“In my experience academics tend to be enormously ignorant and close minded. Didn't someone call them "an independent herd?"”
noamjunior on Mar 30, 2009 at 15:58:48
“CLosed minded- no
Short tempered with people who mistake a work like Atlas Shrugged with a work of great literature?
RedDogBear on Mar 27, 2009 at 18:23:04
“That hasn't been my experience. You don't get a PhD without learning a few things. I agree that some of what you learn (and the ratio depends on how good you are, where you go to school, etc.) is how to kiss a*s and play politics. But I've never known anyone that got through a reputable program without learning something. And while academics can be close minded, especially when it comes to pet theories, in general they are much more open minded than the general population. They pretty much have to be otherwise they would be accountants or stock brokers or some job where you can make a lot more money with a lot less effort.”
“Credit default swaps are one piece of the puzzle. You have to look at the full picture, not just one piece in isolation. The questions is: what are the incentives that the government creates and what government regulations and government policies are businesses desperately trying to avoid?”
“And don't forget, Ayn Rand supported the Federal Reserve Board and fiat money, right? And she also would have supported the massive flood of dollars that the fed printed and pumped into the market, creating this crisis, right?
"Objectivists don't really like anyone who's not an Objectivist." That's a gross overstatement. As movements grow, people fall out. It's true in every ideological movement.
Objectivist splits are always overblown in significance- by outsiders, not insiders.
Sir Andrew is right. There's lots of ad hominem here.”
“Not much of substance in this article-a lot of name calling and emotional reasoning.
A few facts: Ayn Rand loathed libertarians. Her modern adherents thoroughly disagree with Neo-conservatism.
Alan Greenspan has not been associated with Rand for ages, and has gone against her philosophy. He is a statist and a pragmatist-opposite to Objectivists. He can talk all he wants about free markets and how they don't work, but he's not a free-marketeer-hasn't been for a long time. He certainly didn't (and couldn't) pursue free market policies as head of the state run banking system.
I don't know what happened in the Sixties, but Objectivists today certainly do not condemn homosexuals. I'm not sure it's even regarded by most as a philosophical or moral issue in the least. There are noted gay Objectivists.”
hp blogger Lee Stranahan on Mar 13, 2009 at 22:11:20
“Objectivists don't really like anyone who's not an Objectivist - and with all the splits - Rand / Branden, Peikoff / Kelley, Peikoff / Reisman and so on - they don't even like a lot of other Objectvists, either..
Your Greenspan response is exactly what I predicted - because you're predictable, and I don't even know you.
And if you don't know what happened in the 60s (and 70s and most of the 80s) why not do some research and then back to us?”
“On the issue of "cherry picking," remember there is limited space in these posts. I couldn't cover everything. But even IF these are some of the most egregious errors, if the author can make basic mistakes (facts about Ayn Rand that are easily checkable) doesn't that cast doubt on the whole article?
As to Ameriquest, I wouldn't be surprised by such bonuses. The government incentivized these loans, and in many cases forced the banks to make them-all in the name of egalitarianism-not so called "greed" or "selfishness." This is a government created disaster-not a market phenomenon.
Also, who pumped loads of money into the market to make these extra loans possible? Not Capitalists.”
“This article makes many, many errors regarding Ayn Rand, and regarding our current economic situation.
1. Our current situation is not the result of deregulation. It's the result of the government printing extraordinary amounts of money, pumping it into the market, especially the housing market, and then strongly encouraging and even forcing banks to give loans to unqualified home buyers. This situation is completely the fault of the government acting improperly and, yes, altruistically. Unregulated parts of the economy (hedge funds for example) are perfectly fine.
2. Rand disparaged Ronald Reagan. Her adherents today loathed George Bush and neo-Conservatives.
3. Alan Greenspan abandoned Objectivism many years ago.
4. Ayn Rand had no problem with people voluntarily helping others. What she did oppose is forcing people to give to other people. She also did not feel that the starting point of ethical value is helping others. I think you are simplifying a very interesting and well thought out ethical system. Tara Smith's "The Virtuous Egoist" talks about these issues. Craig Biddle's "Loving Life: The Morality of Self-interest and the facts that support it" explains it very clearly.
5. Ayn Rand did not have contempt for "ordinary" people (whoever they are.) I defy you to point out where she ever called ordinary people "refuse" or "imbeciles. She respected honest people of whatever ability. She rejected Nietzsche.
6. Rand never denied the role of prices in the economy.
7. Wasn't Enron a by-product of government regulation?”
MisterQ on Mar 12, 2009 at 23:57:36
“In fact, several of these companies-like Ameriquest, for example-gave bonuses to employee's who got the highest amount of the least qualified applications into homes they knew they were unable to afford.
I noticed how you didn't go after any of the other numerous substantive claims about Rand and simply cherry picked those which you believed to more easily disputable, assuming that others would be ignorant to the real truth. How very arrogant, ah, Randian, of you.”
MisterQ on Mar 12, 2009 at 23:37:50
“Many of you above assertions are, for lack of a better term, laughable. If ignorance is blissful, you must be floating on cloud nine. Here's just one example of your foolishness:
"Our current situation is not the result of deregulation...this situation is completely the fault of the government acting improperly and, yes, altruistically"
Ah yes, spoken like a true apologist for the free market con artists who were, in fact, largely responsible for getting us ALL into this mess. The bundling of mortgages by hedge funds and the like is VERY WELL DOCUMENTED (and illegal prior to the Bush Admin & the Republican controlled Congress passing of several bills that DEREGULATED the industry to allow for that very practice to take place), as are the internal memo's written by the heads of the top mortgage companies (who profited greatly to a tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, which they used to line their OWN pockets and, of course, line the pockets of the Bush campaign coffers as EVERY SINGLE LAST ONE OF THEM donated and/or bundled substantial sums to his campaign and the RNC) encouraging brokers to ignore people's financial status and/or credit history and do whatever it takes to get them to sign on the dotted line knowing full well that these mortgages would go bust whilst they took their money and ran.”
Tim303 on Mar 12, 2009 at 23:22:05
“7 in particular--what a load of rubbish. Just ask a "F(expletive)ing Socialist Californian grandmother" (actual quotation from telephone conversation of Enron execs). Grow up.”
“Banks lending money to unqualified borrowers en masse! That must be a work of fiction!
Banks made these loans as part of a government program to get everyone owning a house, whether they could afford it or not. Fannie and Freddie were the principal means, but so too was the loose monetary policy of the federal government.
The current crisis was caused completely by the government, and, the present policies will worsen it. Yes, it looks just like the short sighted, irrational policies pursued by the government officials in Atlas.”
BlackJAC on Jan 14, 2009 at 10:01:45
“A political party that considers capitalism a religion gets a business school graduate elected President who then tells his fellow businessmen that there will be no official meddling in their dealings just like Ayn Rand intended, and said businessmen decide to go hog-wild and do whatever it took to wring out every last penny from the market because Rand and her devotees all forgot to account for human nature in their theories! Amazing what happens when you base everything on fantasy rather than looking at the world as it really is!
Your own delusional beliefs created this mess. Rand was no visionary, she was the Karl Marx of the Mirror Universe.”
“"No leftist calls for a ban on new products." Mr. Weiner must not be paying attention to environmentalists!
It's hard to argue against Mr. Weiner's piece. A lot of it comes down to your philosophy.
Mr. Weiner thinks the characters in Atlas impossible. That depends on your view of the possible.
It also depends on a view of literature that says: all characters must be based on real living people. Miss Rand disagreed with that style of literature.
The ideas are sophomoric? That depends on how you view clarity in thinking.
It also depends on your ideology. A book with more liberal ideas, similarly styled, probably wouldn't offend Mr. Weiner so much.
I think a lot of Mr. Weiner's views come down to his underlying premises, which are open to debate.
I would encourage readers to try the book out for themselves. At a minimum I think readers will find it to be an engrossing story.
As to Atlas's predictive power, Miss Rand took current thinking and stretched it to its logical conclusion. It is not meant as an exact predictor of future events.
But I must chuckle (Sorry Mr. Weiner!) when thinking of Atlas, and then contemplating the widespread policy of the government strong arming banks to lend to unqualified buyers, and then blaming the banks when these borrowers couldn't repay!
As Rand maintained, the businessman is always the scapegoat for socialism's failures.
And come on, Barney Frank? He's a character right out of Atlas.”
vim876 on Jan 21, 2009 at 13:03:25
“I tried to read Atlas shrugged when I was younger. I am one of those people who will read just about anything that is put in front of me. However, I could only force myself to plow through about 50 pages of that hideous, slow, boring excuse for a book. I think I'll just read the pamphlets the guys on the streetcorners give me if I want ideological thought. At least their writing is usually clear and interesting.”
BBopper on Jan 18, 2009 at 12:20:55
“Hey, check it out: at your local library, I think you'll find that A.S. is categorized as Didactic Fiction. Sounds right to me.”
shanefish on Jan 16, 2009 at 12:02:08
“Since when were any lenders and the investors they sold to strong-armed? Get a grip! If our nation is living in a fantasyland novel, I'd liken it to a 1984 or Brave New World, rather than a Rand novel. The people to blame are the idiots who live and work in major cities, who thought a $800,000 home was a sound investment and the corporate welfare mornins who loaned them the money. I got my home through a first-time homebuyers program and chose a house 35% less than what I qualified for. Now I am supposed to subsidize your bad homeloan on my tiny salary?”
BlackJAC on Jan 13, 2009 at 15:43:41
“Plot Holes abound with your comments:
* There's no point in releasing a new product for the sake of releasing a new product
* Basing characters on real people makes those characters far more plausible rather than being cardboard-cutout stereotypes
* There's no heroic struggle against conventionality. Either an idea flies or it doesn't; there's no evil conspiracy trying to keep the innovative down.
* If anybody was forcing banks to lend to unqualified customers, it was the banks' own boards of directors and/or stockholders in the name of profit
* Rand was living in an era where Corporate America was far less ruthless than today. She'd be eaten alive today by the current crop of business school graduates”
got2Bkidding on Jan 13, 2009 at 13:34:50
“When I buy a work of fiction, it is for entertainment.
Ms. Rand's work is neither entertaining or "prescient".
While L. Ron Hubbard wrote very good Sci Fi, I understand some people actually think of him as a prophet and have built a religion around his Dianetics.
Ms. Rand doesn't even write good fiction. Are we supposed to just grant her authority, because she wrote a very large not so good book? I'd rather give authority to Dr. Seuss.”