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Fatwah / February 26, 2010
rand family3a
This article first appeared in Alternet.

There’s something deeply unsettling about living in a country where millions of people froth at the mouth at the idea of giving health care to the tens of millions of Americans who don’t have it, or who take pleasure at the thought of privatizing and slashing bedrock social programs like Social Security or Medicare. It might not be as hard to stomach if other Western countries also had a large, vocal chunk of the population who thought like this, but the US is seemingly the only place where right-wing elites can openly share their distaste for the working poor. Where do they find their philosophical justification for this kind of attitude?

It turns out, you can trace much of this thinking back to Ayn Rand, a popular cult-philosopher who plays Charlie to the American right-wing’s Manson Family. Read on and you’ll see why.

One reason why most countries don’t find the time to embrace her thinking is that Ayn Rand is a textbook sociopath. Literally a sociopath: Ayn Rand, in her notebooks, worshiped a notorious serial murderer-dismemberer, and used this killer as an early model for the type of “ideal man” that Rand promoted in her more famous books — ideas which were later picked up on and put into play by major right-wing figures of the past half decade, including the key architects of America’s most recent economic catastrophe — former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan and SEC Commissioner Chris Cox — along with other notable right-wing Republicans such as Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Rush Limbaugh, and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

The loudest of all the Republicans, right-wing attack-dog pundits and the Teabagger mobs fighting to kill health care reform and eviscerate “entitlement programs” increasingly hold up Ayn Rand as their guru. Sales of her books have soared in the past couple of years; one poll ranked “Atlas Shrugged” as the second most influential book of the 20th century, after The Bible.

rand family protest3

So what, and who, was Ayn Rand for and against? The best way to get to the bottom of it is to take a look at how she developed the superhero of her novel, Atlas Shrugged, John Galt. Back in the late 1920s, as Ayn Rand was working out her philosophy, she became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of 12-year-old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation. Rand filled her early notebooks with worshipful praise of Hickman. According to biographer Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market, Rand was so smitten by Hickman that she modeled her first literary creation — Danny Renahan, the protagonist of her unfinished first novel, The Little Street — on him.

What did Rand admire so much about Hickman? His sociopathic qualities: “Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should,” she wrote, gushing that Hickman had “no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel ‘other people.’”

This echoes almost word for word Rand’s later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: “He was born without the ability to consider others.”

(The Fountainhead is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s favorite book — he even makes his clerks learn it.)

clarence_thomas2

I’ll get to where Rand picked up her silly Superman blather from later — but first, let’s meet William Hickman, the “genuinely beautiful soul” and inspiration to Ayn Rand. What you will read below — the real story, details included, of what made Hickman a “Superman” in Ayn Rand’s eyes — is rather gory reading, even if you’re a longtime fan of true crime “Death Porn” — so prepare yourself. Because you should read this to give Rand’s ideas their proper context, and to repeat this over and over until all of America understands what made this fucked-up Russian nerd’s mind tick, because Rand’s influence over the very people leading the fight to kill social programs, and her ideological influence on so many powerful bankers, regulators and businessmen who brought the financial markets crashing down, means that it’s suicide to ignore her, no matter how dumb, silly or beneath you her books and ideas are.

Rand fell for William Edward Hickman in the late 1920s, as the shocking story of Hickman’s crime started to grip the nation. His crime, trial and case was a non-stop headline grabber for months; the OJ Simpson of his day:

Hickman, who was only 19 when he was arrested for murder, was the son of a paranoid-schizophrenic mother and grandmother. His schoolmates said that as a kid Hickman liked to strangle cats and snap the necks of chickens for fun — most of the kids thought he was a budding maniac, though the adults gave him good marks for behavior, a typical sign of sociopathic cunning. He enrolled in college but quickly dropped out, and quickly turned to violent crime largely driven by the thrill and arrogance typical of sociopaths: in a brief and wild crime spree that grew increasingly violent, Hickman knocked over dozens of gas stations and drug stores across the Midwest and west to California. Along the way it’s believed he strangled a girl in Milwaukee, and killed his crime partner’s grandfather in Pasadena, tossing his body over a bridge after taking his money. Hickman’s partner later told police that Hickman told him how much he’d like to kill and dismember a victim someday — and that day did come for Hickman.

One afternoon, Hickman drove up to Mount Vernon Junior High school in Los Angeles, and told administrators that he’d come to pick up “the Parker girl” — her father, Perry Parker, was a prominent banker. Hickman didn’t know the girl’s first name, so when he was asked which of the two Parker twins — Hickman answered, “the younger daughter.” And then he corrected himself: “The smaller one.” The school administrator fetched young Marion, and brought her out to Hickman. No one suspected his motive; Marion obediently followed Hickman to his car as she was told, where he promptly kidnapped her. He wrote a ransom note to Marion’s father, demanding $1,500 for her return, promising that the girl would be left unharmed. Marion was terrified into passivity — she even waited in the car for Hickman when he went to mail his letter to her father. Hickman’s extreme narcissism comes through in his ransom letters, as he refers to himself as a “master mind [sic]” and “not a common crook.” Hickman signed his letters “The Fox” because he admired his own cunning: “Fox is my name, very sly you know.” And then he threatened: “Get this straight. Your daughter’s life hangs by a thread.”

Marian Parker (1915-1927) by peril61

Hickman and the girl’s father exchanged letters over the next few days as they arranged the terms of the ransom, while Marion obediently followed her captor’s demands. She never tried to escape the hotel where he kept her; Hickman even took her to a movie, and she never screamed for help. She remained quiet and still as told when Hickman tied her to the chair — he didn’t even bother gagging her because there was no need to, right up to the gruesome end.

Hickman’s last ransom note to Marion’s father is where this story reaches its disturbing apex: Hickman fills the letter with hurt anger over her father’s suggestion that Hickman might deceive him, and “ask you for your $1500 for a lifeless mass of flesh I am base and low but won’t stoop to that depth.” What Hickman didn’t say was that as he wrote the letter, Marion was already several chopped-up lifeless masses of flesh. Why taunt the father? Why feign outrage? This sort of bizarre taunting was all part of the serial killer’s thrill, maximizing the sadistic pleasure he got from knowing that he was deceiving the father before the father even knew what happened to his daughter. But this was nothing compared to the thrill Hickman got from murdering the helpless 12-year-old Marion Parker. Here is an old newspaper description of the murder, taken from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on December 27, 1927:

“It was while I was fixing the blindfold that the urge to murder came upon me,” he continued, “and I just couldn’t help myself. I got a towel and stepped up behind Marian. Then before she could move, I put it around her neck and twisted it tightly. I held on and she made no outcry except to gurgle. I held on for about two minutes, I guess, and then I let go. When I cut loose the fastenings, she fell to the floor. I knew she was dead. Well, after she was dead I carried her body into the bathroom and undressed her, all but the underwear, and cut a hole in her throat with a pocket knife to let the blood out.”

Another newspaper account dryly explained what Hickman did next:

Then he took a pocket knife and cut a hole in her throat. Then he cut off each arm to the elbow. Then he cut her legs off at the knees. He put the limbs in a cabinet. He cut up the body in his room at the Bellevue Arms Apartments. Then he removed the clothing and cut the body through at the waist. He put it on a shelf in the dressing room. He placed a towel in the body to drain the blood. He wrapped up the exposed ends of the arms and waist with paper. He combed back her hair, powdered her face and then with a needle fixed her eyelids. He did this because he realized that he would lose the reward if he did not have the body to produce to her father.

Hickman packed her body, limbs and entrails into a car, and drove to the drop-off point to pick up his ransom; along his way he tossed out wrapped-up limbs and innards scattering them around Los Angeles. When he arrived at the meeting point, Hickman pulled Marion’s head and torso out of a suitcase and propped her up, her torso wrapped tightly, to look like she was alive–he sewed wires into her eyelids to keep them open, so that she’d appear to be awake and alive. When Marion’s father arrived, Hickman pointed a sawed-off shotgun at him, showed Marion’s head with the eyes sewn open (it would have been hard to see for certain that she was dead), and then took the ransom money and sped away. As he sped away, he threw Marion’s head and torso out of the car, and that’s when the father ran up and saw his daughter–and screamed.

marian body1

Marion Parker’s discarded limbs

This is the “amazing picture” Ayn Rand — guru to the Republican/Tea Party right-wing — admired when she wrote in her notebook that Hickman represented “the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. A man who really stands alone, in action and in soul. Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should.”

Other people don’t exist for Ayn, either. Part of her ideas are nothing more than a ditzy dilettante’s bastardized Nietzsche — but even this was plagiarized from the same pulp newspaper accounts of the time. According to an LA Times article in late December 1927, headlined “Behavioralism Gets The Blame,” a pastor and others close to the Hickman case denounce the cheap trendy Nietzschean ideas that Hickman and others latch onto as a defense:

“Behavioristic philosophic teachings of eminent philosophers such as Nietzsche and Schopenhauer have built the foundation for William Edward Hickman’s original rebellion against society…” the article begins.

hickman hanged

The fear that some felt at the time was that these philosophers’ dangerous, yet nuanced ideas would fall into the hands of lesser minds, who would bastardize Nietzsche and Schopenhauer and poison the rest of us. Which aptly fits the description of Ayn Rand, whose philosophy developed out of her admiration for “Supermen” like Hickman. Rand’s philosophy can be summed up by the title of one of her best-known books:The Virtue of Selfishness. She argues that all selfishness is a moral good, and all altruism is a moral evil, even “moral cannibalism” to use her words. To her, those who aren’t like-minded sociopaths are “parasites” and “lice” and “looters.”

But with Rand, there’s something more pathological at work. She’s out to make the world more sociopath-friendly so that people like Ayn and her hero William Hickman can reach their full potential, not held back by the morality of the “weak,” whom Rand despised.

That’s what makes it so creepy how Rand and her followers clearly get off on hating and bashing those they perceived as weak–Rand and her followers have a kind of fetish for classifying weaker, poorer people as “parasites” and “lice” who need to swept away. This is exactly the sort of sadism, bashing the helpless for kicks, that Rand’s hero Hickman would have appreciated. What’s really unsettling is that even former Central Bank chief Alan Greenspan, whose relationship with Rand dated back to the 1950s, did some parasite-bashing of his own. In response to a 1957 New York Times book review slamming Atlas Shrugged, Greenspan, defending his mentor, published a letter to the editor that ends:

Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish as they should.

Alan Greenspan

As much as Ayn Rand detested human “parasites,” there is one thing she strongly believed in: creating conditions that increase the productivity of her Supermen – the William Hickmans who rule her idealized America: “If [people] place such things as friendship and family ties above their own productive work, yes, then they are immoral. Friendship, family life and human relationships are not primary in a man’s life. A man who places others first, above his own creative work, is an emotional parasite.”

ayn rand2

The Psychohead

And yet Republican faithful like GOP Congressman Paul Ryan read Ayn Rand and declare, with pride, “Rand makes the best case for the morality of democratic capitalism.” Indeed. Except that Ayn Rand also despised democracy, as she declared: “Democracy, in short, is a form of collectivism, which denies individual rights: the majority can do whatever it wants with no restrictions. In principle, the democratic government is all-powerful. Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom.”

“Collectivism” is another one of those Randian epithets popular among her followers. Here for example is another Republican member of Congress, the one with the freaky thousand-yard-stare, Michelle Bachman, parroting the Ayn Rand ideological line, to explain her reasoning for wanting to kill social programs:

“As much as the collectivist says to each according to his ability to each according to his need, that’s not how mankind is wired. They want to make the best possible deal for themselves.”

Whenever you hear politicians or Tea Baggers dividing up the world between “producers” and “collectivism,” just know that those ideas and words more likely than not are derived from the deranged mind of a serial-killer groupie. When you hear them threaten to “Go John Galt,” hide your daughters and tell them not to talk to any strangers — or Tea Party Republicans. And when you see them taking their razor blades to the last remaining programs protecting the middle class from total abject destitution — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — and brag about their plans to slash them for “moral” reasons, just remember Ayn’s morality and who inspired her.

rand family kids

William Hickman’s wet dream come true.

Too many critics of Ayn Rand would rather dismiss her books and ideas as laughable, childish, hackneyed, lame, embarrassing–”Nietzsche for sorority girls” was how I used to dismiss her. I did that with the Christian Right, like a lot of people who didn’t want to take on something as big, bland and impervious as them. Too many of us focused elsewhere–until it was too late and the Christian fundamentalist crazies took over America. So this time I’m paying more attention–late as usual, but maybe there’s still time to head off the worst that’s yet to come–because Rand’s name keeps foaming out of the mouths of the Teabagger crowd and the elite conservative circuit in Washington. Ayn Rand is the guru, and they are the “Rand Family” followers carrying out her vision. The only way to protect ourselves from this thinking is the way you protect yourself from serial killers: smoke the Rand followers out, make them answer for following the crazed ideology of a serial-killer-groupie, and run them the hell out of town and out of our hemisphere.

Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

Click the cover & buy the book!

218 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. napoleonkaramazov  |  February 26th, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Reminds me of Raskolnikov, or at least his theory about great men having a moral right to overstep boundaries. That was my favourite part of crime and punishment.

    Ayn Rand clings to the coat tails of Nietzsche. Nietzsche clings to the coat tails of Dostoevsky.

    And of course Ayn Rand was a native of St Petersburg. Interestingly, her wikipedia page says…
    ‘Of the writers she read at this time, Victor Hugo, Edmond Rostand, Friedrich Schiller, and Fyodor Dostoevsky became her perennial favorites’

  • 2. tom  |  February 26th, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    kick ass article. ayn rand was a shitty writer and a shitty thinker

  • 3. Pablito  |  February 26th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    As a former Randroid, yeah, fuck Rand. She was an evil bitch. You didn’t even go in to the weird cult she created in Manhattan, where here followers lived within blocks of her.

    More on that:

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard23.html

    Of course, I’m sure Ames hates Rothbard too. Heh.

  • 4. Jack Reynolds  |  February 26th, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Has anyone else noticed that Objectivists are frequently ugly? Some of the ugliest people I’ve ever met have been Randists. One of the ugliest conservatives I know told me he just finished reading Atlas Shrugged.

  • 5. tom  |  February 26th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    if you can study crime and punishment and derive objectivism from that, you have a learning/reading disability

  • 6. Christo  |  February 26th, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Ugly ugly woman who, despite what Johann Hari says in that article you linked, does not deserve any compassion. How does he get that idea??

    I also note that Hari blames the Bolsheviks for making her crazy… instead of, say, her having grown up in an extremely privileged background surrounded by servants, whom with it being pre-revolutionary Russia she doubtless whipped on occasion, and living with parents who viewed her as some social obligation instead of the fruit of their love like ordinary people’s folks. And when she emigrated to America as a refugee she didn’t have to risk life and limb working in some cut rate factory or cleaning toilets but became a pampered Hollywood studio executive’s PA.

  • 7. Alex_C  |  February 26th, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    For most the Rand psycho-delusion is short-lived, and we look back on it in shame. We pick up an accessible book like Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, in which free trade and a free society are equated with Capitalism – we’re all learning now how false that is.

    Rand is the psychological leader of most everyone who believes in The American Way Of life. You”ll hear a lot about her in the NRA crowd, although under Rand’s ideal dictatorship guns would only be owned by the elite. She’s worshiped by the economic-crash crowd, who tend to call all who are not like them, moneyed, as “leechfucks” and yearn to shoot those not wealthy or faux-wealthy on sight. That would literally include their own families, etc. All for one and every man for himself! The Peak Oil types also idolize Rand, whether they are called Preppers, Teagaggers, Doomers, Survivalists, Nice People Like Us, etc. On some Peak Oil discussion boards, there are some rather nice people, probably not even Randists, who have made the mistake of being open and honest about their reduced financial circumstances. The mistake will become clear when the “nice, benevolent, decent” ones who have lots of “stuff” wipe out the poor ones to take their stuff too.

    These are the people who pour gasoline on homeless folks and light them, for kicks. They teach their teenage kids to do the same. They idolize Michael Vick and are outraged that he was not commended rather than being punished for his utilitarian use of dogs.

    These people are utterly evil, would be offed in any normal society.

    Kill your local Randist before it kills you.

    As I mentioned, tea bags for teabaggers. A standard tea bag is about 2 inches on a side, 4 inches square. At 100 yards, if you can hit the tea bag every time, that’s holding within 2 minutes of angle, achievable with most rifles and most shooters. Practice your teabag shooting. Then when it’s time, just aim for teabag-sized spots on the teabagger. That patch of neck between helmet and kevlar. An exposed hand. A portion of a face. Hit the teabag!

    Legitimate sniper targets include teabaggers, Republicans, Positivists (that’s the name of Rand’s loathesome movement) Yuppie Survivalists, anything with a badge, an attitude, without a sense of humor.

  • 8. BlottoBonVismarck  |  February 26th, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    AYN RAND, NEOCONS AND OTHER NAZIS

    You can take the girl out of the totalitarian hellhole, but you can’t take the totalitarian hellhole out of the girl.

    Or once a totalitarian always a totalitarian.

    Why are the most likely numbskulls to defect always the ‘true believers’ from either end of the spectrum? Because it easy to flip from fascist to communist and vice-versa – the ‘true believer’ underneath remains exactly the same; no matter what mumbo-jumbo he or she is spouting.

    Just ask Christopher Hitchens and every Neocon worth the name. A requirement for Neocon membership certainly seems to have been a preference for totalitarianism – Hitchens going from a Trotskyite youth to an alcohol-sodden Neocon-Nazi-supporting American degenerate late middle age phase. Or was it premature senility?

    Those with suspicious minds point out that the preferred method to destroy your enemies in Washington DC is by blackmail over indiscretions, courtesy of widespread honey traps, surveillance and a limitless right-wing budget. On which Sibel Edmonds has recently been so eloquent.

    On the Neocons, the torture and genocide was a clue of course. Nothing like 27,000 missing Muslims and 1.5m dead Iraqis to make the point that sacrificing lives to noble causes seems to be ok for some people when it is other peoples’s lives. Other people’s lives; other peoples spouses; other people’s children.

    27,000 MISSING MUSLIMS
    Robert Fisk – “There is just one little problem, though, and that’s the “missing” prisoners. Not the victims who have been (still are being?) tortured in Guantanamo, but the thousands who have simply disappeared into US custody abroad or – with American help – into the prisons of US allies. Some reports speak of 20,000 missing men, most of them Arabs, all of them Muslims. Where are they? Can they be freed now? Or are they dead? If Obama finds that he is inheriting mass graves from George W Bush, there will be a lot of apologising to do.”

    Robert Fisk, the same incensed honourable man who fearlessly reported the Sabra and Shatila genocide of Ariel Sharon who, after the Israeli inquiry, was fired as Israeli Defense minister and forever more branded a war criminal. Would that there be such an inquiry in the U.S. – http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-obama-has-to-pay-for-eight-years-of-bushs-delusions-1001092.html

    Clive Stafford Smith: “US Holding 27,000 in Secret Overseas Prisons; Transporting Prisoners to Iraqi Jails to Avoid Media & Legal Scrutiny,” on Democracy Now. Click on Real Video Stream – main video corrupted. What a surprise. Not. – http://www.democracynow.org/2008/5/19/clive_stafford_smith

  • 9. Ryan Hickel  |  February 26th, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Ames,

    Another great article on another truly horrible person. I think Ayn Rand’s philosophy can be summed up with this instruction: “Care about other people only to the extent that they support your own self-interest.” I don’t think she said that, but if she did, she could of saved a lot of trees and and the human race a lot of trouble.

  • 10. senorpogo  |  February 26th, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Great article. A truly repugnant person with a truly repugnant set of beliefs. I was not aware of her praise of Hickman.

    Love the close too. It’s so true: in America, be afraid of the intellectually bankrupt, preposterous, full-of-shit ideas. The more obvious the logical deficiencies, the higher the likelihood that they’ll be guiding, accepted dogma in the not too distant future.

    See creationism, neo-conservatism, Randism, etc.

  • 11. badnewswade  |  February 26th, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Thid is a chilling piece that should be syndicated to every magazine and newspaper on the planet.

    It explains so much, like for example the story that Ayn Rand said once that income tax could be 90% just as long as it was spent on “defence”… ie killing people.

  • 12. Fissile  |  February 26th, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    Let me see if I understand all this? Rand-oids hate “parasites”? Correct?

    Parasite — An organism that grows, feeds, and is sheltered on or in a different organism while contributing nothing to the survival of its host.

    Doesn’t the above perfectly describe the banker/lawyer/politician class of this country? Isn’t this the very nature of Rand’s “superman”?

    BTW, Ames, the Christian Fundamentalists — emphasis on “mental” — that you so despise, didn’t just happen. The American Zionist lobby very carefully groomed this gang of trailer-dwelling, NASCAR-watching, cousin-loving, tards, because they are often more pro-Israel than the average American Jew. Unfortunately the AIPAC created Zion-stein monster seems to be out of control now. That’s an example of what the CIA calls “blow back”. I really have to laugh. These fuck-wits are the best friends that Israel has! Good luck with that, Israel.

  • 13. Necronomic.Justice  |  February 26th, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    @3 Then again, who doesn’t hate Rothbard?

  • 14. LIExpressway  |  February 26th, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    If I could get funding I would do an amazing documentary on the Far Right in America. The story would start with the old group of nutjobs like William Buckley,Robert Welch, Ayn Rand, Revilo Oliver ect. and would go all the way through from George Lincoln Rockwell, and the Birchers, to the Birthers and Tea Party’s. It would be an epic doc, cause all these crazies are all related and are all very strange and very evil. I still might do it as I have all the equipment and have poured hours of research into it, I just need the damn time and that cost $$.

  • 15. Alex_C  |  February 26th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I should clarify that not all preppers, peak oilers, survivalists, are Randists. Their major concern is getting through the Crash we’re just in the very beginning of. For some that means planning to give, share, and teach. For most, that means Social Darwinisnm spread your DNA by raping your neighbor’s wife AND his daughter etc. Psychopaths. I can say this because in the USA it’s proper and fashionable to be a psychopath. Be a giver, and you’re a weirdo. If you’re the person who will scale back, and make do, eat wild seeds and leaves and the “grotty” stuff the more pampered won’t touch, you are as alien to the average right-thinking American as if you were from planet Neptune.

    The preppers, peakoilers, fast-or-slow-crash Doomers who are basically good, decent, humble people are gonna have to lay low for a while because these movements are dominated, as American society is, by Randists.

    Natural societies had the problem of how to turn off their sociopaths, too. But they had far fewer of them, since their idea of the proper life was not sociopathy. But they did have to get together and decide that the Wendigo was among them, and to eliminate it before it ate them all. In our own future, hopefully most of the sociopaths will be busy killing each other off, but as the old Civil Defense film says, “Some will get through… to your home!”

  • 16. Narcoleptic  |  February 26th, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Does anyone know the address for the Bellevue Arms? I ask because I live in LA… in an apartment building called the Bellevue Arms. Seriously.

  • 17. Erik  |  February 26th, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    I find the Randians to be quite funny.

    They are always poor for some reason. They like the idea of wealth but they can never seem to acquire it themselves, so they blame the “parasites” for creating an environment where virtuous selfish people like them get screwed.

    Everyone I have known has been taken in by some kind of scam foisted on them but someone higher up in the Randian pecking order. One was done in by investing his life savings in a machine that both diagnosed and treated disease with magnets. Another one I knew lost his mini-fortune on selling tax preparation tips that claimed that if the flag had a fringe on it in the courthouse that you could prove that the court had no jurisdiction over you as a “sovereign individual”.

    I also enjoy the new Randians when they change their names to be these hyper Anglo Saxon names. Often three names instead of the usual parasitical two names and often with II, III, IV or V at the end. You can groove on the Randian name fashion here:

    http://www.objectivistparty.us/6464.html

    So, in conclusion. Randians are poor people with funny names who blame others for their poverty. Quite a movement there.

  • 18. Dammerung  |  February 26th, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    But look – aren’t you also against the parasites and looters in the form of Wall Street bankers? Aren’t you against the bureaucratic tax-feeders who not only rob us at gunpoint through the Federal Government but also ceaselessly inconvenience us for the pleasure?

    I’m no Rand-freak, but I’ve read her books and I see that her philosophy has SOME appeal. But if you ask me, the human lice infesting society aren’t hard-working illegal immigrants, or blue collar construction workers, or shoe salesmen…

    the real parasites are Wall St. and their syncophants in Washington. Two God forsaken cities, New York and DC, making war on the whole world.

  • 19. paul cripps  |  February 26th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    once again look at your appalling education system. you americans believe what you believe because you are unbelievably ignorant.5 percent of your population are brilliant and are brilliant at fucking the other 95 percent.sadly things will only get more troubling.whats more sad is so many truely decent people are go to be severely arse fucked.of course when you people burn down, you selfish pricks in gods name ,will take the rest of the world with you..

  • 20. Graham C  |  February 26th, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    “Ayn Rand clings to the coat tails of Nietzsche. Nietzsche clings to the coat tails of Dostoevsky.”

    And Dostoevsky clings to the coat tails of Thomas Carlyle. And they all cling to the coat tails of the authors of the Gospels and Paul, since their ideas are all basically an inversion of “Love your neighbor as yourself”, “Give him the other cheek”, and so on.

    This fact is darkly funny enough when you consider how much Ayn Rand hated Christianity.

    It becomes even funnier when you consider how many of Ayn Rand’s followers are practicing Christians or Jews who try to reconcile her creeds with their religious beliefs.

  • 21. Graham C  |  February 26th, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    Damn it. I swear I manage to screw up the formatting some new way every time I leave a comment here. Maybe a clever moderator will delete my last comment this time. Anyway, here it is again, with the italics closed.

    “Ayn Rand clings to the coat tails of Nietzsche. Nietzsche clings to the coat tails of Dostoevsky.”

    And Dostoevsky clings to the coat tails of Thomas Carlyle. And they all cling to the coat tails of the authors of the Gospels and Paul, since their ideas are all basically an inversion of “Love your neighbor as yourself”, “Give him the other cheek”, and so on.

    This fact is darkly funny enough when you consider how much Ayn Rand hated Christianity.

    It becomes even funnier when you consider how many of Ayn Rand’s followers are practicing Christians or Jews who try to reconcile her creeds with their religious beliefs.

  • 22. George  |  February 26th, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    mark ames, why don’t you start a counter revolution for real?

  • 23. domovoy  |  February 26th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Is that really Ms Ayn Rand or is that actually William F. Buckley in a wig ? It really looks more like his mannerism.

  • 24. Jeanne  |  February 26th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Great article, Mark. Rand’s appeal is to justify the sociopathic behavior of her followers. Their hatred of “parasites” is projection, because they don’t actually produce anything themselves. I really hope this psycho’s idolization of Hickman gets more attention. I guess we just need to wait a few months, and some jerk will write about it in Newsweek without giving you credit.

    Alex_C, are you familiar with the Life After the Oil Crash Forum, doomers.us? That’s one doomer forum that isn’t dominated by Randroids, though they’re a definite presence. It’s maybe 60% decent people and 40% sociopaths. In fact, there’s a thread on this article there with very positive responses. There are several big fans of the Exile over there.

  • 25. Alex_C  |  February 26th, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    LOL on the Anglo-Saxon names because …. sigh … Rand was not Rand’s real name, she was of course Jewish and had a very typical name for that extraction.

    LOL on Randists being poor too. I have an Uncle who’s one, actually sighs, “Who is John Galt?” and works for a large gov’t space exploration agency, at a job that was arranged for him, not gotten on his own merits. Also, much as I’d like to say he’s a real live rocket scientist or at least some kind of scientist, he’s not, he’s a paper-shuffler. A glorified tea-boy with a Master’s degree. And about the coldest mofo I’ve met, there’s not a person in there. Just a bundle of Randisms wrapped around the basic sociopath “kernel program” that shuts up in silent rage when one points out what a gov’t supported entitlement puppy he is. And poor as a church mouse, no ability to handle money at all.

  • 26. Carleton Wu  |  February 26th, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    7-panel takedown of Objectivism:
    http://www.angryflower.com/atlass.gif

  • 27. Carleton Wu  |  February 26th, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    Ayn Rand clings to the coat tails of Nietzsche. Nietzsche clings to the coat tails of Dostoevsky.

    If you think that, you learned everything you know about Nietzsche from this article. Which doesn’t exactly make you an expert, dipshit.

  • 28. mr. mike  |  February 26th, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    On Parasites: All you have to do is replace “parasites” in a Randoid rant with “Jews” or “Blacks” and it begins to make sense. “Jews who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish like they should” sounds more like a mocking homily recited by an SS officer at Auschwitz to his prisoners than something you would think Alan Greenspan would say, but this is the logic of a philosophical movement that has already declared that it has won because Rand is inevitable.

    On Randian poverty: Even Rand herself was slightly poorer then she needed to be, mainly because she would not play the profitable 1950s-60s stockmarket. Why? She hated risk (!) and radical change, even though all the heroes in her novels are devil-may-care gamblers with their lives or fortunes. The same goes for her followers as “Erik” pointed out; most of them are wannabe political philosophers or crank economists, not businessmen.

    Final Comments: Ames is dead right about Rand’s infatuation with William “Hack-n-Slash” Hickman, the problem is that this stuff has been somewhat known to critics of Rand for a while. I guess smoking yourself to death after destroying the Blumenthal marriage was good enough to scare off partially sane converts and enough grist for the mill to use in books like “The Ayn Rand Cult” by Jeff Walker, but Rand’s love for Billy “Hacksaw” Hickman might scare off the teabagger loons….too bad about all the trees wasted to print “Atlas Shrugged” on.

  • 29. Gustavo Arellano  |  February 27th, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Ames. Typical great shit. Which cult hero caused more deaths: Che Guevara, or Rand? I say the latter.

    Also: you can’t comment on the Vanity Fair link, but congrats on that. Fuck Taibbi, that jealous mainstreamed pendejo.

  • 30. Padilla  |  February 27th, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Wunderbar article… And I’d say a full book on the matter could do no wrong.

  • 31. nampa1  |  February 27th, 2010 at 1:03 am

    I’ve studied Bolshevism quite a bit and I still can not answer the question of Lenin’s “party of a new type” as being the manifestation of his ideal or a stop-gap measure to win power in a Czarist police state, which I admit, did a good job of getting the power.
    Even so, I take some offense at the insinuation it is a cult. The Leninist party, I see it more of a way to deal with emergencies and only later becoming an ossified ruling party. In other words a distortion.

  • 32. Kyle  |  February 27th, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Another piece of required reading, to understand that Rand was not only a sociopath but also pathetically childish: http://www.slate.com/id/2233966/

  • 33. Armen  |  February 27th, 2010 at 1:46 am

    Rand’s the symptom that feeds the disease.

  • 34. rossiya  |  February 27th, 2010 at 2:55 am

    My father made me read Rand. As a youngster all I got out of it was collectivism=>bad, interwoven with “On Walden Pond” about transcendentalism. However my father took Rand as a license to become a sociopathic beast, surrounding himself with attorneys, suing everyone and screwing creditors, killing my mother with abandonment and theft, having his controlling share vote removed by the Supreme Court for his exceptional vampirism, finally being offed by a fuckbuddy attorney.

    Americans act as if subjected to the Star Trek neuroneutralizer machine, which empties the mind. A Russian juggernaut easily captivates the hollowed American soul.

  • 35. Outsider  |  February 27th, 2010 at 3:15 am

    Yes, maybe Rand was a sociopath, but that doesn’t mean government programs like Social Security aren’t evil too.
    Someone can receive a permanent monthly check without having worked a day in their life just because they married someone, while someone who works nine years in crap jobs won’t get one cent.

  • 36. Remarkable  |  February 27th, 2010 at 6:06 am

    Ha!

    Fissile got it right. The true parasites of today are living in the “fourth” sector: After growing plants, making automobiles and writing computer code – anything remotely useful – the drones discovered the fourth sector where nothing is produced, only shipped, commanded, stamped and counted around, back and forth. They just do what the communist Zentralkomitee did. $

    “Administration.” Blörk.

  • 37. Korman643  |  February 27th, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Few things summarizes “lies and stupidity” as Ayn Rand’s books… Basically, it’s the cult of Mordor, worshiping everything that’s ugly, stupid, evil and wrong – EVERYTHING. The videogame “Bioshock” makes a great point on this, setting the whole thing in a Objectivist “heaven” gone wild. And thinking about this, “Bioshock” had the “Little Sisters”, which make for an interesting Hickman connection…

    Articles like this one make me proud to have been reading Ames and Dolan stuff all these years. Keep the good work going guys continuing to tell the truth, the world desperately needs you!!

  • 38. DERP  |  February 27th, 2010 at 7:10 am

    I did some google fu and that Will Hickman was one handsome looking bit of crazy. Easy to see how a homely misfit like Ayn could fall for a dashing hack-n-slash rouge like him.

    Why, he’d sweep her off her feet and take her on the kind of blood spattered adventure that an off kilter gal craves. He’d look right into her mannish face with those black eyes of his and pound the stiff right outta her on that red-slicked floor. If only those parasites hadn’t swung ‘im from the gallows.

    LOL, doesn’t that explain a lot?

  • 39. Carbon  |  February 27th, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Excellent article, Mark. I spend a lot of time talking with Tea Party folks. Why? Because they have the enthusiasm to protest, to take action, to try to change the system, which is a lot more than I can say for many of the folks on the castrated left. The problem is that while most of these people have their hearts in the right place, their facts are almost always wrong. I’ve taken on the personal responsibility of trying to straighten out as many of them as I can. This may seem like an exercise in futility, but in truth it’s like shooting fat, slow fish in a barrel with an AK47. It is ridiculously easy, if you know how to argue. The trick is a. treat them with respect b. to explain to them how the right-wing elitist philosophy they cling to is specifically designed to obliterate everything they hold dear. My current technique for breaking the Randian wall of illusion is to let these folks in on Rand’s hatred of Christianity. It works like a charm. The cognitive dissonance induced exercises the demon of Rand out of the most stalwart “Free Market” Tea Partier. If they have to choose between some ugly Russian bitch and Jesus Christ – the King of Kings, their Lord and Personal Savior- who do you think will win? This article is just another fine tool for breaking the Randian spell.

  • 40. Black Monk  |  February 27th, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Brilliant article, everyone ought to read this…

  • 41. Diet Coke  |  February 27th, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Atlas Shrugged is nothing more than Mein Kampf for Americans.

  • 42. General Foods  |  February 27th, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Ayn Rand is a scrap of fuel burning bright in the belly of the American domination machine. Which continues to run quite smoothly, thanks to whatever crazy delusions, backed by the finest technology in the world.

  • 43. Pons Seclorum  |  February 27th, 2010 at 11:21 am

    “There’s something deeply unsettling about living in a country where millions of people froth at the mouth at the idea of giving health care to the tens of millions of Americans who don’t have it, or who take pleasure at the thought of privatizing and slashing bedrock social programs like Social Security or Medicare.”

    If you discard the Randian influence on the Tea Party, there still remains a cogent case to be made against these programs that don’t even serve their intended purpose. Social security is not for the purpose of insurance, you are not guaranteed to receive in your dotage what you payed in throughout your life, and what you did pay in has already been spent by the government. What SS recipients have now is an I.O.U from the Treasury that can only be redeemed by taxing someone else. So, in short, these ‘entitlement programs’ (where one is not actually entitled anything according to the Supreme Court case of Flemming v. Nestor) are tantamount to a ponzi scheme. So, tell me, why are these programs so indispensable again?

  • 44. Plamen Petkov  |  February 27th, 2010 at 11:36 am

    preaching to the converted, yeawn. and NOT a single Randian in sight to defend the poor lesbo.
    You guys can talk your talk all you want but humanity has always been ruled by psychopaths and crazies. This fact alone tells me a lot about the sheeple. From the ancient times of Alexander the Great, Julius Ceasar to Hitler, Stalin, Bush I and II, Cheney etc, etc, humans are easily lead and lied to by Psychopaths presenting themselves as Superman to the masses. Hmmm, seems Rand was right about a LOT of stuff. Another caareful reading is in order.
    Shocking stuff? Naaaah, hardly. After reading Colin Wilson this was hardly “shocking”.

  • 45. fischbyne  |  February 27th, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Ames writes that Ayn Rand held to a “bastardized” vision of Nietzsche, which is correct. Ames might have made this more clear. While Nietzsche writes against Christian pity, he states repeatedly that only the weak take joy in hurting those who are less powerful. Christians slander Nietzsche when they call him a nihilist, only because they can’t conceive of ethics beyond Christianity. Although Nietzsche foresaw that He endorsed the revaluation of all values (particularly Christian values), which is to say he wanted to replace Christian values. He’s no street-corner nihilist.

  • 46. Peter  |  February 27th, 2010 at 11:50 am

    You might be interested in exploring the career of Canadian accused serial killer, Air Force Colonel Russel Williams. The Canadian Military handwashes and says they could not have detected such a sociopath:

    http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/02/16/the-secret-life-of-colonel-russell-williams/

    I suspect there are many, many more sociopaths and active criminals in both the Canadian military and government. Why not? It is a country which plays Austria to the US Nazi Germany and participates in War Crimes, Torture, Rendition. And folks thought Canada produced only the World’s Finest Hockey Goons!

  • 47. mydick  |  February 27th, 2010 at 11:53 am

    And you call me a troll…

    Absolutely 10/10 excellent article, keep up the good work.

  • 48. Zirb  |  February 27th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Great article. Greenspan and the corporatists used Rand’s distorted extremism to justify their monopolies. BUT, Tea Parties began with Ron Paul before they were co-opted by Limbaugh-Palin Randians. And Ron Paul’s style of freedom is more based on an economic theory-Austrian Economics- a theory on human action which goes back a hundred years before Rand, and is less moralizing than Rand– it’s more humble than Rand. If you want to complete the circle, then I think your next critique must by of Ludvig von Mises. The easiest place to start would be to critique his critique of anti-capitalism: http://mises.org/etexts/anticap.pdf

  • 49. Darren  |  February 27th, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    If you’re a brainwashed geek like me and want to try to convince yourself that there’s a reasonable explanation for Ayn Rand’s position on Hickman and the relationship between Hickman and Renahan, you might want to consider doing something like I and my cult geek friends do–whitewashed what was published in “Journals of Ayn Rand.” It gives a much different stance. Here it is:

    I am a geek no one in Russia loves me I have no friends, I spend my life reading about knights and princesses, the reason why no one likes me or talks to me or invites me to their parties is because…they’re jealous of me. Yes, they’re jealous because I am a superior being. But no one in Russia believes me because they know me and my type too well. So I will move to America where people are more gullible, maybe they’ll fall for my “Superman” act.

  • 50. Michaelc  |  February 27th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I like many other unhappy teenagers lapped up Rand’s egocentric twaddle, fantasizing about how I was the only thing in the world that mattered, and that the rest of the world would someday pay for making me so unhappy, and then I grew up.

    The scariest thing about this phenomenon is hearing people (supposedly intelligent adults) in authority lauding this sociopathic philosophy and second rate literature. How is it not obvious to them that a person who considers rape scenarios love scenes is not the right person to take social advise from?

  • 51. Michaelc  |  February 27th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    It is so like “conservatives” to not only embrace the philosophy of a adulterous, atheistic, admirer of serial killers, but to choose her for their hero.

  • 52. Mark  |  February 27th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Hmmm I don’t really agree with you. No matter if Ayn Rand was right or wrong. Why should I have to pay for people that don’t want to pay for themselves? As Americans we think too much that we are entitled to whatever it is we want. Yet most of us don’t understand that nothing is free. I don’t hate the poor, but there is no reason to rob Peter to pay Paul. Giving health care to the people that won’t pay for it on their own will take money away from me and my family, how can you be ok with that?

    Its different if the person has some sort of disability, that’s more justifiable. Just don’t point a gun to my head and tell me to hand over my money, so the person that didn’t work hard or smart enough can get health care or even eat for that matter.

    Now if I want to donate money I’ve made to help a needy person, great I’m all for that.

  • 53. Henry  |  February 27th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    the tea party people who are appropriating and invoking ayn rand would have been completely abhorrent to her.

  • 54. goat_farmers_of_the_CIA  |  February 27th, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    It’s a long time since I read such a great, truly enligtening article (that second adjective can describe so little nowadays, it most often sounds ironic). Here in little Ecuador we also have our share of Randists, but thankfully they don’t have any power. But the neo-feudal mindset, quite a bit like that of Rand, is still alive and kicking in some circles of the upper classes… Thank God we don’t have a bloodthirsty military aristocracy like that of Chile, willing to kill thousands keeping the rich rich and the poor sick or dead.

  • 55. Tilda  |  February 27th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Why do you call her Russian? Ayn Rand is not a Russian name and ethnically Russian people do not get jobs in Holywood. Russian Empire was based had dozens of ethnic groups. Not every person who speaks Russian is Russian, like not every person who speaks English is English.

  • 56. Josh  |  February 27th, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    The connections made in this article are tenuous at best. You want to villainize Rand for pointing out that a loser also had one or two admirable qualities? Fine, just be prepared to torch a thousand other writers, including yourself, I might add.

  • 57. Alex_C  |  February 27th, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Jeanne – thank you for making my point for me. In the general population, sociopaths are by the most generous estimate, 5% of the population.

    Yet you state on LATOC it’s 40%.

    Indeed, a concentration of sociopathic types.

    There are two people on there worth a shit: Megadoom, because he’s a good person and means it, and Chesyre, because he’s an utter bastard and means it.

    The rest are hyperpolitical basement-dwelling keyboard-tappers, who’d blanch and faint away at the thought of leaving Mom’s home and their Hot Pockets, and actually fucking DOING anything. The thought of sharing the same room with someone who lives in the real world makes ‘em crap their pants.

    Thus, they are perpetually busy kicking anyone real off.

    What’s sad is, that as I said, there are two real people there. Megadoom bought his way on with his great writing on Katrina. Ches posts very seldom, and I always think a new Ches post will be his last, the stench in there is getting too strong for even him to stand.

    The rest are a bunch of two-faced, silver-spoon Neocons or wish they were. “Oh, I’m a big bad doomer but if the unemployment doesn’t get extended, me and my hubby-dear are screwed!” “Oh, I”m so in touch with Nature, please send me money so I can set up a private zoo, ‘$5 to poke the lion’”.

    And you, Jeanne, see nothing sick and wrong about hanging out in a place where it’s at least 40% sociopaths?

  • 58. caleb  |  February 27th, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    This article is mostly a complete misrepresentation of the truth.

    Ayn Rand appreciated very specific aspects of Hickman, and she made this very clear in her writings. It’s the same as being a fan of the baseball player Pete Rose. It’s correct to say he was both a great baseball player and a compulsive gambler. Just because you acknowledge he is good at baseball doesn’t mean you also love his gambling addiction.

    The phrase “serial-killer-groupie” isn’t a complete lie, because she did appreciate certain aspects of Hickman, but if you think that phrase tells the whole story then you are missing the point completely.

    This article and most of the comments are filled with opinions of people who have no understanding of what they’re talking about with respect to Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.

    Objectivism is a philosphy that centers around the observation that man has an ability to use his mind to sustain himself on earth and be happy.

  • 59. Allen  |  February 27th, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    52:

    Because you live in a complex social system and an individual existence in such is a romantic fantasy. You count on a system of laws and governance that requires the participation of all — and you are in an economic system that is fundamentally social. Is your “money” raw commodities, or is it paper money that is essentially worthless except as a social arrangement? Who guarantees your private property?

    A capitalist system is not a meritocracy — even if everyone was born with a genius level IQ and herculean work ethic, there would be an underclass.

    In an ideal world the question “why should everyone be guaranteed health care and other basics?” is answered by a properly dignified populace resolutely: your safety depends on it.

  • 60. FrankMcG  |  February 27th, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    #11

    That’s what’s amazing about Republicans: all this “outrage” over Obama’s budget deficit (wasting money on “trivial” things like preventing the entire banking system from collapse). Where the hell was this outrage during the Reagan/Bush years? These people would have no problem with quadrupling Federal spending if it all went to bombs.

    Some other comments mentioned “True Believers” and how easily radical communists flip to radical fascists. I strongly encourage everyone to check out The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer. It’s an accurate, very easy read on the common nature of all mass movements. It explains everything from cults to Bolsheviks to brownshirts to evangelists to “war on terror” neocons. Basically it starts out as a galvanizing force of the recently displaced/uplifted (Rand) to overthrow an established order before it is eventually co-opted by assholes who turn it around in to a means of maintaining the control of their order.

  • 61. FrankMcG  |  February 27th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    also the “childish” comment was spot on. A lot of these movements stem from a literal child’s understanding of concepts combined with an absolute fear of things they cannot understand and control.

    The result is people wanting to completely tear down complex and nuanced systems they cannot understand. This is where you get Ayn Rand Libertarianism from. This is where you get the “why should I have to pay into social programs and public schooling?” from. This is where you get people trying to abolish the “nazi lover” ACLU. This is where you get the people who WANT the government to collapse (at least until they actually start feeling the negative effects) as stage one in their “second American Revolution”.

    Basically, one big extension of the child who doesn’t understand why his parents make him do his homework and eat his vegetables and go to bed early and would dance with glee if the school burned down.

  • 62. az  |  February 27th, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    That guy commenting about austrian and neoclassical economics is right. Ayn Rand’s stuff about parasites/looters/whatever is just another inversion of capitalism’s socio-economic organization from workers and capitalists to the ambiguous consumers and produces respectively.

    As for the article it’s good but I’m kinda growing out of long-winded internet flame wars so I don’t really care about Rand anymore. :/

  • 63. Dammerung  |  February 27th, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    FrankMcG:

    But isn’t it obvious to you that these government apparatuses don’t serve their intended function?

    - Schools don’t educate.
    - The Department of Defense doesn’t act to protect us.
    - The TSA doesn’t keep terrorists off planes.
    - Social Security is a ponzi scheme that provides no security.
    - Welfare doesn’t lift people out of poverty it only keeps them there.
    - New Orleans, full stop.

    It’s not a matter of fiscal conservatives trying to sabotage humanity. It’s just that they recognize that the government doesn’t live up to its promises and we don’t have the choice to vote with our wallets.

    I don’t like Wal-Mart. I don’t shop there. I don’t like USA-Fed. They take a significant fraction of my paycheck anyway.

  • 64. pedro  |  February 27th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    I got 4 pages into Atlas Shrugged. The Horror The Horror.

    You guys are looking at it all wrong-Its nothing to do with class war proletariat etc.

    She was not pleasing to the eye and therefore wasn’t getting enough manmeat. This lead to hormonal inbalance and subsequent delusional thinking- and a modern classic is born.

    Interesting article but I agree with the dude talking about the guy with the gambling addiction. Pillor her on her arguments- not on crapola she writes about a serial killer.

    After all, didn’t Time magazine vote Hutler as Man of the year? Lets not discount Time on that basis but instead on its editorial policy.

    Best comment relates to the Bioshock analogy ($4.99 download from Steam). I thought of that when I read the comment on parasites.

  • 65. Jack  |  February 27th, 2010 at 9:47 pm

    I totally agree with you Mark. A truly excellent piece!! I am impressed!

    Nathaniel Branden , a guy Ayn Rand had an affair with (she cheated on her husband) for many years actually published a critique of her ideas. In it he described how seriously they could screw up impressionable teenagers and how he saw the negative effects of her philosophy on my minds.

    Some of the ideas she had made sense (although those weren’t her own) but they were largely a vehicle to obtain funding from wealthy individuals and parties looking to justify their activities with a morality or ‘value system’. She did it for the money/ the ‘dollar’ just like it says in her books.

  • 66. Jolly Roger  |  February 27th, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    I made the point quite awhile ago (and again tonight) that Rand was, at best, a pissed-off spoiled teenager who lost the keys to the Mercedes. The people who hold her up as some kind of master author do so to try to justify their greed and inhumanity, and nothing more.

    I was told if that was all I got from Rand (and yes, I forced myself through the torture of “The Fountainhead” in its entirety, and tried to do it with “Atlas”) was her psychopathic self-absorption, then I didn’t know wtf I was talking about.

    Actually, I knew EXACTLY what I was talking about.

  • 67. Peelo  |  February 27th, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Great article.
    As for the Peak oil people mentioned here before…: They seem to be misanthropes, hyper individualists, conspiracy theorists and nihilists, for the most part. The kind of people Rand would have loved…

  • 68. Kyle  |  February 27th, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Dammerung, those are important things to talk about, but when the person bringing up those things is operating from a Randian perspective, the discourse devolves from genuinely debating the effectiveness of those government programs into pure ideological drivel. Any monkey throwing their shit around everywhere is eventually going to see it stick to something, but that doesn’t make shit-throwing a good basis for exploring truth.

  • 69. porkers-at-the-trough  |  February 27th, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    of, for chris-sakes…
    I’m still obsessed with Jews so you can imagine what sort of brilliant things I’d have to say about Ayn Rand/Rozenbaum…. oh yeah, it’d blow your mind. If only the people knew, if only I could get my message out, it would change everything.

  • 70. DocAmazing  |  February 28th, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Gosh, Dammerung, do you have any more right-wing talking points and inaccurate assertions to make? Public schools do indeed educate, at least as well as the various Christian “academies” that have popped up to get on the voucher gravy train; the TSA I will not bother defending, since it’s a Republican jobs program; Social Security provide retirement incomes for a hell of a lot of people who would otherwise be summaging through garbage cans; ditto welfare, whcih was never meant to lift people out of poverty, only to keep them from starving; and New Orleans is the poster child of Republican malfeasance–heckuva job, Dammy.

    A huge chunk of my taxes goes to blow up innocent Afghans. Another huge chunk goes to incarcerate pot dealers. Let’s hear from you about those government apparatuses.

  • 71. Joe Stack's Financial Advisor  |  February 28th, 2010 at 1:13 am

    @Dammerung

    Almost makes you want to buy into Rand’s “Objectivism” and become a “maverick” doesn’t it! May I recommend a fuel-air bomb laden, single-engine Piper Cherokee to fully realize your suffering?

    In all seriousness though, a centralized authority body (e.g. states, countries, a Burger King manager…) by defined “necessity” always violates Occam’s Razor and succumbs to unnecessary plurality and largess; which normally culminates in a lot of boo-hoo “Susy stole my cracker jacks” rhetoric being thrown around with a nice bloody war and/or revolution(s).

    Human “societies” historically get fucked up in due course via uncorrected, ignored fallacies in their origin. Decades (some make it centuries, god only knows how the Chinese have made it this far…) of looking-the-other-way concerning social and governmental ills presents an inevitably unique opportunity to see what really makes people tick (forced double entendre: see what they really believe and/or their blood and guts come put up or shut up time.)

    Please do have a blessed day.

  • 72. John G  |  February 28th, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Mark, this time you have gone too far.

    How dare you insult Ayn Rand by mislabeling her admiration for Hickman’s tactics as her philosophy!

    If you had the guts or the intellectual ability, you might try to attack her on her philosophy, and not on her behaviour.

    But then you would lose, because Rand’s philosophy is irrefutable. And all your ass-lickers here wouldn’t know what to think.

  • 73. selfContradictingLiberaliod  |  February 28th, 2010 at 4:06 am

    Liberals do their part to admire sociopathic head hanchos and their philosophy/values. Liberals admired, and continue to admire people like Che, Mao Ze dong, and Marx/Lenin w/ out investigating anything, just because its the trend or fashionable statement. Don’t forget the liberal serial killer groupies.

    Liberals publicly admit they admire sociopathic assholes by building great statues of them.

    -Giant statue of Lenin and Mao the talk of Richmond

    http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Giant+statue+Lenin+talk+Richmond/2384389/story.html

    Anita Dunn, leader of the liberals who put her in power admires Mao Ze Dong.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq0-nNIZhbY

    Libs wear tea shirts of Che and Mao.

    Che, when you find out about him up close is just another historical sociopathic head hancho who liked to execute people many, thats all he really was. Mao Ze Dong is an human hog asshole who would make his starved out soldiers carry him over mountains and make them fight useless battles. Like a lazy hog he would wait for 2 armies to fight each other; when one side wins he would move in and fight off the bleeding army that won. He would enjoy duck meals and other fine meals while his govt. programs caused millions of Chinese to starve at the same time. Only years later after the failure he would admit that nationalization of agriculture was a mistake. early 20th century libs would romanticize communism but when they found out about the gory details they weren’t as enthusiastic about it. Liberals always find out about evil when its too late and they wonder why people call them f@gets when it comes to security and defense. And when libs try to appear all hard on security they are always mean spirited to compensate for ther f@getry and expand the police state (stimulous bill gives money to buy air port scanners that can see you naked, hire more customs agents, airport security, save the jobs of police, and more govt. assholes, air drones to police dept. to spy on neighborhoods). And they f8ck up at it too.

  • 74. selfContradictingLiberaliod  |  February 28th, 2010 at 4:10 am

    As for Ayn Rand, some of the post above are accurate and spot on about Ayn Rand followers who take in her philosophy too much. They are one of the most miserable POS I’ve ever met. They spread their sh8t on other people but it always comes back and uppercuts them in the face in the end.

  • 75. Flatulissimo  |  February 28th, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Thanks, Ames. I agree with another comment – I could totally go for a full, book-length takedown of Rand by you. That would be a fun read.

    And I tip my hat to the other eXile commenters, who mostly seem to NOT be idiots. I made the mistake of looking at the comments for this article on Alternet, and it was chock full of Randites defending their red queen.

  • 76. Jyp  |  February 28th, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Mazeltof, boys! Hey.. I come over here expecting a big load of “libertarian” horseshit in the comments like over at Alternet there where they printed Mark’s article.. instead you boys made my day! Only one crank in the whole comments section. Fantastic. Though of course it could be that the libertarian masturbators are afraid to expose themselves to well deserved ridicule for their worship of an ugly old bitch who grooved on a filthy sadist punk child butcher.

    And another thing: Austrian-Shmaustrian.. another damn cult. Austrianism is another crock of shit that should be exposed for what it is: crank bullshit intended to suck in the sheep so the fucking banksters can carry out their Synarchist plan to recreate their childish neo-feudal fantasies. Just as the Bama-droid sucked in the faux left, so the Paul-bot will suck in the faux right.. the shmibertarians and their Shmaustrian hooey. Squeek squeek I tell you.

  • 77. Pons Seclorum  |  February 28th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    “Social Security provide retirement incomes for a hell of a lot of people who would otherwise be summaging through garbage cans; ditto welfare, which was never meant to lift people out of poverty, only to keep them from starving”

    Doc, they are only able to provide those retirement incomes by extorting taxes from the work force thereby placing the middle class in a tighter vice. And here I thought Ames and others here were opposed to subjecting the middle class to “abject destitution”. Well, they must not be because that is the means through which these vast ‘entitlement programs’ will be funded. That, or hyperinflation which will destroy the dollar and cause widespread poverty anyway. If you want real social security keep the government out of the market and the currency. Acknowledging the actual nature of Social Security–a ponzi scheme where people pay in for what they think is insurance but that the government immediately appropriates for other spending purposes instead–one need not be a Randian to see the merit in abolishing these programs that are needlessly bankrupting America.

    “And another thing: Austrian-Shmaustrian.. another damn cult. Austrianism is another crock of shit that should be exposed for what it is: crank bullshit intended to suck in the sheep so the fucking banksters can carry out their Synarchist plan to recreate their childish neo-feudal fantasies. Just as the Bama-droid sucked in the faux left, so the Paul-bot will suck in the faux right”

    And the fact that the Austrian School opposes centralized banking and the wall street bailouts is a testament to them being in league with the ‘banksters’, how?

  • 78. Dammerung  |  February 28th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    @70 DocAmazing

    The wars are idiotic, obviously. Welfare for Boeing and Halliburton for the Middle East wars, and welfare for the prison-industrial complex and fascist city governments for the war on drugs.

    Trust me, as the product of public schools (and eventually expelled,) I never learned one thing worth knowing only how to sit down, shut up, and get lectured by government appratachniks all day.

    Welfare doesn’t lift people out of poverty? So we agree. Shouldn’t an economic system allow for social mobility instead of guaranteeing a lifetime of poverty? American socialism (which is what we’ve had for decades) is a failed system.

    oh, and I think Reagan was a big-government socialist too

  • 79. Eric  |  February 28th, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    He would be found lying on his back, on his bed, with a copy of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and an unfinished letter to Exxon, protesting the cancellation of his gas credit card. A misunderstood superman scorn by the masses.

  • 80. Alex_C  |  February 28th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Welfare is intended to keep one from starving so one can look for a job, start a trade, etc. It’s to give some breathing room. In the most common case, it’s to keep a single mother and her kids from starving because their Positivist father took off for greener pastures and didn’t forget to drink the last of the milk in the fridge on his way out. Yes, the most common case is a single mother who’s been run out on. She works, raises the kids, and once the kids are out of the house the kids and the mom are all working.

    There HAS been some ossification where in effect once on welfare, you end up in just enough of a sweet spot that to leave it amounts to taking your life in your hands. Any rational person given the same tools and conditions of the average “professional” welfare recipient would do the same – stay on. But there’s not much staying on now, programs are ending, and it’s becoming less a matter of letting ‘em keep you on as it’s a matter of having to put in a fair amount of work to stay on.

    I qualify. But I tried a slight brush with ‘em and left in disgust. The micro-managing of one’s life and assets, and the large amount of time required to be in various offices wrangling with various people, for the amount of benefit received, IF you’re lucky – yep put in a lot of work wrangling with ‘em and it’s still a crap shoot) convinced me I’d rather go back to spare-changing and I HATE spare-changing. (Interestingly, from a Randist standpoint, spare-changing is far more noble, since it’s consensual, whereas gov’t supplied benefits come out of taxes that are not consensual. I at least offered or gave services, from pushing cars to helping with homework, even calming crying kids.)

    But I can say this, because I’m now a handyman on producing land, and so I don’t need the USDA’s food stamps to eat. I eat a combination of foods grown here, and bought cheaply with money I earn. A nation of farmers, or even of gardeners and chicken-keepers, would have little need of welfare. But most of us are urban now. The “breathing room to get back on one’s feet” given by welfare can’t get most people onto an acre or a few acres and a garden.

    And so we have, a nation of chavs.

  • 81. Das Moleman  |  February 28th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    I dunno. I’m gonna pretend here that I’m not freaking out over the fact that Ames is profiled in Vanity Fair by trying to turn the tables on him. Just give me a minute here, I’ll work up a real zinger.

  • 82. James  |  February 28th, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Wow….You will only delete this anyway…
    I don’t know where Rand gives hand jobs so I make false sad pathetic claims to leftists….

  • 83. cosmocide  |  February 28th, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    >>>>>Anita Dunn, leader of the liberals

    JFC LOL!!!!!

  • 84. RobertD  |  February 28th, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    [i]“Nietzsche clings to the coat tails of Dostoevsky.”[/i]

    Where do people get these half-arsed notions from?

  • 85. Byafi  |  February 28th, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I’d like to offer a bit of advice, if I may.

    When you set about to initiate or perpetuate a smear campaign against someone like Ayn Rand, it would serve you better to pick a subject that someone other than the ignorant would actually believe. Anyone who knows anything at all about Ayn Rand would never believe that she would admire someone for any kind of violence, much less for killing children, as no one was more adamant in opposing aggression (initiation of force) than she.

    Of course, you may simply have been wishing to appeal to the ignorant in this discussion; if so, you seem to have succeeded.

    In any case, good luck with your future smears.

  • 86. Allen  |  February 28th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Oh God John G, “Rand’s philosophy is irrefutable” — seriously? What philosophy? People who are very much motivated to do things for their own “interest”, however defined, sometimes produce things that actually benefit us all. That sentence is about the only useful piece of insight that can be drawn from anything Rand wrote. It’s also obvious.

    The rest is nothing more than a cursory regurgitation of sections of Nietzsche Rand read in college: noble heroes contending with vile slaves in constant mischievous revolt — bringing their betters down instead of lifting them up as they should.

    This is the kind of world-view that only appeals to the truly puerile and insecure.

    Indeed, Rand’s is a weird existentialism where all we have in a universe with no God is a pathetic clinging to the fact that we are all alive individual-selves. To regard others in any way, and especially to (*gasp*) make any sort of material sacrifice for them, is like spiritual suicide.

    In short, Rand doesn’t have a philosophy. She had a mental disorder. She was not capable of understanding why people could empathize with others or take pride in collective achievements. Ames is right — she was probably a sociopath. I’m sorry you don’t have a sense of humor about it, or appreciate the irony (and in some cases appropriateness[!]) of Rand’s current place in America’s mental landscape.

    … I’ve also just got to say … Rand fans never fail to astound me. I mean, if I want to read something engaging, amusing, if sometimes challenging and something I don’t always agree with, I’ll read Nietzsche or something. I don’t know what I would use the dull and tedious drivel of that spoiled bitch Rand for, except maybe a paper weight or door stop.

  • 87. Boris Nemtsov  |  February 28th, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    The only reason these fuckwads are suddenly into Ayn Rand is that they desperately need some philosophical backing to give creedence to their views. For what, I’m not sure. It’s not like you’d see any of these assholes on college campuse coffeshops debating 20th century philosophy with your Russian TA. So why they’re so interested in this woman is beyond me. Seriously, these people don’t know shit about a woman who at least fundamentally is too much like Dostoyevsky who was also a nihilist and a social darwminist-two traits not normally associated with a self-centered and religious demographic.

  • 88. grabass  |  February 28th, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Soviet psychiatrists sent sociopaths like Ayn Rand to mental institutions and were despised for that by Western intellectuals.

  • 89. FrankMcG  |  February 28th, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    I think it’s more popular for these people than something like Nietzsche because Nietzsche didn’t wrap his thoughts up in a bodice-ripping melodrama.

    Does “school don’t educate, welfare doesn’t help” even deserve a response? How is wanting to completely tear down the institute of public education because some of them are lacking not EXACTLY what I was talking about when I said Randians/libertarians are all about fearing and wanting to tear down things beyond their understanding? Of course public schools educate. You’re saying unemployment benefits has never helped anyone stay out of poverty? Are you serious?

    I also love the whole frothing “Us and Them” mentality. Whenever some pundit is called out on their ridiculous viewpoints, you always end up getting “Well, (liberal counterpart) is just as bad!” No, sorry. Keith Olberman may have a silly delivery, but he is nowhere near the “left” equivalent of Limbaugh or Coulter. Someone is claiming that just as many “liberals” worship Che? Who the hell worships Che? Dumb 20 year old college kids? You’re saying Che has just as much an influence on American politics as Ayn Rand? Please show me ONE person out of college who worships Che, let alone any American political movement.

  • 90. Mad Nomad  |  February 28th, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    It sounds like Rochefoucauld was a lot better than Rand at describing the value of self-interest.

  • 91. Necronomic.Jihad  |  February 28th, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    @73
    I will forgive Mao, and Che for all their evils if only one day a Maoist or a Guevarist guts you with bayonet.

  • 92. Joe Stack's Financial Advisor  |  February 28th, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    @Byafi

    I think you have misunderstood “how” Rand idolized him. She never admitted or insinuated his ritualistic murder of the little girl was laudable.

    What she DID admit, was that she admired him based on his philosophy towards the establishment and social norms. Ideals including: blatant greed, disregard for the welfare of others and a coy disdain for the less fortunate (intelligence and wealth) is what she admired about Hickman.

    Whether you poisoning the well here was intentional or out of ignorance is debatable. I would guess that the majority of “anti-Randists” that posted here are INTIMATELY familiar with her material (for me it was encouraged outside reading for intro econ 102).

    Once you break down Rand’s complete disregard for the social cogs in the human machine, it is blatantly obvious that her premises are fallacies. Not to get all koom-by-yah (sorry if I misspelled it, old man wouldn’t let me join the scouts, thought they were peddies), but we NEED to care about our fellow man to make society work; not wipe our ass with him and expect gratitude.

    Like you, I liked Rand; but only because I hadn’t read much else on the subject during college. Be critical of her “how the world should work…goddammit” novels, and don’t accept their rhetoric blindly.

  • 93. Alex_C  |  March 1st, 2010 at 12:02 am

    Comments are closed for the Vanity Fair gloat article so let me just say:

    Los Gatos, well, well, well, the pieces sure fall together don’t they?

    I’ve been a number of places in the Bay Area and there are some that are scary because people there are poor, ugly because of all the factories, or simply bland because they’re bland Legoscapes, sleeping-slots for hardworking cubicle druids. Then there’s Los Gatos. The fucking pit of evil. Los Gatos is pretty, and that’s the first indicator, because in the Bay Area prettiness is bought by fucking widows out of their houses, children out of their future, cashing in on any kind of sale or deal, the more coercive the better. Bill Gates would probably live in Los Gatos, except he didn’t grow up there. Apparently Mark Ames did.

    Here is why I dream of a fuel/air explosion large enough to envelop at least most of Los Gatos. For a while, a few months, I had to ask for spare change to survive. I’m very candid about this, since almost no Americans have the guts to do this, even less have the guts to, if forced to do this, do it with some civility, and even less, once having had to do this, still strive to get out of it and do. I’ve panhandled from San Jose to Menlo Park, over a fair area. I’ve run into rich, poor, stingy, mean, etc. many MANY nice people and then there was the asshole in Los Gatos.

    One night I’m panhandling along, and some tall asshole, seeing the motorcycle helmet in my hand, decides he need proof I have a bike, and demands to see my driver’s license. OK …. I show it to him, yep M1 endorsement, had it since the mid-80s. So he’s gonna give me a couple of bucks, ok great whatever, ya don’t have to but thanks, he fishes around (I realize Asshole is drunk) and fishes out a ten, great, I accept it and carry on. Well, I was on the eve of an expedition to find my brother south on the coast, so of course the next folks I come across on the way back to my bike, I ask. Asshole, now across the street, starts yelling and screaming, does his best to get them riled up, and is partially successful. The damn trip south turns sour, I can’t find my damn brother, and what’s more, my damn bike battery after 10 years’ faithful service, dies. $100 for a new one. A few days later I’m back in Pit OF Evil, er, Los Gatos, filling in the financial hole. It’s dusk. Library lawn. Here some Asshole, jogging because well, he’s jogging, and comes up, gets in my face, and DEMANDS “his” $10 back. He gets it back, in $1′s, and coins, mostly pennies. He rants and foams at the mouth about HIS town, so to me, Asshole is Los Gatos and Los Gatos is asshole. I only regret I didn’t have something nice like a .44 Bulldog or a vial of battery acid for Asshole instead. I won’t make that mistake again. And if it’s HIS town, I live to see it razed to the ground.

    So, I conclude either (A) Ames has grown like a lotus from the mud of a town that’s the gatemouth of evil, or (B) Asshole IS Ames, in which case, I love his writing, and would love to read it to him while feeding him sausages I’ve eviscarated, prepared and cased in his own guts. Then unleash the hungry raccoons.

  • 94. selfContradictingLiberaliod  |  March 1st, 2010 at 5:57 am

    @91

    “I will forgive Mao, and Che for all their evils if only one day a Maoist or a Guevarist guts you with bayonet.”

    Gotta love these liberal @ssholes!

    Rand would be proud of you.

  • 95. Dammerung  |  March 1st, 2010 at 6:50 am

    FrankMcG

    Here’s what I don’t get, man.

    You acknowledge that the wars in the Middle East are wicked, and the people who perpetuate them are totally devoid of humanity or moral conscience.

    Then you turn around and think these same people are the ones to educate your kids and keep you out of poverty if the chips are down! You are CRAZY to trust them. CRAZY to think people who have normalized dropping bombs on houses full of children in Afghanistan are JUST THE FOLKS to teach your kids civics and reading and math. NO! Absolutely not!

    Why would people who put no value on human life abroad put value on human life domestically? These programs aren’t in place because our Dear Leaders want what’s best for us. They are in place because they preserve a social order which is beneficial to them and detrimental to us. Like Clinton’s crocodile tears about feeling our pain while he wasted medicine factories in Sudan or cars full of refugees in Bosnia.

    You are getting PLAYED.

  • 96. DarthFurious  |  March 1st, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Unbelievable! They didn’t post my comment! All because I said the only cure for fascism is bla bla bla bla bla?! Bla bla!

  • 97. DarthFurious  |  March 1st, 2010 at 10:20 am

    And have any of you people actually READ Nietzsche?

  • 98. franc black  |  March 1st, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Thanks for that.

    Rand provides an insightful perspective, but as for a philosophical platform that could make any claim to helping build a sustainable human society, it competes with the likes of Mein Kampf…the systemic destruction of all ‘otherness’ until none remain but a room of bloated psychopaths, waiting for the end.

    My brother read it and started talking funny for awhile, until (intellectually) bitch-slapped back into line with the rest of us.

    Great article. Will share the link to help others avoid embarrassing themselves with the ‘Rand flu’.

  • 99. Rob Quinn  |  March 1st, 2010 at 10:51 am

    I never heard of Hickman before this blog, but it is utter nonsense to equate the actions of Hickman to anything Rand ever advocated. Assuming that her study of Hickman is true, she obviously isolated a simple character trait, not an entire psychology or philosophy.

    If you want to argue against rational selfishness, do so. But this smear-laden equivocation doesn’t stand up for an instant. Your brain is there for a reason, use it.

  • 100. Allen  |  March 1st, 2010 at 11:41 am

    What is a baby saying every time it reaches out for a bottle? It’s saying “I am a leech!”

    Ayn Rand School for Tots …

    Apparently the Ayn Rand institute sent the Simpsons a thank you for the shout out.

  • 101. CB  |  March 1st, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    It’s not hard to figure out the appeal of a philosophy that says selfishness is a virtue, and be extension selflessness a sin. Anyone who is already motivated solely by selflessness and would like a flimsy framework to justify it, for example.

    I had the misfortune of reading Fountainhead back in high school in order to compete in an essay contest for a scholarship. This was the time of my life when I was nearest to being a Young Republican, yet I found nothing worth following in that awful book. I was put off by the rape scene, but I was outright disgusted when I realized that the rape was not just an out-of-place romance novel cliche, but a metaphor for the entire philosophy being put forward: The Randian hero, virtuously selfish and free from the constraints of society, simply takes what he wants and the victim, though initially vowing to destroy him, eventually realizes that not only is what he did what is best for her, but it’s actually what she wanted all along but didn’t have the courage to admit.

    Okay, like I said I can see the appeal to selfish people, especially those who fancy themselves as the ‘elite’. But suggesting that letting such people run rampant will result in the best possible world and the people they run roughshod over will be happy about it? That’s self-serving delusion gone too far. Which makes a bad title for an essay that’s supposed to be about how awesome Ayn Rand is.

    For some reason I’m reminded of an old Arrested Development song:
    “Most of the persons follow the Serpent
    Cos the serpent preaches ‘all for self’.
    But why follow someone in search of something
    When you’ll get nothing. Serpent’s all for self!

    But yeah, go ahead and follow someone who proclaims, unabashedly, that sociopathy is good for society. They’re surely not just saying that because it benefits them. Oh wait that’s their whole philosophy…

    I’m amused by the feeble defense way above where the Randroid tries to separate those aspects that Rand admired about Hickman, such as his disregard for everything society holds sacred or how other people don’t exist to him, from the nasty things like his violent and sadistic crimes.

    As if you can separate cause and effect! The sociopathic thinking Rand lauds is exactly what allowed Hickman to murder a girl and taunt her father without so much as batting an eye. It may have been after she wrote her novels, but it’s been a long time since psychologists figured out that an inability to empathize with others as human beings (or even see why you should) is a disease unto itself and frequently a precursor to violence, not an unrelated tangent!

  • 102. Necronomic.JustIce  |  March 1st, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    @94. selfContradictingLiberaliod,

    I have almost forgiven Mao, because of MIM’s video mash up of Bikini Kill’s Rebel Girl song:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZxxhxjgnC0

    But really it would be extra awesome if you were gutted with a bayonet.

  • 103. Michael B  |  March 1st, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    – There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.
    Kung Fu Monkey
    http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2009/03/ephemera-2009-7.html

  • 104. FrankMcG  |  March 1st, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Honest to god, Dammerung. Where are you getting your stuff? It all sounds like rote recital of Limbaugh bits.

    The world is a big place. Go out there and read up on stuff outside of talk radio and Michelle Maulkin’s blog.

  • 105. Timmy  |  March 1st, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    I would agree that there are often aspects of people who do evil or extreme things that are impressive. Often writers or artists recognize these aspects. A very appropriate parallel to Rand and Hickman I can think of is John Dolan’s celebration of the Marquis de Sade- but I guess we can save that expose until a sizable political movement falls under Dolan’s spell though . LOL

  • 106. Alex_C  |  March 1st, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    I guess if Tall Asshole Who Loses It Over $10 is in fact Ames, I should feel flattered I met the guy. But whoever it was, was acting supremely Randist in a Randist town. That is truly the evil that is Los Gatos.

  • 107. R.Sole  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Ad hominem fallacy.

  • 108. Jerome  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 3:38 am

    #107

    No sir, it’s an ad hominem truism.

  • 109. Cobblers  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 5:09 am

    @107. Randroids are forever trotting out ad hominem.

    Listen up, shithead, ad hominem is the only game in town. Or should I say it’s the only game left in town, now that every ideology (especially free market economics) has proved itself an epic fail. Might as well wipe people’s faces in their shit. Sure beats whittling sticks on the porch.

    Rand’s life was a train wreck, but invokers of ad hominem say you shouldn’t connect the facts of her life, that she was frequently dirty and unkempt, a marriage wrecker, that she probably drove her husband to alcoholism through her dominance and emotional unavailability, that she was a chain-smoking pill-popper, demanded total allegiance from her individualist acolytes, suggested people should commit suicide, blah blah, with the merit of her ideas. Oh please. The merit of her ideas lie in their realization. On that note, I think we can take Rand as an exemplar. FAIL.

  • 110. Val  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 6:23 am

    From post # 92:
    “Not to get all koom-by-yah…but we NEED to care about our fellow man to make society work; not wipe our ass with him and expect gratitude.”

    Translation from Liberalese to English:
    “Not to get all kumbaya…but someone other than me NEEDS to pay for our fellow man to make society work while I take credit for “caring” enough to vote to make those others pay; pushing a lever in a voting booth is the most amount of labor I can be counted upon to deliver when it comes to what “we” must do for our fellow man.”

  • 111. Dammerung  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 6:48 am

    FrankMcG

    In other words you were at no point interested in a serious discussion. Oh yes, Rush Limbaugh is all about how repulsive the prison-industrial complex is, or how immoral the wars are. I’m sure he’s been regularly victimized by both.

    Try exercising your own grey matter and THINK. How can you trust our military empire which commits so much inhumanity abroad to do so much good at home?

  • 112. DarthFurious  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 6:59 am

    “But really it would be extra awesome if you were gutted with a bayonet.”
    How the fuck is this any different from saying the only cure for fascism is a bullet in the brain?
    Just curious, cause I was under the assumption that this place practiced at least a semblance of editorial consistency.

  • 113. Necronomic.JustIce  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 10:37 am

    @113DarthFurious,

    But the only cure for fascism *IS* a bullet in the brain.

    And I don’t think the eXileD comments are covered by any kind of editorial policy. Even so I would hope that it’s pretty obvious that I do not speak for the eXileD.

  • 114. J  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Rand eventually got it right. She started out sort of Nietzschean, and she made some errors, but she thought everything through, honed her views, and then more than made up for her mistakes.

    Lefties hate her, and they need to smear her, because she so effectively identified what they are. Having spent her childhood living under the bloody tyranny of their ideal society, she knew firsthand that they’re not motivated by altruism or “brotherly love,” but by fear, envy and powerlust. She knew that they don’t really care about helping the less fortunate, but about using the less fortunate as an excuse to steal from others. Lefties are all about getting something for nothing, appearing to have “good intentions,” feeling good about themselves despite the results of their policies, dragging down achievers, and preventing anyone from rising (and then blaming Republicans for the fact that no one rises).

    Lefties are notorious for not putting their money where their mouths are. At all income levels, the vast majority of them don’t voluntarily give even a fraction of a fraction of their time or incomes to the causes that they pretend to believe in. They spend most of their discretionary income on luxuries for themselves while screaming that evil Republicans aren’t helping the poor. They tend to work for the government and avoid jobs which pay based on merit. They’re takers, not givers or producers. Rand forcefully showed them to be driven by something very different than their publicly stated motives. She revealed them to be the shakedown artists that they are, so of course they’ll try to find every way possible to smear her.

  • 115. You guys all suffer from groupthink  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Wow, after reading some of the comments posted here I fear for the fine art of critical thinking.

    This entire article was an ad hominem attack, where was the criticism of her ideas?

    Then it is just a bunch of stereotypes, name calling and denouncing ideas without debate.

    Whoever has read, actually read, Ayn Rand, not just the coles notes version, should feel some curiosity to her ideas against egalitarianism and comformity.

    I mean look around you, people are not all created equally. Would you rather not have an informed debate on the societal effects that treating everyone the same will have?

  • 116. You guys all suffer from groupthink  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I wish the anti-fascist crowd would stop embodying everything they claim to hate.

  • 117. Joe Blow  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    “one need not be a Randian to see the merit in abolishing these programs that are needlessly bankrupting America. ”

    what? the only thing keeping the government afloat is the money it gets because Ronald Reagan increased FICA taxes on the middle class while cutting taxes for the rich.

    ALL THE money that was lost when Bush pushed through his tax cuts for Billionairs (using reconcilliation) came from the pool of money pouring into social security.

    The repubs and the rich ballooned the deficit to triple it was under Clinton, and TEN TIMES what it was under Carter, and NOW you want to balance it by shfting the people who’ve paid in all these years.

    the social security trust fund bonds are just as good as any T-bill and you better pay them off.

    and for the stupid: at this moment, we are STILL taking in more in FICA taxes then we pay out and we will for ten or more years to come.. and then we want our money back and yeah you need to raise taxes on the rich.

  • 118. Allen  |  March 2nd, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I have to laugh at these people charging in here waving their “ad hominem” card like some kind of totem to banish some wildly unexpected and brazen foe.

    This isn’t a critique of objectivism or ethical egoism. It is a flat out character assassination segueing into a thorough lampooning of the dearly departed and her “fans” … Welcome to the Exile(d).

    Ad homeniem is a fittingly ironic charge from Rand’s fanboys, though. Like mush-headed Mr.”J” up there, Rand tended to like to argue against caricatures; like Mr.J she knew well enough the hobgoblins of her own mind and thoroughly appreciated kicking them to her own smug satisfaction.

    Hence “altruism”, Rand’s big evil, and its disgusting insistence on neighbor love and on self sacrifice in the name of others — or, to be more precise, Christ from the Gospel of Matthew. I mean let’s be clear. But, shrieks Rand, if I love my neighbor as much as myself and my family, isn’t my love worthless? This must be an anti-human idea! My love is a prostitute! (Side note, Ayn did a fine job serving her self-interest by ripping off Freud on that one.)

    So Rand takes apart Christian aestheticism and sacrifice and takes a few shots at bureaucrats and beggars along the way — but so what? I can still give to those I “value” says Rand, for whatever reason, as long as I’m not enthralled to some christian deotological imperitive — but how do I choose what to “value”? Further, Rand says I should always act in my self interest, so long as I refrain from being “criminal”; but who decides what’s criminal? What, not ME?

    In terms of philosophies supporting unrestrained market transactions and lower taxes, Rand’s “ideas” have been replaced for decades by philosophical and economic theories positing psychological egoism, which says that we don’t need to worry about reminding ourselves to do things we “want” to do — we always do anyway, so why not have a system that works efficiently in light of this “truth”. Blah, blah, etc.

    But these theories, while serviceable in academia, just aren’t smug enough for the proud masses, hence Rand finds her niche — and generation after generation gets to read her pointless anti-Christian tirade and gleefully heap scorn upon the various “untermensch” that populate her works. Whoopdy fucking-do.

  • 119. Russian Dude  |  March 3rd, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Ames, will you stop saying that Rand is Russian? I know you want to fuck a Russian, and you are justly fucking Rand in this article, but to say that she is Russian, is like saying that in order to be Russian you just need to be born in Russian, and not have a clue about Russian Culture. That is fucking bullshit, and you know it. In order to be Russian, you have to know Russian Culture, which isn’t something that a fucking sociopath like Rand can ever hope to grasp.

  • 120. Social Security  |  March 3rd, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Apparently some retards don’t understand how Social Security works, so here goes:

    1. The Government needs investment to build new schools, freeways, etc. Schools produce a better workforce, which produces a higher tax revenue, and government is able to pay off the debt.
    2. When you earn $$$, you don’t spend it all at once, but rather save at least 10% for later.
    3. Instead of holding onto the money and watching it devolve in value due to inflation, under Social Security, you give that money to the gov’t, who invests it in schools, freeways, etc, and pays you five percent as interest.
    4. After forty years of work, you retire; due to all of the money that Social Security saved, you get a government check.

    How do you fuck this up? Enter the Reaganites/Randians. Under the system, started by FDR, the government would get a lot of money, as a bank, invest it on vital infrastructure of teh US, and then give it back to the people. Social Security started in the 1930′s; as a result, by 1980′s, money was going in for 50 years, and coming out for only 10 years. That means there was a surplus.

    As there should have been. But this money wasn’t the government’s, it was the people’s. No matter, Reaganites/Randists called this money the “Social Security Suprlus” and used it to give themselves a nice Bailout. Since Reagan and Co. jacked all the Social Security money, the Social Security had a massive problem, as people deposited money into the system, but could not withdraw it, cause the Reaganites/Randists spent it all. “Hey, sorry about your life’s savings – but did ya see that Berlin Wall fall?”

    Instead of saying “we fucked up” the government created a ton of lies about Social Security, that dumbfucks bought, due to the complete lack of education. Oh yeah, ever since Reagan, real teacher salaries dropped, which contributed to the lack of education, and enabled Reaganites/Randists to get away with the Second Biggest Heist, second only to – The Bailout! Will Americans continue to allow themselves to be assraped? Stay tuned!

  • 121. VAL  |  March 3rd, 2010 at 7:33 am

    From post #120:
    “Instead of saying “we fucked up” the government created a ton of lies about Social Security, that dumbfucks bought, due to the complete lack of education. Oh yeah, ever since Reagan, real teacher salaries dropped, which contributed to the lack of education…”

    Most definitely. The solution to all problems is to increase government teachers’ salaries. That’s the first and most important step.

  • 122. basedrop  |  March 3rd, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Atlas Shrugged abridged:

    The pedophile says to the sad little girl as he leads her into the woods, “What are you crying for? I’m the one who has to walk home alone in the dark.”

  • 123. Jerome  |  March 3rd, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    @55
    @119

    You guys are shitsmiths. Ayn Rand was most assuredly Russian, or at least more Russian than she was anything else. She was born in St. Petersburg and lived in Russia for 21 years, for bog’s sake.

    Take a look at her writing; she’s the successor to those angry, self-righteous “the world is shit and only I have the answer” screeds written by Chernyshevsky and Pisarev during the 19th century, a Russian publishing phenomenon you’d be hard pressed to find in any other country (except maybe Germany).

    Her personality was pretty much Dosteovsky’s Stepan Tofimovitch made flesh, woman, and ugly. Her entire aesthetic taste, despite being dressed up as “objectivism”, is pretty much social realism.

    @119
    The fact that Rand is, in your words, a “fucking sociopath”, makes her distinctively Russian, you fucking queerbait.

  • 124. Hickman, Social Victim  |  March 3rd, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    Why do I get the feeling that if the young Ayn Rand had been inspired to contemplate creating a heroic fictional character based on the personal confidence that Stalin projected, you lefties wouldn’t be maligning her for finding a positive surface trait in that genocidal maniac, but would be singing her praises?

    Have you considered the possibility that William Hickman also may have shared your political mindset, and that you should judge his violence as also being excusable, if not admirable? After all, he initially claimed that he had kidnapped little Marion Parker because he needed money for college. In other words, he was an oppressed victim of the same type of people who are currently oppressing you by refusing to just hand over their wealth to you. He wanted to better himself, and he should have been given a free college education, but evil corporations and rich people, including rich little Marion and her father, were keeping him down by not offering to pay their fair share of it!

    Rand may have seen something admirable in Hickman’s surface demeanor, but his appetite for the use of force against others is something that you lefties should identify with.

  • 125. shitzkrieg  |  March 4th, 2010 at 1:16 am

    @124 – “surface demeanor”?

    did you happen to read the quote from Rand’s notebook?

    “the amazing picture of a man with no regard whatsoever for all that a society holds sacred…Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should.”

    that’s kinda at the core of what it means to be a sociopath. And can’t you at least come up with something more clever about Stalin on which to base a heroic fictional character than “personal confidence”? you could have at least gone the way of mustaches. wait…all those annoying hipsters with Che shirts and accessories and mustaches… they LOVE STALIN!

    dude you should start selling Stalin-themed shit. what better way to beat ‘em than by convincing them to go broke buying your overpriced Stalin shit?

  • 126. Cernunnos Trismestigus  |  March 4th, 2010 at 10:01 am

    ummm….. no “lefties” think Stalin is cool or excusable.

  • 127. Revolución!  |  March 4th, 2010 at 11:13 am

    #125:
    “did you happen to read the quote from Rand’s notebook?”

    Yes, I did. Did you happen to read anything from her journals other than a few excerpts?

    From page 27 of the Journals of Ayn Rand:
    “[My hero is] very far from him, of course. The outside of Hickman, but not the inside. Much deeper and much more. A Hickman with a purpose. And without the degeneracy. It is more exact to say that the model is not Hickman, but what Hickman suggested to me.”

    She goes on to explain the obvious point (well, obvious to those of us who don’t limit ourselves to reading excerpts) that a heroic criminal in fiction is an effective artistic means of embodying independence. A fictional “rebel” is appealing, but his admirable traits are to be isolated from his criminal actions, and he and his actions are *not to be taken literally*.

    #125:
    “And can’t you at least come up with something more clever about Stalin on which to base a heroic fictional character than ‘personal confidence’?”

    The point is that Rand’s romanticizing of what she saw in Hickman didn’t extend to anything beyond the personal confidence that he projected. She did not admire his crimes. She was very clear about that. I don’t think that we can say the same about you lefties, though. I think that you identify with Hickman’s motives and actions, as opposed to his surface traits, and you fantasize about inflicting pain, as he did, on the wealthy. If you and Ayn Rand had been present when Marion’s father first saw her mutilated corpse, Rand would have been disgusted and enraged, where most of you lefties would have been elated that her wealthy banker father was finally getting a chance to feel agony. You’d be upset if a poor girl was kidnapped and killed, but Hickman’s choice of wealthy victims has you frothing at the loins and dreaming of revolución.

  • 128. CB  |  March 4th, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Why do I get the feeling that if the young Ayn Rand had been inspired to contemplate creating a heroic fictional character based on the personal confidence that Stalin projected, you lefties wouldn’t be maligning her for finding a positive surface trait in that genocidal maniac, but would be singing her praises?

    Because you’re an idiot.

    Rand may have seen something admirable in Hickman’s surface demeanor, but his appetite for the use of force against others is something that you lefties should identify with.

    His “surface demeanor”, the very things Rand praises, are exactly what allowed him to commit those horrific crimes. Seriously, you idiots need to realize that what Rand says she admires about Hickman, and the Objectivist “virtue” that her characters embody, is sociopathy and it is a mental disorder and it results in a great deal of human suffering.

    People who have no regard for society or for other human beings are dangerous and almost inevitably commit acts of violence. After all, laws against violence are just a rule of society to protect the weak, why should you care if you are a superior person? Rand gave lip service to the idea of eschewing violence because otherwise it’d have been harder to lure idiots to her side, but she understood what the natural consequence of an Objectivist viewpoint was.

    After all, the main Objectivist hero in The Fountainhead is a rapist, like Hickman was. Why should a superior person care that society feels a woman’s body is sacred? Why should he care that a weak and inferior person feels violated? That’s just society holding him back!

    Rand even goes so far as to sexualize his utter lack of concern for the woman as he rapes her. Had he showed even the tiniest bit of empathy, Rand explains at length, the heroine would have been able to ignore what was done to her. It is exactly because of his perfect sociopathy that the raped heroine responds to her rape and eventually loves her rapist.

    Tell me again how Rand admires Hickman’s sociopathic viewpoint but that this has nothing to do with his violence, you idiots who haven’t even read Rand. I need another laugh.

  • 129. CB  |  March 4th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    @ 127
    A fictional “rebel” is appealing, but his admirable traits are to be isolated from his criminal actions, and he and his actions are *not to be taken literally*.

    LOL. Okay, but what about when the allegedly admirable traits are only evident in his criminal actions? How did Hickman demonstrate that he had no regard for society’s laws except by breaking that law, or that other people did not exist to him except by raping and murdering and mutilating the body of a child? So how can you say you admire those traits but not the actions that are the sole evidence of the traits?

    This is akin to saying that you admire Han Solo because he was willing to break the law and to shoot first, but then hastily adding that you don’t approve of him smuggling or shooting Greedo. It’s ridiculous.

    No, the reason people who aren’t insane admire Han Solo is because he was a rebel and also had a moral conscience and empathy for other people. If Han Solo had really just taken his reward for delivering the Princess and said “fuck ya’ll” to the rebels about to battle the Death Star, then he would not be admired except by sociopaths.

    Face it — what Rand admired about Hickman were the traits that made him a violent criminal. You can fall for the paper thin ass-covering of saying that of course she doesn’t approve of the rape-murder of children. Fact remains: What she admired about Hickman was what made him a sociopathic murderer.

  • 130. Engraved Invitation  |  March 6th, 2010 at 8:04 am

    @126
    “ummm….. no “lefties” think Stalin is cool or excusable.”

    Most liberals do make excuses for Stalin, and if they think he’s not “cool,” it’s only because they think he wasn’t brutal enough, or that he picked the wrong class of people to brutalize.

    @128
    “Rand gave lip service to the idea of eschewing violence because otherwise it’d have been harder to lure idiots to her side, but she understood what the natural consequence of an Objectivist viewpoint was.”

    The core of Rand’s ideology is her opposition to the initiation of physical force. She fucking shouted it from the rooftops. Leave it to a moron liberal to call it “lip service” and to believe that she was somehow tricking people into wanting violence by railing against it.

    @128
    “After all, the main Objectivist hero in The Fountainhead is a rapist, like Hickman was. Rand even goes so far as to sexualize his utter lack of concern for the woman as he rapes her. It is exactly because of his perfect sociopathy that the raped heroine responds to her rape and eventually loves her rapist.”

    Who did Hickman rape?

    Anyhow, Dominique is hot for Roark prior to the “rape.” She intentionally scratches her marble fireplace so that she has an excuse to hire him to fix it. He splits the marble and orders a new piece. When it arrives, he knows that Dominique wants him, so he sends someone else to install the marble, to see what she’ll do. She then goes to him and asks why he sent the other worker. He sees that she’s craving him. As Rand said, if it was rape, then it was rape by engraved invitation.

    @128
    “Had he showed even the tiniest bit of empathy, Rand explains at length, the heroine would have been able to ignore what was done to her.”

    No, what Rand explained is that Dominique wanted it rough, and that if Roark had been gentle or tentative, she wouldn’t have responded. She wanted to be taken.

    @128
    “Tell me again how Rand admires Hickman’s sociopathic viewpoint but that this has nothing to do with his violence, you idiots who haven’t even read Rand. I need another laugh.”

    What you need is a functioning brain.

  • 131. FrankMcG  |  March 6th, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Are people still pushing the “lefties” admiring Stalin and Che?

    Che shirts are worn only by dumb college kids (or really sad sacks trying to bed college chicks). No one with a fully developed adult brain idolizes him.

    I assume you mean “people who vote democrat” by “lefties”, who would admire Stalin if he was more brutal?

    Again, more projecting from sociopath idiots. The only thing they know is lavishly admiring “strong” figures who take what they want with no regard or empathy, so they just snag what they perceive is their “counterpart’s” equivalent and accuse anyone who disagrees with them of the same thing.

  • 132. robert chambers  |  March 7th, 2010 at 3:05 am

    I read Nietzsche every single night before bed, and I dont see a trace of his insight in any of this, he was against all ideology in any case…

    Christian MORALITY is war against the instinct for self-preservation. Socialism is the attempt to make Christian Morality a political reality. See the Beatitudes. Socialism is the tyranny of the botched and the stupid. This was true in 1880, and it’s still true today.

    The rest is spin.

  • 133. Srala Yanavas  |  March 7th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Dear Mark,
    while I often enjoy your columns, I must say that you’ve been getting sloppier as of late. Is it really fair, for instance, to say that “the US is seemingly the only place where right-wing elites can openly share their distaste for the working poor” when you are talking about the health care fiasco? Most Americans have no idea and don’t give a flying fuck about Ayn Rand. How many poor, white trash hillbillies were up in arms about America going to the communists? And where was the support for the health care initiative strongest? I do believe it was in the richest, yuppy Democrat states who all hailed Obama as the lord and saviour.

  • 134. Liberal Double Standards  |  March 7th, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    @131
    “Che shirts are worn only by dumb college kids (or really sad sacks trying to bed college chicks). No one with a fully developed adult brain idolizes him.”

    Typical liberal double standards. To liberals, the attitudes that they had as dumb college kids are forgivable, but the attitude that Ayn Rand had at the same age is not. To liberals, it’s adorable when young liberals admire mass-murdering leftist political leaders, and it’s not representative of the psychological mindset behind the leftist ideology they end up believing in as adults, but when Ayn Rand admired surface traits of a murderer while being disgusted by his crimes, it IS representative of the psychological mindset behind her adult philosophy.

    @131
    “I assume you mean “people who vote democrat” by “lefties”, who would admire Stalin if he was more brutal?”

    Yes, I think most Democrats would admire Stalin if his brutality had been directed more to their liking. They’d admire ANY leftist tyrant who brutalized people in the name of what they call social justice. For example if Obama were to use brutality to establish universal government health care, democrats would be ecstatic, and they’d be orgasmic if he stripped insurance company execs of their wealth and sent them to a gulag. To liberals, wealthy people who don’t agree with liberalism or voluntarily give liberals their money are dangerous “sociopaths” who deserve to be maligned and punished because they don’t show enough “empathy” (they don’t give liberals their money).

    @131
    “Again, more projecting from sociopath idiots. The only thing they know is lavishly admiring “strong” figures who take what they want with no regard or empathy, so they just snag what they perceive is their “counterpart’s” equivalent and accuse anyone who disagrees with them of the same thing.”

    It’s not Objectivists who “take what they want,” but liberals. People work their asses off to get somewhere in life, and inevitably a pack of liberal assholes will come along and use the force of government to confiscate the fruits of their labor while calling them “sociopaths” because they don’t want to give their money to liberal assholes or to the causes that liberal assholes pretend to believe in as long as their “empathy” is paid for by someone else.

  • 135. cobblers  |  March 8th, 2010 at 8:15 am

    @132.

    I rather enjoyed your all-too-brief comment, Mr Chambers. I’ve noticed the somewhat underground legend that Marxism is a Christian heresy. Your comment calls to mind a statement of Robert Anton Wilson’s:

    “Christianity, like Buddhism and the other post-urban religions, appear to be largely an attempt to recreate the tribal bond on a mystical level within ‘civilized’ (ie, imperialist) times. Welfarism represents the State’s attempt to counterfeit such a bond (in a stingy and paranoid fashion, in the spirit of capitalist law). Totalitarianism appears as the eruption, in murderous fury, of the same endeavor to convert the State into a tribal nexus of mutual trust and biosurvival support.”

    I’m sure there are some who would call this cod sociology, or some such. No matter. I’ve found it a very useful rubric. I take it you’ve read Emma Goldman’s excellent “The Failure of Christianity”, in which she performs a skillful hatchet job on the Beatitudes? It’s available on the web if you have not.

    As for the instinct of self-preservation, I marvel that few have noticed that Rand, who loudly proclaimed her love of the United States, set to undermining the country as soon as she had enough influence to do so. She has had no end of supporters, from people who ought to know better; people who have enjoyed the relative benefits of the country, because of its peculiar fusion of not necessarily reconcilable components, noticeably individualism, Calvinism, Anglo-Saxon suspicion of authority and control, and corporatism, but have chosen instead to forsake the whole for Rand’s amplification of a particular strain of American life: individualism.

    Such a large country as the US has held together because of the social glue of Christianity. Even though modern scholarship has shown it to be false, it still has a social utility. Rand, by attacking it, essentially attacked what held the country together, a mistake compounded by her naivety on what would happen if corporatism was given free rein. Now that we are witness to what this has wrought, we can dispense with Austrian economics in toto. Like Randianism, it fatally fails to take into account human nature.

    What human nature wants is for people to stick together in recognizable groups. It’s a question of trust. Mass society, especially multicultural societies, where trust is distinctly lacking, will soon prove what they are: a very brief deviation from the norm, made possible by cheap energy from the burning of fossil fuels and its final, and most destructive phase, globalization.

    The way forward for individuals who recognize the utility of the most proven form of social arrangement – small tribes – but who have also realized that Christianity is a frothy confection is, in my view, to continue to support Christianity as an institution. To take an elitist view (which I favor), you can regard it as a means to keep people from acting stupidly while you set about finding a way of disencumbering yourself (and whatever dimwits who obey you) from central authority in whatever form. When that is done, convert the churches into granaries. Better yet, abandon them.

  • 136. acabaca  |  March 8th, 2010 at 10:04 am

    134, your entire argument hinges on the ridiculous fantasy that a human being is capable of doing something by himself other than defecating. Even if you lived alone in the mountains, the information you need to survive came from other people. Everything we are came from other people; without their contribution that you take for granted, we are mindless cavemen. Understanding that there is nothing you have done that is your merit alone leads to the realization that nothing you own is yours alone either.

    Ones you call “liberal assholes” are simply people who have realized the very basic fact that Homo Sapiens is a pack animal. Libertarians are still mentally petulant children who just scream MINE MINE MINEEE, incapable of realizing that they have already been given for free, by the society they hate and despise, more than they could pay back in a billion lifetimes.

  • 137. Russian Dude  |  March 8th, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Umm, the “lefties” don’t exactly like Stalin. Saying that Stalin > Hitler isn’t exactly praise, as the same could be said about pretty much anyone. But I understand that it’s a difficult concept for conservatives to grasp. If you really want to have fun, find an old school die hard anti-Commie conservative, and tell him: “Hitler was Gay!” He’s going to protest so fucking loud, that he might have a heart attack, and you’ve just assisted in a Darwin Awards Ceremony.

    @Jerome the retard: Ayn Rand was ignored by everyone in Russia, and moved to the US after everyone in Russia ignored that dumb bitch. Only in America can a dumb bitch like Ayn Rand be praised. Of course American retards like Jerome must call her “Russian”, to “feel better”. It’s like the Texans pretending that Bush ain’t a Texan – just fucking pathetic. Yeah, he was born in Massachusetts, but those people had brains and didn’t embrace him.

    Chernyshevsky and Pisarev? This may be newsflash to you Jerome, but they’re not very popular in Russia. When I think of 19th century authors, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky come to mind. And there’s no fucking way can you get Ayn Rand from Dostoevsky. “For every crime, there is a punishment” doesn’t equal “I am right cause I said so”. I can find shit writers in any country, how about Bob Novak in the US? Or Ann Coulter?

    Finally, Russians aren’t sociopaths. If you didn’t notice, we actually stand up for each other. When the Western Media bashed Russia nonstop as a result of the War in Ossetia, millions of Russians stood up to the Western Media and kicked their butt so bad, that they still don’t want to talk about it. And we’re still gloating about it. What do Americans do? Suck the media’s dick.

    “Ohhh, yeah, Fox News, yeahhh, rape my mind some more, ohhh, that’s good, yeahhh!”

    Ayn Rand might have been born in Russia, and lived there as a hermit for 21 years, but had it not been for America, her ideas would be dead, and in hell, where they belong.

  • 138. robert chambers  |  March 9th, 2010 at 3:10 am

    I’ve seen Equality btw, I spent an entire afternoon once on the east side of Berlin. Ghastly. Eyesore is too small a word… I hope I never see Equality again as long as I live.

  • 139. "Society"  |  March 9th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    #136:
    “Libertarians are still mentally petulant children who just scream MINE MINE MINEEE,”

    Uh huh. When a libertarian and a liberal both claim the right to control the wealth created by the libertarian, it’s the libertarian who’s behaving like a petulant child. That’s liberal logic for you.

    #136:
    “incapable of realizing that they have already been given for free, by the society they hate and despise, more than they could pay back in a billion lifetimes.”

    Another classic example of liberal logic. When I benefit from an inventor’s genius, I haven’t benefitted from his genius but from “society.” Therefore, since liberals and others who had nothing to do with the invention are a part of “society,” I owe THEM. I’ve been “given” things for “free,” despite having paid for them, so I owe “society,” which, when it comes down to who gets paid, is suddenly made up of everyone except the people who produced what made my life better. It’s almost Alice in Wonderland-like how liberals shuffle people around in a category called “society” and end up with wealth being owed to those who haven’t produced.

  • 140. James  |  March 11th, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I am an Ayn Rand tool, yabba-dabba-doo.

  • 141. Robert  |  March 12th, 2010 at 10:16 am

    What you have to keep in mind about sociopaths like Rand, is ultimately they are an evolutionary dead end. For them everyone but themselves is a parasite, that takes what could otherwise be theirs, they want everything. Whilst they initially work together to prey upon the weak, once the weak are eliminated they will they prey upon each other.
    In man’s earliest history the sociopaths were exiled from the community and sent into the wildness with the rest of the wild animals. Now we must employ a system of internal exile where those clinically diagnosed as sociopaths are isolated from the rest of society prior to their leaving a trail of destruction.

  • 142. Rich  |  March 13th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I am an artist and once wrote a 32 page paper on the aesthetics of Rand’s ‘Romantic Manifesto’ and concluded she was a solipsistic thinker with totalitarian overtones and here are some of my conclusions:

    Rand worshiped businessmen and hated all modern art save architecture because of her friendship with Frank Lloyd Wright. And who, pray tell, are the main purchasers of modern art in the 20th century? Businessmen. It did not seem to bother Rand than Picasso, the communistic artist, was openly patronized by the Rockefellers. Or that Jackson (Jack the dripper) Pollack was patronized by Peggy Guggenheim. To make matters worse, she hated classical art because it was based on the golden section – a mathematical formula, and was deemed formulaic. In nearly the same breath she liked James Bond Films – thank god they are not formulaic. Her own film interpretation of The Fountainhead relied on the Hollywood formula of the 40′s and was highly conventional. To go one step further if she had the internet and an open mind at her disposal, she had neither, longitudinal studies of the stock market have shown that the market works works on exactly Golden Section proportions: 62% buying long 38% selling short.

    Rand hated photography and did not consider it art. She liked Jan Vermeer’s technique but hated his ‘naturalism’. Well she obviously did not read that his ‘naturalism’ was possible because of his extensive use of the camera obscura. Secondly, Vermeer’s paintings are only naturalistic to the inexperienced viewer because he manipulated scale, lighting, shadow, perspective, proportions….to create abstract figurative paintings. In my opinion I think he, not Pollack, Franz Kline, Rothko…you know the rest of the names….was the best abstractionist ever because of his adaptation of figuration to an obviously abstract composition.

    Do you want me to go on?

    OK, I will.

    Rand’s aesthetic of ‘noble man in noble action’ was derived from a fusion of influences: Late 19th Century Russian Realism and her love of Victor Hugo. Rand’s writings are supposed to romantic action novels but more closely resemble Soviet and Nazi art because of the idealization of the individual. Consider the Fountainhead: Suppose Howard Roark was really named Ivan Smirnoff who demolished a building because it was a capitalist structure. Or his name was Heinrich Himmler who destroyed a Jewish owned house. Noble men in noble action…..

    As I have already stated Rand hated abstract/modern anything and I think I know why: negative space. Within modern art the negative and positive space(art), silence(music) oscillated like a gestalt psychology test and she lacked the empathy to perceive the figure from the ground. This, and her literal-mindedness, showed her love for James Bond films to be true. There is little to perceive or contemplate or symbolize in action films. Plus she hated all mystery – religious or secular, and cosmic modernism, as started by Malevich and Kandinsky, were completely out of the question for her.

    Alan Greenspan was mentioned as having some sort of sick and twisted relationship with Rand and he had to convince her that Ludwig Van Beethoven was a worthy composer.
    Hah????????????????

    There’s more but I just ‘winged’ this response. In summation I cannot think of a more over-rated thinker than Rand. The only thing she was good at was self promotion and she was very good at that.

  • 143. Self-Promotion  |  March 13th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Rich – you are a horrendous self-promoter. You at least have to leave your contact information, that way I’d know who not to contact. Bashing Rand, after 141 previous posts established that she blows, isn’t exactly Art Noveau.

  • 144. abc123  |  March 13th, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    139: “When a libertarian and a liberal both claim the right to control the wealth created by the libertarian, it’s the libertarian who’s behaving like a petulant child. That’s liberal logic for you.”

    Isn’t liberal and libertarian the same thing?

    Anyhow, even though many liberals today have read or heard of Ayn Rand from my experience modern liberalism has very little to do with Ayn Rand. Ayn Rands philosophy was not entirely based on freedom since it said it was wrong to engage in altruism (which is a limit to freedom).

    Modern liberals largely see altruism as something welcome as long as it is not forced onto to people. To give to your fellow man when he is in need should be something all of us do, but to give when he is not in need only makes him dependent on you.

  • 145. Anonymous  |  March 16th, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    BEWARE! The eighth circle of hell is reserved for the fraudulent and the slanderers such as the author who wrote this tripe article.

  • 146. porkers-at-the-trough  |  April 2nd, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    great dissection, Mark. even without knowing this ghoulish obsession of the Russian born Jewish upper-middle-class princess, the below was apparent years ago:

    hate to be the one to put it in plain english, but ayn rand is a textbook _jewish nazi_ – she displays a complete, total, maniacal, murderous disdain for the “untermensch.”
    The flip-side of this grisly contempt for “THE WEAKER class (or races) is a narcissistic love for one’s own claque as “the master class” (or master race, or both).
    Don’t forget, the reason that King Saul was condemned to lose is crown (and life) – because, after being told to WIPE OUT the Amalakites to the last man, woman, and child, Saul SPARED ONE, his fellow king, Amalek. When the “prophet” Samuel learned that Saul had spared the life of ONE survivor of the otherwise total extermination of the Amalakites, Samuel raged that Saul had “disobeyed god” and would lose his crown & life… whereupon Samuel GRABBED A SWORD, and HACKED the defenseless prisoner to death, on the spot.

  • 147. Antonio B.  |  April 17th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Ames, you failed to misrepresent what was said in Rand’s journal about Hickman, so rather than facing that awful fact, I will misrepresent what she wrote and stave off a bad case of cognitive dissonance. In the sentence you use “…other people do not exist for him…” implying she was directly talking about Hickman when in actuality I want to believe that she was talking of Renahan. While I understand the comparison Rand makes between the two men and that it is creepy no matter how much she tries to weasel her way out of acknowledging she gives a vicious serial killer any kind of praise, I cannot accept this, and I hope other Trekkie geeks like me don’t accept it either because I need company. Im afraid that if people read this article and look into her philosophy they will see she describes you perfectly, thus ingraining the “Randian” ideal into their minds even deeper. Now watch me as I make some incredible claims that will knock you off your socks: You have inadvertantly perpetuated her selfish moral code. Rand and yourself are both the problem. There is no use in debate when all sides fail to compromise and fail to recognize eachother as human beings with differences in opinion. Im going to go outside and enjoy this beautiful day with my daughter, never again giving you or objectivism a thought. I am free.
    And if you believe what I just wrote those last few sentences, have I got a great deal on a car to sell you

  • 148. Left V Right  |  April 28th, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    It’s pretty funny to me how many of you argue about “Leftwing” vs “Rightwing”, LOL. Bipartisanship is an illusion to keep you bickering and distracted.

  • 149. OldBear34  |  May 14th, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    Ayn Rand writes for and to impress college Sophomores. The only adults who follow her ravings as truth have never learned to reason beyond that intellectual level.

    To me it is apparent that the teachings of the gentle Jesus of Nazareth provide a better guide for living. Doing to others as you would like them to do for you, though not a perfect plan, is far better than the mad selfishness of the Russian lady, whose face reflects the ugliness of her soul.

  • 150. farha  |  May 17th, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    I am a oligarch’s knob gobbler, hear me gargle anonymously: I admire many of Rand’s positions on epistemology & ethics. I live by the principle that reason is the my only tool to make rational decisions. This principle has enabled me to aquire a top notch legal education, considerable assets, and an extremely satisfying life traveling around the world, while prioritizing productivity.

    I think Mr. Ames and many of his seemingly blind followers (OMG ANOTHER GREAT ARTICLE MARK, YOU REALLY DO PROMOTE PEACE. LETS KILL ALL THOSE RANDIANS, GOPers & JEWS) would benefit from reading about basic logical fallicies. Ad hominem was mentioned, but there are dozens of other that were not. http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/

    @149: No true Scotsman.

  • 151. farha  |  May 17th, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    RE:”I am a oligarch’s knob gobbler, hear me gargle anonymously”

    Just because I don’t want to disclose my email address to people clearly advocating violence against my “kind” doesn’t require the moderator to throw insults my way.

  • 152. Bill Rush  |  May 21st, 2010 at 1:36 am

    You see, Ayn Rand ripped off Nietzsche and then Rand was ripped off by Anton Lavey and you see how the philosophy keeps de-evolving.

  • 153. Liz212  |  May 22nd, 2010 at 11:56 am

    I just had to fight a giant corporation to get them to take my sexual harassment claim seriously. Now I know why they don’t care; I’m just a parasite, and they believe empathy keeps them from being productive. This philosophy also explains Transocean, BP, and of course Haliburton. Sorry, women and sea turtles!

  • 154. Zhu Bajie  |  May 30th, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Rand would be a typical crooked evangelist and her followers would be the typical congregation of a crooked evangelist, except that “Objectivism” isn’t usually called a religion.

  • 155. Dugoth  |  June 5th, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    The more I read about Rand, the more maggoty a light I see her. Her ideas are destructive, criminal, perverse and can only appeal to one with criminal tendencies. The article above is a very good assessment of why such a flawed unoriginal rambler can be exalted as a “philosopher” by criminals who see humanity as a commodity to trash. Her distaste of altruism, equality and democracy I have seen in obnoxious manipulative people.

  • 156. Jack Boot  |  June 8th, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Hey, at least Rand was an atheist…

  • 157. Mark  |  August 10th, 2010 at 7:56 am

    Ayn Rand made the mistake of being born.

  • 158. Josh  |  August 21st, 2010 at 9:28 am

    I am a republican, and despise Ayn Rand. Although some of my republican friends may enjoy her opinions, please do not lump me in with those followers. This article was informative, but misleading in tying Rand’s work so intimately in with the notions of the GOP. But I love everything you do. You rawk!

  • 159. gene  |  August 30th, 2010 at 3:26 am

    every so often i get a urge to read ayn rand. just to see. but i a too terrified it will leave an ugly stain on my brain.

  • 160. Ryan  |  September 9th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I suppose you could expect a silly troll who reads Ayn Rand to come onto this website and get all huffed up about how eXiled Online has banners that read ‘What you should Hate’ and ‘What you should Think’. I hope these idiot trolls are censored “at whim” and without warning. Exactly everything Ayn–whom i knew personally, in my dreams, when I imagine Ayn and me together, mowing her 100 year old box–exactly everything Ayn wouldn’t understand, because she was a crazy old Russian baglady.

    I suppose if she were around in the era of the internet she would masturbate as much as I do.

  • 161. Lindsey W. Sherwood  |  September 29th, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Can somone collect everybody’s write ups and publish … one thing we can say for Rand , she managed to get people writing … stuff a hundred times better than her own …
    her novels ..well light entertainment on a hot lazy summer day .. can not take her seriously .

  • 162. Zcook  |  October 28th, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I’m not left-wing or right-wing type of guy, as I’m I guess you could say Anarchist, yet I see the flaws in it anyway. I guess the only way to describe me is a non-conformist/ individualistic Absurdist. I however dislike bashing other people’s opinions. Polemics are a flawed argument to use, for how can you say that your opinion is better than someone elses opinion? It’s their opinion, so lay off. Is it bothering you that much that you have to resort to saying you’re wrong, I’m right? If they wanna do things their way, let them do it here way, just as you can do it your way. Furthermore, why even do things that others are doing? Why not just do things your own way first before conforming to a religion or philosophy? But then again, that’s just one man’s opinion.

  • 163. The Ultimate Philosopher  |  December 16th, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    This is such an outrageously dishonest hack-job on Rand, it’s simply too disgusting to dignify. Go fuck yourself, you loathsome piece of shit.

  • 164. Felipe  |  February 2nd, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    LIVE FREE OR DIE BITCHES!

  • 165. Iconoclast  |  February 3rd, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Ames you bastard! Dont throw your hot potatoes at our hemisphere!

  • 166. William Crain  |  February 4th, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Geeeeze Louise— Ultimate Philosofer i was gonna mention that the Randian Oppressor Envy and the Narcissistic Authoritarian is essentially a spike in a nefarious Cro-magnon type gene. It’s genetic – these luzers /Randians/ Neo-cons are Sociopaths from birth.

  • 167. GDubya  |  February 14th, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    What is truly scary are folks that write totally fucking retarded comments on other people’s sites. These retards believe they have the right to appropriate someone else’s valuable internet space while dreaming about giving head to billionaires.
    I wonder why these complete fucking retards think they have the right to an opinion!?
    I wonder why I am still writing this sad anonymous comment? My mental health is a major concern to my mother, who keeps me in her basement.
    If you care so much about some retarded dumbfuck’s mental health, go find a real person and stroke a billionaire’s penis like Ayn Rand did. I spend all of my time minding rich folks’ business and their fortunes, I hope some day that I won’t be an anonymous commenter but rather a billionaire. Meantime, I will cal you thieves until my mother gives me my next dose of Thorozine.

  • 168. GDubya  |  February 14th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    There is something peculiar here. Something is missing.

    Oh right–my brain. Mr. Ames–mom, someone please. Why am I a libertard, huh mom? What did I ever do to hurt you? I didn’t ask to be born a libertard. Mommie, I want my mommie!

  • 169. GDubya  |  February 14th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    Mr. Ames, I think I know how to nail you. Yeah seriously. I’m not gonna tell you because it’s sooooo brilliant that only a libertard like me, living in my mommie’s basement, could think it’s brilliant. You see it has to do with you, profits from your book…well, I have to save the rest for later because it’s just so brilliant, even Wile E Coyote would be impressed. Gosh, it’s so fun going through life as a libertard!

  • 170. Dillon  |  February 27th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    This is an absolutely brilliant article. Everything by Ayn Rand is dirty, poorly written, outrageous. The whole premise of my trolling for Ayn Rand is ridiculous. It’s garbage like Atlas Shrugged that reinforces the drivel and subterranean level of trolling most people have to endure in modern society.

  • 171. jacob  |  March 6th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    ayn rand is the best thing that ever happened to this world. Any one who disagrees is just too lazy and unintelligent to go out and do something for themselves.

  • 172. Rajiv  |  April 8th, 2011 at 4:43 am

    Well! after reading many comments above I knew that I was not the only one who hated Ayn Rand . I read “Atlas Shrugged” sometime ago and perhaps it is the worst book I ever read or will ever read.
    Each character was like a philospher himself, giving lecture over lecture on philosophy while the many protagonist – Dagny Taggart was a complete slut.
    I copied a Dagny-Hank lecture to MS Word and found out it was 2409 word…damn! There was no normal talking anywhere in the novel. Everybody was giving philosophicl sermons.
    The description of Atlantis where all Mind-People were hiding was childish – a valley where you can find- Copper, Iron and Oil and a lake too! wow heavens
    Overall she had no sense of what she was writng or how to write a ‘Business Novel’

    If anybody want to read something good especially on production or manufacturing read “The Goal by E.M. Goldratt”..its a really good with no crap

  • 173. Tim  |  April 12th, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    That’s William F. Buckley in drag! The Libertarian Party is made up of Randists. Stay away from them! This is what rules the GOP today.

  • 174. hopita  |  April 13th, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Point of clarification:

    Your first article appears to be from The Pittsburgh Press, and not The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (The Post-Gazette took over The Press in 1992).

  • 175. C. Andrews  |  April 14th, 2011 at 12:14 am

    Found my way here from a Facebook friend’s post. Just a few points:

    1. Rand doesn’t represent the modern Tea Party/libertarian movements beyond some passing resemblances in fiscal conservatism. Rand wasn’t really a capitalist as much as she was a reactionary anti-Communist, and she was so rigid and inflexible in her views that she ended up creating a movement that was just as totalitarian as the Soviet system she railed so hard against.

    2. To hold up Rand as an example of all right-wing movements because she was an extremist nut with a fixation on a killer is the same as saying all Christians are nuts because of Jim Jones. Smearing an entire group based on the actions of one person … hmm, usually that’s called stereotyping, which I thought liberals were supposed to oppose.

    3. Wanting reforms in Medicare and SS, and opposing Obama’s health reforms, doesn’t mean you hate the old and the poor and want them to die. The plain fact is, entitlement spending is out of control, and we need serious reforms, but no one will address the issue. And as for health care — fine, extend more offerings to the underserved, but don’t order me to buy coverage. (What happened to freedom of choice? I thought leftists loved that.)

    You’re engaging in a very simplistic, black-and-white worldview — much like Rand’s, actually — that simplifies things down into childish absolutes. This is the whole problem with political discourse in our country today.

    [Editor replies: "Oh my God...so what you're saying is...I'm doing the very same things I condemn in Ayn Rand? Oh, oh my! How could I not see that? Why, I feel so foolish! Thank you, thank you for turning that around on me and making me look at my own reflection in the mirror. Wow!"]

  • 176. Correction  |  April 14th, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    First, Ayn Rand did not love Hickman or ever meet him. Second, this was under 2 years after she escaped from the USSR and communism, and many years before the started her philosophy. She grew up and was educated in the USSR, so her outlook on other viewpoints was very limited when coming in to the US. She knew she hated communism, but didn’t have much of an answer to it. One of the first philosophers she turned to was Nietzsche and existentialism/nihilism. However, if you would have done your research you would have found that she later found Nietzche and like-minded philosophers as immoral. As for Hickman, she recognized the horror of his crime, what intrigued her about the ordeal was the aspect of society vs the individual. She did not say he was justified in what he did, she thought he deserved his death, but the idea of man vs society is what she found from it. So next time you write an article, do your research and quit trying to denigrate your philosophical enemies personally with misrepresentations and fraud, maybe try winning an actual argument.

    Lastly, I should add that, as a paid troll for the company promoting the incredible film “Atlas Shrugged” which will be recognized as one of the great cinematic classics, I want to say that my ancestors would be proud of me that I spend my life promoting a retarded Russian sociopath. But that’s because my ancestors were guinea worms.

  • 177. NOLA  |  April 16th, 2011 at 11:46 am

    This article is frightening. It relys on a weak minded audience’s complete emotion based thought process without any application of truth, honesty, or reason. I fear for our civilization because of the conceptual savagery embodied in this article and it’s numerous positive comments.

  • 178. CAGranny  |  April 17th, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    Damn scary article. I re-read Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged twice . . .actually enjoyed the tales, but from my perspective, John Galt was a lucky one who arrived with smarts and creativity – but no compassion or empathy. And Rand makes his family SUCH a bunch of ungrateful do nothings . . .which makes us want to cheer him on in dumping them all. Fact is, so many people end up in deep shit trouble for so many other reasons OTHER THAN drug habits, laziness . . .anyway, Galt was a selfish man who considered himself a “victim” . . .I go for the idea that “to whom much is given, MUCH IS EXPECTED.” “Given can be IQ (my autistic grandson has a high one but will never be able to live solely on his own), LUCK (I always wondered what it would be like to be born stinking rich – would I be another “ignore the trailer trash, they’ll die off soon” today? One of my friends said today, “but what happens when all the servants die off because they starve or have no medical care”. I figure they can always breed some, right . . .OH . . better yet CLONE THE SERVANTS?

  • 179. Springer Rider  |  April 18th, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I consider myself a near scholar on Ayn Rand, whom I have met, along with Nathaniel adn Barbara Branden. I mowed her box, just as Nathaniel Branden mowed her box. It was a foul, rancid, but objective box. It was an old, musty box. But it was rational.

    Please kill me.

  • 180. Phillip Rearden  |  April 20th, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    This article has already thoroughly debunked my entire worldview based on Ayn Rand. Kill me already, please. Seriously. No seriously, please kill me, because I actually believed in Ayn Rand.

  • 181. Balph Hunsacker  |  April 21st, 2011 at 11:19 am

    If you’ve actually read “Atlas Shrugged,” then you know that the writing is atrocious, and you know that this is a fact not subject to debate.

  • 182. John Robert  |  April 21st, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I’m so glad that this is getting out. The real conservatives that originally built the movement despised Randism & the Randroids believed themselves to be superior to them; I left the movement after it became evident that the ideas of tradition, compromise, and moderation praised by Russell Kirk in his “Conservative Mind” formed no part of the conservatives of my (and Jack Abramoff’s) generation.

  • 183. John Robert  |  April 21st, 2011 at 11:27 am

    Wholly baffled by the notion that Nietzsche ‘clung to’ Dostoevsky’s coattails. “Crime and Punishment” is a condemnation of everything that Nietzsche and Rand believed; Raskolnikov, having committed the murder of the old woman, spends the whole novel in the throes of agony & goes off to prison as a man morally renewed by reading the Gospel supplied by Sonia . . .

  • 184. Linda Johnson  |  April 21st, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I need to point out that genuine Christianity does not admire the Ayn Rands, etc. Christians, some real believers in Jesus, at least, who care about the name of our Lord and hate the selfishness and hypocrisy of that movement, are beginning to blow the whistle on the religious right, as in the article, Dominionism and the Rise of Christian Imperialism, by Sarah Leslie, @ http://www.discernment-ministries.org/ChristianImperialism.
    Ms. Leslie is a former member of that movement, having been part of Right to Life.

    I would also like to point out that Rand would no doubt share your hatred for creationists, you up there. We who believe in the Lord think it is that “there is no fear of God before their eyes” that  creates wickedness like this. The fear of God that is “the beginning of wisdom” is not the fear that its enemies think it is, but “reverential trust” in a God who is righteous and good, as many believing Christians describe it. It is not so much wanting to be “on the good side” of a bully God (as in Calvinism) but to be on the side of the One who is good. The actions of the hypocrites who claim that movement is “Christian” are a slander against our Lord Jesus Christ, who loves righteousness and mercy.  

    By the way, Christianity has not “been proven false by modern scholarship;” it has been painted false by theologians, etc, determined to deep-six it in favor of a world religion they wish to force on everyone. Does that Inquisition appeal to you? Because the one various infidels (including those who believe in Jesus as fervently as we do) were forced through is/was an abomination to us as well as to God. I believe in the Bible’s separation of church and state–”My kingdom is not of this world”–so I don’t believe this could ever be brought about by force or political manipulation, but a society that called what the Bible calls good, good, and what the Bible calls evil, evil, would never admire the GW Bushes or Ayn Rands. And that is what is sick and wrong with ours.

  • 185. pb100  |  April 27th, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    A serial killer has more then one victim William Edward Hickman only killed one person. When you hype up bogus news stories with titles like “ATLAS SHRIEKED: AYN RAND’S FIRST LOVE AND MENTOR WAS A SADISTIC SERIAL KILLER WHO DISMEMBERED LITTLE GIRLS” it doesn’t make you any better then the right wing “pundit attack dogs” you are railing against.

  • 186. Benn  |  May 9th, 2011 at 11:58 am

    i am a piece of dirt: ayn rand is an intellectually disabled author who has nothing to argue becides the dirt about her private life i also cannot spell the word “becides” because ayn rand readers are too fucking retarded to spell

  • 187. Scortchg Dearth  |  May 25th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    @pb100: Hickman also confessed to murdering someone during a holdup, but who knows how many he killed we’re unaware of?…what constitutes a “mass” murderer?…if it’s more than 1, then he is one.

  • 188. hello  |  May 30th, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Her name was Alisa Zinov’yevna ROSENBAUM. She was born in Russia but she never was ethnically Russian! Stop calling her Russian. She has nothing to do with Russian culture. People like her always hated Russia and black-mouthed Russia all over the world.

    Because you know, no ethnic-Russian would ever bad-mouth Russia or harm a hair on a Russian’s head. They’re all Jews, damnit! Jews, I tell you! Russians are ethnically perfect! They always do everything perfectly! If only it weren’t for those darned Jews!!!

  • 189. Ellis Weiner  |  May 30th, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    If you’ve read Atlas Shrugged and are still waiting for something to have made it worthwhile…or if you seek a way not to have to read it at all, go here for the parody, which visits John Glatt, Dragnie Tagbord, and the rest of the gang ten years later in the “secret sequel.” You’ll have big laffs and thank me later, and all for a fucking 99 cents:

    [ADDRESS REMOVED BY EDITORS UNTIL SUCH TIME THAT THIS WORTHLESS FUCKHEAD PAYS US MONEY TO ADVERTISE HIS GARBAGE ON OUR SITE--J.G.] [THAT'S JOHN GALT, IN CASE YOU DIDN'T GET IT, PARASITE-BREATH]

  • 190. Ellen Hunt  |  June 5th, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Ayn Rand is to economics what bodice ripper romance novels are to marriage.

    When I first read “The Fountainhead” at 16 i could see that. I found the hero just stupid, not anything to emulate.

    Get this through your head. NOBODY makes it alone. NOBODY. Anybody who looks like they did is just a figurehead.

    I knew that when I was just a kid. It should have been called, “The Figurehead”.

  • 191. Buster Mountebank  |  June 7th, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    This whole movement is so unbelievably weird that it’s a wonder anyone can take any of it seriously. At least with the Nazis there was an ‘in group’ of people who were dedicated to taking care of one another. (the Volksgemeinschaft or Folk Community). They may have had paranoid delusions about their supposed ‘racial enemies’ that brought about ruinous results…but at least we can identify a perverse and consistent logic behind it all.

    With Rand and her objectivism it’s hard to figure out how the world is supposed to work. What if you suddenly have a surplus of John Galts? Are these people with a total lack of compassion supposed to limit their ambition to the business world? Or would Ayn Rand and perhaps Paul Ryan and her other acolytes rather the world look like eastern Congo? Endless mass murder, rape and torture. Objectivism sounds more and more like Black Fascism than any other philosophy.

  • 192. Loco  |  August 6th, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    The Fountainhead is one of my favorite books….(Atlas Shrugged didn’t move me) Who cares if she admired a killer? so what? She didn’t kill people, she just wrote stories and had an idea with both merits and demerits, like most people. Geez. Why demonize the woman? Writers are all strange and liable to do anything to find a muse, most artist would!
    Your vilification is almost as dark as the people who hold her work up as the template for the ideal world. I didn’t agree with all of the ideas she expressed in her books but the characters were diabolical and captibvating (Peter and Ed Toohey in Fountaihead in particular) well-written and developed and definitely examples of a dark side of human nature.. I think psychotic killers who dismember children should be put to slow tortuous deaths but to spin this so that Ayn rand almost sounds like his enabler?…she’s just a writer with some crazy notions…certainly not the first, and we all know she wasn’t the last, nor even the worst…not the devil nor devil spawn. Just a confused human trying to make sense of this chaos we almost laughingly call modern civilization

  • 193. Diana Hsieh  |  October 12th, 2011 at 8:56 am

    This article is a baseless, dishonest smear. If a person wants to reject Ayn Rand’s ideas, he should do so on the basis of her actual mature views, not invented claims based on private journal entries written when she was 23 about a long-since abandoned writing project. For a detailed discussion, see my YouTube video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1KGfnn3cbc

  • 194. Integrity888  |  October 18th, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Democracy can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.(Fiat money)
    From that moment the majority always votes for the most sociopaths candidates promising the most money from the public treasury and pushing cost always higher so the needs never end. The bigger the Government the more problems there are and the more Government needs to interfere and the more corruption the will be.

    Ayn Rand was Antiwar “anti Vietnam war’
    Ayn was absolutely not a textbook sociopath she simply made a case for personal responsibility and that that so called altruistic politicians are hypocrites.

    Compassion and “organized altruism” is not the same thing. One is voluntary and moral the other is an immoral tool that power sealers used to seduce there naive and misinform subject.

    Sociopath where in so called collective and altruistic nations such as the USSR, China, North Korea Cambodia, killing millions of there own people for the benefit of so called equality.

  • 195. lol  |  October 28th, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    LOL! Rands a piker on the serial killer worship! Commies prefer their murder wholesale, thousands and millions at a time. Hitler was a National SOCIALIST, the Bolshies killed millions, Pol Pot, Mao, Stalin. We have Sanger, the eugenic founder of the lefts beloved Planned Parenthood responsible for the abortion holocaust and you are outraged at Rands strange fixation on this killers amorality. You can’t GIVE people healthcare, it COSTS money, unless you propose SLAVERY.

  • 196. James Bowery  |  October 29th, 2011 at 7:25 am

    While a house guest, Robert Anton Wilson brought up Ayn Rand’s writings in the context of libertarian thought. I simply mused: “Ah, Ayn Rand. Literature for the thinking sociopath!” RAW found that highly amusing.

  • 197. NUnya  |  November 1st, 2011 at 5:59 am

    Really? This is a horrible opinion piece. No where does she say she admires these people, you are reading to far into it with a bias. She is right, majority rule is not freedom. But I digress, you wont learn until you attempt to take over and are defeated. Soundly.

  • 198. Ben  |  November 2nd, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    And Obama has a thing for domestic terrorist murderers like Bill Ayers, but I don’t see you cringing from that association. People with good ideas can also have bad ideas.

  • 199. Trevor  |  November 3rd, 2011 at 9:15 am

    And the comments are still going strong! Like right above me is NUnya saying “It’s not true! Reality’s not true!” and Ben trotting out the old Obama-Ayers meme. Both are the same person – a fucking imbecile. Because Ayers is now a tame academic – the favorite enemy of petty morons with no balls.

  • 200. Simon Evans  |  November 4th, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Dorothy Parker said (of ‘Atlas’: ‘Should not be dismissed lightly but thrown out of the window with great force’ – you get any more succint than that.

  • 201. haha  |  May 1st, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Notice how Hickman used to kill only girls and defenseless old men, that’s cuz he was too much of a pussy to take on someone his own size, i don’t call that a sociopath i call that a fucking pussy and for Rand there’ll always be some retarded masochistic bitch to worship pussies like Hickman.

  • 202. EA  |  June 1st, 2012 at 2:05 am

    Ayn Rand’s philosophies are the articulations of what I’ve believed all along. We are born and die alone– why not live out the space between in pursuit of singular, transcendental greatness? The world’s greatest thinkers and artists have frequently been selfish, cruel people.

    Writing or creating art is one of the most selfish acts imaginable to begin with. The pure indulgence of an individual’s thought processes, the realization of them and materialization of them isn’t a philanthropic venture.

    It’s every man for himself. Or woman, in my own case.

    AEC: PRESERVED IN ITS ENTIRETY IN THE NAME OF KNOWLEDGE AND SCHOLARSHIP. ONE DAY, THE MYSTERIES OF THE AYN RAND TROLL WILL BE UNMASKED. CHANCES ARE THEY ARE LOCKED AWAY IN A NEW MEDIA STRATEGIES TROLL DUNGEON.

  • 203. EA  |  June 1st, 2012 at 2:08 am

    And as for the article. Of course, I am a Randroid cultist who grew up a teased nerd and wanted revenge on the world, just like Ayn did.

  • 204. SW  |  July 5th, 2012 at 10:07 am

    @EA: You say “We are born and die alone– why not live out the space between in pursuit of singular, transcendental greatness?”

    It is the definition of singular, transcendental greatness that is the subject of debate. If greatness means the ability to accumulate large sums of money, then the leaders of drug cartels, murderous dictatorial tyrants and lottery winners would all be deemed so.

    I have read all Ayn Rand’s writings and the best of her philosophy is that an artist needs to create according to their own voice. That does not mean all art is “good”, likeable or even a great achievement. It does mean people viewing the art are required to think, and in my mind that is a good thing.

    After many additional years of living, I have come to understand while there is such a thing as an absolute, e.g.: death, the indifference of the planet to the survivial of our own (or any) species; it does not logically follow that hard work, intelligence and talent lead one to a life of fabulous income, power and independence.

    If the government does not understand that ensuring our most vulnerable people do not fall into lives of unrelenting poverty and illness… we are lost. Desperate circumstances create panic and that is the exact opposite of rational thought processes.

    The US is slowing disintegrating under the weight of economic decline, yet the loudest, most vociferous voices are those clamouring for rollback of healthcare. These are not rational, disinterested minds, they are emotionally overwrought misanthropes.

  • 205. dr. Corbet  |  July 27th, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    ea…art is selfishness? wow. there are selfish people in every pursuit. then there are devouted artists who give up so-called money or power career options in the pursuit of the art itself. why? because they believe they are contributing to their culture, to the goodness of the community, to the art itself. they are one with humanity by serving their art and spend every creative second to that path. these artists are kind and loving, giving individuals who teach and sacrifice for others…far from the Rand philosophy. very very far.

  • 206. Bunny  |  August 11th, 2012 at 10:38 am

    The concept of each man for himself can make sense in certain situations, but I believe that most people are hard-wired to look out for one another. I’ve lived in socialised countries and it’s great to know that, no matter how rich or poor someone may be, everyone has access to the same healthcare.

    I’m considered upper-middle class, and don’t mind if my taxes increase provided that they go toward ensuring that needy children don’t go without seeing the doctor, and that there’s plenty of food and shelter for the homeless. Isn’t that why we have a society, so that we’re not lone wolves? To me, caring for one another is our greatest strength, and most certainly isn’t a weakness.

  • 207. chris  |  September 27th, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Then why not blame Russian socialism for the creation of Ayn Rand monster?

  • 208. Bill  |  September 28th, 2012 at 3:40 am

    Shouldn’t you be concerned that this bit of universally available self-embarrassment can be refuted… simply by reading what Rand actually wrote, which is also universally available? I bet you’re concerned. If I was not an Ayn Rand groupie, I’d be concerned too.

  • 209. Bruce Majors  |  December 4th, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    What sad little feces you are. FYI: this is my son, “Reason”: http://reason.com/blog/2012/12/04/donate-to-reason-because-for-a-baby-name

  • 210. thor  |  January 5th, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    Ad hominem attack me please. I need it.

  • 211. JohnR  |  January 18th, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    So check this…Jews invented Marxism AND Liberterianism. YOu know why? That’s simple: because they are JEWZ-E and they get to be CHEW-Z. Ana Rosenbaum is her name another deceptive tribe member, what a horrifying writer and subverter. Chris as far as Communism goes it’s not that hard to figure out. Karl Marx = Moses Mordecai Levy. “The Communist soul is the soul of Judaism. Hence it follows that, just as in the Russian revolution the triumph of Communism was the triumph of Judaism, so also in the triumph of fascism will triumph Judaism.” (A Program for the Jews and Humanity, Rabbi Harry Waton, p. 143-144).

  • 212. Jamie  |  February 6th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Someone asked, and the apartment building this happened in was at 1170 Bellevue Street over by Dodger Stadium. It was specifically apt. 315. I believe the place has been turned into condos since, according to some of the online true crime sites.

    Good luck; hope it’s not your place!

  • 213. Equality 7-2521  |  May 10th, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Sounds like I’m a commentard trolling your site. Must mean that I’m one of Ayn Rand’s superheroes.

  • 214. Equality 7-2521  |  May 10th, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Can I write a comment in favor of Atlas while still wearing my Spock Convention ears, or must I take them off? Nanu-nanu!

  • 215. Saulius Muliolis  |  November 26th, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    You need to improve my retarded comment because all I want to do is give Master Koch a blow job. My life is a bunch of lies, built around a few half truths.

    Ayn Rand in my dreams still calls me a degenerate and a “purposeless monkey”.

    Look up, on “Retarded Commenter”, “Monkey Ayn: I Go On Comments Sections, and my comments are improved. I read Nietzsche and I am a Purposeless Monkey”.

    The fact that I have to rely on the Censor to improve my retarded comments simply shows that I should probably dunk my head in a vat of acid and end it quickly.

  • 216. 60srad  |  December 28th, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Atlas sucked and still does. So does craporate crapitalism and the conartistive propaganda that endorses it.

  • 217. Arturo  |  January 26th, 2014 at 6:20 am

    @ 3 and 13:

    Murray Rothbard, Maximum Leader of the “additions to the money supply always and everywhere constitute inflation” cult

  • 218. S  |  March 12th, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    It’s hard to believe that people take this wacko and her half-baked philosophy seriously. The article got it right about how she bastardized her “idolized” writers…that wacko totally twisted their work.
    Plus the fact that in her writings, she fantasizes about rape, and pretty much condones the rape of women, makes me sick. Only a psychopath could think that they think for us all.
    She is a crackpot and nothing more. I am wondering if her ideas have had such an impact as they appear to have had. I mean, a lot of those ignorant right wing “teabaggers” are her “parasites” anyway. Did they even read her books?
    Ron Paul even named his son after her…sick sick sick sick sick!
    #43 comment is wrong…Oh how it is so disturbing how people don’t understand simple economics.
    Wish I had the time to read all the comments but most are correct, or good.
    I think this wacko’s ideology is misunderstood and misinterpreted, and she’s glorified as something she isn’t…


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