Rand is NOT a Fascist! Jeez!

Jeffrey Booth booth2 at husc.harvard.edu
Mon Jun 26 08:33:57 MDT 1995


	
	A good anecdote to all this Ayn Rand b.s. is Lenin's:
Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism.  Rand's utopian view of
capitalism is a sick joke.
	I, unfortunately, wasted a lot of my puberty reading Rand.  I got
hooked after reading Anthem.  It seemed rebellious to me.  I'd never
heard of marxism except in very negative ways. I got unhooked by
Watergate and getting a job in a factory.  I don't see how anyone that's
actually had to work for a living can take Rand's ideas seriously.
	Second anecdote to Randism:  leave academia and get a real job.

				-- Jeff Booth

On Sat, 24 Jun 1995, Chris M. Sciabarra wrote:

> On Sat, 24 Jun 1995, Doug Henwood wrote:
>
> > 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).
> 	Thanks, Doug.  I agree.
>
> Doug continues:
> > 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
>
> 	Well, Doug, this is a classic example of just how hateful the
> conservative right has been of Ayn Rand.  The thing that bothers
> conservatives most has been Rand's atheism and opposition to religious
> and traditional defenses of capitalism.  Rand called "NATIONAL REVIEW the
> worst and most dangerous magazine in America."  She thought the
> conservatives were neofascists, far more dangerous than the Left because
> it was the conservative lip-service to free markets that discredited the
> legitimacy of genuinely libertarian alternatives.  As for whether or not
> Chambers was correct, let me say this:  Rand was not a dogmatic
> materialist, but this is certainly how conservatives read her because she
> rejects their supernaturalism.  As for her "arrogant" tone--well, it is
> difficult to deny this.  Rand was arrogant.  This led to her
> popularity--and to the caricaturing of her Objectivist movement.  To some
> degree, her immediate followers were most to blame.  They treated her
> like a deity who could do and say no wrong.  And when the "movement"
> collapsed due to--we later discovered--a love affair gone wrong between
> her and her chief intellectual associate, psychologist Nathaniel Branden,
> she was held up to further ridicule.  Suffice it to say, Rand has no
> monopoly on folly or sillyness in the history of thought.  But to
> dismiss her, as most of her critics do, because of her cultic following
> or her theatrical style, is of course, illegitimate--IF one believes that
> her ideas are, at the very least, worth considering for their
> intellectual merit.
>
> 	Rand created a lot of enemies on the right;  she was originally
> very attracted to the Old Right--the conservative intellectuals such as
> Albert Jay Nock (an individualist anarchist), H. L. Mencken, Isabel
> Paterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and others.  But in the post-World War Two
> era, she recognized the inner contradictions of conservatism, and became
> very alarmed at its growing authoritarianism:  the demands of
> anticommunists to legalize the death penalty for political offenses, the
> growing militarism on the Right, the advocates of the draft and other
> forms of national serfdom, and finally, the attempt to enjoin politics
> and religion.  Chambers, Buckley, and others were among her most violent
> detractors.  (It has been said that upon her initial meeting with
> Buckley, she told him:  "Mr. Buckley," in her characteristic Russian
> accent, "you are much too intelligent to believe in Gott. "  Quite an
> icebreaker!)
> 					- Chris
> ==================================================
> Dr. Chris M. Sciabarra
> Visiting Scholar, NYU Department of Politics
> INTERNET:  sciabrrc at is2.nyu.edu (NOTE NEW ADDRESS)
> ==================================================
>
>
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