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Essentially Ayn Rand and her followers see a virtue in living a life which maximizes one's potential - achieving self-actualization (Maslow).

As frustrating as it can be, perhaps we can gain ground by explaining that liberals agree in principle with her philosophy (stick with me for a moment).  Conservatives need to realize that we also stand for a society which recognizes rights to Life (Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness, Property included).

What is habitually lost in these discussions is a coming to terms:  'Right to Life'

What do us liberals mean when we use that as a foundation of our ideology?

safe families
safe neighborhoods
safe food, water, air, energy, transportation, housing, sex, speech, financial system...

affordable basic healthcare
universal quality basic education
opportunities to earn a healthy living
fair justice system regardless of wealth

Feel free to add to the list.

The thing is that when our government succeeds in facilitating the presence of these conditions, my 'Right to Life' is more fully realized.  AND when these conditions are extended to my neighbor, my 'right to life' is ALSO more fully realized.  WHY?  Because I am safer and more prosperous when my neighbor is also flourishing.

They don't seem to appreciate that when the State has the monopoly on violence, as long as the justice system is accountable to the public, this prevents gangsters, warlords, bullies from violating one's right to physical safety (which is what Rand thinks is the ultimate right).

Two predictable responses:

1)  TPers will say that a society which provides nothing but property rights is liberating because then you know that you can only rely on yourself and so act accordingly - then whatever the outcome; that is justice (including taking advantage of emotionally/cognitively compromised individuals, no joke).  

2)  That, and, 'right to life' means that a fertilized egg has the same rights as a person. Ask them if they'd save either one child or dozens (hundreds, thousands?!) of fertilized eggs in a lab that caught fire and expose to them that there is a clear difference between a real human being and a microscopic fertilized egg.

Ultimately, while it can be a useful motivator to have the mindset that you're on your own in the world, hopefully we can all learn to appreciate the virtues of individualism while recognizing that without a good government, the resultant society that Ryan/Romney are fighting for fundamentally is designed to exploit a large segment of the population.

I wonder if we can come to terms with the word 'exploit'?  When someone is uninformed, maladapted, desperate they are forced to accept undignified, unhealthy, or even dangerous circumstances...

Perhaps most revealing, in a discussion with an adherent to Rand's philosophy, he said our government shouldn't have a Congress who makes new laws (democracy is bad).  No, only judges who uphold Rand's views on Liberty should be allowed.  

Rather un-American in my reading of the Constitution.

Oh yeah, don't forget that Ayn Rand thinks you're a fool if you believe in God - she wouldn't include you into her circle of rational thinkers.

Dear conservative brothers and sisters, please let us help you (and everybody else) flourish and self-actualize.

Your Loving Neighbor.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The craziness: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Ayn Rand was pro-choice, and anti-church. Period. Yet somehow Paul Ryan embraces this...?

    "'club America salutes you' says the girl on the door/we accept all major lies, we love any kind of fraud"--The Cure, "Club America"

    by Wheever on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 09:28:26 AM PDT

    •  what they fail to recognize (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      meek isle

      is the famous maxim uttered by Oliver Wendell Holmes...

      I like paying taxes.  With them I buy civilization.
      once that point is agreed to in principle, one is merely arguing about what kind of civilization they want to live in...

      No System of Justice Can Rise Above the Ethics of Those Who Administer It. (Wickersham Commission 1929)

      by No Exit on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 09:43:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Heh, that would be painful, (0+ / 0-)

    exposing a TPer to the reality of Ayn Rand.

    The most enduring image I associate with the TP is that one in which a TP rally attendee holds a sign reading "Goverment Keep Yore Hands of my Medicare!". Which has always indicated to me just what an artificial construct those folks have lived in for a while now.

    I'd link to a blog showing it, a blog against the TP, mind you, but the image at the top of a long display of images is the one of Obama the African medicine man and I think opening that link would be a tad jarring. But for those so inclined, add the




    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 09:33:47 AM PDT

  •  I am SHOCKED, just SHOCKED (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There is a diary here that is actually dealing with what Ayn Rand promoted in her philosophy of Objectivism that Objectivists believe in. Not what people have read about what she believed in, what they think it must mean, or all the stuff she wrote that is never discussed. (I don't even care where Randian came from. It is the equivalent of GOPers who refer to the Democrat Party.)

    I think equating her goal to Maslow's self actualization is spot on. Some of the right to life items you list I would put into pursuit of happiness. The bigger issue for me is that Rand was about following your bliss and being the best you could be. She absolutely spoke against tearing other people down to make yourself look good, nor was there any promotion of extorting workers. Her error was in assuming the morality would accompany the ability to pursue your dreams.

    Saw something from the Bible in one of the diaries that reminded me of one of her other misconceptions. She insisted that money was not inherently good or evil, which is true. It is what humans do with it, or to acquire it that is good or bad. The issue has to do with the exact wording: it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Yup.

    My other respect and appreciation for someone who held one of my deepest values as high as I do, were her arguments on honesty.

    If humans could eradicate the love of money (with the power and stuff it brings) and dishonesty for personal gain, we would be a race we could all love.

    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

    by Ginny in CO on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 09:47:04 AM PDT

    •  Thank you (0+ / 0-)

      For appreciating that I tried to give a fair account of Ayn Rand's position.

      In talking to Objectivists (I have a friend who refers to himself as a Capitalist - meaning anarcho-capitalism), they agree that it is wrong to use your money in damaging ways.  But they defend the right of anyone to spend their money however they like.

      This is what boggles the mind.  Even if the world abided by their system and destroyed itself, that would be fine, because the fundamental moral right of freedom would have led to that outcome.  

      That's why it's so hard to take them seriously when I hear them saying that if only people were more moral, their system would be the best possible.  The fact that we can all agree that that is entirely unrealistic suggests to me that maybe we should explore other ways of promoting moral behavior.

    •  She was a huge hypocrite (0+ / 0-)

      "The bigger issue for me is that Rand was about following your bliss and being the best you could be. She absolutely spoke against tearing other people down to make yourself look good, nor was there any promotion of extorting workers. "

      She spoke against others tearing HER down. She tore people down all the time. Or is calling other people "parasites" somehow not tearing them down? She was hugely egotistical and could not take criticism, but she dished it out almost every time she opened her mouth. Someone put up a Johnny Carson interview of her recently. Watch it.

      She was a hugely dishonest person, using straw men and personal attacks against her "enemies" frequently. Liars frequently espouse honesty.

      It is love of power over others that is evil, and what Ayn Rand desired, and worshiped more than anything in the world, was the "natural" power of greater people over lesser people. The natural place for elite like her is ON TOP, dominating the subhuman primates of the world, i.e. the rest of us.

      She did not believe the ability to pursue your own dreams would lead to morality. She thought that concerns over lesser creatures were irrelevant, pursue your dreams and fuck everyone else, they are beneath consideration. Her philosophy is totally amoral, morality to her was a weakness.

      She believed that in the natural order of things, the strong dominate the weak, and anything else is unnatural and wrong.  She did not believe in sharing power with others, that's COMMUNISM. She believed in hierarchy, and for that, she is and always will be pure evil in my book. Objectivism is a puerile, simplistic psuedo-philosophy that most college freshman could shit out in a weekend after taking intro to philosophy 101. There is absolutely nothing of value there.

    •  Though I disagree with her on most issues (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      meek isle

      I agree that most of the discussion of her philosophy here hasn't been very informed.    It happens sometimes... It's easier to go for the broad attacks than to learn the nuance behind a position, which is too bad, because the criticisms would be more effective if they were more accurate.

      Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

      by pico on Wed Aug 15, 2012 at 10:42:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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