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My Disgusting Day

Posted by  $  SarahMontalbano 3 years, 7 months ago to Ask the Gulch
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Yesterday, I saw an ex boyfriend reading a book titled The Age of Selfishness: Ayn Rand, Morality, and the 2008 Financial Crisis. He was talking about Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden, and he was smearing her, badly. I overheard this, but I did not say anything. I did not stop him. I did not defend my hero from being smeared by a disgusting rat. The words that most closely resemble what was going through my head was: "I couldn't defend you from him." I'm not sure whether "you" meant Ayn Rand or myself. I was disgusted with the fact that a book as horrible as that exists, that purportedly intelligent people read it, and that I had been so horribly wrong in my selection of him as a former partner. My current partner was quick to blame this on the ex-boyfriend's relation to me, but my feelings of guilt would not be alleviated even if he were not an ex.

My questions for Gulcher's are these:
1. Was it right to stay silent in this circumstance?
2. Was this really a "betrayal", as my emotions felt like?
3. What is the best way to fight in situations like these, if at all?

Comments not directly related to my questions are welcome.


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    Posted by  $  richrobinson 3 years, 7 months ago
    Hi Sarah. This is one of my favorite Rand quotes.
    “Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.”
    Since he is an ex I am guessing reason would have been wasted on him. I think you acted perfectly and you have more proof you are better off without him.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 7 months ago
      Thank you; it would have been impossible to win any arguement with him. I'm going to remember this incident and recall it every time I start to believe he is a half-decent person.
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    • Posted by blackswan 3 years, 7 months ago
      If there had been an audience that could have been swayed by his assertions, assuming that they were reasonable, it would have probably been better to put up an argument. If not, not. It all depends on the circumstances and the people involved.
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  • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years, 7 months ago
    I think you spared yourself from having an even more disgusting day.
    Old dino can recall engagements with libtards.
    You are called stupid and get glared and sneered at.
    Nothing is accomplished.
    Sometimes you get to hear a zinger, though~
    One libtard told me that I supported Herman Cain because I was a racist desperate to prove that I am not a racist.
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    • Posted by  $  Suzanne43 3 years, 7 months ago
      Yes, Sarah did the right thing. Now, about your Herman Cain remark. If you're a racist for supporting him because you want to prove you're not a racist, then what do we call all the people who voted for Obama because he is black?
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      • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years, 7 months ago
        Call? Let's think. Besides some blacks being racist?
        Idiotic vapid clodpates for leftist dunderheads could work as well as other words for being pseudo-intellectually socialist stupid..
        To a libtard back then, anyone against Obama was a racist. Even peanut-brain Jimmy Carter insinuated that would be the root cause.
        One reason I liked Cain is his being black. I was thinking now here is the one conservative who has the skin color to beat socialist Obama.
        Because of that, Cain was the one candidate who scared the hell out all that was Team Obama.
        I still believe my conspiracy theory that George Soros money paid for that phony one-at-a-time trotting out of falsely accusing bimbo eruptions.
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  • Posted by khalling 3 years, 7 months ago
    I would say you have no dog in the fight. You can't stick your neck in to another's conversations, unless you are part of it. If he is your ex, he is an ex for a reason-do not think of him.

    One can always process what they are overhearing and if they choose to-find other avenues to address the arguments they overheard without engaging the person who made the comments in the first place.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 7 months ago
    I think the key word in this is ex. There are reasons people are ex partners, and this is one of them.
    "Was it right to stay silent in this circumstance?"
    Yes, IMHO. People will find the truth if they seek it.

    "Was this really a "betrayal", as my emotions felt like?"
    You mean because you couldn't stop your ex from saying something wrong and stupid or at least refute it? I think no way. Ex-partners being stupid is normal.

    "What is the best way to fight in situations like these, if at all? "
    I think it depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

    I'm saying b/c it's an ex be detached and ignore him, which is IMHO the right thing to but much much easier to say than to do.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 7 months ago
      This incident is just one of many reasons I'm glad he ended it. I knew that I had no control over what he said, but I knew the facts, and I thought I could tell him and persuade him. The fact that I didn't led to my disgust. My feelings were enhanced because it was a person who had been close to me; it is difficult to stay detached when I listen to idiotic words from a reputably intelligent person who I had cared about. But I'm glad I did the right thing.
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  • Posted by wmiranda 3 years, 7 months ago
    Under the circumstances, yes. It seems there may have been another purpose than the merits of the book for your Ex to discuss the book within your earshot. Engaging him would have given your Ex a a soap box and audience.
    2. No. By not responding, you didn't take the bait. Ms. Rand would have waited until the circumstances were better to her. You can see this in the behaviour of her characters in her works.
    3. First determine by yourself if a "fight in situations like these" is necessary (being upset does not necessarily require a response). If so, what would you like to accomplish with the fight and does it have to be there and then. Having done this, a plan would then develop on a solid foundation.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 7 months ago
      As MichaelAarethun added below, he may have been yanking on chains to see whether they still existed. That was my first thought, which may have been the reason he spoke of it in front of me.
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  • Posted by  $  dukem 3 years, 7 months ago
    You have coincidentally described my own personal situation exactly and accurately, except it's been going on for a while and it is getting worse. There is no way to have a rational conversation at all, so we don't. I doubt we will make it through this election cycle. My attempt to psychoanalyze myself and why I put up with this leads to despair and frustration. But something is definitely happening in the country, and I am rooting for the good guys, worthless though that action might be. Maybe.
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  • Posted by gcarl615 3 years, 7 months ago
    I cannot count the number of times I have had quasi arguments with so called smart people whos eyes glaze over when confronted with logic and reason. It generally degrades to the typical liberal shout down, so why bother with them. As far a your ex, He is that for a reason, I guess I don't understand why you bother with him.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 7 months ago
      I don't bother with him anymore. I don't have time to waste on him. In addition, I've lost my confidence in his intelligence. If he reads claptrap like that and believes it, then he deserves to believe it and I can do nothing more.
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  • Posted by wiggys 3 years, 7 months ago
    sarah,
    your actions were proper. keep quiet and walk away. Even if he were just someone you knew vs an ex you would never be able to intelligently convince him of what he believed. the fact that he was reading that book should tell you that.
    I am not so sure about the current partner. He should have supported you, unquestionably in this situation.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 7 months ago
      Wiggys, my comment about my current partner was (perhaps) unclear. He believed my upset was due to him being an ex-boyfriend, and not that he was reading a book like that. I will be the first to admit that my feelings were accentuated by his relation to me, but my disgust would have still been there. I agree, however, that he did not make me feel supported in the least.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 7 months ago
    Was he merely reading, or was he burbling out loud? If merely reading leave it alone unless he starts a discussion. If he's holding forth then you might want to engage him in conversation, if your silence would be interpreted as agreement. But keep in mind something that many seem to forget. What happens in a persons private life may have nothing to do with their writings, or philosophy. I personally go back to that era and I met Ayn Rand and was involved with Branden's circle of friends. It was a screwy time in which both parties were tainted. Rand, however, had a considerable circle of devotees and as the founder of the feast, was able to cast Branden out as the bad guy. With all of their brilliance and superior intellect, it just shows that people can do stupid things.

    I really know too much about their personal lives to get involved disussing them. There is no question that no matter what her critics say, she is without a doubt one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, and as it looks now, perhaps the 21st century as well. Branden's books on psychology are worthy contributions to the practice and are breakthroughs in the area of the human persona via the ego. But, to answer your questions clearly:
    1. Stay silent if the reader is silent.
    2. It is no betrayal. You neither wrote the book nor spread the poison.
    3. If it becomes verbal, and as Rand would caution, you've checked your premises, go get him, kiddo.
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    • Posted by  $  3 years, 7 months ago
      Burbling, but not directed at me. One of my first refutations would have been, "You know from experience that a person's private life may not be representative of their ideas."

      (I do not expect you to share details of her personal life- but I can imagine being part of the "inner circle" was thrilling!)
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      • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 7 months ago
        The real "inner circle" was jokingly called "the collective" and was comprised of mostly NYC residents. I lived in the Detroit area and was friends with a shrink named Lee Shulman. He and his group were close to Branden and met with him when he came to town, which was quite often as we had a rather large and active "Ayn Rand Society." On a trip to NYC I met A.R. at a lecture and dinner with a group of Objectivism students. Branden, Barbara Branden, and a number of other notables from the collective were there as well. Branden did make considerable contributions to Objectivism, much of which is now uncredited. Plus he helped spread the lecture series via tape all over the country.
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        • Posted by  $  3 years, 7 months ago
          Interesting! (Please excuse my lack of knowledge of her life. I don't know much, but I'm willing to learn.)
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          • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 7 months ago
            As all of the Gulchers do.
            After all these years, I just found out there was a book of her letters I was unaware of. Being a newbie, you'll find not only her writings, but many peripheral writings that will help round out your knowledge. I think you will find the trip very rewarding.
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  • Posted by dwlievert 3 years, 7 months ago
    Those who deny reason are seen in an epistemological mirror just as are those who deny existence in the metaphysical one.

    With respect to the latter, one should always take them seriously and act as if they are not there. The former, as if they are but a insignificant piece of inanimate matter.

    As others have indicated, "But I don't think of you Ellsworth!" Although I know that emotionally you are likely going through your personal version of what all of us have experienced when moving ahead following discoveries that produce an "ex."
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  • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 7 months ago
    Probably too easy to lose moral high ground. Should be able to come up with some proper rejoinders along the lines of Some are Selfish and some are egoists but put better. Leave them wondering 'was that an insult? Do I have to look in a dictionary? Please anything but that? How is egoist spelled?

    2. Emotions are a predictable response but you are looking at pears and apples and oranges. Subtract the negatives and that leaves the few positives. Then ask yourself how could I have ever wasted so much time? That's experience as you refine your list of attractions and learn to identify true attractions from those that are false.

    3. Or just walk off laughing.
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  • Posted by  $  sjatkins 3 years, 7 months ago
    I wouldn't have. I would have pointed to a number of good books on Rand's actual ethics and psycho-epistemology and why it is so important for full living as a human being on this earth.

    But before that I would jump hard on the notion that those that fleeced the people, and I think they were more in politics than banking, were acting on anything but what Ayn Rand taught.

    Depending on my patience and what kind of rat I considered him I might or might not hang him out to try by applying his judgments to what I know of his own character. But the last would be a less useful and more personal response.

    But tell me, why are you letting this person you seem to consider a creepazoid effect your day?
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  • Posted by  $  blarman 3 years, 7 months ago
    Just a question, but unless he's been 100% faithful in his life, it's quite hypocritical to disparage someone else.

    Methinks you did right by simply ignoring him. He wanted to get into an argument with you, but it wasn't over Rand.
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