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Jon Southall

Objectivist Conspiracy?

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An article like the Washington Post one appears every now and then. The characteristics of the genre are: 

  • the headline links Ayn Rand to something or someone that would alarm the typical reader

There are two sub-genres (sometimes mixed in a single article)

  • the content shows a misunderstanding/misrepresentation of Ayn Rand, or
  • the content shows that that there really is not link

One can understand the former as being a misunderstanding, a lack of attempt to understand, or a smear. However, the second type is interesting too. Why would a journalist write a headline that is obviously only slightly-related to the content? One possibility is the writer is assuming the reader already brings a negative opinion of Rand and will be happy to apply it to whatever alarming thing the article is actually about.

I'm a bit cynical though. I hypothesize that: Ayn Rand's name is well-known and click-stream data indicates that an Ayn Rand mention in a headline increases the number of clicks significantly. So, "Trump is Ayn Rand Fan" (or even the headline of Tracinski's article for that matter) plays the same role as "10 Hollywood Sex Idols who now work at McDonald's".

The Washington Post article can't be  dismissed as mere click-bait, though I think that plays a role in the headline. There was a similar article in the New York Times. Onkar Ghate refers to them in this article, and provides some commentary.

 

 

Edited by softwareNerd
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I think it unlikely that Donald Trump has read many books of more than two hundred pages, books without pictures, that is. He may have watched a video of The Fountainhead, starring Gary Cooper. Critics of Ayn Rand are often trying to fit her words into some narrative taken out of context. I think this passage from Atlas Shrugged, covers it:

"It is a conspiracy of all those who seek, not to live, but to get away with living, those who seek to cut just one small corner of reality and are drawn, by feeling, to all the others who are busy cutting corners--a conspiracy that unites by links of evasion all those who pursue a zero as a value:...(she lists a series of qualifying prototypes, including the Trump-like:) ...businessman who, to protect his stagnation, takes pleasure in chaining the ability of competitors..."--from, This is John Galt Speaking; p. 1047.

Conspiracy, indeed, but not of one inspired out of Objectivism.

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Trump, at Pence's suggestion, met with John Allison, who is a high-profile Objectivist businessman. So, clearly, the Objectivist conspiracy is happening.

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9 hours ago, Repairman said:

Conspiracy, indeed, but not of one inspired out of Objectivism.

While this particular conspiracy theory was not inspired by Objectivism, it was certainly identified as such there-in.

Edited by dream_weaver

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5 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

While this particular conspiracy theory was not inspired by Objectivism, it was certainly identified as such there-in.

I'm having second thoughts on this one. Between The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Miss Rand had to develop the tenants of Objectivism to concretize her stories.

Most conspiracy theories are comprised of a group; be it the insurance companies, the deep state, the counsel of foreign relations, the Zionist, the media, etc., while in this case the conspiracy was "without leader or direction", the "random little thugs of the moment who cash in on the agony of one land or another are chance scum riding the torrent from the broken dam of the sewer of centuries", or "a conspiracy against the mind, which means: against life and man."

The conspiracy is comprised of the philosophers, not all, of course, but those specifically that redressed against the mind. She broke it down between those that were for the mind and those that were against the mind. She took the latter category and broke it down into two separate categories; the subjectivist and the intrincisits.

She then went as far as to show the similarities between subjectivism an intrinsicism on how they were in cahoots against the mind, while keeping in perspective on just how they differed. Keeping in contact with Objectivism as the right, or moral high ground, she identifies how evasion serves as the common ground.

Listing the offenders here, I have to wonder if she does so in a manner consistent with the passengers involved in the Winston Tunnel catastrophe in Atlas Shrugged, i.e., from least to most complicit. (From the professors relationship to the students whose minds they try to stunt, to the eunuch who takes pleasure in the castration of all pleasure )

Interesting to note on the level of guilt associated in the train wreck, she lists the synopsis of the passengers on the train by car number, starting from car no. 1 to proceeding to the "guiltiest" in car no. 16.

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10 hours ago, dream_weaver said:

Most conspiracy theories are comprised of a group; be it the insurance companies, the deep state, the counsel of foreign relations, the Zionist, the media, etc., while in this case the conspiracy was "without leader or direction", the "random little thugs of the moment who cash in on the agony of one land or another are chance scum riding the torrent from the broken dam of the sewer of centuries", or "a conspiracy against the mind, which means: against life and man."

The conspiracy is comprised of the philosophers, not all, of course, but those specifically that redressed against the mind. She broke it down between those that were for the mind and those that were against the mind. She took the latter category and broke it down into two separate categories; the subjectivist and the intrincisits.

Would this qualify as some kind of meta-conspiracy theory? Rather than being perpetuated by a particular group for a particular purpose, it's instead perpetuated by different groups for a universal purpose?

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On 12/15/2016 at 2:28 AM, Jon Southall said:

My initial reaction was one of incredulity. Then laughter. I felt I must share it here as I know you are all secretly Trump lovers.

 

I suppose we ought to celebrate the fact that our current president can openly praise Rand's work, without being tarred and feathered. It's quite a leap from Obama's snide dismissals, a few years ago, and everyone's silence before that.

 

Somehow, though, I don't feel like celebrating quite yet.

alien coffee substitute.jpg

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10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

... It's quite a leap from Obama's snide dismissals, a few years ago, and everyone's silence before that.

True,  yet there's also the positive when your enemies are clear, as opposed to people pretending they're your friends and embracing you in a hug that suffocates and obscures you.

Edited by softwareNerd

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If people link Ayn Rand and Donald Trump in their minds, it could be a disaster for the "movement" for generations. It would be far better for there to be a prominent Objectivist who stands as one of Trump's greatest opponents.

Maybe ARI could send Rosie a copy of Anthem...? :D

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20 hours ago, DonAthos said:

Maybe ARI could send Rosie a copy of Anthem...? :D

:) 

I suspect ARI would attempt to make inroads on the "left" if they could find a way to do so. One can't win the cultural / intellectual battle without being at the table. Not sure how they could really crack in there.

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14 minutes ago, softwareNerd said:

I suspect ARI would attempt to make inroads on the "left" if they could find a way to do so. One can't win the cultural / intellectual battle without being at the table. Not sure how they could really crack in there.

Perhaps Trump will make that effort easier over the next few years. He'll give ARI plenty of opportunities to oppose him, I'm sure, so hopefully they'll find a way to present that in a compelling way -- battles over immigration, religious liberty and free speech, for instance, could appeal to the left.

Of course, articles like the Washington Post's aren't a great start, and I have to hope that Objectivists won't ally themselves with the Trump administration. He's almost a parody of what most people already assume Objectivism to be about; we have to work to fight that image.

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