Skip to main content

In 2011, news broke that notorious libertarian/objectivist Ayn Rand had accepted Social Security and Medicare in the 1970s after she was diagnosed with lung cancer (unsurprisingly she was a cigarette-cancer connection denier).  Among liberal circles, a lot of attention was paid to the hypocrisy angle of all this (and much more to taking SS cheques than enrolling in Medicare).  A person who spent her life railing against collectivism and dependency accepting the benefits of the very programs her beliefs called "evil."

Hypocrisy isn't the important thing here.  Ideological failure is.

To the defenders of Rand, the most common reply is that Rand had paid into these programs through her involuntarily seized taxes, and if she was going to be forced ("at gunpoint" as libertarians always say) to pay for these programs, why shouldn't she at least get something back from them?  Actually, I don't really disagree with that.  Liberals didn't support the Bush tax cuts, but I doubt many liberals gave back the government the extra taxes they would have had to pay under the Clinton rates after the tax cuts passed.  You're not typically morally obligated to martyr yourself for your beliefs. 

A Failure of Ideas, Not the Individual

No, the really important fact that this episode reveals is not Rand's hypocrisy, but the utter failure of her ideas.  Even she couldn't live without the social safety net.  Here's how the woman who persuaded her to take part in socialism explained it to a fellow objectivist in 1998 (emphasis added):


“The initial argument was on greed,” Pryor continued. “She had to see
 that there was such a thing as greed in this world. Doctors could cost
an awful lot more money than books earn, and she could be totally wiped
out by medical bills if she didn’t watch it.
Since she had worked her
entire life, and had paid into Social Security, she had a right to it.
She didn’t feel that an individual should take help.”

McConnell asked: “And did she agree with you about Medicare and Social Security?”

Pryor replied: “After several meetings and arguments, she gave me her
 power of attorney to deal with all matters having to do with health and
 Social Security. Whether she agreed or not is not the issue, she saw
the necessity for both her and Frank.
She was never involved other than
to sign the power of attorney; I did the rest.”

Ayn Rand was at that point a successful author with several best sellers which continued to move well.  No, she wasn't a billionaire or anything, but she was certainly not hurting for cash in ordinary people terms.  This site claims* that the NY Times reported her estate as being worth $500,000 at her death in 1982.  An online inflation calculator says that's worth $1.2M today.  Most people would be thrilled if they were told they'd be worth that much in retirement. Yet even so, Rand looked into the giant gulping maw of the for-profit medical industry and blinked, fearing her cancer would bankrupt her.

That's the failure here;  Rand needed society's help.  Rand ran headlong into the very premise of why Medicare was created in the first place:  The for-profit insurance market is terrible for the elderly and particularly to those already stricken with serious diseases.  It's not about chortling at Rand as yet another greedy right wing hypocrite, it's about realizing she implicitly acknowledged the superiority of liberalism with her actions.  This is her endorsement, and as Paul Ryan's sort gears up to destroy Medicare, we shouldn't hesitate to remind them that Ayn Rand, whatever her rhetoric and books, ended her life on our side.

Naturally, Rand showed no signs of rethinking anything in the face of her own personal failure to survive in the world she would see created.  She strutted the high wire for a while, but when the wind picked up, she was glad to have the safety net there to catch her as she fell.

* - that author actually uses that figure of $500,000 to claim Rand didn't need to take Medicare but I think the quoted part above shows the person closest to her deciding to take part clearly thought fear of medical bankruptcy was the primary motivating factor.  While it's possible $500,000 would have been enough to cover her medical bills to death in 1982, 1974 Rand would have no way to know how long she would live or what costly care she'd need.  Finally, a big part of the safety net is not just the literal fact of avoiding medical bankruptcy, but having the sense of security that you won't.  I would bet heavily that Ayn Rand slept a little more soundly after going on Medicare knowing she wouldn't die a pauper under any circumstances.

Cross posted with minor updates from Autonomy For All.

Originally posted to Scientician on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 06:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  This is a great observation: (41+ / 0-)
    This is her endorsement, and as Paul Ryan's sort gears up to destroy Medicare, we shouldn't hesitate to remind them that Ayn Rand, whatever her rhetoric and books, ended her life on our side.

    Whose bread I eat, his song I sing.

    by Hanging Up My Tusks on Thu Aug 16, 2012 at 07:34:35 PM PDT

  •  When I hear about proponents of Randian economic (24+ / 0-)

    models is that we have already seen an example of them in action. I remember Greenspan testifying to congress that he couldn't believe the financial institutions would be so reckless as to endanger the whole economy. As stated in the diary, greed, left unchecked, destroys any system.

    We see it today in a precursor to a Randian nightmare as bankers pay fines instead of going to jail. This just encourages more recklessness.

       

  •  From your block quoted piece: (4+ / 0-)
    Since she had worked her
    entire life, and had paid into Social Security, she had a right to it
         I could be wrong on this point but whether she worked her whole life or not I have read that she qualified for SS and Medicare because of her husbands contribution not her own.  She was "self employed" as a writer unless she worked part  time in the "fast food or house cleaning industry" making her in the end the same type of so-called parasite she constantly railed against.

    ",,, the Political whorehouse that is Fox News." Keith Olbermann

    by irate on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 04:09:05 AM PDT

    •  Unless things were very different then... (10+ / 0-)

      Self-employed people pay SS and medicare. I certainly have for my self-emplyment income.

    •  SS tax "theft" (3+ / 0-)

      It could be argued, by those sharing Rand's position (which I do not), that had her taxes during her working life been retained, saved and invested, she would have added to her wealth and thus had more resources to pay for her health bills in retirement.  This is what the privatization folks want: for individual households to adopt what they call fiscal discipline, save the money which would have been paid in taxes, and be responsible (more like thrown to the wolves) for their own health expenses.

      •  Yeah (8+ / 0-)

        I thought about that predictable libertarian objection.  I think my answer would be several things:

        1) Is it really plausible that Rand's SS and Medicare taxes amounted to enough so that she would have been confortable paying for cancer treatments on her own?  How much money are we really talking about here?  If she was worth $500,000 in 1974, maybe she might have been worth $600,000 without those taxes?  That doesn't put her into some kind of new wealth class where suddenly medical bills become a trivial expense.

        2) In a society where there's no SS and Medicare, how many fewer books would she have sold, because people need to save every penny they earn to build retirement nest eggs, and have to spend extra caring for elderly impoverished parents?  

        3) Even if we argue that a no-SS/Medicare society would have allowed Ayn Rand personally enough wealth to avoid needing Medicare, are libertarians/objectivists really arguing everyone who "works hard" in such a society will end up so comfortably wealthy that medical bills are affordable?  Rand would already have had to be in the top 5% of retirees by wealth.  What good is a society where only 1 in 20 people can afford medical care once retired?

      •  Yes, well (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Scientician

        until they can get the banking laws, and the securities regulators on the side of the small investor, libertarians can go whistle.

        I always figured that social security was a tax that somehow the establishment would weasel away, lock box or not (Carlin influence).  So I saved (a little), and invested with E F Hutton. That first IRA  was a bust in the loose your lunch black Friday of 1983.  Ok. So then the advise was invest in your own company, you can keep your eye on it.  It got asset stripped in 1987.  So I bought real estate. You know how that worked out.  My husband got stock options in the high tech industry.  You know how that worked out. While we are not walking barefoot in the snow, a major medical problem could become a major financial problem.

        Until the financial industry is well regulated, we need the safety net.

        Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob" -= Franklin Delano Roosevelt =-

        by sailmaker on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 12:15:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I read Rand for fun (6+ / 0-)

    After reading contracts and legal docs all day, Rand is a light breezy read. Her stories read well.

    Somewhere along the way, people forgot that Rand was a FICTION writer. What made Rand's fantasies into an "ism" is beyond me. Her work no more deserves an "ism" that that of Tolkein, King or Jackie Collins.

    Its great literature, but not a plan for society.

    •  hmm (12+ / 0-)

      You might be the only person I've heard praise Rand's prose (including Objectivists).  But ok, personal taste and whatnot, but really, no one says Dickens or Hugo were "just writing fiction."  Yes, they wrote fictional stories, but these were vehicles to convey grander messages about the real world, what's wrong with it, and how to fix it.  Not that Rand deserves to be counted among Dickens and Hugo, but you could go much lower on the literature totem pole and no one would think L. Ron Hubbard was just writing SciFi for its own sake.

      In particular to Rand, doesn't Atlas Shugged give John Galt a 100 page speech on how an objectivist society is supposed to work?  No author puts that much work into a character's monologue without meaning it to affect the reader's thinking.  Rand certainly didn't think she was just writing interesting stories.

      Tolkien and (Stephen?) King were/are not trying to persuade people to craft society a certain way.  Rand was.  And was far too successful at her aim, so we must take it seriously enough, for too many who run the world take it for Gospel.

      •  thank you!! (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Scientician, cassandracarolina, BYw

        That is precisely why I destroy her and her "philosophy" with my own novel:  fiction with a purpose.

        Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. @floydbluealdus1

        by Floyd Blue on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:09:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not as well read (3+ / 0-)

        as I would like to be, so thank you for your comparisons. But after thousands of pages of "whereas the party of the first part doth unto the party of the..." I do like her stories.

        My issue isn't with the intent Rand wrote under, its that today, many supposedly intelligent people DO believe objectivism is a legitimate way of life. In 2012 I would think we know better.

        I'm amazed more stodgy old white men who practice Rand didn't also try to create the world of Atwood's Handmaid's Tale.

        •  But They Are Busy Doing Just That! (7+ / 0-)
          I'm amazed more stodgy old white men who practice Rand didn't also try to create the world of Atwood's Handmaid's Tale.
          You have heard of the RepubliKlan War on Women, have you not? But it isn't just "stodgy old white men" who are waging this war. Plenty of White Baby-Boomers and Gen-X'ers are members of the Tea-Bigoted RepubliKlan party, as are the majority of White women - 58% of whom voted for the TeaBigots in 2010.

          The 2010 Great White Anti-Obama Backlash Midterms, which put the TeaBigots in power from coast-to-coast and from border -to-border, was the most racist election cycle this country has had since 1984, when 64% of Whites voted for Reagan but only 9% of Blacks did. The resulting War on Women, War on Workers and War on Voters that followed the 2010 TeaBigot tsunami is laying the groundwork for Atwood's totalitarian nightmare.

          This November, if 60% of White people again vote for the TeaBigots, then truth will surely become stranger than fiction.

          I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Republican Party.

          by OnlyWords on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 08:23:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  L. Ron Hubbard was a "fiction writer" too. He also (4+ / 0-)

      has managed to do a lot of major damage to the species.

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:49:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All he wrote was fiction, and he laughed his way (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sharman, atana, BYw

        to the bank with his parody religion.

        The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the Church of the Sub-genius are parodies, but it costs only about $15 to enroll as a deacon, with a REAL MEMBERSHIP CARD for your wallet.

        Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

        by triplepoint on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 10:29:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are not counting the expense (0+ / 0-)

          of full pirate regalia for FSM members.

          As for the Church of the Sub-genius -- aren't you required to smoke a pipe?

          Still, these are bargain-basement parody religions compared to the cost of becoming a Clear.

    •  I would say that calling it great literature is a (0+ / 0-)

      stretch.  Her dialog is clumsy and stilted, and some of the plot points are well over the top.  Her characters are painted in such broad strokes that they really are not interesting.  (Dominic and Dagny being the exceptions, and a case could be made for Francisco.)

      She was also highly repetitive in her descriptions.  Everyone is always inclining their heads in her stories.

      That said, while she was no good with people, she was very good in her descriptions of locations.  On this, she could write very well.

  •  Your diary demonstrates, (13+ / 0-)

    surely with intent, that so many things we hear talked about as being indicative of some ideology or larger truth, are devoid of much of the context that would actually illuminate.

    Rand ran headlong into the very premise of why Medicare was created in the first place.
    Thanks for lighting this particular contextual candle instead of just cursing the darkness of the "obvious" hypocrisy.

    Trickle-down theory; the less than elegant metaphor that if one feeds the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows. - J.K. Galbraith

    by Eric Twocents on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 04:30:58 AM PDT

  •  thoughtful and refreshing: a failure of ideas, (9+ / 0-)

    not the individual. not exploiting the individual, but highlighting instead the benefit of a collective society... one willing to help even those opposed to it. well done.

    i really wish for more analysis of this nature and less of diaries with photo captions like one the other day: Ayn Rand after eating a basket of kittens. Just what do you want to say with that? besides it being utterly immature and diminishing the credibility of the author's voice. imo.

    thanks for the kindness to us imperfect human beings.

    •  That is why I gave up on Rand before I was 15. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pfiore8

      The kittens.  

      The story that did it for me was the girl who was escaping from Russia killed by a random un-aimed shot.  I don't even remember what book it was.  Not one of her famous ones.

      Hey Ryan, where you goin' with that trans-vaginal probe in your hand

      by 88kathy on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 09:26:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "We the Living" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        88kathy

        which, ironically, was the most realistic of her novels, as she was writing about things she had seen, heard and experienced. Still don't know why she decided to give it a Downer Ending, though.

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 12:59:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Rand's was the bully's fail: crying for mommy (3+ / 0-)

    when she finally got hurt.

    It's all bluster and swagger until fate lands that big punch.

    Then Atlas shits the bed.

    "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

    by jakewaters on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 05:32:49 AM PDT

    •  I think more than anything (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Scientician

      I feel pity for the woman.  At the end of her life, having to concede her entire ideology.  She wasn't even able to bring herself to do it, handing power of attorney over to someone else to do it for her.

      Of course, her followers don't see it that way finding all kinds of creative ways to justify it all to satisfy the obvious cognitive dissonance it creates.  Like the person that had power of attorney took great pains to make it clear the decisions to use the safety net were taken by her and not Rand herself, as if to attempt to preemptively (or retroactively?) absolve Rand of the hypocrisy.

      I think that the most devastating thing that could be done to her legacy as well as to modern conservative ideology is for Hollywood to do a biographical movie about her, thus exposing the utter hypocrisy of her "philosophy" and putting her pompous writing in the proper context.

      That I would pay to see.

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 09:19:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scientician, cassandracarolina

    But I do disagree with this comment:

    Liberals didn't support the Bush tax cuts, but I doubt many liberals gave back the government the extra taxes they would have had to pay under the Clinton rates after the tax cuts passed.  You're not typically morally obligated to martyr yourself for your beliefs.
    Yes I received my Bush tax cut and did not return it. That does not make me a hypocrite. I knew it would contribute to the deficit, but I do not believe the deficit is morally reprehensible. I did think that Bush's wars that were launched on false grounds were immoral (along with other policies of his like forcing women to give birth "at the point of a gun"), but my acceptance of the tax cut would not impact that fact one way or the other.

    If someone takes money "at the point of a gun" from many people including myself, and I have an opportunity to get some of it back, I don't get to keep all of it do I? And hey, I am a moral relativist. Seems to me Rand is an absolutist so she clearly cannot accept stolen funds even if she was one of the victims.

    Ayn Rand was a self absorbed asshole with her own utopian vision that could never come to pass. Libertarianism is a contrived complex set of rules to justify certain peoples greed. I don't agree with them on almost anything except that government has a role in protecting property rights. Luckily for us that is not the only role as they would want it.

    -7.5 -7.28, A carrot is as close as a rabbit gets to a diamond.-Don Van Vliet

    by Blueslide on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 05:47:40 AM PDT

    •  I agree with you (7+ / 0-)

      My point was not that liberals are hypocritical for not returning the tax cut, but that doing so is unnecessary as part of your opposition to them.  You might choose to do so as a political statement, and we might admire someone who does, but to say action X is admirable is not to say "not doing X" is wrong.  So we can admire, say, Gandhi for going on a hunger strike for his beliefs but we don't have to condemn others who agreed with him, but did not go on hunger strikes.

      Conservatives often throw this at us, "why don't you just pay more taxes if you believe in that?" as if that's the same thing - wanting the government better funded is the goal, and my giving extra out of my my minute fraction of the economy isn't going to matter.  It just hurts me but does not achieve my goal of a better funded government.

      Same goes for Rand:  She opposes Medicare and SS, but has to pay for them anyway.  To me, it's not hypocritical to accept the benefits of these programs while opposing their existence.  Where she really went wrong was in thinking she could never need either program, and when push came to shove, she did need at least Medicare.  She went further wrong in being unable to admit that she really needed society's help.  

      •  It probably ate her alive knowing that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Scientician

        her death was self inflicted from a heavy smoking habit. (Lung cancer in '74, heart failure (fatal) in '82)

        I'm trying to think of what was going through her mind when she finally broke down and collected SS/Medicare. It must have been thoughts that would have completely undermined her career along with an existential breakdown - if it made public in those days.

        She was probably comfortable with cancer itself, but went through a huge denial phase after surgery when she finally realized just how hard the hospital screwed her after receiving the bill, insurance probably didn't want to pay, and her pro selfish capitalist philosophy wasn't selling well enough to pay her bills ("How could this be? I love capitalism! Why won't it love me back?"), and she was hemorrhaging money like crazy. Furthermore, she was addicted to smoking and couldn't stop, and must have realized that tobacco companies had lied to her (big tobacco was active in discrediting links to health dangers even then). I can't imagine what that's like, having an entrenched fantasy world come crashing down.

        So essentially, she was wrecked by unregulated self interested capitalism twice and couldn't even get a courtesy reach around when she writes in praises in it. That's sad.

        /just my delusional fantasy

  •  Misunderstanding (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scientician

    I think you misunderstand Rand's motives.  I do not think she would admit accepting Medicare or Social Security payments conflicted with her philosophy.  I think she would say it was squarely within her philosophy.  Objectivism does not condemn hypocrisy and deception the way traditional philosophies do.  To Rand, anything that benefits the self, except for violence against others, is a moral imperative.  Thus, non-violent theft, fraud, and hypocrisy would have been her stock-in-trade.  Anything, short of violence, for a buck.

    •  Absolutely untrue (5+ / 0-)

      The bedrock of Objectivism is that reality is reality, and there's no faking it. Lying is profoundly unselfish because it means that you not only care about what other people think of you, but you're counting on it. In her own words:

      Honesty is the recognition of the fact that the unreal is unreal and can have no value, that neither love nor fame nor cash is a value if obtained by fraud—that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to dread and flee—that you do not care to live as a dependent, least of all a dependent on the stupidity of others, or as a fool whose source of values is the fools he succeeds in fooling—that honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.
      •  That Cinches It: Rand Could Never Be A Republican! (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DRo, Scientician, yella dawg, dss, sharman
        ...honesty is not a social duty, not a sacrifice for the sake of others, but the most profoundly selfish virtue man can practice: his refusal to sacrifice the reality of his own existence to the deluded consciousness of others.
        And she despised St Ronnie, who merged the rednecks with the gentry thereby creating today's RepubliKlan party:
        From the Ayn Rand Letter, Volume IV, Number 2, November-December 1975:

        Now I want to give you a brief indication of the kinds of issues that are coming up, on which you might want to know my views.
        1. The Presidential election of 1976. I urge you, as emphatically as I can, not to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan. I urge you not to work for or advocate his nomination, and not to vote for him. My reasons are as follows: Mr. Reagan is not a champion of capitalism, but a conservative in the worst sense of that word—i.e., an advocate of a mixed economy with government controls slanted in favor of business rather than labor (which, philosophically, is as untenable a position as one could choose—see Fred Kinnan in Atlas Shrugged, pp. 541-2 * ). This description applies in various degrees to most Republican politicians, but most of them preserve some respect for the rights of the individual. Mr. Reagan does not: he opposes the right to abortion.

        From Sanction of the Victims, delivered November 21, 1981:

        In conclusion, let me touch briefly on another question often asked me: What do I think of President Reagan? The best answer to give would be: But I don't think of him—and the more I see, the less I think. I did not vote for him (or for anyone else) and events seem to justify me. The appalling disgrace of his administration is his connection with the so-called "Moral Majority" and sundry other TV religionists, who are struggling—apparently with his approval—to take us back to the Middle Ages, via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics.

        * see Fred Kinnan in Atlas Shrugged, pp. 541-2? Rand cites a fictional character in a novel that she wrote as support for for her argument! This is the epitome of Subjectivism!

        Paul Ryan has put his own head in a noose of his own making with his Ayn Rand obsession. We must not let his recent denouncement of her "philosophy" grant him a reprieve.

        I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Republican Party.

        by OnlyWords on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:32:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That Last Phrase Is The Escape Clause (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Scientician

        Lying to others to get more for oneself, so long as you don't lie to yourself, is not sacrificing the reality of your own existence.   It is merely utilizing your superior capabilities, congitive and otherwise, to excel naturally.  So, it is not a contradiction for Rand to take government money while arguing that such programs are immoral.  She is using her unique capabilities to their fullest extent to achieve her highest purpose.

    •  I think you're both right (4+ / 0-)

      Sort of.  Kevin is more right about what Rand herself actually believed, but rgembry is right in how the sociopaths who admire Rand actually interpret objectivism.  Rand may not have intended her ideas to be a philosophical veneer for sociopathy, but that in practice is how her adherents function.

      But as the quoted section in the diary shows, Rand struggled with the decision to accept help, and had to be persuaded to do so by someone who cared about her.  I think she struggled with it for the reason I outlined:  it was an admission of need, not greed.  

  •  Very important analysis (3+ / 0-)

    Thank you!

  •  What a horrid human being (4+ / 0-)

    The Ayn Rand thing is interesting... Because obviously she adored selfishness and wanted to contribute to nothing.

    But her going on Medicare completely fit within her ideology. I am most important. I will do anything that benefits me.

    In some ways her exact situation is the height of selfishness. Essentially she is saying in my life I will actively attack these programs, I will convince everyone that we shouldn't contribute to them and then I'll turn around and use them anyway.

    It's another "I got mine, fuck you" angle.

    What a horrid human being.

    •  Oh, she was. But only by moral standards (5+ / 0-)

      Alisa  Rosenbaum was by any account a moocher, a social parasite and a go-along-to-get-along in the fine old Russian "lick the boots above, kick the faces below" tradition.

      Having acquired a university education at the expense of the Communist State .  ... she promptly defected to the United States where she was able to sponging off her relative ,  -- until she was able to launch her hollwood career as a seamstress and sometime script writer, and then parlay the Red Scare of the 20s into a writing career of her own in the 50s.  

      To be fair : she was very much the product of her times ... Born into a petite bourgeois family, the Bolsheviks confiscated the Rosenbaum pharmacy so the family fled to the protection of the "Whites" in Crimea.  Granted: the liberal arts education offered to women, much less those from counter revolutionary families, was not, by world standards much of a much. It consisted primarily of politically correct admiration of approved German philosophers and Russian novelists -- and the latest dictats of the Education Committees.

      But by inverting  all the shibboleths of Leninist intellectualism and applying the  love of absolutism coupled to oversimplification -- Rand's fiction fit right in with the American's infatuation with Anti-Communist politics and the "running dog intellectuals" who acted as its cheerleaders.

      And there was an element of the real-life Horatio Alger Story in Ayn Rand's biography:  a chance meeting with Cecil B. DeMille led to a couple of jobs as a film extra and a steady position as a junior screen writer.   (The NY chapter of NAMBLA is, named the Horatio Alger Chapter for good reason.)

      That Rand/Rosenbaum was as she was and did as she did isn't remarkable.  That she succeed to the extent that she did ... perhaps was.

      However, that her fanboys and sycophants in "The Collective" could not or would not chip in to keep her off the Government Dole ... IS  very significant -- and proves just what happens when Rational Positivism tries to migrate from the printed page to the real world.  (The OTHER Positivists will munch your snacks and bask in your reflected glory in THEIR self-interest, but will quickly realize that an old, sick, bitter, and self-contradicting Icon is better admired from a distance.)

      A treacherous ingrate herself, Rand/Rosebaum appealed to a purile generation of up-and-coming treacherous ingrates "with delusions of godhood" and good political connections.

      And now they're running the country !

      It might help  to remember that Ayn Rand was more "mascot" than she was "prime mover."

  •  Ayn Rand Ate a Basket of Kittens! (0+ / 0-)

    Does everyone remember the caption to the picture of Ayn that accompanied an article on her and Ryan yesterdya on dkos?

    (AYN HAVING JUST EATEN A BASKET OF KITTENS).

    Once again, I apologize for going all chris matthews here and talking about my book (at least it's not on JFK, like yellowman's), but it has never been more prescient.

    Even that caption about Rand is quite fitting, as her alter ego meets her brutal demise near the end.

    If you avoid fox news because you hate it, or you watch fox news and get sickened and love to hate it, Aldus Shrugged will make you feel better.  It truly will.  I know it in my heart.  
    (In downtown Brooklyn, the setting for the novel, my hero is bombarded with tea partiers and very irrational old lady named Mrs. Rosenbaum (ahem).  Fox news is called GOOS News, and it was started by a Canadian, Humbert Tergoose...and his buddy, Sheik Attah.
    All the players you want to see ridiculed, get ridiculed, on a purely factual basis:  Ryan, McConnell, McDonnell, Perry, palin (caps omitted intentionally), hannity, beck, and limbaugh too.

    Take the trip!!!  I am donating at least half of the proceeds of sales of Aldus Shrugged to Barack Obama's 2012 re-election campaign!!!
    Thank you for your time.

    Aldus Shrugged : The Antidote to Ayn Rand. @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 07:50:36 AM PDT

  •  Echoes of Rmoney here? Rand signs power of attor- (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scientician, yella dawg, rigcath

    ney, delegating the actual action, the brave part, the part that undercut her massive ego's commitment to selfishness and Nietzschian Prometheianism, to someone else. Like Rmoney et ux hiding behind "delegations" to "blind trusts" and furrin bankers.

    "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

    by jm214 on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 08:04:04 AM PDT

  •  As a liberal (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    88kathy, leema

    I agree that no one should be punished for their hypocrisy by forcing them to live as they prescribed for others.  The safety net is here for them as much as it is for anyone.  In other words, I would not deny Rand her human rights no matter how much she believed that others' human rights should be denied.

    However, there should be a cost that they pay for their hypocrisy and that cost is, at least in theory, the loss of their credibility.  Rand has not suffered this cost, her word is still taken as gospel by the right.  As the diarist says, this clearly exemplifies the failure of right-wing ideology and that is the point that needs the most emphasis.

    Rand and her "philosophy" of "greed is good" has empirically been proven fraudulent.  The underpinnings of the entire modern "conservative" ideology are entirely fraudulent and I would like to see more Democrats, liberals and progressives making this case publicly.

    Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

    by democracy inaction on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 09:02:14 AM PDT

  •  Rand was protecting her standard of living (0+ / 0-)

    When she agreed to allow herself to join SSA and Medicare what she was really doing was protecting her standard of living. Let's face reality, she could have gone along on her own until the money ran out and then gone on SSA and Medicare, but she didn't. She made the move while she still had significant assets. Why? She wanted to protect her standard of living, that's why. I would be willing to cut her slack if she had waited until she was poor and then gone to the safety net to protect herself. But she did it far sooner than she needed to, and the only reason for that was to maintain her station in life.

    And what is even more pathetic about it is that she didn't even have the courage to do it herself, instead she gave power of attorney to someone else and then looked the other way so she could go on telling herself that the beliefs she espoused all her life were not the failures that they turned out to be.

    What a coward.

    The nine most terrifying words in the english language . . . "I'm George Bush, we're here to liberate your country"

    by TiredOfGOPLies on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 01:34:01 PM PDT

  •  ayn rand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    There were a few things worse than her philosophy.  Like the characters, dialogue, prose style...

    the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity

    by mailman27 on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 04:26:38 PM PDT

  •  Great question topic for Veep debate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scientician

    wow!  great diary.

    'Kiss my ass: This is a holy site for the Polish people, show some respect!' ~Rick Gorka, Romney spokesman

    by MsGrin on Fri Aug 17, 2012 at 09:39:15 PM PDT

  •  ayn rand is crap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scientician

    it's offensive that anyone quotes ayn rand as being ther inspiration to get into public offiice.  that would be you ryan.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 01:17:19 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site