Ayn Rand II, Getting Serious Now
I didn’t find the time last night to finish the dedicated post I was writing, having a life does sometimes interfere with blogging. I know, I should be ashamed of myself, what kind of blogger has a life? Although apparently the fact that I don’t think Ayn Rand is second only to Jesus means I not only don’t have a life, I’m not even entitled to have an opinion about Ayn Rand. Fortunately as I understand objectivism, I don’t need to give a rat’s ass about what other people think unless needed to attain my goals in life. So moving right along, this point is a quick off-the-cuff response to some of the points raised in my last post. I should note that I deliberately took a middle of the road stance on Ayn Rand, because I figured that would draw out comments from both sides of the aisle. And no doubt the post succeeded as intended in that regard. Moving right along, in no particular order, my responses to some of the issues raised in the comments to the last post.
The USA a nanny state? Well, unless you’re a Wall Street Banker, Oil industry CEO, or weapons manufacturer, the USA is not a nanny state, it’s a die cold, hungry, and sick in the street state. Compared to every other industrialized state, we spend a pittance on caring for the sick and the poor. The idea that welfare queens and the like are sucking the country dry is propaganda from the rich. The last three decades has seen the largest deregulation and the largest upwards transfer of wealth in history in the USA, this is the opposite of a nanny state. Blaming the poor and the sick for our problems, well, maybe that is what objectivism preaches, some certainly would claim that. Objectivism may promote self-reliance, I have no problem with that, but it’s the elite that need to become self-reliant, they are the parasites now, not the poor.
Second most influential book after the Bible? Well, the Bible was the book that Europe used to justify the conquest, enslavement, and genocide of the rest of the world. Other influential books in history include Mein Kampf, The Little Red Book, and The Communist Manifesto. Saying that Atlas Shrugged is the second most influential book in history isn’t saying much. I’m curious as to who it influenced and what they did, then maybe it being an influential book counts for something.
I damned Ayn Rand with faint praise, I did not “talk shit” about her. I may though, I wasn’t terribly impressed with some of the comments defending her. Although this one proved one point in spades:
From someone who read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ decades ago you decide to talk shit about something people take VERY SERIOUSLY. Read ‘The Fountainhead’ or ‘We the Living’… Unlike YOUR writing (as entertaining as it can be) Ayn Rand wrote from real experience– oppression in Soviet Russia, moving to the United States and witnessing all of the potential and evil of Capitalism, socialism, and altruism. You can disagree with her ideas, but it would be appropriate if you knew about what you are critical of. By the way, Atlas Shrugged has been called the 2nd most influential book after the Bible…
One of the best benchmarks that a ideology has achieved cult status is that followers of the ideology are absolutely convinced that they have the answer, and can brook no criticism of their ideology. My criticism of Ayn Rand was tepid at best, and I took care not to attack followers of her ideology, and I straight out admitted that my understanding of her philosophy was superficial. How, exactly, is that offensive? It’s my blog and I will express my opinions on any topic I please. If the gentle reader doesn’t like said opinions, by all means present me with rational agreements as to why I am wrong. If the gentle reader wants to castigate me for simply expressing said opinions, they aren’t helping their case. This comment makes me seriously consider the possibility that Objectivism is a cult, was that the commenter’s intent? Damned if I know, no actual arguments were made in the comment.
I did not get that Objectivism preaches selfishness as the highest form of virtue. It preaches enlightened self interest, but it’s for the individual to determine what that interest is. While Ayn Rand’s philosophies have most certainly been used by some to justify sociopath class selfishness at the expense of everyone else, so have numerous other philosophies.
And that’s that. I’d say no doubt this post will also inspire some comments, but I’ve been a remarkably poor predictor of that so I don’t know. I will close with one final observation. One thing I have gotten from Ayn Rand is the realization that this blog is my calling and how I am trying to make the world a better place, and I don’t need to give a fig about anyone who would discourage me. A blogger for peace, reason, sanity, anti-war, and anti-cultism … deal with it. And lastly and maybe most importantly, humour. Laugh with me, laugh at me, so long as people are laughing there’s hope for the species.
(The above image is by the author, all rights reserved. Credit and copyright: Doug Stych © 2012. That’s Lord SnowBee. He also has many strong opinions about life, which he expresses loudly and regularly. I’ll post a You-Tube video some day. What does this image have to do with the topic of the blog? Good question.)