Going Galt – Taking Ayn Rand’s Premise to Reality

March 7, 2009 at 6:09 am | Posted in American politics | 56 Comments

Oh, if only they would actually “Go Galt.” Could we just beg them? How about if we paid them to go on strike. Maybe they would then.

See, Ayn Rand was silly enough to think that if the “titans” of the world were to go on strike the lowly workers would grovel to have them back. Ha! Silly, silly woman. There are plenty of people out there to take their place. In fact, they might even do a better job than the current bunch have done, frankly. Hilzoy (who I link), notes that none of those who recommend that the wealthy “go Galt” have actually done so. Who is willing to take that first step? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

PS: Just gotta add this in

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56 Comments

  1. See those layoff reports. The owners of those companies are GG.

    See those people taking their money out of stocks and putting it in gold. They’re GG.

    See the bank execs playing gold as their bank goes bakeupt. Them too.

    Is that really what you want? Because your economy is going with them.

  2. foo,

    Are you really telling me that companies are laying off workers to spite Obama and the liberals? Are you really that stupid? That’s NOT going Galt. Going Galt means that those executives lay THEMSELVES off!

    Putting money in Gold out of stocks is going Galt? Are you really that stupid?

    I guess the real question we should ask here is, does reading Ayn Rand make one stupid?

  3. It is not the CEO’s and elites that Ayn Rand was referring to in her story — those who inherit or con their way into positions of authority with no experience in hands-on labor or manufacturing, and the so-called intellectuals who mastered in university educations at the hands of radical socialist professors advancing their dogma of class warfare and dimmitude (i.e. multiculturalism).

    Ayn Rand differentiated those types from entrepreneurs who are the first to go about doing and building things themselves and rewarding those who honestly worked and provided value and accountability (according to the individuals involved) without thuggery, strikes and failure to deliver results (i.e. politicians and most unions).

  4. trice,

    Thank you for your comment. Either way, none of Ayn Rand’s folks will actually be missed if they left. So, please, can we just pay them to leave?

  5. It sounds doubtful you even read Atlas Shrugged, and you hurl the “stupid” invective freely. How very un-Christian.

    This reveals enough about you that I won’t be wasting my time on this blog.

    Here, I’ll beat you to it — good riddance!

  6. stupid is as stupid does.

    don’t let the door hit you on your way out trice

  7. It’s obvious that you still don’t know who John Galt is.

    Or how many of them there might turn out to be.

  8. really Erskine? Please enlighten me. I think I’ve quite had enough of people telling me I don’t understand Galt without explaining what part I don’t understand.

  9. Why don’t you start by telling me how much of Ayn Rand’s writings you’ve read? Not as a prelude to a pissing contest, but just to give me some idea of whether I need to clarify her writing or explain it from the ground up. It would also be nice to know how much you’ve read on free-market economics in general.

    In your posts on the causes of the civil war, it was apparent that you had researched your subject. That’s not at all apparent here. It looks like you are operating on prejudice about a subject that you really haven’t studied.

  10. Erskine,

    Most of my posts are just simply to throw out some lines to the blogosphere mix. Occasionally I’ll write up a more thoughtful post. The one on the Civil War was one of those (and it happens to be my most viewed post ever—the right keywords are in the title) 🙂

    I am very prejudiced against Rand, and I will tell you why. I think her theories are bunk, a bunch of bull. At the core, her philosophy is cold, heartless, soulless logic. Sadly, logic alone does not define a human being, and sticking to just pure logic in trying to define how a human being should behave will end up creating a stilted, undeveloped human. Now you may argue that we should use Rand’s philosophies and mix them with others (like many Mormons do who love Rand. They think they can reconcile her selfish Objectivism with Christ’s selfless service when they are completely contradictory by design), but Rand herself never recommended that her philosophy be mixed with others.

    Now, how much have I actually read of her own words? A little bit. An acquaintance gave me The Fountainhead as a gift a while back and I tried to read it. I got about 50 or so pages in when I just couldn’t take the cardboard characters anymore. Her story is just plain and simply unrealistic. The characters are caricatures of generalizations of her “perfect” man and, well, all the other people who have some flaw. There is no real conflict. Her main character does not actually grow, does not actually learn anything. He simply exists. In Rand’s eyes, the perfect man supposedly already knew how to behave.

    I’ve never read Atlas Shrugged, nor ever will. I’ve read plenty about it, from both sides, to judge it a fairly big piece of crap. The supposed premise of the book is that all the true talents, the ones who get mulched on by the masses, decide they’ve had enough of being raped economically and essentially go on strike. Now, having not read the book, I don’t quite know how exactly they managed to sustain themselves (like how they ate—did they have food storage?—how they did laundry, did they, as joked in the comic above, do their own agriculture to sustain themselves?). That’s a side issue though.

    The main problem with Rand’s premise in Atlas Shrugged is that it is impossible to get all the supposed true talents of the world to unite against the masses mulching on them. The true talents of the world are not so altruistic as to not realize that if someone were to go on strike, they could take their place. This of course leads to the second problem. If the true “titans” were to go on strike, there are millions more people out there quite ready to take their place in the workforce. These two points make Rand’s book a laughingstock in my eyes, that she didn’t take these two possibilities into account. Her book is an attempt to portray a man others should exemplify. But that man lives in such an impossible world, that such a man will never exist in this reality, Erskine.

    As for economics, I took two economics classes at BYU. So whatever they taught, that’s what I learned.

  11. And I should add, when those on the right who say they want to “go Galt” they clearly do not know what they are talking about. Galt didn’t reduce his work to get less tax taken out of his income. That’s not what “going Galt” means. Going Galt means clearing out of town. Finding some cave in Colorado and hanging out there until the masses come crawling to you begging you return with all your talents to bless their lives.

  12. Civil War posts are very good, and deserve the attention they have gotten.

    We have a very different perspective on Rand’s philosophy. What I see at it’s core is a passionate love of man at his best. Far from being soulless, it reunifies man’s body and soul and delivers them from the mind/body dichotomy that we inherited from Plato.

    As for emotions, they are neither denied nor ignored by Objectivism. Rand was not advocating some sort of Vulcan approach to life. She would have considered it anti-human. Emotions, according to Rand, are automated value judgments. They are the summation of our previous thinking, and a reflection of previous evaluations. As such, they are not a primary source of knowledge. They only tell us what we already think, so they are only as good as the thinking that went into creating them. If our emotions seem to conflict with reason, that’s not a sign that we should chose between reason and emotion, it’s a sign that we should do more thinking to find the source of the conflict. It could be that our previous evaluation needs to be revised, or it could be that we’ve made an error in our current reasoning.

    I don’t know about you, but I find that a very reasonable and sane approach to the issue of emotions and reason. It disparages neither and fits both into their proper place. It is human in the best sense, because it appreciates the value of emotions in human experience while maintaining reason as our only source of knowledge. We should be neither emotional basket-cases following wherever whim takes us, nor repressed robots ignoring our feelings.

    I agree with you that those who think they can mix Christianity and Objectivism are misguided. I view that as I view the attempt to merge Enlightenment values with Christianity. It certainly improved Christianity, but in the long-term I think it undermined the Enlightenment. Watering down poison will improve one’s chances of surviving, but it would be better to give up the poison altogether.

    Atlas Shrugged was not meant to be a realistic blueprint for how to accelerate the collapse of society. Its theme is the role of reason in human society. In order to dramatize the effect when a society abandons reason, the events and cast of characters are necessarily compressed. It took Roman civilization 500 yrs to collapse after the abandonment of the Republic. Rand chose to show that process in accelerated fasion, and as the result of a conscious withdrawal of reason from society, rather than the slow brain drain that occurs in a society in decline. The effect is far more dramatic and exciting.

    Those who understand the strike as simply a tax revolt have missed the point of the story. Those who think of it as class warfare in which the rich win, have missed the point of the story. Rand’s key identification was the immorality of the initiation of force by one man against another, or by a government against its citizens. As a corollary, she rejected all the spurious justifications for such force that have been advanced over the ages: right of conquest, divine right, the superiority of an elite, racial supremacy, vox populi vox dei, the needs of the many, etc, etc. Men do not own other men, neither in part nor in whole.

    That is the moral point. There is also the practical point that societies based on enslavement inevitably crumble. Force drives out reason. You force a man to work, but you can’t force him to think. All you can make him do is perform a set of manual tasks that you give him. In a society run on force innovation dies. The society deteriorates to a subsitence level, which is all that slavery is capable of maintaining over any period of time. The process of deterioration might be slower or faster given other factors, but it happens. The society becomes stagnant until it is swallowed up by a more dynamic culture.

    You maintain that there will always be another titan to take the place of the ones who quit, but that is emphatically not true. In a culture that makes a point of cutting its titans off at the knees, people will stop trying to rise. No one will take up the burden of such a thankless job. They won’t think, “Ah! Here’s an opportunity for me!” They will think, “If they did that to him, what will they do to me?” They may not know enough to walk away from their job, but they know enough to keep their heads down. They know not to offer innovation where innovation is punished, not to work harder when hard work is for suckers. Not only that, but as the burden of society shifts ever downward, from the titans to the giants to the stalwart to the weary, more and more people find themselves cast in the role of sacrificial victim for the group. Eventually, you end up with a small, elite group at the top–call them aristocrats or call them commissars–living off the labor of the overburdened masses. That is not some airy theory, it is what happened when Rome fell, and it is what happened under communism.

    You are correct, though, when you say that people who talk about reducing their productivity as a way of “going Galt” are not really emulating Galt. They are not walking away completely. They are shrugging, however. They are not completely rejecting our society yet, but they are showing definite signs of apathy towards its survival. They are not the $250k/yr wage earners either. It may not be entirely accurate to call them Galts, but they feel the same thing that Galt felt when he walked away from the 20th Century Motor Company. They are tired of their lives being regarded as the property of other men. Those are the people for whom Ayn Rand wrote, not just the titans, but all of us. She gave us the words to express the idea, and the moral courage to say, “Enough!”

  13. Erskine,

    What I see at it’s core is a passionate love of man at his best.

    But that isn’t man at his best. If man is inherently a selfish creature (as Rand would have us believe), then wouldn’t him being selfish be the norm, and not the best? Jesus taught us to be selfless, that we are at our best when we raise others up, when we visit the needy, when we give food to the hungry, shelter to the homeless, clothing to the naked. Now, this in no way implies to be slaves to others, does it? See Rand came at this through a flawed perception. She thought that religions enslaved man (ironic that she would agree with Marx, eh?), took away his realness. But that’s not what religion does, and because she so casually dismisses religion, in my eyes, she’s not worth listening to.

    Emotions, according to Rand, are automated value judgments.

    But that right there is an emotionless definition of emotion, don’t you see? Could it possibly be that emotions cannot be quantified? Secondly, automated? That assumes that an individual has no control over emotions, and they come forced upon an individual.

    As such, they are not a primary source of knowledge.

    Indeed, but they define who we are, and cannot be easily dismissed, or cast to the side. Emotions have a way of coming back with a vengeance. 🙂

    It could be that our previous evaluation needs to be revised, or it could be that we’ve made an error in our current reasoning.

    But see that’s the problem. Reason alone cannot solve our problems, nor does reason alone define who we are.

    A key ingredient Rand misses in her definition of man is the spirit of man. I don’t know how much you know about the LDS faith, but we believe man is a combination of two things, a physical body, and a spiritual body. The spiritual body comes from the presence of God. It fuses with the physical body to become one. The reason for this is so that we can attain a physical body just like our Father in Heaven, and one day inherit His kingdom and glory.

    I don’t say this to expect Rand and her followers to believe in this. They can believe whatever they want. But the fact that Rand cannot account for a soul in the body shows me she just does not understand man. Other philosophers at least account for something within us that is hard to explain. Rand dismisses this as “emotion” to her downfall.

    It is human in the best sense, because it appreciates the value of emotions in human experience while maintaining reason as our only source of knowledge.

    But reason is NOT our only source of knowledge. The fact is that many things in our lives we “know” based on emotion rather than memorization of fact or theory. Ironically, most humans know many things without knowledge and then when a process is explained to them, they get a “oh yeah, I knew that; I just didn’t know HOW it worked.”

    I agree with you that those who think they can mix Christianity and Objectivism are misguided.

    THANK YOU! Now, please tell that to any Mormon you see showing love for Rand, please! 🙂

    It took Roman civilization 500 yrs to collapse after the abandonment of the Republic.

    Are you saying Rome collapsed because they abandoned reason? Really? Are you really trying to hold up earlier Rome as an example of Rand’s utopia? A highly militaristic, expansionist, enslaving empire? That they had philosophers does not change the fact that they were contrary to much of what Rand writes.

    The effect is far more dramatic and exciting.

    Forgive me, but dumb and unrealistic is a better description. See, for an analogy to work, even one that is supposed to do what Atlas Shrugged is supposed to do, there should at least be some sense of realism in the story. Take 1984 as an example where it works, disturbingly well. It is an unrealistic scenario, but Orwell pulls it off where Rand just simply did not have the capability within her to do so. Orwell’s characters are real. They grow. They don’t just exist, unchanging. The point is made well because while such a scenario is unrealistic, it actually could be. There is a possibility. Whereas in Rand’s book, there is no way in hell that anything close to what her characters do will ever happen in real life. All the true talents of the world giving up their work? All the rest of the world in utter despair because they’ve subsisted on the work of others? Please. That world does not exist. Not even close. Not even allegorically.

    Men do not own other men, neither in part nor in whole.

    But they do. The interdependency of this world makes it so. The man who makes food OWNS the man he sells his food to. The man who makes clothing OWNS the man he sells it to. And so on and so forth. Unless each of us is capable with OUR OWN HANDS to make food on a constant basis, to sow our own clothing, to make our own homes, that’s the only time we will ever NOT be enslaved or owned by another.

    There is also the practical point that societies based on enslavement inevitably crumble.

    No they don’t. At least not because of their enslavement of another.

    In a society run on force innovation dies.

    No it does not. If America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Australia all have some sort of force upon its people (which clearly every single nation on this planet does), then, by Rand’s logic, there would be no innovation, but interestingly, innovation continues despite force.

    In a culture that makes a point of cutting its titans off at the knees, people will stop trying to rise.

    Are you kidding me? This is where Objectivism gets highly ridiculous. There will ALWAYS be someone to rise to the top. ALWAYS.

    No one will take up the burden of such a thankless job.

    A thankless job? Dude! You want to talk thankless jobs? Being a CEO of a large corporation IS NOT A THANKLESS JOB!. Being a janitor is a THANKLESS JOB. There are far far worse things to do in this life than run a corporation.

    They are shrugging, however

    Heh, not even close. I bet you a cyber dollar that not a single one of them will actually lower their productivity. Here’s why. There are too few of them, and too many of us, the so called mulchers, who are quite ready to replace their work and essentially corner them until they are out of business.

    This is why I poke fun at them and hope they actually go through with their threats and really do go Galt. Go on, get out of town. We don’t need you. Please. Do us the favor, all those who claim to want to go Galt. Please, don’t get mad, just go away.

    They are not completely rejecting our society yet, but they are showing definite signs of apathy towards its survival.

    I always knew the true anti-Americans were on the right, that those who “hate America” were on the right. 😉

    They are tired of their lives being regarded as the property of other men.

    not their lives, but their work. Do you see the difference? When you do work that affects the rest of society in one fashion or another, you lose proprietorship of your work, because your work could detrimentally affect the rest of society, for one way or the other.

  14. oh, and on a side note, can you answer for me exactly how did John Galt and his compatriots subsist in their cave in Colorado. Who cooked the food?

  15. But reason is NOT our only source of knowledge. The fact is that many things in our lives we “know” based on emotion rather than memorization of fact or theory.

    This is the nexus where leftists and conservatives meet and shake hands. Both sides agree that emotion trumps reason. Faith is nothing more than an emotion, a feeling that something must be true because the person wants it to be true. There is no arguing with someone who treats his emotions as knowledge. One cannot reason a man out of a belief he was never reasoned into. His fallback position in any debate is always “I feel it’s true”, making him as impervious to reason as an oyster. Therefore, I won’t bother to continue this debate. There are just a couple of points I need to clear up for the benefit of anyone else who happens to read this, and then I will take my leave of you.

    If man is inherently a selfish creature (as Rand would have us believe),

    That is not what Rand would have anyone believe, which you might know if you bothered to read anything by her. She believes that men have free will and are perfectly capable of choosing to act against their best interests. They just can’t avoid the consequences, reality being what it is. Man at his best is when he uses his reason to achieve his long term self-interest. Man at his worst is when he behaves irrationally in the pursuit of his own self-destruction.

    A key ingredient Rand misses in her definition of man is the spirit of man.

    Again, since you haven’t read Ayn Rand, you don’t know what you are talking about. She is not a materialist; she does not deny the existence of consciousness. A man’s spirit is his consciousness. It is not some ghostly thing separable from his body, though. It is an attribute of a biological being, and it ceases to exist when that biological being ceases to function. That’s the unalterable fact that religion is meant to protect people from having to accept.

    I don’t know how much you know about the LDS faith

    Enough to know that further debate would be pointless.

  16. Faith is nothing more than an emotion, a feeling that something must be true because the person wants it to be true

    I wouldn’t expect you to understand faith, but this is not how faith is defined.

    Paul said it best in Hebrews 11:1. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It is far more than an emotion, and far more than just something someone wants that something to be.

    Therefore, I won’t bother to continue this debate.

    Sounds good. But before you go, please indulge me. How did John Galt feed himself and those who went with him?

    A man’s spirit is his consciousness.

    no it isn’t. The mind is a physical creation, a part of the body. The spirit uses the mind, as it uses the rest of the faculties of the body. But in any case, it seems we’re done here.

    I just ask that you answer how Galt and his bunch fed themselves. 🙂

  17. Sorry, if you really want to know, you’ll have to read the book. 🙂

  18. Drat. Guess I’ll have to wait until the afterlife and ask Rand myself. 🙂

  19. Daniel,

    By your own estimation, you expect to meet Rand – of all heretics – in the afterlife? Where, exactly, are you expecting to end up and why?

  20. Grant,

    Based on Mormon theology, those in the Celestial Kingdom can go down to the Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms and visit whoever they want. Thus, I can meet Rand wherever she may be. 🙂

  21. I love how you feel you can define”going galt” when you have never read the book. You are engaging in a sophmoric form of literalism. IAtlas is a moral metaphor. Its admittedly 600 pages too long, but you obviously did not understand its most basic point: looters hold their victims at the gunpoint of thier own morality, and that is only effective while the victims let it be effective.

    Hence incremental changes in lifestyle that deprive the looter of income are exactly waht “going galt” is all about. Many Lesser persons walked off thier jobs in Atlas, because it was simply no longer “worth it” – as Obama is already discovering with the shortage of Doctors.

    You find it amoral only because you feed off of the morality of others, and she advocates withholding your bounty from you. SHe does not (at least in Altas) advocate witholding it fromthose who trade value for value. The founders called it the Right of Conscience. Maybe you should look it up.

  22. “Oh, if only they would actually “Go Galt.””

    Thank you. I think I will. See ya! Good luck with that Socialism thing.

  23. on weiss’ comment,

    … what is it with conservatives and their inability to spell! Or type.

    Many Lesser persons walked off thier jobs in Atlas, because it was simply no longer “worth it” – as Obama is already discovering with the shortage of Doctors.

    And what is it with their utter lack of historical, heck even contemporary knowledge? The shortage of doctors comes from doctors suddenly Going Galt? What kind of stupidity is this? Do Galt-philes not realize that we’re a nation with surplus of demand for doctors, thus a short supply of them.

    looters hold their victims at the gunpoint of thier own morality, and that is only effective while the victims let it be effective.

    Does this even make any sense?

    Rand has succeeded in bastardizing the education of the modern conservative. I’ll give her that success.

  24. American Taxpayer,

    Thank you. I think I will. See ya! Good luck with that Socialism thing.

    Thanks. I think it will work out fine. In fact, life will be so good, you’ll be begging us to let you back in from the hell you will be living in Galt’s Gulch. But as kind-hearted Christian socialists, we’ll gladly welcome you back to the fold. See, we’re not selfish. We don’t think only for ourselves at the cost of the other.

  25. Weisshaupt: Kind of funny that you attribute a shortage of doctors to Obama’s policies. Actually, one reason we have a shortage of doctors is because a lot of smart med students decided to go to Wall Street instead – kind of an interesting by-product of the Randians’ drive for financial de-regulation.

  26. … what is it with conservatives and their inability to spell! Or type.

    Of all the cheap rhetorical tricks that is probably the cheapest.

    And what is it with their utter lack of historical, heck even contemporary knowledge? The shortage of doctors comes from doctors suddenly Going Galt? What kind of stupidity is this? Do Galt-philes not realize that we’re a nation with surplus of demand for doctors, thus a short supply of them.

    Shortages are caused when demand increases without a corresponding increase in production. Why has demand increased? Because the government pulls money out of the economy and pumps it into the medical industry via Medicare, Medicaid, and health insurance requirements. Why is the supply of doctors not increasing? Because the government is exerting control over what doctors can be paid, subjecting them to unjust malpractice litigation, requiring them to turn their offices into government bureaucracies, and constantly threatening to nationalize the entire industry. Is it any wonder that students are not entering the medical profession in droves?

    Again, you lack a basic understanding of economics. All you have is a prejudice against people who produce, and a desire to see them enslaved for the “public good.”

  27. like a moth to the flame, you just can’t stay away, eh Erskine.

    It’s not a rhetorical trick. I really do wonder what is it with conservatives today and spelling. It diminishes your credibility if you cannot spell simple words. See, Erskine, I find you credible. At least you are able to spell correctly. I know it is a low standard, but that’s life today in America.

    Again, you lack a basic understanding of economics. All you have is a prejudice against people who produce, and a desire to see them enslaved for the “public good.”

    Oooh, goodie, I fit in one of your stereotypes! What am I? A leech? A looter? A smoocher? What’s the right term?

    The sad part is that you have nothing against me to back your accusation that I am “prejudiced against people who produce.” Yet you throw that label around because your worldview is so limited, there are only so many labels in Randian thought. If the square peg can’t really fit in the circle hole, that’s okay, it’s a circle nonetheless in your world.

    Go away you silly Galtian.

  28. like a moth to the flame, you just can’t stay away, eh Erskine.

    Every time someone replies to this thread, I get an email. So every time you make a false statement here, I can come back and challenge it.

    It’s not a rhetorical trick.

    Sure it is. It allows you to ignore the content of what the person is saying, and simply sneer at him. Conservatives are no more prone to misspelling than leftists. I’ve seen my share of both. Sure, people would do better to proof-read what they write, but not everyone takes the time. That by itself doesn’t make them idiots.

    The sad part is that you have nothing against me to back your accusation that I am “prejudiced against people who produce.”

    Except what you’ve written here. You believe that a man’s ability to make money gives others a blank check on his life. I consider that vicious and hateful.

    Yet you throw that label around because your worldview is so limited, there are only so many labels in Randian thought.

    Immediately after telling me that I don’t know anything about you, you set out to sum me up in a few words, and in the process attempt to attach a characterization to a philosophy about which you know zilch. Here, for the benefit of those just joining us, is a list of the books you’ve read on Objectivism:

    1.

    Go away you silly Galtian.

    Why? Am I bothering you? You have a comment section for a reason, right?

  29. Erskine,

    You believe that a man’s ability to make money gives others a blank check on his life. I consider that vicious and hateful.

    Huh? Where do you get that from? I believe from the original piece, I actually WANT Galtians to go Galt. Please. Go away already. Go hide away in Galt’s Gulch. We’ll call you if we need you.

    Every time someone replies to this thread, I get an email. So every time you make a false statement here, I can come back and challenge it.

    Dang, I guess I gotta figure out how to disable that function. 😉

    Why? Am I bothering you? You have a comment section for a reason, right?

    Not at all. I just think it’s funny that you choose to spend your time here

  30. From that NY Times piece, here’s the REAL reason why we have a shortage of doctors:

    The need for more doctors comes up at almost every Congressional hearing and White House forum on health care. “We’re not producing enough primary care physicians,” Mr. Obama said at one forum. “The costs of medical education are so high that people feel that they’ve got to specialize.” New doctors typically owe more than $140,000 in loans when they graduate.

    Too heavy of an investment. Not because of regulations, or government interventions. The cost of becoming a doctor is simply too high. Thus, we get specialists (which pays more), and get others who might be doctors, instead get degrees in basketweaving.

    Lower the cost of education and you’ll find more people becoming doctors.

    And that has absolutely nothing at all to do with Rand’s ideas.

  31. LOL. Let’s see… first the government pumps billions of dollars into the medical and education industries, increasing demand and driving up prices across the board. Then it exercises price controls on doctor wages, inflates their costs and subjects them to litigation risks, while preventing them from recouping their education investment in a timely manner. And this has nothing to do with Ayn Rand’s ideas?

    What about Adam Smith’s, or Frederic Bastiat’s, or Ludwig von Mises’, or Henry Hazlitt’s? Does it have anything to do with their ideas?

    And your answer is to lower education costs. That’s so simple! Why didn’t someone else think of it? How do you propose we do it? Shall we lower the wages of professors? Or perhaps we could lower the maintenance costs of the universities by lowering wages for the blue collar guys? Here’s an idea, why don’t we just have everyone work for free. I mean, we’ll give them room, board, a pair of shoes and a suit of clothes every year–fashionable clothing with horizontal stripes–but that way everyone can get what they need without it costing hardly anything at all! It’s f-ing brilliant!!!

  32. right, it doesn’t have to do anything with Rand’s ideas. In fact, very little of actual reality has anything to do with Rand’s ideas. That’s the whole point. 🙂

    Yes, lower educational costs through government subsidies. If doctors can get their education without starting work in the field with $150,000 in debt, you’ll get more doctors. That doesn’t lower the price for professors. They’ll still get paid their normal fee. That doesn’t lower the costs of universities’ maintenance costs, or the blue collar guys. They remain the same. But the rich…well, they’ have to fork over all their cash. 😉

  33. In fact, very little of actual reality has anything to do with Rand’s ideas.

    Since you haven’t read anything by Rand, that’s a statement you’re not qualified to make.

    Yes, lower educational costs through government subsidies.

    So you’re not going to lower their wages, you’re just going to raise their taxes.

    But the rich…well, they’ have to fork over all their cash.

    Right, because as far as you are concerned they’re evil anyway, and the rest of us hold a mortgage over their lives.

  34. So you’re not going to lower their wages, you’re just going to raise their taxes.

    No, not the taxes of those making under $250,000. That would include most if not all doctors.

    There is a huge amount of very very filthy rich people in this country who have forgotten that with much received comes much responsibility. Instead, we get excess and glutton. Under Eisenhower, the tax rate for the richest Americans was at 90%. Under Reagan, the tax rate for the richest Americans was 50%. Obama plans to only increase the rate back to where it was under Clinton, at 39%. Personally, I want to increase it back to 50% as it was under Reagan.

    that should pay for a lot of programs that make it easier for people to pay for their medical degrees. We can pay to upgrade our infrastructure, so that bridges don’t just collapse and kill innocent people, for example. We can invest in alternative sources of fuel that do not destroy our environment. These things cannot happen (and certainly have not happened) when the rich of this nation save the money for themselves. They don’t invest their money in such programs, because that investment never bears financial fruit. It makes the country better, but it doesn’t bring them financial success to do so. Trusting the rich to make such investments is foolish and stupid. It will never happen.

    I’d never expect a utopian Randian to understand reality.

  35. Dan,

    I don’t know if you’re still following this thread, but I had a couple of things to say:

    Setting: I, too, am LDS. My politics tend “right,” though I have questions. I’m about half-way through *Atlas Shrugged.*

    There are several things about the book that appeals to me personally. Especially when “truth” is spoken clearly. For example, in one scene the character Rearden defends himself in court. Knowing that the government’s laws are inherently unjust, he merely tells them completely uncolored truths from his perspective which cannot be argued, and which disrupt their court procedures. In that scene (and several other places in the book), the bureaucrats are trying to exploit the virtue of the “good guys” to color their selfish ends with a cloak of legitimacy and he refuses to give them that cover. The truths sound a bit foreign to my LDS ears, but I’ve figured out that’s because the words don’t exactly mean to Rand what they mean to me.

    Also, contrary to your cute cartoon, had you read the book, you’d find that the protagonists of this story would have had no problem planting and harvesting a crop, raising animals for food, cooking, doing the dishes, building houses with their own hands, etc. When they “go Galt,” they are, in fact, often found doing menial jobs–and enjoying them. They are driven not by money (in spite of what Rand says in the book), nor by power or position (though the antagonists are!), but by productivity. Rand’s “selfishness” is not inherently selfish because it actually, inherenly, maybe inadvertently, blesses others. I have had to learn to read between the lines to figure this out. Also, though Rand chose as protagonists the “giants of industry,” it’s obvious that she also regards just as highly the everyday worker who puts in an honest day’s work in exchange for a day’s pay from these “giants.” (The fact that blatant adultery is tolerated, and even promoted, gives me pause, but I’ll leave that for another post…)

    On the down side, Rand’s constant reference to the importance and value of money (of which she clearly has only a basic understanding) makes me roll my eyes. Her contant vaulting of selfishness made little sense to me, until I learned to read between the lines.

    I have noticed that in her world, the “bad guys” (government officials or others who feed off of the efforts of productive people) *always* talk in double-speak. Always. The double-speak they use invariably makes reference to helping others, the public good, etc., but it is obvious their intent is to help themselves. On the other hand, the “good guys” never do this, they always speak “truth,” that is, they never hide behind a gloss of selflessness, and yet, the result of their labors often end up being “selfless” and helping (blessing the lives of) others.

    Of course, in the real world, neither people nor events are so black and white. Hence, I think I would be justified in saying that this is NOT a novel. It is a clear and undiluted FABLE. (Rand would probably have agreed.) If, in the real world, people would be the kind of “selfish” she describes (truth-loving, hardworking, productive, unconcerned with position or power) the world truly would be a better place.

    Because of this, and in spite of the negatives, I have felt the book was of value to me personally. A thought struck me the other night may be helpful to you: because the “bad guys” in this fable are very clearly spending all their energy deceiving others and themselves; and because the “good guys” in this book are striving to be honest and productive and fair; to me this is a fable about telestial vs. terrestrial. Rand never ventures into the celestial. The celestial doesn’t make sense in this fable. If this accurately represents her state of mind, I don’t think Rand would have been able to make sense of celestial values. Taken for what it is, I think there’s a lot of value to be had, so long as you don’t misinterpret it as having any of celestial or eternal value.

    It’s also good to remember that Rand’s personal experiences included living in St. Petersburg Russia during the early days of the Soviet Union. I can clearly hear the Americanized echos of Soviet bureaucrats in the voices of the “bad guys” in this fable, especially in their protestations of “for the public good.”

    Just my four bits. I hope it’s not too scrambled to make sense of.

    Todd

  36. Comanche,

    Thanks for your thoughts. Just a few of my own:

    Knowing that the government’s laws are inherently unjust

    Here is where Rand’s philosophy fails. Rand’s philosophy needs for government’s laws to be inherently unjust. But government’s laws are not inherently unjust. Some of them are, but most are not. Most are quite just. How can someone rail on laws that protect Americans from troublemakers, from murderers, from thieves? Rand’s philosophy is anti-government, but it is also anti-order. It requires of the adherent a belief that anarchy is better than organization. If government laws are inherently evil, why aren’t corporation rules inherently evil? Is it the law/rule that is inherently evil, or the government? If it is the government, would that change if government is run by a corporation?

    I can’t tell you how many problems there are with Rand’s philosophy, and how, for it to work, it requires the use of a lot of logical fallacies, including the straw man.

    Also, contrary to your cute cartoon, had you read the book, you’d find that the protagonists of this story would have had no problem planting and harvesting a crop, raising animals for food, cooking, doing the dishes, building houses with their own hands, etc.

    Yes, I finally got someone who read the book to answer that question for me. 🙂

    Rand’s “selfishness” is not inherently selfish because it actually, inherenly, maybe inadvertently, blesses others. I have had to learn to read between the lines to figure this out.

    But isn’t that an odd thing to have to do with a supposed master philosophy? Why do you have to read between the lines to find this golden nugget? Shouldn’t that be highlighted and clarified? Yet it isn’t. Because those who find this philosophy rings in their ears will stretch to find a way to make this very selfish philosophy somehow fit in with their Christian background and culture. Rand’s philosophy, however, is antithetical to Christianity. She despises Christianity, and religion in general. If she has so clearly spoken out against organized religion, why would you think you could find such nuggets in her philosophy?

    (The fact that blatant adultery is tolerated, and even promoted, gives me pause, but I’ll leave that for another post…)

    Why? Isn’t that a second mark against her philosophy? The first being that the core unit of her philosophy is selfishness. The second, now, is that adultery is quite easily allowed. That’s two marks against her philosophy.

    On the down side, Rand’s constant reference to the importance and value of money (of which she clearly has only a basic understanding) makes me roll my eyes. Her contant vaulting of selfishness made little sense to me, until I learned to read between the lines.

    If you have to read between the lines to feel comfortable with her philosophy, what good are the lines themselves for you?

    I have noticed that in her world, the “bad guys” (government officials or others who feed off of the efforts of productive people) *always* talk in double-speak. Always

    What? You mean to tell me her bad guys are cardboard cutout characters? No freaking way! /snark

    Isn’t that mark three against her philosophy? She can’t even create real enemies. She doesn’t even have a real nemesis. Her nemesis, the true enemy of her philosophy is a cardboard cutout enemy. What does that tell you about her philosophy?

    Of course, in the real world, neither people nor events are so black and white. Hence, I think I would be justified in saying that this is NOT a novel. It is a clear and undiluted FABLE.

    A fable? A fable should be held to the same level as religions? Do you know how emphatic and zealous are the followers of Rand? Just look at the comments earlier in this post. They are like the most extreme zealots of a hardcore religious cult. This is more than a fable, and clearly Rand didn’t think it was just a fable, or she would not have expounded further on the philosophy, to actually define it and name it: Objectivism. It’s not a fable.

    If, in the real world, people would be the kind of “selfish” she describes (truth-loving, hardworking, productive, unconcerned with position or power) the world truly would be a better place.

    But there’s no way her philosophy will work in the real world because of numerous reasons. A couple here:

    1. Unrealistic good guys.
    2. Unrealistic bad guys.
    3. No God.
    4. No devil.

    This is why I wonder so often why Rand’s philosophy has any Mormon followers. I mean seriously. She doesn’t talk about God at all. She also doesn’t talk about Satan at all. But we know both work their magic in this world, to both good and detrimental effect. Simply having everyone be “selfish” plays right into the hands of Satan and runs counter to God’s teachings. Rand doesn’t account for this because she refuses to acknowledge even the existence of God. She agrees with Karl Marx that religion is an opium for the masses.

    Rand never ventures into the celestial. The celestial doesn’t make sense in this fable.

    Now here we get into the “why Rand” question. Why Rand? What does she offer you that other philosophers do not? Have not other philosophers counseled us to be hardworking, good people? What does Rand bring to the table that is new? Because the only thing new is “selfishness.” And seeing that selfishness is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, how could ANY Christian consider following Rand’s philosophy?

    It’s also good to remember that Rand’s personal experiences included living in St. Petersburg Russia during the early days of the Soviet Union

    Makes no difference to me.

  37. But government’s laws are not inherently unjust. Some of them are, but most are not. Most are quite just. How can someone rail on laws that protect Americans from troublemakers, from murderers, from thieves? Rand’s philosophy is anti-government, but it is also anti-order. It requires of the adherent a belief that anarchy is better than organization.

    Once again, your ignorance of her philosophy blazes forth. Allow me to quote Ayn Rand on the subject of anarchism:

    Anarchy, as a political concept, is a naive floating abstraction: . . . a society without an organized government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along and who would precipitate it into the chaos of gang warfare. But the possibility of human immorality is not the only objection to anarchy: even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral, could not function in a state of anarchy; it is the need of objective laws and of an arbiter for honest disagreements among men that necessitates the establishment of a government.

    “The Nature of Government,” The Virtue of Selfishness, 112

    Tell us again about straw men, Dan. You won’t read her actual words, so you are arguing against your own erroneous preconception of her philosophy.

  38. so Ardsgaine,

    are government’s laws inherently unjust or not? You Rand adherents better get your story straight. If government’s laws are inherently unjust, then anarchy is the rule of law. But as you quote Rand stating that there is a necessity for an established government, then it seems government’s laws are not inherently unjust.

    My conception of her philosophy is based on a cursory study of her philosophy. I understood very early on that she has nothing of value to offer me. Plenty of other philosophers have counseled us to be hardworking, ethical, moral people. Rand simply has nothing new to offer except “selfishness” which runs counter to my religious beliefs. As such, her philosophy has no worth in my eyes.

  39. Hi all. Daniel, followed you here from a comment on BCC today…I saw your were LDS in NYC and wondered if I knew you (don’t think I do).

    I don’t really fit into a description as a conservative or liberal or libertarian, but I’m one of those mormons who appreciates Ayn Rand, especially since moving to NYC from California. I’ve seen the dangers she warned against played out frequently in the five years that I’ve lived in the big city.

    I’ve read almost everything she published, even the dry philosophy books, and after all that, while I have to dismiss her views on religion (though not lightly, as they are views which I would undoubtedly share were I not Mormon), I don’t think it’s completely incompatible with Christian living. Like most philosophers’ teachings, objectivism is not by necessity take-it-or-leave-it; you can take the intriguing bits and see if they fit with, clash with, or supersede what you’ve already accepted.

    Rand, Christ, and Joseph Smith all set the exaltation of man as of the utmost importance, and all three taught that man exalts himself through his own self-improvement and through his loyalty to self and morals. The lowest form of life according to both Randism and mormonism is the individual who is able but unwilling to provide for and better himself–in fact, that’s how mormons define damnation. Equally low is the scribe, the pharisee, the hypocrite who lives fat off the labors of others, and rails against truth because it jeopardizes his position (a theme in both the New Testament and Rand’s writings).

    Christ and Joseph Smith were excellent examples of Rand’s view of exalted living. They lived and died according to their own beliefs and morals, and they did not compromise; not even when it would have helped win new followers or placate existing ones. Not even when their lives were at stake.

    Both Christ and Smith raged against the stupidity of conventional wisdom and mobs, against the establishments of their times and the injustice inherent in theocratic and mobocratic societies. When they sacrificed, they did so of their own free will, and I suspect that is the caveat under which charity is compatible with Randism.

    It really is worth looking into. You will see familiar scenarios from your own NY surroundings played out in the pages of The Fountainhead.

    And anyway, I’d argue that an intelligent life is not about seeking out those books, songs, plays, and ideas that we agree with (if any exist…there aren’t any philosophers, even Joseph Smith, with whom I agree 100 percent). It’s about exposing ourselves to new things and gleaning what we like from them. To dismiss Rand after reading 50 pages seems awfully smug and insular.

    One last critique and then I’ll shut up: Regarding the Galtians, Rand definitely over-simplified the Galt idea to make a point. And yet it would be hard to deny that the wheels of history tend to be turned by a few people who repeatedly make and do great things.

    These are not the CEOs and Wall St. people (indeed, those are the leeches against whom Rand warned), but the creators and innovators in our society. There are not many of them, and from what I can tell, there are almost none of them in government or in business school or law school. Those are the leeches that feed off the doers and makers. I’m not one of them either (we can’t all be), but I feel like we’d miss them if they left.

    Apologies to any lawyers.

  40. I apparently need to talk more about Ayn Rand and the Civil War. On those two topics I get like the most debates and views. 🙂

    Kyle,

    I don’t think I know you either. I’m up in Inwood. You may see me at various playgrounds around Manhattan with my daughter though. 🙂

    See, you say that coming to New York has allowed you to see Rand’s philosophy in action, or at least what she warned about. What is it about New York that makes you see that, because I don’t see that around me. Cardboard caricatures? Not even close. The New Yorkers I see are quite alive, quite complex, and generally good-hearted people. Take this couple that came over last night to take our old couches, a young couple. The woman an African American with a nose ring, the man with a funky hairdo, yet a very nice couple, friendly. They don’t fit anywhere in any of Rand’s cardboard caricatures.

    Or heck, let’s go financial. My daughter’s friend from daycare (before I became a stay at home dad). Her mother works at Goldman Sachs, yes, the Goldman Sachs that has leeched taxpayer money to now become a hugely profitable bank—can’t tell you how angry I am at Goldman Sachs and what they’ve done this past year, but hey, through tough times, you do what is in your power to survive, and Goldman Sachs did just that. Anyways, side story. This woman works for Goldman Sachs, somewhat high up. Great woman. Very nice with her daughter, very friendly with mine, great conversationalist. Nice husband. They don’t fit in any cardboard caricature that Rand tries to portray of reality. Or this other guy I know. Works for Primerica. Makes good money in a legitimate pyramid scheme. He’s more of what I envision as a Randian, yet he is a nice, friendly, outgoing guy who is respectful and helpful to others. Still doesn’t fit the Rand cardboard caricature. Maybe Mike Bloomberg? Gazillionaire extraordinaire. Loves running the city. Tends to help out his buddies more than the poor, yet at the same time pushes through school reforms that I think have been pretty helpful (at least in getting my wife a great job, not only that but allowing her to design her own school as she felt would work best—you don’t see that in many public school districts). Still doesn’t fit a Randian cardboard caricature. Do each of these individuals have some characteristic that Rand describes? Sure, you bet. Each one of them at some point is a leech. Each one of them at some point is a hardworking independent. Each one of them at some point is moral. Each one of them at some point is immoral. How does Rand’s teachings help me better understand them? IT DOESN’T!

    I don’t think it’s completely incompatible with Christian living.

    It’s not completely incompatible with Christian living, but it is incompatible with Christian living. There are aspects of what she teaches that are fine, but most are not. The point I am making is this: What does she offer that is new, Kyle. What does she offer that you cannot find with another philosopher? The ONLY thing she offers new is “selfishness.” That’s it. That’s all she’s got.

    and all three taught that man exalts himself through his own self-improvement and through his loyalty to self and morals.

    That is not at ALL what Christ and Joseph Smith teach. It is a massive distortion of what they teach. Man is incapable of exalting himself, according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Particularly because of loyalty to self. Jesus Christ and Joseph Smith teach us that man is lower than dirt (according to the Book of Mormon) because at least the dirt obeys the One that created it. Man is hardly even able to obey his Creator. What exalts man, according to the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the atonement of Jesus Christ. We are commanded to do our part, but to think that we can exalt ourselves is errant thinking. It does not have a part in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus himself states in Matthew 5 that we can’t even change the color of our hair, and that it would be better for us that our communications be yea yea nay nay. To think we have the power in us to exalt ourselves? That just has no scriptural backing.

    The lowest form of life according to both Randism and mormonism is the individual who is able but unwilling to provide for and better himself–in fact, that’s how mormons define damnation.

    This, again, is errant thinking when it comes to the Gospel. The lowest form of life, according to Mormonism, is the one who denies the Holy Ghost. And that individual could be the best provider for himself in this life. Yet he would be consigned to eternal damnation because he denied the Holy Ghost. This kind of thinking, in particular, was excoriated by King Benjamin in Mosiah 4:16-21

    16 And also, ye yourselves will succor those that stand in need of your succor; ye will administer of your substance unto him that standeth in need; and ye will not suffer that the beggar putteth up his petition to you in vain, and turn him out to perish.
    17 Perhaps thou shalt say: The man has brought upon himself his misery; therefore I will stay my hand, and will not give unto him of my food, nor impart unto him of my substance that he may not suffer, for his punishments are just—
    18 But I say unto you, O man, whosoever doeth this the same hath great cause to repent; and except he repenteth of that which he hath done he perisheth forever, and hath no interest in the kingdom of God.
    19 For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God, for all the substance which we have, for both food and raiment, and for gold, and for silver, and for all the riches which we have of every kind?
    20 And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy.
    21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

    You can’t find a more clear denunciation of Randian thought than that scripture. Not only does King Benjamin state that you can’t judge someone who petitions for your aid, but he states that EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US is a beggar to God. In other words, King Benjamin calls every single human being a leech (or whatever Rand calls those who prey on the creative, hardworker). Every single one of us relies on God not only for our resources, our foods, our very lives, but we also are completely reliant on him for our salvation! There is no self-made, independent man. It does not exist. Every single human being relies on God for their lives to even exist. The selfishness that Rand teaches is antithetical to this. It is the very opposite. It states that there is no God, that each man/woman is an independent creature who must rely on his/her own rational mind to exist, survive, succeed. But this thinking is just simply not based on reality.

    Christ and Joseph Smith were excellent examples of Rand’s view of exalted living.

    I’ll give you that Jesus Christ was an exalted being, but Joseph Smith most certainly was not. He was a flawed, passionate, sinful being. He was definitely God’s prophet to start this dispensation, but he was in no wise exalted whilst here on the earth. As for how well Jesus Christ fit into Rand’s cardboard caricature, I’m afraid that just falls flat too. Jesus Christ was reliant on His Father. He was also His Father’s messenger on earth, doing the will of the Father. At only one point was the Savior actually alone, by himself. And that was on the cross when God left Him for a moment. At this moment, when Jesus looks up and says “Father why hast thou left me?” at that point was Jesus alone. Elder Jeffery R. Holland gave an excellent talk on this subject in the last General Conference.

    Sorry, Kyle, but Jesus Christ is not a Randian. And Rand does not describe Jesus Christ.

    They lived and died according to their own beliefs and morals, and they did not compromise; not even when it would have helped win new followers or placate existing ones. Not even when their lives were at stake.

    Uh…Joseph actually did. Did you forget the Lost Manuscript? 😉

    It really is worth looking into. You will see familiar scenarios from your own NY surroundings played out in the pages of The Fountainhead.

    Ugh! I hated that book. I was about ready to do an a-ha “Take on Me” moment, jump into that book and strangle the characters! Sorry, as I pointed out earlier, there is no way in hell I could find familiar scenarios in my own NY surroundings that were played out in the pages of The Fountainhead.

    And anyway, I’d argue that an intelligent life is not about seeking out those books, songs, plays, and ideas that we agree with (if any exist…there aren’t any philosophers, even Joseph Smith, with whom I agree 100 percent). It’s about exposing ourselves to new things and gleaning what we like from them. To dismiss Rand after reading 50 pages seems awfully smug and insular.

    Dude, I tried, and I was about ready to strangle a fictional character! I’ve read quite a lot in my life, but nothing as stupid and unrealistic as Rand’s book “The Fountainhead.” I then read up some more on her philosophy and found the rest of it quite abhorrent, and contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Let me put it this way, I read Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto (haven’t read Das Kapital) and found things I agreed with and many things I didn’t. However, Marx had a much more realistic look with his philosophy. I could see in real life the caricatures he was describing but I didn’t think the direction he wished to take things would have worked out the best. Interestingly, we have yet to see actual Marxism in this world. What we see is Leninism and Maoism, a strange mix of totalitarianism and Marxism; but not what Marx even wished, or predicted. I doubt we will ever see it actually occur, because a lot of unrealistic events would have to happen in order to get to the world he envisioned. The same thing with Rand, but in Rand’s case it is even worse because her caricatures are completely unrealistic, whereas at least Marx had realistic caricatures.

    One last critique and then I’ll shut up: Regarding the Galtians, Rand definitely over-simplified the Galt idea to make a point. And yet it would be hard to deny that the wheels of history tend to be turned by a few people who repeatedly make and do great things.

    You’re making excuses for her. Either her points stand without having to stretch logic to get there, her points stand without having to make excuses, or they don’t.

    Oh and history is generally turned more powerfully by a few people who do really bad things. Just FYI. 🙂 Look at how much more history is influenced by Lenin and Hitler than they are by Roosevelt and Wilson.

    There are not many of them, and from what I can tell, there are almost none of them in government or in business school or law school.

    What? What the hell does that mean?

    Those are the leeches that feed off the doers and makers. I’m not one of them either (we can’t all be), but I feel like we’d miss them if they left.

    Are you saying legal professions are not legitimate enterprises? Are you saying that is what Rand teaches? She has a problem with lawyers?

    We’d miss them if they left, or we won’t miss them if they left? And is Rand’s philosophy really saying that legitimate enterprises that fit in her ideology are ones we like, as opposed to ones we don’t?

    Overall, Kyle, I’m still nowhere close to thinking that Rand has anything positive to offer, or anything new beside selfishness, which is antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  41. Kyle,

    FWIW, I just looked you up on facebook and was surprised that we don’t even have mutual friends. I do know a decent amount of Manhattan Mormons. Are you in Manhattan?

  42. Daniel,

    Which Objectivist claimed that government laws are inherently unjust? That was a comment made by a Mormon giving his interpretation of Rand. If you want to know what Rand thought, you have to actually read her words. Her opinions on anarchism and the necessity of government and objective laws can be found here:

    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/anarchism.html

    Her key principle is that the initiation of force is immoral. The main purpose of government is to ban the initiation of force, and it does this by using retaliatory force. Government laws are unjust when they allow the government to initiate force against its citizens. That is what happens when government imposes regulations on trade, redistributes wealth, levies a draft, etc.

    That is indeed opposed to the teachings of Jesus, who taught that one should render unto Caesar those things which are Caesar’s. What belongs to Caesar? Everything that doesn’t belong to God. There is nothing left for the individual in that schema. Are you being oppressed? Turn the other cheek, forgive your enemies, submit. It’s an evil, evil world, but you’ll get your reward in heaven.

    You can have that philosophy. I want no part of it.
    Good luck collecting your reward after you’re dead.

  43. Ardsgaine,

    That is indeed opposed to the teachings of Jesus

    Thank you! Tell that to any Mormon you see.

    There is nothing left for the individual in that schema.

    That’s because there never was. You come into this world with nothing, and you leave with nothing. Nothing on this earth, except your will, is your own. Everything else is borrowed from God.

  44. That’s because there never was. You come into this world with nothing, and you leave with nothing. Nothing on this earth, except your will, is your own. Everything else is borrowed from God.

    And there’s our difference in a nutshell. It’s also the difference between you and those of your co-religionists who can’t quite follow the premise to its logical conclusion. They have the temerity to believe that their happiness in this world might actually be worth something to them. To that extent, Rand is their defender.

  45. Ardgaine,

    look dude, I’m tired of your comments. You and I agreed to disagree long ago. Please leave it at that and let me talk with my fellow Mormons about Rand.

  46. Daniel,

    I’m not interfering with your conversation. I wouldn’t even be here if you did not persist in misrepresenting Rand’s views. When you had something to say about the Civil War, you went out and did a bunch of research and made a cogent argument. In discussing Rand, though, you rely on nothing more than prejudice and hearsay. It’s badly done.

  47. go away Ardsgaine or I’m gonna taunt you.

  48. Sorry, I’m with Ards on this one–you’re misrepresenting her views to the point that I think you’re probably just baiting us now. And your interpretation of my argument is about as accurate as your interpretation of Rand’s.

    It’s too frustrating to talk to someone who doesn’t try to understand the other side of an argument before jumping in with a rejoinder, so I quit.

    I was in US1 for a few years and just moved to MSH, btw. Great wards, both. And we’re close friends with the Mareadys in your ward.

  49. I’m misrepresenting her views? I’m going by what you say Kyle. I’m critiquing what you write. I don’t appreciate the rejoinder that I don’t try to understand the other side of the argument. I gave her a chance and she failed, badly. Her philosophy is bunk and not worth another look. And look, both you and Comanche have to stretch logic, make excuses for her in order for her philosophy to come anywhere close to matching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    Secondly, how could you side with Ards when he states quite clearly that Mormonism and Objectivism don’t match? They’re not compatible, according to Ards. How do you side with him?

  50. Ardsgaine,

    What does it take to get you to go away? Your mother was hamster and your father smelled of elderberries.

  51. Wow, your reading comprehension sucks, dude. Again, it can’t suck as much as you make it seem to, which leads me to think you’re baiting us. If so, hope you’re laughing. If not…

    Sentence Construction 101:

    “I’m with Ardis” doesn’t have to mean “I agree with everything Ardis says.” Especially when it’s followed by an em dash and second clause: “…you’re misrepresenting her views to the point that I think you’re probably just baiting us now.”

    The first clause–“I’m with Ardis”–is given context by the second clause–“you’re misrepesenting.” I spelled out exactly “how [I could] side with Ardis,” and yet you misunderstood.

    Which segues perfectly into the first part of your response to me: The part where you take umbrage at my accusation that you’re not really understanding what I’m saying before you reply. An accusation that you’ve just managed to confirm perfectly.

  52. looks like I hit the mark, Kyle. I’m glad you gave up a reasonable debate and are resorting to insults and condescension. It proves that my points not only hit their mark, but there is no effective counter. You ponder on how you could live in both a Randian world and a Mormon world when you know quite well they are not compatible. Enjoy trying to serve two masters. In the end, you know what Jesus said.

  53. My previous post was as reasoned as could be (whether or not that makes it reasonable is up for debate, I suppose). I simply took your rebuttal, made a counter, and defended it. But in any case, I’m interested in hearing the logic behind your assertion that being countered with an insult proves that your argument is right. To be insulting is to be wrong? Or, more specifically to your point, to not be countered is to be right?

    There are effective counters to all of your points, but, as I clearly stated above, I don’t believe I have a reasonable audience with which to share them, so I won’t take the time.

    If, by your logic, that makes you right, then that’s fine. But before you consign me to hell (which you kind of implied), let me just say that I’m hardly “serving” Rand by agreeing with many of her philosophies, any more than I’m serving Kierkegaard or Nietsche or Kant or Lewis or any of a thousand writers, filmmakers, musicians, or politicians whose ideas I find intriguing and persuasive. Nor does it make sense to throw out all of their ideas because there are parts that come into conflict with each other, or with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I understand it.

    J. Stapley (of BCC fame) perfectly explains what I’m proving to be so ineffective at conveying: http://www.splendidsun.com/wp/mormon-atlas/

  54. Kyle,

    You refused to rebut any of my earlier points, but instead focused on “Sentence Construction 101”. That told me quite clearly that you could not counter any of my points, but had to resort to insults and condescension as a rebuttal. In debate, you lost. Kyle, if you think my comments to you frustrate you because I end up not agreeing with any of your points, that tells me that you have no effective counter at all, and would rather lower yourself to insults.

    Com’on Kyle. If you truly believe in Rand, defend her. You came to my blog. I didn’t come to yours. I’m ready and quite willing to defend each and every point of mine. Are you? If you can’t, then simply concede and go away. Don’t resort to insults. They make you petty.

    Nor does it make sense to throw out all of their ideas because there are parts that come into conflict with each other, or with the Gospel of Jesus Christ as I understand it.

    We’re not talking about parts, when it comes to Rand, dude. We’re talking about her central premise! I throw out her central premise because it conflicts with the Gospel! Her central premise is selfishness. That is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Since she really offers nothing else new, and her one and only contribution is contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, her philosophy is bunk and worthless.

  55. Why did you close the debate??? It was so much fun!

    [Because, I’ve got newer posts. Comment on those. The Civil War post is a dead horse.]


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