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Thanks to the Daily Kos for these. Seeing Rand’s words on Christmas cards seems to make it that much clearer how much her philosophy of unbridled capitalism is diametrically opposed to the teachings of Christianity.
Click through for more.
I like these! But, then again, my views fall much closer to those of Rand than Jesus.
I am a libertarian myself but not an extremist like Rand, or her objectivist cultists. I agree with the sentiment in some of the cards here but not others. Yes, I agree that it is great that Xmas is now commercialized to the point that the mystics’ viewpoint is but an afterthought. And capitalism is not all bad.
I also think altruism applied properly is a virtue. Ayn Rand has made a strawman meaning of altruism that says it is to sacrifice oneself for others. And by sacrifice she did mean it in the most extreme way. If you so much as give your seat to the old lady on the bus, you are giving up your manhood, your entire self-determination; you may as well give her your family’s entire fortune and properties, and even give her a gun so that she can shoot you down like the failure of a man that you are.
Ayn Rand and her culthead followers are a disgrace to classical liberalism and libertarianism.
Ayn Rand insisted on maintaining Auguste Comte’s definition of Altruism, since he was the man who first coined the term, even though almost no English speaker ever used it in the sense which that madman intended. Rand’s writings read like attacks on strawmen, but Comte’s “Humanistic Religion of Positivism” really was so crazy that Rand was not even using hyperbole when attacking him. He was supposedly taken seriously by both Hitler and Stalin, but almost no one today knows or cares about him. Ayn’s rhetoric does not make sense unless you know it was aimed mostly at Auguste.
To Rand, a sacrifice must by definition be trading a greater value for a lesser one. If you actually care about the well being of the old lady more than your own minor physical discomfort, then it would be a sacrifice not to help her.
Rand considered Benevolence to be antithetical to Altruism. If you genuinely care for another person’s well being, it would be a horrible sacrifice for you to pass on an opportunity to help that person.
Even in the scenario where a man seeing a stranger’s child drowning, she held that it was natural for a person to risk his life to save the child because a normal person would not feel good about knowing himself to be too much of a coward to help. She saw living with such strong regrets and doubts about one’s own character to be worse than death, so the traditionally “selfish” course of action is what she would call “selfless” in a bad way.
You just posted three twisted, upside-down examples of Ayn Rand’s position on sacrifice. Would you please cite the sources for your claim?
Hilarious how you chide Rand for ‘making a strawman meaning of altruism’ and then proceed to issue a ludicrous characterization of her position, far beyond strawman. Didn’t you notice that glaring contradiction before you posted?
Ayn has enjoyed an odd renaissance with conservatives these days. Your right, she is antichristian. A funny thing is Anton Levy’s Church of Satan has been described as Ayn Randian, and im reminded of the post you made about Satanist being kinder than Christians, as according to some meme. I remember thinking how lame Satanism has become if it means careing about and respecting others. I thought the draw was it was all about YOU. But people are inconsistent. Marilyn Manson, the rocker, made a big deal about being a Satanist, even using the rather Randian line, “love everybody destroys the value of love” in a song but then saying capitalism leads to fascism in The Beautiful People. Well sure im Satanist and believe in self gratification as my primary goal, but a CAPITALIST!? Hell, no, those guys wear suits. She is a bit of a pariah in more traditional conservative circles, http://www.nationalreview.com/article/213298/big-sister-watching-you-whittaker-chambers
But a facinating woman really, no matter your opinions of her philosophy. Personally I don’t think we would have evolved the capacity for alturism if it had no benifit, and so ironically alturism may not be so altruistic.
I’m pretty sure the Temple of Satan in the earlier post is a movement-atheist strategy to combine unproblematic secular values with offensive (to Christians) imagery under the guise of a religion so that whenever Christians get a 10 commandments plaque or a nativity scene, they can argue ‘it goes, or we get a statue of Baphomet’.
Nothing to do with La Vey Satanism, IOW.
Well I’m a traditionalist and I don’t like these liberals just thinking its cool to screw up Satanism by making it Unitarians with goats.
If I ever have a discussion about this again, I’ll be certain to mention this opinion 🙂
(I assume you’re OK with a direct quote? Or will you demand a fee, because otherwise you’d be giving me something for nothing, and that’s disgusting?)
It is worth noting that Rand used a highly idiosyncratic lexicon in which terms like “love,” charity,” “altruism,” and “sacrifice” meant things almost entirely disconnected from the vernacular senses of the words.
Most of her conclusions are quite reasonable if you confine yourself to her definitions, but nonsense if you try to apply them otherwise.
To her “love” meant “approbation,” so loving everyone would mean believing that everything they do is morally good. Loving a sinner would mean thinking they have a duty to keep on sinning.
“Altruism” meant a system where it is immoral to to anything good for oneself, where sacrificing for others is the only good.
“Sacrifice” meant exchanging someone you value highly for something you value less. It is simply a pointless waste, rather than setting aside someone of worth in service of or to demonstrate a greater worth as sacrifice has always meant to everyone else.
Her view of Native Americans was simply ignorant, based on viewing unrealistic Hollywood movies rather than studying actual history. The Native tribes were diverse in their practices, but most definitely recognized private property. Most of them aligned better with Classical Liberal notions of property than did any European civilization. European land ownership was derived from conquest and royal grants of privilege, whereas native customs depended more on occupancy and use and compensation to the community for monopolizing particularly valuable plots.
Classical Liberal thought, and even Randian forms of argumentation, really ought to lead to a Georgist system that recognized absolute property in the fruits of labor while requiring a land value taxes on the unimproved value of scarce natural resources to compensate for the privilege of monopolizing them. Rand refused to see this, however, and insisted upon Allodial title even though her own Galt’s Gulch utopia depended on land value taxes. It was an example of “Heathian anarchism,” which is equivalent to Georgism administered by a monarch rather than democratic representatives.
Rand often decried libertarians for plagiarizing her work, but they were really borrowing from better thinkers who had presented such ideas long before Rand was even born.
There is much that is good and original in the works of Rand, but what is good is not original and what is original is not good.
Thanks for explaining some of Rand’s ideas. I think her ideas on the meaning of love and altruism are worth consideration, as I think popular imagination does get wrong ideas about them and she challenges those misconceptions, but her definitions do not relate to common understandings of these words, which are hard to strictly define.
Isn’t it the worst sort of strawmanning, though, to redefine “love” in a way that no-one else would, and then proclaim that universal love is morally wrong, to the extent that it is even comprehensible?
It could be strawmanning, or proof that this Russian woman never really mastered her second language.
Does ‘люблю’ (courtesy of google translate) mean or imply that you approve of everything the object does?
I don’t know anything about Russian and not much about Russian culture, but this strikes me as quite unlikely…
I think what it does suggest though is that she never really mastered understanding anyone else, which is quite sad, really…
Or understood business or economics or religion or any of the other things she wrote about.
Her strawman definitions don’t make her works any less ridiculous.
Since what Ayn Rand thought about altruism has become a topic of debate in the comments, I though this “Blank on Blank” rendition of an interview between Rand and Mike Wallace might be of interest:
Wait, are you telling us Ayn Rand wasn’t a Christian?! Stop the presses!!!
It’s amazing how much of that kind of thinking has crept into Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christianity. And not by accident. It was intentional starting in the late 70s to mix Rand and Jesus together into a right-wing religion and people bought it.
A fountainhead of humor. Thanks.
The woman was a psychopath. Too bad her written work survived her, it’s toxic garbage. Rand is responsible for a great deal of harm in the world, including the ongoing harms being caused by her present-day acolytes like Paul Ryan and Rand Paul.