What do I think of Ayn Rand?
- She was a parasite, a third-rate hack novelist turned philosopher and “economist,” who somehow infected a paranoid alcoholic racist megalomaniac Richard Nixon with the shallow, neo-Darwinian rationale he needed to justify his personal (not patriotic) agenda.
- In college, I read everything she wrote – except for Atlas Shrugged. I even played a lead role in the one godawful play she ever wrote. Do you know what I remember? In every one of her works, a woman is raped by an alpha male, and she comes to love it. Rand was worse than political vermin. She was a true pervert, a misogynist sicko freak.
- By the way, she spent decades publicly denying any correlation between smoking and lung disease, as a paid spokesperson for the tobacco industries, writing soliloquies about the joys of smoking; and she continued to deny it after her doctors showed her x-rays of her own black and shriveled lungs.
- Do you know what Rand did, as she lay dying from lung disease?
The darling of conservative economics – the person who single-highhandedly inspired the lie that a safety net equals “socialism” – she accepted both Medicare and Social Security.
- That’s what happens to demagogues and other extremists when they finally confront death or unbearable circumstances. Instead of embracing her toxic philosophy, she betrayed it, exposing the cowardly hypocrite living under the slipping mask. She was an opportunist – pure and simple – not a martyr to her own convictions – that’s for sure.
- In a nutshell, she believes people in no way depend on each other.
There is no social contract whatsoever, when this position flies in the face of everything we know about history, biology, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and yes – economics! Successful economies require trust and collaboration, embodied in what we as capitalists call “the law of comparative advantages.”
- The fascist capitalist state she advocates? Its weaker version has led the United States economy to crash every ten years and four times during my 50 years on this planet. Greed is never a virtue – it only leads to one catastrophe after another. Anyone with a lick of sense should get that.
- Alan Greenspan was a meditating hippie before he became Rand’s protegee. As Chairman of the Fed, the most conservative economic mind in the nation helped to drive the economy to collapse by keeping interest rates so low, it led to a borrowing frenzy.
- In the end, Greenspan confessed in congressional testimony there was something wrong about the way he thought the world works. Well, he learned it all from Rand. The congressional committee's Democratic chairman, Henry Waxman, pressed him:
"You found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working?" Greenspan agreed: "That's precisely the reason I was shocked because I'd been going for 40 years or so with considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."
- He made other comments to this effect. But he and Nixon represent only two glorious examples of how her “philosophy” has derailed the conservative movement, plunged like a clown car off a political cliff.
- The most recent example? Paul “It’s the law of the jungle” Ryan.
He’s a huge fan of Rand. Well, Paul – no one knows for sure – but about 10,000–20,000 years ago, we left the jungle and started this thing – it’s called a civilization – because we did not want to live by the laws of the jungle. We learned we accrued more wealth and technology more through differentiated collaboration than brutal competition.
- Her continued credibility boggles my mind, except she supplies a myopic and selfish mindset the moral blinders required to reject the obvious: We formed societies because we recognized our economic and social interdependence made us stronger individuals.
- There is no such thing as the public interest? Does anyone sane take that one seriously? We created democracies, based on the premise of the public trust. We decided our leaders should compromise, holding them accountable to the public interest. If she opposes democracy, she supports a fascist state, cloaked as dystopian meritocracy.
- We’re better off profiting from one another in mutually beneficial ways than pillaging each other. Her gross error in judgement? Self-interest and the public interest are not mutually exclusive.
- What would the world really look like without a regard for the public interest and altruism? No one survives – much less thrives – in developmental, creative and intellectual isolation.
That’s pure bullshit.
- Every so-called self-made millionaire out there succeeded because other people made sacrifices. Parents for starters. Without tax-payer funded medical research, the military (veterans), public facilities and academic institutions (school teachers)…your average entrepreneur would not exist. But you owe no debt to the public trust?
- It satisfies a reductionist “survival of the fittest” amorality, but it does not comport with human nature, fundamentally tribal and interdependent. Even Darwin lamented how this evolutionary mantra became a corrupt human moral mandate.
- Where would we be without taxation and regulation? Would you step on a plane not inspected by the FAA? Could we ever expect to maintain our global competitive edge without free and affordable public education?
- Bottom line, no one wants to live in the brutal, nasty and lonely world she envisioned. Where did her political and economic philosophy take her? Despite her fame and political influence, she ended up poor enough she needed government assistance.
- No one can breathe in a social vacuum. When the day comes you need help from others – in the form of a social contract – you will take it, regardless of your rigid political ideology.
She did. See point four above.
 When Ayn Rand Collected Social Security & Medicare, After Years of Opposing Benefit Programs
 Greenspan – I was wrong about the economy. Sort of