Heroism involves self-sacrifice for the greater good. Ayn Rand, in attempting to portray self-interest as heroic, proposed a paradox even her admittedly agile wit and artistic genius could not circumvent.

Outside the Biblical worldview,  individual rights cannot be sacred, because the lowly, the foolish, the stupid, and the criminal are all less useful to others and to themselves than the noble, the wise, the learned, and the upright.

If an honest pagan or secular agnostic asks why a halfwitted and dirty criminal, born a bastard and raised in the gutter, should not be sterilized and sent to the galleys as a slave, given this is the only use he can be to society, what pagan or secular answer can be ventured?

Why should we support nature granting him natural rights, if, from the looks of things, nature supports a Darwinian war of all against all, red and bloody in tooth and claw?

The vision of Ayn Rand of man as a ruggedly heroic individual, neither asking nor giving alms, just and perfect in all his ways, neither needing nor granting compassion (save, perhaps, to those who support his worldview) simply cannot arise from reason alone or nature alone.

Reason says useful men are more useful than useless ones, who, as Aristotle shows, are naturally meant to be slaves to their civilized betters. Nature says there is no compromise, no peace, no quarter, in the Darwinian struggle of the fittest to survive.

The vision of Ayn Rand also, it must be said, cannot arise except an unchaste woman, sterile and void of children.

Motherhood is self-sacrifice. Motherhood is heroism.

 

 

31 COMMENTS

    • Keeping perspective on life and keeping yourself centered (however you define it) tends to lead to a far more abundant life.

  1. Now I like and appreciate a lot of Ayn Rand, but she went too far. She was as flawed a person as ever was. But a lot of her insights were correct, and she was fearless in calling out evil. I have to give her props for that, though I disagree with her on much. Which was something she could not tolerate as a person. Oh, well. Some of what she wrote has been distorted and misunderstood by many. I find her essays more approachable. She was ham-handed as a novelist in Atlas Shrugged, but the same type of idiotic government policies are being decreed right now by the Brandon Administration by the same sort of caricatured characters. Like 1984, it was a warning, not a how-to manual.

    • I don’t disagree. In many ways she was prescient. Her philosophy had some flaws (to me) that I pointed out, above.

    • She painted in exaggeration in order to get the point across. People forget that she grew up and escaped from the Soviets, and that colored her outlook on life.

      Just look at her characters. None of them were truly happy and lived quiet lives. They were the extreme of one or another and always had one or two super-traits and otherwise were shallow and one dimensional. She wrote (using many many many maaaaanny words) comic book characters.

      She would have done great at Marvel in the early years…

  2. The slave is sent to the galleys as it’s his “the only use to society”. That decision was not made by the slave, I’m sure he had a very different view of his place in society.
    And that is how the world goes….

  3. I take a little bit of the ideas of Rand, what makes sense to me, just as I take a little bit of other writer’s thoughts and incorporate them into my own worldview. Stoicism seems to fit me best personally.

    Agree mothers are heroes but so are dads in a way. Both sacrificing some of their wants and desires to help ensure a better life for their kids.

    Somebody would have to convince me I am a slave. That would take quite a bit of convincing. Otherwise I will go my own way as best I can and accept responsibility for the consequences be they positive or negative.

  4. They want to create a world-wide feudalism.

    Heroes, heroes do the small things that fight against them. Like mothers who give birth, fathers who stay in their lives, parents who are married…

    Those who stand too high get cut down. We must be like all resistance fighters and do one or two small acts of resistance daily. Like giving birth, staying in our family’s lives, getting married…

  5. WELL SAID.

    Rand’s analysis of commie “mooching” is right on the money, I think, but her solution? A kind of blasphemous neo-Thomism? Not so much and it didn’t get traction.

    Let’s worship the dollar.

    Sorry, Ayn, you can’t serve God and Mammon.

    • Stayed married, stayed in his kids’ lives (such as they were), got up everyday and went to a job he hated. Founded the resistance movement, No Ma’am. Scored 4 touchdowns in one game. Role model, probably not, but definitely heroic.

      • My wife made comment one time that women are so very good at being fake. I countered that men are the very best at being fake. I mean, a guy does an Al Bundy or the equivalent, acts fake his whole life and if he’s lucky he dies as a fake. It’s why many men suddenly just drop everything and say, “Copulate THIS!” and suddenly jump jobs or lives and go off and do something often completely different (including sometimes their sexuality.)

        Al Bundy is truly a hero. Dan Conners (pre-the new “Conners” series) was one of them also. So are so many of us out there in real life.

  6. Ayn Rand was an objectively (heh) terrible person in her personal life. And the “morality” in Atlas Shrugged was no morality at all, but rather the pinnacle of (group) narcissism. (Yes, “group”. ironic, I know.) While there are many examples of each, here are two salient ones.
    1. Personal life: Rand was married to Frank O’Connor. Nathaniel Branden, her prime disciple and one-time heir, was married to Barbara Branden. Despite this, Rand and Branden carried on an open affair for years. They justified this because they were “superior” beings and deserved to be able to do what they wanted.
    2. Atlas Shrugged: There is a scene in AS where Dagny Taggart’s assistant (I forget the name; it’s been decades since I slogged through the damned thing) is abandoned, weeping in hopeless despair, by the side of the tracks in the middle of nowhere. Despite being completely loyal to Dagny, he is cast aside like trash because he is not elect, not chosen, and thus not deserving to enter Asshole Nirvana (AKA Galt’s Gulch). Even as a very pro-Rand 16-yo reading that I thought “something is the FUCK wrong here”. (Loyalty MUST flow both ways, both up and down the chain, in healthy human relationships. Even human-dog (pet dog, not necessarily working dog) relationships are more mutually-beneficial and respecting than Dagny Taggart and her poor assistant. Dagny’s loyal assistant seems to be no more important to her than some sort of food animal)

    We won’t even get into the psychology of a woman who proclaims HERSELF “the greatest philosopher of all time, after only Aristotle”. Really, Miss Rand?

    Yes, the former Alice Rosenbaum escaped Soviet Russia and became Ayn Rand. (And Nathaniel Blumenthal became Nathaniel Branden; Branden is an anagram of Ben-Rand. Just a coincidence I’m sure. Naming yourself “son of Rand” and then screwing the woman for years seems sick to me, but then Ayn and Nathaniel were superior beings, so who am I to even notice.) The trauma of having escaped the USSR is not license to be an asshole. (Sure, her hubby Frank O’Connor was not a very talented artist, from what I could see of his works. And he was almost certainly a beta-cuck and thus contemptible. But that’s no excuse to humiliate the man. Divorce him if you want to get it on with your “intellectual son”.)

    Not everything Rand said was wrong, I will concede. Among other things, I think Anthem is a beautiful piece of prose, and a very good allegory. But Objectivism, Inc. was run as a cult, and while it attracted many, those who stayed were mostly personally flawed (psychically) and for the most part abused.

    The piece called “Tecumseh’s Poem” has better advice for life than the entirety of Rand’s output, IMNSHO. Supposedly, at the end of her life, Rand said “What was it all for?” If there is nothing greater than yourself, and there is no God (or G-d if your deity is so nuts that He can’t bear to have even a generic descriptor spelled out, much less His actual Name), no Folk, no Purpose, then your life is by definition wasted since all value ends when you go into the dirt. Randianism has a certain appeal, and even some good points. But as a whole, ultimately it is the hollow, purposeless, narcissistic tantrum of a puffed-up yet empty ego, dressed up in fancy words and self-serving pronouncements.

    • Tecumseh’s Poem:

      So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart.
      Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view,
      and demand that they respect yours.
      Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life.
      Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people.

      Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide.
      Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend,
      even a stranger, when in a lonely place.
      Show respect to all people and grovel to none.
      When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living.
      If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself.
      Abuse no one and no thing,
      for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision.

      When it comes your time to die,
      be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death,
      so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time
      to live their lives over again in a different way.
      Sing your death song and die like a hero going home.

    • A little less spittle in the frothing would be nice, Mike_C. Did she run over your puppy when you were growing up? Just saying.

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