Monday, July 18, 2011

Smearing Ayn Rand (Again)

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  1. Lewis' article sounds eminently open to criticism, but it sounds as though you equate any criticism of Rand with a "smear." Similarly, criticism of Rand's fiction is ("very often") equated with "hysteria," while you seek to prove Rand's "genius" by appealing to her works' popularity.

    "There is something about Rand's fiction that deeply touches millions of readers," you say. It's true. There was also something about Jonathan Livingston Seagull that deeply touched millions of readers, as there is with regard to The Secret, The Bridges of Madison County, Action Comics, Interview With the Vampire, and so on. Like Atlas Shrugged, they, too, were and are unique.

    It's disingenuous at best to pretend to acknowledge that "often the popular strays from the good," and then to attempt to legitimize "the popular" by talking about "deeply touching."

    What advocates of Atlas never acknowledge is how stacked a deck Rand dealt from: her heroes are all demi-gods and her villains are out of melodrama. The collectivization of the nations of Europe, which she uses to make her heroes seem even more fearless and embattled, add to a third-rate science fiction world (with its "lens" that conceals Gault's Gulch, and the preposterous Rearden Metal, and the laughable motor invented by Galt, and the straight-from-the-fifties "Project X") that she has the gall, or the simple obliviousness, to include in a novel ostensibly about "reality."

    Champions of Atlas write as though they had never actually read a decent novel. As Flannery O'Connor wrote to someone, Rand "makes Mickey Spillane seem like Dostoevsky."

    Admire "rationality" all you want. But defenses of Atlas Shrugged are at best exercises in wishful thinking and at words demonstrations of lousy taste in literature.

    Or, to put it another way, read this:

  2. Ellis, I do not equate all criticisms of Rand with smears. Indeed, I have criticized Rand myself. I do not attempt to prove Rand's genius by appealing to her popularity. Instead, I link to Diana Hsieh's wonderful analysis of the novel. It is not true that all of Rand's heroes are "demi-gods;" that's just silly. Moreover, her heroes span the range of ability and interests. Rand never intended her novel to be "ostensibly about reality;" instead, she created a purely fictional world in which universal principles nevertheless operate. Obviously Galt's motor is science fiction; as to whether Rearden Metal is "proposterous," check out this link:
    You seem to think you can prove Rand's literature is bad by piling on the ad hominem attacks; obviously, that's wrong. As for your own amateurish work that you use my web page to promote, you parody a straw man. -Ari

  3. It's unfair that so many people blame Rand for Greenspan and the GEC.

    That being said, why did Rand remain close to Greenspan until her death in 82? Harry Binswanger said that by the early 70s he realized Greenspan had departed from Objectivism. It's interesting since Rand split with people.

    According to Rand's biographers, she admired Greenspan because he was older and more independent than many others in her circle.


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