Friday, November 27, 2009

Some Leftover Turkey from Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand on the American Indians:

"They didn’t have any rights to the land, and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using . . . . What was it that they were fighting for, when they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their ‘right’ to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, but just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or a few caves above it. Any white person who brings the element of civilization has the right to take over this continent."
- Address to West Point, 1974

No comment.


June Butler said...

Some might say that Ayn Rand is a white person who did not bring the element of civilization to this continent. Some might even say that she lived in a cave.

Göran Koch-Swahne said...

The woman is an idjit!

John D said...

If Ayn Rand ain't the Anti-Christ, then there isn't going to be one.

Leonard said...

Ayn Rand was a maddog...her many offspring are still wandering the streets, humping and jumping and are rabidly nipping and attacking humanity because they´ve given themselves permission to poop anywhere they much for her ideas regarding culture. Really, she´s wasn´t ever housebroken. (I knew that in College in the early 60´s)

kishnevi said...

To be fair to the "many offspring"--there is general agreement even among the most hardened Objectivists that Rand more than once was guilty of a massive display of ignorance, and this is one of the worst of them.

You're also being unfair to Rand. Most of the goings on done by her purported "many offspring" have as little to do with what she taught as the deeds of Akinola have to do with what Jesus taught. She despised the corrupt interweaving of business and government; what she was really after was a society where Big Business wouldn't get the chance to do any of the stuff it presently gets away with. And while she herself was definitely homophobic, the full import of her ideas would mean full equality and respect for every individual--including gays and Native Americans.

And her philosophy actually boils down to two things:
1. You have a brain. USE IT!
2. It is up to each of us to decide what is important to us, and to live our life accordingly, and no one has the right to keep you from doing that (unless what you want harms other people).

I don't think anyone who reads this blog would actually object to that.

Counterlight said...

These are not the words of her epigones, but of the woman herself.

Our ancestors did have brains and they used them. They used them to clear the wilderness to extract and exploit its wealth. The Indians were in the way. Steel, gunpowder, slavery, and smallpox took care of them.

For the Indians, land meant Great Earth Mother. The very idea of ownership was alien to that outlook.
To our ancestors, land meant property and profit.
Clearly one view won out forcefully over the other.
We are living with the consequences, still trying to persuade ourselves that we can have conquest without guilt.
Primeval America was no Eden, but it wasn't exactly "empty" wilderness either. Not everyone agreed that the land was a source of wealth and only that.

I wonder if we are really better off.

Ms. Rand, like all ideologues, makes everything seem so clear, simple, and obvious; as demonstrably necessary and inevitable as arithmetic. Like all other ideologues, she is convinced that the bright hard sword of abstract thought can cut through the great Gordian Knot of history with all its complexities and contradictions. Like Procrustes trying to fit his guests to the bed, the ideologues end up cutting through the living fabric of the world and mutilating or killing the guest.

motheramelia said...

I enjoyed reading her books years and years ago, but never agreed with her strong individualism or her philosophy. When I left Vienna in '89 a Russian colleague took most of the books I was leaving behind which included all my science fiction and Ayn Rand. I remember asking him (it was the USSR days) if he could actually take those books home with him. He shrugged, but his name wasn't Atlas.

JCF said...

When I was an undergrad, you could count on walking into a classroom, and some anonymous douche would have written "Read Atlas Shrugged!" on the blackboard (they still had those then ;-/).

Never was there a more persuasive technique for me to NOT read said book, or anything by said author...

Counterlight said...

Where I grew up, we had chalk board messages that were either "Read Atlas Shrugged!" or "Read the Bible!" sometimes from the same people.

Dear old Texas in the 1970s was so far rightwing that Ayn Rand was as left as anyone went. The radical intellectuals were all far right and read Oswald Spengler.