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Dennis Hardin

Playboy Trashes Ayn Rand

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Excerpts from a dismal discussion of Ayn Rand in the current Playboy (April):

 

Today in America, an atheist faction has joined forces with Christian
fundamentalists in the Tea Party. The churchgoing habits of libertarian former
congressman Ron Paul did not stop him from professing his admiration for the
rabidly atheist novelist Ayn Rand. In an improbable-looking alliance with
Christian evangelicals, Rand’s disciples have promoted a fantastical vision of
the free market. Happily, there is as much prospect that laissez-faire
capitalism will ever come into being as there is of realizing Lenin’s hideous
utopia. For the most part, the free market invoked by Rand is a mythic version
of an American past that never existed. After all, the American economy was
founded on federal subsidy, protectionism and, for a time, slavery—not the free
market. Even so the appeal of Rand’s ideas will persist, since, like many
supposedly secular belief systems, Rand’s philosophy offers the comforts of
faith while insisting it is based on reason.


It gets worse.


Rand was unusual in basing her system on an ersatz brand of philosophy
rather than pseudoscience, but she too recycled the ideas of an earlier time.
Growing up in Russia, from which she emigrated in 1926 at the age of 20, she
(like many other young Russians) was steeped in the writings of Nietzsche….What
Rand did was Americanize Nietzsche’s Übermensch, turning the German thinker’s
fantasy into an embodiment of intransigent capitalism. In a bold exercise in
syncretism, a superhuman elite became the heroic entrepreneurs of right-wing
folklore…


Rand’s thought has no serious intellectual content, but that has not
prevented it from being taken seriously by people ignorant of the history of
ideas…


“Atheism Wars” by John Gray


Playboy first introduced me to Ayn Rand in Alvin Toffler’s fantastic 1964 Playboy Interview.  I have always felt indebted to them for the respectful way in which they treated her ideas, even though they obviously rejected her political perspective. Now, a half century later, this idiot (professor emeritus at the London School of Economics) would have us believe that her thought “has no serious intellectual content.”  

 

How very sad.

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So we get short biographies of a bunch of atheists, then the author jumps to these conclusions:

 

"Scientific inquiry is not for these atheists simply the most reliable tool humans have
invented for getting to know the world; it is a means to salvation, the only
way through which humankind can find deliverance from immemorial evils of
ignorance and unreason.
"

 

...

 

"Unwittingly, evangelical atheists
demonstrate the enduring power of faith. Imagining that a new wave of
rationalism could change the nature of human beings is the height of unreason.

More than the passing beliefs through which humankind seeks to escape its
insignificance, it is unchanging needs—for food and water, security and
power—that are the chief drivers of human conflict. In thinking that a shift of
belief systems could transform the human scene, these atheists are possessed by
a myth..."

 

Apparently the author believes religion AND reason are just 'passing beliefs' which humankind seeks to 'escape from its insignificance.' Unfortunately, nothing in his essay even remotely supports this claim.

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After all, the American economy was

founded on federal subsidy, protectionism and, for a time, slavery

 

Which is why the south won the civil war.  :fool:

 

 

but that has not prevented it from being taken seriously by people ignorant of the history of

ideas…

 

Because only about half or more of all supplementary Objectivist material is based around the history of ideas.  :stuart:

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I submitted this comment to the PLAYBOY FORUM website two days ago, and they have apparently chosen not to publish it:

 

Here is the opening sentence to Playboy’s interview with Ayn Rand published in March, 1964:  “Ayn Rand, an intense, angry young woman of 61, is among the most outspoken—and important—intellectual voices in America today…”   Playboy went on to describe the interview itself as “intellectually electric” and Rand herself as possessing a “computer-quick mind.”

 

Now, a half century later, Playboy publishes an article by this “professor emeritus” informing us that Ayn Rand’s thinking is devoid of “serious intellectual content.”

 

The 1964 interviewer, author Alvin Toffler, obviously disagreed with John Gray’s assessment of the originality of Rand’s thinking.  And I think anyone who reads that brilliant interview will come away with a very different view of Rand as well.  She was a genius, so far ahead of her time that Gray cannot grasp so much as a glimmer of what she was saying.


 

Evidently the powers-that-be at Playboy don't care to publish any reminders that their editorial policy has not always been as fanatically leftist as it is today.
 

 



 

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For the most part, the free market invoked by Rand is a mythic version

of an American past that never existed. After all, the American economy was

founded on federal subsidy, protectionism and, for a time, slavery—not the free

market.

 

I enjoyed how they, in some slight way, saw that slavery is antithetical to a free market, and yet are unable to see the moral basis for a free market.

Edited by secondhander

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