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Jennifer Burns

Jennifer Burns can't explain why Ayn Rand's atheism is not much of an issue among conservatives today

So is the general outrage with atheists manufactured or do the Ayn Rand fans simply have a bad case of cognitive dissonance. I suppose they could love her in spite of her godlessness.

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Who would be considered Rand's opposite (with respect to Capitalism and free markets) and if so are there any good books on them as well?


Noam Chomsky, of course!-- after reading a few interviews with him, Rand's philosophy will seem laughable!

A? Jesus. "Sell your belongings and give to the poor."

stewart asks excellent questions and burns speaks in vapid platitudes (or platid vapitudes), it's depressing. no interest in reading her book whatsoever. the question about why and how the modern american right ignores rand's atheism (if indeed they do) is still a good one, however- just not answered here.

My best guess would be because it serves them to.

Who would be considered Rand's opposite (with respect to Capitalism and free markets) and if so are there any good books on them as well?

um, marx/engels? you could probably find something on them with google. :)

From that era Huxley might. Popular fiction combined with political philosophy.

Yeah I was mostly referring to someone who challenged her or possibly just criticized her intellectually (obviously living during her time).

I've actually never listened much to Rush - does he really spend that much time railing about religion/atheism? Most of the libertarians I've met have not be particularly religious.

I never listen to him now, but for a couple of months many years ago, one of my grad students would play his show in the lab. I think your right, except for phony claims that "liberals" are picking on poor Christians, I can't recall Limbaugh caring much about religion. But then, lots of these don't give a shit about religion. Karl Rove is an admitted atheist, but that never stopped him from using evangelicals to full advantage or blathering on about "values" any time it suits him.

Not quite her polar opposite but George Orwell was quite socialist.

He wrote scathing critiques on communism & fascism but it was done more in the vein of not betraying the socialist revolution in Britain (which one might argue was betrayed well back during the times of Thatcher).

He wrote scathing critiques on communism

As far as I know, Orwell was essentially a professed democratic socialist.

RedSeven also mentioned Huxley.

It is interesting that the most recognized books of both authors, Nineteen Eighty-Four (Orwell) and Brave New World (Huxley), describe dystopian perversions of the authors' own professed socialism and humanism, respectively.

Contrast that with how Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged treats her own philosophies. Interesting, no?

I would argue that Brave New world is actually describes a dystopian perversion of a corporatocracy. A drug addicted, jet setting privileged class isn't really attributed to a communist system

But it is interesting that both wielded warnings rather that wrote about their ideals.

A drug addicted, jet setting privileged class isn't really attributed to a communist system

I said Brave New World was about humanism, not communism. One of the ideological bases for the society depicted in the book sounded humanist to me. And Huxley's Wikipedia article mentions first and foremost that he was a humanist.

As for whether it depicts a "corporatocracy", Brave New World doesn't really focus on the same aspects of society (or social control) that 1984 does. For example, 1984 is far more explicit regarding specific political mechanics (what with the use of terms "proles", "The Party", etc).

"Animal Farm" is Orwell's opinion on the USSR- note the ending, wherein the "capitalist pigs" play poker. He makes clear in the ending that capitalism is no utopia.

I would argue "Brave New World" is NOT about Communism; it goes waaaaaaaaay beyond anything we've seen as an actual political system. BNW brings about the idea of the "world state", but also limiting population, and using genetic modification to cap the intelligence of the "underclasses" intentionally.

Both "Animal Farm" and "Brave New World" are dystopian; "Atlas Shrugged" begins as dystopian, but after Wyatt's Torch transforms into a utopian tale where the good guys win.

In summary: apples and oranges. "Atlas Shrugged" is a fairy tale, with a fairy tale ending. That's exactly what it was written to be. Orwell and Huxley were cynics, using their novels as satire. Rand was writing as a genuine idealist.

I agree with Ms. Burns that Rand and Objectivism are far too ideologically motivated to work in the real world. Simply stated, not all people are, or want to be, John Galts.

Looking ahead 30 years, I think a moderate form of libertarianism is where this country is headed. It will appear absolutely "socialist" compared to Rand's vision of tomorrow, but her influence is undeniable.

As far as the God issue- most politicians are full of shit about religion anyway. I doubt most of them care either way.

Ayn Rand becomes popular on the right just as soon as the right doesn't have living. breathing examples of how "conservatives" in office actually behave. They refuse to acknowledge what far right wing politics really yields: crony capitalism, the use of wealth to manipulate the government to avoid competition and to amass more wealth in the process. When they're not in office, Rupublicans love to pretend they want to get "the government off your back", but in office they're quite happy to have the governement on their side.

At least as steadfastly as the most idealistic communists, extreme libertarians - even ones who condemn this kind of corruption - refuse to acknowledge how people really behave. As for the people like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, their overlooking of Ayn Rand's atheism is far from their greatest hypocrisy concerning her views - right-wing adoration of chiseling weasels like Bush and Cheney, who used the government to funnel money into companies like Halliburton is much more disgusting. I think true-believer libertarians did condemn the corruption, the problem they have, in my opinion, is the refusal to acknowledge even the possibility that gross inequality in wealth will always be accompanied by gross corruption.

They refuse to acknowledge what far right wing politics really yields: crony capitalism, the use of wealth to manipulate the government to avoid competition

I think the simple reality is this- whether the economy swings too far right (unregulated cowboys), or swings too far left (central planning), the result is often the same: corporatism.

I was positively insulted by Ayn Rand when I read her at 17. Her philosophy in a nutshell: You are either a creative genius or you are put here on earth to dig ditches for the elite. I went on to study economics at Indiana University which was heavily under the sway of Milton Freidman’s school of thought. I just wasn’t smart enough or confident enough back then to challenge what I was being taught but experience in life has shown me that all of that (Rand & Freidman) is mostly horse shit. I live in Spain and I have seen with my own eyes—in my lifetime—how this country has gone from poverty to modernity. Although primarily a capitalist nation, they achieved a great deal of their success by following certain tenets of socialism. By working collectively as a society Spain had developed a fantastic system of mass transit and their health care is among the finest in the world.

An economic system isn’t inherently good or evil, only how it is implemented. It’s not as if capitalism hasn’t been without its horrors. I always ask conservatives to point to an example of the society they want to build. I can give you lots of examples I think America should follow, at least in certain areas.

Stewart has a better take on Rand than this woman who has made it her life’s work. I will also pass on the book.

I was positively inspired by Ayn Rand when I read her at 19. Her philosophy in a nutshell: as a creative genius, you owe it to yourself, and your fellow man, to be all you can be.

And- more important- we ALL have an inner John Galt waiting to be activated.

I also liked "Star Wars"; another fairy tale.

If you'd like to discuss Friedman, that's another topic entirely.


The Anti-Ayn Rand? Albert Ellis

(I dare say)

Albert Ellis, the psycho-golem, father of cbt, reality therapeutic getting "real" and so on, also Susan Blackmore, obliquely, Albert Ellis wrote a book called "Is Objectivism a Religion?"

It is. It is really a form of, well, Judaism. Judaism, complete with a God, whose name must needs be never mentioned, ever.

I think.

I think it is probably the most telling sign of how perverted modern christian conservatism has become: Their admiration for Rand.

I can't think of a writer more at odds with most tenets of christianity (in the gospels, at least) than Ayn Rand. Love thy neighbor? Hate and cheat thy neighbor! Give and you will be given? Take or you will be taken! It's the bitter worldview of a woman who didn't get the literary success she thought she deserved. A petty misanthropism. The very antithesis to the sermon on the mountain.

And modern right wing christians love her. How pathetic.

And trust me: There soon will pop up conservatives who'll just not believe that she was an atheist. There will be talk of a misunderstanding. Of a death bed conversion. Or something.

As with Einstein. As with Darwin. As with Edison.

Archive that- may come in handy later.

Interestingly, Ayn Rand is one of the major reasons I am an agnostic today.

Well, that's hard to disprove, I'll give you that. But since when has FACT ever discouraged the right wing to believe the opposite? Let a few years pass. Let youtube be exchanged by a new platform, and let these videos disappear - and suddenly conservapedia will tell us, that up is down and black is white in terms of Rand's atheism.

I mean, there was a time when I would have laughed at the notion that some day a third of the country will think that fashism is some sort of left-wing extremism...


I despise the despotic future you have described there. It doesn't have to be so! We have the tools to keep the truth alive.

Take down YouTube, or Google Video, or the other video sites, and I will repost this clip myself on whatever replaces them.

This is warfare in the information age, and we have only just begun to fight.

Also: facism

Don't ask me why we spell it like that, but we do.


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