Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead still survives

Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead still survives

by Jon Rappoport

July 18, 2017

This may seem like a strange way to start an article about Ayn Rand, but…

Sociologists and psychologists and other pseudo-academics miss the boat on almost every analysis of human culture they perform. They’re like surgeons reading the wrong X-rays before opening up the patient on the table.

For example, the “puppet factor” should loom large in studies of human endeavor. But it doesn’t. Puppets not only obey orders from above, they find other puppets and commiserate. They form groups. They share. They devote themselves to each other, struggling to believe that “human bonds” will mitigate and surpass the grinding years, during which they carry out the same orders and functions over and over.

“It’s not what you do in life, it’s the people you connect with. It’s expanding the sense of family.”

Somehow, the tedium of puppethood can be ignored, because people become people-people…and that’s sufficient, that’s what love is all about…you judge your value by what you can contribute to other marionettes…and the degree of appreciation you can garner from them…

I’ve written several articles about Ayn Rand and her work. No need to recapitulate my output here. Her 1943 novel still survives, as both the most hated and loved novel of the last three-quarters of a century.

Those who hate the book and want a hook for wounding it often say: the world Rand constructs isn’t real; it doesn’t and couldn’t exist; the people aren’t real, either.

How interesting. Novels are fiction, the last time I looked.

“Yes, but Rand is saying the world of her novels is the actual one.”

No, she’s saying her world is the underlying core of the real world. She’s claiming to reveal what’s percolating and boiling and steaming in back of mere social discourse and pretense and puppetry.

From people I’ve spoken to over the years, people who hate The Fountainhead, I would say they see themselves in a character in the novel, and they don’t like what they see.

For example, somewhere inside themselves, they see a no-hold-barred impulse for success without compromise, or they see a surrender to the flaccid norms of society and culture—and in either case, they’re disturbed.

Here is a sprinkling of quotes from Rand’s book. They challenge cultural platitude with a visceral and intellectual stroke of electricity. And that’s why The Fountainhead still lives, both for those love it or hate it:

Howard Roark (architect): “Every man creates his meaning and form and goal. Why is it so important—what others have done? Why does it become sacred by the mere fact of not being your own? Why is anyone and everyone right—so long as it’s not yourself?”

Roark: “I’ve chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I’m only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me. But the best is a matter of standards—and I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one.”

Roark: “I don’t intend to build in order to have clients; I intend to have clients in order to build.”

Rand: “Men hate passion, any great passion. Henry Cameron made a mistake: he loved his work.”

Dominque Francon: “Ask anything of men. Ask them to achieve wealth, fame, love, brutality, murder, self-sacrifice. But don’t ask them to achieve self-respect. They will hate your soul.”

Roark: I don’t make comparisons. I never think of myself in relation to anyone else. I just refuse to measure myself as part of anything.”

Ellsworth Toohey (newspaper columnist and social engineer, who sees his ultimate nemesis as Roark): “Happiness is self-contained and self-sufficient. Happy men have no time and no use for you. Happy men are free men. So kill their joy in living. Take away from them whatever is dear or important to them. Never let them have what they want. Make them feel that the mere fact of a personal desire is evil. Bring them to a state where saying ‘I want’ is no longer a natural right, but a shameful admission. Altruism is of great help in this. Unhappy men will come to you. They’ll need you. They’ll come for consolation, for support, for escape. Nature allows no vacuum. Empty man’s soul—and the space is yours to fill.”

Roark: “…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. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary act—the process of reason—must be performed by each man alone.”

Roark: “The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive.”

Roark: “Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before distribution—or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary. 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 praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.”

Roark: “As poles of good and evil, he was offered two conceptions: egoism and altruism. Egoism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self. Altruism—the sacrifice of self to others. This tied man irrevocably to other men and left him nothing but a choice of pain: his own pain borne for the sake of others or pain inflicted upon others for the sake of self…Man was forced to accept masochism as his ideal—under the threat that sadism was his only alternative.”

These words are still capable of provoking thought—and not because they were merely intended to inflame or polarize.

And there are still people who will search for any reason under the sun to reject them—to avoid the need to read them, understand them, and make up their own minds about them.

(New piece up at my OUTSIDE THE REALITY MACHINE blog entitled “I’m Putin, I’m the US president, I am Russia, hear me roar, I sit in the White House”)

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.

48 comments on “Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead still survives

  1. H. Kelly Taylor says:

    Very little is as annoying as the poorly written thematic novel. Themes are often false constructions that amount to noisy attempts to glorify the second rate mind. Rand’s work is the intellectual and artistic equivalent of lighting one’s own farts, an exercise in excusing ruthless self absorption. Think of fourteen year old drummer boys marching heedlessly into bayonets in War and Peace or Jim crying over regretting striking his son for disobeying, then discovering later the boy couldn’t hear him (in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) . I hope the comparison makes my point. Fiction should focus primarily on character, its development and motivation. Save the theme writing for essays and theses.

    • Greg C. says:

      She annoys you because she is a second-rate mind, and she is a second-rate mind because … she metaphorically “lights her own farts?” Scintillating criticism! Guilty of “ruthless self-absorbtion?” I love her ruthlessness, and I love her unflinching look at what lies beneath the mask we call “self.” We prefer to get absorbed in the social mask we create, rather than discover what is behind the mask. We want drama, pathos, war, etc. because it helps us to seem less boring to ourselves. We want to be other-absorbed, because we are not comfortable in our own skin.

      • John Donohue says:

        Greg, that is brilliantly stated. I’ve been around a long time, and rarely see the “socially constructed” mind so clearly exposed. Bravo.

  2. choodly says:

    By Jon’s recommendation i started reading The Fountainhead and i have just finished it yesterday after ordering a used version of it.
    i really love her style of writing even very romantic and it keeps one reading.
    You either stay loyal to yourself and your principles or you become a second hander renunciating and selling out your soul and everyone you care about around you.
    This is a great book even for self reflection since i was recognizing parts of my own life that were corresponding with the characters in this novel.
    Atlas Shrugged is the next one up.

    • John says:

      Try viewing the Gary Cooper movie, The Fountainhead. Powerful speech in there only an actor like Cooper could give..

  3. Chuck Morrison says:

    Man was not forced to accept masochism as the only alternative to sadism. Christ taught us to ‘love our neighbors as we love ourselves’, so if we actually love ourselves well, and show that level of love to others, how is that masochistic? No, the wrong choice we made is to listen to leaders who make us THINK that sadism is the only choice if we want to give ourselves some joy in life.

    I am coming to the conclusion that a great deal of joy could be had in the act of destroying globalist banksters, various industrial complex oligarch robber barons, and perverts and pedophiles of every description. Do I have these thoughts because I love myself and my neighbors, and feel sorry about how badly we’ve been had, and how much of our retirement has been stolen? Well, yeah. Will I be choosing sadism if I set out to destroy the enemies of mankind, who are in fact narcissistic psychos without conscience? Only in so far as there is an element of sadism in true justice; the satisfaction of pulling the lever that will result in the demise of someone who desperately deserves it, and is unquestionably bound for hell.

  4. jillmirran says:

    I have not read this book as I had an instant revulsion to Ayn Rand. But you have turned this around, of course I didn’t realise it was not about her, but the truth of the time she was living in. The architect is humanity, creation, and I had no idea of the truth in it. Thank you.

  5. Rumple Stilskin says:

    I’m about to go online or on YewToob to see if there is a free version of Ayn Rand’s book read aloud by some annoying digitized voice. I’ll hear it and decide for myself if it’s good or not. I sure as hell don’t need any of you monkeys telling me if its good or not. I refuse to pay for books anymore because I look at all of them as a grain of salt. They’re usually not worth my precious money that I need to buy cigarettes and such. As far as the opinions and comments of other confused idiots…well, I have enough of that right here inside my own mind thank you very much!

  6. H. Kelly Taylor says:

    Rand is a second rate mind because she writes the worst dialogue I’ve ever seen. Nobody talks like that, at least nobody listens to anybody who talks like that. Those pedantic bombastic flights of crap are awful. Even though fiction should be about character and not ideas doesn’t mean it shouldn’t contain no ideas. I want it therefore I am is not philosophy. Contrast Rand’s dialogue with Flannery O’Conner. In Good Country People , the huckster bible salesman is stealing a woman’s wooden leg, a PHD atheist who’d seduced him. In parting he says,”You think you’re so smart, I been believing’ in nothin’ all my life”.

    • Greg C. says:

      Let me get this straight – you think we should pay to read books that have dialogue that we could just as easily hear in real life? And read about crummy thieves who believe in nothing? Who’s the real huckster?

    • John Donohue says:

      Rand’s dialog is spectacular. Are you sure you mean her “dialog” as ‘conversation between people? As opposed to her philosophical interludes, which are not dialog.

  7. bob klinck says:

    The “Objectivist” Rand was as emotionally chaotic and manipulative as a person can be, which led her to violate in private all the vaunted principles she was expounding for everyone else to follow. As many discovered in time, her seductive penchant for reasoning rode on the back of a raging emotional bull. Read Judgment Day by Nathanial Branden, the once-lauded acolyte to whom Rand initially dedicated Atlas Shrugged. It was “her disposition to use people in the most cold-blooded and hypocritical way” (p. 373)–hardly the path to social progress. Her group of worshippers, whom, note, she dubbed “The Collective”, convened internal show trials (with her claque of Red Guards baying for blood under her guidance and that of the ultimately horrified Branden) designed to destroy anyone who questioned her superior genius. Sorry, Jon, but, for all that they might contain some appealing insights, commending Ayn Rand’s writings to others is exposing them to the inhuman ravings of a psychopath. What kind of nut would attribute total creative power to an architect who must in pursuing his profession be using the science and technology borrowed from the achievements of thousands of other persons? Only a narcissist existing in a purely abstract mental world.

    • John says:

      Ayn Rand or Karl Marx, take your pick. They are the two sides of a manufactured, atheistic dialectic. One claims to favor individualism, the other favors collectivism. Yet both hold the “common man” in contempt, to be ruled by a new aristocracy. Call them the “men of the mind” or the “central committee”, the result is the same.

      • bob klinck says:

        The effect of Randian philosophy, favoring “selfishness” and contempt for lesser mortals (no members of The Collective falling into this category, of course–until Ayn deemed them to be deserving of ostracization), is to atomize society, so that cooperation for beneficial general reform becomes not only impractical, but, in “Objectivist” eyes, actually immoral. This effect must please the reigning oligarchy–and perhaps explains the ongoing active promotion of Ayn Rand’s ideas. Her bulldozing, uncompromising methods of analysis are, like those of communists, exemplary of pilpulism, which is more concerned with dominating in disputation than with discovering truth.

        • John Donohue says:

          I had to look up “pilpulism.”

          Your corrections:
          1) Rand has no contempt for any honest person on any level;
          2) Cooperation is the hallmark of Capitalism and has rendered stupendous general welfare far far above any ever provided by collectivism;
          3) Ayn Rand does not champion oligarchy — which operates through private/govt enmeshment;

          I will dispute you as long as necessary until you admit the truth about Ayn Rand. Am I a pilpulist?

          • bob klinck says:

            You are not a pilpulist if your goal is to arrive at a more accurate understanding of reality through discourse with others. If you are blindly determined to arrive at a predetermined conclusion by hook or by crook, which your final sentence suggests, then, yes, you are operating in the pilpulistic mould.

            The way in which Ayn Rand consistently pontificated and verbally bullied others leaves no doubt that the descriptor suits her mental processes.

            Regarding point (1), I am relying on what Nathanial Branden revealed about her nastiness when crossed, which he discovered (after he became a primary target) extended to psychopathically* working to destroy the careers and very lives of acolytes whom she adjudged to be insufficiently adoring (i.e., displaying independent-mindedness); in her perception, no one could simultaneously be honest and reject the absolutist conclusions she arrived at by applying her reason to the postulates from which she chose to work. She freely expressed contempt for others throughout her career, apparently becoming maniacal about it only later in life. You seem to concur with her that any persons at the receiving end of this contempt had to be, by definition, dishonest. Since Branden was the object of her most violent contempt (after she had lauded him for over a decade, named him as an heir in her will, and dedicated her magnum opus to him), I suppose that you must reject as dishonest anything he had to say about her and their relationship, which eliminates our having any common ground on which to have a discussion.

            On point (2), as, contrary to conventional mythology, many “collectivist” movements have actually been supported by “capitalists”, I don’t accept your assumption that they are incompatible categories.

            On point (3), I might be mistaken, but I thought a major theme of her writing was that in society there are creative worthies and parasitical hangers-on and that the former should be in position to dictate policy. This sounds to me like an oligarchical arrangement, but since Randians, like Marxists, define terms in ways that suit them rather than for the purpose of permitting discussion on the basis common understandings, I have no further comment for you.

            *By conventional criteria for the condition, some tenets of “Objectivism” as expressed by Rand are inherently symptomatic of psychopathy.

    • Greg C. says:

      Yes, let’s just read authors who are nice people. Like Hemingway (oh, wait a minute, divorced 3 times, then killed himself). Or J.D. Salinger (oops, divorced, then lived with an 18-year-old, who later wrote about his obsessive controlling personality). Be sure to look into the background of the author before you read any novel! 🙂

    • 1. English wasn’t her first language
      2. Her personal life is irrelevant. Dismissing the validity of some of her assertions because she wasn’t able to live without internal division doesn’t actually negate the truth. It merely displays an inability to recognize a fact when it presents itself.
      3. “Commending Ayn Rand’s writings to others is exposing them to the inhuman ravings of a psychopath.” Ahhh, the old ad hominem. How academic of you.

      Bob, do you believe there is such a thing as a social contract?

      • bob klinck says:

        Nathanial Branden was a professional psychologist, the author of about 20 books in the field. While I hardly think psychology is deserving of total credence, it does provide insights into the operations of human thinking. He was also an intimate of Ayn Rand and for years her most valued supporter–before he experienced some empathetic relationships that caused him to question his involvement with the harsh judgmentalism of “The Collective”. You can draw no conclusion from Branden’s book Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand other than that in his professional opinion (not mine) she was (or perhaps had become as a result of her lifelong use of amphetamines, so Branden says) a psychopath: “we wrote bullying letters” (p. 334); “angry behavior she displayed during question-and-answer periods at my lectures…troubled me” (p. 335); “Why did she not have the honor and sanity to remember” (p. 340); “Leonard…was exiled…His offense, as always, involved some failure to support and defend Ayn and her work in his dealings with other people” (p. 342); “In her grandiosity and suspiciousness her behavior bordered at times on paranoia” (p.347); “To think of Ayn as mad in any respect was to plunge my universe into chaos” (p. 349); “To destroy me, Barbara later told me, had become Ayn’s obsession; she spoke of little else” (p. 396); “I asked my brain to absorb the fact that the woman who had been my idol was plotting my annihilation” (p. 398); etc.

        As a rule I dislike ad hominem arguments, but in extreme cases of hypocrisy (as, for example, when a rigorous advocate of personal freedom is actually a maniacal control freak), where evidence is abundant, it is appropriate to invoke them. I recognize that what Branden went through might have somewhat distorted his assessments, but he was trained to be aware of this danger.

        • Well, I have to say that was a legitimate response and I appreciate the time you took.
          I agree with the following especially:

          As a rule I dislike ad hominem arguments, but in extreme cases of hypocrisy (as, for example, when a rigorous advocate of personal freedom is actually a maniacal control freak), where evidence is abundant, it is appropriate to invoke them. I suppose in this case I would argue assuming his accounts were correct then she was indeed a psychopath. I’ll have to pick up that book.

          • bob klinck says:

            These were very intelligent people, but with patent emotional frailties–and I think you will sense this to be true even of psychologist Branden. This might be why they were so attracted to the notion that they could arrive at truth purely through reasoning. Of course, given the right axioms, often in combination with a good dose of rationalization, you can reason your way to any conclusion you want. In Ayn’s case her primary conclusion was that she was the smartest person who had ever lived and anyone who couldn’t see this was intellectually contemptible. You will have to judge for yourself whether Branden’s account of their relationship is just the product of, as someone else in this conversation says, a person with an axe to grind. I don’t see it in that way. In any case, you will probably enjoy the book.

            • John Donohue says:

              @bob klinck

              How did you come to the conclusion that N.Brandon’s quotes … cherry picked from his gigantic pile of praise for Ayn Rand – convey a total convincing psychological diagnosis? And … what about all the other tons of affirmative observations easily found from hundreds of people?

              More important, why are you obsessed with Ayn Rand personally? What you are doing is called “psychologizing,” a major intellectual failing.

              Here’s the cure: judge an idea or philosophy on its merits. Period.

        • John Donohue says:

          Since you “dislike” (know them to be fallacious and malicious) ad hominem arguments, yet in this case pile one on from someone with an ax to grind, why not perform this act of contrition: find a like number of supporting testimony to Ayn Rand’s humor, generosity, kindness, patience, helpfulness and brilliance.

          Either that, or say three hail marys and three our fathers, since you admit you committed a sin.

          • arcadia11 says:

            lol. you’re strict, but i like it.

          • bob klinck says:

            All those compliments can be found in Branden’s book, mostly in the earlier chapters–as can the evidence that she was a perfect exemplar of the adage that “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” (or an Ayn Rand who has conjured up a perception that she is being scorned). All pretence to rationality (Objectivism) disappeared and she was transformed into a relentless avenging berserker.

        • John Donohue says:

          @ bob klinck

          Wait..I just read your post more carefully. You say that the conclusion that Ayn Rand was a psychopath was Brandon’s conclusion, not yours.

          Cite his exact language in which he labels Ayn Rand a psychopath. Supply full identification of the quote.

          If you can’t, the conclusion is yours.

          • bob klinck says:

            Straw man, John? Where did I say that Branden (not Brandon, by the way) himself labelled Rand a psychopath? You should read more carefully. Branden stated that she shrieked threats at him, obsessed constantly about annihilating him and took every step she could to do so, wanted him dead, asserted that the only option he had after his “betrayal” of her (actually he had done what she had earlier agreed was to be expected) was to commit suicide, etc. I believe most people would interpret this as psychopathic behavior, but you are entitled to perceive it as being within the bounds of normality if you so wish.

            • John Donohue says:

              bob klinck: “You can draw no conclusion from Branden’s book [ …] other than that in his professional opinion (not mine) she was […] a psychopath…”

              If you think the weasel words “no conclusion … other…” get you off the hook, you are sadly mistaken. Labeling someone a psychopath is a grievous claim. And you did it.

              This is solid: you have either claimed that Nathaniel Branden judged Ayn Rand a psychopath, or you have. Now, which is it?

            • bob klinck says:

              John: When Branden discovered the body of his wife drowned in their swimming pool, he (along with, independently, his two Objectivist nephews) wondered if she might have been murdered by “some lunatic from our past”(p. 428). Knowing what his past had predominantly consisted of, it is not unreasonable to assume that he was referring to the company of practitioners of “fanaticism, dogmatism and oppressive moralism”(p. 370) that slavishly worshipped and did the bidding of Ayn Rand. He did not suggest that she herself might have been connected directly to Patrecia’s death (for which he deduced a possibly accidental, if improbable, cause), although he had considered at one point that Ayn might be “insane”[Branden himself put this word in quotation marks, leaving us to speculate on its intended meaning](p.372) and for a considerable time she obsessed about stripping him of everything he valued in life and took steps toward this end. There was about a decade between Rand’s expulsion of Branden from her circle and the death of his wife, but he had last reminded Rand of his ongoing existence by a telephone call made to her about a year before the death.

            • John Donohue says:

              @ bob klinck July 25, 2017 at 12:55 pm

              You did not answer my challenge: per your claim, either N. Branden or you are calling Ayn Rand a psychopath. That is a stupendously onerous claim, and a devastating diagnosis if true. The conversation cannot continue unless you respond, or withdraw the claim.

              So, which is it: are you claiming it, or are you saying Branden claimed it. If the former, prove it. If the later, cite the exact quotation and full context.

            • bob klinck says:

              I never said that Branden “labelled” or “called” Ayn Rand a psychopath. Those are your misapplied strawman words, not mine. I do contend that he “judged” her to be psychopathic, and my evidence for this is in the many quotations I have provided from his book regarding her words and actions.

              Here’s another–the mine is rich–which unquestionably indicates that Branden regarded Rand as being mentally deranged, without applying a label to her condition: After she had bombastically, and with evident malicious intent, condemned him to [sexual] impotence “for the next twenty years” [for becoming interested in another woman], he says, “I looked deliberately at Allan [Blumenthal]. I thought: You are a psychiatrist. How do you assess the mental and moral state of a human being who would say what Ayn had [sic] just said?” If you do not detect psychopathy in her rage to hurt, then we obviously differ in our understandings of what constitutes psychopathy. I do not profess to have professional expertise in the matter, but there are generally accepted checklists for the symptoms, and readers following this exchange might want to assess the quotations I have provided against these. Of course if Branden himself was fabulating, then there would be no point in doing this. However, I personally find his detailed account of the dissolution of his once intense collaboration with Rand to be plausible. If you disagree, all you need to do is say so.

          • John Donohue says:

            You have answered: you state that Branden did not call Ayn Rand a psychopath. That means it is you who are diagnosing her as such.

            Clearly define this legal and medical condition per DSM. Cite the doctor’s reports that diagnosed her. Do not quote other people’s claims and rants. This term is not to be tossed around like an internet meme. It is an onerous extraordinary claim of a horrifying condition, and requires extraordinary evidence.

            If you don’t do this, your diagnosis is not only void, but sick.

            Meanwhile, this is all avoidance. You claimed that Objectivism itself is “inherently symptomatic of psychopathy” without citing the DSM characteristics and the elements of the philosophy that indict it. You continue to argue tu quoque by proxy, flinging the words of one person (not yourself!) against a personality to discredit her philosophy. This is void.

            • bob klinck says:

              John, you say: “you state that Branden did not call Ayn Rand a psychopath”. Not in Judgment Day, no–but why is this of concern, since nobody in these exchanges has said that he did? I am surprised that you keep gnawing at this bone that you have conjured out of your own imagination. Of course, not knowing Branden’s every communication, I am in no position to state categorically that he never placed her in this category.

              However, I think non-psychopaths who read his narrative will concur that the behaviour he attributed to her, most evidently later in her life, conforms to standard criteria of psychopathy. As she has had many defenders, more favorable assessments of her character and personality undoubtedly exist, and I would think you could direct interested persons to these as a counterbalance to Branden’s account. In his support, key Collective member and psychiatrist Alan Blumenthal came to the conclusion that Rand suffered from several personality disorders.

              You will understand, I hope, that, after his years of the closest identification with and emotional investment in Objectivism, Branden was concerned not to discredit Ayn so utterly as to throw the baby of principles he believed in out with the bathwater of her malicious behavior. Thus, for example, he characterized her not as insane, but rather “insane”. Nor would it have been comfortable for him to admit to having been for many years completely taken in by, to the point of worshipping, a person who was pathologically mentally unwell.

              It should be noted that he used Objectivism as a springboard for his post-Rand career, theorizing extensively about self-esteem, one of the themes he and Ayn focussed on in their discussions.

            • John Donohue says:

              You have claimed, above, that Ayn Rand was a psychopath. I will not relent until you withdraw this claim, or prove it.

              So, post now to withdraw your claim.

              If instead you intend to support your claim, clearly define this legal and medical condition per DSM. Cite the doctor’s reports that diagnosed her. Do not quote other people’s claims and rants. This term is not to be tossed around like an internet meme. It is an onerous extraordinary claim of a horrifying condition, and requires extraordinary evidence.

              Don’t call on “the standard criteria of psychopathy” without specifically citing them per DSM and professionals, don’t presume what others said or thought, don’t tell me to assume she “fits” random unspecified aspects of this mental illness.
              Don’t tell me what you hope I’ll understand – I am not going to help you by stipulating the claims you are floating.

              And again … this is a blog post by Jon Rappoport concerning the Ideas of Objectivism in The Fountainhead. Tu quoque attacks on the author not only display your inability to counter these ideas, but that you consider it legitimate to attack a person to discredit her thought. This is void.

  8. H. Kelly Taylor says:

    Obviously I erred in editing my last post. It contains a double negative unfortunately . Apologies.

  9. John Donohue says:

    Jon, this is my first visit to your blog. Thank you for posting these quotes.

    As you can see from some of the comments, your observations that Ayn Rand is “both the most hated and loved” and that many “search for any reason under the sun to reject them—to avoid the need to read them, understand them, and make up their own minds about them” are very accurate.

  10. gretchen g says:

    This is a little off the subject, but anyone familiar with Ayn Rand might enjoy this humorous short story on her from a few years ago:


  11. Spiritof42 says:

    Rand makes a good Rorschach test. Statists hate her as if her writings are as flawed as her personality. IMO, she is still the most influential writer for the cause of liberty. As the saying goes, you can tell a lot about a writer by their enemies.

    • bob klinck says:

      Strange–I am not aware that this defender of “the cause of liberty” ever had anything significant to say about a financial system that has a monopoly on the creation of financial credit and thereby is able to make governments, businesses and individuals dance to its tune. Nor did she challenge the patent lunacy, and criminality, of making the provision of employment (wage slavery), under monetary coercion, a primary economic goal. [The current doubling annually of the number of industrial robots churning out goods surely is making this precept look increasingly perverse to even the most obtuse of simpletons.] In short, Rand fits neatly into a tradition of Puritanism that, rooted in identitarianism (some ‘them’ as against some ‘us’), can never generate policies that will be of universal benefit.

  12. This article is a simple and accurate appraisal of the modern prog-left:

    Now, scroll down all the way to the bottom and you will see this comment:

    Sarah Freeman · Kansas City, Missouri
    We are a society, not a collection of individuals with “natural human rights”. As members of a society, we each have a moral contract to “the greater good”. If your selfish, so-called “natural rights” increase the level of suffering in society as a whole, “we the people” can collectively deem your selfishness unnacceptable. This is representative democracy. “Government force” = “we the people”.

    Could that have been for comic effect given the poster’s name? The apparent tone strikes me as serious, and if so, oh the irony. I’d laugh if it wasn’t so tragic.

  13. W. Chubb-Baggins says:

    Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).

    – Ayn Rand

    • bob klinck says:

      I guess she didn’t foresee that rights could be arbitrarily stripped away by governments in the absence of any specific public authorization. Considering the experience she had had of the Soviet Union, this seems like a major blind spot.

  14. rightwingconservativenewsblog says:

    I gotta get that book again now, read it when i was about 11….

  15. Good article, Jon.

    For some reason I feel there’s a lot of “me” in this one.


  16. Svetlana O'Shaughnessy says:

    Ayn Rand was a monster.
    Other monsters admire her for giving them a fake “philosophy” that endorses their natural human selfishness as a valid approach to life. Her philosophy is best summarized as “F* *k you buddy, I got mine!”

    Her philosophy is ignored by all serious institutions, and ”Objectivism has to make its way through the world via a cult. like Amway or Scientology.

    • John Donohue says:

      I find that the philosophy of many people who SlamMissRand is best summarized as “You got yours [sour pout] and I am going to steal it as soon as possible [vicious greedy sneer].”

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