Skip to comments.Ayn Rand was not a defender of the rich
Posted on 05/14/2014 6:33:32 PM PDT by OddLane
Ayn Rand, the famous novelist and free market advocate, is often caricatured as a defender of the rich or big business. But, as Steve Horwitz explains at the Bleeding Heart Libertarian blog, there are more wealthy villains in her books than wealthy heroes. And many of her heroes including John Galt, whom Rand portrayed as the person best exemplifying her philosophy are not particularly wealthy. Ultimately, Rands work praises producers, not wealthy people as such: One of the other valuable pieces of Rands work is also one of the most frequently misunderstood by her critics .
[T]he view [of many critics] is that Rand supposedly loved the rich and hated the poor, and that Atlas Shrugged is a story of the rich as Nietzschean heroes who should be freed to save the world from the mooching poor and middle class.
This, of course, is simply wrong. Its not the rich who go on strike, but the producers.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
We are living Atlas Shrugged. So much in her book is played out by the 0bama gang.
That's very true, even though her writing and philosophizing was sophomoric. Go figure.
As I explain to people about why the chamber of commerce wants to destroy the tea party.
It isn’t because we’re opposed to wealth but because we’re opposed to wealth using government to regulate competition, enforce monopolies, and feed themselves through crony capitalism.
Basically, make all the money you want but don’t run to government to prevent me from doing the same.
Ah yes, because people who are so stunningly correct frequently suffer from a “sophomoric” philosophy.
As the inestimable Rand would say “Check your premise.”
As far as your opinion of her style goes, well let’s just say I’ll bet she’s sold more of her books than you have of yours. Rand requires effort and intelligence on the part of the reader. That’s very often too much for some. And apparently your are “some”.
Best of luck.
LOVE that photo.
She despised Reagan and didn’t vote for him, I admired Reagan.
I did not know that.
Oh... wait. She was a Russian refugee...
I’ll never forget reading The Fountainhead for the first time. It was Christmas break, I was in grad school, and it was like being doused with cold water, and I mean that in a good way. I think I spent 3 days on the couch in my pajamas devouring that book. Then I went out and bought Atlas Shrugged immediately. Changed my life, she did.
She supported Ford in 1976 and opposed Reagan, and then opposed Reagan in 1980 and didn’t vote, she despised the man, and hated his anti-abortion views.
I went through a Rand phase in my early twenties and read most of her books. She claims to be an admirer of Aristotle, yet I see no evidence of her having read him, or having learned anything from him.
For example, she bases her philosophy on the law of identity, which is simply another way of describing "essences," which are impossible in a materialist worldview.
She never mentions the basic terms of his commonsense philosophy, such as substance/accidents, form/matter, and the Four Causes.
This page gives a great overview of the basics of Aristotelian philosophy.
Her books helped me a lot in political arguments during the late 1960s and early 1970s, regarding capitalism, just as my reading of history and military history, helped me defend a strong national defense, and fighting a better war in Vietnam, at the time.
And Reagan admired Rand. Rand was a big fan of Goldwater and even lauded Reagan when he backed Goldwater. But that couldn’t last because Rand was an atheist who supported abortion. Rand was right about many things, but her positions on religion and abortion are untenable.
Yes... it was just a whole new way of looking at things. For the longest time I’d accepted that there were only two sides: the Liberals and the Christian right. I knew I didn’t fit in with either bunch, and it was confusing for a while.
Howard Rourke wasn’t rich either.
She didn’t drive me away from God like that, I just took from her writings what I could use, other than that I had no interest in her.
For one think I didn’t know there was a “Christian Right” during the 60s, or any large portion of Americans who were anti-God.
“I urge you, as emphatically as I can, not to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan. I urge you not to work for or advocate his nomination, and not to vote for him. My reasons are as follows: Mr. Reagan is not a champion of capitalism, but a conservative in the worst sense of that word i.e., an advocate of a mixed economy with government controls slanted in favor of business rather than labor (which, philosophically, is as untenable a position as one could choose see Fred Kinnan in Atlas Shrugged, pp. 541-2). This description applies in various degrees to most Republican politicians, but most of them preserve some respect for the rights of the individual. Mr. Reagan does not: he opposes the right to abortion. (Ayn Rand Letter IV.2, 1975)”
In a May 23, 1966, letter William Vandersteel, president of the Ampower Corporation, expressed confidence that Reagan could win the presidency in 1968 and enclosed a pamphlet by Ayn Rand titled Conservatism: An Obituary written after the 1960 presidential campaign. In the essay Rand argues that many conservatives are opposed to statism but dont seem to realize the only good alternative is capitalism.
New York, NY
May 23, 1966
Dear Mr. Vandersteel:
Thanks very much for the pamphlet. Am an admirer of Ayn Rand but hadnt seen this study.
From Ronald Reagan: A Life in Letters
Is THAT where the admirer claim came from?
I was about to say the same thing. Russia as far as I know never produced a Hemingway. Russians seem to me to think that if 5 words will do 238 will do better. I think it is because of excessive vodka intake. Rare to see a drunk that did not want to talk loudly and long. I like Rand by the way.
some foreigners have screwed up ideas about rich people and how they got that way. can you help it if people flock to you dollars in hand for some great idea and body of hard work you’ve created?
Ayn Rand is a defender of people who makes things done and a protagonist of another opposite breed who are lazy and irresponsible but using socio-political schemes to benefit from the first group.
Rich or poor is a distant secondary.
Claiming that Rand is “for the rich” is all about to shift in into a class warfare which is one of said schemes.
It wouldn't surprise me if Reagan still admired her even after the many negative things she said about him. People of character are like that. Even though her loathing of religion and support for abortion are totally unacceptable, I will always admire her for surviving her early years under communism and for her unwavering support of capitalism. We the Living" is still one of my favorite books.
That may well be that she despised Reagan, but it doesn’t invalidate many of the points she made.
Anyway, getting back to the point of the original poster, she certainly was not a defender of “the rich”. There were plenty of extremely wealthy people in her novels that she was NOT defending.
Take people like Harry Reid and Pelosi. They are rich, but would be the villains in her stories, passing legislation such as the “Anti Dog-Eat-Dog” law.
Her main issue is with the demonization of wealth, in my opinion.
Pretty much the same here. I don't worship her like some people do, because she does have obvious flaws, but she is spot on about many of the issues related to class warfare, wealth, taxes and government intrusion into business.
“I am John Galt”
Sticker for your computer
She was a great, astute, prolific writer for sure.
You are making a mountain out of a molehill.
When the president of the Ampower Corporation, sends an Ayn Rand pamphlet to the Governor candidate just months before the election, and all he gets is a thank you, that isn’t evidence that Reagan thought anything about Rand.
This is as flat and nonprofuse as it gets, without flat out blowing the Rand fan off.
“”Dear Mr. Vandersteel:
Thanks very much for the pamphlet. Am an admirer of Ayn Rand but hadnt seen this study.
Sincerely, Ronald Reagan””
Nobody’s perfect :)
“I am John Galt” T-shirt, black, cotton $15, Ebay
~I was surprised that Reagan said he admired her. She was a well renowned and vocal atheist at that time, although I don’t know if her views on abortion were established by the mid-60’s.~
Rand is a product of pre-Stalin revolutionary Russia. It was a place where pro-choice, gay pride, minority rights, politicizing everything and Godlessness came from. If you are to research an earlier Soviet Union you would be shocked to find that the social development in US is a carbon copy of that earlier Soviet society for a few decades and counting.
Ain is a part of it does she want it or not. It seems like she was disagree with communists on free enterprise and collectivism but she was a true believer cultural Marxist on every other aspect.
Overall, I don’t like her as a person but her stance of free enterprise and collectivism is that makes her a positive historical figure. None ever did a better job to explain the merits of the first and horrors of the latter.
I’m interested in the three part movie series “Atlas Shrugged”. I acquired Parts I and II. Do you or anyone here know about Part III ?
Scheduled for 9/12/14
Neither was Howard ROARK.
“Scheduled for 9/12/14”
Thanks for that.
Not true. BTW, the only way one knows if a person is an atheist is if they are "vocal" about it. And Rand, at that time, was anything but "renowned" in any way.
If ignorance was a virtue, you would be a saint.
Don’t get me wrong, I truly respect her. While being a bit boring as an art, her books were a life changing experience in terms of philosophy to me.
But it doesn’t mean Rand has combined all the merits ever imaginable. She is not a good Christian for sure and there is no ignorance in stating it.
She was also not a man. You forgot that.
~She was also not a man. You forgot that.~
What do you mean?
Pardon me...read it a long time ago.
Two characters, Dagny and Francisco, were blue bloods but most worked for their wealth. John Galt worked for a few years as an automotive engineer then as a railroad laborer.
Dagny and Francisco worked from childhood if I recall correctly
You are correct.
It’s a suggestion for your list of all the things Rand was notsuch as “a good Christian.”
LOL. Remember? Not so much.
the only way one knows if a person is an atheist is if they are "vocal" about it.
And Rand was very vocal about her disdain for religion, and for being an atheist. I suppose that's why we knew about it many decades ago.
And Rand, at that time, was anything but "renowned" in any way.
Maybe we just define the word differently. Or, maybe you are very young and don't remember the 60's. Rand, and her Objectivist movement, were very well known at the time. Atlas Shrugged was published in '57, and was on the best seller list for 22 weeks. Her Playboy interview in '64 is still popular today. Nathaniel Branden and his group had a whole floor leased in the Empire State Building at this time. But she wasn't renowned? Sure.
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