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How Ayn Rand ruined my childhood





handfleisch
Quote:
My parents split up when I was 4. My father, a lawyer, wrote the divorce papers himself and included one specific rule: My mother was forbidden to raise my brother and me religiously. She agreed, dissolving Sunday church and Bible study with one swift signature. Mom didn’t mind; she was agnostic and knew we didn’t need religion to be good people. But a disdain for faith wasn’t the only reason he wrote God out of my childhood. There was simply no room in our household for both Jesus Christ and my father’s one true love: Ayn Rand.

You might be familiar with Rand from a high school reading assignment. Perhaps a Tea Partyer acquaintance name-dropped her in a debate on individual rights. Or maybe you’ve heard the film adaptation of her magnum opus “Atlas Shrugged” is due out April 15. In short, she is a Russian-born American novelist who championed her self-taught philosophy of objectivism through her many works of fiction. Conservatives are known to praise her for her support of laissez-faire economics and meritocracy. Liberals tend to criticize her for being too simplistic. I know her more intimately as the woman whose philosophy dictates my father’s every decision.

What is objectivism? If you’d asked me that question as a child, I could have trotted to the foyer of my father’s home and referenced a framed quote by Rand that hung there like a cross. It read: “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.” As a little kid I interpreted this to mean: Love yourself. Nowadays, Rand’s bit is best summed up by the rapper Drake, who sang: “Imma do me.”

Dad wasn’t always a Rand zealot. He was raised in a Catholic family and went to church every week. After he and my mother got married in 1982, they shopped around for a church. He was looking for something to live by, but he couldn’t find it in traditional organized religion.


Read the whole article here http://www.salon.com/2011/04/05/my_father_the_objectivist/
It sums up what I suspected all along about "Libertarianism" and the Rand cult.
coolclay
I'll have to read the rest of it later no time now. But the bit you posted is an interesting situation. Being a personal fan of Rand's incredibly detailed and emotional books, it seems odd that someone would devote themselves like that to an author.

I guess it's not too surprising and has happened in the past with other "cults" surrounding books and authors. I'll get back to your post when I have more time.
coolclay
Finally read the rest of the article. Sounds like this chick went through a rough time, but not because of Ayn Rand but because her father is a materialistic jerkhole that misinterpreted much of Ayn Rand's fictional writings.

Not to get off the topic but the author sounds like a pretty shallow person herself http://gizmodo.com/5833787/my-brief-okcupid-affair-with-a-world-champion-magic-the-gathering-player

She sounds like the kind of person that would purposefully write a woe is me story just to get the attention, just like she wrote the dating story to get attention. Of course that's just my opinion.
handfleisch
coolclay wrote:
Finally read the rest of the article. Sounds like this chick went through a rough time, but not because of Ayn Rand but because her father is a materialistic jerkhole that misinterpreted much of Ayn Rand's fictional writings.


You're right, people can twist any belief system to their own selfish purposes. However, Ayn Rand's basic philosophy really is selfish, really does preach selfishness as a virtue.
deanhills
handfleisch wrote:
coolclay wrote:
Finally read the rest of the article. Sounds like this chick went through a rough time, but not because of Ayn Rand but because her father is a materialistic jerkhole that misinterpreted much of Ayn Rand's fictional writings.


You're right, people can twist any belief system to their own selfish purposes. However, Ayn Rand's basic philosophy really is selfish, really does preach selfishness as a virtue.
Which makes it honest. I can't imagine any person more selfish in the world than a politician. And dishonest at the same time when he/she preaches social services for the "public good". The truth is all of us are born to be selfish. It is what keeps us alive. Saying that we care about others is rarely the truth. We usually do it in order to like them or to get them to like us in order for us to survive in our environment and to get a measure of control in our little corner of life. Obama is really excellent with that though, as sometimes it even looks as though he believes in what he is saying, until the next day when he gets into power and he goes on a 360 degree turn. Just fantastic how easily today's truth of caring in the name of the "public good" will turn into tomorrow's lies going from campaign promises to getting into office and screwing people a million of times over to get what they want. I'm just thinking of all of the backroom deals that Obama must have made that were selfish to the core, in order to get what he wanted in the name of the "public good".
Bikerman
I have to agree with Coolclay. I'm not a Rand fan and I have some major disagreements with her philosophy, but to blame her for the interpretation and actions of some unrelated dude is harsh - and actually unfair. If you check who was in her closest circle of acolytes you find an interesting name: one 'Alan Greenspan' - Chairman of the Fed and, therefore, one of the most powerful men in the world over two decades or so. Didn't seem to screw him up too badly methinks.....
deanhills
Agreed. I can't see how her Philosophy of objectivism could screw up a person, sort of makes sense in a way:

Quote:
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
—Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged

Only thing I could see however is that it could put extra pressure on a marriage/family if one of the partners were unable to achieve his/her own happiness and try to make the partner the moral purpose of their lives. Guess that is when the unhappy person then starts the blame game with plenty of screw up potential as a result. For someone following the Ayn Rand Philosophy it would probably also be easier to step away from the marriage as well.
coolclay
The world would say I am a fairly compassionate individual. I do everything I possibly can to make the World a better place. Whether it's picking up someone else's garbage, picking up a hitchhiker, and tossing someone $10 so he can get home (all of which I've done in the past 2 weeks btw).

I however recognize that I don't do it out of compassion, I do it to make the world a better place for myself and my offspring to live in, I do it so that those that I help eventually help others, and maybe come full circle to myself. I do it because I've been in those situations and had wished someone would have helped me, so by helping someone else I am making myself feel better.

This so called "father's" version of objectivism is bastardized in my opinion. There are many degrees of selfishness, and as Deanhills said we are all selfish at our core.

Animals (of which we belong) have only themselves best interest (or in the case of communal organisms the best interest of the group) in mind when making decisions. It's in our evolutionary best interest to be selfish to some degree, and as such has been past down through the generations.

Of course with a welfare state in which individuals get paid by how many children we can pop out, that sort of puts a monkey wrench in the evolutionary system (Idiocracy anyone?). But that's a whole other can of worms.

Bikerman, really, wow didn't know about Greenspan. I'll have to do some more reading on that!
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