“Obama erection” speaks for itself, but the enduring popularity of Ayn Rand is something of a mystery.
Rand was a mid-20th century author, Russian born but she spent most of her life in the US. Her books are widly popular with undergraduate university students, real estate agents and corporate executives. Rand lived through the russian revolution, Leninism and the early years of Stalin and her books are a deranged reaction against marxism and collectivist thinking. Her books celebrate capitalism, individualism and ‘reason’ (the definition of ‘reason’ being agreement with everything that Ayn says.) Her philosophy is known as ‘objectivism’.
New York magazine has been trawling the singles profiles of AtlasSphere and found some gems:
You should contact me if you are a skinny woman. If your words are a meaningful progression of concepts rather than a series of vocalizations induced by your spinal cord for the purpose of complementing my tone of voice. If you’ve seen the meatbot, the walking automaton, the pod-people, the dense, glazy-eyed substrate through which living organisms such as myself must escape to reach air and sunlight. If you’ve realized that if speech is to be regarded as a cognitive function, technically they aren’t speaking, and you don’t have to listen.
Sounds like a keeper.
One of the fundamental tenets of Rand’s philosophy is that company executives – far from being incompetent idiots blinded by fear and greed – are actually the titanic heroes of our age.
With that in mind, I was amused to read this comment by Citigroup director Robert Rubin in the Wall Street Journal. (Citi has just been bailed out by the US taxpayer to the tune of $20 billion dollars).
Under fire for his role in the near-collapse of Citigroup Inc., Robert Rubin said its problems were due to the buckling financial system, not its own mistakes, and that his role was peripheral to the bank’s main operations even though he was one of its highest-paid officials. “Nobody was prepared for this,” Mr. Rubin said in an interview.
Many people were prepared and made a fortune short-selling CDS’s to chumps like Rubin – who over the last two years was paid $17 million in salary and $33 million in stock options; you’d think that for that kind of money you’d damn well be prepared. It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that a lot of executives in the financial services industry were essentially paid huge sums to make money when the market was good and then get bailed out by the state when the market is bad. Nice work if you can get it. Rubin went on to say:
He cited former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan as another example of someone whose reputation has been unfairly damaged by the crisis.
Greenspan was a close friend of Ayn Rand’s and has been a long time advocate of objectivist philosophy, until last month when he had to admit that many of the worlds largest companies were run by idiots, and that his anti-regulation free market ideology was ‘flawed’.
It’s actually to Greenspan’s credit that he acknowledged this; the rest of the Ayn Rand cult is robotically insisting that the problems in the totally unregulated CDS market were somehow caused by ‘too much regulation’. Probably taxes are also to blame.
If you’re interested in reading one of Rand’s books I’d go for The Fountainhead‘, which compares favourably to her other epic Atlas Shrugged in that it is several hundred pages shorter, there’s only one >25 page monologe (Atlas contains three or four, including an extended polemic against Robin Hood). Also it has more of Rand’s detailed rape fantasies. Enjoy!