Worthy of Notice

 Posted by on 23 July 2004 at 2:49 pm  Uncategorized
Jul 232004

Sometimes, vicious and twisted ideological attacks can be underhanded compliments. After all, at least it means that you’ve annoyed the opposition enough to warrant their public attention. That certainly seems to be the case with this column devoted to almost nothing but slamming Ayn Rand and her ideas. Here’s a taste:

Ayn Rand was a third-rate novelist pretending to be a first-rate philosopher. She wrote Harlequin Romances for intellectually pretentious adolescent boys. I know. I was one of those boys.

Is that a bit too tepid for you? Then try this lovely summary of an argument against unions which Ayn Rand never made:

As I say, I liked Ayn Rand’s books when I was an adolescent. Her comic-book superheroes appealed to me, and of course there was the sex (almost always outside of marriage–ooh la la). But even at the time, I knew she was a fool when it came to the way laissez-faire capitalism worked and the way people behaved in it. The telling issue for me was workers’ unions. Rand hated them. Her logic about unions went like this: 1) Unions harbor some workers who are lazy and shiftless. 2) Therefore all unions are evil. 3) Therefore anyone who joins a union is lazy, shiftless, and evil. In her books, all union members are weak, stupid, and good for nothing, or else they are the ignorant dupes of union leaders who are simply exploiting them for their own purposes. To refute this view of the world in 1959, all I had to do was look across the kitchen table each night at my own father, who was a union activist for the Communication Workers of America and was the hardest-working man I knew, and one of the smartest and nicest. At work, he received anonymous notes from people calling him a “red” and a “commie” for his union work. No doubt some of these notes came from Ayn Rand disciples; Rand was a notorious commie-hater. (She had been born, Alisa Rosenbaum, in pre-revolutionary Russia.) In Rand’s utopian capitalist world, no such thing as a company store or scrip or a sweat shop had ever existed. The Rockefellers and Vanderbilts and Carnegies were, in her world, saints.

The whole article is just astonishing. It’s so bad that it seems like a good sign.

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