Friday, April 15, 2011

There are grownups talking, here...

I know this is going to come as a shock, but Roger Ebert panned Atlas Shrugged, Part 1:
And now I am faced with this movie, the most anticlimactic non-event since Geraldo Rivera broke into Al Capone’s vault.
Hey, look! He didn't like it! Color me shocked...

Look, Roger, I get to make fun of Rand's often ham-handed prose and stilted dialog. I get to make fun of her pacing and the fact that this novel is less suited for a silver screen adaptation than anything this side of Marx's Critique of the Gotha Program. I get to do this because I frickin' understand what she was trying to say.

If your synopsis of Atlas Shrugged... nay, of Objectivism as a philosophy can be shrunk down to "I’m on board; pull up the lifeline," then you have no more business reviewing this movie than a Botswanan air force draftee has reviewing Burt Rutan's designs for Spaceship Two. In fact, you have less business discussing Objectivism than one of the monkeys at the opening of 2001 has critiquing Kubrick's choice of lighting on the monolith.

For all I know, the movie blows goats, but by letting your uneducated, simplistic, ridiculous biases out of the bag in the first paragraph of your review, you have effectively recused yourself from this case, Rog.

Shut the hell up, you useless relic, there are grownups talking here. I understand Shirley MacLaine's on the publicity circuit again for some reason or another; go hump her leg.


New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

"I expect to receive learned and sarcastic lectures on the pathetic failings of my review."

Well, at least he expected it.

Borepatch said...

Don't hide your feelings, Tam. Tell us what you REALLY think.


Anonymous said...


Quizikle said...

It wasn't clear - did you perhaps not agree with Mr. Ebert's insightful commentary?

AnObserver said...

WoW...Normally, I'd think Metamucil or Midol or some other over-the-counter soothing medicine was called for but that was my funnest read of the day...

Home on the Range said...

I've got a bunch of monkeys here complaining you dissed them comparing them to old Rog.

TheSev said...

Ahhh, using a movie review format to review a movie reviewer.


Anonymous said...

Siskel smiles from the great beyond.


Tango Juliet said...

I bet I go see it anyway.

Mike S said...

Ebert Says:

"They didn’t quite foresee mass air transportation. "Atlas Shrugged" seems to buy into the fair’s glowing vision of the future of trains. Rarely, perhaps never, has television news covered the laying of new railroad track with the breathless urgency of the news channels shown in this movie."

Has he never seen the breathless and leg-shiver-inducing news coverage that occurs whenever Biden, Obama, California, or Arizona talk about their high-speed rail plans? Democrats everywhere still think high-speed rail is the way of the future.

NotClauswitz said...

Ebert, Egbert, Dilbert, Dogbert = the old fart gets Twitter and thinks he's God again... He's on Twitter. Sheesh.

Old NFO said...

I'm STILL going to go see it...

Jim Rawles said...

Don't hold back, Slick. Tell us how you really feel!

Außenseiter said...

If your synopsis of Atlas Shrugged... nay, of Objectivism as a philosophy can be shrunk down to "I’m on board; pull up the lifeline,"

Aww. More accurately, it's 'if you don't agree with me, you are not only stupid but also *evil*. Yep, that about sums up all the philosophy a malignant narcissist like Rand could come up. (besides, who else but a narcissist is into personality cults)..

It speaks volumes about people who can stomach Atlas Shrugged and not feel sick about the book. Wooden, packed to bursting with straw and implausibility, all that liberally dosed with globs of military grade hatred. Maybe Mein Kampf comes close, but I never had the stomach for that.

I don't think I've ever read anything that made me think the author would love nothing more than to machinegun people who have the temerity to see things differently.

bluesun said...

Hee, you DO know that the delightful Mr. Ebert can't talk because he's missing half his face, right?

Brick O'Lore said...

I am going to see the movie tomorrow. I hope it is good. In any case, I feel like spending my money on it is a vote for the good guys.

I just finished the book a few days ago. The message is worth the effort.

Ancient Woodsman said...

That waste of skin needs a glass of Arrogant Bastard Ale

Or to save us all, just to shut up.

I am looking forward to seeing 'Atlas Shrugged'; to heck with those who disagree.

og said...

Rand's heart was in the right place, it's not her fault nobody had the balls to tell her she needed an editor. And some knowledge of how manufacturing or the market worked.

The message at the core of it all, the idea that people have a right to the product of their toil, and that it shouldn't be taken from them, is incredibly scary to old Roger. Only the smart, progressive people deserve to keep the fruit of their labor, not those cro-magnon conservatives. He could no more honestly review the movie than the man in the moon. Who he is, incidentally, beginning to resemble.

John B said...

Nobody said they liked it. In fact, reading Atlas Shrugged is one of the most punishing things, after Tom Clancy, problem is he is too accurate in his portrayal of anyone to the left.

Only thing anyone said of agreed with is that Rogered Ebert is NOT the person to review this effort.

He probably thinks Starship Troopers is a reasonable representation of Heinlein.

Or Tom Cruse is a credible Lestat!

Sorry, my hobby horse got stuck in low gear.

Tam said...


Ignorance is not amusing.

commoncents said...

THANK YOU very much for posting this! I'm glad I found your blog!!

Common Cents

Justthisguy said...

Ma'am, I doff my hat and bow to you. That post is just so full of the most absolutely scathingly excoriating well-deserved grumpiness that I'll put it up right next to "Change the Sacred Name of Arkansas?" in my estimation.

Josh Kruschke said...

Why do people lesson to critics.

There's this girl I like but I don't if I should ask her out. Hey, you there go ask her out and then tell me if I should go out with her.

What the f*^# do I care what Ebert say about anything. He's not me, and anyone that take the word of a complete stranger on what they will like is a idiot.

It would be onething if it was a close friend that news generally what you like.


Justthisguy said...

Sorry, I just have to say this: That was a very professionally well-done job of Keelhauling.

Roberta X said...

Außenseiter, if Rand ever advocated machine-gunning people (she didn't), I'm sure she'd've made sure you were in the front ranks, just so you could make pseudo-cutting remarks about it.

--And how many people did Communism/Socialism gun down for real, there in East Smug-Thugistan where you squat? I can never remember if it was hundreds of thousands or merely the merely high tens of thousands.

2yellowdogs said...

I understand Shirley MacLaine's on the publicity circuit again for some reason or another; go hump her leg.

I spit coffee. Tam wins the internets yet again.

Außenseiter said...


The inability of some people to see the stark, raving madness that was Rand's mind behind her turgid prose is even less amusing.

And ignorance can be very, very amusing. I mean, I've been known to chuckle while reading assorted Randian drivel about physics:


If your philosophy considers a very well established and utilized phenomenon such as wave-particle duality to be nonsense, that paints you firmly into to the crank corner.

The hatred Rand had for modern physics, which she clearly didn't get. Galt's motor-- which is just another 1930's pulp sf idea that makes no sense-- and the fact the most prominent physicist in the book is a traitor and more than once the book referred to basic science as 'useless' - Stadler's cosmic ray studies for example.

Well, I didn't say she advocated doing so. I just pointed out her writings, hateful as they are made me feel that way. And it's certainly not projection, as I've only ever entertained notions of machinegunning people who just won't listen to reason - like skinheads.

Rand, had no patience with people who disagreed with her. She didn't even debate anyone who disagreed with her. Kind of funny in a philosopher-they are supposed to relish such things.

After all, you'll never learn anything by discussing stuff with people who agree with everything you say. Maybe that's why Rand was so ignorant. She never got around to debating people who would've poked holes the size of zeppelins in her cod-philosophy.

What is most amusing in her philosophy is her insistence that what we percieve is somehow real. Clearly she hasn't ever had hallucinations, nor has she ever read about the million blind spots and quirks our senses have. Maybe there are or will be entities that don't have perceptual biases, but they'll have to be very, very different.

I mean, how she could be so thick as to declare "So optical illusions, for example, are errors in the conceptual identification of what is seen, not errors in sight itself"

As if we could 'see' in any other way than by having our visual centers process whatever input they get from their eyes. Should've been obvious to her even back then. The entire world, to our minds, is just a model inside our heads. We can't 'see' it directly. Of course, for most of us, the model may be pretty accurate, but people like Glenn Beck or random schizophrenia sufferers clearly see things we don't. They live in bat countries...

FYI, I consider bolshevism even more abominable than objectivism(equally inhuman, far less infectious), so save your breath. As to number of people directly killed in Czechoslovakia by (our own) commies, it doesn't get to into thousands, I think. 241 executed in the 1950's, some hundreds died in labour camps, lot of people imprisoned.

That's why the Communist party has been almost banned here, under the same rationale that bans Nazi parties. So far, only their youth organisation is illegal.

jimbob86 said...

"I don't think I've ever read anything that made me think the author would love nothing more than to machinegun people who have the temerity to see things differently."

I think she'd see that as a waste of bullets: I believe she thought folks should starve or thrive on their own merit, with the market determining the merit. It is a self correcting system that way. The system we have now (socialism- subsidizes poor people and penalizes the productive) is unsustainable. When it crashes (which I believe is ineveitable now), there will be massive bloodshed: the generations of the useless are not going to be suddenly productive. They will not lay down and starve, and can not thrive on their own. They will get behind whoever promises them food and security. He's in office now, marshalling his forces.

Joel said...

Having seen the trailer, I suspect the movie really sucks. Maybe even worse than the novel.

But yeah, the news that Ebert hated it doesn't come as shocking news. If he wasn't all geared to hate it before the opening credits, well, that would shock me. I'm sure he pines for the realism and humanitarianism of Soviet propaganda flicks.

Bubblehead Les. said...

Ms. X: Well, since I have a large amounts of Relatives from the East Smug-Thugistan region, they tell me that surprisingly little Bullet Wastage was allowed by the Party. The Wreckers and Reactionary Lackeys of the Evil Imperialists were usually sent off to Labor camps and forced to work off the Crimes that they Perpetrated against the People. Why waste Free Labor? But since the Minor set back in the Inevitable Rise of the Communist State that occurred when Auslander neglected his duties to the Party and allowed those Serfs to take down his Precious Garden Wall behind his Berlin Townhouse, some of the Comrades seem to be stuck in the old ways of dealing with the Imperialists. Perhaps they need to be sent to the Re-Education Centers before they commit the sin of Trotskyism?

Außenseiter said...

Weird. I had a long reply but somehow it's gone.

No matter.

Rand was a crank. She was a cod philosopher who refused to debate anyone who was not her fan. She's up there with postmodernists. Her refusal to accept the bloody obvious, that the only way in which we can percieve the world is through the integration of the outputs of our sensory brain centres is I mean, frankly puzzling. What's wrong with being okay with the idea that the world as we see it is only an idea in our heads? It's well established that people who are blind can decieve themselves into thinking they see, or that people who believe they are blind can actually see unconsciously(blindsight, tested by having them walk an obstacle course, they do much better than really blind people). It's only their conscious mind that doesn't see.
So, we have no direct way of observing the world, only the imprefect way our minds allow us.

There is a reason why commie party is in real danger of getting banned around here: they are unapologetic about what they did in the 1950's. Killed only several hundred people outright, imprisoned some tens of thousands and worst of all fucked up the economy for forty years.

Objectivists don't have blood on their hands because they're too ineffectual to every run a country, any country. FYI, the only objectivist I know of who ran something other than a gas station or a video rental store is Greenspan, and we all know how that worked out. So, there. Happy?

perlhaqr said...

I went and actually saw the movie last night.

It wasn't bad. Having seen it, after having read the Ebert review, I wonder if he actually watched the movie, or just sort of fast forwarded through most of it, and based his review on that. He got a number of things factually wrong about the movie, and as for others, like this "rail vs: air travel" issue, they're explained right at the beginning of the film. (He must have still been buttering his popcorn when they went over it.)

Overall, (hearkening back to John B's mention of Starfish Troopers), it was a much better representation of the book that I was afraid of going in. The acting was reasonable, though hampered by a script that was going entirely too fast. It was definitely rushed. Atlas Shrugged in six hours is about twice as fast, at minimum, as what you'd need to do it at a reasonable pace. It'd be better suited to HBOs Epic Miniseries format than theater film, honestly.

I have to admit, I have some difficulty reviewing the film properly, because I've read the book something like 4 times in the last 2 years, so I know the story and plot. So I'm not certain how much of that I was able to put in myself, and subsequently how much of it was actually present in the film.

But, in the end, I didn't feel like I'd wasted my money or my time, so I'm pretty satisfied.

Ed Foster said...

I can't begin to come up with a comment as beautifully sucinct. Bravo, Madam, I am your bitch.

P.S., I saw the flick last night (on tax day. Lovely juxtaposition, that). Basic, putting in the foundation for the three part series. It will scan better as the first of a three disc DVD, but not bad for all of that.

Also, Taylor Schilling is hot. O.K., she's probably a vegetarian Hollywood peace freak in real life, but the charachter she plays definately tweaks my testosterone.

A good looking woman with brains and more balls than most of the men around her, with her dander up and a savage piece of steel for a spine. Yes.

Anonymous said...

I plan on going to see it today, no matter what the crank says. Frankly, I am not expecting it to be terribly great. But you know what? If it makes a decent enough amount of money, they will make part 2, and amidst all the unapologetic crap that comes out of Hollywood, this is a project worth doing. -8notch

Ed Rasimus said...

Is it possible that Ebert never read the book? He gripes about a failure to foresee air travel? The book was published in the mid-'50s. The first jet airliners still hadn't flown and passenger rail was flourishing. We had a half-dozen terminals in downtown Chicago! Travel was clean, comfortable, timely, and inexpensive.

Today we have Amtrak. And a society that really does identify more with Wesley Mouch than Dagny Taggert. We really have czars that take the intellectual property of entrepreneurs and confiscates it for fairness.

If there is a fault to the movie (I've only seen the trailers so far) it would be the attempt to merge it into the modern world. It is a film noir time piece that needed to be totally 1954.

Ebert doesn't get the essence of the story and unfortunately, I suspect, the majority of America won't either.

global village idiot said...

By way of context, Roger Ebert thinks that Battleship Potemkin is one of the ten most influential movies of the 20th Century.

It's good, and perhaps for filmmakers Eisenstein's methods were influential, but culturally it wasn't THAT important.

Oh, also for Outsider, the sum of Objectivism is, in Rand's own words, "A thing exists, and I am aware of it." Your example of blind people negotiating obstacles is compelling reading but in fact exemplifies the philosophy as a working model for navigating one's world.

I've always had a problem with Rand's views on religion. It wouldn't be that bad if she just lambasted religion (being a human construct it's bound, as humans are, to be imperfect and abused); instead, she extrapolates and says that if religion's jacked up, that means God is jacked up and if God's jacked up, He can't be God (it's more complex of course but this is a blog comment).

Any junior high school debate team member can see the flaws in her reasoning. Determining that there is no such thing as a Creator because its creatures worship it imperfectly is like determining that there is no such thing as a watchmaker because watches don't keep perfect time.

Rand is unable, it seems, to utter the sentence, "I don't have enough information to make an informed determination."

But you know what? It's intellectual laziness to nail one's colors entirely to a single thinker's mast. I take what I need from her philosophy (her essays are MUCH better reading than her novels), mold it and other philosophies into something that works for me, and drive the hell on.


Anonymous said...

Ebert on Solyaris (1972).
"...The planet's surface is covered by a vast ocean that's apparently alive and sentient. And the ocean has the ability to materialize "guests" on the space station: exact duplicates of people remembered by the crew. A psychologist is sent to the station to sort out the situation, and Solaris obligingly presents him with a duplicate of the girl he loved and left, and who committed suicide many years ago."
"And what's a person, anyway?

To complicate things further, the girl has been provided by Solaris with free will and self-knowledge (those two most burdensome gifts from any god), and knows that the person she's "based" on is dead"
Needless to say, he loved it.

Außenseiter said...

The first jet airliners still hadn't flown and passenger rail was flourishing..

And was air travel not expanding rapidly back then? Were there no improvement in performance resulting from WWII ?

Anyone with half a brain and some interest in the issue would've seen air travel is going to replace trains, being about seven times faster.

Lucky him if he never read it. The hours I spent reading it, I'm never gonna get back.

Firstly, Solaris is science fiction with a philosophical bent. I haven't seen the film or read that particular book, but other stuff by Lem is pretty good and was very good back then.

Secondly, curiously enough, Stanislaw Lem who wrote Solaris recieved numerous awards for his work, while Rand has recieved none.
From organisations like SFWA, etc.

As one critic put it, Atlas Shrugged is Left Behind for (unquestioning) fans of capitalism.

(I'm not saying it's a bad system, but it's most certainly not the ultimate one)

Jeff said...

I liked it, Sadly if I hadn't already read the book (and Love it) I would probably not be motivated to read it by watching the movie.

As can be expected I loved parts of it and I hated others. Its a hell of a subject to shrink down into 90 minutes. I'm amazed that they did as well as they did.

If you love the book see it. If you haven't read the book you should really get on that, then see it.

Anonymous said...

Ebert is a classic Chicago lib, his Univ. of Ill. film fests are full of leftist commie garbage. I think he lets his politics color his reviews.


Anonymous said...

"I’m on board; pull up the lifeline,"

The man was close, a fair summary of the philosophy does involve a rope, i.e. "Could you please unbind my wrists and ankles, and while you are at be a dear and kindly remove this noose from my neck?"

Linoge said...

Just got back from the theater not too long ago, and I was saying on #GBC, I would argue that the book-to-movie transition was about on par with Jurassic Park's (the first one). Thankfully, someone did edit the crap out of Ayn's repetitiveness, though they chose to put the emphasis on some odd things, at times, and I fear the depraved irrationality of the "looters" somehow got lost on the cutting room floor.

In the end, it probably is not worth watching on the bigscreen, unless you want to make a point to the "progressives" / media / reviewers, etc. No big special effects, and as Roberta said over at her place, it comes off "made-for-TV-movie"-ish.

"I don't think I've ever read anything that made me think the author would love nothing more than to machinegun people who have the temerity to see things differently. "

If there was ever a comment that would convince me never to pay attention to another thing a person said, that would pretty much be it - the depth of "not getting it" is simply mindboggling, and given that Ayn never once even hinted at something like that means the source of it is a bit closer to home... (Projection, in other words.)

Josh Kruschke said...

Außenseiter -

Intolerant much. :-)


Josh Kruschke said...

Außenseiter -

"I don't think I've ever read anything that made me think the author would love nothing more than to machinegun people who have the temerity to see things differently. "

Your understanding of 'Objectivism' is different from my own. To me it means self first then others. I do not look to or expect other to do for me. If I do ask for help because some thing is not in my ability, and I know this because I tried to do it myself and failed, it is with the full expectation that it will be payed for in full with something of exual value. NO free rides. That is what 'Objectivism' is to me. If I do help someone it is with the full expectation that they will pay me back or at least passit on. Not stay helpless needing hand out after hand out.

As to your statement if you new anything about Ayn Rand you would know she didn't beleive in the use of force or mental intimidation anyone. That's what Looters do.
Moochers just try to make you feel guilt for being better at taking care of yourself then they can take care of themselves and want you to do it for them.

The only time the use of forces is justified is in the defense of your-person and property.

That I even have to make this post annoys me.


Außenseiter said...

I'll post an excerpt from a 1956 National Review review of the book:

Something of this implication is fixed in the book’s dictatorial tone, which is much its most striking feature. Out of a lifetime of reading, I can recall no other book in which a tone of overriding arrogance was so implacably sustained. Its shrillness is without reprieve. Its dogmatism is without appeal. In addition, the mind which finds this tone natural to it shares other characteristics of its type. 1) It consistently mistakes raw force for strength, and the rawer the force, the more reverent the posture of the mind before it. 2) It supposes itself to be the bringer of a final revelation. Therefore, resistance to the Message cannot be tolerated because disagreement can never be merely honest, prudent, or just humanly fallible. Dissent from revelation so final (because, the author would say, so reasonable) can only be willfully wicked. There are ways of dealing with such wickedness, and, in fact, right reason itself enjoins them. From almost any page of Atlas Shrugged, a voice can be heard, from painful necessity, commanding: “To a gas chamber — go!” The same inflexibly self-righteous stance results, too (in the total absence of any saving humor), in odd extravagances of inflection and gesture — that Dollar Sign, for example. At first, we try to tell ourselves that these are just lapses, that this mind has, somehow, mislaid the discriminating knack that most of us pray will warn us in time of the difference between what is effective and firm, and what is wildly grotesque and excessive. Soon we suspect something worse. We suspect that this mind finds, precisely in extravagance, some exalting merit; feels a surging release of power and passion precisely in smashing up the house. A tornado might feel this way, or Carrie Nation.

Yeah, I know Rand never preached violence in the manner of the assorted raghead clerics, but her tone was similiar.

Linoge said...

*checks the meters*

Yup, if the irony gets any more thick, we might be approaching a singularity event, folks!

Tam said...

Ol' Whittaker was bent because Strident Ayn had gored both his old ox and his new one.

NotClauswitz said...

Solaris = The State - the intervention of a psychologists was necessary, it's all about feelings. Lem was not a big fan of collectivism.

Roberta X said...

Lem also had subtlety down to a fine art. It was a survival skill.

In re Rand, what most of her critics miss is that she didn;t advocate "rule" aby an elite; she instead pointed out that in a free society, an elite naturally arises and in an honest society, they get there by trading value for value.

She didn't think they should rule, she figured we'd be working for them and buying from them. She favored a small government, a "night watchman" that dealt with actual crime as opposed to, oh, endowing art, bailing out banks and other such wealth redistribution; she figured whatever level of government people would fund voluntarily was plenty.

How's that for big mean gas-chamber evil?

--Mind you, she'd leave bums to charity of their fellow-citizens, not the State, so if you think we ought to be taxed to feed such persons, maybe you'd better loathe her.

perlhaqr said...

Aussen: Congratulations. You've just proved that there's been a continuity of people who completely failed to grasp the point from when the book was released up to now.

My prediction: there will continue to be people who fail to get the point, even after the most dire predictions of the book come true.

jimbob86 said...

"Is it possible that Ebert never read the book? He gripes about a failure to foresee air travel?"

I think air travel is on the rocks now, and would cease if the fuel costs hit what they are said to be in the movie ..... never mind the unemployment levels: no paying vacation passengers, added to high fuel costs and unbridled union expenses=you are ridin' the train, or walkin' .....

Aussenseiter: What have you or that 1956 reveiwer, or Roger Ebert for that matter, done to refute the message, other than complain about the way it was presented? "I don't like the tone in which you said to me that if I pick up both feet at once, gravity will pull my behind to the ground. Therefore, you are mean, and I won't listen to you."

Fine, suit yourself. I'd recommend a pillow under you, though.....

global village idiot said...

The 1956 review was amazing in the amount of projection done by the author.

I read Atlas Shrugged in 2002 while working (pace Roberta) as a night watchman at a bank. It was a chore. But nowhere in it did Rand advocate force or rule by elites. "Gas chambers?" Puerile.

What's more, a lot of commenters here are conflating Objectivism with Rand's notion of "egoism." Objectivism is, according to Rand's own writings (it was either in "Return of the Primitive: the Anti-Industrial Revolution," or "Philosophy - Who Needs It," I forget which) as follows: "A thing exists and I am aware of it."

That's it. Egoism - the acts and belief systems growing from a due value of the self - form the larger part of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Rand's fiction writing is to storytelling what the hammer is to the nail. Her essays, on the other hand, are engaging, accessible and (though I don't agree with all of her ideas) compelling.


WV: supur: wut I hav aftur dinur.

Ed Foster said...

Would it be possible to impliment a law saying that when the EU collapses we let then sit and fester in their own misery, rather than coming over here and adding to ours?

An innate disconnect with reality happened in the latter 19th century, when ignorant European peasants were given the vote, without first being exposed to the economic realities commonly found in a lassez-faire society like ours was at the time.

The people who came here changed and grew, became more than they had been on the old world.

Most of the ones who stayed behind in Europe were somewhat overawed by the gentry and bankers until said "elite" committed suicide in 1914-1918, then they went looking for other father figures.

Enter every collectivist loon you can think of, promising cookies and soda for nothing more than a smile.

Aussen, Rand was a EUROPEAN, for shit's sake, an intellectual protege of Nietzsche and Schiller. She was a Russian writing about what she had seen at home, and commenting on the drift she saw here in that direction. The same observation I hear on a daily basis from the eastern Europeans and Scandinavian refugees I do business with.

For the older ones at least, I use the term refugee quite deliberately.

Sadly, the degree of objective thought I see in said Europeans is very age specific. Most of the ones under their mid 30's have what I call the European Disease, the idea that work is something you do as little of as possible, all while demanding as many benefits (supposed "rights") as the traffic will bear.

Americas cities tend to be sewers, primarily because they aren't very American. Because of the immigrant ghettoes and the collectivist indoctrination their inhabitants brought with them, they've always resembled what was left more than what was originally searched for.

They have also acted as magnets for the naive and disfunctional people who crop up in any society, accelerating the drift of urban America towards Old World statism and away from the romantic individualism that defines the intrinsic differences between most Americans and the places their families left behind.

Someone recenty described Europe as "Disneyland with more castles", a place to visit, but not real. I feel sorry for the Irish and the Swiss, but the rest of them are settling quickly into a swamp of their own making, and you can't argue with a closed mind.

NCDave said...

Tam, great rant! 10 out of 10..good beat, and you can dance to it!! David in NC

Justthisguy said...

Joshkie, I would be happy to correct your spelling with no recompense what so fucking ever, just because it is almost physically painful for me te read misspelled words.

I won the spelling bee at my elementary school, I'll have you know.

perlhaqr said...

Justthisguy: Me te.

Außenseiter said...

What pissed me about the book wasn't the implausibility of the characters, the splitting (one side good, other side almost completely bad), but the fact that the 'good' characters, who were made by the author to be enormously able are willing to, despite their abilities, let the looters destroy fucking everything, from industry to infrastructure, dooming millions in the process to die of starvation, disesase, etc.. instead of acting sooner. (hey, and rebuilding infrastructure of a whole nation, after 90% of it has been wrecked is pretty hard. The thing is very interdependent)

Most of the ones under their mid 30's have what I call the European Disease, the idea that work is something you do as little of as possible, all while demanding as many benefits (supposed "rights") as the traffic will bear.

Well, that's strange. Maybe that's the case in the UK, but around here, very few young people want to collect welfare, and we don't get any benefits apart from child benefits, if we have children. Which are pretty meager and certainly not the reason why people have children.

And you get stop getting unemployment benefits the moment you refuse whatever job the unemployment bureau has found for you.

Then, If I were given a choice between working 60 hours a week or 30 for half the money, I'd definitely pick 30. Unless it was really interesting or good work. But I don't see how I'd be improving the world by say, writing banking software twice as much as I feel comfortable with. Not to mention that quality suffers if you drive programmers too hard.

Außenseiter said...

I don't see the point of having too much money to spend, not enough free time.

Though, If I were doing stuff that's actually fun, or actually helping people(medicine) or that might produce something unique, that's another matter.

The idea that one 'lives to work' seems pretty commie to me. We work to have money to live, not the other way around.

Enter every collectivist loon you can think of, promising cookies and soda for nothing more than a smile.

We do have those, but people who can, like count, don't vote for them. That still leaves them with about a third of the votes though.

So what Rand was born in Russia. That's not Europe, by the way, but Asia, and calling Rand a heir to Nietzsche should make people who take Nietzsche seriously want to duel you.

Besides, Rand didn't say she considered herself indebted to Nietzsche. And most certainly she wasn't a 'protege' of them. Protege would mean Nietzsche and Schiller knew she existed. They both died before she was born , and I'm sure that if they ever met her, they wouldn't like her. Especially Nietzsche would certainly be pretty unimpressed with a shrill, ugly and supremely arrogant hag with delusions of grandeur(considered herself a great philosopher :D ).

As to close minded, you should look into the fucking mirror. You're the guy who claims Chinese have not invented anything in the middle middle ages but that our commie professors made that up in order to..(I dunno, belittle the west).
That's Arab level conspiracy thinking.

Most of the ones who stayed behind in Europe were somewhat overawed by the gentry and bankers until said "elite" committed suicide in 1914-1918, then they went looking for other father figures.

That's bullshit. People went to America because there was too many of them here(population explosion in the 19th century). A lot of them earned money and came back. My own ancestors certainly were not 'enamored' with elites or gentry. In fact the nation they lived in outlawed gentry and would still exist weren't it for British and French treason. (Munich agreement)
But I know I'm wasting time, because you're about as likely to change your mind about anything as a Randian is to feel sense when it hits them over the head with the sledgehammer of reality. Sooner die.

Rand's not the only person who doesn't like welfare. What she didn't understand is, that there can be countries that have very high levels of 'looting-her term for (voluntary*) wealth redistribution' going on. And those countries haven't collapsed into universal starvation and anarchy.
And between you and me, I think Sweden is going to be a far more pleasant place to live than the US, long term wise.

In fact, she was perfectly naive in Atlas Shrugged about many things: namely that commie countries would end up starving. Apart from Soviet Union, most eastern bloc countries could feed themselves okay, using far less population for that than before the commies took power. Modern agriculture's no rocket science.

*generally, you can 'leave' countries such as Sweden, Norway, Denmark and other with welfare states. And as to taxes, even in those countries, those who really want can probably avoid paying most taxes through assorted loopholes.

Also, my questions stands: Since objectivism is supposed to be the best and last philosophy/worldview, can you name one successful bussinessman, leader, soldier etc who is an Objectivist? I mean, if Bill Gates were, would he keep it secret? Even Larry Ellison who's arrogant enough to be a Randian isn't one. I know in academia they burn objectivists at the stake, but in business circles?

I don't count assorted think tank wankers as 'successful'. Most think tanks are politcritter fellatio institutions.

Josh Kruschke said...

Außenseiter -

Most of the people I know that like or argree with Rand identify themselves as libertarians or fiscal conservatives. Don't confuse Crony or Welfare Capitalism (fake capitalism) with Free Market Austrian Capitalism. Most of the free market types are getting stomped on by the state.

There's nothing voluntary in getting stuff taken from you by a looter. The 'Moochers” go about acquiring 'their' stuff by guilt and being helpless, and the 'Looters' feel they have a right to acquire 'their' stuff by force.
Anyone that asks for a hand out with out first trying and then tries to make you feel guilty because you want them to do for themselves; is a moocher.
Anyone that tries to take your stuff by physical or mental intimidation needs to be resisted with all the legal means possible, and if the law is not on your side you need to work to changed them; as, the looters tend to change them to work in their favor if not watched.

Just some FYI,

Ed Foster said...

Aussie, Europe is dieing, it's that simple. Germany's birth rate is much lower than it's death rate, and a big part of that birth rate is people who hate everything there is to hate about Europe. And Germany isn't as bad off (yet) as Spain, Italy, or Scandinavia.

A shrinking population is an aging population, so you're forced to continue importing more and more Turks and Arabs to run things, as one German writer put it, "to push our wheelchairs", even if you know some day they'll slit your throats.

"So what Rand was born in Russia. That's not Europe, by the way, but Asia". Thereby justifying the Lebensraum ideal? AРабота делает свободуnd?

And I specified "Intellectual protege", as in strongly influenced by.

Northern Germans are haplogroup R1a, as are most of the Norse, and just about all Slavs. I saw a lot more blue-eyed blonds in St. Petersburg than in Hamburg, and last time I looked, the Slavic languages were Indo-European, same as German or Latin. Siberia sure, but St. Petersburg is as European as London or Paris.

As for the Chinese thing, I can't think of anything other than paper ever invented in China that influenced events outside China proper. Gunpowder or something like it seems to have been invented several times in several places, but it didn't travel from China to Europe. It was invented there independently, and put to far more effective use.

Europeans knew something about metallurgy, unlike the Chinese, who were in the stone age until bronze working was brought to them by the Burmese and Thais, and in the bronze age until the Scythians (Greater Yue-Chi, early Slavs) gave them Iron, along with the wheel, the domesticated horse, and the noria or waterwheel.

It's not that the Chinese are stupid. Statistically, I think an arguement could be made that there are more smart people in China than any other country. They claim their mean I.Q. is 99, and their population is three times that of the U.S., so run the numbers.

But it's a hydralic society, which has been dependent for millenia on massive irrigation projects to keep most of it's population alive. Without unquestioning obedience and willingness to march in lockstep, most Chinese would starve, as they did back in the mid 17th century during a period of civil war.

The greatest of Chinese curses is "May you live in interesting times". Innovation was a rare and grudgingly accepted thing in China, and I doubt it will ever be accepted readily.

The Italians were the only European nationality that had more than a 50% return rate from the U.S. The Irish had a 10% rate, and all the others from Europe fell somewhere inbetween, but closer to the Irish than the Italians.

Not one of my German speaking relatives (Bavarian, Swiss, Austrian, Sudeten) ever went back, except as U.S. soldiers in 1917, and I don't know any German families around here who had anyone who did. I'n sure there were some, but it must have been exceedingly rare.

If it's available in Germany, check out Adolf Hitler's second book, where he states the Americans are the true super race, because "for two centuries they have taken our bravest and most energetic people".

Unlike Adolf, I don't think it's genetic, but the culture that developed from those upbeat and aggressive individuals still exists, although stifled by the very different, almost alien big coastal cities. You know my opinion concerning those, and what continent they should really be on.

John B said...

...Left Behind for unquestioning fans of capitalism...

I love it!

I don't agree.
I don't entirely disagree.

Mark B. said...

Ed Foster,

Heinlein had something similar to say:

"The timid never left, and the weaklings died on the way."

"And between you and me, I think Sweden is going to be a far more pleasant place to live than the US, long term wise."

Außenseiter, you got any acquaintences in, say, Malmö?

IllTemperedCur said...

It's no surprise that Ebert would give a jaw-droppingly stupid review of Atlas......

Außenseiter said...

@Mark B.

I wouldn't worry. It'll take some decades for public opinion to shift, but in the end, Muslims who behave like those in Malmö will either learn to work hard and keep their noses down or else enjoy their just desserts- dirt naps in mass graves or forced deportations to the dirty hellhole called middle east.

And unless I get accused of wanting to machinegun people I disagree with.. No. No hate involved, nor disagreements are the justification, but societies simply cannot have people who don't want to work, are disruptive, criminal, and won't leave. Locking them up is expensive, their lives are cheap.. you get the idea. People are squeamish in these modern times, but times change. I'm pretty sure this century will make the twentieth look like an unruly kindergarten by comparison.

If French ever grow a spine and start shooting with live ammo on thugs torching cars, I'm pretty sure cars will stop getting torched very quickly. And people whose cars got torched and who probably never recieved any compensation will be happy. (insurance, at least here never covers mass public order disturbances)

And no, contrary to what Qaddafi or Steyn thinks, Muslims are in no way positioned to become a majority in Europe.

And I specified "Intellectual protege", as in strongly influenced by.

You know, she never fucking admitted indebtedness to either of those guys. So, even though it's pretty obvious she was a classic Nietzsche wannabe she herself denied being influenced by those and only claimed to be influenced and indebted only to Aristotle. Speaks volumes about her intellectual honesty, but really, it's not surprising at all.

Europe is dieing

Firstly, the word you failed to spell is 'dying'. Secondly, you have as much right to say that as Malthusian doomsayers back in 1910 had the right to preach that by 2000, Europe will be hopelessly overcrowded hellhole with population of about 1.5 billion. Because that's what population curves back then suggested. The only country that was beyond the demographic transition was France.

"The timid never left, and the weaklings died on the way."

Yeah, really. I kind of don't think my great-grandfather who went to Russia and earned a fortune, just to have it stolen by the commies was 'timid'. I could go on and on. I mean, take Serbs. They're the only nation in Europe that kicked out the Wehrmacht almost on their own, recieving nothing more than some air support and occassional weapon drops. Are they 'timid'?

Or the French, who fought Germans for four years in the trenches and endured losses which the US has never, ever had to face. Had US lost in WWII as many lives as the French in WWI, it'd translate into about ten million dead.

Yet you ran from Vietnam with measly 59K dead. That many people the 'timid' Germans killed and sometimes lost in a few weeks on the Eastern front. (and no, they weren't bullied into fighting. Many of them swallowed the vision of Greater Germany hook-line-sinker, as the veterans will admit to even today)

The greatest of Chinese curses is "May you live in interesting times". Innovation was a rare and grudgingly accepted thing in China, and I doubt it will ever be accepted readily.

Has someone excised your humour gland? Haven't you noticed that, in countries where mass layoffs are not a damocles sword, ordinary, day to day existence is usually pretty boring. It only gets really interesting if there's a crisis going down.

Tam said...

"Or the French, who fought Germans for four years in the trenches and endured losses which the US has never, ever had to face. Had US lost in WWII as many lives as the French in WWI, it'd translate into about ten million dead."

I wouldn't expect you to be familiar with it, since it was an internal affair, but nobody kills Americans quite as well as other Americans.

Military deaths alone in the war where the North invaded America came to about 2% of the total population, and when civilian deaths were added, the total was roughly approximate to France's losses in the Great War.

The first modern industrialized war, with railroads and telegraphs and aerial observation and attacking troops mowed down in droves by entrenched riflemen, it attracted a lot of attention from foreign military observers.

Ironically, when the Prussian observers reported back to the General Staff, Moltke famously responded that there was nothing to learn from "armed rabble chasing each other about the wilderness", and just a handful of years later, he'd be sending his landsers and horsies in neat columns into the teeth of Chassepots and mitrailleuses. What a pompous wannabe-junker dumbass...

Anonymous said...

[W]hat's wrong with being okay with the idea that the world as we see it is only an idea in our heads?--Außenseiter

Uh, let's see..."The world is my idea." Well, O.K., aside from being solipsistic and irrational, it sounds pretty good. ;^)

This is not to defend Objectivism, which seems (like Platonism) to aim at abstract universals as being the proper object of man's knowledge.


Außenseiter said...


I'm not saying the world doesn't exist outside our heads. But just that the only way we *can* see it is as an idea in our heads. You can't *get at it* in any other way, just as you cannot (non metaphorically speaking) see anything with anything but your eyes.

BTW, I'm not very familiar with that war, but wasn't it a decisive German victory in 1871 ? And even though their guns were pretty much obsolete, they still lost only a third of French numbers? And the French managed to lose even while in possession of superior weaponry(I'd much prefer the Chassepot to the Dreyse needle contraption..)

I know US civil war was pretty bloody, but the numbers don't fit.

559 K(or 620K? All sides, civ & troops) dead out of population of ~20 000 K is just 2.8%. French losses in WWI were 4.9% of the population, nearly twice as heavy.

Serbs lost 16% of their population in WWI and still had more than enough fighting spirit in WWII to kick out the Germans in a protracted guerrila war. Those Serbs, that's a timid nation..

Tam said...

"BTW, I'm not very familiar with that war, but wasn't it a decisive German victory in 1871 ?"

I am sure that was a comfort to the guys who got chopped down in their columns marching into the guns like it was 1812 all over again.

"Well, our supreme commander said there wasn't anything to learn from the recent conflict that used rifles and repeaters, but we're going to win in the end anyway, so my individual death won't mean *gurgle*..."

PS: The numbers I'm finding are 3.2% v. 4.3% of total population, which is hair-splitting at its finest. Either way, you're talking about a war that wiped out a goodly swath of one generation's worth of young males. The single largest item in the budget of the state of Mississippi in the year after the war was for artificial limbs for veterans.

Much like Europe in the post "Great War/Great War v2.0" era, we decided to have our bloodbaths as far from home as possible after 1865.

Ed Foster said...

Aussie, we agree on the Serbs, who, sadly, the Europeans will need soon. We disagree on the Swedes, who will march quietly to whatever butcher shops Achmed assigns them to. Not a cubic centimeter of testosterone left in the entire Scandinavian peninsula.

And the French took most of their losses in endless rear guard actions, because the politicians controlling the army wouldn't let MacMahon fight the decisive action he wanted to. They also made him keep his machineguns 1500 meters back from the infantry, for fear the Germans would see them and copy them, rendering them essentially useless.

Having spent some time in Vietnam, twice, I question that we actually lost to the communists. Almost all U.S. ground forces were out by 1972, and the ARVN kicked the crap out of the NVA. Most of the North Vietnamese army was killed, wounded, or captured.

What destroyed South Vietnam was Senator Proxmire and the Democratic Party, who cut the funds for Vietnam in half in '73, then cut that in half 18 months later.

The South Vietnamese had to fire 4cannon shells to get 1 replacement, fight for 4 months on 1 month's pay, burn 4 litres of fuel to get 1, all while Russia and China loaded up the North with everything they could use.

We left behind a superb military. I saw them in Hue in '68, and they were as good as any soldiers alive. It fell apart due to the deliberate sabotage of a liberal (european style) party that couldn't afford to let a Republican president win a war they had started and were(in the press at least) starting to lose.

As for the occasional minor typo, I work two jobs and am trying to start up my own business nights. I don't always have the time to spell-check.

Also, due to a trans-atlantic education, I sometimes find myself caught between British and American usage and spelling. I can only apologise (yes, that is a joke).

As to the dire predictions of European collapse, I think they're spot on. The story is written, only the postscript needs composing.

If every person in western Europe between the ages of 18 and 35 decided to marry and start a 4 child family tomorrow (Not.Bloody.Likely.), it would be too late. The crash occurs long before those children would become productive adults.

Replacement rate is 2.1 to 2.2 children per mother, and most of Europe is running a third below that. As the system becomes more demanding of those who work and pay taxes, I'm sure that sad rate will drop even more, accelerating the cycle.

I'm not taking pleasure in that. I have a daughter and two new granddaughters living in Europe, and I have an EU passport. I've stood on a hill my family settled before Christ was born, and walked the ground where every man in my family died, buying time for the women and children to escape to the hills and bogs.

Every square inch of that soil was bought and held at a terrible price, over more than two thousand years. My blood is in every bit of it. The sense of loss is very real to me. It hurts.

So forgive me if I seem to be indulging in Celtic melancholy, but the numbers don't lie. To maintain a European welfare state requires between 7 and 8 people working for every recipient. Right now the number is about 2 in the E.U. It's too late. It's over.

Außenseiter said...


And, so fucking what if a welfare state collapses? It's not you know, the end of the world. Sure, some seniors who were unlucky enough not to have children who will take care of them might die alone, in poverty, but stuff like that always used to happen. Just because it didn't for some decades following post WWII economic boom..

Every part of western civilization is gonna get used to a lowered standard of living.

If one considers the obesity and diabetes epidemics, I think it's gonna be a good thing.

Besides, there is considerable evidence that less material comforts, more hardhship translates into stronger interpersonal relationships and more sense of community.

BTW, about two? I dunno, but 'round here it's at least 4.

This graph says

Suggest that the elderly constitute in worst hit nations something like one fifth of the population. So your number two to one recipient is incorrect.. that'd mean unemployment rate of 30%+ (which is pretty rare overall)

Why do you work two jobs? My parents between themselves work about eighty hours a week and save maybe a third of what they earn.

Last july, when silver was a lot cheaper I spent hours trying to persuade my father to buy some with the paper money they've saved.. but he didn't want go into a trade he doesn't understand.

Now I can only say.. I told you so. Feels good, but it's useless.

I mean, in America, all you buy is more than 20% cheaper. Guns are 30-40% cheaper..
Why 2 jobs?

Saving money to start your own business? That's the only thing that'd make sense.

Tam said...


Speaking of the effects of The War (where I grew up, that referred to THE WAR; the one that involved no Frenchmen or Serbians) read up on its effects in, say, Mississippi or Georgia:

"With the outbreak of the Civil War, classes were interrupted when the entire student body and many faculty from Ole Miss enlisted in the Confederate army. Their company, Company A, 11th Mississippi Infantry, was nicknamed the University Greys, and suffered a 100% casualty rate during the Civil War. A great number of those casualties occurred during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, when the University Greys made the deepest encroachment into Union territory. Some of the soldiers actually crossed the Union defensive fortification wall, only to be killed, wounded or captured. On the very next day, July 4, Confederate forces surrendered at Vicksburg, Mississippi; the two battles together are commonly viewed as the turning point in the war. When Ole Miss re-opened, only one member of the University Greys was able to visit the university to address the student body."

Ed Foster said...

Why? A discreet and, if need be, defensible 7 acres of near self sufficiency plus the pleasure of being my own boss. If that isn't stereotypical American behavior, what is?

Remember, there are many more voters who collect welfare than those who wear police uniforms. Which will be cut first?

Considering that the urban welfare class creates most of our violent criminals, I strongly suspect things might become quite sticky, quite quickly.

On the subject of jobs in Europe, please subtract government jobs and welfare recipients from the total to see the effective number of producers, and the 2 to 1 ratio is slightly optimistic. The Scottish study I read in The Scotsman Online put it at 1.85/1.

The Obama administration has been using the same kind of woolery over here.

Without short-term government hiring, there has been virtually no increase in U.S. employment in the last year. The very real increase in manufacturing employment has been offset by losses in middle level service positions, and the biggest bubble of all, the Chinese Yuan, has yet to pop.

Add in the inflationary bubble built in to all the government bailouts since the mid-90's, and the ground beneath us grows more spongy with every passing month.

It's not that gold and silver (I got most of my gold changed to silver when it was between $14 and $18 per ounce) are gaining in value. Rather, the real value of paper money has sunk about 50% since Obama was elected. I can't take any pleasure in the fact that the Euro has sunk at about the same rate as the dollar.

And every Dollar, Franc, or Euro put into bullion is real value removed from circulation, making things worse. Sad.

Aussie, I suspect that you live in a small town or semi-rural region, and I think that's a good thing, something I hope to emulate. Not just for the greater self-sufficiency, but, as you've mentioned, the greater degree of interpersonal relationships and real humanity commonly found in that environment.

As you wrote,"Besides, there is considerable evidence that less material comforts, more hardhship translates into stronger interpersonal relationships and more sense of community".

People doing for each other rather out of common sense and mutual advantage rather than waiting for "government/God/benevolent aliens" to tend to them? My friend, you sound more Randian with every passing moment ;-)

Remove government from the equation and you act with logic and effect. I'm proud of you.

Francis W. Porretto said...

I'd say something about the pointlessness of arguing with a critic -- "the most democratic of all creatures, for he hates all creative people equally" (Mencken) -- and the gracelessness of doing it in so vulgar a manner, but I'd rather not cast myself in the position of defending the scrofulous Roger Ebert.

Außenseiter said...

People doing for each other rather out of common sense and mutual advantage rather than waiting for "government/God/benevolent aliens" to tend to them?

That's not Randian in the slightest. That's just human. I suppose you're not a creationist, but it's bloody obvious that during our early evolution we were always in very close contact with people who depended on us and vice versa.

That Rand took an idea espoused by most men, slapped her own new label on it and started parading it around as her invention.. that's not my problem.

BTW, I don't live in a small town, unless a 400K city counts as one. I'd prefer living somewhere remote, though, just for the chance to see the night sky properly. I have pretty good neighbors, though.


Scottish? I know that some parts of the UK gov't accounts for 80% of GDP, but that's the UK. World's premier basket case. The region where I live has lots of industry that's doing pretty good, and some tech companies.

Around here it's about 2.2. (state employees included)Supposedly, if it sinks to 1.8 there'll be trouble. It will, at some point, because right now there's a very strong generation of people who were born in the 1970's-1980's.

FYI, not only that woolery, but people who've given up looking for work, or been out of work too long are not counted as unemployed. So, supposedly the real rate of unemployment is as high as 20% in some parts of the US.

Yuan? I know that Chinese are doing some pretty wild stuff with subsidies, but how can Yuan be both a bubble and undervalued(as US manufacturers-those who haven't outsourced to China keep screaming)

I know civil wars are bloody. I hope you'll pull through the next secessionary war with more easily (the one where states stop dumping money into the bottomless pit of federal gov't - which wastes most of them anyway). Feds will be pissed, the question is how much.

Tam said...

Mr. Poretto,

"-- and the gracelessness of doing it in so vulgar a manner..."

I wish it were possible to convey to you just how little your opinion of my grace concerns me, but words fail me. (You'll note, however, that I do not make any attempts to cultivate it.)

Lighten up, Francis.

WC said...

No comment, but how can I pass up the WV: Mosin

Ed Foster said...

China needed a lot of cement for all it's building projects 15 or so years ago. The joke in China goes "What do you get from a lunch meeting between a banker and a politician? A new cement factory".

They now have 300% capacity and are still building new factories, all to fill the pockets of politicians.

Roughly half of all Chinese loans are fraudulent (compared to one half to one point five percent in the west), and the government is playing a "switch and bait" game of creating new banks to absorb that debt, then a newer set of banks to absorb it again when the payments come due, ad infinitum et nauseum.

Consider that there is no social security in China except the personal savings account and think about the aftermath of a currency collapse. It says something that American companies are shifting as much new work as possible to India and Brazil. Both countries are hotbeds of corruption and sloth, but are much to be preferred when China is the only option.

"That's not Randian in the slightest. That's just human. I suppose you're not a creationist, but it's bloody obvious that during our early evolution we were always in very close contact with people who depended on us and vice versa".

Again we're in agreement. She put a label on common sense and called it her own. But at least the idea got advertising because of it, and it's still common sense, regardless of said label.

Unlike the collectivist ethic, which guarantees ever decreasing levels of efficiency and initiative sweetened with ever growing numbers of bureaucrats and regulations.

Cousin, we're having a more and more difficult time finding something to disagree on :-)

Billy Beck said...

I'm reading through these comments, and by the time I gets to this...

"It's well established that people who are blind can decieve themselves into thinking they see,..."

...I'm wondering if anyone thought there was an actually informed discussion going on in any of it.

It's very remarkable; the depths of nonsense to which some people will sink over That Woman.

Billy Beck said...

Industrial-Grade Yeses --

Tam -- "Ol' Whittaker was bent because Strident Ayn had gored both his old ox and his new one."

GVI -- "Rand's fiction writing is to storytelling what the hammer is to the nail. Her essays, on the other hand, are engaging, accessible and (though I don't agree with all of her ideas) compelling."

Billy Beck said...

"That's not Randian in the slightest. That's just human."

Yes, it is. Historically, she's a barely pre-Endarkenment thinker. She pointed out that "man is the only entity that can sink below its own nature" at a point in the history of philosophy when it was generally agreed that nothing is real and we couldn't know if it were anyway. The point that is being posed here as enduring and universal and enduring certainly was not at mid-20th century. It was Rand who carried this torch, and nobody else of her time since the various 18th and 19th century overthrows of metaphysics, logic, and all the best implications of Enlightenment principles had even approached her clarity on these matters. And if her point of rational benevolence absent state coercion is "just human," then it would be well to consider that it ran diametrically counter to all the prevailing political currents of the time when she pointed it out, and what they were, if not "human".

"She put a label on common sense and called it her own."

Actually, she said that "common sense is a simple and non-self-conscious use of logic." (post-lecture Q&A, 1976) To understand her epistemology is to know that her analyses do not deserve these sorts of insinuations, and to reduce one's estimations of those who make them.

(wv -- "stati". {hah!})

Außenseiter said...

@Billy Beck

Sorry. Not exactly 'decieve', but their (damaged)brain decieves them so. Blind as bats yet convinced they see. There's probably a parallel there with faith, but I can't be bothered to tease it out.