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For its 50th anniversary, The National Review republished its bruising review of Atlas Shrugged. Oh, the days before Bill Kristol.

 

Something of this implication is fixed in the book's dictatorial tone, which is much its most striking feature. Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal. In addition, the mind which finds this tone natural to it shares other characteristics of its type. 1) It consistently mistakes raw force for strength, and the rawer the force, the more reverent the posture of the mind before it. 2) It supposes itself to be the bringer of a final revelation. Therefore, resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final (because, the author would say, so reasonable) can only be willfully wicked. There are ways of dealing with such wickedness, and, in fact, right reason itself enjoins them. From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: "To a gas chamber — go!" The same inflexibly self-righteous stance results, too (in the total absence of any saving humor), in odd extravagances of inflection and gesture-that Dollar Sign, for example. At first, we try to tell ourselves that these are just lapses, that this mind has, somehow, mislaid the discriminating knack that most of us pray will warn us in time of the difference between what is effective and firm, and what is wildly grotesque and excessive. Soon we suspect something worse. We suspect that this mind finds, precisely in extravagance, some exalting merit; feels a surging release of power and passion precisely in smashing up the house. A tornado might feel this way, or Carrie Nation.

 

We struggle to be just. For we cannot help feeling at least a sympathetic pain before the sheer labor, discipline, and patient craftsmanship that went to making this mountain of words. But the words keep shouting us down. In the end that tone dominates. But it should be its own antidote, warning us that anything it shouts is best taken with the usual reservations with which we might sip a patent medicine. Some may like the flavor. In any case, the brew is probably without lasting ill effects. But it is not a cure for anything. Nor would we, ordinarily, place much confidence in the diagnosis of a doctor who supposes that the Hippocratic Oath is a kind of curse.

Edited by Pop
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For its 50th anniversary, The National Review republished its bruising review of Atlas Shrugged. Oh, the days before Bill Kristol.
Yeah. I wouldn't trust Whittaker Chambers even if that was a recipe for tomato sauce, though. Anyway, what are we discussing, Objectivism or Rand's ability as a writer?

 

After reading O'Neil's text, I came to the conclusion that his only argument against Objectivism's "objectiveness" (and his venue for introducing the is-ought problem) is the hypothetical that somebody can make the conscious choice to act against their nature. To deny the place of life as the ultimate value, and act in accordance. Understandably, the problem of the rationality of such a choice arises, but the problem comes from the author's hypotheses, not Rand's view. That's not a choice that Rand considers valid - no choice that results in non-being can come from being rational. It all seems to hinge on that, and Rand realized that ("Man is the only living species that has the potential to act as its own destroyer"); it's strongly implied that immorality equals irrationality for her. For her it's not so much "be good" as "be rational" (and therefore live qua man). You may disagree with her views, but it's hard to claim there's a contradiction.

 

 

It occurs to me that Objectivism is roughly interchangeable with sociopathy.
Please professor, do elaborate! Edited by 213374U

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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It occurs to me that Objectivism is roughly interchangeable with sociopathy.
Please professor, do elaborate!

 

I would bet that his hypothesis is based on the Randian perspective of self-sacrifice (in any form, not just in a glorious battle) being a sin. Thus, you are the most important being that there is, which might appeal to sociopaths.

 

I would call her naive though for hoping that a "true" rational society would exist.

"Some men see things as they are and say why?"
"I dream things that never were and say why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

"The amount of energy necessary to refute bull**** is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

- Some guy 

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  • 5 years later...

My  take:

 

1) Ayn was very clever. she thought a lot. She explored new ideas. I like that in a person. I think she and I would have fun sparring intellectually. she is not a moron. 

 

2) However,  she was a "sophmore". Which means literally wise-fool. She was one of those people who think big, have great ideas.

But she never moved on to the next level. what is that level?  In getting a master's I learned the importance of curiosity and humility.

There are far more brilliants minds than me, and though I have to decide for myself, I do not fall into the folly of dismissing other people's work/data/stats just because I like mine more.

Ayn lacked humility. She never took seriously the idea that she could be wrong. She had the "I am the smartest person in the room" syndrome.

I know I am not the smartest. And knowing that actually allows me to learn tons more than she ever could. 

 

A story to illustrate:

 

 Ever argue with someone who has no humility? They don't listen to what you say, they only prepare a defense against it. I once argued with a new friend about gun control. I am a liberal, he was right wing. He argued that if I think the first amendment is so sacred, why not the second? Ayn would not have listened  to someone who disagreed with her. I did. I  realized he was right. I said, "you are totally right. I really like gun control but I now agree that gun control is unconstituional." He almost fell out of his chair.

I said, "I don't debate, I discuss. And I can change my mind." This conservative friend of mine then started to really LISTEN when I talked. because I had listened to him we both had better discussions and we both learned and changed our minds on things. He told me I re-defined what it means to be a christian for him. So we both changed. 

 

(side note: the issue of gun control is an example..so if you think I am wrong, fine that is not the point of the story. the point is Humility/listening)

 

 

3) she misunderstood how human selfishness works. if people were always Rationally selfish, and also working from decent intel/information then objectivism would work better.  but we are frail. it don't work ;)

 

But people constantly do things that are not in their best interest. she assumes we will be good at being selfish when actually we actually do it pretty poorly. we do something because of impulse or fatigue that is not what we really want. If I was good at being selfish, I would exercise everyday for myself.

Edited by kelticpete
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3) she misunderstood how human selfishness works. if people were always Rationally selfish, and also working from decent intel/information then objectivism would work better. 

 

But people constantly do things that are not in their best interest. she assumes we will be good at being selfish when actually we actually do it pretty poorly. we do something because of impulse or fatigue that is not what we really want. If I was good at being selfish, I would exercise everyday for myself.

 

In short, you can't fix stupid. Depressing.

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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Godammit, i noticed how my insight, grammar and ability to express myself has gone down the drain the last few years. 

 

Dementia, here i come!

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"Some men see things as they are and say why?"
"I dream things that never were and say why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

"The amount of energy necessary to refute bull**** is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

- Some guy 

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It's always sad when a tin ear with an iron fist and a jelly brain produces wooden prose.

 

Edit: Or jelly fist and iron brain, take your pick.

Edited by evensong

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth." -Marcus Aurelius

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I've read The fountainhead. I've read Anthem. I've read Atlas Shrugged. I've read The Romantic Manifesto. I've read We The People.

 

Ayn Rand is a sentimental moron and Objectivism isn't objective.

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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Whatever happened to Kaftan anyway?

 

Godammit, i noticed how my insight, grammar and ability to express myself has gone down the drain the last few years. 

 

Dementia, here i come!

I'm not quite to the point of l33t speak type shorthand yet, but I may get there eventually.

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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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2Gr88b6.jpg

Quote
"Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as 'History,' harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.”

 

-Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

 

Quote
"Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them."

 

-James Fallows

 

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I've read The fountainhead. I've read Anthem. I've read Atlas Shrugged. I've read The Romantic Manifesto. I've read We The People.

 

Ayn Rand is a sentimental moron and Objectivism isn't objective.

Do you enjoy pain? If you've read all of those you have definitely walked a hard road. I found Atlas Shrugged a real chore to read even though I enjoyed it for the most part. Foutainhead could easily have been condensed and still made it's point. Her writing was ponderous to say the least.

Get off my lawn!

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I've read The fountainhead. I've read Anthem. I've read Atlas Shrugged. I've read The Romantic Manifesto. I've read We The People.

 

Ayn Rand is a sentimental moron and Objectivism isn't objective.

Do you enjoy pain? If you've read all of those you have definitely walked a hard road. I found Atlas Shrugged a real chore to read even though I enjoyed it for the most part. Foutainhead could easily have been condensed and still made it's point. Her writing was ponderous to say the least.

 

I liked Anthem. I actually have an Anthem comic that's pretty neat too except the cover is poorly drawn for some reason.

 

I thought The Fountainhead was kinda good except the first bit where Roark's swimmin' around naked (weird intro). Oh, and the sorta fake rape part. That was friggin' weird. I hated Dominique; she didn't seem perfect to me, just a condescending b*tch to everyone. Sure, Roark thought he was better than everyone, but at least he didn't troll them.

Edited by Namutree

"Good thing I don't heal my characters or they'd be really hurt." Is not something I should ever be thinking.

 

I use blue text when I'm being sarcastic.

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I wasn't here when the original discussion happened. If I were, I might have said:

 

 

you need to resort to real numbers and/or specify that you are operating with base 10 to have 2+2=4.

Not really, for any set of numbers where addition and multiplication are defined, there will be an X where X + X = Y*X where Y signifies the doubling of X.

Its a property of the relationship of addition and multiplication; if you're in a number "set" that can't do this then adding and multiplying can't be defined for that set.

 

If I remember correctly.

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