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NYT reviews new Ayn Rand biography

Prize quote -- ouch, man, you are painfully right:

Rand’s particular intellectual contribution, the thing that makes her so popular and so American, is the way she managed to mass market elitism — to convince so many people, especially young people, that they could be geniuses without being in any concrete way distinguished.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-30 08:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smarriveurr.livejournal.com
That really does sum up so many of the vocal Objectivists I've seen quite accurately...

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-30 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eirias.livejournal.com
Yeah. Although to be fair, it's not *just* them it describes pretty well. I've known some lefty types that also struck me as arrogant without having much cause to be.

I think that the most interesting insight here is that you can get people pretty committed to inequality if you manage to flatter them into thinking they'll be in the top bracket -- and that such flattery is really easy to pull off. I mean, this can't be new, but I thought this was a nice, punchy way of calling attention to it.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-30 10:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] smarriveurr.livejournal.com
Oh, no, it's just that the lefty elitists I've met seem to feel that they have an intangible moral superiority, whereas the most of the Randian elitists seemed to believe they held a more concrete superiority that was lacking.

I think that's a fairly universal system of propaganda. Whether you're convincing the majority in your nation that a visible minority is to blame for any problems in life, or that massive conglomerates of human beings are inherently inferior to smaller conglomerates, it's remarkably easy to convince masses of people that they have some "right" that trumps the needs/dignity/rights of others. I seem to recall any number of (massively simplified) studies in the media indicating how the overwhelming majority of people consider themselves above average drivers, for example, or how much more likely inexpert individuals were to overrate their knowledge compared to actually informed individuals. There appear to be any number of built-in handles by which to grab the average person in order to convince them that they are extraordinary.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-31 02:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tiurin.livejournal.com
http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/2009/10/26/mofo-and-other-mysteries/

Apparently, about 40% of OKC users think they're geniuses.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-30 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drspiff.livejournal.com
The absolute absurdity of objectivism was a frequent topic of discussion/debate in the dorm hallway late at night when I was an undergrad. Or at least most of us found it absurd there were a few narcissistic megalomaniacs in the bunch that worshiped Rand. But then fortunately the majority was right about them and their philosophy. Living proof we're right is that the Rand lovers aren't running the world.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-30 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eirias.livejournal.com
Hate to break it to you, but Alan Greenspan is/was reportedly a huge fan...

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-30 10:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drspiff.livejournal.com
Although you know that I would argue that Greenspan did a particularly crappy job of running the world. [livejournal.com profile] puffinesq's grandmother also has proclaimed him the "most boring man" she ever met.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-30 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eirias.livejournal.com
[livejournal.com profile] puffinesq's grandmother also has proclaimed him the "most boring man" she ever met.

If [livejournal.com profile] dmw7 is reading this, she will be deeply disappointed... :)

And yeah, I make no claims about how well Greenspan did his job! Just, you know, he had an awful lot of power for a few decades. Or perhaps more accurately, for those decades he got to wield one lightweight but rather long lever.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-31 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] drspiff.livejournal.com
Actually his actions make a lot of sense through the prism of objectivism. If you purely judged him based on his own beliefs and philosophy he didn't do so bad. The cream at the top got richer and everyone else who wasn't worthy got screwed.... "not worthy" being circularly defined as the people screwed by the market.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-30 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eirias.livejournal.com
(Not that there aren't some pretty ridiculous things about Objectivism! But it's just not true that nobody with those views has run the world.)

(no subject)

Date: 2009-10-31 12:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jpfed.livejournal.com
There was even a programming language (http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Objectivist_C) designed in her honor. :)

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