Ayn Rand:

A crazy lady, babbling
about reason and rationality
in a Dionysian way.

    "Contradictions don't exist,"
    but her idealized smart,
    independent women are all
    looking for men tough enough
    to dominate them.

          She sneers at proof by
          assertion, and resorts to it
          repeatedly for pages on end.

               "No one survives here by
               faking reality in any way."
               Except the author.

                   An awful ear for english,
                   using  words like
                   "looter" when any native
                   would say "thief".


But I actually agree with Rand's
"values"... truth and justice
and freedom and  all that.

Maybe it just seems trite to me to
expound about it for hundred of pages.

But then, it may just be because I
don't need to hear it.  I'm always
surprised to meet someone who doesn't
believe in truth, though plenty of them
exist.  People searching for a
beautiful delusion they can lose
themselves in without reality breaking
down the door.                                    TRUTH

And as for justice, sometimes
it seems like no one believes
in it, substituting instead a
sense of "niceness".                               NICE

There are things to like
about Rand.

    The rejection of the mind/body
    dichotomy...an attempt at being
    passionately intellectual.

        A willingness to try to write a
        novel of ideas, as opposed to
        the more modern obsession with
        detailed descriptions of existance.

            Recognition of the importance
            of industry/technology
            for preserving life and
            improving quality of life.

                Her attempt at an
                ethical defense of      Rand's proposed ethical defense
                capitalism.             of pure capitalism ("freedom is
                                        good") is a nice try: it's
                                        comprehensive and concise
                                        (though propounded
                                        repetitiously at great length),
                                        but not without problems.

                                        Are individuals free to stand
                                        by and allow someone to die?
                                        How much difference is there
                                        between actively causing
                                        something, and passively
                                        allowing something to happen?

                                        Having read Rand, the welfare
                                        issue may no longer seem as
                                        simple (at best it becomes the
                                        lesser of two evils) but to
                                        really settle it you have to
                                        get into the practical defenses
                                        of capitalism ("socialism
                                        doesn't work too well"), and
                                        all of the piecemeal, lengthy
                                        arguments of economics.


      Heroes:                                 Villains:

   "I can accept almost anything,          "Always be what other people
   except what seems to be                 want you to be, then you've got
   easiest for most people: the            them right where you want them."
   half-way, the almost, the
   just-about, the in-between."
                                           "Centralization relieves the
   "People want nothing but mirrors        blight of monopoly."
   around them. To reflect them
   while they're reflecting too...
   Reflections of reflections and          "But there are also sins of
   echoes of echoes.  No beginning         omission to consider.  To fail
   and no end.  No center and no           to save a life is as immoral
   purpose."                               as murder.  The consequences
                                           are the same -- and since we
   "You know how people long to be         must judge actions by
   eternal.  But they die with every       consequences, the moral
   day that passes...  They change,        reponsibility is the same..."
   they deny, they contradict -- and
   they call it growth.  At the end
   there's nothing left, nothing
   unreversed or unbetrayed..."

Ayn Rand seems incapable of
writing a decent ending.  Her
sense of dramatic structure
gets skewed by her didactic
intent, I suppose.  Or maybe
she just can't handle longer
works.  Rand a playwrite
trying to be a novelist?

But she has written plays...
which also suffer from weak
endings, come to think of it.

"Ideal" is a neat idea:

An actress modeled on Greta Garbo
has to go on the run from the
police.  Out of the thousands of
fan letters that she's received
she has saved a small bundle,
each of which claims to have seen
some depth of meaning in her
performances.  She goes to each
of these people looking for
shelter, and in each encounter
they repudiate the ideals they
expressed in their letters...             My fave: an artist obsessed
all of them save one.                     with painting the woman's
                                          image doesn't recognize her
                                          face to face.

Another play, "The Night of January
the 14th" isn't such a bad
job.  It's a court room drama
where the jury is composed of
members of the audience, whose
decision determines how the
play ends.

It's also interesting as a somewhat
sympathetic view of gansters, an
attitude frequently found amongst
libertarian sorts.  Al Capone              Cyril Kornbluth's the _Syndic_:
considered as a noble businessman          The Mob takes over, and does
fighting unreasonable regulatory           better than the government did.

Much of the drive of Rand's
work is the same as the
drive behind stories about
romanticized jewel theives,
pirates or revolutionaries.            In _The Fountainhead_, the
The flamboyant rogue, the              main characters have red hair
noble criminal.  And much of           (to show individuality) and
the flaws arise from trying            yellow hair (to show some
to rationalize these                   kind of Aryan purity?).  When
impulses away, and make over           reading the story, though,
all her characters into                it's difficult to shake the
goody-goodies consistent               impression that they both have
with her ideology.                     black hair.

           So Rand might be compared
           to Nietzsche: she's out
           to redefine good and evil.

                  Rand's stated opinion of                      (Dec 6, 2011)
                  Nietzsche was that while on the
                  surface he might look like a           More recently it was
                  champion of individualism and          revealed that early
                  right-thinking, he babbles too         drafts of "The
                  much about the joys of submerging      Fountainhead" had
                  yourself in the oneness of             chapter head quotes
                  Dionysian revelry to be a              from Nietzsche.
                  true-blue Objectivist.

                  Nietzsche claimed to be Dionysian.
                  Rand claimed to be Apollonian.

"The Passion of Ayn
Rand", a biography of      (I should probably read
Rand and co, has some       _Judgment Day_ by Branden
interesting stuff in        sometime, for the sake of
it.                         equal time.)