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Posts Tagged ‘Ayn Rand

“I have always found it quaint and rather touching that there is a movement in the US that thinks Americans are not yet selfish enough”*…

 

“You’re a wizard, Harry,” Hagrid said. “And you’re coming to Hogwarts.”

“What’s Hogwarts?” Harry asked.

“It’s wizard school.”

“It’s not a public school, is it?”

“No, it’s privately run.”

“Good. Then I accept. Children are not the property of the state; everyone who wishes to do so has the right to offer educational goods or services at a fair market rate. Let us leave at once.”

An excerpt from the gloriously spot-on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Objectivism; more at “Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone.”

There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

– John Rogers

* Christopher Hitchens

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As we obviate Objectivism, we might spare a thought for José de Sousa Saramago; he died on this date in 2010.  A Portuguese author and Nobel Laureate, he was described (in 2003) by Harold Bloom as “the most gifted novelist alive in the world today.”

An atheist and proponent of libertarian communism, Saramago was criticized by institutions the likes of the Catholic Church, the European Union and the International Monetary Fund, with whom he disagreed. In 1992, the Government of Portugal ordered the removal of his The Gospel According to Jesus Christ from the Aristeion Prize‘s shortlist, claiming the work was religiously offensive. Disheartened by this political censorship of his work, Saramago went into exile on the Spanish island of Lanzarote, where he lived until his death.

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Written by LW

June 18, 2017 at 1:01 am

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me”*…

 

Although well-known for her massive novels The Fountainhead (about an architectural genius who blows up his own skyscraper) and Atlas Shrugged (about a group of fiercely individualistic anti—union entrepreneurs who band together and go on strike), Ayn Rand was something of a culinary devotee–or so the publication of this hitherto unsuspected book of recipes would suggest.

Written in her trademark “romantic realist” style, this large collection includes recipes unique to its author, such as “I Need No Warrant for Being Green Beans,” “Rational Pumpkin Muffins of the Highest Intelligence,” and “Chicken Baked Only for Itself.”…

More– including a recipe for an old standard, made Objectively better– at “Preparing Eggplant Rollatini With the Highest Competence.”

See also Mc Sweeney’s “Recipes that would be officially approved by the Ayn Rand Institute.”

* Ayn Rand

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As we decide to diet, we might recall that it was on this date in 1992, at 11:00 a.m., that the current world record brown trout was caught on the Little Red River in Arkansas by Howard “Rip” Collins.  At forty-pounds, four ounces, it far exceeded the previous record-holder, a 38-9 brown caught by Mike “Huey” Manley of North Little Rock four years earlier.

Collins and his catch

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Written by LW

May 9, 2016 at 1:01 am

Bazinga!…

To Whom It May Concern:

I gave my lawyer instructions to release this message after my death. A joke I concocted when I was a kid has gone way, way too far. The most important thing you should know is this: Nothing I have ever written was meant to be taken seriously. You really don’t want to build some kind of philosophy around Atlas Shrugged, okay? I’m sorry if I caused any trouble. I owe you an explanation…

Discover the truth at “I Was Shitting You People – A Message From Ayn Rand.”

[TotH to reader CE]

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As we try to remain Objective, we might send more genuinely philosophical birthday greetings to Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as Voltaire; he was born in Paris on this date in 1694.  The Father of the Age of Reason, he produced works in almost every literary form: plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works– more than 2,000 books and pamphlets (and more than 20,000 letters).  A social reformer, Voltaire used satire to criticize the intolerance, religious dogma, and oligopolistic privilege of his day.  The contrite Ms. Rand would surely have appreciated his immortal– and sardonic– advice (in Candide) that each of us should “tend his own garden.”

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Written by LW

November 21, 2012 at 1:01 am

Objectiv(ist) advice…

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Dear Ayn,

I’m dating a man who I think I love, but I’m afraid he’s having an affair. He comes home late, he acts suspiciously, and he even has red lipstick on his collar. Should I confront him or just hope for the best?

— County Affair

Dear County,

Red lipstick? Your husband is a communist. Divorce him and sell his clothes, children, and pens to make money to spend on cars, human slaves, and bigger pens. This will simultaneously stimulate the economy and punish the slaves for not having jobs. Slaves: what lazybones!

Hope this helps,
Ayn

More advice-for-the-sniveling at Megan Amran’s “Ann Randers” in McSweeney’s.

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As we remind ourselves that the economic debacle of 9-15-08 was maybe not so surprising after, given Chairman Greenspan’s devotion to Ms. Rand, we might spare a thought for a strong woman of a very different sort; free-thinker Emma Goldman died on this date in 1940.  A political activist, writer, and speaker, she founded Mother Earth magazine in 1906.  She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the twentieth century.

Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations.

– from the title essay, Anarchism and Other Essays, 1910

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Perhaps even more than constituted authority, it is social uniformity and sameness that harass the individual most. His very “uniqueness,” “separateness” and “differentiation” make him an alien, not only in his native place, but even in his own home.

– “The Individual, Society and the State” (1940)

Written by LW

May 14, 2012 at 1:01 am

I don’t know about Atlas, but *I* shrugged…

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Few authors have inspired such passion in their readers as the Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum– better known by her pen name, Ayn Rand.

Rand’s philosophy, “Objectivism” (rational self-interest) has guided followers as various as Alan Greenspan, Ronald Reagan, Brad Pitt, and Oliver Stone.  While she distanced herself from Libertarianism (“too soft”), she’s been embraced by Libertarians and by the Right at large.  Glenn Beck , Rush Limbaugh, Ron Paul, and Clarence Thomas have all affirmed their admiration.  South Carolina Governor (and noted hiker) Mark Sanford wrote a 2009 review for Newsweek in which he recalled being “blown away” after first reading The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged.  And “going Galt” (emulating John Galt, the protagonist of Atlas Shrugged, commandeering the airwaves to preach the evils of collectivism and of the Christian notion of collective guilt and sin… thus by extension seemingly, of collective responsibility and care) has become a catch phrase of the Tea Party movement.

So perhaps one shouldn’t be surprised by the length to which Rand devotee Nick Newcomen went to promote his idol’s works– over 12,000 miles.  As The Guardian reports, Newcomen spent…

… a month driving more than 12,000 miles to inscribe his message – “Read Ayn Rand” – on a vast swath of US land.

Using a GPS tracking device as a “pen”, Newcomen took about 10 days to complete each word, turning on his GPS logger when he wanted to write and turning it off between letters, videoing himself at landmarks along the route for documentation. He drove 12,328 miles in total, across 30 American states, inputting the data once he was finished into Google Earth to create the world’s largest book advertisement.

Read the full story here.

As we toss a couple of pennies into The Fountainhead, we might raise a contemplative glass to St. Caesarius of Arles, whose Feast Day today is.  The leading ecclesiastic in early Sixth Century Gaul, Caesarius had a somewhat different perspective than did Ms. Rand…

Do the proud and wicked souls who commit serious sins seem happy to you because they do not suffer evil in this world?… They are not scourged at all in this world, because they are reserved for eternal punishment due to the excessive number of their sins. They cannot be punished in this short time, for they require endless torture.
– Sermon 5.3

St. Caesarius of Arles

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