samedi 13 novembre 2010

How Ned deliberately and forcefully ruined my day!

In a recent comment Ned mentioned Ayn Rand whose name I had previously met without doing any further reading. But since I noticed that Wiki had four golden articles about her, particularly in French, I then did my duty and read the whole bloody thing.

Good grief! What a hotchpotch of insanities totally unworthy debunking so ridiculous they are. One thing I can state is that I'm not about to read Atlas Shrugged.

I also tried to read the Objectivism article but I had to give up.

Well, I admit that wasn't a complete waste of time since I've learned something today (the very existence of this woman and her "philosophy") and also that was a good introduction to libertarianism.

Furthermore, I learned how important this trend of thoughts seems to have been in the US for the past 50 years and how it still may hold some traceable influence in current American domestic politics as seen on this picture of protesting Tea partiers.

But sorry Ned, you won't get me into Ron Hubbard...

35 commentaires:

Flocon a dit…

Would you believe it? On the blog where I gather all the posts I've written in English I've received a visit from the Vatican State, no less, and guess on which post?

What's more Benedict arrived directly without a refering website!!!

Ain't that great?

Mort de rire!!!

(IP Address

Anijo a dit…


I read all of Ayn Rand's books when I was in my early 20s. None of my English university professors were impressed with her works. She tends to impress young people and the not-too-educated for the most part.

Yes, she does seem to be an icon of Libertarians, however Libertarians and Tea Party people represent a minority in the U.S. The U.S. is a mix of socialism and captalism, just as France is, although bien sûr France leans much more to the left.

Anijo a dit…

I might add that the university that I attended was not exactly a bastion of liberal thought. The two major departments were Agriculture and Engineering. And yet, Ms. Rand's works were not respected, not even by the more conservative elements of the department.

Flocon a dit…

In the French article it says that Atlas Shrugged was the most influential book to Americans after the Bible.

"Selon une étude de 1991 de la Bibliothèque du Congrès américain, le livre est cité par les Américains comme celui qui les a le plus influencés, après la Bible"

Here is the article in the NYT.

If that ranking is reliable, her works and influence are not to be underestimated even if Teapartiers and Libertarians are only a tiny minority of the American population.

For what I know this Ayn Rand is totally unheard of in France and her Atlas Shrugged wasn't properly translated.

Considering where she was born, her upbringing and what she did in Hollywood, it looks like she was another typically American cultural phenomena who sort of embodied the so-called American dream.

She was grateful to America after she left the UssR which makes sense and, to my understanding, over did it in her praise of the founding values of the US.

Anyway, although it's been brain taxing as you say, I'm glad that I've learned a lot of things today. I didn't waste my time.

Anijo a dit…

Wikipedia does a good of job of explaining her influence

When they were first published, Rand's novels were derided by some critics as long and melodramatic

Other negative reviews called the characters unsympathetic and Rand's style "offensively pedestrian."

Rand's 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged was widely reviewed, and many of the reviews were strongly negative.[113][121] In the National Review, conservative author Whittaker Chambers called the book "sophomoric" and "remarkably silly

Author Flannery O'Connor wrote in a letter to a friend that "The fiction of Ayn Rand is as low as you can get re fiction. I hope you picked it up off the floor of the subway and threw it in the nearest garbage pail. She makes Mickey Spillane look like Dostoevsky."[123]

Rand's nonfiction received far fewer reviews than her novels had. The tenor of the criticism for her first nonfiction book, For the New Intellectual, was similar to that for Atlas Shrugged,[124][125] with philosopher Sidney Hook likening her approach to "the way philosophy is written in the Soviet Union"[126] and author Gore Vidal calling her viewpoint "nearly perfect in its immorality".[127] Her subsequent books got progressively less attention from reviewers.[124]

During Rand's lifetime her work received little attention from academic scholars

On the 100th anniversary of Rand's birth in 2005, The New York Times referred to her fictional writing as quaint Utopian "retro fantasy" and programmatic neo-Romanticism of the misunderstood artist, while criticizing her characters' "isolated rejection of democratic society."[134] In 2007, book critic Leslie Clark described her fiction as "romance novels with a patina of pseudo-philosophy".[135] In 2009, GQ magazine's critic columnist Tom Carson described her books as "capitalism's version of middlebrow religious novels" such as Ben-Hur and the Left Behind series

Anijo a dit…

Gore Vidal may not like New York Times' critic Orville Prescott, but he dislikes Ayn Rand's "philosophy" even more.

Anijo a dit…

Elegant, Witty Conservative Writer William F. Buckley Jr. Dies, Leaving No Intellectual Heirs

He was a man of fine character, and nothing proved that more than the fact that Ayn Rand would melodramatically stomp out of the room if she saw Buckley.

Anijo a dit…

How Ayn Rand Became an American Icon
The perverse allure of a damaged woman.

I would say an icon of some right-wing leaning Americans.

Since the great crash of 2008, her writing has had another Benzedrine rush, as Rush Limbaugh hails her as a prophetess. With her assertions that government is "evil" and selfishness is "the only virtue," she is the patron saint of the tea-partiers and the death panel doomsters. So how did this little Russian bomb of pure immorality in a black

The figure Ayn Rand most resembles in American life is L. Ron Hubbard, another crazed, pitiable charlatan who used trashy potboilers to whip up a cult. Unfortunately, Rand's cult isn't confined to Tom Cruise and a rash of Hollywood dimwits. No, its ideas and its impulses have, by drilling into the basest human instincts, captured one of America's major political parties.

Flocon a dit…

When you do some research on the Internet you do mean business Anijo!

re her influence as exposed in the Wiki English article that's about what they say in the French one albeit with less American names referenced which wouldn't ring a bell to the French.

I've learned a "new" word from Flannery O'Connor : A Pail (like a bucket I suppose).

The Teapartiers and Libertarians may be a minority segment in the field of American politics, your readings of her books some years ago shows how "popular" Ayn Rand was or still is in contemporary America.

Doesn't the NYT list her Atlas Shrugged as the second most influential book among Americans after the Bible, which isn't meaningless in the US.

Thanks for your links, I have some reading to do this morning...

I admit I was pleased to read that I wasn't completely off base when I mentioned Ron Hubbard...

I may have a post about "philosophers" in general when I see this list.

I won't check all of them but it looks like there have been more philosophers in the US than in the whole world since Laozi, Confucius, Buddha and Plato started to write...

Anyway, the post was meant to be light spirited but eventually I've learned quite a lot since yesterday.

Thanks ladies

Anijo a dit…


Re 'pail', there is a popular nursery rhyme that all young American kids learn.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

The main difference between Rand and Hubbard is that she was an atheist, an interesting fact that the tea party types might not be too keen on

Anonyme a dit…

I agree with Anijo that Rand is a marginal figure in the US in general. I also contend that Rand is an insignificant influence on the Americans who identify themselves with what is popularly described as the "Tea Party." Rand's atheism, her public contempt for Christians, and the profoundly anti-Christian content of her ethics make her obnoxious to most of the people one would find at a Tea Party rally.

The media association of her ideas with the Tea Party movement is a case of convergent evolution in politics. Starting from very different premises, Rand's partisans and Tea Party adherents have arrived at the same conclusion: The power of the Federal Government must be restrained.

I am confident that every person at a Tea Party rally would fervently support the text of the 10th Amendment to the US Constitution, which reads: The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

I recommend that you reflect on the meaning of the 10th Amendment, and then do some research into the Anti-Federalist Papers. One will find there the real philosophical underpinnings of the Tea Party movement.


Flocon a dit…


Since I didn't know Jack about Rand three days ago I'm not in a position to argue about this figure of American "intellectual" landscape.

"I agree with Anijo that Rand is a marginal figure in the US in general

I certainly don't doubt a second your statement yet the thing that leaves me puzzled is that she gets articles in at least 20 languages on Wiki, four of them being rated "gold".

I suspect the French one was written by the one responsible for the French Rand Society branch. Such a long article about someone who's next to absolutely unheard of in France... bizarre.

She may not be influential in contemporary America but it seems there was a time when she was.

Anijo read all of her books and Ned wrote she had to study Rand's "works" while in college.

Also there is this poll in the NYT which ranks Atlas Shrugged as the second most influential book by Americans after the Bible.

Polls being as reliable as you get it certainly isn't a definitive criterium yet To kill a mockingbird comes after the novel by Rand.

From where I write I'm in total darkness re Rand and the Teapartiers therefore I defer to your knowledge of the case.

When I google Rand and tea partier I get pictures like this one.

For sure the Teaparty movt is marginal and among its militants those who know about Rand must be a minority as well. So at the end of the day her "ideas" aren't influential I'm sure.

Thanks for your reading suggestions, I'll see that 10th Amendment.

Anijo a dit…

Anijo read all of her books and Ned wrote she had to study Rand's "works" while in college.

Flocon, I did read all of her books "while in college", however, it was not the university which had me reading her books. I had a boyfriend who was enamored with her and because of him I read her books. I brought her up in my English and philosophy classes two times, and both of those times the professor would more or less roll his eyes and dismiss Rand's works as being not even worth of discussing.

So you're right that she was more influential long ago than she is now. But even then, she was not considered a great intellectual. She had more of a cult following amongst the non-university crowd. Apparently Ned had a different experience.

Anijo a dit…

La musique... :)
It's lovely

If you interested, here is a link to AIROS, Native American radio. They play some contemporary Native American music as well as regular pop tunes and news. You might need Windows Media Player or RealMedia player to listen to it though.

Anijo a dit…

Oops.. I messed up on the link.

Try this

Flocon a dit…

Glad that you noticed the music Anijo.

I selected these pieces after you told us about the pow-wow you were going to which led me into some googling and reading. And the more I was reading the less I knew what to do with my first idea of a post about Native Indians.

Depuis je me sens "à sec". Je n'ai plus d'idées... :-(

J'ai appris quelques choses sur les Zunis qui vivent près de chez toi, j'ai trouvé l'image du tapis mais je reste "perdu".

Also I've changed the end of this post (Ayn Rand) which took me some minutes to write and I completely botched the conclusion.

I've taken your information into consideration and I hope the last paragraph is a little less bad than it previously was.

Anyway, there's nothing personal in this post which was just an opportunity for "educational exchanges" ;-)

Merci pour le lien vers AIROS. J'écoute toujours de la musique quand je suis sur mon ordinateur donc j'essaierai ce stream radio.

Anijo a dit…


Depuis ici, ce temps lá, la musique en AIROS,'n'étais pas formidable. En cette heure maintenant,ici, oui...

Anijo a dit…

C'est à dire que la timbre de la musique change constament, de l'heure à l'heure, de l'instant à l'instant

Anijo a dit…

Thinking of "Atlas Shrugged". The jist of it was that those who are talented feel oppressed by the less talented in life. That is the core of the Rand philosophy that the lesser people hold back the John Gault's of society

Flocon a dit…

"The jist of it was that those who are talented feel oppressed by the less talented in life. That is the core of the Rand philosophy that the lesser people hold back the John Gault's of society".

This idea is directly taken from Nietzsche:

"Nietzsche calls for exceptional people to no longer be ashamed of their uniqueness in the face of a supposed morality-for-all, which Nietzsche deems to be harmful to the flourishing of exceptional people".

From the section Nietzsche' morality in Wiki.

And also see here in philosophy of Nietzsche.

As one reads the French article about Rand one cannot help but notice how much she picked up ideas from different authours making some kind of philosophical teratology.

No wonder she never was recognized as a pair among the American scholars in universities' departments of philosophy.

Ned Ludd a dit…

I warned you that Rand was a nut, and for those who didn't see my post, I also mentioned a couple of other people like Max Stirner and Lysander Spooner from whom she seems to have got some ideas.

The libertarians also love economists Frederick Hayek and Ludwig von Mises, both of whom detest government influence in the economy.

Flocon a dit…

"I warned you that Rand was a nut"

You did indeed...

Je ne connaissais pas Lysander Spooner -> j'ai lu Wiki.

Pour ce qui concerne Stirner son nom est bien connu, encore que je doute que beaucoup de gens lisent encore son bouquin. Certainement moins que les romans et essais de Rand en tout cas.

Comme escroc intellectuel nous avons B.H.L mais c'est un tout petit bras comparé à Rand en effet.

Only in America! Ô-Ô

Je regarderai un peu plus la liste des philosophes américains donnée sur Wiki en anglais... J'aurai peut-être d'autres surprises.

En tout cas merci de m'avoir fait connaître cette Ayn Rand qui n'a peut-être plus d'influence mais qui en a eu et qui surtout semble très connue aux États-Unis.

Ned Ludd a dit…

As for myself, I was more of a Wilhelm Reich type(maybe still am), even though at the end of his life he went a bit overboard in believing he had discovered a new form of energy which he called "orgone". Just for fun, not really believing it, some college friends and tried to build one of his "accumulators" but never got anything. A couple of friends and I even visited his museum and lab in the boondocks of Maine.

But earlier he had written on the psychology of sexual repression and its role in society and fascism. He wrote on ways to liberate the working class from direct and indirect psychological repression by the ruling class. He wasn't just a talking head; he tried to put his ideas into practice. Books by him include "The Mass Psychology of Fascism" and "The Sexual Revolution" and "Character Analysis".

He was for liberation and not libertarianism. It ended badly for him as the government persecuted and jailed him in the fifties and many of his books and publications were burned by the government, incredible. Later, Herbert Marcuse took up the subject of the use of sexual repression in society in "Eros and Civilization" among other books.

Ned Ludd a dit…

Libertarians and neo-conservatives(who are not really conservatives)have some things in common. They both believe in a society run by elites who know better than the plebians what is right and good. The neo-conservatives, whose intellectuals mostly come from a left background, believe in a statist and financial elite that they think knows how to do things right for the good of all, including where and when to fight wars. The liberatians exclude the statist element, but believe in a "natural" elite that will arise in industry, finance, the free market, based on supposed ability, to do the same thing, in that they are willing to use the state. I haven't read what they think of mercenaries and private security companies.

Neither are particularly religious, but the neo-conservative intellectuals believe that religion is a useful myth for manipulating the people, for their own good of course. They also believe in creating myths like fear and imminent danger to the common people to get them to rely on them. Libertarians don't openly advocate these things, but it comes to the same end. For them, the "natural" elite is the only one able to decide the important things and this is based on the myth of the "invisible hand" that runs the economy. They implicitly believe in the myth of the level playing field for everyone, though the easiest way to become rich is to be born in a rich family. If G.W. Bush had been born in a modest family in a New Jersey suburb, do you think he would have succeeded?

Probably almost all Tea Partiers or Ron Paul supporters and the like have little idea of the origins and implications of the ideology behind their actions. Hobbes was probably right in the need for a "Leviathan", but it has been so long since I read him, that I can't integrate it into this post. Sorry if this post is not entirely clear, as I have taken several shortcuts to limit length.

Flocon a dit…

"As for myself, I was more of a Wilhelm Reich type(maybe still am)"

Ned you scare me. Do I have to fear for my security?

"Just for fun, not really believing it, some college friends and tried to build one of his "accumulators" but never got anything."

Aahhh.. those hippies years...

From Reich I just read Écoute petit homme il y a quelque années mais je n'en ai aucun souvenir.

The Mass Psychology of Fascism is a must read if only I had time.

The reading of Freud at an early age, about 17, was such a shock that I've always been rather sceptical of all his purported scions. And Reich was precisely one I considered as such with his orgone thing.

I'm basically a rationalist who doesn't refuse that there exist phenomems that reason cannot answer for.

I'm siding with Schopenhauer who wrote an essay about spooks and al. (Essais sur les apparitions et les faits qui s'y rattachent). He doesn't dismiss those phenomens and admits there is something which cannot be aprehended with reason although he proposes his own interpretation.

Ned Ludd a dit…


Rand is rather sophmoric and melodramatic, but that is the kind of thing that can appeal to youngsters. I see it as sort of a pre-nintendo imaginary video game. The readers can place themselves in the position of the hero that has to fight and overcome different sorts of monsters to become the winner in the end. Before video games, it must have been exciting to identify with an avatar that overcomes all opposition using a variety of weapons that he finds and uses successfully. That is probably also why super-hero comics were, and still are, so popular.

But I remember when I was young that I preferred things like Mad Magazine, which probably taught me about irony along with tv shows like "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and "Soupy Sales".

Flocon a dit…

Your second comment.

"They both believe in a society run by elites who know better than the plebians what is right and good."

Toutes les sociétés ont toujours été dirigées par une élite quelle qu'elle soit.

Quant à la capacité des masses to tell right from wrong cela donne la Terreur en 1793 ou les Tea partiers contemporains.

En plus cela pose la question de what is right and what is wrong which has been a permanent interrogation in philosophy even before Socrates began questioning his fellow citizens.

Pour ce qui est de l'aptitude des masses à savoir ce qui est bon pour elles ou non Lénine avait répondu à la question avec son avant-garde ouvrière.

"the neo-conservative intellectuals believe that religion is a useful myth for manipulating the people, for their own good of course"

Isn't that the case of priests all along human history?

I read that after they were chased out of Egypt Moses invented the fiction of a unique god in order to keep his people united and stay cohesive for the unforeseable future by pretending said people was the elected one by (their) god.

And it is in the name of that fiction that 3.000 years later B. Netanyanou has indicated to Mrs Clinton that he was open to the idea that he may have a look at the latest American proposal for a three months suspension of the colonisation in Cisjordania (the billions of aid in new weaponry he has already accepted).

Flocon a dit…

"Probably almost all Tea Partiers or Ron Paul supporters and the like have little idea of the origins and implications of the ideology behind their actions"

They're the masses and it all comes down to education. If uneducated could lead a country just imagine the inevitable ensuing catastrophe...

"Elites" are necessary and anyway they do exist even among Aborigenes and so-called primitive societies.

The one problem is: which values do those elites try to promote? Their own well being or the well being of the majority?

The elites you refer to seem to have no other ideal but Mammon.

Funny you mention Hobbes since I have a post almost written (in my head) starting with the Leviathan. I just have to write it down now.

Regarding the whole topic you can't say I take lightly your links and recommendations...

Ned Ludd a dit…


I know you don't take my recommendations nor those of others lightly. No offense, but I also write to your other kind participants, not to you alone, can't let your ego inflate too much.

I still write occasionally at SF and a couple of pro-GMO blogs. There I am definitely in a minority as an anti, but usually the debates are polite and at times too detailed for me. In fact, I won a prize from one of them by being voted for being the most contrary, but also sticking to the topic and doing so respectfully. Even pro-GMO's can have a sense of humor.

I agree that there will be elites, but the problems are where they come from or how they are chosen, and what are they going to do, and how to limit them or control them if necessary. That is why I need to review Hobbes. I don't remember how his leviathan deals with these problems. Some elites, like the neo-conservatives, intentionally lie to people and mislead them. They actually believe that that is their role and the only way to keep society together.
Other elites are in it for the money. After college, a friend of mine was working in commodities trading in Chicago and making good money. He visited me in California and told me to come to Chicago and he would get me into the business. I was still too much of a hippy and declined, to my detriment, otherwise I probably would be relatively rich and retired by now and returned to the hippy life yet still part of that elite. Que d'occasions perdues. Tant pis.

Flocon a dit…


"No offense, but I also write to your other kind participants, not to you alone, can't let your ego inflate too much."

Huh? Say a few words of gratitude and you receive a bucketload of cold water in your mug! (lol)

I know this blog isn't a place for you and me only (lol). Hundreds of thousand regulars benefit your links and recommendations.

As for my ego it is that of an anorexic bonzai. Thanks for having shrunk it a little more. (smile)

Why is it that I now feel under the weather? Because Ned eventually caught more of this ozone thing than she pretends to have. And I'm the happy receiver...

What is the title of this post again?

Ahhh the fine art of running a blog while keeping serene all the same...

Regarding the elite you have the Chinese model (centuries of State exams), Plato and his Republique or Spinoza with the aristocratic/democratic system as described in The Political treatise.

Curieusement ce titre n'est pas mentionné dans l'article en anglais sur Spinoza.

Il y a les différents systèmes possibles et puis il y a la réalité et les passions/affects des hommes.
Quite a good number of politicians weren't born with a golden spoon in their mouth (contrary to Laurent Fabius or Sarko for example) but once in the heart of the temple they no longer are what they used to be.

Il y a une chanson de Brassens sur ce thème, I just have to remember which it is.

merbel a dit…

Mourir pour des idées?

Flocon a dit…

Vouliez-vous poster ce commentaire suite à l'échange qui a eu lieu sur l'éthique et la guerre merbel?

A moins que vous ne souhaitiez apporter votre contribution à la guerre des egos qui fait rage sur ce blog... :D

merbel a dit…

Dans cette guerre qui fait rage, où je me suis aperçue que j'étais battue (rires) j'apportais ma contribution pour vous suggérer que c'était peut-être le titre de la chanson de Brassens que vous cherchiez...
Dites-moi en deux mots ce dont il s'agit: il y a des pbs avec Ned sur vos ego respectifs? Pas d'inquiétude, à vous deux! Puto e(r)go sum!

Flocon a dit…

Ah, j'avais pas bien comprendu...

Il me revient que la chanson de Brassens que j'avais en mémoire est fort peu en rapport avec la discussion.

Il y a bien 35 ans que je ne l'avais plus entendue.

C'est cette dernière strophe dont j'avais souvenir:

"Tire la bell', tir' le rideau
Tire la bell', tir' le rideau
Sur tes misères de tantôt
Sur tes misères de tantôt
Et qu'au-dehors il pleuve, il vente
Le mauvais temps n'est plus ton lot

Le joli temps des coudées franches
On a mis les mains sur tes hanches"

Les politiciens qui oublient d'où ils viennent (pour certains).

On oublie les politiques et on garde Brassens!

Pour l'histoire des egos c'est Ned (si si, c'est elle) qui a tout commencé (ce n'est pas la première fois d'ailleurs!) je ne sais plus sur quel billet pour me prévenir de faire gaffe à mon ego qui risquait l'inflation (oui oui, l'inflation).

Ça m'a amusé, moi dont l'ego est égal à celui d'un bonsaï anorexique, rachitique et ostéoporeux...

Si vous avez ouvert les liens (Google fight) vérifiez vous-même ce qu'il en est...

Tenez, pour m'amuser je viens de faire Annie Duperrey et Julie Lescaut (bon, on est samedi j'ai le droit de me détendre aussi...)
19.900 références pour la première et 19.500 pour la seconde.

A quoi ça sert? Pourquoi me posez-vous des questions que je sais pas y répondre...

Anijo a dit…

Dites-moi en deux mots ce dont il s'agit: il y a des pbs avec Ned sur vos ego respectifs? Pas d'inquiétude, à vous deux! Puto e(r)go sum!

Eh ben voilà ! Encore une question de "ego trip". Hallucinant :)