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Austin Cline

Cult of Ayn Rand & the Worship of Fascist Supermen

By February 24, 2006

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Objectivism and Libertarianism owe a great deal to the writings of Ayn Rand and both are typically associated with belief in expansive degrees of personal liberty. It is arguable, though, that Ayn Rand's writings exhibit a disturbing fascination of and interest in more fascist attitudes towards humanity and human social relations.

Johann Hari writes:

She explained her philosophy at first through pot-boilers like ‘The Fountainhead’. One of her heroes boasts that he is the polar opposite of Robin Hood: “He was the man who robbed the rich and gave to the poor. I’m the man who robs the poor and gives to the rich, or to be more exact, the man who robs the thieving poor and gives back to the productive rich.” If you want a sign of Rand’s quiet victory, close your eyes and realise this could be Dick Cheney in one of his more candid moments, explaining the logic behind his massive tax cuts for the wealthy.

Rand’s morality was a perfect fit for the age of the celebrity billionaire. She conjures a world where the CEO is Messiah, where the sign of the Cross is replaced with the sign of the dollar, and where hideous penis-proxies like Trump Towers are the pinnacle of human achievement. In her novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’, the world’s billionaires – the Ted Turners and Donald Trumps – go on strike in protest against the “insane regulations” and “exorbitant tax” handed down from Washington D.C. The country quickly regresses into anarchy, with businesses collapsing, food distribution networks falling apart, and America becoming a wasteland – until finally the grateful populace welcomes back their economic Overlords and promises to never again pester them with wild notions like taxation or regulation.

And:

Whittaker Chambers famously wrote in the National Review, “Just as her operatic businessmen are, in fact, Nietzschean supermen, so her ulcerous leftists are Nietzsche’s ‘last men’, both deformed in a way to sicken the fastidious recluse of Sils Marnia… [In her vision] resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final can only be willfully wicked. There are ways of dealing with such wickedness, and , in fact, reason itself enjoins them. From almost every page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding, “To a gas chamber – go!”” [...]

While Rand is (rightly) appalled when the state kills people, she considers businessmen taking risks with the lives of ordinary people or government bureaucrats to be actually heroic. In ‘Atlas Shrugged’, the heroic Nat Taggart “murdered a state legislator who attempted to revoke a charter granted to him” and (ho, ho) “he had no trouble with legislators from then on.” And that’s not all: “He threw down three flights of stairs a distinguished gentleman who offered him a loan from the government.” Anybody who tries to impose regulations to protect ordinary workers is “a louse”. This is partly because she really does seem to see the rich as more deserving of life than the poor. She refers to the rich as “really alive”, while ordinary people are described variously as “savages”, “refuse”, “inanimate objects”, “imitations of living beings”. Who cares if the Ubermenschen take risks with these creatures? Who needs regulation?

The Nazis found the dehumanizing Jews made it easier to kill them; dehumanizing others is often the first step in their elimination:

Indeed, her contempt for ordinary people extends so far that when a railway worker in ‘Atlas Shrugged’ decides to punish the wicked socialist government by making a train crash happen, Rand implies the passengers had it coming. She runs through the politics of the train crash victims, implying they were accessories to the socialist government that is being justly punished: “The man in Bedroom A, Car No One, was a professor of sociology who taught that individual ability is of no consequence, that everything is achieved collectively, that it’s the masses that count, not men… The woman in Roomette 10, Car No 3, was an elderly school teacher who who spent her life turning class after class of helpless schoolchildren into miserable cowards, by teaching them that the will of the majority is the only standard of good and evil, that they must not assert their personalities, but do as others were doing.” And so endlessly on, through over a dozen deserving victims. “There was not a man aboard the train who did not share one or more of their ideas,” she notes – so let them burn.

Elizaberry writes:

[I]n the end what Ms. Rand describes are aliens. They are not honestly human. The "bad guys" are so relentlessly incompetent and wrong in every choice. The heroes, despite their insistent on the rational/objective/concrete, experience an almost psychic bond symptomized with heart palpitations, swooning, a reeling of the mind; very romantic, this idealist meets idealist. [...]

I'm afraid her recommendations of no government oversight work only with CHARACTERS, not people. She can recommend no governing body for these paperdolls because they are firmly in her control. She can suggest no laws regarding commerce, because as the author, SHE herself is the law guiding her heroes to ethical business transactions.

Perhaps Rand and her followers have never realized this because they don't realize that real people aren't characters — their ideas about human beings are more caricatures than real-life understandings about how real-life people work.

 

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Comments
September 9, 2006 at 9:08 am
(1) RnBramwell says:

What a shame that About.com’s ‘philosphy’ specialist(s) allow only a two sentence synopsis (one more critique than explanation)of Objectivism. Yet then put forth quotes and links to all sorts of negative commentary —commentary which is often just plain dishonest.

Whittaker Chambers’s big lie about her ideas being fascist simply demonstrated that he never even read her works. Yet Johanne Hari accepts it at face value and proceeds to further misrepresent her views even lying about events in her novels (no railway worker deliberately set out to cause the train crash in the tunnel) Chris Wolf has a personal, disturbed axe-to-grind, yet is listed as a source. Of course of the many good sources available out there, none are listed.

In short, About.com’s handling of Objectivism is disgusting, distorted and dishonest in the same degree as Anti-Semitic and White Power web sites.

February 5, 2012 at 8:31 am
(2) Ray Knisley says:

The most egregious influence that emanates from Ayn Randism is the philosophy of Objectivism that excuses man’s cruelty and savagery toward man by grabbing on with John Calvin’s Creed of human free will. For that is the origin of the declaration that the poor suffer justly and the wealthy justly prosper. It is a childish belief, bordering on if not intruding into sociopathlogy. It is illustrated in her novels where her capitalist heroes are virtuous and the poor exploited are lazy. Carried to its end, it is not only futile to try to help the poor, it would be sinful.

The free will, of course, springs from primitive Animism. It is false because it violates natural law.

October 4, 2006 at 1:54 pm
(3) Chip Joyce says:

This is an incredibly dishonest smear job.
It is full of blatant mis-statements and outright lies. I have read, for over 20 years, probably everything Ayn Rand ever published: I know her philosophy, fiction, and commentary very well.

Shame on you!

April 30, 2007 at 4:43 am
(4) Jeremy says:

From RnBramwell >What a shame that About.com’s ‘philosphy’ specialist(s) allow only a two sentence synopsis (one more critique than explanation)of Objectivism. Yet then put forth quotes and links to all sorts of negative commentary —commentary which is often just plain dishonest.This is an incredibly dishonest smear job.
It is full of blatant mis-statements and outright lies.

April 30, 2007 at 5:03 am
(5) Jeremy says:

I’ll try this again since it cut my last entry off.

RnBramwell and Chip Joyce, you do realize that through out this section there are numerous links to the Ayn Rand Institute’s web site, right? You must also realize that this would allow anyone interested in the views of Objectivists or fans of Ayn Rand to go and find what they really have to say on the subject, right? That being the case, how can you claim that Austin is operating a smear campaign against or being dishonest about Rand and Objectivism? If he is lying about it, one can easily find out the truth by clicking on almost any link here.

That being said, it seems to me that your comments here are not only irrational but also suggest a desperation on your part to stifle criticism of a cherished belief. In short, you come off looking more like the typical Christian apologist than one who may claim to hold reason, logic and truth in such high esteem, as most Objectivists would.

February 16, 2011 at 2:07 pm
(6) SW says:

I notice in their comments lots of accusations of “falsehoods and lies” on the part of the author here, but alas no actual examples of these falsehoods nor any evidence or counter claim or any kind of reasoning at all.

One laughible ad populem appeal to “expertise” eg “I have read those books for 20 years so I must be right.” When really if Chip Joyce had an example or actual argument, then only one reading would have sufficed.

This clearly demonstrates the followers of Ryand don’t tend to appeal to actual logic or rational thought but an emotional devotion.

December 12, 2007 at 2:20 am
(7) Morgan-LynnGriggs Lamberth says:

I am glad I finally got to read the review.It is so true!She did not [ and Peikoff does not]allow dissent:dissenters are immoral.She had a personality disorder she projected as the heroic man.See Walker’s”The Aun Raand Cult.”
Now, I see Atlas as a mystery novel without the selfishness.

January 8, 2008 at 12:41 pm
(8) Ragnar_Rahl says:

I only have time for the most blatant lie here…

The train crash did not occur because “someone wanted to punish” the socialist government. It occurred because the socialist government refused to allow the railroad to have enough trains good enough to prevent the train crash, and a socialist government official insisted the train go forward anyway.

August 11, 2008 at 8:16 pm
(9) Donald Hennig says:

The only response I can give is to laugh, long and loud. I’m so tired of these people who try to critique Rand’s books (which they’ve obviously not read) and philosophy (which they’ve obviously not studied) by misrepresenting them as well as Rand herself. There is plenty of room for rational debate concerning Rand, her writings, and Objectivism, so why sink to such a low form of attack? Basic insecurity?

November 6, 2008 at 4:11 am
(10) Non-Randian Rand Sympathizer? says:

Interesting, have you actually read Ayn Rand? There are good arguments to be made against Rand, but these aren’t them. Elizaberry’s quote is valid, Rand’s antagonists are often exaggeratedly inept, but some argue that was done intentionally in order to extend arguments of socialists to conclusions she considered illogical. Rand does not have a problem with dissent, only dissent that involves telling others what to do.

December 9, 2008 at 12:34 pm
(11) Katotheother says:

Rand herself has admitted that her fiction is largely a depiction of her idealized versions of heroes (laissez-faire business successes), and it stands to reason that her villains are somewhat one dimensional also. I haven’t quite made the “fascist” connection, myself, but I’m not always the brightest candle on the cake. :)

April 13, 2009 at 3:29 am
(12) Robert says:

Look at today’s government for an example of creeping Fascism. The government taking control of banks and the automobile industry, while leaving token ownership in private hands. We are seeing fascism grow before our eyes – with Obama as the Fascist Superman, and I am sure Ms. Rand would not have approved.

February 16, 2011 at 2:11 pm
(13) sw says:

Neither George Bush’s bank bailouts nor Obama’s investment in American Automotive companies (which has since returned all of our money back and then some and saved almost a million jobs) have anything to do with “fascism.” I suggest you learn what the term means beofore arbitrarily attaching it to anythiging Fox News pundits tell you not to like.

April 25, 2009 at 6:01 pm
(14) chewsuzzername4me says:

Ineresting interp. The characters are like Supermen. Larger than life. I was a devoted fan and member of her club. I got all her letters fortnightly for years, all through college. I read Atlas six times and had her quotations on my wall. Then I found out she was an atheist. I freaked but made excuses for her enen so. Reality check: Wall street corporate capitalists are not supermen. They are greedy bastards who’ve destroyed our economy anbd taken our jobs to China. Wake-up people! They are worse than the measly regulators who have not even managed to regulate them in the slightest. We need to rise up against them before all our freedoms are completely gone.

June 12, 2009 at 2:42 pm
(15) Chip Joyce says:

What specifically is the evidence for “disturbing fascination of and interest in more fascist attitudes towards humanity and human social relations”?

What is wrong with a legend of “a man who robs the thieving poor and gives back to the productive rich”? The it is explicit that it’s the THIEVING poor who stole from the PRODUCTIVE rich. That is justice: it is returning stolen property.

There is zero evidence any critic here actually read Ayn Rand. Quoting the most hostile review ever of Ayn Rand’s–written by a person who literally admitted to not reading Atlas Shrugged–is irresponsible at best.

Elizaberry just makes arbitrary assertions.

In the end this is a pathetic website.

April 19, 2011 at 12:15 am
(16) Rodney Hytonen says:

Ith the help of the government they’ve BOUGHT, the rich have STOLEN far, far more from the poor in one year than the converse has occurred in all of history.

If you really think the few millions of welfare compare to the many TRILLIONS per year of Wall Street (especilly The FED, which is as Federal as Federal Express) then the equivalent difference in numbers between the rich and the poor makes you a misanthropist of the highest order.

To believe thus places you clearly on the side of preferring the MOST misery to exist in the world.

One can only hope you enjoy the curses of the poor (as the MYTHICAL nature of meritocracy almost guarantees you will) as your considerable rightful part.

June 12, 2009 at 4:09 pm
(17) Austin Cline says:

What specifically is the evidence for “disturbing fascination of and interest in more fascist attitudes towards humanity and human social relations”?

That’s in the material I quoted.

In the end this is a pathetic website.

And what specifically is the evidence for this?

September 26, 2009 at 8:58 pm
(18) Roark says:

Intellectually Dishonest

Ayn Rand is such a person as her book describes. I’ve met and live amongst these people who you claim do not exist. But I can’t reason a man out of a position he hasn’t reasoned himself into.

September 26, 2009 at 9:57 pm
(19) Austin Cline says:

Roark: your comment is incoherent and does not appear related to anything anyone else has said.

You wouldn’t be libertarian or objectivist, would you? That would be consistent…

September 27, 2009 at 3:53 am
(20) P Shel says:

So if you admit that Ayn Rand was an athiest isn’t that at least one strike against atheism?
The organized church has done horrible things but Jesus never did any of the horrible things. So I don’t see why he is resented by athiests.

September 27, 2009 at 7:40 am
(21) Austin Cline says:

So if you admit that Ayn Rand was an athiest isn’t that at least one strike against atheism?

No, because nothing she did was in the name of atheism.

The organized church has done horrible things but Jesus never did any of the horrible things. So I don’t see why he is resented by athiests.

Feel free to point to any atheists who resent Jesus. And feel free to explain why you think Ayn Rand is equivalent to Jesus for atheists.

September 29, 2009 at 1:13 am
(22) Donald Hennig says:

What specifically is the evidence for “disturbing fascination of and interest in more fascist attitudes towards humanity and human social relations”?

That’s in the material I quoted.

Yes, in material by people who’ve obviously never read Rand’s books or studied her philosophy. You won’t find any “fascist attitudes” in Rand’s writings.

In the end this is a pathetic website.

And what specifically is the evidence for this?

The evidence is the material you quote, as has been clearly explained.

September 29, 2009 at 6:34 am
(23) Austin Cline says:

Yes, in material by people who’ve obviously never read Rand’s books or studied her philosophy.  You won’t find any “fascist attitudes” in Rand’s writings.

The quoted material above describes exactly the attitudes and statements in question. You’re welcome to address them directly, if you can.

The evidence is the material you quote, as has been clearly explained.

You mean, the material you can’t or won’t address directly but which you insist must be al wrong? Right, very pathetic.

October 8, 2009 at 6:43 am
(24) Mick says:

Good summing up of this bitter old loony – tune, the web, specifically Youtube is crawling with Randroids these days.

You should have seen the hullabaloo that was raised when old thunderf00t suggested that people were better off being cooperative and that government – operated traffic lights were a good thing.

December 9, 2009 at 5:48 pm
(25) Kate says:

I’m sorry, did the author every actually say anything original? I was searching for articles about the Cult of Ayn Rand theory, and all this guy gave me was other peoples’ thoughts that he looted to piece together what he calls and argument. Seriously, there are four complete, original sentences.

Aside from incredibly wrong, as other commentators have pointed out, this “article” is incredibly useless.

December 9, 2009 at 8:27 pm
(26) Austin Cline says:

Seriously, there are four complete, original sentences.

I’m guessing you’ve never encountered a “blog” before, right?

Aside from incredibly wrong, as other commentators have pointed out, this “article” is incredibly useless.

Yet, you are unable or unwilling to point out any actual errors.

January 21, 2010 at 3:10 am
(27) VICTOR says:

I read the book many years ago and am surprised at the now parallel universe exists that she had described; ie, basically; the corporate leadership wandering off into their own ‘shangrila’ to start their own world order. So we now see where they went: not to Denver mountains but to China! The book to me was very enlightening in concept and entertaining in emotional content. I do recall, however, as I finished the last few paragraphs a feeling of outrigh indignation swept over me as the heroine left the train on the track and abandoned that man sobbing at the rails. He was the person who had stuck by her all those years who was her real confidant (in my estimation) to render assistance in any way possible, be attentive to her business needs, caring (my impressions)for her deeply. She just left him there without a second thought for his feelings or a kind word to him for his loyalty to her. I’m not clear of many things regarding that reading so many years ago, but that incident left an ugly impression in my mind of the type of people she was describing as heroes. So I can understand the detachment; the lack of depth in a human relationship the author must have with real people. Intelligent people are victims. Their thoughts and concepts seem too developed to allow many of them to have such deeply caring thoughts toward anyone of less intellect or toward nontribe members.It’s unfortunate for all of us. For effect, I could say; Seig Heil and hope this blog won’t be axed!

January 21, 2010 at 6:11 am
(28) VICTOR says:

What happened to my entry? It disappeared after I hit the button without any error messages but it does not appear on the ‘comments’ page. I did not have the ‘URL’ box value but is it necessary?

February 15, 2010 at 12:10 pm
(29) Puddin Tame says:

FULL DISCLOSURE STATEMENT: I have only ever read one Rand book – The Romantic Manifesto – and that was as a teenager.

Okay, here’s my beef. Whenever I come across some critique of Rand’s work on the web, the response from her fans is almost always some variation of “you must not have read the book” or “clearly, you don’t understand her philosophy.”

Now I don’t know for sure, not having read much Rand myself, but it strikes me as a mighty big coincidence that somehow absolutely ALL of her critics haven’t read or don’t understand her – including well-regarded professional philosophers (at least one of whom is himself a libertarian!)

And in the case of the one book I did read, The Romantic Manifesto, I can say that those criticizing Rand’s take on the visual arts did indeed understand her, they just didn’t buy into her interpretations.

And they were right not to. I can say this with confidence because the subject happens to be my area of expertise. Indeed, even as a teenager I knew quite a bit more about visual art than Rand obviously ever did. In TRM Rand makes glaring errors in her attempts to interpret major art movements, including Romanticism itself! Her assertions are childish to the point of being laughable. Rand’s opinions on visual art are just about as worthless as mine would be on philosophy.

Having seen Randians accuse critics of TRM of not having read/understood the book when I can tell they damn well did, I am deeply suspicious when they throw out the same charges at critics of Rand’s other works.

My advice to Objectivists: I can’t be the only one who notices you all sound like a broken record. Either get a new line or, even better, ask yourselves whether Ms. Rand was perhaps not a goddess after all and that maybe, just maybe, someone who doesn’t agree with her might actually be saying something worth listening to.

March 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm
(30) Chris says:

Let’s get down to the core of each philosophy. Since I do not see the connection to fascism in the base of each philosophy. Rand preached individualism and always had a critical eye the greater good(ok she down right despised it!) While fascism (especially the NAZI’s) preached self sacrafice and the greater good of the state. The are some branches that are similar, but at the core of the philisophy they are completely different.

March 21, 2010 at 2:15 pm
(31) George says:

Anyone still following this thread might want to read Hari’s review of two biographies of Rand on Slate (http://www.slate.com/id/2233966/0). I think for anyone over the age of seventeen, it becomes clear that Rand was struggling with more than ideas of government control. I’m working on a book on fascism and modernism at the moment, and although I find Rand’s philosophical fictions to be rather pedestrian in literary terms, she certainly exposes the fascist tendencies in certain modernist circles (from earlier). It is most significant, I think, that Hari points out through a central quote that Rand’s pragmatism was really no different in its methods than the Bolsheviks she so hated. Idealisms of all kinds become problematic when the methods are divorced from the effects of those methods.

April 11, 2010 at 8:59 pm
(32) Froilan Vincent Bersamina says:

I’d like to call your attention that someone has just plagiarized your work… Check my blog…
http://fvdb.wordpress.com/2010/04/12/the-highly-appalling-plagiarism-of-the-filipino-free-farters/

May 4, 2010 at 6:01 am
(33) danieljlivers says:

If there was anyone who twisted Nietzsche’s philosophy of the Ubermensch it was Ayn Rand. (Not here real name). Nietzsche’s Ubermensch was an, almost metaphysical being who would rise above his limitations and gain power over himself (though not be enslaved by himself). Rands Ubermensch, on the other hand, was a corporate businessman; a wealthy elitist.

Rand was simply nothing more then a cheerleader to the ruling Elite; the people who man and control people via the “system”, and only the people wort keeping alive are the people who participate in the system. She glorifies the people on top while condemning the people at the bottom. Does one not see a paradox here? In the system there needs to be people at the bottom filling in the slots.

Not only did she have a loaded philosophy (if you can call it that) she also didn’t understand how money works.

Stephen Zarlenga does an excellent job dismanteling her economics in his book The Losts Science of Money.

Now say what you will about Karl Marx (Stepen Zarlenga also tackles him, as well as Adam Smith), at least he was a comentator on society and politics. He wasn’t an auther of science fiction novels. He was dealing with human behavior; Rand had complete control over the characters in her stories.

And all this aside if you want to see Rands “philosophy” in action, take a look at the economy in America today. Rand is largly reasponsable for this mess; and her disciple, Alan Greenspan

June 8, 2010 at 10:56 pm
(34) Evan E says:

Rand was a fervent believer in capitalism. Can you see ties to Libertarianism? Sure. Fascism? Preposterous. Let’s define fascism: a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition (Merriam-Webster). This is entirely the opposite message of Atlas Shrugged and a free-market system.

It may seem like a broken record, but Rand’s harshest critics are indeed those who haven’t read her work, at least in my experience. I have been on both sides. I finally figured I would not be another critic who doesn’t do his own homework, so I read Atlas Shrugged (it is a long read, ~650,000 words). But after reading it, low and behold, I had to reexamine many long held beliefs, particularly the concept of altruism, selfishness, the free-market, and government regulation.

This article is a hack job and everything is distorted or taken out of context. The claim of cult followers is offensive (and an ad hominem fallacy of logic to discredit supporters) and just goes to show the ignorance in regard to Rand’s philosophy. And the comparisons to Nietzsche are a Red Herring fallacy tactic used to lead us astray. Here are Rand’s own words on Nietzsche:
“Nietzsche’s rebellion against altruism consisted of replacing the sacrifice of oneself to others by the sacrifice of others to oneself. He proclaimed that the ideal man is moved, not by reason, but by his “blood,” by his innate instincts, feelings and will to power—that he is predestined by birth to rule others and sacrifice them to himself, while they are predestined by birth to be his victims and slaves—that reason, logic, principles are futile and debilitating, that morality is useless, that the “superman” is “beyond good and evil,” that he is a “beast of prey” whose ultimate standard is nothing but his own whim.”

Read Atlas Shrugged for yourself and see what you think. If you critics are so sure of yourselves, what have you got to lose but some time by actually taking Rand head on by READING the book.

September 4, 2010 at 10:36 pm
(35) danieljlivers says:

@Evan E

The most common argument agaisnt the people who speak out against Rand is always, “well, you must have never read her!” or “you must not understand her!” I read the Fountain Head– Liked it, then read half of Atlas Shrugged, and ended up hating both of them. She is such a poor writer with a prose so wooden you can make a birdhouse out of it.

A free-market is a myth and Stephen Zarlinga’s book absolutely debunks everything about her economics.

And as for her words on Nietzsche: People arn’t moved by reason and logic but by instinct and intuition. The people who call their acts and thoughts “logical” are the most pompuous people around. Ayn Rand was a fascist who wanted everyone to think as she did. Exactly like a religion. Whereas Christians will call themselves saved, Randiods will call themselves rational.

December 15, 2010 at 5:25 am
(36) Michael Price says:

@Puddin Tame
“Now I don’t know for sure, not having read much Rand myself, but it strikes me as a mighty big coincidence that somehow absolutely ALL of her critics haven’t read or don’t understand her – including well-regarded professional philosophers (at least one of whom is himself a libertarian!)”

You’re right, it is a big coincidence, could it be that the critics are lying? For instance Atlas Shrugged does not have a strike by billionaires, in fact the strikers in large part strike against billionaires like Orren Boyle and James Taggart. Quentin Daniels isn’t a billionaire, neither is John Galt. So the CEO as messiah idea is simply bullshit unless you think CEO is close enough to “engine wiper”. The idea that she referred to the poor as “not really alive” is again bullshit, James Taggart was considered “not really alive” not Quentin Daniels. Likewise as previously mentioned the rail crash is not caused by a desire to punish government. It’s not that they make mistakes that people who haven’t made the books would make, they make mistakes you couldn’t make if you read the Cliff’s Notes. Seriously less than 1% of the criticisms I’ve heard of Rand make any sense given what she actually said. Note that guys like danieljlivers claim that Rand is bad, but aren’t honest enough to admit that most of the points against her in this article are lies.

December 15, 2010 at 5:32 am
(37) Michael Pricew says:

Austin Cline “Feel free to point to any atheists who resent Jesus. ”
Wow, you said this in a discussion about Ayn Rand sparked by an article you posted. You really know your subject don’t you? The so-called evidence you presented is simply lies. Read the godddamn Cliff Notes on Atlas Shrugged (I understand if you don’t want to read the whole thing) none of what is said is true. Rand wasn’t for the “elite” and if she was Atlas Shrugged, a novel where the elite are presented as dishonest and incompetent to a homicidal degree) is hardly the best evidence for it. The claim that the strike in AS was of billionaires is simply factually incorrect, some strikers were billionaires, some were truck drivers. If you can’t present a better case than this then be a man and admit you were wrong. For God’s sake you even included the Whittaker Chambers quote, the least honest piece of reviewing by a non-communist I know of.

December 15, 2010 at 5:50 am
(38) Austin Cline says:

The so-called evidence you presented is simply lies.

Feel free to demonstrate how, if you can.

January 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm
(39) seraph says:

For those who assert that individualist capitalism (which Rand Championed) and fascism are in no way linked, or are indeed antithetical to each other and cannot coexist, might I proffer The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, pages (if memory serves me correctly) 971-975?

January 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm
(40) Elevic Pernis | The Road to Weirdom says:

The author attempts to paint a picture of the Randian heroes as “fascist” when in fact the United States in Atlas Shrugged is fascist and Dagny and the others are fighting against such system.

What a big joke!

January 13, 2011 at 2:01 pm
(41) redharbinger says:

This is an absolutely correct assessment of Ayn Rand’s social philosophy. I have read much of Ayn Rand’s works and once even received her Objectivist magazine when I was in college. I have found it that her philosophy looks great on a chalkboard (like Marxism-Leninism) but has no bearing on reality.

In her books she explores a very antihuman philosophy and the hero worshipping of Carlyle and Nietzsche. Also she cannot explain why religion is so popular and has marched forward with the march of capitalism. Bibles regularly outsell scientific textbooks (and her own tomes) and those Bibles are sold as the readers believe that the Bible is a better explanation of human history than Darwin’s Evolution of Species (in other words the readers do not believe they are reading entertaining fairy tales as the readers of the bestselling novels of J.R.R. Tolkien and Stephen King do). So either Penn & Teller and Ayn Rand are wrong in their assumption that the free market rewards atheistic reason or they must accept the existence of God.

January 13, 2011 at 2:26 pm
(42) redharbinger says:

Ayn Rand’s philosophy is definitely antihuman and authoritarian. It is also a philosophy that looks good on a chalkboard (like Marxism-Leninism) but bears no resemblance to reality. I have read many of her books and I even once had a subscription to her Objectivist Magazine in college.

I have grown up since then and seen how the world really works. Her supermen captains of industry are only crass opportunists. She and her followers also cannot explain how the march of religion has matched the march of capitalism. The Bible regularly outsells scientific textbooks and Ayn Rand’s own tomes. The people who buy these Bibles believe that the Bible is not a fairy tale but use them in the same manner as a biologist reads Darwin’s Origin of Species. By this I mean the readers do not read them because it is an exciting fantasy like the readers of Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings do—they believe it is historical truth. So either Penn & Teller and Ayn Rand are wrong about the logic of free markets or they are wrong about the existence of God.

I find the philosophy that all dictators are opportunists a better explanation than that dictators adhere to “collectivist” ideologies. If Glenn Beck could make more money preaching atheist Marxism he would do it in a heartbeat. Both Hitler and Stalin (as well as any other successful dictator) adapt and change to pursue their goals towards supreme personal power. They are not bound by any ideology and will make up anything to league up other men with them in their pursuit of absolute personal power.

That I think explains Glenn Beck, the Pope, Osama bin Ladin, Hitler and Stalin. You cannot chalk it up to ideology.

April 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm
(43) Guncriminal says:

“Perhaps Rand and her followers have never realized this because they don’t realize that real people aren’t characters”

Of course – it all makes sense now.

Whittaker “Gas” Chambers and Johann “Ireland should join the Euro” Hari must be fictional characters. I always knew that people that stupid couldn’t exist in real life.

April 20, 2011 at 2:53 pm
(44) are you people kidding me? says:

really people – clearly the author of this article is a f**en uneducated moron – but these are books, FICTIONAL BOOKS, Rand is not Gandhi spending his life to better his people she is an author, enjoy the books or not but get your f***en head out of your ass. Is Oryx and Crake a prediction of post 2012 destruction? no it’s a freaken book! get over yourselves!

April 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm
(45) Austin Cline says:

really people – clearly the author of this article is a f**en uneducated moron – but these are books, FICTIONAL BOOKS, Rand is not Gandhi spending his life to better his people she is an author

You seem to be ignorant of the fact that these fictional books were created to express her ideals about how society should be structured and thus represent not just her personal political ideology, but a political ideology she hoped would become widely adopted and which she actively promoted in a variety of other ways.

Rand’s ideology continues to be accepted and promoted by many people throughout America. You may have heard of a few of them, like Alan Greenspan the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States. Indeed, he was a member of his inner circle for many years.

Maybe you should do a little research about a writer and what they’re all about before accusing others of being “uneducated” on the matter. For starters, try looking up “Going Galt” and learn about the people who don’t just accept the philosophy contained in Rand’s books, but who actually look at her character John Galt as a possible role model for practical social protest. They’re serious because they take her ideas seriously.

Given the extent of influence such people have in society, you should take it seriously as well instead of sniffing “it’s just a book!” The Bible’s “just a book” too. So was Mein Kampf. Being a book doesn’t entail that others reading it can’t cause problems.

April 24, 2011 at 4:03 am
(46) drs says:

Rand (and her supporters) claimed to be anti-state and pro-individual and yet her supporters selectively choose to ignore the reality: Pure free-market capitalism without any regulation and control (hint: recent economic collapse) serves the elite at the top and actually HINDERS individual liberties. She merely replaced the “state” with “corporate giants”.

April 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm
(47) T Ganski says:

Warning: Those of you who want to claim my view as follows is coming from someone who has never read any Rand, don’t go there. I have read all of Rand’s books, and many of her other writings. Upon first discovering her through Atlas Shrugged, I felt like I found an author that represented my view — work hard, earn and celebrate your success, and keep others hands off. However, the more I read, the more I became convinced of a view of Rand that is similar to the author’s. I call her the economic anti-christ: She rails against government intervention, against fascism, against communism, yet she endorses a world run by “captains of industry” that is just as centrally run, just as opaque, and just as hierarchical.

September 29, 2011 at 1:09 pm
(48) Reggie says:

How stupid can you get?The “Captains of Industry”,as you call them,would rule nothing.Just be allowed to keep,FOR THEMSELVES,what they had EARNED!

September 29, 2011 at 1:05 pm
(49) Reggie says:

Whittiker Chambers was a lousy Commie.As are you.Those little homilies such as “You get what you pay for” have REAL meaning in a world founded on personal freedom.”You get what you WISH for” is only possible in a repressive world that stifels those who actually produce.

February 4, 2012 at 9:27 am
(50) Omega says:

“The “Captains of Industry”,as you call them,would rule nothing.” – Which planeto do you fall from you say?

February 16, 2012 at 6:12 am
(51) Grandpa_In_The_East says:

I think it’s time for Reggie’s Sunday morning “brain bath.”

Grandpa

April 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm
(52) Maimonides says:

Rand was the product of anti-communist sentiment. Her work is meant to be a polar response to collectivism. It is empty and hollow. She promoted the idea of concentrated wealth, thus power.

I’ve seen many posting defining fascism, yet few realize that most fascists systems had private wealth running industries. Those industries were regulated to a purpose, often warfare, but allowed to run privately and for massive profit to its owners.

Her psychology is what sells her ideas. It is simply a form of self-help. People who feel weak, feel empowered when they read her work. She was siimply the forerunner to scientology.LMAO.

Her philosophy is required reading at over 120 US universities. WHY? Because those universities accepted large donations with the stipulation that her philosophy be taught. So her work is taught not because she is important but because it was paid for.

And yes, I’ve read all her major works. I could argue her economics is weak, her understanding of society and psychology is just as empty. Marx was a terrible economist, but a brilliant social psychologist.

Anyway, the cult Ayn is part of the carrot used in the US to keep people enslaved…you are just 2 lotto ticketss away from being a billionaire.

April 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm
(53) Bastiat says:

Libertarianism owes nothing to Rand. On the other hand randroidism is a bad copy of libertarianism, and rather close to American fascism.

April 19, 2012 at 6:09 am
(54) Austin Cline says:

Libertarianism owes nothing to Rand.

Why not?

August 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm
(55) Tom Joad says:

I’ve read Rand, this piece above is spot on. I notice that Randian people always want to accuse anyone that assesses Rand as as misanthropic, of not understanding her writing. Honestly I think it is they that don’t understand.

Her writing is childish… I loved her when I was 14 years old..Anthem to this day is one of my favorite short stories.. but her ability to create hero’s from cretins, and overly simplified scenarios where the villain is so completely inept that the hero is nearly equally inept but just slightly less so… is beyond tedious. Of course, especially from Atlas forward, she’s building a critique… and her mean spirited, isolationist ego trip is beyond palpable. That’s why its always fun to debate Free Market people… They fully believe the fallacies created by Rand, and actually apply it to their lives or at least try to.

Its not even good propaganda… it appeals to the most selfish minded and basic greedy tendencies, which really is no surpirse. If you watch video of her, during interviews her body language displays massive discomfort with herself, she’s terribly insecure which many creative types are…but her persona collected people in fact she had a “Collective” where she slept with other women’s husbands, and they dressed like her, bought similar furnishings.. its actually very cultist and strange.

In the end though Ayn Rand contracted Lung cancer from chain smoking, even tho her friends and admirers warned her for years that it would kill her.. she did not believe that cigarettes could cause cancer and so she smoked well into her late 70′s… when she did finally get diagnosed..she, the free market maven, the anti-government, anti-altruism, anti-social individualist… took medicare and Social security even though she was very wealthy.. her excuse “I paid into it”… ??????

Ayn’s use of the system she despised at the end of her life to me is the perfect eulogy.

August 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm
(56) Beverly Garside says:

I wouldn’t necessarily condemn Rand for taking the Social Security and Medicare. The fact is, she did pay into it, and we are all entitled to collect after payment. As for the rest of Rand’s ideas, it’s clear she didn’t think ANYTHING through. I read Atlas Shrugged while in college. I was somewhat impressed but sensed something was missing from the philosophy. As an adult, I see that she had no idea whatsoever what makes a society work. The devil is in the lack of detail as to how “Atlantis” would actually function.

August 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm
(57) Austin Cline says:

I wouldn’t necessarily condemn Rand for taking the Social Security and Medicare. The fact is, she did pay into it

The fact is, she took out more than she paid in – her medical expenses were way above the taxes she could have paid in advance.

August 22, 2012 at 7:46 pm
(58) Beverly Garside says:

I wonder how she would have paid for her illness in Atlantis. What would she have done if her insurance company refused to pay? How would she be able to enforce her contract without a Federal Court System and local police force? This is what I’d like the Randians to answer.

August 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm
(59) nashka says:

No Court system nor police force During the Native American good ole days, prior to The invasion of the Brits, and the NA seemed to get along and survive. They didn’t have medicare nor social security, some would think they should have gone extinct without those 2 vital government programs?

August 24, 2012 at 11:23 pm
(60) Mark Farris says:

Ms. Rand gave us Greenspan who gave us optomistic exuberence and the ongoing recession of 08. She has offered up Mr. Ryan who will give us a depression if he gets the opportunity. Tax breaks for the rich gave us offshoring of jobs and the exodus of millionaires dumping US citizenship to avoid paying taxes. If you or I did that Glenn Beck would call us a commie. Over 2300 millionaires actually collected unemployment last year as they struggled to eliminate more jobs to maximize stock dividends of investors domestic and foreign. So much for the concern over illegal immigrants from Mexico.

If Ayn Rand were a neanderthal it would have been necessary for her fellow cave dwellers to toss her to the wolves. She wouldn’t have carried her fair share as she tried to orchestrate the activities of the others. She was a rascist hypocrite who based her male heroes upon a rapist murderer.

She believed infinite economic growth on a finite planet was possible and for anyone paying attention to reality, it appears an ugly turn of events is in the making. Overpopulation and depletion of resources will necessitate more war which will bankrupt America, the current empire in decline. In reality Atlas shit.

August 26, 2012 at 7:55 pm
(61) nashka says:

When you take $1 from the rich (who know how to turn $1 into $2) and give that same $1 to the poor (who don’t), it just becomes money that gets spent, and usually for no good.

August 30, 2012 at 8:14 am
(62) Austin Cline says:

When you take $1 from the rich (who know how to turn $1 into $2)

Always? Prove it.

and give that same $1 to the poor (who don’t),

Always? Prove it.

it just becomes money that gets spent, and usually for no good.

Prove it.

August 30, 2012 at 7:22 pm
(63) Beverly Garside says:

“The Native American good old days?” Are you honestly suggesting that Ayn Rand favored ditching all the benefits of industrial civilization? That wasn’t the message of the “Atlas Shrugged” I read.

September 4, 2012 at 9:25 am
(64) the Don says:

Rand promotes individualism however, individuals need cooperation of others to succeed. Individuals cannot succeed by giving up altruism. Altruism is a means to help others at the same time one works to achieve and individual goals. Those who distain altruism can find themselves isolated from society.Government can offer products and services by collecting taxes and charging fees when organizations can not make a profit from the products and services government offers. Their are circumstances when government can help private organizations become more profitable through public-private endeavors. The City of Virginia Beach and private corporations working together is a great example of of public/private investments.

September 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm
(65) Ellis Tharp says:

Ayn Rand took a stand, promoting her ideal superman;
But in her world, human kindness would fall,
When in truth, altruism will save us all.

September 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm
(66) Beverly Garside says:

I would like the Rand proponents to answer some practical questions. Such as, in an objectivist society, how would the court and prison system work? Who would staff it, who would pay for it, what kind of things would be legal or illegal? Any takers?

January 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm
(67) David says:

Why are you posting, as alleged information about Rand’s Objectivism, smears against her work? Why not base your “information” on her actual work?

January 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm
(68) Austin Cline says:

Why are you posting, as alleged information about Rand s Objectivism, smears against her work?

Do you dispute any of the criticisms?

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