Agnostic.com

22 4

Just finished reading "The Virtue of Selfishness" by Ayn Rand. I really enjoyed this book. Has anyone else read any of Ayn Rand's work? Do you prefer her fiction or her factual/philosophical books?

By Stacey19723
Actions Follow Post Like

Post a comment Add Source Add Photo

Enjoy being online again!

Welcome to the community of good people who base their values on evidence and appreciate civil discourse - the social network you will enjoy.

Create your free account

22 comments

Feel free to reply to any comment by clicking the "Reply" button.

14

Ayn Rand was a hypocrite. She ended her days on Social Security after arguing for the most brutally anti-poor and anti-government policies her entire life.

Followers of Ayn Rand are morally psychopathic.

Atheopagan Level 6 Apr 11, 2018

No, it wasn't. She hadn't paid into the system. It WAS a "handout".

12

I read her in high school, but since then I've learned how awful she was, what a terrible writer she was, and I'd recommend her to NO ONE. Unlimited selfishness is not a good thing. The world has enough of that, in my opinion.

Sooz Level 6 Apr 11, 2018

Her writing is some of the worst I have ever seen.

And yes she was an awful person. She once praised a man that kidnapped, raped, tortured and murdered a little girl.
At the place where the exchange of the ransom for her release he had propped up her body with her eyelids sewn open.
Ayn Rand expressed admiration for this killer as someone who knew and lived true freedom.
She was about as sick and twisted as a human can be.

Also, she railed and ranted against any sort of thing such as public assistance for the elderly or SSI. (Which is funded by the workers who will eventually profit, btw and is not an entitlement program.)
But guess who took every dime she could once she was eligible?

10

I prefer that everything that evil little hag wrote be burned and her memory be banished from existence. so let it be done.

Theodor Geisel was much more important than this shrew.

9

My daughter was temporarily a devotee of Ayn Rand. Fortunately she saw through the elitist propaganda and adopted more moral role models.

Rand didn't write anything factual. She wrote fiction or propaganda.

JimG Level 8 Apr 11, 2018
7

Back in the 1960s I read wverything that Rand wrote. I found her writing interesting, but somehow off key. After thorough analysis, I determined that her main points were (1) I can do anything I want to and dno one can limit that, (2) greed is good, and (3) all governments are bad. Anyone who reads Rand should understand her personal history.

Rand was the child of a family or Russian oligarghs during the Czarist era. When Lenin and the commuynists took over Russia, they took the entire land and wealth of Rand;s family. All of her writings and her entire philosphy is simply a reaction to that facr. She had a right to be angry with the Bolsheviks, but no right to come to the extreme, entirely self-centered conslusions which she espoused. The fact is that she was an entirely self0-centered, self-pitying person. Her priliosophy was nothing more than anarchistic, self absorbed libertarianism taken to its ultimate, amoral extreme.

wordywalt Level 8 Apr 11, 2018

@OnaM I like your reference to Frankel. He was a brilliant, truly moral man.

5

I've read quite a few of her books. I enjoyed them, but definitely do not espouse her ideas.

She was a pretty terrible person.

5

I read her way tooo long and too boring and idealistic book "Atlas Shrugged" (she was also Russian). The Libertarian group was formed from her ideas. Even though it is mostly atheists she had become their goddess and Rachel Carson was Satan. At one time they were against any environmental regulations. This group is intertwined within the Republican party.

4

I read What is Objectivism and I read a few of her articles in some Objectivism Journal she wrote.

I found her mortality to be abhorrent. Also, she would use classic logical fallacies. Like in What is Objectivism, she talked about altruism versus selfishness. She said that the old Soviet Union was based on altruism (whatever!) And they created a horrible society. Them she says that no middle ground will do, so we have to be selfish. There was literally no reasoned way to eliminate the middle ground. Nor was her example against altruism compelling. Anyway, that's an ether or fallacy. It's just of seeing that when someone states they think reason is so important.

In her journal, she reasoned that it was ok to take native peoples plans for oil exploitation in the grounds thanks, "why should they get to have that lifestyle and no one else has that option" or something like that.

So not a fan.

JeffB Level 6 Apr 11, 2018
3

I can't take her seriously. She is a great contributor to what is now wrong within our society. The espousal of the F.U. I have mine attitude as some sort of blueprint for how we should run government is not only the root of the current shit show in washington, it may be the downfall of our nation as a world leader and power. Power can corrupt and I did see the results of that living in West Berlin. But I have aslo seen government do great things for people. You just never get to hear about it or you get right wing anti government spin.

3

I've always preferred her fiction. I have always agreed with her underlying message that the intellect is far more powerful and useful than brute force. While it seems many have recently started to bad mouth Atlas Shrugged I still consider it one of the best examples of what happens with run away government. Her solution of "Galt's Gulch" is a bit fanciful but is in tended to drive home the point that whether people want to admit it or not society is dependant upon the people who can use their brains far more so than those who can use their brawn. Labor is of course needed, but one heck of a lot easier to replace than a new idea. To ofset @Sooz I routinely recommend AS. But, the way I do it is the same way it was recommended to me: "read 100 pages, if you don't like it then put it down".

That was not her message. Her message was that (1) lI can do whatever I want and no one has anything to say about it, (2) greed is good, and (3) all governments are bad.

2

She was a miserable, nasty person whose philosophy of life is personified by the inhabitants of our White House and Congress right now, namely, MEeeeee first & fuck all of you.

@Fanburger actually, no...he is a MEEEEEE kind of guy, in her best selfish hero mold. I am however, sure she would despise him for being a nitwit!

2

The only thing from her books that I found any value is, was being responsible for your decisions and your life. Otherwise, she was a pretty awful person. Being selfish is normal, on some level, but being a heartless machine who walks over anyone in her path, to get what she wants, is just vile. Also, she was a talentless writer. She was an atheist, but the conservatives, who are obsessed with Christianity, adore her. What's that all about?

2

Somewhere around the time I read Rand, I also read "1984." I still remember a bit of it. Like when the society decided a bunch of separate umbrellas made no sense, so the city decided to put awnings up in the rain. I was a budding socialist even then!

Sooz Level 6 Apr 11, 2018
2

The fountainhead had a huge impact on me, one of my favorites to this day. So I'd have to say her fiction . As for her... the less said the better

soa Level 4 Apr 11, 2018
2

The Fountainhead - read it years ago.

1

Ayn Rand gave a speech to west Point cadets in 1974, in which she remarked that Native Americans were "Savages" that had no concept of rights, so they didnt have them. That made it ok for white men to take over America and bring them civilization.

Nope, no more Ayn Rand people for me. In fact, they are the exact opposite of what im into. Except, with the past election, and swine such as Stefan Molyneux around or Jordan Peterson, id be happy if they were all rounded up and sent with the Trumpies to Spitzbergen or Northern Greenland to live, and learn about climate change, and to be rugged individuals and Sovereign citizens. Get them out of the loop of rational folks.

rafferty Level 6 Apr 26, 2018
1

Did not enjoy her fiction. Partly the low quality of her writing, partly the unrelatability of her characters. I have to care about characters in fiction, so I can root for them or be usefully appalled by them or whatever. Her characters seemed inhuman, highly idealized, and soulless.

As for her philosophy, a certain amount of selfishness was a good antidote to the hyper-selflesness of Christian fundamentalism that I came out of, and the reflexive need to avoid the slightest credit or praise for legitimate accompishments lest I be guilty of the sin of pride. Some (though not much) of her criticism of altruism made sense. Mostly the parts of it that are infantalizing of others, and encourage what I would term a "Jesus complex". On the other hand ... I have come to believe that part of society's job is to guarantee some basic level of food, clothing, shelter and healthcare to all, since we're to a place of being able to afford it thanks to technology. I believe society is enabled by empathy and compassion and that they are not weaknesses, but great strengths. So ultimately -- I can't recommend her fiction OR her philosophy.

mordant Level 8 Apr 11, 2018
1

The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, We the Living were all good books.

She lived through a leftist takeover of her country and witnessed and experienced the resulting misery first-hand.

We the Living should be required reading on college campuses.

BD66 Level 7 Apr 11, 2018

Not unless it is to be examined for its many philosophical and moral flaws.

You should go to Cuba, Myanmar, or Venezuela, so you can learn just how right she was about collectivism

1

I have read most of Rand's works and happen to agree with the Objectivist philosophy. I think her fiction does a great job of illustrating that philosophy. She uses pure archetypes and obviously many people have an issue with that, having been spoon-fed "flawed" heroes their whole lives. I think they are missing the point. Rand was a Russian immigrant who went on to become a screenwriter for Cecil B. Demille so I think she deserves some props. Her works have had an impact to this day.

IAMGROOT Level 7 Apr 11, 2018

Rand was a totally self-absorbed philosophical hack. I have read all of her works.

@wordywalt Nice

0

Also read "Capitalism" by Ayn Rand aswell. A good book with some interesting ideas on why Socialism is wrecking the worlds economies.

0

Neither.

0

I've read The Virtue of Selfishness, Anthem, The Fountainhead & Atlas Shrugged. I was pretty taken with these concepts in my early 20s ... hell, I even voted for Ross Perot... Probably would have voted for Trump if he was running at that time. What can I say? I was ignorant. lol.

However, I do think that it helps if you take her work in the context of her life. Her work is a critique of the "communist" society she escaped from. In my view she misidentifies the source of erosion in her native society as collectivism itself failing, whereas I tend to think it was shades of authoritarianism, fascism, and your garden variety of corruption which all forms of governance are susceptible to that were the real culprits. Wheresoever their are levers of power to pull, there will be jockying to influence the hand that pulls them... the only way around this is to get rid of the levers altogether.

I have certainly been in circles where a few of the members were pulling the rest of the group along, so she isn't completely wrong in her observations. People can get complacent. The scenarios she describes certainly do occur. Entitlement can be a problem. Hard work and perserverence does grow character and make a person stronger. I think what she presents is what I would describe as "A Good Work Ethic For Over Achievers" ... but it misses on morality, in my opinion. Functionally, when society reaches a certain scale, decision making based on "enlightened self interest" can break down... for no other reason than the sense of detachment created by numbers and distance.

Anemynous Level 7 Apr 11, 2018
Write Comment
You can include a link to this post in your posts and comments by including the text 'q:55542'.
Agnostic does not evaluate or guarantee the accuracy of any content read full disclaimer.
  • Agnostic.com is a non-profit community for atheists, agnostics, humanists, freethinkers, skeptics and others!