Sunday, April 1, 2012

393: The Utopia of the Free Market - Ayn Rand

Who was this woman, Ayn Rand, whose ideas had and still have such an impact on minds of Americans, but, tho she already was dead, on economical and governmental ideas in Europe too later, for instance in the person of Margaret Thatcher.

Born (1905) and educated in Russia, Rand,born Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, moved to the United States in 1926. She worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood and had a play produced on Broadway in 1935–1936.

After two initially unsuccessful early novels, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel The Fountainhead. In 1957, she published her best-known work, the philosophical novel Atlas Shrugged.

Afterward she turned to nonfiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own magazines and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982.

She had two favorite philosophers: Aristotle and Nietzsche. The first one she admired because of his realism and his logic. The second had a great influence on her with his theory of the ├╝bermensch.

Especially because her view of man, as described in her novel "Atlas Shrugged", there had developed a myth around her person. However, by far she isn't the Dagny Taggert in the novel.

From Heller's biography on Rand we learn, that in 1926 Rand's relatives had supported her and lent her money to give her the opportunity to continue to Hollywood.

Not only Rand forgot to pay back her loans, but she also told the story about herself that she was the complete self-made woman.

This fit with her basic idea about man: "I will never live for the sake of another, nor ask another man to live for mine." So she never liked to say "Thank you for your help"

In 1951 Rand moved from Los Angeles to New York City, where she gathered a group of admirers around her. Her novel "The Fountainhead" (1943) had given her many fans and supporters.

Among these fans were Allen Greenspan and Nathan Blumenthal (later Nathaniel Branden) and his wife Barbara.

In 1954 Rand's close relationship with the much younger Nathaniel Branden turned into a romantic affair, with the consent of their spouses. Rand was married herself to Frank O'Connor. Watch the movie "The passion of Ayn Rand"

Her Objectivism got more and more the characteristics of a cult. She became the guru of her group and tolerated no contradiction. Members of the group who yet tried, were banned from the group.

Even her lover Branden, whom she owed in fact so much because of his organizational talent, was banned eventually in 1968, when he fell in love with a younger member of the group.

Although her work has been greatly ignored by the academic world, she promoted her Objectivist philosophy among other things by giving talks to students at institutions such as Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University,Harvard University and MIT.

As a typical example of Randian thinking this: Despite her negative views about the morality of homosexuality, Rand took a much more tolerant view of the legal rights of homosexuals.

She endorsed rights that protect gays from discrimination by the government (such as apartheid), but rejected the right to be protected from discrimination in the private sector (such as employment discrimination).

The basis of this conclusion was not related to her feelings about homosexuality, but rather a product of her stand on property rights.

Rand supported the right of a private property owner to discriminate, even on a basis that she condemned as immoral, such as racism, and that any act of the government to change this would be an intrusion on individual rights.

And if you want to know how man and woman will live together in her Atlantis: Rand asserted that "the essence of femininity is hero worship — the desire to look up to man" and that "an ideal woman is a man-worshipper, and an ideal man is the highest symbol of mankind."

In other words, Rand felt that it was part of human nature for a psychologically healthy woman to want to be ruled in sexual matters by a man worthy of ruling her.

These are only details about the woman, Ayn Rand. YouTube, Google and dozens of other URLs can provide you with further information.


The Discussion

[13:24] herman Bergson: Thank you.... ㋡
[13:24] herman Bergson: The floor is yours
[13:24] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks
[13:24] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): If I crash its because I spilt tea on my keyboard
[13:25] herman Bergson: Thought so....:-))
[13:25] Mick Nerido: Why do u think she was so influential in America?
[13:25] herman Bergson: There are good reasons for that Mick...
[13:25] bergfrau Apfelbaum: ***** APPPPPPPLLLLAAAUUUSSSSEEEEEEE***********
[13:25] bergfrau Apfelbaum: herman
[13:25] herman Bergson: In the first place she was in Hollywood very active in the anti communist movements...
[13:26] herman Bergson: so she already played herself into the picture...
[13:26] herman Bergson: A second reason is that the adored capitalism....and individualism…are basic beliefs of US culture...
[13:27] herman Bergson: Like here ideas about homosexuality...
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): I thought she had a good balance of freedom there
[13:27] herman Bergson: on the individual level you may discriminate as much as you like....NO government control there
[13:27] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): The people that followed her, slavishly in some cases were clever people; did she have great personal charisma? Its hard to see what drew people to her
[13:27] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): YES
[13:27] Lizzy Pleides: in germany she still is almost unknown
[13:27] herman Bergson: Good observation Annie.....
[13:28] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): this tells us her background but not how she became so influential in economics beliefs
[13:28] herman Bergson: this is a tricky issue....
[13:28] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): A couple who run a guest house in UK were not allowed to exclude homosexuals
[13:28] herman Bergson: She was Jewish...
[13:28] herman Bergson: and her most devoted followers were too
[13:28] herman Bergson: maybe that created a bond....a cultural heritage...
[13:29] Bejiita Imako: maybe plays a part
[13:29] herman Bergson: She had ...maybe...charisma....
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): -
[13:29] herman Bergson: but when you look at Youtube and see her in some clips...
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): +-
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate) GIGGLES!!
[13:29] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ...LOL...
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): -
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): -+
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): -+
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): --+
[13:29] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): +
[13:30] herman Bergson: to be honest....for me she is really scary...
[13:30] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): LOL
[13:30] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i wonder about her poor husband
[13:30] Merlin (merlin.saxondale): Bashing my keyboard to get water out
[13:30] herman Bergson: Well...he ended up with the bottle...
[13:30] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:30] herman Bergson: He was jealous of Branden....
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): branden's wife had a lot to say after it all
[13:31] herman Bergson: That was not allowed according to Objectivism however...
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): there are clips of her too
[13:31] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): discussing it all
[13:31] herman Bergson: But when Branden in 1964 started a relation with Patricia..so and so
[13:31] herman Bergson: which came to her knowledge only in 1968 Rand was jealous herself too...
[13:32] herman Bergson: In the preface of Capitalism:The unknown Ideal she added in 1970....There is no relation at all between me and Nathaniel Branden...or something like that
[13:33] herman Bergson: So..all together ..she was just a human being....a woman....who didn't come close to the ideal human beings she dreamed of in Atlas Shrugged
[13:33] Mick Nerido: Whatever we think of her she was a sucessful novelist
[13:34] herman Bergson: No doubt about that Mick...
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: thats true
[13:34] herman Bergson: And influential too...
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: very
[13:34] Bejiita Imako: good at influencing
[13:34] herman Bergson: And at this moment in history we have to harvest the results of her Utopian ideas about the free market
[13:35] Debbie Dee (framdor): Some harvest...…
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita...indeed...
[13:35] Mick Nerido: be careful what you wish for...
[13:35] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): I think part of her charisma was that her philosophy was so different than anyone else's in America at that time it caught the imagination of the public
[13:35] Bejiita Imako: which are as we can see not working so good in real world
[13:36] herman Bergson: So in the coming lectures I gonna try to disect this idea of the free market and maybe find some answers...alternatives....adjustements
[13:36] Debbie Dee (framdor): So where are the new utopian ideals - a panacea for our current global dead end?
[13:36] herman Bergson: yes Debbbie...that is what we are facing....
[13:36] Mick Nerido: She fit well with America's anti Communist idiology
[13:37] herman Bergson: The believe in the working of capitalism has become so obvious, that we believe that it is a law of nature...
[13:37] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): i hope you are putting keynes in here too sometime
[13:37] herman Bergson: Oh yes Gemmma.....
[13:38] herman Bergson: That is what they have been doing since the 80s...Reagan Thatcher.....murdering Keynes
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): Yes-ah!
[13:38] herman Bergson: and in my country they are doing the same now
[13:38] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): oh boy
[13:38] Debbie Dee (framdor): But it seems to be a law against nature. Faster consumption through growth is never going to solve anything
[13:39] herman Bergson: No Debbie....
[13:39] herman Bergson: this is really about basic ideas of economy....and how a society has to sustain itself...
[13:39] Debbie Dee (framdor): I just wish there were some new leaders with some good ideas
[13:39] herman Bergson: I'll spend a lecture on that issue...
[13:40] Lizzy Pleides: Hi Rod
[13:40] Debbie Dee (framdor): yes. ty.
[13:40] herman Bergson: I agree Debbie....
[13:40] Rodney Handrick: Hi Lizzy
[13:40] Bejiita Imako: hi Rod
[13:40] Rodney Handrick: Hi Bejiita
[13:40] Debbie Dee (framdor): Hi Rod
[13:40] Rodney Handrick: Hi Debbie
[13:40] herman Bergson: For the time being it seems we have to live with the fact that we as individual citizens are no longer human beings , but just costs...
[13:41] Rodney Handrick: wow...I tend to agree
[13:41] herman Bergson: the word welfare has disapeared...
[13:41] herman Bergson: social solidaritiry too....
[13:41] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): Hasnt this always been so Hermann
[13:41] herman Bergson: it is the individual that deserves the bones....that is what counts
[13:41] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): No one worries about "little people"
[13:42] Debbie Dee (framdor): Except to take a dollar off each ;)
[13:42] herman Bergson: After World War II people joined forces.....
[13:42] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): the ones that slaved over the pyramids
[13:42] herman Bergson: they had the feeling that they had to rebuild their country together...
[13:42] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): or were slaughtered by the Huns
[13:42] Annie Brightstar (anniebrightstar): always same
[13:43] herman Bergson: with the increase of wealth...in the 80s....money and profit maximation became the new goals
[13:43] herman Bergson: individual profit
[13:43] Debbie Dee (framdor): War has the effect of drawing a society together
[13:43] Bejiita Imako: yes
[13:44] herman Bergson: Well Debbie...sometimes you here that remark...."We actually need a new war"....horrible....but it is said sometimes
[13:44] Debbie Dee (framdor): especially with the current levels of population
[13:44] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): well the way war is these days it would not work
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): we sit at home and the war is elsewhere
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): Unless you are in it !
[13:45] herman Bergson: So From now on we'll analyze this utopia of the free market and try to find the places where the sun is shining
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): we are!!! but not there
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): Cool Herman.
[13:45] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): just paying for it all
[13:45] Debbie Dee (framdor): And all the guns
[13:45] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma....
[13:46] herman Bergson: And next stage might be that we all get a drone which we can control with our computer and send to the enemy ...
[13:46] Rodney Handrick: War is an industry
[13:46] herman Bergson: Every citizen his own drone...!!!!
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): Via the sl network. Maybe we can all stay at home and get virtually rich?
[13:47] herman Bergson: smiles
[13:47] Rodney Handrick: If we didn't have war we wouldn't have the Internet
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): lol some do
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): anshe chung
[13:47] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): is a millionaire
[13:47] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yep, some do ;)))
[13:47] herman Bergson: True to some extend Rodney....
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: would be like in some movie i saw before every citizen lived at home and carried all duties by a robot connected to him
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: Surrogates was the name of the movie
[13:47] Bejiita Imako: the real people never left their homes
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: but lay in a pod all day controlling the robot
[13:48] herman Bergson: Internet is a spin off of the DARPA net, but the universities were also already working on such a data exchange system
[13:48] Mick Nerido: Thanks Herman!
[13:48] Debbie Dee (framdor): Well Im sitting on the southern tip of africa, at the same time that I am here....
[13:48] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): :-)
[13:48] Bejiita Imako: thats nice for sure
[13:48] herman Bergson: Cool Debbie....or actually ...warm :-)
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Yes... warm. Autumn is coming.
[13:49] herman Bergson: Well...enough gunpowder for a next lecture I guess....
[13:49] herman Bergson: So thank you all for your vivid participation....
[13:49] Gemma Allen (gemma.cleanslate): ♥ Thank Youuuuuuuuuu!! ♥
[13:49] herman Bergson: Class dismissed
[13:49] Debbie Dee (framdor): Thanks Hermna, great lecture. I love the chat afterwards.
[13:49] herman Bergson: Thank you... ㋡
[13:49] Bejiita Imako: interesting as always
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: now i just have to do a little fun thing
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: hehe
[13:50] Ayla (ayla.fang): thank you Herman
[13:50] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): lol Bejiita
[13:50] Debbie Dee (framdor): Hey bejita - it's the cat
[13:50] Bejiita Imako: doesnt work
[13:51] bergfrau Apfelbaum: lol i see
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: parcel too full
[[13:51] Debbie Dee (framdor): ;(
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: cant fit any more prims in here it seems
[13:51] Lilitha Crystal: I've been on a prim diet
[13:51] :: Beertje :: (beertje.beaumont): ah too bad:))
[13:51] Bejiita Imako: would been fun to end with
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