View Full Version : Tell me why I should hate Ayn Rand.
One of my favourite actors said the only book he managed to read twice was by Ayn Rand. For whatever reason, my gut reaction was "Oh no!" but then I got to thinking -- why the hell? I've never read a book by this person, nor do I know what their books are like. But for whatever reason I have this association that Ayn Rand equals values and beliefs I do not believe in myself.
I glanced through their Wikipedia page but for once Wikipedia is being too objective for my taste and while I know I disagree with her on feminist issues and naturally anti-pacifism, anti-gay views, I'm not sure why I've been lead to this really strong negative association I have of her.
I was going to bump this thread (http://www.offspring.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4020) but decided to make a new one. So yeah, go at it.
What makes Ayn Rand worth hating, to you?
(If this should be in Politics, plz to be moving it.)
03-30-2008, 04:39 AM
Anthem was ok.
03-30-2008, 07:59 AM
I wrote out some more specific reasons why I can't take Rand seriously here (http://www.offspring.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1063675).
But really, I hate the bitch. Hate her. I hear "The Fountainhead" isn't too bad, but my opinion of it would probably be colored by "Atlas Shrugged". "Atlas Shrugged" is just... so fucking bad on so many levels that I actually have lose respect for people if they tell me they like it. I could write a paper on it, but essentially, Rand's argument is ridiculously oversimplified, all her characters are laughably one-dimensional and her grasp of economics is childish. People like Ayn Rand because they want it to be right. Rand makes her heroes seem incredibly appealing and her villains thoroughly vile, so that people who read her books want to be the heroes, especially since she puts them up against an entire world that's closing in on them - she effectively manages to reverse the common revolutionary motif and make the billionaire industry monopolists the "rebels" fighting something bigger than themselves. Reading this romance novel cum economic philosophy, people that want capitalism to be good, and want to justify their own greed, see a ready-made argument for doing so.
The thing is, they also tend to smooth over the blatantly psychopathic parts of the book (or, rather, of her philosophy) - Rand argues against love, against any emotions, in fact. Instead, she thinks that people should be judged by their "value" to you, family members included. Rand herself abandoned her own family and publicly declared that it was "immoral" to place familial ties and friendship above productive work.
Essentially, her philosophy is entirely incompatible with the real world, with actual human beings. But it sounds nice, people want to believe it, and want to fantasize that they are secretly the superhuman protagonists that Rand describes... honestly, I cannot in any way wax over my utter contempt for that woman and the fools drawn into her.
03-30-2008, 08:44 AM
There aren't enough words, not even enough languages in existence to adequately describe how much Ayn Rand enrages me, but Mota Payne Boy just used some pretty good ones. Gracias.
03-30-2008, 09:50 AM
That's really the only reason you need to hate this woman.
I'm guessing a part of what makes her thoughts so hatable is what her followers claim about the state of the world today and the free market we live in right now?
I understand now, after like an hour of Wiki surfing, that I def disagree with her on a number of things, but I've yet to pinpoint what's so awful about her views.
The family thing is messed up, though. o_0
03-30-2008, 11:19 AM
but I've yet to pinpoint what's so awful about her views.
03-30-2008, 11:34 AM
mota exaggerates a little bit. she doesn't argue against love etc, but against unconditional, baseless love etc. and yeah, that includes snubbing your alcoholic uncle who keeps bumming cash of you to buy coke.
her writing is as bad as most people who have some big agenda and use fiction as its vehicle. if you want to read something with characters just as thin and preachy, try sinclair's the jungle.
not that i don't think you shouldn't hate her, her ideas are completely unrealistic. it's completely insane to think that the world's entire economic infrastructure rests on the shoulders of a few dozen geniuses, struggling selflessly to weather the storm of socialism attacking from all fronts.
i've only read atlas shrugged, but it sums up to "creator = good, moocher = evil"
03-30-2008, 12:22 PM
"The Ayn Rand School For Tots".
03-30-2008, 06:30 PM
mota exaggerates a little bit. she doesn't argue against love etc, but against unconditional, baseless love etc. and yeah, that includes snubbing your alcoholic uncle who keeps bumming cash of you to buy coke.But is there ever any mention of a healthy familial relationship in her book? In Atlas Shrugged, she describes ALL family members as your exemplar alcoholic uncle - people that want favors like you talking to them or helping them out in any capacity merely because they're related to you. And when her characters declare love for each other, they always state the reasons they love each other. In one of her many long-winded speeches in "Atlas Shrugged" Dagny specifically points out that it's not that she "loves" Hank Rearden, but "values" him. Using this concept of "value", Rand also argues that it should be perfectly understandable to stop loving someone at the drop of the had (as Dagny dropped Hank for Galt) when someone you "value" more comes along. Notice how neatly Rand lets this work out - there is only one female protagonist among the ubermen in the village, and Hank Rearden graciously steps aside once he recognizes a better man (Hank having given the same speech to Dagny, mentioning that he valued her much the same way he valued Rearden metal) Children are almost entirely absent, only used to provide biographies of the now-adult main characters, and parents are rarely mentioned, the exception being Hank's overbearing and evil mother. The only "good" relationships in the book are the non-familial ones based on value.
And it's not just that this is a silly example of reading too much into the book - in real life Rand began an affair, ignoring the effect that it had on her husband (or her lover's wife) because she thought emotions were subordinate to objectively-comprehended rationality and her husband should of merely recognized what his wife did - that Rand had met an "Objectively" better man.
She's blatantly psychotic. It's just so unbelievable that someone taken so seriously is arguing such a crazy issue that you tend to smooth over what she's actually saying and insert all these caveats that aren't actually present in her writings.
03-30-2008, 06:38 PM
Because she would type "capitalism" under "Turn-ons" in the "Your Turn On's & Turn Off's" thread.
Awful human being.
03-30-2008, 06:43 PM
Using this concept of "value", Rand also argues that it should be perfectly understandable to stop loving someone at the drop of the had (as Dagny dropped Hank for Galt) when someone you "value" more comes along.
Yes yes yes yes fucking yes. This is exactly one of my major criticisms. My own personal opinion on how just plain fucked up that is aside, it's also just impractical. There's a reason people who behave like that are always so goddamned miserable all the time. I don't mean to imply that we should conform to societal ideals that clash so strongly with our own, but too many Rand lovers overrationalize to the point of irrationalization. I know it makes no sense when I explain it that way, but that's what fuckin happens...
Personal story: I knew someone who graduated from this school here two years ago. Before doing so, he proposed to his girlfriend of 6 years, even as they both expressed their ambivalence at the instutition of marriage. He considered his proposal a symbolic gesture saying that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with this woman, and told her so. It was great.
He met a much more beautiful (but significantly dumber) woman three weeks later and broke up with his fiancee. Now, I don't mean to suggest that all of Rand's followers are like this (that would make no sense), but it really was amazing listening to him explain his move through Rand's philosophies. It's like...motherfucker, we live in the real world now, we're not children, and there's a reason you can't function in society or find a place to live and you're so very, very unhappy about it.
Which brings me to this:
Rand had met an "Objectively" better man.
As Mr. Mota Boy implies here, it's fucking maddening that Rand's own definition (or treatment) of the term "objectivity" doesn't get interrogated. It's absolute bullshit that not only rarely works in the real world, but fails to take into account how stupid the very idea is that anyone has the ability to present an unbiased definition of that word. I am getting too out there, but the fact is, some people have the privilege of "creating" legitimate knowledge while others don't. Her hyperindividualistic approach loses sight of, or rather, denies that very simple fact and instead she creates a whole new bullshit philosophy out of it.
There's also the fact that her shit is just too simple. Too easy. I dunno why that aspect of it bothers me, but it does.
What a fucking idiot. I'm gettin' mad again.
03-30-2008, 07:05 PM
hay guyzz look at thiss!
"Welcome to our newest member, Ayn Rand"
03-30-2008, 07:12 PM
One of my good friends loves Ayn Rand. I never knew shit about her, so I've never discussed any of that with her. But what I've read here explains some of her behavior and views. For instance, she openly says that people don't mean that much to her. She's considering moving to Canada in the fall, and when we talked about it, she said the thing stopping her isn't that she'd miss anyone, she just doesn't want to lose professional connections in Minnesota. She also doesn't put anyone above other people based on feeling. She doesn't have "best friends" and she won't call the guy she's been dating since September her boyfriend. Nobody means more or less to her than anyone else, and it makes her friends such as me feel unimportant to her. I don't know how she feels about this "value" thing, but knowing what Ayn Rand believes in now just made me lose a lot of respect for my friend. And it makes me not want to hold my friendship with her in a very high regard.
03-30-2008, 07:28 PM
Ah Bri, if I were in the same situation, I'm pretty sure my rational self interest would dictate that she's a lousy friend.
She creates a self-fulfilling prophecy, friends are meaningless so treat them as such, in return the reciprocal happens. Lol.
03-30-2008, 07:47 PM
Yes I'm not sure of her value to me in my life. I mean, objectively speaking, there are other people I'm close to who benefit me personally more than she does. She should understand if I stop hanging out with her, right?
03-30-2008, 07:48 PM
Objectively begin calculating the utility of someone who likes Ayn Rand.
03-30-2008, 07:51 PM
She's considering moving to Canada in the fal
That'll be all...
03-30-2008, 08:02 PM
That'll be all...
lol, she didn't threaten to move to Canada... she was actually offered a really good job in I believe Calgary. But still amusing. :P
So I borrowed Atlas Shrugged from the library today and just finished reading it.
I LOVE IT YOU GUYS.
03-31-2008, 08:56 PM
you read a 1200 page book in one day?
What can I say, good writing sucks you in.
04-01-2008, 10:35 AM
Ayn Rand is a dealbreaker!
04-01-2008, 10:37 AM
I LOVE IT YOU GUYS.
Early April Fool's joke?
04-01-2008, 11:46 AM
The Fountainhead is possibly my favourite book of all time. I suppose you could say it touches on some much more "wholesome" themes than Atlas Shrugged, like personal integrity. Also, in terms of the story itself, I couldn't put the book down and read it pretty much as eagerly as I would a Harry Potter novel.
I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged as well but agree that it got a bit over the top. It took me a while to get through and it got a bit tiresome at times.
I don't really want to add too much to this thread because I'm slightly discouraged by the comments that have been posted already.
But I'll ask if just because someone's ideas aren't all completely reasonable or if they're very extreme, does that mean you should hate them? Rand's novels are complete exaggerations and I think it's fine to appreciate them as such. I think that's probably what makes them so good. Why must they be completely realistic? If she actually sees the world with such a black and white view, then perhaps you could lose respect for her as a person, but to absolutely hate her for it and to hate her writing? Because she feels that loving your life's work is more important than loving people, should you hate her for it? I think it's a valid life view. I would certainly never adopt it because I love people too much, but I can see the merit in thinking that way, or in wanting to think that way. Is she evil for it? She's not expecting anybody to treat her any differently than she treats others. So in my opinion, it's not a morally "evil" philosophy. And personally, I think her ideas are on the whole more inspiring than they are despicable.
Early April Fool's joke?
Pssh, it was 1AM when I posted that. Nothin' early about it.
(But yes, before you tell me it was lame, I know. It was that or .. I don't know, marrying one of Sunny's dogs. I have no imagination these days.)
04-01-2008, 04:02 PM
It wasn't lame, it was just absolutely horrifying :(
04-01-2008, 04:09 PM
I was hoping she'd say she was getting married to me this year.
04-01-2008, 07:39 PM
But I'll ask if just because someone's ideas aren't all completely reasonable or if they're very extreme, does that mean you should hate them? Rand's novels are complete exaggerations and I think it's fine to appreciate them as such. I think that's probably what makes them so good. Why must they be completely realistic? If she actually sees the world with such a black and white view, then perhaps you could lose respect for her as a person, but to absolutely hate her for it and to hate her writing? Because she feels that loving your life's work is more important than loving people, should you hate her for it? I think it's a valid life view. I would certainly never adopt it because I love people too much, but I can see the merit in thinking that way, or in wanting to think that way. Is she evil for it? She's not expecting anybody to treat her any differently than she treats others. So in my opinion, it's not a morally "evil" philosophy. And personally, I think her ideas are on the whole more inspiring than they are despicable.Certainly, by the end, by the time her philosophy crystallized, Rand really did see the world in such black and white terms. Also, she cited herself as proof that her "uberman" characters were real people - she honestly saw herself as Dagny Taggart, and Rand was wholly intolerant of other points of view. It's not that it's a bad idea, it's a bad idea in that she takes a good idea too far. "Obese children should eat less and exercise more" is a good idea. "Fat children should be denied meals and ran until they collapse" is a bad idea. Just because it is related to a good idea does not make it acceptable.
And her view absolutely sneers at any conception of charity. A repeated theme in her books is that all those unlike Rand and her ubermen should be left out to starve to death. Yeah, starve to death. Likewise, in Atlas Shrugged, when the train crash of the Taggart Express (or whatever) killed all the passengers, Rand ends up writing a long passage detailing how all the passengers involved were actually responsible for their own deaths and, in fact, deserved to die. Her morality is despicable. And in the English language, "hate", of course, can have as many gradations as "love". I hate anchovies on pizza. I hate Ayn Rand and her philosophy. I hate it because her philosophy allows people being selfish assholes to justify themselves based on false assumptions, which they overlook merely because they *want* them to be right. It creates a world where selfishness and greed are permissible in the minds of many, people who allow themselves to be wrapped up in the mythos of these stoic "supermen" that Rand imagines, acting as a certain shield to valid criticisms.
I still have to read "The Fountainhead", but "Atlas Shrugged" is, more than the earlier book, the culmination of Rand's philosophies. Some of it may be inspiring, but EVERY major philosophy has its merits. Karl Marx was also quite inspiring and had plenty of good ideas, that doesn't mean that those points are more than offset by the fact that the entire facade of communism is built upon faulty tenets. Rand may be inspiring, but she's not realistic in the least, and her "inspirations", I think on balance, make the world a worse place.
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