BBC Article on Ayn Rand

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Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 10:44am
tmosley
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Rand was a good start, but it

Rand was a good start, but it is time to move past her. She was a flawed human being with a good idea, an idea which expressed itself purely in Atlas Shrugged, one which can be quickly and easily expressed, without 1200 pages of story, or a three hour long radio address.

Indeed, the ultimate ideal is present in nearly all of literature in the behavior of heroes, and in the actions which secure the loyalty of soldiers and the citizenry. That is simply: do not initiate aggression, but do not hesitate to to turn aside aggression with force.

The standard archetype of the hero has a person who lives a normal life until confronted with aggression by some other party. The hero will process this in a varying amount of time (perhaps instantly, as in superhero comics, perhaps over the course of decades, as in The Count of Monte Cristo), overcoming the obstacles created by the antagonist's aggression until revenge/justice is served.

Where Rand stands out is that she recognized that concepts can be enemies. Concepts like incompetence, ignorance, and most of all, the State (witness the power people granted to anyone they thought was from Washington in Atlas Shrugged). This is an important advancement. Superman never fought the US government before Atlas Shrugged. Indeed, in the US, the government was almost universally thought of as a force for good to the extent that the government WAS good (ie things that the government does are by definition good, where enemies of the government are by definition evil). With this concept placed at the forefront, we can see the world much more clearly.

Black loves the concept of the grey, because it allows it to masquerade as something like white. But the fact is that the world IS black and white. You either initiate force, or you don't. The concept of grey is an illusion created inside your head to justify evil because of some good, real or imagined. People think that there is such a thing as grey because they have accepted evil as good. The most obvious example of this is the concept of "government". Government is by definition an institution of aggression. "It" has a monopoly on the use of physical force in every incarnation I have ever seen. I say "it", but government isn't really a thing, but rather a concept, specifically a concept where some people have the right to hurt and kill other people, not only that, but they get to steal money from them, or land, and all manner of other violations of God's Commandments. See the government depicted in Braveheart for other violations that we are less familiar with (primae nocte).

Yes, governments require people to see grey for them to exist, and now governments have taken over the entire world, more or less, and as such, the world is seen as grey. But perception is not reality. The reality is that the world is black and white, and we accept evil because it is convenient to pretend that evil is good.

The alternative seems too scary to contemplate, despite the fact that it already largely exists, and could easily exist without the deadly parasite of institutional violence/threats of violence. Really, how many times a day does the government intervene on your behalf? Has it ever done so once in your life? Perhaps you have been protected from some killer or mugger, but the reality is that police don't stop such people. At best they catch them afterwards, a job much more suited to private detectives (ie people who are accountable and non-unionized==lazy worthless heaps). Perhaps you thank them for the rules of traffic control. But such rules apply equally to toll roads, so why wouldn't they apply to private road systems (generally paid for by commercial traffic, which is what pays for roads today, with cheap or free use for small vehicles used by private citizens). Perhaps you think the government is needed to prevent invasion? This is probably the smallest evil among the many evils of government, the one easiest to justify as a good. Of course, to make it a good, we need only look to our own past, and the models of other nations. Militias, which are voluntary organizations, are very bad at fighting aggressive wars, but are nearly invincible when it comes to defense (when armed with rifles--sniping is the most effective use of force on an invading or occupying army currently known). Hitler knew this, which is why he never invaded Switzerland. Napoleon didn't know this, which is why he was never able to hold Spain. Yamamoto knew this, which is why he pointed out the utter folly of an invasion of the mainland US. Many others know this, which is why to install and perpetuate their totalitarian states, they first make guns illegal.

So accepting this widely understood concept as being real, we can see that voluntary organizations can perform the basic task of preventing/resisting foreign invasion. Add on top of that the use of private security firms or social insurance companies (something I have described in great detail before, but can't seem to find with a Google search), which could employ merchant marines to protect trade routes, a powerful coast guard to prevent amphibious landings by hostile forces/dumping by foreign states (a problem for stateless societies), and even nuclear submarines for a nuclear deterrent. That is the extent of the greatest "stretch" of anarchocapitalism. That is a world that is almost exactly the same as today, just with a couple more private institutions, and a LOT fewer government institutions. More capital is accumulated, and everyone gets richer.

That said, anything between here and there is a step in the right direction, even if people should get weary of the journey, resting along the way, or even permanently settling for minarchy would be "good enough". Yes, I am willing to accept some black in the world as a matter of practicality. I am a human after all.

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 10:54am beeb
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Ayn Rand was a grossly immoral individual

As one reviewer noted, "Atlas Shrugged is primary evidence of how a really bad piece of "literature" can be a major influence in a diseased culture."

She was a in fact a big fan of the serial killer William Edward Hickman.

https://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2009/11/how_ayn_rand_became_an_american_icon.html

The perverse allure of a damaged woman.

“…She meant it. Her diaries from that time, while she worked as a receptionist and an extra, lay out the Nietzschean mentality that underpins all her later writings. The newspapers were filled for months with stories about serial killer called William Hickman, who kidnapped a 12-year-old girl called Marion Parker from her junior high school, raped her, and dismembered her body, which he sent mockingly to the police in pieces. Rand wrote great stretches of praise for him, saying he represented “the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul. … Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should.” She called him “a brilliant, unusual, exceptional boy,” shimmering with “immense, explicit egotism.” Rand had only one regret: “A strong man can eventually trample society under its feet. That boy [Hickman] was not strong enough.”…”

Auther Michael Prescott, on the "brilliant.... execptional" young man Ayn Rand admired.

https://michaelprescott.freeservers.com/romancing-the-stone-cold.html

In December of 1927, Hickman, nineteen years old, showed up at a Los Angeles public school and managed to get custody of a twelve-year-old girl, Marian (sometimes Marion) Parker. He was able to convince Marian's teacher that the girl's father, a well-known banker, had been seriously injured in a car accident and that the girl had to go to the hospital immediately. The story was a lie. Hickman disappeared with Marian, and over the next few days Mr. and Mrs. Parker received a series of ransom notes. The notes were cruel and taunting and were sometimes signed "Death" or "Fate." The sum of $1,500 was demanded for the child's safe release. (Hickman needed this sum, he later claimed, because he wanted to go to Bible college!) The father raised the payment in gold certificates and delivered it to Hickman. As told by the article "Fate, Death and the Fox" in crimelibrary.com,

At the rendezvous, Mr. Parker handed over the money to a young man who was waiting for him in a parked car. When Mr. Parker paid the ransom, he could see his daughter, Marion, sitting in the passenger seat next to the suspect. As soon as the money was exchanged, the suspect drove off with the victim still in the car. At the end of the street, Marion's corpse was dumped onto the pavement. She was dead. Her legs had been chopped off and her eyes had been wired open to appear as if she was still alive. Her internal organs had been cut out and pieces of her body were later found strewn all over the Los Angeles area.

Quite a hero, eh? One might question whether Hickman had "a wonderful, free, light consciousness," but surely he did have "no organ for understanding ... the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people."

The mutilations Hickman inflicted on little Marian were worse than reported in the excerpt above. He cut the girl's body in half, and severed her hands (or arms, depending on the source). He drained her torso of blood and stuffed it with bath towels. There were persistent rumors that he molested the girl before killing her, though this claim was officially denied. Overall, the crime is somewhat reminiscent of the 1947 Black Dahlia case, one of the most gruesome homicides in L.A. history.

But Hickman's heroism doesn't end there. He heroically amscrayed to the small town of Echo, Oregon, where he heroically holed up, no doubt believing he had perpetrated the perfect crime. Sadly for him, fingerprints he'd left on one of the ransom notes matched prints on file from his previous conviction for forgery. With his face on Wanted posters everywhere, Hickman was quickly tracked down and arrested. The article continues:

He was conveyed back to Los Angeles where he promptly confessed to another murder he committed during a drug store hold-up. Eventually, Hickman confessed to a dozen armed robberies. 'This is going to get interesting before it's over,' he told investigators. 'Marion and I were good friends,' he said, 'and we really had a good time when we were together and I really liked her. I'm sorry that she was killed.' Hickman never said why he had killed the girl and cut off her legs.

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 11:00am
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total bullshit/complete distortion

NOT anything whatsoever she wrote - this is from a friend who gave some details on a blog:

I am not suprised to see the Rand/Hickman journal entries being brought out as a weapon against Rand's resurgence; it just shows how desperate the Left is right now. There's a certain irony here, too, involving hypocrisy on the Left's part. InJournals of Ayn Rand, Rand is presented as clearly drawing the line at where the "admiration" end (with the degeneracy and murders). Contrast that with Rand's criticism of the Left's "admiration" for the very same subject, not for the virtues, but FOR the degeneracy. From The Romantic Manifesto:

"...to escape from guilt and arouse pity, one has to portray man as impotent and innately loathsome. Hence the competition among modern artists to find every lower levels of depravity and even higher degrees of mawkishness–a competition to show the public out of its wits and jerks its tears. Hence the frantic search for misery, the descent from compassionate studies of alcoholism and sexual perversion to dope, incest, psychosis, murder, cannabalism.

"To illustrate the moral implications of this trend–the fact that pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent–I submit an enthusiastic review that commends a current movie for arousing compassion for kidnappers. 'One's attention and, indeed, one's anxiety is centered more upon them than upon the kidnapped youngster,' states the review. And: 'As a matter of fact, the motivation is not so clearly defined that it bears analysis or criticism on psychological grounds. But it is sufficiently established to compel our anguished sympathy for the two incredible kidnappers.' (The New York Times, November 6, 1964.)" –"Bootleg Romanticism"

The movie, btw, is A Seance on a Wet Afternoon, and here is the review. But it's interesting to read this in relation to her Hickman comments. But with the left, it's more of a "See? Rand sympathized with psycho-killers, too! She's no better than the rest of us!" Which would be totally wrong, contexts dropped and smashed all over the floor. Rand romanticized and extracted the better implications, while the New York Times review shows her enemy's true motivations.
Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 11:06am
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so in any case I do know Objectivism

If you have any factual questions regarding the philosophy's stance on things, let me know. Griego don't bother.

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 11:17am
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Great

A conversation about something I actually know something about. I've read Atlas Shrugged. Good book, highly recommended. Watched the movie "Part I" and excited about "Part II" coming out soon. I've also read The Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikoff. Another good book. I'll have to dive into all of the comments so far to get up to speed, but very interested to hear everyone's opinions on Ayn Rand and her philosophies/ideas.

I don't necessarily agree with everything she's about. But when her ideas are applied to economics, they seem to work very well. That's the part I really like about her philosophy, along with the individualism she conveys. The rest is too "impersonal" I guess I would call it, at least for my taste. I am definitely not one to say that all of one's life work needs to be about economic growth and the pursuit of the individual's passions. To me, that's what I've gathered from Atlas Shrugged and The Ominous Parallels. It's a great anti-thesis philosophy to go head to head against the communist/totalitarian authority ideals though.

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 11:29am OrangeAlert
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Whittaker Chambers - "a remarkably silly book"

On Whittaker Chambers...

"In 1952, Chambers's book Witness was published to widespread acclaim. The book was a combination of autobiography and a warning about the dangers of Communism. Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. called it one of the greatest of all American autobiographies, and Ronald Reagan credited the book as the inspiration behind his conversion from a New Deal Democrat to a conservative Republican."

Below is an excerpt of Whittaker Chambers' review of Atlas Shrugged, From the Dec. 28, 1957, issue of National Review.

https://www.nationalreview.com/articles/222482/big-sister-watching-you/flashback?pg=1

"The news about this book seems to me to be that any ordinarily sensible head could possibly take it seriously, and that, apparently, a good many do. Somebody has called it: “Excruciatingly awful.” I find it a remarkably silly book. It is certainly a bumptious one. Its story is preposterous.......

"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 tone 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. There are ways of dealing with such wickedness, and, in fact, right reason itself enjoins them. From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: “To a gas chamber — go!” The same inflexibly self-righteous stance results, too (in the total absence of any saving humor), in odd extravagances of inflection and gesture — that Dollar Sign, for example. At first, we try to tell ourselves that these are just lapses, that this mind has, somehow, mislaid the discriminating knack that most of us pray will warn us in time of the difference between what is effective and firm, and what is wildly grotesque and excessive. Soon we suspect something worse. We suspect that this mind finds, precisely in extravagance, some exalting merit; feels a surging release of power and passion precisely in smashing up the house. A tornado might feel this way, or Carrie Nation.....

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 11:53am
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tmosley,Vypuero:

Nice!

beeb,

I'll get back later.

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 11:53am
tmosley
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Atlas Shrugged NEEDED and

Atlas Shrugged NEEDED and NEEDS to be shrill, for the same reason air raid sirens must be shrill. Perhaps in those times, people heard the shrillness and were turned off by it, as we would be if said sirens went off with no air raid, or even a war. But today, the siren is both needed and well appreciated by those who choose to hear it.

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 12:03pm
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Atlas Shrugged Audio Book/ John Galt's Speech

Seems topical...

Video unavailable

An epic lack of foresight, accuracy and rationale... https://www.tfmetalsreport.com/comment/170246#comment-170246

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 12:24pm Grigeo
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Whittaker Chambers - brilliant insight into

Whittaker Chambers - brilliant insight into the mind of the author (Alisa Rosenbaum)

Written in 1957

"Its dogmatism is without appeal..... 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."

Barbara Bamberger Scott writing on Ayn Rand:

“…Reacting poorly to the world’s failure to fall at her feet, and perhaps affected mentally by years of ingesting large numbers of dexadrine pills, Rand gradually fashioned herself into the legend she thought she deserved to be. Reading the book, I found myself thinking she was, by turns, either a high-functioning autistic, a psychotic, or a self-degraded drug addict, despite her genius and her occasional acts of kindness. She vilified nearly all of her early supporters (anyone who might have remembered her when she was not famous), dropping them in favor of a coterie of young admirers (who some would call sycophants). She never thanked anyone. She handily forgot her own missteps and recalled only her glory moments. Fiercely anti-communistic, she paradoxically played the role of a petty Stalin at the center of a clutch of young worshippers, staging psychologically destructive purges and lengthy show trials of those she identified as disloyal….”

Allen Barra on Ayn Rand:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2009/11/27/capitalisms-wicked-witch.html

Four decades later, the cult of personality that created Rand’s movement is still strong, but it’s unlikely to survive two new biographies: Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller and Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns. Heller is a better biographer, and Burns better on Rand’s influence on the right wing’s politics and economics. But they agree more than they disagree. If you read both books back to back, you have a 700-page portrait of a humorless, puritanical didact who was contemptuous of, among many other things, homosexuals, American Indians (arguing that Europeans had a right to take their land because the natives did not recognize “individual rights”), Medicare, family values, beatniks, hippies, and libertarians, whom she regularly referred to as “scum,” “intellectual cranks,” and “worse than anything the New Left has proposed.”....

"By the late 1950s, Objectivism, at least in her inner circle, meant “blind obeisance” to Rand, and no one was more faithful than Nathaniel Branden. There were show trials—Heller calls them “kangaroo courts”—where those who strayed from the path were humiliated in front of their peers for heresy. “Defendants who promptly confessed their guilt and promised to work harder at living Objectivist principles were let back into the fold.”

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 2:30pm
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Whittaker

LOVED Lenin - so, you can see what kind of person he was. A pure hit piece. Care to address any actual concepts or ideas or just drive by ad hominem attacks? Your philosophy is? What?

Everything I felt was over the top when I read it in the early 0's has since proven to be coming true.

Tue, Aug 21, 2012 - 5:43pm Vypuero
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Whittaker Chambers

"LOVED Lenin - so, you can see what kind of person he was."

I guess you missed that whole part about his rejecting communism. Considering his place in history, I don't know how that is even possible.

Whittaker - “In 1937, I began, like Lazarus, the impossible return.” William F. Buckley called Whittaker "the most important American defector from Communism." In 1984, President Ronald Reagan posthumously awarded Chambers the Presidential Medal of Freedom, for his contribution to "the century's epic struggle between freedom and totalitarianism."

He left largely because he was appalled by the crimes of the communists:

Whittaker - “Yet there is one experience which most sincere ex-Communists share, whether or not they go only part way to the end of the question it poses. The daughter of a former German diplomat in Moscow was trying to explain to me why her father, who, as an enlightened modern man, had been extremely pro-Communist, had become an implacable anti-Communist. It was hard for her because, as an enlightened modern girl, she shared the Communist vision without being a Communist. But she loved her father and the irrationality of his defection embarrassed her. 'He was immensely pro-Soviet,' she said,' and then -- you will laugh at me -- but you must not laugh at my father -- and then -- one night -- in Moscow -- he heard screams. That's all. Simply one night he heard screams.'

Which can be contrasted with Ayn Rand:

We the Living (1936), her heroine—a crude proxy for Rand herself—says to a Bolshevik: "I loathe your ideals. I admire your methods. If one believes one's right, one shouldn't wait to convince millions of fools, one might just as well force them."

Wed, Aug 22, 2012 - 12:27am
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This thread seems to be winding down.

Hi folks,

just thought I would check in again to see if anything is new.

Guess not.

While I was on YouTube looking at different videos relating to this particular topic,

I came across a movie called Thrive, which I had heard a lot about, and had always wanted to see.

It talks of all of the topics that have been discussed in the above thread,

it also talks about the end of the Keynesian experiment,

all whole bunch of conspiracy theories, which are supposedly proven true,

but most importantly,

it offers solutions.

The link is here :

(Official Movie) THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take?

One important distinction that I learned about Ayn Rand, is that she was an atheist.

I am not.

Although for some of the reasons stated in earlier posts, I am not affiliated with any particular religion,

I can say with absolute certainty that there is a God.

Or, if you will, the universe is intelligent.

I think that is an important distinction that caused some problems for Ms. Rand.

The I am quite tired now, but when I get a chance I may start a new thread called Thrive, and I hope to see some of you there.

In the meantime,

best wishes,

and good night.

Mr. Fix.

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
Wed, Aug 22, 2012 - 6:31pm Mr. Fix
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Removed comment

Removed comment.

Fri, Aug 24, 2012 - 10:37am Anonymous
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Interesting stuff – thanks

Interesting stuff – thanks for the comments.

I can understand the appeal of Rand to North Americans – the whole romantic ideal of the frontiersman alone against Nature etc etc. How self-reliance and antipathy towards government interference is so deep-rooted.

However Vypuero’s comment stands out, “The European social welfare net is theft, pure and simple, since that money is stolen, by force, from the productive, and given to the unproductive. Examples of abuse and permanent dependency abound. It is not charity, it is not compassion, it is evil.”

That sums up my problem with Rand. It’s a mindset designed for economic machines not for human beings. Life is not just about dollar bills – there is society, community, empathy and compassion.

Thanks for helping me to the conclusion that I despise Rand's thinking.....

Mon, Oct 8, 2012 - 11:31pm
Mr. Fix
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Just a thought...

I find it truly amazing, with all of the good discussion on this thread, that there are those that still believe that collectivism is the only moral choice. This thread more than any other has pointed out to me, that we are in a battle of opposing philosophies, and both sides believe that they are on the side of good, and both sides believe that they are opposing evil. The fact that only one of the sides is actually sustainable, seems to be irrelevant to those on the side that is by every objective measure completely unsustainable. Truly amazing.

"When the student is ready, the teacher will appear."
Thu, Oct 11, 2012 - 3:32pm Anonymous
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peckerwood wrote:i said my

peckerwood wrote:

i said my piece. no sense in beating a dead horse. i still disagree with the black and whiteys :-), but that may just be a perspective thing. for example, i am OK with the cliche "stealing is stealing", but that does not mean that i think a guy stealing a loaf of bread to feed his hungry family is in the same league as the wall street bankers.

if you do start a new thread, let me know so i don't miss it.

i'm starting to like my silver again. see ya in hell, Blythe :-)

Such problems can be dealt with by villifying the bankers, denying them definitions as human and now the league is quite different. I think someone earlier pointed that out by saying parasites aren't human, or words to that effect.

Whoever controls the definition will be in control of human rights. No different than today where I think the guy stealing the bread gets arrested and the guys on wall street...well... you know.

I think that gray comes about because as individuals we each have a different definition of black (or white, for that matter). It makes sense therefore that the objectivists can't accept gray as they stand against collectivism.

Explaining the far right to the far left as you pointed out a page or more ago is beyond difficult. I think this illustrates how one individual's black is not the same as the next's.

Swing trade indexed ETFs. Long physical gold, silver, and 1 miner.