Ayn Rand reconsidered

Ayn Rand reconsidered

by Jon Rappoport

March 31, 2017

“Why carry the burden of creating something and then having to stand for it and be proud of it? Why think and imagine and create your own way into the future of your most profound vision? Why bother? And why, therefore, allow others to do so for themselves and cause disordered, disharmonious ripples in the great silent lake of humanity? Pull them down. Make them equal. Make them empty.” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

I wrote the following article five years ago. Since then, I’ve had a chance to set down a few more remarks about Ayn Rand. Here they are:

The one glaring problem in her work is the overall effect of her hammering mercilessly on behalf of freedom and the individual—after 400 pages, her prose takes on a programmatic aspect. It grips the reader with iron. The moral imperative to be free replaces the exhilaration of being free.

On the other hand, she obviously wrote her two great novels in the middle of a feverish exaltation. Every page burned. Most characters went down in flames. A few rose into the sky. She knew she was up against the most powerful forces of society, and she was not going to compromise or relent one inch. She fully intended to destroy collectivism at its root. On the basis of that decision, she refused to suspend her attack, even for a moment.

Most people who brush up against her work can’t stop to consider the depth of her admiration for the independent and powerful and creative individual, or the nature of her aversion to the collectivist who can only borrow from such individuals—and then distort and undermine what they have misappropriated.

She means to be extreme. It is no accident. With no apologies, she splits the world down the middle. In her own way, she is an ultimate riverboat gambler. She shoves in all her chips on the self-appointed task of illuminating the great dichotomy of human history and modern life: the I versus the WE.

On a personal level, she possessed enormous ambition, and she wrote her two novels to achieve deserved recognition. Again, no apologies. She knew she and her work would be attacked by numerous critics who didn’t themselves own a tiny fragment of her talent. So be it.

To say she revealed “a thorny personality” in her relationships would constitute a vast understatement. In her later years, she no doubt contributed to bringing the house down on her head. But by then, her work was over. She stood behind it. She had achieved what she set out to create.

And every official cultural messenger of her time reviled her.

Here is my 2012 article:

“…nearly perfect in its immorality.” — Gore Vidal, reviewing Rand’s Atlas Shrugged

“…shot through with hatred.” — The Saturday Review, on Atlas Shrugged

“…can be called a novel only by devaluing the term.” — The National Review, on Atlas Shrugged

“[The] creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men.” — Howard Roark, The Fountainhead

When people perceive their society is being infiltrated and taken over by collectivism, how should they respond? What is their ultimate fuel in the battle for liberty?

What do they resurrect as the ideal that is being scorched by collectivism?

Yes the Constitution, yes the Bill of Rights, yes the Republic. But what were those documents and that form of government there for in the first place? What WAS the great ideal that lay behind them?

And if very few people can recall the ideal or understand it, what then?

The ideal was and is THE INDIVIDUAL.

But not just the individual.

The FREE INDIVIDUAL.

But not just the free individual.

The FREE AND POWERFUL INDIVIDUAL.

Which is why I’m writing about Ayn Rand.

To grasp her Promethean effort and accomplishment, you have to read her books at least several times, because your own reactions and responses will change. She was attempting to dig a whole civilization out from its smug certainty about the limits of freedom, from its compulsion to borrow and steal worn-out ideas.

I write this because the matrix of modern life has no solution without a frontal exposure of the meaning and reality and sensation and emotion and mind and imagination of INDIVIDUAL POWER.

Ayn Rand, in her unique way, climbed the mountain of power and told about the vista that was then in her sights. She exercised no caution. She knew the consequences would be extraordinary.

The characters she creates who embody power are electric. You experience them beyond mere fiddle-faddle with symbols.

Rand wrote two novels that still reverberate in the minds of millions of people: The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.

The books have inspired unalloyed adoration and hatred. They are received as a magnificent tonic or a dose of poison.

Readers who hate Rand’s work hate her for daring to present the power of an individual in full force.

Rand’s major heroes, Howard Roark and John Galt, are artists. Creators. They bow before no one and nothing. They invent. They decide. They imagine. They refuse to compromise. They leave the group and the committee and the bureaucracy and the collective behind them in the dust.

Society is ever more, over time, a mass concept. Society’s leaders, through illegal dictum, deception, and force, define a space in which all life is supposed to occur. That is the “safe zone.” Within it, a person may act with impunity. Outside that space, protection is removed. The protection racket no long applies.

Once a controller owns a space in which others live, he can alter it. He can make it smaller and smaller. He can flood it with caterwauling about “the greatest good for the greatest number,” the slogan of the mob. He can pretend to elevate the mob to the status of a legitimate “democratic majority” who are running things. He can con whole populations.

On the other hand, we are supposed to believe that individual power is a taboo because men like Hitler, Stalin, Napoleon, Attila, and Alexander once lived. That is the proof. We are supposed to believe individual power is always and everywhere the expression of dominance over others and nothing more.

If we only take into consideration “what is best for everybody,” we will see our way out of the morass. That’s what we’re told.

Civilizations are being made more puerile because it is children who are most vulnerable to the “greatest good for all” maxim. It is children who can be suckered into that ideal overnight. And those adults who buy the maxim do, in fact, revert back in the direction of being children.

At this late date, significant numbers of people are waking up to the fact that “greatest good” is being managed and manipulated by new Stalins and Hitlers, who care about humanity in the same way that a bulldozer cares about the side of a building.

Ayn Rand, after growing up in the USSR, knew something about the paradise of the common man. She saw it play out. She could eventually look back and see, with certainty, that writing her two novels in the Soviet Union would have cost her her life.

Rand refused to compromise her exaltation of individual power.

But she was acutely aware of the nature of compromisers. Such characters, brilliantly and mercilessly drawn, are there in her novels, in the full bloom of decay. Peter Keating, the pathetic and agonized hack; Guy Francon, Keating’s boss, a socially connected panderer and promoter of hacks; Jim Taggart, moral coward in extremis; Ellsworth Toohey, prime philosopher of the mob impulse; Robert Sadler, the scientist who sold his soul.

Around us today, we see growing numbers of these very types, peddling their phony idealism over and over. Among them, Barack Obama, promoting class warfare, dependence on government as the source of survival, generalized pretended hatred of the rich, and a phony empty “we are all together” sing-song collective mysticism.

Again, keep in mind that Rand’s two major heroes, Howard Roark and John Galt, were artists. This was no accident. This was the thrust of her main assault. The artist is always, by example, showing the lie of the collective. The artist begins with the assumption that consensus reality is not final. The artist is not satisfied to accommodate himself to What Already Exists.

The dark opposite of that was once told to me by a retired propaganda operative, Ellis Medavoy (pseudonym), who freelanced for several elite non-profit foundations:

“What do you think my colleagues and I were doing all those years? What was our purpose? To repudiate the singular in favor of the general. And what does that boil down to? Eradicating the concept of the individual human being. Replacing it with the mass. The mass doesn’t think. There is no such thing as mass thought. There is only mass impulse. And we could administer that. We could move it around like a piece on a board. You see, you don’t hypnotize a person into some deeper region of himself. You hypnotize him OUT of himself into a fiction called The Group…”

Rand was attacking a mass and a collective that had burrowed its way into every corner of life on the planet. If you were going to go to war against THAT, you needed to be fully armed. And she was.

Rand was also prepared to elucidate the physical, mental, and emotional DEPTH of her heroes’ commitment to their own choices, their own work, their own creations. She wasn’t merely dipping her toe in the water of that ocean.

Howard Roark, her protagonist of The Fountainhead, remarks:

“And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways—by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite borrows…”

Parasites don’t want anyone to stand out from the group, the swamp. The presence of someone who is so separate from them could trigger alarm bells and confirm their deepest fear:

An individual with power and his own singular creative vision can exist.

Parasites want you to believe you’re just a drop of water in the great ocean, and once you attain “higher consciousness” you’ll give in and float in the sea, and you’ll offload that oh-so primitive concept of yourself as Self. You’ll be One with all the other undifferentiated drops of water.

In their ritual of joining, people are awarded a mantrum: “I’M NOT VERY MUCH.”

Just that little phrase can open the door into the collective.

In The Fountainhead, architect Peter Keating utilized a second assertion as well:

“I AM GREAT BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE THINK SO.”

Keating, the social grasper, finds acceptance from people of influence. They welcome him and reward him with architectural commissions because, well, they think they are supposed to; after all, his name has been bandied about by “those who should know Quality.”

It’s a world in which no standards apply except the opinions of people who carry weight.

And Peter is conventionally handsome, he’s the golden boy, he’s quick, he can design buildings that look like other buildings, he can work with others, he can look like he’s enjoying life, he’s good at parties, he’s congenial.

On what other basis should rewards be handed out? What else exists?

Unfortunately and fatally, Keating knows the real answer to that question, since he’s the boyhood friend of Howard Roark, the architect who does have a singular and astonishing vision, who stands beyond the crowd without trying.

Keating returns to Roark time after time; to insult Roark, to beg him for help, to be in the presence of a Force and breathe clean air.

Not determined enough to be himself, but still possessed of a shred of conscience, Keating is caught in the middle, between the man of vision and power (Roark) and new friends who offer him “the glittering world”—and the grips of this vise are unrelenting.

Adulation, money, success, fame, acceptance…Keating is given all these things, and still he destroys himself.

Here is why The Fountainhead provoked such rage from the self-styled elite: they’re committed to live on an insider’s rotting feast of mutual admiration and support, and in Keating they see themselves reflected with a clarity they’d assumed was impossible to construct. But there it is.

The very people who launched attack after attack at Rand, for “pawning off such preposterous characters as real,” were boiling inside, as they viewed themselves on the screen of her imagination: characters riddled with compromise, bloated with pretension, bereft of integrity.

Keating is eventually reduced to an abject yearning: would that his life had been lived differently, better—yet at the same time he maintains a dedication to hating that better life he might have had. He’s consumed by the contradiction. He sees his own career fall apart, while Roark’s ascends. The tables are turned. Keating has administered a poison to his own psyche, and the results are all too visibly repellent.

The Keatings of this world carry water for their masters, who in turn find bigger and better manipulators to serve. It’s a cacophony of madness, envy, and immolation posing as success.

The world does not want to watch itself through the eyes of Ayn Rand. It does not want to see the juggernaut of the drama playing out, because, as with Keating, it is too revealing. And yet Rand has been accused, over and over, of being an author of cartoon personae!

She elevates characters and destroys other characters. She picks and chooses according to her own standards and ideals. She never wavers. She passes judgment. She differentiates vividly between the forces and decisions that advance life and those that squash it.

Again and again, she comes back to the fulcrum: the featureless consensus versus unique individual creative power.

Creative power isn’t a shared or borrowed quality. One person doesn’t live in the shadow of another. The creator finds his own way, and if that weren’t the case, there would be no basis for life.

We are supposed to think existence by committee is a viable concept. This is a surpassing fairy tale that assumes the proportions of a cosmic joke.

For those whose minds are already weak, in disarray, unformed, the substitution of the collective for the individual is acceptable. It’s, in fact, rather interesting. It has the kick of novelty. And the strength of hypnotic trance.

The strategy is obliquely described in The Fountainhead by Ellsworth Toohey, a newspaper columnist and philosopher of the collective, a little man who is covertly and diabolically assembling a massive following:

“…if I sold them the idea that you [an ordinary playwright] are just as great as Ibsen—pretty soon they wouldn’t be able to tell the difference…then it wouldn’t matter what they went to see at all. Then nothing would matter—neither the writers nor those for whom they write.”

Reduction to absurdity. An overall grayness called equality.

If the public is told the owner of a business didn’t create that business, but instead the public sector, the collective did, and if this theme is pushed and emphasized by others, eventually the absurd notion will take hold. Then it won’t matter what is done to the independent individual, because he was never really there at all in the first place. He was just an invisible nonentity.

Contrast this treatment of the individual with the stand that Howard Roark takes during his climactic trial, at the end of The Fountainhead:

“But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought.”

“We inherit the products of the thoughts of other men. We inherit the wheel. We make the cart. The cart becomes an automobile. The automobile becomes an airplane…The moving force is the creative faculty which takes product as material, uses it and originates the next step. This creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men. That which it creates is the property of the creator.”

“Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible.”

We are now in an age where EVERYTHING BELONGS TO EVERYBODY.

Obama is the latest in a line of demagogues who fully intend to reverse the course of history. That timeline shows us the heroic struggle to replace WE with I.

From the earliest days of our planet, since its habitation by humans, the tribe and the clan and the priest class and the monarchy, all claiming divine right, have enforced the WE. Finally, the I, which was always there, emerged fully enough to overthrow the criminals and murderers who were restraining the individual.

But now we are being pulled back into the primitive swamp of the past, through the systematic application of a pseudo-philosophy. The I is turning back into the WE.

To people who carry advanced technological devices around with them wherever they go, which give them the capability to communicate instantaneously with anyone on the planet, this prospect seems harmless or ridiculous or irrelevant or comfortable.

The “I turning back into WE” is happening because IDEAS are slipping away as useful and necessary instruments of survival.

New generations are being raised and schooled in a sulfurous atmosphere of slogans designed to dead-end, from a number of directions, in a foggy “share and care” terminal, where “everything for everybody” and other so-called humanitarian banners wave in the rafters above secular leaders, who speak like priests and assure us that, very soon, the world will be a better place because we, as individuals, are absolving ourselves of the need to think of ourselves as individuals.

O yes, thank God, we are melting down. We are becoming One with All. Why carry the burden of creating something and then having to stand for it and be proud of it? Why think and imagine and create your own way into the future of your best and most profound vision? Why bother? And why, therefore, allow others to do so and cause disordered, disharmonious ripples in the great silent lake of humanity? Pull them down. Make them equal. Make them empty.

Let us, as ancient Greek vandals once did, chop away our most sacred statues, the ones that represent the I, and then let us watch as WE is reinstalled at the entrance to every public building.

Within the WE, individuals can hide and escape and postpone and delay, and imbibe the drug of forgetfulness, and listen to the chimes of paradise.

Roark continues to mount his courtroom speech: “An architect uses steel, glass, and concrete, produced by others. But the materials remain just so much steel, glass, and concrete until he touches them. What he does with them is his individual product and his individual property.”

Obama: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Roark: “Rulers of men…create nothing. They exist entirely through the persons of others. Their goal is in their subjects, in the activity of enslaving.”

Obama: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Roark: “When the first creator invented the wheel, the first second-hander invented altruism.”

Obama: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Roark: “The love of a man for the integrity of his work and his right to preserve it are now considered a vague intangible and an inessential.”

Obama: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Ayn Rand could be viewed as a tragic figure, but she would deny it, even in her darkest hour, just as her character, Howard Roark, would deny it.

She not only knew where she stood, she fleshed out, to an extraordinary degree, that position, in two astonishing and unique novels. Bolts from the blue.

She and her books were hated and adored, as no other author and no other works of the 20th century.


Exit From the Matrix

(To read about Jon’s mega-collection, Exit From The Matrix, click here.)


Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

61 comments on “Ayn Rand reconsidered

  1. John says:

    The last twenty eight years of the accelerated agenda of that vile ideology known as globalism has been a hell on earth for the US middle class. Ever since Bush 41 declared the beginning of the new world order, individualism has gone on life support.

    The useful idiots on the left and the “do gooders” who believe that the government is the savior of mankind, these twisted freaks have become the new borg, hive mind that is currently trying to destroy western civilization.

    Their false messiah, Hussein Obama has taken a wrecking ball to this country and the individual’s right to think. The climate change cult has brought this nation’s middle class to its knees.

    Reagan was trying to reverse globalism during his first term and was reviled by the left for putting faith in the individual rather than the government. We are staring at the end of free speech and the extinction of individualism if this trend is not reversed soon. Collectivism is a great evil that must be pushed back against with fervor.

    -Reagan at his first inaugural:
    “Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.”-

    -Obama at Ohio State:
    “Unfortunately, you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems,” Obama told the audience at the Ohio State commencement ceremony. “They’ll warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices”.-

    There has always been a very distinct difference between constitutional conservatism and liberal utopianism and the above quotes reflect this reality.

    • Deanna Johnston Clark says:

      Why did the federal government gobble up Alexandria and Falls Church and more of Arlington during the Reagan years? it grew like cudzu all down Interstate 95.

  2. sean says:

    Reading this sparked an idea. With the uprising of homeschooling, there will be new needs needed or something to help further support more of that and individualism.
    Great article Jon!

    • bob klinck says:

      It is disappointing that Jon has not pointed out the irony in the fact that Rand called her band of worshippers “The Collective” and that this purported iconoclast arranged for a gigantic dollar sign to be displayed at her funeral. Did she ever criticize the financial power, which has the remarkable privilege of creating the world’s money supply out of nothing? Jon states, “She knew she was up against the most powerful forces of society”–wrong: she gave the MOST powerful forces a total pass. Rand must be perceived as just another instance of controlled opposition, blathering about personal freedom (which she tended identify with the will to sabotage) while ignoring the factors that most powerfully constrain it.

      • Terri says:

        Bob, she did address the most powerful force in society; the individual. Those who print money are nothing but parasites, as she stated many times, in many ways. They are not the ones with any power, which is why they spend so much time destroying those who have and express this inherent power. They cant function in a society of sovereign conscious individuals.

  3. Marilyn Guinnane says:

    I respect Ayn (pronounced eye-n) Rand only in that she was dedicated to a cause and the cause was individual freedom. But I’m a lover of literary fiction and in fact, I write it, as well. The woman couldn’t write worth a damn. (It’s tempting to say “worth a shit”, which says it oh-so-much better). Her prose was boring, her characters were wooden. Moreover, if you have some ideology to push, weave it skillfully into your narrative so that the reader is barely aware; don’t get out your megaphone and terrorize the poor reader into submission. It’s beyond me that Rand’s stuff has lasted, frankly.

    • sean says:

      haha that’s funny.

    • Greg C. says:

      In other words, she should have written like other successful or well-received writers. Be subtle. It’s hard to be subtle when your theme is about the overall meaning of human existence. It is an unspoken convention that you don’t openly discuss or portray directly such ideas. Ayn Rand understood this convention, and she dealt with it in her portrayal of art critics, and their conversations. She was more than unconventional – she was anti-conventional. Her novels criticized the critics – which is the unforgivable sin. The artist must know his place in society – the critic is supposed to have the final say.

      • Terri says:

        Ayn was larger than life, a colorful figure that created a chain reaction like in “Pleasantville” and has left a legacy far greater than her critics could ever hope to imagine themselves creating. She was exceptional, and came here with a burning purpose which she delivered. Remarkable to express these higher ideals in such a low vibration world.

        It is fascinating for me to read what people think about her and her writings, for it says so much about them, far more than they realize. It truly has nothing to do with her, its all about them. Its funny so many who never knew her have such strong negative opinions about her character, as if it matters. Envy is a powerful insidious emotion with great destructive power.

        Her apparent forcefulness actually was just a reflection of where she resides vibrationally, to someone who is average she would appear to be “too much” and they would, like the millenials of today, be intimidated, jealous and angered by something they could never comprehend or match. The world would be a better place if everyone was just themselves unapologetically, and had the opportunity to express that. To have the courage to be honest with yourself about who you are is too rare in today’s society.

        To be great in a world full of the common is difficult and I am sure it was frustrating for her to have so much within her to express. The fact that she has had the power to have created such controversy and diverse opinions about her work speaks for itself. I would like to know more about her parents and how she was raised.

        I just found a you tube in which Donald Trump talks about how he can relate to Roarke in the fountainhead. He said it relates to business, beauty, life and inner emotions.

        • Ted Wrinch says:

          “It is fascinating for me to read what people think about her [Rand] and her writings, for it says so much about them, far more than they realize. It truly has nothing to do with her, its all about them. Its funny so many who never knew her have such strong negative opinions about her character, …I would like to know more about her parents and how she was raised.”

          And yet the evidence I gave here, which was partly based on testimony from those that knew her, showed that there was something wrong with her, that she had narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissism is all about blame shifting, accusing critics of having something wrong with them to deflect vision from the flaw of the criticised. If you wish to know more about her parents and how she was raised, a very interesting albeit sad topic, you can look at the reference I gave containing the evidence.

    • skedaddle says:

      I know what you mean. While reading Atlas Shrugged I started feeling as if Rand was beating me over the head with her thick book. I think it’s lasted because some people instinctively want to be free to think and achieve to their full potential. There’s not many books where the capable band together without a bunch of deadwood. The idea has power.

    • Ray says:

      Not so sure you respect her. Collectivists don’t attack her ideas about freedom and individualism. They attack her as a bad writer and even as a sociopath.

      I can’t forget when I read Fountainhead. It was 1961 and I was 18. She opened the door to a new way of thinking. If she was subtle, I didn’t have the reasoning skills then to extract her ideas. If she wrote as a philosopher, it would have been too dull.

      I got halfway through Atlas Shrugged. The book that sealed my connection with her was “The Virtue of Selfishness.” I know her personal faults, but they didn’t matter. She was where I found myself.

      It remains to be seen if she’ll be forgotten in another generation or two. If she is, it’ll be symptomatic that America has sunk into a Dark Age.

    • Charles Fockaert says:

      “But I’m a lover of literary fiction and in fact, I write it, as well.” Since you write literary fiction as well, that must make you an expert in the field, yes?

      I’ve read both of Rand’s books reviewed, twice, and found them exceptionally well written from many viewpoints, hence the dual readings.

      She also wrote “The Art of Fiction” and “The Art of Non-Fiction,” again, imv, excellent.

      Why not link here to your writings and let the rest of us review your works to discover for ourselves whether your prose is “boring” and if your characters are “wooden?”

      Perhaps it’s not defects in Rand’s writings, but jealousy?

      • Marilyn Guinnane says:

        Oh Charles Fockeart, I’ve read the greats. Dostoevsky, Bellow, Forster, and so on. Yes, I’m a good judge of fine writing; you bet. Two of my short stories appear in the Oct. & Nov. issues of The Scarlet Leaf Literary Magazine, published under my own name. A quick search will reveal the links, Charles.

        I’m hardly a collectivist; I’m a conservative, incidentally. It tickles me that people would rush in to defend Ayn Rand’s poor prose and cardboard characters . . . but listen, if she does it for you, what do you care what I think? Just the same, allow me to add that Rand is as bit like a Nazi: “You vill think as I think undt you vill enchoi it!”

        Yeah, okay, Ayn honey. Whatever you say.

  4. Greg C. says:

    I’ve read the Fountainhead probably a dozen times, first over 40 years ago, and as recently as last year. It never gets stale. For a while I thought it as just an immature, adolescent phase, and that the real world of literature and philosophy was much more sophisticated. But that just isn’t so.

    Why couldn’t the critics recognize the importance of its theme? Probably because their livelihood depended on their not seeing it. Because their work requires a readership who have been taught not to think for themselves. So the universities continue to perpetuate the game – the “you need us to know what to think” game.

    If it is unsophisticated to think for yourself – then I’m a rube. To the critics, thinking for yourself is considered as embarrassing as doing your own plumbing or brake work. You take your car to the shop, you call the plumber, and you take your brain to the university to have it worked on, then let the MSM do the maintenance work on it after you graduate. And your body, you trust it to mainstream medical science. Your emotions, the psychiatrist. Everybody’s an expert about you except you.

  5. Tim says:

    Light rail train passes by, ‘All for the common good!’ painted on it. It’s not going my way, so, I don’t get on board.

  6. IMNAHA says:

    JON:
    TRULY ONE OF YOUR MOST POWERFUL PIECES THAT DELINEATES THE HUMAN CONDITION. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE A LIVE DEBATE ON THESE IDEAS…

  7. Jon,

    On Facebook I get a lot of “Tesla” memes appearing on my channel.

    They annoy me.

    They annoy me not because Tesla wasn’t a genius and they (memes) “misrepresent” him in any way. Other than the ridiculous notion he was “divine”, I wholeheartedly agree with sentiment (in general).

    What sticks in my throat is the parasitic nature of man. They are quite happy to sit by and regurgitate titbits of Tesla, penguins on a ledge, but look no further. They don’t attempt to go discover, find and “be” Tesla, expand on his work, keeping the knowledge alive, add more, turning those dreams into reality and make the world great.

    No, they just bitch and parasite, parasite and bitch, bitch and parasite.

    Best
    OT

  8. jerseycynic says:

    […]

    OUTSTANDING read, Mr. Rappoport

  9. Much food for thought….

  10. Ted Wrinch says:

    Ayn Rand was not free: she was an emotionally shut down narcissist, imprisoned by her illness. Her every action was directed to getting narcissistic supply. She destroyed those around her by her cruelty and self absorption. Her husband became an alcoholic to escape the pain of the years of her infidelities and the wife of her lover suffered from panic attacks due her domination by Rand and the invasion of her marriage. Rand conceived herself as a heroine living out the ideas of freedom and the rationally directed and self actualised life of her novels; in reality she was a cold, sadistic, hypocritical, unempathic, delusional, manipulative tyrant.

    “Ayn Rand’s fame as a novelist and philosopher continued to grow; her novels sold with momentum and promise. For many, the philosophy and mind-set of the characters achieved biblical significance. In stark contrast, the last years of Rand’s life were filled with emotional emptiness. Her husband, Frank, died, leaving her without the consummate adoring partner willing to sacrifice his life for her. Her health steadily declined despite successful lung surgery. Her heart was severely weakened, the ravages of arteriosclerosis.

    As if by design, Ayn successively alienated her most loyal friends. Her demeanor with old associates who had defended and stood by her became brittle and acrimonious. She demanded that others believe exactly as she. Those who fraternized with anyone outside of her exclusive circle were ousted and vilified. Ayn’s misanthropic isolation deepened. She spent hours playing solo Scrabble. One fateful morning in March 1982, Alissa Zinovevna Rosenbaum, creator of the great Ayn Rand, was dead. Next to her open casket stood a six-foot-high dollar sign, a quintessential personal symbol. She was quiet now, all alone. She had neither loved nor been loved. She died as she had lived, the ultimate narcissist, incapable of compassion or empathy.”

    Chapter 6, Freeing Yourself From the Narcissist in your Life, Linda Martinez-Lewi

    • Greg C. says:

      Ad Hominem is not an argument. No one is saying she was a great person, just that her ideas were vitally important. Clearly, there were internal struggles in her. People are much more complex than philosophy and novels. Especially writers. Did Hemingway invalidate his novels by blowing his brains out? Or do we disregard van Gogh’s art because he cut off his ear?

      • Ted Wrinch says:

        Ad hominem is generally a logical fallacy, designed to avoid a person’s ideas by attacking their character. When a person becomes a narcissist their illness consumes them, they become delusional, pathological liars and it becomes valid to focus on their character . Van Gogh’s work was honest and aligned with his character; Rand’s was not.

        • IMNAHA says:

          Now some psychiatrists, (ie:shamans with prescription pads), have banded together and declared Trump to be a raving narcissist unfit for office. Many of the surgeons I know are narcissists to one degree or another. So does this “incurable disease” invalidate their skills or value to society?

          • Ted Wrinch says:

            Trump is one but it maybe that only a megalomaniac could take on the deep state. Some surgeons are psychopaths, the final step of narcissism, and that gives them a steady hand…but they are not nice people to be with and will damage their families. The disease is incurable, past a certain degree, because it causes them to believe their flaws and weaknesses are somebody else’s fault, which renders them incapable of introspection.

        • Marilyn Guinnane says:

          Am somewhat in agreement with Ted Wrinch. When an artist is a true artist, character flaws or foibles do not detract from the work. But Ayn Rand couldn’t shine Nabakov’s shoes, for example. She was neither flexible nor brilliant. Still, if she influenced kids in a positive way insofar as politics go, hey what the hell.

          • Greg C. says:

            Ah yes, Nabakov, who wrote an entire novel about a middle-aged pedophile. Slate magazine recently celebrated it, calling it perverse (all the more reason to like it!)

            • Marilyn Guinnane says:

              Greg C., Nabakov’s ‘Lolita’ was one of the finest novels ever written. Utterly brilliant. I’m good, yes I’m a good writer, but I would never have the guts to tackle such a subject matter and if I did I’m afraid I’d never pull it off. Nabakov managed to view Humbert Humbert without judgment and . . . . but no, I can’t think that I could do even a critique of Lolita justice. Nabakov’s Invitation to a Beheading, another brilliant bit of writing—why don’t people ever graduate in their reading beyond Atlas Shrugged? “I read Ayn Rand in college and it changed my life.” Uh-huh, you don’t say. And then what?

            • Theodore says:

              I must admit, I do like the following (long) paragraph in Lolita…

              The scene of the doctor writing a Harmaceutical sleeping pill Rx to Humbert. Here, author Nabakov catches the essence of a medical doctor. Not much has changed since the 1950s.

              Background for this paragraph: Humbert is living with Lolita’s mom Charlotte and Lolita (Dolly) (Dolores Haze) has been away (for weeks or months? boarding school). Lolita is returning and Humbert is plotting to drug Lolita with sleeping pills.

              My side bar: note the phrase, “a tablet of mild bromides”. A Harmaceutical sedative (see notes below, after the excerpt)…

              ~~

              The excerpt:

              Next day, after lunch, I went to see “our” doctor, a friendly fellow whose perfect bedside manner and complete reliance on a few patented drugs adequately masked his ignorance of, and indifference to, medical science. The fact that Lo would have to come back to Ramsdale was a treasure of anticipation. For this event I wanted to be fully prepared. I had in fact begun my campaign earlier, before Charlotte made that cruel decision of hers. I had to be sure when my lovely child arrived, that very night, and then night after night, until St. Algebra took her away from me, I would possess the means of putting two creatures to sleep so thoroughly that neither sound nor touch should rouse them. Throughout most of July I had been experimenting with various sleeping powders, trying them out on Charlotte, a great taker of pills. The last dose I had given her (she thought it was a tablet of mild bromides — to anoint her nerves) had knocked her out for four solid hours. I had put the radio at full blast. I had blazed in her face an olisbos-like flashlight. I had pushed her, pinched her, prodded her — and nothing had disturbed the rhythm of her calm and powerful breathing. However, when I had done such a simple thing as kiss her, she had awakened at once, as fresh and strong as an octopus (I barely escaped). This would not do, I thought; had to get something still safer. At first, Dr. Byron did not seem to believe me when I said his last prescription was no match for my insomnia. He suggested I try again, and for a moment diverted my attention by showing me photographs of his family. He had a fascinating child of Dolly’s age; but I saw through his tricks and insisted he prescribe the mightiest pill extant. He suggested I play golf, but finally agreed to give me something that, he said, “would really work”; and going to a cabinet, he produced a vial of violet-blue capsules banded with dark purple at one end, which, he said, had just been placed on the market and were intended not for neurotics whom a draft of water could calm if properly administered, but only for great sleepless artists who had to die for a few hours in order to live for centuries. I love to fool doctors, and though inwardly rejoicing, pocketed the pills with a skeptical shrug. Incidentally, I had had to be careful with him. Once, in another connection, a stupid lapse on my part made me mention my last sanatorium, and I thought I saw the tips of his ears twitch. Being not at all keen for Charlotte or anybody else to know that period of my past, I had hastily explained that I had once done some research among the insane for a novel. But no matter; the old rogue certainly had a sweet girleen.

              ~~

              My side-bar on Bromides:

              Bromines: Avoid This if You Want to Keep Your Thyroid Healthy
              http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/09/05/another-poison-hiding-in-your-environment.aspx

              Bromides and your thyroid
              https://www.cabothealth.com.au/bromides-thyroid/
              * “If you are like most people, you probably haven’t spent much time thinking about how much bromine you’re absorbing from your car upholstery or your Mountain Dew…”

              Food Additives, Bromine and Thyroid Disorder
              http://www.livestrong.com/article/554803-food-additives-bromine-and-thyroid-disorder/

              Bad halogens for the body, good halogens for the body…
              http://www.chemicalelements.com/groups/halogens.html
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halogen
              BAD: Fluorine, Chlorine, Bromine
              GOOD: Iodine

            • Marilyn Guinnane says:

              Ah Theodore, excellent choice. But then, opening Lolita at random and copying just about anything would be an excellent choice. My top three favorite novels: Crime and Punishment, Lolita, and A Passage to India. Of course, one hates to omit Jane Austen and and and . . .

            • Greg C. says:

              Marilyn: I went through a period where I idolized certain creative people, and I see a parallel between your views on Lolita with my love-affair with filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. His technique and total mastery of the art, the way his films drew me in without ham-handed explanation, and made me not mind very much about the subject matter. Barry Lyndon was absolutely captivating – not only the photography, but the pacing, and some unforgettable tender scenes, but in the end it was about a miserable loser who married for money and squandered every bit of it. He totally alienated his step-son and destroyed his family. Yet, we are lured into feeling pity for him at the end. How easy it was for such a charming young man to turn into such a sorry excuse for a human being. Same goes for A Clockwork Orange – I was hooked on the film, and Anthony Burgess novels, until I realized that there was such a darkness at the center of it all. Clockwork Orange was dystopian, but it also sneakily glorified and made light of violent crime. I could see the writing on the wall, so I gave up on Kubrick. Never saw The Shining or anything else he made after that.

              The danger with people who appreciate art of all kinds is that they will give themselves to it as a kind of servant – sell their souls for it, if you will. Chase after the finest expression without paying much attention to what is being expressed.

              After I turned that corner, I re-read Rand’s books with some initial skepticism, but later I found that her writing, though primitive on the surface (her descriptions and characters like a Mickey Spillane novel) had depth. She invested her thought into developing motives for her characters. Read on that level, the novels open up hidden riches. It’s an acquired taste, just as you need to acquire a different set of ears to listen to a Bach Fugue as opposed to a Bruckner Symphony.

              And it’s no accident that motive is the all important ingredient in life, so Rand’s artistic primitivism serves to focus our attention on it. Not art for art’s sake, but art for life’s sake.

              I’m a music teacher, and I believe in art for life’s sake for my students. Whether they learn to play the most sensitive diminuendo is secondary to developing their sense of movement, intention, and awareness. And I think that Rand’s novels work on a similar primary level of consciousness.

            • Marilyn Guinnane says:

              Well Greg C., it’s perfectly all right in that you find Rand a rewarding read. i have no problem with that. But to discard Kubrick for the reasons stated rather baffles me. Kubrick never pretended his films were anything but what was openly represented in them. You should rent his last one, exposing Satanism. Its title escapes me momentarily. Singing like a canary cost him his life.

              I am a lover of fine writing. That would be the only reason I would place Nabakov on a pedestal. Most heroes have clay feet. But he is not a hero; he’s a brilliant writer so that he owns that pedestal.

              Kubrick was a brilliant filmmaker. Sadly, I think you’ve missed that point.

            • Greg C. says:

              Likewise, Marilyn, I think it is perfectly alright to admire Nabakov for his style and workmanship. What I dislike is the smutty ideas he expects us to entertain, to appreciate from the participant’s point of view. I’ve read a review of Eyes Wide Shut by Kubrick, and isn’t it telling that the final word of his final film (X-rated) is the F word. Compare that to the tender scene in Spartacus, where Kirk Douglas is expected to make love to Jean Simmons in prison in front of his guards, and he screams, “I am not an animal!” and Simmons reply to him is “Neither am I.” Such dignity and beauty, the idea that we can control our most powerful instincts with a superior faculty. Contrast that with Lolita or Eyes Wide Shut, and you will see my point.

              Artistry must serve to reflect and speak for our humanity, and to show us the finest that is possible. That is what I demand from art.

        • Michael Burns says:

          Ted:

          Therefor two wrongs make a right…lol.

          Your justifying ‘your’ fallacy. It is ad hominem. I can see your hatred of her (Rand)

          In a sense all great artists are affected by the fire of genius, it can at times consume the individual if not rightly understood…pure art is opposed to the reality we live in. It defies it, it spits on the absurdity of one reality. Ayn Rand is no exception.

          Van Gogh was a sad individual, he understood the importance of individuality to the creation of art; what he failed to realize was the parasitic nature of his own character; his addictions; specifically with his brother Theo.

          Theo failed to see he crippled his brother Vincent, allowed him to take the stipend he place him on and use it to buy absinthe and hash, hallucinogens. Theo saw Vincent as a tragic genius. Someone who needed coddling…Vincent plagued by the stigma of mental illness, and the pseudo science of psychiatry which was popularly arising, as a new trend through the fin de siecle.

          Through the dark Svengali Paul-Ferdinand Gachet, Vincent found a label, he allowed this ruthless manipulator to get into his mind, and listened, and was influenced by this dark bastard.

          Vincent was easily taken advantage of and was crippled in a way spiritually by the likes of Paul Gauguin, a nasty bullish man who was by all intensive purpose a pedophile, his influence on Vincent was predatory, in fact I’m almost positive from readings on the both characters, through letters and comparative study that, Gauguin planted some terrible seeds in Vincent’s mind. He taught him how to be leech. One them was Gauguin’s fascination, and love of his death wish.

          Vincent was never the same after they roomed together, with Gauguin parasitical on Vincent. Gauguin a strong and strapping good looker, preyed on Vincent’s inadequacies with the opposite sex. Vincent was awkward with ladies.

          Vincent by the way was suffering from tinnitus, and the preposterous idea that he cut his ear for a whore is ridiculous. He was trying to stop the ringing in his head…

          Vincent was grand on his own, when creating for the most part, but he couldn’t stop putting paint in his mouth, he wanted to eat color, it had mystical significance for him. It was his religion.

          He had terrible bouts with hashish, absinthe, absinthe the green monster took down many at that time, the laudanum inspired fits of aggrandizement. Made him a contrast of fits and starts.

          As far as his work have the significance of being aligned with his character, Vincent liked getting high far too much..

          His work is okay, it’s good, but it does not merit the grandeur of the modern investor has tried to imbue within it. Vincent work, sadly was ruined by marketing.

          He is one my favorites of the period…

          He is sadly a bedtime story now, no one sees the work for it real value.

        • Greg C. says:

          Ted, calling a person a narcissist is, I think, an attack on their character. It may be justifiable, but the whole idea of Ad hominem is that ideas must be evaluated on their own merits. You’ve constructed a slippery slope argument using labels: narcissist = illness = delusional = liar. That’s just name calling. No discussion of her actual ideas?

          • Ted Wrinch says:

            You can see the effects of her narcissism in her work. Atlas Shrugged bludgeons its readers over the head with its argument because that’s what she did with those around her, from her grandiosity and lack of empathy. Heroine Dagny Taggart enjoyed abusive sex because Rand did, as part of her illness. Rand has the truncated view that the value of people can be measured by monetary exchange because her illness had shut down her feelings. Her characters are good and bad, right and wrong, without the gradations of real people, because they are shaped by the back and white thinking of her illness. She espouses hyper-individualism, without a sense of the inter-connectedness of people, because that’s how narcissists see the world – they are the centre and others are merely objects in their world. She focuses on reason and ignores feeling because narcissism is primarily an illness of feeling.

            That said, this is the age of the individual, which collectivist forces are seeking to crush, and Rand’s support of the individual against collectivism in her work is to be commended.

            • Greg C. says:

              Ted: Putting relentless philosophical arguments into a novel is somehow equated with bludgeoning the reader. That’s a bit over the top. I’ve talked to people who read Atlas Shrugged and they thought it was just a good yarn like a Tom Clancy novel. I’m sure they skipped most of Galt’s speech, and the intellectual banter and issues were totally lost on them.

              So the ones who found it objectionable are the ones who understood what it was all about and who did not like the inescapable conclusions. It is a different experience from reading. say, Crime and Punishment. Because in that work, you could feel pity for the protagonist. The drama was Shakespearean – you observed it from the outside – victims of blind circumstance, of passion, of their ideals. Ayn Rand sets up her characters as thinking visionaries – even her evil characters are guided mainly by their philosophy. That is the “bludgeoning” effect – each character was responsible for their own thinking and was rewarded or punished according to the logical outcome. I think people by and large prefer to see themselves in a Shakespearean drama – they are playing a role only. They “fit in” to life. This is the “interconnectedness of people” that you refer to. They enjoy novels that confirm that experience, and dislike the few novels that challenge it. Even if – even if they agree with her overall philosophy, they still want to have the comfort of being a character, being shaped by family background, happily adjusted to their job, a contributor to society. They shudder at the “lone wolf” figures of Roark and Galt.

              It’s one thing to stand for individualism in politics, to espouse freedom to make the most of yourself in existing society, and quite another to say “Ill have no part of what you call society. I’ll create my own destiny.” We see Trump doing this on a national scale, by withdrawing from the global society where each nation plays its assigned part, and going with a national vision where we decide everything based solely on our own self-interest. It’s no coincidence that we see the same kind of reaction to Trump’s idealism as we do to Rand’s. Same conflict on a different scale. Not a conflict of philosophy per se, but meta-philosophy – which tackles the question, “Who am I.”

              That said, I don’t think I would particularly like Ayn Rand in person. She did not handle herself well with other people, because she did not really understand where the boundaries were. Anyone she engaged in intellectually she saw as fair game to openly analyze and personally criticize. It was manipulative. She had a small cult following and she exploited it. She ostracized anyone who did not toe the line. It was a lesson to me – that having superior insight does not entitle one to superior power over people. It is interesting that her characters did not act like she did. They did not try to force anyone to accept their way, or the highway. It was all passive resistance and withdrawing consent. Even Roark’s rape of Dominique was justified in the book as a response to Dominique’s game-playing at the quarry. It was she who enjoyed a sense of detached dominance (hence her name?) of a supposed nobody. She was a power game-player through and through, in every scene, until the end when she married Roark. Remember, she thought it her duty to destroy Roark. But after the rape, Roark would have nothing to do with her until she came willingly to him. And yet, Rand seemed OK with an ongoing intellectual rape of a sort with the people close to her. But not her readers – a reader always gives consent in reading on – or not.

            • Ted Wrinch says:

              Boundary violation, manipulation, the creation of a cult, putting down of others are all part of narcissism. As I said above, she was imprisoned by her illness.

      • Tim says:

        The story about van Gogh might have been made up by himself, and Guagin, to avoid police investigation, there’s a possibility Gaugin cut it off.

        • Greg C. says:

          Well, then, if that is true, then Gaugin’s work must be no good! 🙂

          • Michael Burns says:

            It’s not greatly appealing to me; don’t get me wrong if you handed me one tommorrow, I would have it on the auction blok immediately, that kind of moolah brings a lot of freedom.
            His work was good because he was creative, but his motivation was Fame and Fortune.
            The work itself speaks of his dedication to paint.

            He loved to rub elbows with the best of period. They just would’nt except him.
            Was he completely an individual…I’m can’t answer that. F&F is the kiss of death for great artists, its like heroin.
            So many get trapped in that, which in the end consumes a brilliant artist.History is litteed with the reckage of artist lives. There a reson for that…

            Gaugin was a wealthy stock-broker before he left his family and became a painter,

            “The story about van Gogh might have been made up”…wasn’t that drama for the movie, I can’t remember the name..remember, the director was/is an artist too..

            • Tim says:

              Something interesting about the common story about van Gough cutting off his ear is not the content of the story, but about how the story gets such instant acceptance, it’s sucked right in without second thoughts. This is the kind of thing that the propagandists are interested in, ‘what makes a story instantly accepted, no second thoughts, no analysis, no criticism.’

          • Michael Burns says:

            Greg this is the only place I could fit this…and so.

            “Artistry must serve to reflect and speak for our humanity, and to show us the finest that is possible. That is what I demand from art.”

            Take that one and through it in the trash can, I speak only for myself…never for humanity. That’s what I as an artist demand of myself. Art is the pure exercise of uniqueness, and invididuality. I am not a spokesman. And I am not looking fully for the best in art.
            Trash is its own message.

            • Greg C. says:

              Michael: When I said “our humanity” I did not mean a collective or a consensus, but our individual sense of what it means to be human. So I agree with you.

              I noticed that after a few replies, the only way to reply to someone is through the WordPress notification menu – you can’t do it directly from the page.

    • Ginny Sing says:

      Interesting information! Matthew 7:16 “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

      • Greg C. says:

        Well, Ginny, Jesus was talking about a person’s character, not their creative work or ideas. Do you think Tchaikovsky’s symphonies are degenerate art because he lived immorally by biblical standards?

        • Ginny Sing says:

          Believing that one’s “character” can be completely “separate” from the “fruit” which flows forth from “within” the deepest self, is certainly consistent with the “teachings” of this world.

          However, that teaching does not reflect the truth which Jesus spoke.. and more importantly.. the truth by which he lived. What truth is that?… Simply this: All creations are “marked”, from the moment of creation and thereafter, by the “attitude” of their creator(s).

          Tchaikovsky’s music no doubt reflects the “struggle” he experienced “within”, which some might label “immoral”. Even he himself characterizes his creative endeavors as a struggle… ” I have been much troubled by my inability to grasp and manipulate form in music.. I shall end my days without ever having written anything that is perfect in form”.

          Likewise, Ayn Rand’s life and writings are inseparable testimonies to the “struggle” she experienced. Her life and her art are both “fruits” and they reflect not only the truths she embraced and lived by, but they also reflect the truths she failed to embrace and live by.

          • Greg C. says:

            It’s quite a leap to say that Tchaikovsky’s and Rand’s struggles were based on actual failure of some sort. In Tchaikovsky’s situation, there was no failure – he was the inspiration for many more Russian composers to follow.

            They both had self-doubts, to be sure (though Rand would deny them), but when you are an innovator, that is natural. There’s no one to lean on, and the critics are ruthless. Just about anyone would have self-doubts in that situation. The pressure to be like everyone else, to join the consensus, is enormous for such people. Put yourself in Rand’s shoes. Imagine working for over a decade on a novel while living in poverty, barely able to afford your meals, taking little jobs here and there. Then with success, suddenly people are coming out the woodwork with insults, while others mildly praise your work for the wrong reasons. When they can’t find real flaws in your work, they pry into your personal life and say, “Aha – you’re not perfect – you’re an imposter!” Echos of a similar story that is almost 2,000 years old.

            • Ginny Sing says:

              I agree. That would be a leap. Their struggles were human. Failure is not how I would characterize the idea that one’s creations reflect the “struggles” as well as the “flow” of one’s life. Their creations were “marked” by the reality they embraced and lived by. That is my point. And how else can it be? Artists are recognizable, and their “style” is familiar, due to this truth. Their fruits bear a unique and personal “mark” reflecting their state of consciousness. One’s personal life, and the fruits which spring from their life, reflect a unique ordering (arranging) of reality. Rather than saying “Aha – you’re not perfect – you’re an imposter!” I say instead: “The reality you have created on paper reflects the fractured, imbalanced and chaotic nature of the reality you have “arranged” for yourself and live in everyday.”

            • Greg C. says:

              I see Rand’s characters as the kind of people she wished she could be. Roark was humble to the max. Other people insulted him, his lover tried to destroy him, he worked without credit. He refused to defend himself in court. If he couldn’t reply with a kind but truthful answer, he just smiled in sympathy. That is just one possible character outcome of Rand’s philosophy. Character is a creation of our intention and work, not our philosophy. There are kind capitalists, and mean ones. There are mean Christians, and there are hypocritical Christians. There are some rare ones that practice what they preach. By your standard, we can judge Christianity by its mean and hypocritical followers.

              Following a philosphy, working it out in daily life, is quite another thing from espousing it. It is possible for a composer to write a great work and play it badly, or not be able to play a note of it.

            • Ginny Sing says:

              I see….

  11. Tim says:

    Considering the need to control the narrative by the control freaks, all stories (histories) about people like Rand and many others need to be taken with some skepticism. How much has been made up to shape people’s minds? What does the state want you think about Rand, and others?

  12. Michael Burns says:

    You have taken in a great deal here Jon, I will have to think for a while.
    A very well written piece…I will get to this…

  13. Deanna Johnston Clark says:

    Are Adam and Eve a we or an I? Is a married pair so close they know each others thoughts and emotions by osmosis one or 2 people?
    Let’s go there….

  14. ubercynic says:

    Rand no doubt had her moments of excessive verbiage and purple prose, but I defy you to cite anything even remotely as windy, over-mannered and pretentious as the Nabakov quoted @April 2, 2017 at 12:22 pm. If that’s good writing by the standards of “literary fiction”, being called bad by those standards is high praise indeed.

    She was also not devoid of personal flaws and intellectual errors. Nonetheless, in the unlikely event humanity pulls out of its full-burner nosedive into 1984-world, she will get – and deserve – major credit for the recovery.

    WRT the OP: Highly astute, Mr. Rappoport.

  15. Pat Passaglia says:

    […] I’d think anyone who has attempted to come to grips with Rand’s “Objectivism” would realize it’s not any kind of tenable or consistent philosophy at all, but merely an attempt at “reverse-engineering” a case for rabid, unbridled, laissez-faire capitalism, as embodied in her romantic supermale heroes. Consider what her disciples. such as Alan Greenspan and Milton Friedman, have wrought upon America and the world after sitting at her feet. Now, Murray Rothbart had a rather better perspective – try his amusing short play “Mozart Was a Red” for some insight into the Rand salon. – For the rest, I agree with Marilyn and Ted here – the woman really couldn’t write worth a damn, stylistically speaking. If she excelled at anything, it was as a cult leader.

  16. Brian says:

    Her real name was Alisa Rosenbaum and she was a crazy bitch paid to SHILL a fractious splinter group ideology whose larger purport was certainly to promote narcissism. Hollywood strings were certainly pulled in order for her to have Gary Cooper (even on the downswing) star in the film version of The Fountainhead, a hysterical and amateurish novel that was. unfortunately, her best by far. I do think though that obnoxious separatist lesbians should have Rand’s awful dom-sub rantings pumped into their ears while they sleep. Good therapy for them. No more worthwhile for me than bloody Karl Marx. If they had been born to the same century they could have been a couple.

    • ubercynic says:

      It is informative to compare the degree of literacy and coherency – or sanity – between Rand’s admirers and detractors.

  17. Thanks for the wonderful article. What the best Rand book to start with?

    • John says:

      Try the Gary Cooper film, The Fountainhead, the Howard Roark speech made in the film is awesome, it is one of the greatest speeches about the individual and how we must all eventually come to realize that individual liberty can never be collective. You can find the speech on youtube.

  18. tormance says:

    Gee whiz. If you ask me she was something if she can still provoke this amount of … squabbling. Really are we talking about her writing..? You can dismiss her own fragile physical existence, personality etc., even the greatest of us have … something a little off don’t you think… and yes her writing itself was maybe not the top of the line… I do think that is rather an individual call… but as she liked so often to say should we not be talking about ideas… whatever you say or want to dismiss… well Ms. Rand was GREAT because of the ideas she was dramatizing. Her books are profound and- atheist or not- and I don’t consider myself one- but what she said Mr. Rappoport has demonstrate quite easily has a resonance. Yeh she wasn’t great… even her writing may not be perfect but what she had to say… that was GREAT … and makes us think twice or three times even now. Don’t you think that is a good thing..? I do… I still think about John Galt and Howard Roark… as cardboard as some of us might think… I don’t think of many characters like that….

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