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Atlas Shrugged
#41
I agree, Rand's "selfishness" is a valid philosophical/cultural point - but I've always softened it to include synergy and mutual support. Synergy, after all, is defined as the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.

In Atlas Shrugged Rand gets around synergy by getting all doers to combine into a small gestalt. What is missing is the idea that any great entrepreneur is useless without the ditch digger or pencil makers. What is often overlooked in economic models, is that the middleman is essential to improving the economy. A farmer could never grow his crops if he had to store, merchandise, box, and deliver his product to a thousand different purchasers. The good middleman assembles the goods from many farmers, and coordinates an harmonious distribution system that enhances the entire process. The markup of the middleman is a tiny cost compared to what would be required by doing without him.

Rand's Atlantis works because all its denizens are doers. ...And by contrast, all the people not in it are looters.

Her true target is actually the government as collective - but uses the people like Animal Farm used animals.
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#42
(05-13-2011, 10:26 AM)WmLambert Wrote: Rand ignored the inbetween connectivity only to make a point.
Perhaps this was her intention, however she never acknowledges that a centrist or 'middle' position exists.

Quote:Atlas Shrugged took it a step farther and withdrew all the competent free market entrepreneurs out of the system to prove to the looters that they rely on the producers for their very existence.
My real grievance with Rand is that she depicts all government workers and institutions as "looters". It seems that for Rand, only private commodities have value while 'public goods' such as infrastructure and social services are merely a burden. In reality, public investments contribute immensely to economic productivity.
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#43
Social Services are a burden in this day and age.
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#44
(05-14-2011, 02:32 AM)Gommi Wrote:
(05-13-2011, 10:26 AM)WmLambert Wrote: Rand ignored the inbetween connectivity only to make a point.
Perhaps this was her intention, however she never acknowledges that a centrist or 'middle' position exists.

The problem here is to determine just where, or what, a 'centerist/middle' position happens to be. For example Uncle Joe was so far to the Left spectrum he actually viewed Uncle Adolf as Right Wing, which he wasn't. He publicly proclaimed this on more than one occasion, and that is where the misconception arose. But he was a National Socialist, which was left Wing, but to the Right of Uncle Joe.

Quote:
Quote:Atlas Shrugged took it a step farther and withdrew all the competent free market entrepreneurs out of the system to prove to the looters that they rely on the producers for their very existence.
My real grievance with Rand is that she depicts all government workers and institutions as "looters". It seems that for Rand, only private commodities have value while 'public goods' such as infrastructure and social services are merely a burden. In reality, public investments contribute immensely to economic productivity.

While some government personnel are somewhat necessary, this does not mean that the more the merrier. As the saying goes, "That government which governs best, governs least."

And Please show us all where public investments contribute immensely to economic productivity, and the private sector cannot do a more efficient job?

___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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#45
Didn't Rand push the selfishness idea way further than Adam Smith? Smith it seems to me simply realized selfishness is why capitalism creates wealth,Rand actually preached selfishness as a virtue didn't she?

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#46
Well, the Objectivists who revere Ayn Rand as a patron saint do take the extreme measure of selfishness as an independent virtue. Since 1957, we have all argued it back and forth. My take has always been that it is not selfishness to adhere to personal virtue and self-appointed goals. Of course doing so has positive results, but it is not that such goals can't be mutually enhanced. Synergy trumps isolationism - but is definitely NOT collectivism.

Rand escaped Stalinist Russia and well knew its evils and corruptive attractions. She wrote about it in its extremity in order to make a point. To understand its nastiness, however, one needs to understand it as insidious and like an angler fish, dangles the fake worm until a little fish swims close enough to get gobbled up. It can't be opposed by calling it Kryptonite - only by understanding it as low-grade radiation that will eventually eat your flesh off - but at first just glows a pretty color.

The best example of the finer points of truly understanding Objectivism is to examine the concept of the middleman. In a pro-collectivist public school curriculum, the middleman is often described as unwanted thieves who intrude into commerce to grab a buck off of other people's efforts. In reality, they perform a huge service by enhancing the value of suppliers and consumers by easing the difficult job of them connecting. Grocery chains cannot make money if their merchandise comes direct from the growers, ranchers, or slaughterhouses. Farmers get together in Grange associations to store their crops in huge silos in centralized locations. Distributors pick up the crops and take them to packers and assembly houses where value is added at every step.

Rand portrays a single man as owning the crops, the silos, the transportation, assembly facilities, and food stores. Such a man would go bankrupt due to inefficiencies. We must focus on the true looters: those who subtract value with bureaucratic rules and regulations that steal value with pretended safeguards that do little good, but cause much interference. The true safeguards come from the free market. Unsafe products weed themselves out. Value is rewarded.

As Rush always said: if you want to protect endangered species, put them on the menu.
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#47
What was it about her personal life that is "weird"?
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#48
You probably want to check out The Passion of Ayn Rand. This biographical film traces her eccentricities - which led to those who espouse her Objectivist philosophy to do so IN SPITE of her quirks. Those who are serious about her work usually distance themselves from her personal life to take her seriously.
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#49
Scott Ott, the owner of the Scrappleface site, does a magnificent piece on exactly why I have never read "Atlas Shrugged", never had a desire to read it, and never will bother reading it. Kudos to Mr. Ott, and his simple way of showing comedy with practically everything.

In conclusion:

Quote:While Ayn Rand has become a secular goddess for libertarians, she’s really no different than our modern Progressives who stake their future on the impeccable wisdom of a narrow elite, while damning the masses for peeing in the pristine pool of human potential. In other words, she relies on the sovereignty of humanity to save the world, while grumbling that so few actual persons have expressed human nature in its sweet, crystalline form.

If you still find that you must read Atlas Shrugged, I recommend the Kindle version, rather than the dead-tree. At least then you can hold 1,168 pages in just one hand, so it’s less likely to suck your soul through the sinew of your chest as you contemplate the looming mass of pulp, the brevity of life, and the joyous things you might be doing if you were not pinned to the couch by Ayn Rand.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
"INSIDE EVERY PROGRESSIVE IS A TOTALITARIAN SCREAMING TO GET OUT" - David Horowitz

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