The past year has seen a flood of articles commemorating the end of the Cold War, and the fact that "peace" seems to be breaking out in many regions of the world. Most of these analyses lack any larger conceptual framework for distinguishing between what is essential and what is contingent or accidental in world history, and are predictably superficial. Gorbachev were ousted from the Kremlin or a new Ayatollah proclaimed the millennium from a desolate Middle Eastern capital, these same commentators would scramble to announce the rebirth of a new era of conflict. And yet, all of these people sense dimly that there is some larger process at work, a process that gives coherence and order to the daily headlines.
Ayn Rand Man is not the best of things in the universe. Rackham, Loeb Classical Library, p. Admitting all the value accorded to the true, the truthful, the selfless, it is nonetheless possible that a higher value should be ascribed to appearance, to the will to deception, to self-interestto greed -- a higher and more fundamental value with respect to all life.
Ayn Rand born Alice Rosenbaum is a fascinating person and an inspiring advocate of freedom but a very mixed blessing philosophically.
Her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are still best selling introductions to the ideas of personal freedom and of the free market. As literature they may have drawbacks, but they are compelling "reads," which is certainly what Rand would have wanted.
Rand's passionate and moralistic tone, while off-putting to many, is nevertheless probably a real part of her appeal and is no less than an equal and opposite reaction to the self-righteousness that is still characteristic of leftist rhetoric.
Few writers convey an irresistible ferocity of convictions as Rand does. To many, including the present writer, raised and indoctrinated with the standard disparagements of capitalism, a novel like Atlas Shrugged can produce something very much like a Conversion Experience.
At the same time, the harsh certainty of an autodidact and self-made person, and the high handed authoritarian manner of Rand's personality, worked against her case, her cause, and her life. Although David Kelley, Leonard Peikoffand others now try to develop her thought into a complete philosophical system, nothing can hide the relative shallowness of her knowledge: She despised Immanuel Kant but then actually invokes "treating persons as ends rather than as means only" to explain the nature of morality.
Perhaps she had picked that up without realizing it was from Kant [ note ].
At the same time, the Nietzschean inspiration that evidently is behind her "virtue of selfishness" approach to ethics seems to have embarrassed her later: She very properly realized that, since the free market is built upon voluntary exchanges, capitalism requires firm moral limits, ruling out violence, coercion, fraud, etc.
That was certainly not a concern of Nietzschebut it was very much a concern of Adam Smithwho realized that, in a context of mutually voluntary exchange, people will always go for the best deal, producing the "invisible hand" effect of mutual and public goods being produced by private preferences.
This confuses people enough in regard to Smith; and that makes it all the easier to mistakenly see Rand as advocating a view of capitalists as righteous predators -- especially unfortunate when the popular vision of laissez-faire capitalism is already of merciless and oppressive robber barons.
A careful reading of Rand dispels that idea, but her rhetoric works against a good understanding. Rand also confuses her case with her emphasis on individuals being deliberately "rational. That makes it sound like the free market works just because such supermen exist to control it.
Rand herself was actually aware that was not true: At her best moments she asserts only that capitalism is superior because it automatically, through the "invisible hand," rewards the more rational behavior, not because some superrational persons must exist to hand out those rewards.
That would have been F. Rand certainly tried to exercise a superrationalistic control in her own life, with disastrous results: Her psychological understanding of people, and even of herself, was clearly and gravely limited.
Thus she engineered the marriage between Nathaniel and Barbara Branden, even though according to Barbara, in The Passion of Ayn Rand they weren't all that attracted to each other -- their unease was "irrational" to Rand.
Then she decided that she and Nathaniel should have some sort of "rational" love affair, like characters in her novels.
That Nathaniel was not comfortable with that, especially since they were both already married, does not seem to have mattered. When he finally refused to continue their relationship, Rand furiously expelled him from her "movement" and then scuttled the "movement" itself.
That was, curiously, all for the better, since under her control the Objectivist movement was taking on more and more of the authoritarian or totalitarian overtones of the very ideologies it was supposedly opposing.
In another incident, related by the columnist Samuel Francis, when Rand learned that the economist Murray Rothbard's wife, Joey, was a devout Christian, she all but ordered that if Joey did not see the light and become an atheist in six months, Rothbard, who was an agnostic, must divorce her.
Rothbard never had any intention of doing anything of the sort, and this estranged him from Rand, who found such "irrational" behavior intolerable. It is revealing that as Rand refined her idea of the heroic personality from the Howard Roark of The Fountainhead to John Galt in Atlas Shrugged, the type became steadily drained of, indeed, personality.
Galt seems little better than a robotic mouthpiece of merciless ideology. Howard Roark was already peculiar enough, since he would just sit staring at the phone while waiting for work.
He might at least have read magazines. Subsidiary characters, like Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart, possess something more like real personalities. This deadness of such central characters is an excellent warning that Rand had passed beyond a desire for mere human beings as her ideals.
Jung probably would have detected an animus projection.
This was an unhelpful bit of falseness, not to mention humorlessness, with which to burden her case for capitalism. One drawback of Rand's literary method to present her ideas, although it follows in the great Russian tradition of philosophical novels, is the manner in which it sometimes obscures historical realities that would reinforce her argument.
Thus the Taggart Railroad of Atlas Shrugged may strike someone with an average knowledge of American history as the kind of thing that never existed.40 (Volume 20, No. 1) March, Introduction by The Editors.
SOCIALISM AND DEMOCRACY AT Frank Rosengarten – Looking Back in Order to Look Ahead: Twenty Years of Research and Publishing by the Research Group on Socialism and Democracy Victor Wallis – Socialism and Democracy During the First 20 Years of Socialism and Democracy.
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In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Newman seeks to place the idea of socialism in a modern context for today's readers. He explains socialist ideas in the framework of its historical evolution. Communism Essays (Examples) Filter results by: If seen from a worldwide magnitude, the conflict can be understood as an ideological clash between communism and capitalist democracy ("cold war," ).
China occupied an exceptional place in the Cold War for the reason that it was the point of both the affection and aggression of the two main. Divide the class into two groups. Assign each group a pro or con position on the following thesis statement: Given the circumstances of the Weimar Republic, it was doomed to failure.
Democracy Communism is an original system of society, quite different from Democracy in many ways. While total democracy is not widely spread, many forms of it are successful throughout the world today.
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Having lived for two decades under a liberal democracy.