Boydstun Posted November 28, 2019 Report Share Posted November 28, 2019 A Furnace The Fountainhead includes a remedy of Rand’s very wrong passage in We the Living (1936). Andrei had told Kira that we cannot sacrifice the masses for the sake of the few. She replied: “You can! You must. When those few are the best. . . . What are your masses but mud to be ground under foot, fuel to be burned for those who deserve it [deserve life]? What is the people but millions of puny, shriveled, helpless souls that have no thoughts of their own, no dreams of their own, no will of their own, . . . And for those you would sacrifice the few who know life, who are life?” (WL 1936, quoted in Sciabarra 1995, 101; Mayhew 2004, 211; cf. BGE 258, 265). I remarked in the preceding installment that even if this talk were only of metaphorical burning, say the burning of lifetimes in manual labor for factory owners or mine owners, these were and are words for the trash can. Speaking to Dominique, Gail Wynand says “‘One can’t love man without hating most of the creatures who pretend to his name’” (GW IV 476). That hatred is a distant relative to Kira’s hatred, but not distant enough for Rand 1943. During the Banner’s campaign against Roark’s newly completed Stoddard Temple of the Human Spirit, Roark is interviewed by reporters. “He spoke without anger. He said: ‘I can’t tell anyone anything about my building. If I prepared a hash of words to stuff into other people’s brains, it would be an insult to them and to me’” (ET XII 365). The Banner reports the interview, twisting Roark’s view into one contrary to his. Their account is a report of precisely what Roark did not think: “‘Mr. Roark . . . stated that the public mind was hash’” (ibid.).* To a distinguished and ignoble literary critic in the circle of villain Toohey, Rand gives the line “I have a right to wish to impress my own personality upon people” (GW VI 503). Rand’s respect for the mind(s) of the public expressed by Roark was also expressed by the sympathetic character Sasha in We the Living (II, §II). The editor of the Banner is Alvah Scarret. Of this character, Rand writes that he “had never hated anything, and so was incapable of love” (GW I 437). In this statement about Scarret, the author is stating a general proposition she holds for all human beings. Perhaps this proposition is true. (Leave out of view just now whatever science has yielded on the developmental psychodynamics of love and hate.) I have some doubt that the contrast concept-class hate is necessary for the concept-class love. There are other contrast classes for love within the superordinate class emotion. Wynand states one of those other contrast classes. He says that “love is reverence, and worship, and glory, and the upward glance. Not a bandage for dirty sores. . . . [Not] some sort of feeble stew out of sympathy, compassion, contempt and general indifference . . .’” (GW IV 476). For the sake of argument, grant Rand’s general proposition that there could be no capability for love without a capability for hatred. It remains that there is no entailment that men eliciting one’s hatred be numerous, let alone be a majority of men. Moreover, there is no necessity that one hate men who do not live up to the title man. Kira, Wynand, and Dominique hate them. Howard Roark does not. Here is the Fountainhead passage in which Rand supersedes her grievous passage in We the Living (1936). There is metaphorical feeding of bodies into a furnace, but without sacrifice of one spiritual class of people to another. At his office, Roark never speaks to his employees, except of their work. “The place seemed cold and soulless like a factory, until they looked at him; then they thought that it was not a factory, but a furnace fed on their bodies, his own first” (ET VI 268). References Mayhew, R. 2004. We the Living: ’36 and ’59. In Essays on Ayn Rand’s We the Living. Lexington. Nietzsche, F. 1886. Beyond Good and Evil. J. Norman, trans. 2002. Cambridge. Rand, A. 1943. The Fountainhead. Bobbs-Merrill. Sciabarra, C. M. 1995. Ayn Rand – The Russian Radical. Penn State. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.