on to read Ayn Rand, of course (and over the earlier years read her extensively--not just her books, but also many of her articles et al--for one reason or/and another, though not so much in more recent decades). Yet, to this very day, I would recommend first reading "We, The Living" and "Anthem" before anything else. Here's why: They're enlightening and might very well save you a lot of time, no matter how you come down in terms of liking/not liking or judging Ayn Rand. That was then, after all, and this is now. Yes?

creeley23 said...

I was talking with my cousin tonight about the first Coen Brothers film, "Blood Simple," and M. Emmett Walsh's marvelous spoken introduction over a visual of the white markers on the highway flashing by:

The world is full of complainers. And the fact is, nothin' comes with a guarantee. Now I don't care if you're the Pope of Rome, President of the United States or Man of the Year; somethin' can all go wrong. Now go on ahead, y'know, complain, tell your problems to your neighbor, ask for help, 'n watch him fly. Now, in Russia, they got it mapped out so that everyone pulls for everyone else... Well, that's the theory, anyway. But what I know about is Texas, an' down here ... you're on your own.

Chip Ahoy said...

Ayn Rand says "hello." I mean boo.

rcommal said...

Let me work to be more clear (as someone who read a lot of Ayn Rand but is not an acolyte):

Read "We, The Living" and "Anthem"--both of which are of few pages, by the way, in general but most specifically when one thinks of Rand's later novels--and you'll pretty much be at least 80% there (assuming you are both a sharp and imaginative reader) in terms of both getting Rand's attitudes and fears and also the themes of novels.

Levi Starks said...

Thank goodness, now I won't have to read that 1000 plus page book.
Wait- I already did.
I read it for the first time at 50.
I was amazed that It seemed like every time I put the book down, and turned on the news. the book was being played out before my very eyes in real life.

rcommal said...

I stand by my recommendation with regard to Ayn Rand (again, even a long time ago having read, in addition to her novels, quite a lot of her writings that most didn't/haven't) and what to read to mostly get it.

So there, and that's that.

--

That said, I did not vote for Senator Barack Obama to become POTUS in 2008, and I will not be voting to retain President Barack Obama a couple of weeks hence. Then, as now, pontifications having to do with Ayn Rand, from any and every source, has nothing to do with it. However, now, as opposed to then, I think less of anyone who is silly enough to think it might.



rcommal said...

What I was reading at 17 or 18? God, from what I can tell, people in general mostly wouldn't want to know. LOL.

DEEBEE said...

IMO it is not scary at all if we have people fending for themsleves only, as BHO paraphrases Rand. It is more scary that the likes of BHO, having rejected the "self centeredness" want to use the government to coerce us to do otherwise.

Alan said...

I never read Atlas Shrugged. I did read Elvis Shrugged.

Joe Schmoe said...

First, Obama is quite wrong about misunderstood youth opting for Rand. Most high schoolers read it because it is assigned reading for a lit class. Most high schoolers come out of it not really understanding what they just read. Count me among that group.

Second, I like Rand's work. But I'm not an 'Objectivist acolyte'. Why do I either have to eschew her work as juvenile or embrace it as my ideological gospel? There is middle ground, folks. I like chunks of Rand for various reasons, but not because I view it as an unassailable guide for living.

Third, the giver-taker thing mentioned above in other comments touches on one of Rand's topics, but I don't think anyone quite got there. It's not just the morality of the takers. Rand warns about altruism, which often takes the form of redistribution in her books, because the givers also become dependent themselves on always having an underclass to care for. If the underclass does pull themselves up by the bootstraps, and they don't need assistance anymore, then the giver/redistributor has no raison d'etre, so to speak. Rand posits that givers, in order to remain givers, create and maintain an underclass into perpetuity so that they can selfishly enjoy their own benevolence. Does this describe today's US Democrat party, or the Socialist-lite parties of Europe or what?

Fourth and last, Democrats who've never read Rand are always castigating her proponence of self-sufficiency as 'selfish'. That's the buzzword they've been handed, and they're sticking to it. But Rand promotes self-sufficiency and individuality as a counterbalance to the negative effects of collectivism. One of the things I love most about Rand are the gold nuggets about the dangers of collectivism. As someone who lived through the October Revolution in pre- and post-Tsarist Russia, she has intimate knowledge of what she writes about.

Levi Starks nailed it upthread. Rand's writings are played out in the news every day. An example: she noted the lack of accountability in large, collectivist organizations. When things go wrong, no one is to blame. This is exactly how the Benghazi attack has played out. No one knew what was going on, no one knew what happened, and the collective organization in this case, the current administration, is trying to use the intertia of their office to ignore it.

Joe Schmoe said...

You know, I would've thought that Obama would appreciate Rand more for her use of the composite literary device. Rand reminds me of Stanley Kubrick in the sense that both employ one-dimensional characters that when viewed together as a composite, actually make up or represent all of the various emotions and rationale of an individual human psyche. Who wins out ultimately represents the internal struggle within us all. Since Barry is so fond of the composite, I'm surprised he didn't make that connection. Or maybe he didn't really read Rand...

Paul Zrimsek said...

By the way, is complaining about the behavior of fictional characters now respectable? Or is John Galt somehow less fictional than Murphy Brown?

Clyde said...

Well played, President Mouch.

Alan said...

"Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a 'you're on your own' society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party."

If only it were true.

Dante said...

The left fears an end to abortion, available contraception, women's equality, racial equality, etc.

I don't see any of those issues contradicting commerce. More workers, women not pregnant, what's not to like? Yes, there are the religious folks whose beliefs cause them to want to draw lines in different places regarding abortion.

However, what does the left stand for? Equality of opportunity has been around for years, so that's not the issue.

Perhaps it's that single parent families aren't working out too well. Instead of reinstating the taboos, let's make Julia and Obama phones.

The left tore down the institutions, to replace it with the new superior enlightened ways. They didn't work. They don't have answers. Only beliefs.

Shanna said...

Shanna, I like that you've pointed out that givers sometimes need help, too, and that's not what defines who is a giver and who is a taker.

Absolutely, Synova. Also, when a giver needs help, and gets it, they are grateful. The takers never are. It's a mentality, more than anything.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I wonder when exactly it was that Obama finally quit being a Rand disciple and came to the realization that the project of developing himself wasn't the most important thing after all. Presumably it was after he wrote the two books about the project of developing himself.

Matthew Sablan said...

"The fact that people and circumstances change, too, is largely lost on her."

-- Er... no. That's one thing that isn't; her characters develop, for example, Dominique Francon in the Fountainhead learns not to let society hold her back -- in a didactic, clumsily written way -- but development happens. It would help before making a critique of something that you're actually aware of what it is you are critiquing on the most basic plot-level when we're talking about an author.

phx said...

"You know, I would've thought that Obama would appreciate Rand more for her use of the composite literary device. Rand reminds me of Stanley Kubrick in the sense that both employ one-dimensional characters that when viewed together as a composite, actually make up or represent all of the various emotions and rationale of an individual human psyche. Who wins out ultimately represents the internal struggle within us all. Since Barry is so fond of the composite, I'm surprised he didn't make that connection. Or maybe he didn't really read Rand..."

Or maybe Obama saw that 'composite literary device' as a puerile conceit compared with styes and devices of real novelists.

Although I believe a similar device was employed Michener in one of his literary works. Or maybe I'm thinking of 'The Valley of the Dolls'.

Matthew Sablan said...

Note: I'm not saying Rand's writing is good or complex; but her characters either evolve or choose not to evolve (like the guy who decides not to elope with the love of his life.) The stories, were they handled by a technically more proficient writer and edited down by someone who wanted to tell a story not an ideology, could work passably. It is just that much of the criticism (flat characters, two-dimensional, etc.) are just wrong. Roark, for example, is very much the embodiment of the hero, but he is flawed in some ways (though perhaps, not in ways Rand would perceive as flaws.)

Rusty said...

harrogate said...
Drago,

In truth her "literature" does not merit much beyond a high school level approach. In another book of "literary criticism" Rand contends that Margaret Mitchell is better than Shakespeare.

Hey, I like _Gone With the Wind_ as much as the next guy. But that ranking system sort of says it all about Rand's intellectual, ideological, and artistic depth.

I'll take your literary criticism to heart.
Your right. She doesn't travel well after college.
Like Pynchon, Brautigan and Robbins, they're exciting and edgy when your 20. When you're 35? Meh.

harrogate said...

Matthew,

Come on now. First off I DID acknowledge that the Fountainhead makes some gestures towards real human experience, but as can be seen in your own description, even those changes are for the most part clumsy and in the case of Dominique, go rom being secretly hard core, to being openly and even more hard core. Whoopee.

As far as Roark goes, if you can see the flaws but Rand cannot, then I will be the first to acknowledge that this is "interesting," but only inasmuch as it shows even more, the caricature dynamic of Rand's conscious vision, no the whole.

However, I will say this. The Fountainhead has two characters that I find somnewhat compelling, even now. One of them is Dominique's father, for it seems he truly does change after going through major life experience. The simple grace and dignity of his final scene with Dominique, bhis basic wish that she be happy articulated with dignity, is touching-given the pomposity of the character through most of the novel, and especially given the general tendency in Rand to spurn the notion of redemption in the crayon villains she imagines.

And the other character is Gail Wynand. For my money, the best writing Rand ever did emerged in her handling of Wynand. It's almost as if a literary artist somewhere peeped out there. The biographical sketch of Wynand growing up in Hell's Kitchen, the scene where he goes for a walk and succumbs to the pressure to sell out Roark, are still passages I think of somettimes, and they stir me. I think in some ways Wynand is a hat tip to the great Horace Greeley, though I am not sure that Rand actually knew who Greeley was.

But these elements of literary depth are absolutely and thoroughly drowned out, in the end, by all the righteous yammering, the canned lines, the insistence on one's own philosphical weight that truly does, as Obama noted, speak to nothing so much as the experience of the angsty 18 year-old.

For the sex scenes alone in Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead, Rand ought to be lauged at by anyone interested in good writing.

Synova said...

"He certainly doesn't think he's got any moral obligation to help his half-brother."

See now, this is what we don't know.

Perhaps Obama just figures someone else ought to do it.

But perhaps, because his half-brother is within the circle of those legitimately defined by *relationships*, the family understands that this particular bother is a taker. (Is Obama the only family member that doesn't help him?)

Since his brother is not within MY circle of those legitimately defined by relationships, I can't answer this question.

Tank said...

Wait, Romney and Ryan are like Rand?

I swear, this is some alternative universe. They are both big gov't pro-business liberal/moderates.

I don't get the hate on Rand. I read her late, AFTER I was already a mostly libertarian conservative [I got there through M Friedman, Cato, etc - in fact, Cato is where I heard about Rand for the first time].

I've read most of her stuff, which contains lots of wisdom, and lots of weird BS. A lot like the person herself. And many others.

Lem said...

What Paul Z said...

Thanks Chip.. I have a pc.

Bart DePalma said...

Can you picture it - Barry Obama as a teen reading Atlas Shrugs out loud to his pals in the choom mobile between tokes and snorts?

Then again, having read the turgid prose of Rand's book, maybe it would go down easier if you were stoned.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Then again, having read the turgid prose of Rand's book, maybe it would go down easier if you were stoned.

"The planning part had to do with the artifacts you wanted found on you by later archeologists. So they'd know from which stratum you came. And also could piece together where your head had been at at the time you did it. He spent several days deciding on the artifacts. Much longer than he had spent deciding to kill himself, and approximately the same time required to get that many reds. He would be found lying on his back, on his bed, with a copy of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead (which would prove he had been a misunderstood superman rejected by the masses and so, in a sense, murdered by their scorn) and an unfinished letter to Exxon protesting the cancellation of his gas credit card. That way he would indict the system and achieve something by his death, over and above what the death itself achieved." --Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly

Cedarford said...

""Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up.""

My guess is Choom never read Ayn Rand...
And if he had ever shown up with one of her books at home, Ann Dunham or her lover/his mentor Franklin Marshall would have slapped the book out of his hands.

EMD said...

But for someone so intensely partisan as yourself to begin your usual partisan fare with "I will continue to do what I can to make my way and help others"...I mean you can hear how utterly insincere that sounds, can't you? You don't have that bad of a tin ear, do you?

Phx, please. Bagoh has been on record here several times talking about his livelihood and his role he plays in helping others. He's an incredibly consistent commenter, not known to many flights of anger or name-calling. I find him to be very sincere, even though he lives in Los Angeles.

We're all partisans. That's what makes a representative government work.

I really like debating with you (phx) because you're pretty upfront about your partisanship, very even-tempered and you make legitimate points.

borgjess said...

@Synova:
But perhaps... the family understands that this particular bother is a taker.

Some typos can be so very pertinent.

ricpic said...

"You're on your own:" translation: I believe you have the capability to run your own life as you see fit and I honor your autonomy: YOU. ARE. FREE.

Calypso Facto said...

Rand is an interesting read at 17 or 18 mostly because it's a fresh counterpoint to the non-stop socialist BS you've been fed by school and the media to that point.

phx said...

@EMD Thanks.
For the record I didn't mean to imply that I doubted bagoh20 was involved in helping others, through his business or otherwise. What sounded insincere to me was a subtext that others would no longer be able to recieve his help if Obama is reelected. Sounds more like blackmail to me.

But I understand if others hear it differently. I'm happy to argue on other ground.

Crimso said...

"Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion-when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing-when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors-when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull rather than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you-when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice-you may know that your society is doomed." Ayn Rand

Two-dimensional. Yeah, right. Sound like any society you're familiar with?

That's just one of the first of the many passages I highlighted in "Atlas Shrugged." Some of the later ones cut much deeper. You know, into that third dimension.

Her characters ARE caricatures. She didn't want or intend for them to be complicated anti-heroes that make us see both sides of the issue as equally valid. She had an agenda of ideas and she wanted to make them crystal clear. If her writings come off as preachy, it's because she WAS preaching. She openly and plainly stated that her ideas were not workable, precisely because most people are of the mindset of the looter and will never change. And she thought that was a shame, because she realized it was true.

DON'T READ RAND! Watch her interview with Mike Wallace instead.

Thorley Winston said...

I think it’s as likely that Barack Obama has read one of Any Rand’s books as it is that he actually wrote either of his.

Bruce Hayden said...

I find this interesting, coming from someone who really hasn't apparently ever helped anyone with his own two hands. And, he is running against someone who gave maybe 1/3 of his income to charity last year, has helped build a playground with his own two hands, sat at the bedside of a dying kid, writing his will and last testament, rescued a family from drowning on a jet ski, shut down Bain Capital to help find a kid, etc. The list goes on and on. One candidate pats himself on the back for giving away everyone else's money so that he can have million dollar banquets at the White House, and the other spends much of his own money and time personally helping others. And, somehow, we are led to believe that the former is more noble than the latter.

I, like many here, see this as either Obama at that age had weak reading skills, or he truly, even to this day, doesn't understand the philosophy and lessons in Rand's writings.

But, I think that that brings us to one of the basic problems with Obama. Why is it that so many people think that he is so smart? He clearly doesn't understand economics, probably not even at an Econ 101 level. Sure, he was an AA admit to top schools, but does that tell us that he has developed any wisdom along the way?

I think that this all comes back to just more indications about weaknesses in the President's character and intelligence.

Bryan C said...

"He does seem to be going out of his way to fuck with conservatives lately."

Only with the imaginary conservatives living in his head, garage.

roesch/voltaire said...

For me Wittaker Chmbers' 1957 review nailed the problems of Altas: "Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal. In addition, the mind, which finds this one natural to it, shares other characteristics of its type. 1) It consistently mistakes raw force for strength, and the rawer the force, the more reverent the posture of the mind before it. 2) It supposes itself to be the bringer of a final revelation. Therefore, resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final (because, the author would say, so reasonable) can only be willfully wicked."

Crimso said...

Yes, how silly of her to have developed a guiding philosophy that she felt was correct, and then to be so foolish as to stand by it (this is directed at Chambers' second point; his first appears to be a criticism of some other work).

Chambers seemed to think that if Rand could stamp out all dissent of her work, she would. This is the sort of nonsense criticism of Rand that belies a fundamental lack of understanding of her positions. And I afford Chambers no measure of moral authority on Rand's value, his history notwithstanding.

I think the biggest problem with discussing philosophies is the idea that someone follows the teachings of Rand, or Marx, or any other philosopher. The only real Marxist that has ever lived was Marx. Take what you need and leave the rest. Or as the great Frank Herbert once said "I don't want to be anybody's guru. You be your own guru." I see more truth in Rand's works than Marx's, but I don't think she was 100% correct. No one is.

Again, I will point out that (to the best of my knowledge) no one has ever tried using Objectivism as a guiding philosphy for a government. It's fair to say, as an opinion, it would be a miserable failure. But the experiment HAS been done with Marx. I'll leave it to each person to decide for themselves whether the results have been good or bad. My opinion is that the historical record is quite clear. I think Chambers WOULD agree with that.

phx said...

Again, I will point out that (to the best of my knowledge) no one has ever tried using Objectivism as a guiding philosphy for a government. It's fair to say, as an opinion, it would be a miserable failure. But the experiment HAS been done with Marx. I'll leave it to each person to decide for themselves whether the results have been good or bad. My opinion is that the historical record is quite clear. I think Chambers WOULD agree with that.

Thank God our choices aren't only between communism and objectivism.

phx said...

I think it’s as likely that Barack Obama has read one of Any Rand’s books as it is that he actually wrote either of his.

I wonder what your actual reasons are for believing that. Or if you just like to blow smoke.

Crimso said...

"Thank God our choices aren't only between communism and objectivism."

Very cold comfort for the subjects of the former.

rcommal said...

Among the things I didn't post with reference to Ayn Rand had to do with her attitudes with regard to birth control and, yes, also abortion (most specifically in earliest trimester, though she made distinctions, something often overlooked).

I'm left with--well, what I've always been left with, regarding so-called Rand readers/admirers & etc.

And here it is: I mostly think they mostly haven't read her, either not extensively or not recently, or one of those two things, or neither. It strikes me that there are a lot of people who primarily think of [their brief and young] reading of Ayn Rand in terms of nostalgia, as a recollection of their younger, perhaps salad days. Go head and excoriate me if you must, fellow Althousers, but IMO Paul Ryan falls into categories embodied by each and both of my previous two sentences, with regard to Ayn Rand.

There it is. *Shrug*

Rusty said...

oesch/voltaire said...
For me Wittaker Chmbers' 1957 review nailed the problems of Altas: "Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal. In addition, the mind, which finds this one natural to it, shares other characteristics of its type. 1) It consistently mistakes raw force for strength, and the rawer the force, the more reverent the posture of the mind before it. 2) It supposes itself to be the bringer of a final revelation. Therefore, resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final (because, the author would say, so reasonable) can only be willfully wicked."


Reads like a progressive manifesto, doesn't it?

phx said...

"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."

Kung Fu Monkey

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rcommal said...

Rusty: Whitaker Chambers was right, especially with regard to #2 (but also in terms of #1). This is why, were you to look for my comments in this thread, I recommended that people interested in Ayn Rand first read "We The Living" and "Anthem." I do think there are some quite valuable things to be gained by reading "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged," but I think that context, perspective, temperance and skepticism are important skills (even counterbalances!) to bring to the table while reading them.

rcommal said...

Also--and this one is for phx--it's not as if I haven't seen people stunted by an obsession with the "Lord of Rings" and such early acting out of the addiction as gaming as "Dungeons and Dragons." Yes, I'm that old. No, I don't think it's all that widespread of an acting out of addiction. OTOH, I don't think the acting out of an obsession with Ayn Rand is all that widespread, either.

I question all of the premises that are supposedly relevant... .