Ayn Rand, Capitalist Cheerleader

Jamal Hannah jamal at bronze.lcs.mit.edu
Thu Sep 21 18:59:13 MDT 1995


Chris S. wrote:
> 	Ironically, the tendency that you mention here, of Rand's, to
> show her heroes as physically beautiful in contrast to her ugly villains
> is not quite complete.  In her earlier novel, WE THE LIVING, Andrei, the
> chief communist in the book, is portrayed as beautiful as a god; he is
> the idealism of communism, in Rand's view, before it was corrupted by the
> Soviet regime.  When the book was made into a movie by Italian pirates
> (starring Rosanno Brazzi and Alida Valli), the Nazis barred it from
> coming into Germany precisely because it was "too soft" on communism!
> What a howl!

I know all about that..  but this is a bad example because the
"beautiful communist" guy "sees the light" and abandons communism.
So Rand's still playing the same game.  If he had been an anarchist,
he might have rejected the Bolsheviks but still rejected capitalism
as well.

It's a real pity those Bolshevik's couldnt ally with the Anarchists.
Maybe that would have stopped them from seizing Rand's (uncle's?) shop.
Forced collectivization at that level is _nuts_.  If a guy is running a
store on a corner, you dont grab the store.  It's the factories where
the workers are exploited where the seizing happens.. but thats because
the workers already have their hands on what they should rightfully
"own" to begin with.

Now, of course if the case were that there were a single food store, in
one whole town, where one guy owned a factory run by robots, this
would be different: if the people were starving and seized the food.. the
owner could hardly blame them!

It seems that for Rand, the crime against her relative became magnified
and everywhere she looked, she saw benevolent capitalists, even
when defending them was ridiculous.  (Rockefeller, Ford, etc.)
The rest of her life she was avenging that one injustice.
Maybe the Bolsheviks needed to know something about Chaos theory..
it might have made them more careful when indescriminatly seizing property!
(Lenin said something about how it was a very touchy subject to deal with the
petit bourgeois small-tradesman.. but.. hey, its too late, eh.)

I wonder if the employees of the store took over, if Rand would
have been as pissed.  Funny how Rand's bosses have egos, but
her workers do not.  Rand rallied against "sacrifice" but she
only meant the capitalist must not have to sacrifice.. the worker
is forced to every day of her/his working life.

Capitalists always defend big-business by pretending that there's
no difference between big business and small business, or
a corporation and an individual.  I see this from the "Libertarian"
capitalists especially. (defending Microsoft, but then leaping back
and going on and on about their small enterprise or virtuous
"self-employment").  It should be noted that excessively doing this is
what makes the working class _less_ sympathetic to the small-time
capitalist.

I wonder if history will replay itself and small-time capitalists will
try to use the working class to overthrow the corporations so
they can start the cycle again.  Ugh!  (thats why I'll never trust the
lib-caps.. I will not help them climb the corporate ladder!)

> 	I certainly don't believe that Rand really believed that looks
> determined sensuality; she was more into -- excuse this expression --
> "mind fuck" in the sense that she really did believe that what was most
> important was a person's values and philosophical premises; it was on the
> basis of this that a sexual relationship, in Rand's view, could be
> consummated.

Problem with this is that people change, and relationships can be
a negotiative process, if you want to keep them going.  Humans
aint solid, static things.  Rand flipped out when Branden didnt
totally agree with her, and suddenly didnt love him anymore.
If she had stepped back and examined herself, she might have
seen that coming!

> 	Rand called herself a "Romantic Realist" by the way; and in this
> regard she was less a strict romanticist.  Her works demand moral
> judgments from the reader at all times, and they have compelled many a
> young person to question authority, conformity, and most other tacitly
> accepted social values, including belief in God.

The "realist" part was simply an attempt to replace "Social Realist"
with her own "(capitalist) realist" ideology, which just led one back
to the halls of profit-seeking.  Her "realist" ideas were pretty
much brute-force pragmatism stuff:  "You want this yummy
candy, ignore the consequences and eat it!"  Or arguments of
power (the US's innate military power, wealth and "virtue" gave it a
right to control the world.)   Rand argued that the US should continue
it's boycott.. but if the USSR was inherently a failure anyway, why was
the boycott needed?  Rand was clever enough to know that if the
cards were in her favor, she could interpret "objective" reality
any way she pleased.  Rand's "realism" was just a label at its
best, and a "real" smack-in-the-face at it's worst.

Ignoring the consequences of smoking (and urging people to do the
same) as well as rooting for the "paving of the earth" was one of the
more bizarre aspects of the lengths she would go to in order to keep
capitalism strong.  So much for beauty.. so much for truth.  "Screw it
all" was her ultimate answer. (kinda like shrugging it off..)

 - Jamal H.



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