Kapow! on Ayn Rand

Posted on behalf of Katharine Louw.

Ayn Rand had more than one sex scene, first of all. But secondly, I don’t think her attitudes toward sex are important. I know many Libertarians who have some very odd and perturbed attitudes and fascinations with sex… far more strange than Ayn Rand.

I don’t think she condemned people who were incapable of supporting themselves for reasons outside their control. Rather what I recall is that she had a profound disdain for people who were potentially capable – but weak and lazy – like the brother of Dagny (I think). Or people who were sinister (like the weasly journalist).

Her idea was that people need to harness their inner spirit and strength. The name of the book is Atlas Shrugged. Atlas was holding up the ENTIRE world. This is no easy task. Ayn Rand admired and encouraged the human spirit that rose to the harsh challenges of reality and would support the “world upon their shoulders.”

This is not easy – but she did not admire people who shirked the responsibility – with excuses. Her first novel: We the Living – also echoes this in its title. It is about LIVING.

I didn’t find her fiction “dreadfully laboured.” This is an opinion. Some of her descriptions of human beings have stayed with me forever – they were beautiful. She was an exceptionally gifted writer… if I had but a tenth of her talent.

Her long books were coherent. They were structured. They were intelligible and they were consistent. I have read worse.

She may have been harsh and hard – but Ayn Rand came from Communist Russia. She came from an extraordinarily harsh background (glimpsed in We the Living) and a lot of government injustice. It is not surprising she developed a great deal of inner steel and anger. If she had come out all soft and flowery – then I would have thought she was cooked.

Also- haven’t any of you sometimes felt the anger she expresses? Isn’t much of her harshness justified? She is fighting against masses of rubbish with terrible consequences for humanity.

@ Garth I disagree that she was a technophobe. After all her main protagonists in Atlas Shrugged were engineers and developed innovative and advanced technologies (fictional).

I don’t think it is relevant to say she never discussed children: how often do any of you write articles or establish solid views on Children? Children come up very rarely in Libsa – plus I don’t think a person needs to develop a comprehensive view on all aspects of reality and humanity to be relevant.

Who the hell cares how she dances!!! How do “Karl Popper, John Stuart Mill, Harry S Browne and some actual libertarians like Leon Louw, Jim Harris, Jim Peron, Trevor Watkins and Charl Heydenrich” dance???? This is really just a CHEAP shot that makes me suspicious.

I suspect this is really because she is a woman or something. I have noticed that first of all, everyone commenting here is a man. Secondly… all the truly admired famous Libertarians etc are men. I would also like to point out that all these economists were completely unemotional in their delivery of academic material. Ayn Rand weaved a little spirit and heart into her work.

@ Trevor and Garth – what fascinates me about your comments and many of the others is that you talk about genius in rather an offhand way and seem to indicate that you believe it is quite a simple and common matter. Where this might be so, I would far more likely believe that anyone commenting here is a genius if they had achieved anything like what Ayn Rand has achieved. The book Atlas Shrugged is my favourite book of all time. It is so remarkably unique compared to anything else I have ever read. It feels superior… as though she climbed a thin tower far beyond what most people can imagine. She left everyone else way behind – like Beethoven. She is a break-through writer like Michael Jackson was a breakthrough musician. Whether you like MJs music or not – Ayn Rand and MJ are both bonified geniuses. I think it is paltry the way everyone is putting her down – with so little to their name. I don’t think anyone truly appreciates what a feat her achievements were.

Potentially every one of you could achieve what she has achieved in your own way – but can you imagine the amount of hard work it would require? To overcome the laziness and to demand the discipline within yourselves? To develop such a range of staunch ideas and present them comprehensively?

Ayn Rand was amazing. And I don’t think it came easily to her… I think she pushed herself. Considering the fact that all of you argue on just about everything and none of you share exactly the same ideas – — I think it is fair to say her ideas had as much, if not more, value than any of yours. If Ayn Rand was a part of this LIBSA group and she was commenting on everything – I think we would all be blessed and honoured by the insights and intelligence she would share with us. Imagine the genius that would come through her keyboard into this google group if she was still around and cared to play with us, who are, comparatively, chimpanzees.

More likely she would be in the google group that contains Nobel Prize winners and it would be on a whole nother level.

So yes – I love her and I think she is brilliant. Her writing is refreshing and exultant. She is one of the few writers on this planet who has ever successfully combined philosophical/economic theory with fiction. I have read others people’s efforts at doing this and they are embarrassing by comparison. People normally can do either one or the other: either they do pure, theoryless fiction – or they do pure economic theory.

Ayn Rand was showing how economic and philosophical theory are woven into reality with emotional examples. She reached far more people this way – who could then really see it all in action – than pure theorists and academic writers ever can or will. GENIUS!!!

When I want people to re-evaluate their views… I don’t turn them to John Stuart Mill – I give them a copy of Atlas Shrugged – it is the beginning of what everyone needs to hear… still, even today.

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  1. #1 by Sophia on May 25, 2011 - 5:52 pm

    You know, by the time I left school, I had read some 10,000 books. These included everything from ancient mythology through 19th century and 20th century literature, up to modern day writers. During that time, and for the next few years after leaving school, I managed to read every single Ayn Rand novel.

    Why did I do that? Because some of my peers read them. Here’s my honest opinion. I have never read more boring, more stupid books in my life. I have never understood what on earth she was about, and writers like Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strangeland, Starship Troopers, etc), Frank Herbert (Hive), and even Isaac Asmov had a lot more relevant social comment than Ayn Rand.

    I also think that when narcissism becomes the overriding trend of a community/society, then it begins to destroy the fabric of that community. In the end, extreme or rugged individualism is nothing more than narcissism. I currently live in the United States and I have had extreme difficulty in adjusting to a society where most people are out only for themselves. The latest issue of UTNE magazine deals with this topic. It’s worth reading.

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