Ayn Rand Day 2018 is on Friday, February 2, 2018: Wasn't Ayn Rand a Social Climber?
Friday, February 2, 2018 is Ayn Rand Day 2018. Curious about Ayn Rand? A Christian view of Rand's works Is there value to be found?
ayn rand was a total flake who lived in a fantasy world that had nothing to do with how the real world actually works...
from an answer posted by a fellow named Mark T. reprinted with his permission:
Sorry to say but her ideas and ideals are very very dated. Rather like looking at 1920's science fiction, presuming there would be robots and flying cars and colonies on Mars by 1970, and we'd all be using atomic energy cars.
And then reality sets in.
Ms. Rand's views - to my mind were fundamentally flawed in two ways.
1. She equated the great "capitalists" in a stroke with great inventors. Which is her primary fault. Edison, was a serious failure as a businessman for many years, and after he was financially ruined decided to never produce another invention that wasn't immediately commercially useful.
Which is great - if you want to invent the light bulb....and pretty much catastrophic for basic science. That's the major failure of modern science - that it has become almost entirely commercialized.
Basic science is the stuff that gets you fusion reactors, and space-ships coated in materials that allow you to enter the atmosphere without turning into charcoal. Because the "solution" is not going to be immediately profitable, it won't lead to millions of dollars for the inventor.
And that's the second fallacy. She presumes that scientists or architects in her specific case of Roark were masters of their destiny to some extent. If that were true, Bill Gates would just be some guy and everyone would know who Tim Paterson and Seattle Computer Products are.
Businessmen - like Gates, and Westinghouse - and even Edison himself had a NASTY habit of destroying their competition through unscrupulous means and character assassination.
Nicolai Tesla, Philo Farnsworth, Charles Bussard, and dozens of other brilliant inventors lay by the wayside of history , because they didn't have the "combination" of business saavy and genius.
Lastly, After the TARP, and it should really have been discarded in the 1980's with the first of the great banking bailouts, the notion that bankers and Wall Street financiers are some class of the "best and the brightest" of capitalists that always do right is just wrong.
Instead what we learned is that Bankers tend to be first in line at the public trough when the chips are down, and are ungrateful the whole way there. So billions of dollars are not being lent to the middle class - they are being held - for some better day - when an uppity prick isn't so bold as to tell some Wall Street financier they should compensate the nation for it's public generosity and perhaps not be so reckless in the marketplace now that they are flush with cash - again.
Either that or we really do let Darwin rule at which point - had we done so - 40 million Bank of America depositors would have received a few cents on the dollar from the FDIC.
To suggest that morality follows from money is like suggesting monogamy follows from prostitution.
Even her personal friend and accolyte Alan Greenspan said that the market could apparently use some oversight and regulation.
To underscore this point, the two countries that were fully embracing of the unregulated Free Market, Argentina and Iceland - were both economically wiped out. Milton Friedman - the prince of unregulated free markets got owned in this last cycle.
Argentina suffered 8 years of hyperinflation and watched it's debt baloon to 120% it's GDP, Iceland was even more catastrophic in that the speculation in their marketplace was so rampant that nobody dared to touch it with regulation. And when external firms got nervous and asked for their money, the entire scheme collapsed - taking nearly the entire Icelandic economy with it.
But it's Barack Obama's fault - I'm sure.
So while substantially free markets are the best thing we've come up with at the moment, regulation cannot be absent from the equation. Taxation cannot be absent if any services are to be provided to the people, and to avoid counterproductive wealth concentration - otherwise we end up like Argentina where 90% of the nations' capital is in the hands of a few dozen families.
The United States already suffers from this problem, fully 60-70% of our 12 TRILLION dollar economy is in the hands of less than 30,000 people. No matter how "judiciously" invested, that's not healthy for the other 99.9% of us.
Furthermore, I don't mean to see everyone in shared misery in some socialist nightmare, but it's not exactly the case that capitalist systems can't fail either - they can. And when they do , it's usually quite bad and wealth concentration and inability to reign in spending are the two primary factors in the last several such failures.
Why was Ayn Rand so controversial?
Ayn Rand was a brilliant philosopher that valued the individual over the collective. Her philosopy, Objectivism, was developed not from personal opinion, but was based on human nature and the base instinct for self preservation.
In her view, there are basically two types of people in the world. Those that take responsibility for themselves as individuals, self reliant producers, and those that don't take responsibility for themselves, who look to live off of the hard work and productivity of others.
Except for the truly needy who always deserve a helping hand, Ayn Rand had little use for those that would take from others. Socialists, liberals, those receiving government benefits largely fall into this latter category. They look for ways to take from the the successful, rather than working to become successful themselves.
And that lies at the heart of the controversy. Those that produce don't mind freely giving a portion of their wealth to those truly in need, but resent having it taken by force by those that did nothing to earn it, and who claim the power and right to redistribute it as they think best - typically taking a fat cut for themselves. And who, in the current political climate has been a big advocate of 'redistribution'? Why Obama and the Democrats of course. If you read Any Rand's books you'll understand what they're all about, and what their socialist agenda leads to. We're seeing it now, played out in real life. Eventually, the takers outnumber the producers and the society collapses. It's happened before, and it's happening now. Ayn points this out, exposes all this for what it is in her writings.
People that love her are generally producers, individualists, self-reliant. People that hate her generally fall into the 'takers' category. And they hate Any Rand because she exposes them for what they are.
A lot of others that don't like Any Rand never read her books, and didn't spend any intellectual effort trying to understand what she's really saying. Ignorant, belligerent, echoing what they've been told, but not really knowing why. There's a lot of that going around these days.
But, take the time to read a book or two of hers. The Fountainhead, or Atlas Shrugged are two of her most well known, both long, but very good. In each of them she lays out the foundation for her philosophy - it's worth the effort to read them. Then you can objectively decide for yourself!
Hope this helps,
What do you think of Ayn Rand?
I got on a Ayn Rand kick about 15 years ago in graduate school...stayed up two days straight reading Atlas Shrugged instead of studying for exams one year! My conclusion was (and is) that she was an amazingly brilliant woman who unfortunately had a warped perspective on God. I believe her background was Catholic so her conclusions weren't surprising to me...I just thought she was wrong.
I still find her writing fascinating...and I even quote her from time to time...though she would probably turn over in her grave to know that I do it to support my faith in Jesus *laugh*. I think she was absolutely correct about the dangers of collectivism and the perfect morality of a capitalist system....it's just unfortunate that her perspective was short-term in nature.