Rand is NOT a Fascist! Jeez!

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Sat Jun 24 10:48:16 MDT 1995


At 12:51 AM 6/24/95, Chris M. Sciabarra wrote:

>On Sat, 24 Jun 1995, Jim Jaszewski wrote:
>
>> > 7. Austrians (Hayek, Popper, etc.) must be listened to.
>>
>>       ...And I suppose the fascist philosopher, Ayn Rand has to get her two
>> cents-worth in too... It's one thing to take what is valuable in an
>> opponent's reasoning -- it's another to swallow his line, hook, sinker and
>> all...
>>
>        Boy, sometimes I feel like the "keeper of the libertarian flame"
>around here!  Now, now... let's not throw around words like "fascist" --
>Rand was educated by the Soviets and was an anticommunist for sure, but
>she was not a fascist.  Sorry... when you write books about the woman,
>you get a little sensitive about these things!   -- Chris

I'll accept Chris's defense of Rand against the fascist, or even crypto- or
proto- or semi- or whatever modifer you want to slap on. We should reserve
the word for situations when it's deserved and don't devalue the currency.
Sorta like deploying "fuck you" only on those occasions where nothing else
will do (*intellectual* occasions, that is).

But what about this? Buckleyites regard Rand with horror, as a crude,
dogmatic materialist with a deep authoritarian streak. So I'd like to ask
our resident Randian, or anyone else with an informed opinion, to comment
on Whittaker Chambers famous 1957 denunciation of AR in the National
Review: "Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book [he's
reviewing Atlas Shrugged] in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so
implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve.... From almost
any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voie can be heard, from painful necessity,
commanding: 'To a gas chamber - go!'" In reviewing what Buckley called
"read[ing] Miss Rand right out of the conservative movement," WFB added a
footnote citing a 1961 piece by Bruce Goldberg, "a disciple of Hayek, von
Mises, and Friedman," which came to conclusions similar to Chambers,
calling her "hate blinded" and "suffocating in her invective." [This is
from Buckley's introduction to his anthology, Did You Ever See a Dream
Walking: American Conservative Thought in the Twentieth Century,
Bobbs-Merrill, 1970 - a relic of my few undergrad days in Yale's Party of
the Right.]

Doug

--

Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at panix.com]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
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