21 votes

How Ayn Rand ruined my childhood

6 comments

  1. [3]
    acdw
    Link
    My mom got me The Fountainhead when I was in highschool, though she told me it was because she thought I'd read it and want to be an architect. I believe her, actually -- her own politics are...

    My mom got me The Fountainhead when I was in highschool, though she told me it was because she thought I'd read it and want to be an architect. I believe her, actually -- her own politics are quite opposite Rand's (when I asked the difference between Republicans and Democrats, she told me "Democrats care about regular people), and she's notoriously out of the loop when it comes to matters of zeitgeist or pop culture -- she gets what she wants to out of media, nothing more. I actually really admire that about her, but I digress.

    When I tried to read Atlas Shrugged last year or the year before, I couldn't even get through it. The characters were simply too selfish, too ignorant of their own privileges, for it to be believable. Rand built literal ubermenschen that literally could do no wrong -- she basically wrote a novel where the main characters were robots. I found it incredibly dull.

    And her philosophy I find dangerous. I think it's a culmination of hundreds of years' worth of trying to divorce the mind from the "dirty" body, of which emotions are a part. We are all driven by our emotions, as well as our logical mind; to try and deny that emotions play a part in our decision making is hobbling ourselves and blinding ourselves to our own desires. The "selfishness" thing is pretty dumb too -- it seems, like for the father in the article, to lead to an extremely lonely existence.

    18 votes
    1. [2]
      cfabbro
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      And also wrote every character who needed any social assistance whatsoever to seem as selfish, lazy and despicable as possible, which is incredibly ironic considering Rand herself relied on social...

      Rand built literal ubermenschen that literally could do no wrong

      And also wrote every character who needed any social assistance whatsoever to seem as selfish, lazy and despicable as possible, which is incredibly ironic considering Rand herself relied on social security near the end of her life. Atlas Shrugged is basically a big book of straw men, caricatures, and scapegoats, and ultimately amounts to nothing more than straight up Libertarian propaganda IMO.

      And her philosophy I find dangerous.

      1000% agree.

      13 votes
      1. Rez
        Link Parent
        It's not really ironic, at least from her perspective. If money is being handed out, she will take it. Otherwise it's asking "Why didn't she act in a selfless way to support a selfish ideology?"...

        which is incredibly ironic considering Rand herself relied on social security near the end of her life.

        It's not really ironic, at least from her perspective. If money is being handed out, she will take it. Otherwise it's asking "Why didn't she act in a selfless way to support a selfish ideology?" It's definitely a great historical fact to point out to kneecap the appeal of the ideology, but not really ironic in my opinion if you are looking at it from an Objectivist point of view. It's the expected action.

        6 votes
  2. monarda
    Link
    I had never heard of Ayn Rand when I came across her books. I read them out of boredom because they were on a bookshelf at a place I was living, and they were some of the only books I had access...

    I had never heard of Ayn Rand when I came across her books. I read them out of boredom because they were on a bookshelf at a place I was living, and they were some of the only books I had access to. At the time I thought they were a cautionary tale that showed how awful life would be if we all lived selfishly. It was over a decade afterwards that I found out anyone read that and thought it was a map to the way they should live their life. How sad.

    13 votes
  3. [2]
    grungegun
    Link
    I'll speak up for Rand. The story in her books isn't the characters, just like the characters are not the focus of the Foundation trilogy. Instead the story is about the character's work. Watching...

    I'll speak up for Rand. The story in her books isn't the characters, just like the characters are not the focus of the Foundation trilogy. Instead the story is about the character's work. Watching their life's pursuit (their company) which they worked tirelessly to maintain being torn apart is gut wrenching.
    It's not the characters, they're cardboard. It's not the selfishness, that's already existent as a philosophical viewpoint, with Nietzsche and others. It's about something you love being torn apart. Rand's book was written in part because she watched her father's business, made by the ground up for his family, be seized during the Communist Revolution. Her book is an overreaction to that.

    The plot can be summarized: Person makes nice thing. Have-Not demands nice thing. Have-Not doesn't understand nice thing and destroys it in using it. Person hates the universe.

    No one should follow Ayn Rand's Objectivism, but that central emotional appeal is the reason it's so popular. If you've ever made something you're proud of only to have a sibling/friend destroy it out of spite, this book is going to be persuasive. Of course there's also the power fantasy of zero altruism, but, like I said, that's been done before, the father in the article would have followed Nietzche if that was more popular, he just wanted to be a jerk, but his conscience wanted to justify it somehow.

    11 votes
    1. ohyran
      Link Parent
      I love you. I mean not because of Rand (whos not someone I'm a fan of) but because of this wonderful statement of random "ok I'll give it a fair go, she deserves that" - I wish I could buy you a...

      I'll speak up for Rand

      I love you. I mean not because of Rand (whos not someone I'm a fan of) but because of this wonderful statement of random "ok I'll give it a fair go, she deserves that" - I wish I could buy you a beer and hear this post spoken out by you <3

      6 votes