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Febod

Rand Predicts The Future?

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I am currently rereading The Fountainhead (I first read it when i was 16, I am now 22) and Rand's depiction of Toohey in college and the power that he gains over people vaguely mimicks the rise of the counter-culture on college campuses in the 60's.

"Only when you can feel contempt for your own priceless little ego, only then can you achieve the true, broad peace of selflessness, the merging of your spirit with the vast collective spirit of mankind."

This, in essence, is what Toohey preached to his peers, which is strikingly similar to the message preached on college campuses: the renunciation of the self to the tribe in order to achieve "common love" and "social unity"

Also, Rand points out that Toohey's message mainly reached the more well-to-do students, rather than those who were financially independent . . . another characteristic of the counter-culture.

Could Rand have been able to predict that these ideas would gain prominent popularity, esp. with college students? Or is this merely a coincidence? Or were these ideals already gaining momentum in the 30's and 40's? Any thoughts?

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I too reread The Fountainhead just recently and ran across a correct prediction by her. See this entry from my blog:

The prediction...

One of the interesting things about reading the Ayn Rand Journals a few years ago and many years after first reading the Fountainhead, was the realization that the various seemingly absurd statements made by the various irrational architects in the book were not exaggerations but were taken straight from her research into the profession.

I am presently rereading the Fountainhead and I ran across this interesting paragraph:

"Jules Fougler said in last Sunday's Banner that in the world of the future the theater will not be necessary at all. He says that the daily life of the common man is as much a work of art in itself as the best Shakespearean tragedy. In the future there will be no need for a dramatist. The critic will simply observe the life of the masses and evaluate its artistic points for the public. That's what Jules Fougler said. Now I don't know whether I agree with him, but he's got an interesting fresh angle there."

It seems that here we have a prediction for the unfortunate phenomena that for the past few years has been making the rounds of the television program schedules: Reality TV. It was predicted by Ayn Rand in The Fountainhead over 60 years ago.

Also, there will, unfortunately be a an entire channel devoted to so-called "reality" shows, called Fox-Reality.

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Ayn Rand wrote an essay on the seemingly prophetic nature of her literature, called "Is Atlas Shrugging?" It was either in _The Voice of Reason_ or _Return of the Primitive_; I can't remember which.

Ayn Rand was able to predict that those ideas would become popularly accepted, and many, many others. Early on, she recognized the power of Philosophy, and knew what the acceptance of certain principles would inevitably lead to. She knew what ideas were being taught in colleges when she wrote _The Fountainhead_; the hippies of the 60s were their inevitable result. One of them, anyway.

She has been proven right time and time again. It's proably about once a week that I read the newspaper and come across something that is exactly as she "predicted."

Ayn Rand once said that part of the reason she wrote _Atlas Shrugged_ was to keep it from being prophetic. Thanks to her books, the right ideas are getting out there. It's far more than once a week that I read something in the newspaper and come across examples of the right ideas taking root in our culture.

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Ayn Rand is a prophet not by Devinne inspiration, but by an exceptional grasp of reality. She has established a system that allowed her to say, "if this then this" in the realm of human activity. This speaks volumes for her understanding of the nature of man. What a giant.

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Also remember that support for socialism has been around alot longer than the 60's. IIRC the American Socialist party's popularity peaked around the time of W.E.B Dubois. Popularity for socialism also soared during the great depression, which the communists derided as a failure of Capitalism. In fact, the early 30s were the only time in American history when there were more people emigrating out of America than into it, and movies like the Song of Russia were in existence.

the whole collectivist counter culture pre-dates the 60's by quite a bit. Heck the first use of dynamite as a weapon was used by a terrorist advocating anarchy who threw it into a crowd of policemen.

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Also remember that support for socialism has been around alot longer than the 60's. IIRC the American Socialist party's popularity peaked around the time of W.E.B Dubois. Popularity for socialism also soared during the great depression, which the communists derided as a failure of Capitalism. In fact, the early 30s were the only time in American history when there were more people emigrating out of America than into it, and movies like the Song of Russia were in existence.

the whole collectivist counter culture pre-dates the 60's by quite a bit. Heck the first use of dynamite as a weapon was used by a terrorist advocating anarchy who threw it into a crowd of policemen.

I understand that these ideals were present in America before the 60's, but i don't think they were preached based on reasons such as 'common love' which was characteristic of the 60's and which is the point that Toohey conveys in The Fountainhead.

Also, did the counter-culture promote socialism explicitly? I thought it was more of an implicit notion. My mom was a hippie in her college days, and she still talks about those times as if they were the pinnacle of civilizations, not because of the socialist ideals, but because of the 'love'

Edited by Febod

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I was just listening to an Ayn Rand radio interview (a Texas station duing the Kennedy presidency). She says she is a Romanticist as an author, but the increasing government controls on the economy are starting to make her appear Naturalististic :thumbsup:

More specifically, she say that she set the events of Atlas Shurgged so that they were about a decade away (in the state of deterioration) for a reader of her book. She says that it appears that things might deteriorate sooner.

She says that she finds herself in the unfortunate position of as prophet whose predictions may come true sooner than expected.

[Caveat Emptor (with usualy implied warranties :) ): When I have a moment, I will document the exact reference and some quotes. Meanwhile, remember that the above is my own paraphrase -- with all the implications.]

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Could Rand have been able to predict that these ideas would gain prominent popularity, esp. with college students?  Or is this merely a coincidence?  Or were these ideals already gaining momentum in the 30's and 40's?  Any thoughts?

These so-called "ideals" had gained momentum in the 30's when America and much of the Western world were looking for solutions for the problems of The Great Depression. As Socialism had taken hold in Russia, some intellectuals involved in the shaping of Western economics utilized altruism as an antidote for what they perceved to be the selfishness of the wealthy industrialists and bankers. In order to utilize the altruism that the Soviets used in their country, naturally they looked to Socialism to help resolve the problems of high unemployment, poverty, and bankruptcy which was rampant back in those days.

Rand, being a refugee from Soviet oppression, was one of the best voices to offer rebuttal against this altruist movement, having seen first-hand what ill effects it had upon life, liberty, and prosperity in Russia.

Rand also "predicted" the corruption that would take place between some big corporations and government in Atlas Shrugged. I put "predicted" in quotes because the roots of such collaborations and their byproducts of corruption were already in place, what with various governemt controls over business and trade.

For example, we look at the practices of Taggert Transcontinental and we relate these to modern-day Enron, United Airlines, TWA, Chrysler, and other corporations who sought help from the government for their ineptitudes.

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... she say that she set the events of Atlas Shurgged so that they were about a decade away.
Ms. Rand made that remark sometime in the 1960s. I could not ascertain the year, except to know it was before 1966.

Later, in an interview reprinted in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 27 1980, she said this:

"Yes, I am certainly optimistic and we are seeing signs of a return, or rather, an advance towards freedom, capitalism and individualism in the politics of the country... ... Bit, I am not at all optimistic as to whether the right side ... will win."

Between the 60's and 70's we had the so called "Californian Tax Revolt". A question that interests me is this: what were the intellectual roots of the Californian tax-revolt?

It is insufficient to say that people simply got tired of increasing taxes. Many other countries have seen far, far worse. The "revolt" must have had intellectual leaders. Who were they? Who influenced them? Any students of modern American history care to comment?

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