TeeJaw Blog

Movie Version of Atlas Shrugged Starts New Conversations On The Objectivist Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Friday, May 13, 2011, 4: 28 PM

Ayn Rand’s objectivist philosophy has two separate and distinct followings. One inspires cultish devotion and the other incites accusations that she was a selfish person who cared only about money. It is certain that her ideas, even if one considers them radical, are seminally potent. For those who remain skeptical and critical they ought to remember that trade is voluntary and non-violent but taxation is violent — taxes will be collected at the point of a gun if need be. For those who believe it’s a good idea to spread the wealth around Thomas Sowell says they are coming in at the middle of the conversation. The beginning is to ask where the wealth came from, and if is to be confiscated why does anyone think it will keep coming?

Andrew Klavan and Bill Whittle have some thoughts:

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  1. Ken Spiker said, on Saturday, May 14, 2011, 9: 41 AM at 9:41 AM

    Whittaker Chambers wrote a trenchant critique of Ayn Rand which is available in the archives of National Review. Much of what he says seems true to me:

    “Since a great many of us dislike much that Miss Rand dislikes, quite as heartily as she does, many incline to take her at her word. It is the more persuasive, in some quarters, because the author deals wholly in the blackest blacks and the whitest whites. In this fiction everything, everybody, is either all good or all bad, without any of those intermediate shades which, in life, complicate reality and perplex the eye that seeks to probe it truly. This kind of simplifying pattern, of course, gives charm to most primitive storyknown as: The War between the Children of Light and the Children of Darkness. In modern dress, it is a class war. Both sides to it are caricatures.”

    As literature Rand is pure potboiler with an ideological agenda…relentless and stark. I read “The Fountainhead” and was greatly entertained, of course that’s fiction. But I don’t believe it for a minute. As Chambers says, just because we dislike the same things doesn’t make it good. The idea that Roark has proprietary right to blow up the buildings he designs is like saying that you have the right to kill your children because you produced them. At one point one has to acknowledge that the architect is only the designer and some credit must be given to the builders, suppliers and owners. Part of her ideology is that capitalism rewards the generators of wealth more or less in proportion to their contributions and is therefore (unintentionally) equitable. The invisible Hand and all that. In Rand’s world it’s as if Roark builds the entire edifice out of nothing with the sweat of his beautiful bronzed body, hewing the granite from the quarries, manhandling the whole structure into place all by himself.

    I saw that movie about the creator of Facebook. The guy is an asshole, that’s for sure, but as to his contribution, well, lets say that he was a clever programmer who expanded an existing rather simple software scheme to a vast but still simpleminded program which makes tons of money but compared to actual true innovators like Steve Jobs or Henry Ford he’s a pathetic midget. Who says capitalism is fair? It just works better than any other system in producing wealth.

    There’s a pretty good movie about Rand: “The Passion of Ayn Rand,” with Helen Mirrren as Ayn Rand. This gives a lot of insight into what she was about. No doubt Randians would hate it because it doesn’t deify her.


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