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Well, obviously

Will Wilkinson:

It ought to be less embarrassing to have been influenced by Ayn Rand than by Karl Marx.

It is.

12 Responses to “Well, obviously”

  1. jcruze Says:

    Who is John Galt?
    “Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be
    much easier to deal with.” (‘Atlas Shrugged’ 1957)

  2. Weer'd Beard Says:

    I feel the same way when I shred with ease the argument of an Anti-Gunner.

    “Why do they keep tossing out the same flimsy arguments, aren’t they embarrassed?”

    I guess not!

  3. Nylarthotep Says:

    Grown ups understand Marx was a fool.

  4. Metulj Says:

    As a holder of a degree in philosophy (and the jobs dressed in polyester that comes with a degree in philosophy), I remember my undergraduate advisor batting back a plea for some respect for Ayn Rand: “She misread Nietzsche so badly that she actually thought he was on her side. She was a human being. By definition, Nietzsche was not on her side.”

    Anyhow, it’s a bad parallel, as not many people read Marx anymore. You can tell by the mislabeling of someone like Obama as a socialist by wantwits like Glenn Beck (what is it with wingnut pundits and the inability to finish college?).

    If you want great conservative thinkers go no further than Michael Oakeshott or Alasdair MacIntyre (a personal favorite). Hell, why not just read liberals like Adam Smith or Immanuel Kant? Oh, right. Those books are long and difficult as opposed to Rand, which are, um, just long.

  5. comatus Says:

    Rand didn’t see Marx as her philosophical enemy. Her enemy was Kant. Oddly enough, the psychoepistemology that is Objectivism’s point of beginning works very like Kant’s Categories.

    Everybody knows, right, that Marx invented the word “Capitalism,” as an insult?

    I am the holder of a degree in philosophy, and I call Obama a socialist frequently. “Pawn of the Muscovite Slavemasters” was taken.

  6. Billy Beck Says:

    “Hell, why not just read liberals like Adam Smith or Immanuel Kant?”

    BTDT. Kant is a fuckin’ asshole.

    By the way: it’s obvious that your undergraduate advisor didn’t know what he was talking about. She had completely ditched Nietzsche before she ever even went to work on “We The Living”.

  7. Metulj Says:

    Billy: Here’s the thing about the Nietzsche joke: You don’t get the joke. I don’t doubt she “ditched” Nietzsche later (wouldn’t know, personally. The only things I read of hers are the thigh-slappingly bad novels). The point is that she thought that Nietzsche represented some sort of great atheist individualist. Only someone reading for what they want to see would ever gather that in the first place. He wasn’t. Far from it.

    Ayn Rand suffers from trying to use philosophy (if you can call ‘Objectivism’ that) as a justification, not as the tool that philosophy really is. To get back on topic with the bad Marx parallel: You could never accuse him of that, especially if you read “Kapital,” no matter your opinion of his views of how economy and society have to play out for freedom to ever exist.

  8. Metulj Says:

    BTW, “capitalism” wasn’t coined by Marx, though he uses it in a negative sense (he would, wouldn’t he?). It first shows up Turgot’s ” Réflexions sur la formation et la distribution des richesses” in 1770.

  9. comatus Says:

    Met, for someone who’s never read any of her essays, you sure seem to know a lot about her opinion of Nietzsche. You’re so sure she’s laughable as a philosophical thinker, and yet you’ve never even cracked a cover? Something funny is going on here.

  10. straightarrow Says:

    I always hold met at a little distance. He seems to think being malleable and amenable to severe regimentation in direct opposition to thought and intellectual inquiry is somehow a mark of superiority.

  11. Matt Groom Says:

    I have no fucking clue what all of these comments are about. So let’s look at it from a historical perspective:

    Ayn Rand: 1
    Karl Marx: -100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    Rand wins.

  12. Kim du Toit Says:

    “It ought to be less embarrassing to have been influenced by Ayn Rand than by Karl Marx.”

    “It is.”

    …but not by much. As Mr. Groom suggests, Randism has the advantage of not having been responsible for killing millions — but that doesn’t make it any more workable a system than Marxism. Both are total junk.