Monday, March 17, 2003

A CC Back to Beck

Our kind Internet friend Billy Beck brings the brain-bubbling at Lew to the fore here: Really Dumb Idiocies about Ayn Rand and here: Super Stupidities In Re: Sharpton

The second mess is beneath comment. The nonsense in the first post could best be illustrated by the following "essay." It is by the same author Billy quotes from, written a year ago. The Secret Teachings of Ayn Rand

Wallace trys to come off as a "jus-plain-folks" dispenser of basic wisdom, but instead winds up as the Floyd R. Turbo of the site, someone who likes to bloviate about things he apparently knows nothing about.

I bow to no one in my lack of admiration for Rand's philosophical errors, The real errors of Ayn Rand but Wallace acts as if he has never read Rand with any degree of attention. Here are his main charges against Rand:

In Atlas Shrugged she had, on one hand, her "perfect" producers, the epitome of which was John Galt (who in his radio rant blames all his problems on everyone else). There are about three dozen of these "perfect" people in Galt’s Gulch. (Gack, it would be such a bore.)

But they’re not perfect. No one’s perfect. So where does Rand – unconsciously – project all the evil in the world? Right onto her "looters" and "parasites," all of whom she refers to as "subhumans" living in a "hell." Then she commits genocide and gleefully sacrifices almost the entire population of the world. She projects all hate, rage and envy onto them, scapegoats them, and then engages in a sadistic Hitlerian orgy of hate and destruction and kills off nearly everyone outside of Galt’s Gulch.

Gee, does she? As I recall, the theme of AS is that the strikers withdraw so that the "looters" and "parasites" can have things ENTIRELY their own way.

"This is why so many people who admire Rand’s writings still feel vaguely uncomfortable with Atlas Shrugged. How could she so gleefully rub out the entire world? How could she so cold-bloodedly kill innocent children in the infamous train-tunnel-collapse scene?"
Once again, -she- isn't doing anything but showing the logical outcome of venerating irrational modes of behavior. We had a fine example of that today with the "warnick" who foolishly threw herself in front of an IDF bulldozer and expected it to stop. The laws of physics didn't oblige her racist notion that an American body counted for more than a Palestinian body in that circumstance. Terrorism-enabler meets her fate As for the "innocent children" dying in the train tunnel, guess what? Innocent children die every day due to evil and its consequences. Rand, by her own admission, wasn't concerned with gritty naturalism but there comes a point where you -have- to show what the logic of the character's actions in your story delimit.

As to the primary charge, Rand herself makes the point that said "parasites" can only function with the aid of "good people" who refuse to confront and oppose the evil that they represent. It is a little something she calls, "The Sanction of the Victim." (see the entry of that title in THE AYN RAND LEXICON, ed Henry Binswanger, 1986 pp. 433-34) Rather than placing all the blame on outright baddies, she shows the effects of corruption and compromise on people like Stadler and Keating. Rand also emphasized the fact that an individual leading a rational life must engage in self-examination and self-criticism in order to live correctly. (see the title essay/speech in the collection PHILOSOPHY: WHO NEEDS IT [note the lack of a question mark] for a good discussion of her views on the subject) The fact that she did not live up to these ideals is not evidence that she did not recognize or advocate them.

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