Ayn Rand

Before you ask: no, I do not plan on seeing Atlas Shrugged, Part 1. I have better things to do with my time and money. I had a college professor who was an Ayn Rand disciple, and for a time I had a subscription to a “libertarian” magazine. That is about as much exposure to Randian bullshit – excuse me, “objectivism” – as any one person should have to suffer through in a lifetime.

It never ceases to amaze me that people can actually take Rand seriously. Her hero was a serial killer. She collected Social Security and Medicare benefits, while denouncing other people for doing the same. Her disciple, Alan Greenspan, helped wreak the U.S. economy. I guess this is what it takes to be considered a great thinker.

About that Ayn Rand disciple professor. Years ago I took classes at an underfunded state university in Massachusetts. One of the courses I took was in environmental science. The instructor was this fat, bald, baby-faced man. When he talked, he sometimes looked like an infant angrily working its mouth. I couldn’t help finding this comical. I would sit in the back of the class holding my hand over my mouth, but this didn’t fool him. One day, after class, he confronted me and angrily demanded to know what I thought was so funny. I pretended not to know what he was talking about, and I managed to change the subject by asking a question about solar energy. Even at that moment, I had to clench my jaw to keep from smiling.

Any way, one day this professor read to the class this long, mind-numbing rant by Ayn Rand, the upshot of which was that environmentalists are evil people who want to take away our electric toothbrushes. (Those fiends!) He also informed us that critics regard Atlas Shrugged as a great work of literature, although he didn’t say whether he had read it himself. On other occasions, this guy would urge the students to get into as much debt as they possibly could. He had this idea that if people got into huge amounts of debt and then defaulted on their loans, it would bring about the collapse of our mixed economy, thereby making possible the creation of a free market utopia.

Most of the students at this school came from working class or lower middle class backgrounds. Over the years I’ve sometimes wondered how many of them ruined their lives because they listened to this guy’s advice. Of course, Rand would have said that he was merely eliminating “inferior types”.

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4 Responses to “Ayn Rand”

  1. Ayn Rand (via The Spanish Prisoner) « The Deliberate Observer Says:

    […] Before you ask: no, I do not plan on seeing Atlas Shrugged, Part 1. I have better things to do with my time and money. I had a college professor who was an Ayn Rand disciple, and for a time I had a subscription to a "libertarian" magazine. That is about as much exposure to Randian bullshit – excuse me, "objectivism" – as any one person should have to suffer through in a lifetime. It never ceases to amaze me that people can actually take Rand seri … Read More […]

  2. Justin Lee Says:

    He had this idea that if people got into huge amounts of debt and then defaulted on their loans, it would bring about the collapse of our mixed economy, thereby making possible the creation of a free market utopia.

    That sounds like a horrible plan. If anything, corporate lobbyists would more likely push to alter bankruptcy law, as happened a few years ago.

    It never ceases to amaze me that people can actually take Rand seriously. Her hero was a serial killer.

    Don’t you think it is stretch to call Hickman a hero of Rand? In the passages she wrote privately about Hickman for research for her novels, she made it explicitly clear that she did not admire his acts of murder, only his forthrightness in the face of public criticism. That may be morose, but given the context it would hard call it an intellectually condemnable offense.

    She collected Social Security and Medicare benefits, while denouncing other people for doing the same.

    I don’t recall here ever denouncing other people for collecting welfare benefits. In fact, she said:

    It is obvious, in such cases, that a man receives his own money which was taken from him by force, directly and specifically, without his consent, against his own choice. Those who advocated such laws are morally guilty, since they assumed the “right” to force employers and unwilling co-workers. But the victims, who opposed such laws, have a clear right to any refund of their own money—and they would not advance the cause of freedom if they left their money, unclaimed, for the benefit of the welfare-state administration.

    • The Spanish Prisoner Says:

      She admired the “forthrightness” of a brutal murderer. That strikes me as weird.

      Perhaps I was wrong in saying that she denounced people. However, she did oppose government programs in general. And many of her admirers want to either gut Medicare and Social Security, or get rid of them altogether.

  3. froivinber Says:

    http://fvdb.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/the-left-smears-ayn-rand/

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