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Comments on "Defending Capitalism against Ayn Rand"

Elliot Temple:

    http://libertyunbound.com/node/858

She thought that the heroes she created were exemplars of pure, uncorrupted capitalism. In fact, the heroes she created in Atlas Shrugged came from her sense of life, which was not only un-capitalist but anti-capitalist. I will also show that this contradiction is extremely fortunate because it illuminates why capitalism is the most efficient and humane economic system ever implemented.

    and

When the heroes who embody her sense of life engage in economic activities, they function like Communist administrators, not capitalist businessmen.

Justin Mallone:

    maybe he mixed up the characters

Elliot Temple:

When Nathaniel Branden was the official Objectivist expert on psychology, he wrote,

    this precedes any args @ AS being mixed up on capitalism

    which i haven't found yet

    instead we hear about eg

In her short story “The Simplest Thing in the World” (1975: 173-85), Rand depicts a writer of fiction who cannot make a living because he has the same sense of life as Rand. The writer decides he has to create the type of story that will sell: “a simple, human story,” which consists of “lousy bromides.”

    lots of refs, no points

In all of Rand’s novels, only one business owner completely embodies the capitalist ethos. That is the press tycoon Gail Wynand, in The Fountainhead, who becomes fabulously rich through selfless service to the public, by providing it with what it wants: a lowbrow, sentimental, lurid newspaper.

    oh, she's not a capitalist b/c she's not an altruist?

Wynand’s opposite is Nathaniel Taggart, in Atlas Shrugged, who is supposed to be the archetypal capitalist. As Dagny recalls (I.8), “He said that he envied only one of his competitors, the one who said, ‘The public be damned!’” Nothing could be more antithetical to the motivation of a successful business owner in a capitalist society.

    lol yeah

    note that apple famously doesn't rely on customer surveys and focus gorups

    so uhh

    gg

    he's like mad anyone would use their own judgement instead of doing whatever the public demand assigns the highest wages too

    ok i finally found his point

    i can see how someone could think that

Nevertheless, the economic decisions of the heroes of Atlas Shrugged are constantly motivated by the human element. That is true even of the one major character in Atlas Shrugged who is a pure capitalist, Midas Mulligan. He says he joined the strike because of a vision, in which he “saw the bright face and the eyes of young Rearden . . . lying at the foot of an altar . . . and what stood on that altar was Lee Hunsacker, with the mucus-filled eyes” (III.1). In Part II, Chapter 3, Francisco asks Rearden: did you want the rail you made for the John Galt Line used by your equals, like Ellis Wyatt, and by men such as Eddie Willers, who do not match your ability but who “equal your moral integrity” and “riding on your rail — give a moment’s silent thanks”? Rearden answers Yes. Francisco then asks, “Did you want to see it used by whining rotters?” Rearden answers, “I’d blast that rail first.” Francisco then explains that by "whining rotter" he means “any man who proclaims his right to a single penny of another man’s effort.” But no economy, whether socialist or capitalist, could function for one day if producers acted in this way.

    and

In Part II, Chapter 10, Dagny says that Nathaniel Taggart, supposedly the archetypical capitalist, “couldn’t have worked with people like these passengers. He couldn’t have run trains for them.” But no one running a train line, even in a socialist economy, could possibly consider the moral worth of its passengers, or any consideration besides their paying for the ride.

    tldr Rand sucked at capitalism b/c she advised against selling your soul for a larger bank account as, obviously, any true capitalist would do, money being the root of all good and souls being communist propaganda.

Justin Mallone:

    “capitalism is value-free dollar chasing. rand’s heroes aren’t like that, thus anti-cap the end”

Elliot Temple:

    ya

    but with more scholarly references


Elliot Temple on September 17, 2016

Comments (11)

Isn't the "The Simplest Story in the World" a lie? Ayn Rand made a living as a writer, even before writing The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Both books sold well. She became famous. She also made a living as a philosopher, when she gave up writing.

Anonymous at 1:13 AM on September 18, 2016 | #6638
the story expressed a problem. the problem existed and still exists today. i don't see anything wrong with that.

she made a living in hollywood b4 FH/AS, not by writing her ideas.

i don't know what you're talking about with Rand giving up writing. sounds false.

she never found much of an audience that understood what she wrote. there's a big problem there.

Anonymous at 11:05 AM on September 18, 2016 | #6639
> the story expressed a problem. the problem existed and still exists today. i don't see anything wrong with that.

Where is the evidence that it existed and it still exists? Ayn Rand is no evidence of that problem existing. That was my point. The public loved controversy and it still does.

> she made a living in hollywood b4 FH/AS, not by writing her ideas.

She wrote scripts for Hollywood.

> i don't know what you're talking about with Rand giving up writing. sounds false.

She gave up writing fiction after Atlas Shrugged.

> she never found much of an audience that understood what she wrote. there's a big problem there.

That is not the problem she is describing in "The Simplest Story in the World". The problem is of a writer struggling to make a basic living because he cannot sell out and write the simple stories the public wants.

Anonymous at 2:25 PM on September 18, 2016 | #6641
i don't think you understood the story. maybe it doesn't make sense b/c you misunderstood what ideas it presented.

> She wrote scripts for Hollywood.

relevance?

> She gave up writing fiction after Atlas Shrugged.

relevance?

Anonymous at 2:28 PM on September 18, 2016 | #6642
> i don't think you understood the story. maybe it doesn't make sense b/c you misunderstood what ideas it presented.

Why do you think I didn't understand the story? What did I miss?

>> She wrote scripts for Hollywood.
>
> relevance?

The relevance is that she made money from her ideas. Unlike the world of her short story, the real world likes controversy. In the real world, people like the writer in her story can making a living out of their ideas. Another possibility is that she sold out and wrote crap stories to make money. I am not familiar with the content of her early scripts.

>> She gave up writing fiction after Atlas Shrugged.
>
> relevance?

I was explaining what I meant when I said when she gave up writing. A philosopher writes but is not called a writer.

Anonymous at 9:16 AM on September 19, 2016 | #6643
dictionary for "writer"

> a person who writes books, stories, or articles as a job or regular occupation:

Rand still did this after she finished Atlas Shrugged.

Anonymous at 11:36 AM on September 19, 2016 | #6644
i don't understand why you think the early script writing was making money from Rand's ideas.

the story talks about some problems and pressures authors face. you are trying to take it as a logical syllogism about the impossibility of certain lifestyles without certain compromises. it's trying to present a psychological and cultural issue that e.g. causes some people to give up, not a hard and fast rule.

Anonymous at 12:29 PM on September 19, 2016 | #6645
> i don't understand why you think the early script writing was making money from Rand's ideas.

Because due to her principles she wouldn't sell out. The writer in her story also couldn't sell out if he wanted. He couldn't shut off his mind.

> the story talks about some problems and pressures authors face. you are trying to take it as a logical syllogism about the impossibility of certain lifestyles without certain compromises. it's trying to present a psychological and cultural issue that e.g. causes some people to give up, not a hard and fast rule.

My point was that I do not think writers give up on the grounds their writing is controversial, as controversy is highly valued and popular. That is not the reason they do not sell.

Anonymous at 10:32 PM on September 19, 2016 | #6646
i think you have selective attention on popular things. the vast majority of controversial things are unpopular.

why don't you research what she actually wrote early in her career since you think it has important Rand ideas in it.

Anonymous at 10:35 PM on September 19, 2016 | #6647
> i think you have selective attention on popular things. the vast majority of controversial things are unpopular.

such as? and how would you know about all these controversial things if they are not popular? :)

and why didn't they become popular if other controversial things did?

my point was, the writer was probably just a bad writer and not an uncomprehended genius.

> why don't you research what she actually wrote early in her career since you think it has important Rand ideas in it.

I'm just curious if Ayn Rand sold out for money or not.

If she didn't sell out, are there any ideas in her early fiction she didn't express better later? Am I missing something important from her early fiction?

I think I took what I needed from Ayn Rand and moved on. I see no point trying to live up to a code and failing and then blame myself for it instead of questioning the code, as she herself suggests. That was her best idea.

Anonymous at 4:25 AM on September 23, 2016 | #6687
> I'm just curious if Ayn Rand sold out for money or not.

not.

her story doesn't say it's IMPOSSIBLE to live in the world. it presents some problems and difficulties. the character in the story fails (he may try again later and succeed, but he at least fails for now). that doesn't mean failure is inevitable or there's no solutions.

> I think I took what I needed from Ayn Rand and moved on.

typically people who think this have badly understood most of Objectivism. what have you done to take into account that possibility?


> such as? and how would you know about all these controversial things if they are not popular? :)

> and why didn't they become popular if other controversial things did?

you want to ask me a bunch of questions. you want help. i have some questions for you first:

what's in it for me?

would you be willing to pick a name, consistently use it, and come back repeatedly and discuss some things to conclusions? i don't care about your real name, but i do care about linking different comments together so there can be a discussion instead of just individual comments.

there are lots of people i could explain stuff to. there are lots of questions i could answer. why are you a good candidate?

curi at 11:12 AM on September 23, 2016 | #6689

What do you think?

(This is a free speech zone!)