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I bet he didn't even read the book

Because I like posting flamebait, here's Matthew Yglesias, on a column by Carol Baum comparing the financial CEOs to the protagonists in Atlas Shrugged:

Atlas Shrugged is a stupid book, Ayn Rand is a stupid woman, and John Galt’s ideas are stupid. That said, none of them are nearly this stupid. Rand’s novel isn’t about a world in which executives who build companies based on a lot of incorrect decisions, then pay themselves millions of dollars while bankrupting their firms, then come to the government hat-in-hand asking for bailouts, then find that the bailers-out want to attach some strings to their hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds and then go to hide out in Galt’s Gulch. That doesn’t make any sense at all.

Rand-bashing aside, Yglesias is correct.

To inject flamebait of my own, I've read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged (albeit many years ago) and while I think Rand has compelling ideas and understand why many libertarians are drawn to her philosophy, I really don't . . . get it.  She is not, in my opinion, a particularly great fiction writer.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 21st, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
I agree with you regarding her talent as a writer of fiction.

Mar. 21st, 2009 03:04 am (UTC)
Yeah, maybe, but I find it telling just how many people are coming out of the woodwork to denounce her right now...
Mar. 21st, 2009 11:05 am (UTC)
The idea of society falling apart if its best talent drops out of the system due to excessive taxation and government interference in their businesses, seems like a perfectly plausible idea compared to what is going on right now.

If someone were to have written a book about a group of banksters who run their business into bankruptcy while collecting millions in salary, and then bribe congress and the president with so much cash that they can then get billions in tax money for million dollar bonuses, it would have be derided as a silly premise and virtually impossible in a "democracy" like the US has.
Mar. 21st, 2009 08:31 pm (UTC)
I too like Rand's general philosophy, but after slogging through Atlas Shrugged, I don't wish to read any more of her writing. I got it. I get it. It's good.
Mar. 31st, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
I crossposted your post in the libertarian group
to RevLeft

I thought it would be fair at least to tell you, since you may be interested in their responses. Don't forget - we're all in this together :-P
Mar. 31st, 2009 12:24 am (UTC)
Re: I crossposted your post in the libertarian group
No problem.

Still, you're not really discussing inalienability within the context of libertarian philosophy. For the purposes of my discussion, inalienability is the inability to transfer the rights of self-ownership to another party. Since you consider wage labor to be "slavery", you're merely expanding the realm of discussion to suit your agenda. Not sure I'm really interested in pursuing that thread myself, but you're welcome to use my post however you see fit.
Mar. 31st, 2009 01:56 am (UTC)
Re: I crossposted your post in the libertarian group
You don't think you might be narrowing the realm of discussion to suit your agenda? My post is discussing the very specific concept that you describe here, and I am attempting to show that the moral difference between self-ownership and ownershp of something like oxygen or food is not meaningful. If you are content to argue devoid of that knowledge, which I'm sure you are, that's fine, but don't pretend that your concept isn't subject to that very criticism.

If you set limits for yourself like that, don't expect to discover anything new.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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