Thursday, February 27, 2014

Aynal Retentives

A pal from the 'old' days, asked me why I thought the fans of Ayn Rand/Atlas Shrugged --I've started calling 'em "Aynal Retentives"--are so thoughtlessly rabid in their devotion to the writer and the book?

(Aynal Retentives. Ya like that? I do...)

Rand, A sociopathic Soviet emigre in the '40s, penned SEVERAL turgid, tedious, inexpert, mundane, pedantic, sloppy novels, a (ahem) "philosophy" book (so-called), and a handful of sophomoric, splenetic, panegyric essays, all of which celebrated the wonders of selfishness, and spawned LEGIONS of childish, intolerant, narrow-minded, intellectual and emotional delinquents and moral cripples.

What's the charm?

I replied: Remember/consider Galbraith: "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

That's the precise description of the "Randoids" and the "Shruggers," which have included--along with the last three or four generations of pre-and intra-adolescent males--such luminaries as the Koch Bros*, former, long-term Fed Chief Allen (Mrs Andrea Mitchell) Greenspan and the late, unlamented Milton Friedman. Friedman, as a minion of the Real Estate industry, in the 40s, invented "Libertarianism" from scraps of  Rand's cockamamie codswallop and a dose of Viennese ideology, to give the vultures and reptiles of that industry some spurious claim to "intellectual rigor."

They are megalo-maniacally devoted to that justification of selfishness, and this has led them to ennoble Rand's risible "philosophical" system --"Objectivism," which is based on the total rejection of altruism and hypostatizing of the "proudly selfish individual."

It's the "moral philosophy" of a pubescent, 14-year-old boy in a position of unexamined social privilege.

I've said before: Ayn Rand contributes to anything with which she is (mistakenly) associated--philosophy, literature, politics: anything--the same ineffable 'quality' which coprophagy--a fancy word for eating feces--brings to cuisine.

For the Sake of Argument, this is the Doc...Now back to Winstone, in the studio...


I read the Rand canon in my youth, pretty much all of it. And, whilst still commanded by my own adolescent understandings of moral philosophy, I found it quite compelling. I 'believed" it. It made sense. But I was, of course, almost the quintessential example of a callow, privileged youth, OF the dominant majority, observing the world from the position of unexamined social privilege. I got better...

Paraphrasing--Foucault said: We think we know what we're doing. Sometimes, even, why we're doing it. We don't ask what what we're doing actually DOES. Once you make it to that third step, there's no going back.

*The Koch Bros, as a condition of their funding a chair at George Mason "University" (imho, less than half a step above "Liberty U", Bob Jones "U", or Oral Roberts "U", but with a better hoops team), demanded that "Atlas Shrugged" be required reading in the Econ Dept/Business School.

1 comment:

Mauigirl said...

Very true. Funny how we all read Ayn Rand as teenagers and thought she was great but then later see the error of our ways - but the right wingers and libertarians who worship her never managed to grow up.