Ayn Rand.

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by princealfie, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #1
    Anyone else here an Ayn Rand fan? I don't necessarily agree with everything she wrote but I find her novels very interesting and uplifting in an intellectual sort of way.
     
  2. randgalt macrumors newbie

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  3. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #3
    I don't agree with what she wrote, and I think she is a terrible author to add to that. She should have just done non-fiction and opinion pieces. Fiction doesn't suit her well.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayn_Rand#Literary_criticism

    That section sums up my feelings about her writing.

    Atlas Shrugged was probably the most painful read of my life.
     
  4. princealfie thread starter macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #4
    Did you get bored of it?
     
  5. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #5
    I can't speak for it5five, but I certainly did. It started out well, with a whole society and system of thought that was well planned out but then she just beat you over the head with her message. The kicker was the 80538-frickin' page speech near the end. She might as well of just repeated " free market good, government bad" for all 80 pages. Yeesh.

    My real problem though was that I didn't believe her. The free market can' t solve everything. There are some things it's just not suited for. For example, imagine letting the free market electrify the nationin the 30's. If it went anything like the municiple wifi fight is now, some people would still be heating their homes with coal.
     
  6. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #6
    She's one of my favorite authors. Atlas Shrugged could have done with less of the long speeches, but it is a fantastic read anyway. Fountainhead is still my favorite though.

    Those familiar with my posts already knew that I agree with her particular brand of epistomology.
     
  7. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #7
    No surprise there.
     
  8. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    I though it was hilarious, possibly the most unintentionally funny comic novel ever written.
     
  9. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #9
    Her writing reminds me of Stephen King's, lots of flash, no substance.

    I think her real audience is discontented teens.
     
  10. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #10
    Officer Barbrady summed up my feelings about Rand's writing in the "Chickenlover" episode of South Park.
     
  11. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #11
    I am happy to not have encountered "The Fountainhead" when I was an impressionable youth. The entire thrust of Rand's "philosophy" seems to be that a person can legitimately live their entire life by nurturing the mentality and emotional maturity of your average 16-year-old.
     
  12. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #12
    never heard of her ... which is, of course, a criteria for importance ;)
     
  13. princealfie thread starter macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #13
    Wow, have you heard of Elfriede Jelinek? :) Now that's what I'm talking about :D
     
  14. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

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    #14
    Something I read referred to her as embodying the old racist caricature of the miserly Jew.

    What irritates me the most is that she referred to Libertarians as people who stole her ideas "with the teeth ripped out" or words to that effect, but of course there were free market minarchists long before her. Similarly, people like Ludwig von Mises and Milton Friedman have expressed guarded praise for her work, noting its importance as individualist literature but disdainful of its unscientific thought and abrasive delivery. Which reminds me of my central criticism of both Libertarians and Objectivists -- namely, that they seem concerned with money than they are with freedom, and the social programs that they argue against so vehemently are a minor expense compared to the military, transportation, and public safety infrastructures that even most Objectivists and Libertarians assert cannot be dispensed with.

    Her philosophy is rather short-sighted, too, using the means to justify the end ("nevermind if removing the social safety net would mean increased poverty and thus increased crime, violence, costs of law enforcement and criminal detention, etc! WE MUST DO IT!"). Nevermind all of her critiques of Kant, which are based on a rather imperfect understanding, and her strange relationship with Nietzsche. Likewise, her criticisms of Marx seem like they were deliberately misconstrued (an example: "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" doesn't mean, as Rand says, that you can just take a three year vacation because you "need" to -- it means that there are provisions for public healthcare, public education, and other building blocks of an egalitarian society).

    And the cultlike worship surrounding her creeps me out. It's very little different from a personality cult, which hints at the creeping fascism hinted at by much of her work, according to a few writers throughout the years.

    Rand is a shining symbol of her times -- of alienation, of an inability to manage intimacy, and of prioritizing instant gratification and short-term prosperity over solid and sustainable society. Her economic philosophy is lived to the letter in countries like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, where the richest demi-percent thrive in luxury while the nation's sole resource is depleted; anyone curious as to the motives for unrest there need only look at the widescale poverty that will remain virtually unscathed there in the coming decades due to a lack of diversification and the construction of a sound economic base.

    "Hey, why the long face? I am doing great!"
     
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #15
    A very nice critique of Rand. She also called Libertarians "the hippies of the Right," which is a pretty funny line coming from someone who so notoriously lacked a sense of humor. Rand really was a product of the post-war era. Her ideas took hold with a certain audience who were looking for something new, along with modernism and positivism.

    Today I think she is most adored by people who are seeking to justify self-centered behavior, including unbounded greed, lack of social conscience, and downright cruelty. One of the most strange and amusing concepts she advanced was the idea that no person can do legitimate harm to another if the harm isn't physical. (Not that her fictional characters weren't above physical abuse.) Which is to say, if I beat you up and steal your wallet, that is immoral, but if I trick you out of it, that only proves that my mind is better than yours and I'm more deserving. Say what you will, it's the perfect geek philosophy.
     
  16. MarkCollette macrumors 68000

    MarkCollette

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    #16
    Why would rich ruling elite want to spread the wealth? That would only lead to a loss of economic and political power.
     
  17. Bogie macrumors regular

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  18. macmama macrumors regular

    macmama

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    #18
    Oh, sigh. This brings up all kinds of weird memories.

    I took a class as an undergraduate that revolved heavily around Atlas Shrugged as the centerpiece for the readings (though we read lots of other work, including the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Goethe, Shelley, etc.). I was 19 at the time, and went through the "crazy objectivist phase" that I now understand isn't all that uncommon amongst college students. I was even taken under the wing of one of Rand's own proteges, a professor at my place of learning (this was also Rand's own style, to engage young people on a personal level. She was well known to host groups of them for discussions).

    Long story short, a few things knocked me out of my Randian reverie: one was her ghastly prose, another her stance on the arts (which diverged wildly from my own), and oddly enough, the positively gross sex scenes in AS made me think twice. Also, she was a noted as finding homosexuality repulsive– yet another red flag. I grew out of it in time, and try not to beat myself up too much now for sort of falling prey to her propagandist tactics as a young person.

    I will give her this: she created a haunting universe in AS rather successfully. Reminds me of the images in the film The Hudsucker Proxy: cartoonish, larger than life images, yet much of it in shades of grey. Memorable stuff.
     
  19. ibook30 macrumors 6502a

    ibook30

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    #19
    That was what I tuned into also - her aesthetic view - particularly when a character in one of her novels (The Fountainhead - I think) pitched a beautiful statue down the stairs- because it was too beautiful to share... ugh.

    I enjoyed the read - but resented the teenage view.
     
  20. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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    #20
    I am impressed!
     
  21. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #21
    Among her strange opinions about the arts, she declared that photography could not be an art form.
     
  22. randgalt macrumors newbie

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    #22
    it5five: Let's agree to disagree

    Thanatoast: I suggest you review your history.

    Swarmlord: Someone who knows what philosophy is ;)

    IJ Reilly: I am 42.

    kalisphoenix: a) Watch your language please. b) About 5% of GDP is spent on defense, 8% on entitlements. c) You don't understand her philosophy at all.
     
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #23
    And the relevance of your age is?

    I think he understands it very well indeed.
     
  24. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #24
    Would you be so kind as to enlighten us poor lost souls?
     
  25. randgalt macrumors newbie

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    #25
    "I think her real audience is discontented teens."
    I'm neither a teenager nor discontented.

    Oh yeah? Prove that you understand her philosophy then and then we can accept your affirmation.
     

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