Friday, August 17

Apparently People Still Take Ayn Rand Seriously

Ayn Rand's books were a good read in high school--perhaps even into the early days of one's college experience--but it's hard to believe that grown-up, working adults still take them seriously. Steve Almond (writing at 'The Rumpus') provides a sufficiently eviscerating take on Paul Ryan's love affair for Rand:
"Rand’s sway over the male adolescent mind is not especially subtle. Her fairytales always feature some badass rich guy battling a bunch of nebbishes who spend their hours devising new impediments to progress and pleasuring welfare queens with golden vibrators. Nobody gets how brilliant the rich guy is, and how much better he wants to make the world and it’s so unfair! Also, he gets laid. ... 
"Rand geeks were made of stiffer stuff [than Vonnegut geeks]. They marched around pronouncing grave syllogisms and dreamed of omnipotence. They clung to a grand vision of personal destiny: science fiction as governed by Ronald Reagan. They honestly believed in the free market as the path to utopia. ... 
"Rand’s vision is a cartoon of capitalism, in which there is no poverty or environmental ruin or lack of equal opportunity. In her world, generosity is a false and malignant impulse. Nobody is just born rich. They must pursue wealth, and this pursuit is by definition a heroic one. Brave inventors and industrialists hold the key to paradise, if only they can throw off the shackles of religious superstition, liberal guilt, and bureaucratic tyranny. 
"In other words, Romney and Ryan have to convince voters that capitalism is not just an economic philosophy, but a moral system, and that any attempt to curb its appetites is therefore immoral."
The Week in Greed #11: The Ayn Rand Program (The Rumpus)