Ayn Rand

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Anybody who thinks Rand is a great author or a great philosopher can be immediately discounted. She was the Horatio Alger of her era. See also Objectivism, her cult philosophy.

Links

10 Things I Learned About the World from Ayn Rand's Insane "Atlas Shrugged" [More...]
It's fun to hoot at the blatant propaganda, horrible writing, and moral idiocy of Atlas Shrugged.
An Evening of H.G. Wells listening to Ayn Rand [More...]
A Dead Authors podcast where H.G. Wells (Paul F. Tompkins) welcomes the rather chatty Ayn Rand (John Hodgman).
Atlas Shrugged (book) (9 links)
(1957) Ayn Rand's horribly written young-adult fiction. A grotesque self-parody.
Ayn Rand (graphic novel) [More...]
A 63 page webcomic detailing the nasty life of Ayn Rand. No sugar-coating from her sycophants here: lots of hypocrisy illustrated clearly. Based on Ayn Rand and the World She Made, and Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right.
Ayn Rand and the VIP-DIPers [More...]
Ayn Rand secretly took Social Security and Medicare. "In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest."
Ayn Rand Private Access Show [More...]
Satire. Ayn Rand has a new public access talk show, full of celebrity guests, topical comedy and long angry diatribes against the government.
Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them [More...]
"Rand also believed that the scientific consensus on the dangers of tobacco was a hoax. By 1974, the two-pack-a-day smoker, then 69, required surgery for lung cancer. And it was at that moment of vulnerability that she succumbed to the lure of collectivism."
Ayn Rand was not a libertarian
Yes she was. Her minarchist splinter sect (Objectivism) was distinguished by different pretentious bullshit philosophy, but nothing else. She hated other libertarians because they were rivals who dared to disagree with her, the same as happens in any other frequently schismatic cult religion or philosophy.
Ayn Rand’s Adventures In Wonderland: The Complete Graphic Novel [More...]
Benjamin Frisches short tale of Ayn Rand time traveling to 2010. How Ayn reacts to her legacy, especially Alan Greenspan.
BadPhilosophy, search for libertarian, Rand, and objectivism. [More...]
The BadPhilosophy reddit routinely scoffs at libertarianism, Ayn Rand and Objectivism.
Capabilities and Libertarianism, Part II: Capabilities for Bullet-Biting Libertarians [More...]
"[H]ow some common justificatory bases for libertarianism fail, and do so in ways readily grokked from a capabilitarian vantage." The NAP, property, Ayn Rand and spontaneous order take a beating.
Daylight Atheism review of Atlas Shrugged [More...]
Adam Lee's page-by-page review and critique of Atlas Shrugged: 38 blog posts and counting in 2013.
Existential Comics 234: Desert Island Economics [More...]
Karl Marx and Rosa Luxemburg are shipwrecked on Liberty Island, owned by Ayn Rand and Murray Rothbard. "Save the brandy!"
Friedrich Hayek Joins Ayn Rand as a Hypocritical User of Medicare [More...]
"This should put Hayek in some sort of libertariam circle of hell, along with Ayn Rand, who took Medicare and Social Security payments when she was diagnosed with lung cancer."
Friends Don’t Let Friends Read Ayn Rand [More...]
"The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky."
Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (book)
A biography of Rand that doesn't flatter her.
Grand Old Marxists [More...]
"[Ayn Rand and Hayek] relied on some of the same underlying assumptions as Marxism itself: that politics is a matter of one simple truth, that the state will eventually cease to matter, and that a vanguard of intellectuals is needed to bring about a utopia that can be known in advance." Paul Ryan relies on this nonsense.
How Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard Came Up With Their Big Ideas [More...]
Really funny short video about a bet between lovers Rand and Hubbard to see who can do the most harm by spreading the most evil ideas.
I Was A Teenage Randroid [More...]
"Looking back, I try not to beat myself up about my four lost years as a Randroid[...] Despite the fact that everyday reality contradicts the tenets of Objectivism, Randroids hold Rand’s teachings as the supreme distillation of that reality. Cult leaders couldn’t hope for better."
Illuminatus! vs Atlas Shrugged [More...]
"These two books are polar opposites, yet oddly similar - opposed twins, in other words, like Cain and Abel. Both novels are ridiculously long. Both were largely ignored by the literary and educational establishments, due to their unmistakable whiff of madness..."
John Rawls's A THEORY OF JUSTICE: THE MUSICAL! [More...]
A delightful, musical burlesque of philosophy that pits John Rawls against his arch-nemeses Robert Nozick and Ayn Rand. Vimeo rental. Highly recommended. View the preview and read the Wikipedia page for a synopsis.
Libertarian superstar Ayn Rand defended Native American genocide [More...]
"New transcript of Rand at West Point in ’74 enthusiastically defends extermination of Native Americans."
Objectivism (20 links)
Ayn Rand's Objectivism is based on little more than a fine Russian/European tradition of obscurantist philosophy and a number of patently false axioms. For example, as soon as you recognize that reproduction is as ultimate a goal as life, then egoism doesn't make sense.
Objectivism Versus Subjectivism: A Market Test [More...]
Ayn Rand's objectivism and Ludwig von Mises subjectivism are compared with a bizarre, self-parodic test. "We conclude that the market has spoken: Ludwig von Mises is the more important classical liberal thinker!" Really atrocious statistical bullshit. Gated.
Online graphic biography of Ayn Rand [More...]
Darryl Cunningham's pleasant and quick 66 page read. It doesn't sanitize away Rand's numerous foibles.
Philosophy: Who Needs It (book)
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Rand's work: style and quality [More...]
Why academics disdain the slipshod work of Rand and her major followers.
RationalWiki: Ayn Rand [More...]
The RationalWiki article on Ayn Rand. A relatively short summary, with funny summary of the TLDR Atlas Shrugged.
Scholasticism
A long-supplanted philosophical methodology that is preoccupied with "true" definitions of words, a priori knowledge, logic, deduction, system, and its literary form of syllogistic argumentation. Apriorism and avoidance of empiricism are characteristic.
The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z (book)
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The Many Lives of Ayn Rand [More...]
"Sometimes I think the fact that so many Christians slavishly devote themselves to Ayn Rand is part of her infernal punishment. I imagine Satan periodically delivering her reams of praise for her work, all of it penned by delusional Christianist libertarian types."
The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult [More...]
Murray Rothbard's scathing description of 1972 Objectivism as a cult. "Thus, power not liberty or reason, was the central thrust of the Randian movement." Excellent reporting.
The Truth About GOP Hero Ayn Rand [More...]
Ayn Rand disses government, religions, and love of almost everybody but yourself. She is such a caricature of a Russian charlatan.
The Voice of Reason: Essays in Objectivist Thought (book)
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What I Think About Atlas Shrugged [More...]
John Scalzi's funny, appreciative review of Atlas Shrugged.
What was Ayn Rand’s view of the libertarian movement? [More...]
"Most of them are my enemies...", "libertarians are a monstrous, disgusting bunch of people..."; tell us what you REALLY think, Ayn!
Why I Am Not an Objectivist [More...]
Libertarian philosopher Michael Huemer accepts all but one of Ayn Rand's five major Objectivist claims: he does not agree that "Every person should always be selfish."
William Buckley on Ayn Rand
William Buckley puts Ayn Rand in her place. Pages xx to xxii from the introduction to American Conservative Thought in the Twentieth Century by William Buckley.

Quotations

Since many of the people who take a similar position [libertarianism] are narrow and rigid, and filled, paradoxically, with resentment at other freer ways of being, my now having natural responses which fit the theory puts me in some bad company.
Robert Nozick, "Anarchy, State, and Utopia"
One cannot overstate the childishness of the ideas that feed and stir the masses. Real ideas must as a rule be simplified to the level of a child's understanding if they are to arouse the masses to historic actions. A childish illusion, fixed in the minds of all children born in a certain decade and hammered home for four years, can easily reappear as a deadly serious political ideology twenty years later.
Sebastian Haffner, "Defying Hitler: A Memoir", pg. 17.
There has been a good deal of confused controversy about the question of "value judgments" in the social sciences. Every human being has ideological, moral and political views. To pretend to have none and to be purely objective must necessarily be either self-deception or a device to deceive others. A candid writer will make his preconceptions clear and allow the reader to discount them if he does not accept them. This concerns the professional honour of the scientist.
Joan Robinson, "Freedom and Necessity" p.122.
Ayn Rand is one of those things that a lot of us, when we were 17 or 18 and feeling misunderstood, we'd pick up. Then, as we get older, we realize that a world in which we're only thinking about ourselves and not thinking about anybody else, in which we're considering the entire project of developing ourselves as more important than our relationships to other people and making sure that everybody else has opportunity – that that's a pretty narrow vision. It's not one that, I think, describes what's best in America. Unfortunately, it does seem as if sometimes that vision of a "you're on your own" society has consumed a big chunk of the Republican Party.
Barack Obama in "Obama and the Road Ahead: The Rolling Stone Interview"
[The Native Americans] didn't have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using.... What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their "right" to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.
Ayn Rand, "Q and A session following her Address To The Graduating Class Of The United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, March 6, 1974"
So what is it that differentiates the writing of Rand from those of classic academics and professional philosophers? It is simply that her work has every appearance of an extended and multi-faceted straw man argument that fails to meet even the minimum standards of scholarship. It has all the marks of what in science would be pseudo-science. If there is such a thing as pseudo-philosophy, this is it.
Gary Merrill, "Rand's work: style and quality"
Why do people on the right hate monetary expansion, even when it’s desperately needed? One answer is the power of truthiness -- Stephen Colbert’s justly famed term for things that aren’t true, but feel true to some people. “The Fed is printing money, printing money leads to inflation, and inflation is always a bad thing” is a triply untrue statement, but it feels true to a lot of people. And, yes, a tendency to prefer truthiness to more complicated truth is and pretty much always has been associated with political conservatism, and this tendency is especially strong in an era when leading politicians get their monetary theory from Ayn Rand novels.
Paul Krugman, "The Deflation Caucus"
There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
John Rogers, Ephemera 2009 (7)
[...] in Ayn Rand’s world, a man who self-righteously instigates the collapse of society, thereby inevitably killing millions if not billions of people, is portrayed as a messiah figure rather than as a genocidal prick, which is what he’d be anywhere else. Yes, he’s a genocidal prick with excellent engineering skills. Good for him. He’s still a genocidal prick.
John Scalzi, What I Think About Atlas Shrugged
Sociopathic idealized nerds collapse society because they don’t get enough hugs.
John Scalzi, What I Think About Atlas Shrugged