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So I was listening to the Thom Hartmann Show this morning in which he did a horrific segment on William Hickman, a cold blooded child murderer, whom Ayn Rand idolized. In her journal circa 1928, Ayn Rand quoted the statement, "What is good for me is right," a credo attributed to a prominent murderer,  William Edward Hickman. "The best and strongest expression of a real man's psychology I have heard," she wrote.

In an article, Romancing the Stone Cold Blooded Killer, Michael Prescott gives a stomach churning terrifying account of William Hickman'€™s kidnapping and killing of a twelve-year-old girl, Marian (sometimes Marion) Parker.

Warning, graphic description.

Hickman disappeared with Marian, and over the next few days Mr. and Mrs. Parker received a series of ransom notes. The notes were cruel and taunting and were sometimes signed "Death" or "Fate." The sum of $1,500 was demanded for the child's safe release. (Hickman needed this sum, he later claimed, because he wanted to go to Bible college!) The father raised the payment in gold certificates and delivered it to Hickman. As told by the article "Fate, Death and the Fox" in,
"At the rendezvous, Mr. Parker handed over the money to a young man who was waiting for him in a parked car. When Mr. Parker paid the ransom, he could see his daughter, Marion, sitting in the passenger seat next to the suspect. As soon as the money was exchanged, the suspect drove off with the victim still in the car. At the end of the street, Marion's corpse was dumped onto the pavement. She was dead. Her legs had been chopped off and her eyes had been wired open to appear as if she was still alive. Her internal organs had been cut out and pieces of her body were later found strewn all over the Los Angeles area."

In his essay, Mr. Prescott questions the sanity of someone who would idolize a sociopathic child killer.

It seems to me that Ayn Rand's uncritical admiration of a personality this twisted does not speak particularly well for her ability to judge and evaluate the heroic qualities in people. One might go so far as to say that anyone who sees William Edward Hickman as the epitome of a "real man" has some serious issues to work on, and perhaps should be less concerned with trying to convert the world to her point of view than in trying to repair her own damaged psyche. One might also point out that a person who "has no organ for understanding ... the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people" is what we today would call a sociopath.

Prescott'€™s essay goes into further discussion of Any Rand'€™s actual comments found in her journals--comments that lead you inside a mind of dark shadows, impossible mazes, circuitous rationalizations, and, ultimately I ha€™ve come to the conclusion: the mind of an insane sociopath.  What does that tell us about her influence on the conservative/libertarian world view?

I encourage you to read the entire piece, as Prescott presents many quotes and comments from AR which support his thesis that she continued --even later in life to believe from the bottom of her heart? soul? being-- that Hickman and those like him are to be admired. Prescott concludes thusly:

That Ayn Rand saw something heroic, brilliant, and romantic in this despicable creature is perhaps the single worst indictment of her that I have come across. It is enough to make me question not only her judgment, but her sanity.
At this point in my life, I did not think it was possible to significantly lower my estimate of Ayn Rand, or to regard her as even more of a psychological and moral mess than I had already taken her to be.
I stand corrected. Democratic Underground and Think Progress put together this video of Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Sean Hannity, and other libertarians extolling the virtues of Ayn Rand, then cue the chilling interview with Mike Wallace in which one wonders how in the hell could anyone find virtue of value in Ayn Rand'€™s twisted and insane thinking?  

This video needs to go viral as they say.

So while Paul Ryan's bold economic plan is to literally take food from the mouths of babes (cutting food stamps) and put it into the hands of our aristocratic royalists, you now may have some understanding of the how starving America's children and euthanizing our elderly fits right into a philosophy that considers most of us worthless, unworthy of love--we are all (except the chosen elite) mere "lice."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (26+ / 0-)

    "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

    by rlharry on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 12:41:35 PM PDT

  •  Hey, y'know... (4+ / 0-)

    ...some girls get crushes on movie stars, some get crushes on serial killers.

    I support torturous regimes! Also, I kick puppies.

    by eataTREE on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:45:59 PM PDT

    •  Ayn had her crushes on movie stars. (0+ / 0-)

      Hair and makeup gal for a decade, well remembered as a party animal.

      Kinky. Competitive.

      The transition to author and "being taken seriously" was still a laugher out West LA in the 1970s.

      And the New Yorkers and D.C. people complained that Hollywood was shallow....

      Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 04:54:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it was perfectly logical of her to feel this way (8+ / 0-)

    It doesn't matter which came first: her twisted philosophy or her crush on a serial killer ... they both demand each other.  Anyone who believes as Ayn Rand did would be led to no other possible conclusion.  A serial killer is the epitome of humanity by Objectivist standards: a person who views others only as the means to his ends and who lives only to glorify himself through spectacular transgression of social norms.  Even CEOs fall short of Hickman's heroic standard, as they support the parasites - if only accidentally - through the productivity of the corporations they control.

    Karl Marx wishes he was this guy

    by Visceral on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 01:56:20 PM PDT

    •  Hell, she scored with Allan Greenspan. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rlharry, Visceral

      Serial monetary-system fucker.

      Same difference.

      Read his "The Age of Turbulence" to see how massively narcissistically, brain-dead fucked up that man is.

      ("The great central banker of all time" as anointed by the Wall Street criminals who used him all sloppy-ass for a pair of gang-bang fraud-and-treasury raids in the 90's and 00's.)

      Financial capitalism's criminals + Angry White Males + KKK wannabes + Personality Disorder delusionals + George Will =EQ= The GOPer Base

      by vets74 on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 05:00:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Hickman Well Short Of Modern CEOs (0+ / 0-)

      The only reason Ayn Rand is celebrated by far right and Republicans, she publicly claimed greed and selfishness as virtues. Thus she was aligned with Republicans whose only morals are greed and selfishness.
      The writer for sociopaths and narcissists, the writer for the genetically damaged amongst us, who failed cerebral development makes them blind to what it really means to be part of a human society rather than a parasite of it.
      Modern day CEO go well past Hickman's efforts, killing millions with wars, pollution and, tainted products whilst getting away with it all by corrupting politics and the courts.
      As far as our modern socipaths are concerned Hickman was a failure because he didn't get away with his crime and thus couldn't repeat it again and again, in fact as often as he wished. The modern corporate CEO likes to indifferently arrange the deaths of citizens to feed the CEO's insatiable greed and lusts and still be celebrated for that greed.

  •  One rainy night (12+ / 0-)

    I was home alone and watched the 1999 movie "The Passion of Ayn Rand" starring Helen Mirren, chronicling Ayn's affair with Nathaniel Brandon and the predictable toll this took on their respective spouses.

    Here was a woman for whom self-indulgence was an art form, the Machiavellian justification for any behavior. That she has become a darling of the right, rather than a cautionary tale continues to amaze me. People may care about Ayn, but I am sure she would not trouble herself to do anything whatsoever for them.  

    Learning that she collected Social Security under her married name should not have come as a surprise. IOKIYAR (It's OK if You're Ayn Rand...)

    •  Extreme narcissism (3+ / 0-)

      is one thing she obviously had in common with the child-killer described.

      And she has been popular with some other narcissists because she provided a high-toned sounding justification.

      I think her ideas may also meet a perceived need on the part of some individual who were brought up with too much parental pressure to be too self-sacrificing at too early an age. In that situation some individuals, when they grow up, react with total revulsion to the idea of public service and go right off the deep end to the other extreme. A relatively large number of fans in this reactive category may help to enable the true egomaniac Randian loons out there.

  •  Thom Hartmann was awesome today. n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, 3goldens, arizonablue, PSzymeczek
  •  Triumph of the Will (8+ / 0-)

    Where extreme individualism and murderous psychopathology meet.

  •  Thank you, rlharry, for diarying this. (9+ / 0-)

    I heard Hartmann today too as well. This diary needs to be read by everyone on this site.  And then we need to find ways to contact our legislators, both at the state and federal levels, to make them aware that we know what guys like Paul Ryan are all about and that we will not tolerate this vile philosophy being imposed on the people of this country.  Bright lights need to be shined on the tenets of Ayn Rand and those who favor this philosophy need to be publicly exposed over and over.  

    Please rec this up, everyone, and share it out as far and wide as you can.

    Objecting to our governor’s policies does not make a citizen of Wisconsin a criminal. Not yet, anyway. ~ nelangst

    by 3goldens on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:54:44 PM PDT

    •  Thanks, 3goldens (4+ / 0-)

      I agree that people should at least read the article by Michael Prescott to comprehend how truly sick this individual is.  The fact that there are so many followers/admirers of her is truly frightening.  Also, I would love for the video to get on everyone's facebook and twitter comments.

      "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

      by rlharry on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 03:02:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That Prescott aricle is a must read. (4+ / 0-)

    More from it:

    In her journal circa 1928 Rand quoted the statement, "What is good for me is right," a credo attributed to a prominent figure of the day, William Edward Hickman. Her response was enthusiastic. "The best and strongest expression of a real man's psychology I have heard," she exulted. (Quoted in Ryan, citing Journals of Ayn Rand, pp. 21-22.)

    At the time, she was planning a novel that was to be titled The Little Street, the projected hero of which was named Danny Renahan. According to Rand scholar Chris Matthew Sciabarra, she deliberately modeled Renahan - intended to be her first sketch of her ideal man - after this same William Edward Hickman. Renahan, she enthuses in another journal entry, "is born with a wonderful, free, light consciousness -- [resulting from] the absolute lack of social instinct or herd feeling. He does not understand, because he has no organ for understanding, the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people ... Other people do not exist for him and he does not understand why they should." (Journals, pp. 27, 21-22; emphasis hers.)

    Bottom line:  Ayn Rand and her followers are all for sociopaths running the country.

    Thank you so much for this diary.  Tipped and rec'd.  If I had the authority to spotlight it, I would.

    "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

    by middleagedhousewife on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 02:59:27 PM PDT

  •  Rand's defense of Hickman: (8+ / 0-)
    In her notes, Rand complains that poor Hickman has become the target of irrational and ugly mob psychology:

    "The first thing that impresses me about the case is the ferocious rage of a whole society against one man. No matter what the man did, there is always something loathsome in the 'virtuous' indignation and mass-hatred of the 'majority.'... It is repulsive to see all these beings with worse sins and crimes in their own lives, virtuously condemning a criminal...

    "This is not just the case of a terrible crime. It is not the crime alone that has raised the fury of public hatred. It is the case of a daring challenge to society. It is the fact that a crime has been committed by one man, alone; that this man knew it was against all laws of humanity and intended that way; that he does not want to recognize it as a crime and that he feels superior to all. It is the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul."

    Before we get to the meat of this statement, let us pause to consider Rand's claim that average members of the public are "beings with worse sins and crimes in their own lives." Worse sins and crimes and kidnapping, murdering, and mutilating a helpless little girl? If Rand honestly believed that the average American had worse skeletons than that in his closet, then her opinion of "the average man" is even lower than I had suspected.

    The woman is just f*ing repulsive.

    "On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps...of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again."

    by middleagedhousewife on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 03:05:31 PM PDT

    •  More of her sick views: (4+ / 0-)
      Rand also dismissed the feminist movement as a “false” and “phony” issue, said a female commander in chief would be “unspeakable,” characterized Arabs as “almost totally primitive savages,” and called government efforts to aid the handicapped and educate “subnormal children” an attempt to “bring everybody to the level of the handicapped.”

      From Democratic Underground site.

      "The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering."

      by rlharry on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 03:09:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tipped (5+ / 0-)

    for moving on from the past. For Humanity.

    Thank You

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace- Hendrix

    by Maori on Tue Apr 19, 2011 at 03:10:59 PM PDT

  •  Unclean (4+ / 0-)

    That's how I feel whenever I learn more about this loathsome woman. I feel in need of a thorough pressure-washing. Just when you think you've heard the worst, there's another layer of evil. The world that she postulated sound like hell on earth.

  •  Here is the Randian defense (0+ / 0-)

    Not sure it is that good, but the issue might be a bit less black and white in that Rand was (clumsily) trying to make a bigger point.

    Objectivist Defense

    Regardless, even if you take her quote only in a more narrow context, it clearly shows she has a antisocial philosophy.  This is what is important to point out, since saying that she advocated for murder and kidnapping is easier to dismiss (since she writes against that sort of thing elsewhere).  IOW, give the objectivists the benefit of the doubt, and they still have a huge issue to deal with.

  •  Based on what I presume to be... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rlharry, PSzymeczek of the core principles in Rand's fauxlosophy and the cult of objectivism...

    Where do children and inheritance fit in?  If you do not merit what you do not earn, then shouldn't whatever you leave behind after your death be sold on the free market?  What would Rand make of the Koch Brothers and their unearned wealth?

    Rand never faced that conundrum because she and her husband chose (allegedly) not to have children.  Interestingly, the heroes in her books don't have any children either. comes as no surprise that a person given over to total indulgence of herself/selfishness would also choose not to have a child to care for, or share life with, and it comes as even less of a surprise given Rand's sociopathic views on a serial killer who raped and dismembered a little girl.

    I don't give a hoot in hell what Rand's bigger point may have been; she was a sick, sociopath who saw something to admire in a serial killer in her youth...and a sick sociopathic hypocrite who partook of the very same "social welfare" she despised when she needed to in her old age.

    Her life's best accomplishment has been becoming worm food.

  •  Ayn Rand, Paul Ryans god of captilism. (0+ / 0-)

    Paul Ryan is such a damn hypocrite. When his father died he used Social Security funds to get by. And so now he just wants to gut it for other people. What in the hell is wrong with these TbaggergoperRethugnuts? are they simply insane? Ayn Rand is a sociopath and psychopath. In nature you see things like chimps who lose a fight with a rival comforted by fellow chimps. If that is not altruism, I don't know what is. And yet Rand is appalled that humans actually care for other humans. This misguided woman is heralded as a credible person, but she is merely a throw back of evolution, she has devolved, gone in the other direction. Wonder if she had any kids(hope not)?
    But I guess these teaGOPERs are reading her like they read the bible, selectively leaving out parts that contradict what they believe, and only picking up on parts that they agree with, how else to explain their admiration for someone who admires a child murderer, rapist A**hole like William Hickman?

  •  Weakest attack on Rand I've ever seen (0+ / 0-)

    You people have to be joking.

    Ayn Rand quoted the statement, "What is good for me is right," a credo attributed to a prominent murderer,  William Edward Hickman.

    This is the entirety of the proof of Rand's connection to Hickman.

    A credo attributed to Hickman by who? I dare all of you - google this, research it, and find me anything, anywhere, which shows Rand saying anything positive about Hickman. Or that Hickman actually said this.

    There's nothing out there! Maybe it hasn't hit the toobz yet, but the only references I can even find that Hickman even said that all points back to the statement above. "a credo attributed to". Yet this unattributed "attribution" serves as the launching off point for this crazy ass theory.

    I'm no fan of Rand (though I happen to like her books as fiction, not as Bibles) and certainly not of objectivism - I'll but up my lefty credentials against anyone here - but christ on an ice cream stick, can't you people think? Or is it as easy to run a snow job by you as it as for your average Tea Bagger?

    Freaking embarrassing, this is.

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