Friday, March 20, 2009

That didn't take long...

NR continues its crusade against Ayn Rand.

I'm too angry to say anything else at the moment.

Update: A little calmer now.

I knew that NR would eventually respond to the Go Galt phenomenon by trying to smear Ayn Rand. In fact, I predicted it. On March 8, at this blog, I wrote:

I’m expecting any day now for someone at NRO to remind their conservative
brethren that Ayn Rand was a heretic, and was excommunicated from the right by
W.F. Buckley himself, lo these many years.

So I'm not surprised that it was done. I'm just a little surprised at the thoroughness and the vindicativeness of it. A lot of the nastiness is of the same sort that I've been reading on leftist blogs. The leftists like to reassure each other that Ayn Rand is for adolescents only. Mature people know that one must set aside childish things like reason, individuality and freedom. That is what Rand called the Argument from Intimidation. I was a bit astonished at being called an adolescent by people who get their moral philosophy from the Bible.

Which brings up the one plaint, not usually made by the left, that the hatchet-wielders at NRO were almost unanimous on.
Alas, Rand’s “truth” leaves no room for God--or for disagreement. --Jonathan

...devoid of faith, hope and love... --Bradley J. Birzer

Ayn Rand makes for an entertaining novelist but a poor deity. --Daniel J. Flynn

On Christianity, Rand is a non-believer. And her fictional heroes are also
non-believers. Therefore, her central protagonists in Atlas Shrugged
and The Fountainhead were very entrepreneurial but avoided charity. In
real life, most entrepreneurs wanted to make a lasting mark with their
philanthropy. John D. Rockefeller, for example, was the wealthiest entrepreneur
of the late 1800s and was the largest donator to Christian and other social
causes in American history. --Burton Folsom Jr.

A friend who lost everything in the financial crisis took it as an opportunity
to come to both Christ and Ayn Rand. Knowing me as a fan of both, he asked how I
reconciled them, considering that Rand was an atheist. --Andrew Leigh

In other words, Rand must be wrong because she's an atheist. A news flash for them: Rand's atheism is a feature of her philosophy, not a bug.

If, at the base of a complex chain of reasoning, all one can offer is: because God said so, that's no argument at all. Conservatives have been beaten from pillar to post, because that was all they had to offer in the public debate. Ayn Rand offered a rational defense of capitalism grounded in verifiable moral principles. Conservatives have rejected it, because it would mean giving up the notion that there is a guy upstairs looking out for them, promising them that they don't have to worry about death, because they're going to live forever. In other words, it would mean giving up childish things.


Steven Brockerman said...

My LTE to NR:


An NR symposium to refute an individual whose ideas and novels can only appeal to adolescents, shallow thinkers, cultists, dogmatists, Nazi-esque militants and, one would suppose, sadists who've had their frontal lobes nipped?!

Gentlemen, the only thing your desperate assertions have resoundingly proven is that you think Ayn Rand's ideas an intellectual force with which to be reckoned. And you are trying mightily to prevent others from learning about them.

Unfortunately--for NR that is--you will succeed as well as did Buckley and Chambers before him. Had they succeeded, NR would not now be wasting, more than a half century after their respective hatchet jobs, precious magazine space for such a "symposium."

Steven Brockerman, MS

This really smacks of desperation--and fear. At least NR is consistent, offering the reader nothing but the argument from authority to support the myriad wild assertions and ad Hominems.

These are "EXPERTS" dammit! That is all you need to know. So take what they say *on faith* and _believe_.

Please, oh puleeze, BELIEVE.

Or we are dead meat.

Ardsgaine said...

Good letter!

I agree that it smacks of desperation. It is also clarifying. Unlike Mr. Leigh and other conservatives, the people at NR know that Rand was an enemy of conservatism. That is because preserving capitalism is not the conservatives' agenda. Capitalism was, for a brief historical time, a buffer against the godlessness of communism, but given the choice between Christian socialism and secular capitalism, they will choose the former every time. It cannot be said often enough: They do not give a damn about capitalism.