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Is Trump a Howard Roark?

Posted by DrEdwardHudgins 3 years, 6 months ago to Politics
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Trump says he’s a fan of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. But while Roark, the novel’s hero, treats people with respect, The Donald treats them like idiots. Who’s the moral idiot?
SOURCE URL: http://atlassociety.org/commentary/commentary-blog/5995-is-trump-a-howard-roark


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  • Posted by freedomforall 3 years, 6 months ago
    Anyone else think that Trump skipped reading the Fountainhead, and his knowledge of it is based on the film?
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    • Posted by ShrugInArgentina 3 years, 6 months ago
      Nothing Donald Trump says makes me think of Howard Roark.

      From The Fountainhead: Chapter XI: Howard Roark to Gail Wynand:

      "And isn't that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self."

      "I don't see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose—to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury—he's completely moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is a limited endeavor. What they want is ostentation: to show, to stun, to entertain, to impress others. They're second-handers."

      "A truly selfish man cannot be affected by the approval of others."

      "It's easy to run to others. It's so hard to stand on one's own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can't fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is your strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It's easier to donate a few thousand to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It's simple to seek substitutes for competence—such easy substitutes; love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence."

      "They have no concern for facts, ideas, work. They're concerned only with people. They don't ask: 'Is this true?' They ask: 'Is this what others think is true?' Not to judge, but to repeat. Not to do, but to give the impression of doing. Not creation, but show. Not ability, but friendship. Not merit, but pull."

      "Listen to what is being preached today. Look at everyone around us. You've wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it. If any man stopped and asked himself whether he's ever held a truly personal desire, he'd find the answer. He'd see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions are motivated by other men. He's not really struggling even for material wealth, but for the second-handers delusion—prestige. A stamp of approval, not his own. He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has succeeded. He can't say about a single thing: 'This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me.' Then he wonders why he's unhappy."

      "Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched. […] I think the only cardinal evil on earth is that of placing your prime concern within other men. I've always demanded a certain quality in the people I liked. I've always recognized it at once—and it's the only quality I respect in men. I chose my friends by that. Now I know what it is. A self-sufficient ego. Nothing else matters."

      A "self-sufficient ego" is not an attribute of Donald Trump.
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      • Posted by freedomforall 3 years, 6 months ago
        "But the men who place money first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is a limited endeavor. What they want is ostentation: to show, to stun, to entertain, to impress others. They're second-handers."


        Now THAT is a perfect description of Trump!
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    • Posted by XenokRoy 3 years, 6 months ago
      I doubt he even watched the film. Most likely it went something like this in his mind.

      Isn't Ayn Rand some ultra conservative philosopher? Ya I think she is, what did she write that I can comment on.

      Search on web

      Hey there was a movie of this book in the fifties that was kinda popular. Rourke is the hero, hay I am a hero. I think I can spin in a comparison to me in a speech, that will get the Rand people to like me.

      I am surprised only that there was not a quote from him "those followers of Ayn Rand, there good people" in this as it seems like he says that about everyone and shortly there after says something that makes the same group bad.

      I do not think he even watched the movie.
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    • Posted by term2 3 years, 6 months ago
      I have to say that although I totally agree with Ayn Rand on philosophical grounds, her works are a bit hard and long and pedantic to read. AS#1 did a good job in film, but AS#2 and AS#3 were pretty boring examples of movies.
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  • Posted by freedomforall 3 years, 6 months ago
    Trump's idea of "architecture" is a building that copies "time honored" designs (like every architect in Fountainhead except Roark) and then adds one feature that makes it different, a big ugly Trump sign.
    ;^)
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  • Posted by  $  sjatkins 3 years, 6 months ago
    Trump is a million miles from Roark. He is profoundly amoral and opportunistic. Every few things he says are highly statist and irresponsible.
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    • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 6 months ago
      Trump is far from being a total statist. On his website, Trump's detailed positions on health care reform, tax reform and gun rights are close to libertarian:
      https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions
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      • Posted by  $  number6 3 years, 6 months ago
        You REALLY believe he has any idea what his stated positions on his website are?
        I have direct knowledge of his set up of the Trump U fiasco and can assure you, the man is far from Howard Roark. (No , I was not one of the people he scammed my knowledge is of the inner workings)
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        • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 6 months ago
          Do you REALLY believe that Trump has no idea what his stated positions on his website are? Hard to imagine how he's gotten this far if he's ignorant about what's on his own website, especially since its content could easily be cited by the mainstream media in its continuing efforts to discredit him.
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          • Posted by  $  number6 3 years, 6 months ago
            since he is unable to discuss at length or in detail the posted positions, I would say yes, I do believe he is totally clueless.

            I didn't say the positions are not correct, just that it's not what he believes or understands. It is a total marketing ploy of saying what the people want to hear.
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      • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
        I don't argue that Trump's a total statist. He's a total pragmatist with policy views that contradict one another at the most basic level. E.g., he's for huge taxes on foreign imports but for cutting taxes elsewhere. I thinks that a trade war will bring back manufacturing jobs to the U.S. Deregulation in the U.S. and getting rid of corporate taxes would be important but it makes no economic sense for Americans to be making products that foreigner can produce cheaper. And I think Trump puts out these contradictory policies in large part to appeal to the ignorance of voters.
        ------
        On Twitter follow Edward Hudgins @DrEdwardHudgins .
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  • Posted by  $  richrobinson 3 years, 6 months ago
    Voters should be used to being treated like idiots. Unfortunately many voters ARE idiots. I read that interview by Kirsten Powers and while I was pleased to see Trump reference The Fountainhead I thought he either didn't comprehend it or is delusional to think he is like Rourke. Trump has admitted to buying politicians and making deals to get things done. Keating maybe but not Rourke.
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    • Posted by  $  jbrenner 3 years, 6 months ago
      Trump is like Roark in some ways, but like Peter Keating in more ways than he is like Roark.

      Trump is more like construction's version of Dr. Stadler. He is excellent when it comes to architecture, both buildings and golf courses, but morally he has gone off track, particularly with regard to his use of cronyism and eminent domain.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 6 months ago
    One has to remember that Roark, more than any other Rand character is an archetype. A model of the perfect artist/creator whose talent affords no criticism. There are no Howard Roarks extant in the world. This does not mean that he is not a model to aspire to. Everything that a creative human can be is found in this character, and don't make the mistake of thinking that if you're not and artist of some kind you can't be creative. For those of you who don't have the creative gene, it is important for your ego and sense of life that you strive to do the best within you in order to attain the greatest satisfaction life can offer. It matters not if you are a car designer or a burger flipper, you attempt to be the very best burger producer or car designer that you can be. That, I believe, is how Trump looks at Roark. Unfortunately, he didn't get inside the character in order to find what made him the way he is. As a result he has deluded himself that his successes prove his integrity. I don't think he is an evil boogyman, but is uneducated in the moral principles relating to good, evil, truth, untruth, and just plain old right and wrong. Unlike Obama, I believe it when he says he loves this country. Perhaps he'll learn on the job. This coming election looks like the 1945 World Series. It was thought that neither side could win.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
      The thing with Trump is that his crude, name-calling, over-the-top behavior and advocacy of economically-ignorant policies seems quite calculated, meaning he knows he's appealing to the worst emotions. I point out that while Reagan tried to appeal to the best in people, Trump appeals to the worst. No doubt he loves his country, But if he did so thoughtfully, he'd not want a country of people who were susceptible to his ignorant appeals.
      ------
      On Twitter follow Edward Hudgins @DrEdwardHudgins .
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      • Posted by Herb7734 3 years, 6 months ago
        Dr. H.
        I agree with you. But, had he followed your advice, he would have been gone by now. I think that he was surprised by the initial response he got, and just like the main character in "All the King's Men," he now knew how to win.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
          "All the King's Men" is a good analogy. But I argue that he could have been politically successful as a strong, anti-establishment voice like Reagan, appealing to the best in people rather than the worst. If he wins against Hillary (and all the polls say he won't) and follows through with trade protection and anything like a serious attempt at a police state roundup of 12 million illegals, then the only question would be, "Is he destroying the country faster than Hillary would have?"
          ------
          On Twitter follow Edward Hudgins @DrEdwardHudgins .
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  • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 3 years, 6 months ago
    When I read the header I thought this is a cartoon...but Dr Hudgins was serious?

    Not even close

    he may have been searching for clues on how to sell antique buildings....
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  • Posted by mia767ca 3 years, 6 months ago
    Trump is a product of a socialist/fascist oligarchy...he is an opportunist and a pragmatist...i think he would succeed in a free market society as well...as he is now, he does not stand on principles that will cost him anything...he is not a Randian hero...you get what you see...
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  • Posted by philosophercat 3 years, 6 months ago
    The greatest short line in Literature is "Howard Roark laughed". When you know who Roark is and the world In which he can laugh then you know the opposite is Trump. Imagine the young boy who talks to Roark over looking Monadnock and imagine Trump and you can see that Trump is a power lusting pragmatist.
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  • Posted by ohiocrossroads 3 years, 6 months ago
    No, I wouldn't classify Trump as a Howard Roark type. Roark was an innovator in his field whose technical skills were unmatched. Roark's integrity was unbending, and he would rather close down his practice and break rocks in a quarry than compromise the design of one of his buildings. Roark would refuse to make a deal with someone that had nothing of value to offer in return.

    I don't think any of those traits apply to Trump.
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    • Posted by  $  BeenThere 3 years, 6 months ago
      "Roark would refuse to make a deal with someone that had nothing of value to offer in return."

      Trump makes deals that have nothing of value in return? Really? Disagree.
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      • Posted by ohiocrossroads 3 years, 6 months ago
        That remains to be seen. If Trump is elected President, will he sit down and make a deal with Castro? Will he go back to Iran and try to make a better deal, or just cancel it altogether? In the realm of international geopolitics, if you make a deal with an enemy that has said repeatedly he wants to destroy you, you have already ceded the point that destroying you is OK. I just hope that Trump has a strong enough moral compass to know the difference between a business deal and an unconditional surrender.
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  • Posted by ProfChuck 3 years, 6 months ago
    In the movie when Toohey asked Roark "What do you think of me?" Roark replied "But I don't think of you." I don't think Trump would ever be able to make such a reply. Trump expects and gets fawning admirers Roark only expected to deal with people on an even level.
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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 3 years, 6 months ago
    “Which approach works better: Roark’s career built on dealing with people based on reason, or Wynand’s career built on treating people like idiots?” It depends on what one is trying to accomplish. In today’s political climate, the question could be recast as “Which approach works better: Rand Paul’s campaign built on dealing with people based on reason, or Trump’s campaign built on treating people like idiots?”

    Actually, Trump's campaign is not based on treating his supporters like idiots. Looking past the tone of his remarks, there is plenty of substance that we could agree with. The health care and tax reform proposals on his website are giant steps toward a free market.

    As for Trump’s tone, most of his cutting remarks are directed at “establishment” politicians and their lapdogs in the media, who richly deserve such scorn. Much of his support comes from voters who feel betrayed by politicians of both parties who have mismanaged and looted the country for the past several decades. They perceive (correctly) that their values and views are being disregarded by a corrupt power structure, and rightly or wrongly they see Trump as the only candidate with a realistic chance to overturn it.
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  • Posted by terrycan 3 years, 6 months ago
    I see Trump as more of an Elistor Toohey.
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    • Posted by term2 3 years, 6 months ago
      Toohey was FOR the establishment; Trump is anti-establishment. Listen to his speeches.
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      • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years, 6 months ago
        I have.
        "Who'd elect someone with a face like that?"
        "Lying Ted! Lying Ted! Lying Ted!!"
        "I will build a wall and Mexico will pay for. In fact, they will want to."
        He calls Megyn Kelly a bleeding bimbo or something (that's close enough for just as gross).
        Speaking of Megyn, Trump was stupid enough to display a couple of risque photo poses Megyn once put on while he's married to someone who used to be a professional model.
        The disappointment of Cruz people also lowering themselves to dig up a partially revealed totally nude shot on a magazine cover only confirmed a conclusion I had already jumped to.
        All things GOP have been disappointing old dino.
        The Dems are at least consistent with their Constitution-tearing free speech stifling gun-grabbing commie crap.
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        • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
          I'll probably do a piece on how Reagan was anti-establishment but appealed to the best in people while Trump appeals to the worst. I've ripped the GOP establishment for years, but I want to see it superseded by more consistent, pro-liberty, pro-limited government politicians who actually work to reduce their power.
          ------
          On Twitter follow Edward Hudgins @DrEdwardHudgins .
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        • Posted by term2 3 years, 6 months ago
          Hillary isnt consistent. She is bought and paid for by her contributors and says anything to get elected, but does nothing of what she said after she gets elected.
          Sanders IS consistent. I have to hand it to him for that. His ideas are very ignorant at best, and evil at worst.
          Trump isnt nearly as erratic as you have concluded. If he did, he would NEVER have gotten as far as he did in business, and he would NEVER have raised his kids as well as he has. Check out that CNN town hall last week with Anderson Cooper and listen to his kids talk.
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          • Posted by  $  number6 3 years, 6 months ago
            He wouldn't have gotten as far in business IF he hadn't used bankruptcy codes, screwed contractors, cheated land owners etc etc.
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            • Posted by term2 3 years, 6 months ago
              he even says that he plays by the rules WE set. You dont get far in business using bankruptcy. That happens because you havent gotten that far in that endeavor, and that could be due to your screwup or the economy in general or some change in the customers' wants. Business is a gamble which in todays world requires investment before you can sell pretty much anything.
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          • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years, 6 months ago
            Hillary is a consistent liar. Her forked tongue darting all over the place is the essence of her consistency.
            As for the other Demo dangerous jackass, I agree with you.
            I heard one of Trump's sons talking to Hannity on my car radio yesterday and I have to admit I was very impressed.
            I will also admit to the possibility that I may vote for Trump if just to vote against Hilliary. It's an open option.
            Nevertheless, I live in a blue Birmingham area that's a dot on my red state. My conservative vote really won't matter. It will be drowned. So I just may as well give it to Johnson if Libertarians get on the Alabama ballot.
            And it remains to be seen who the power selfish mainstream of the GOP will allow to run for president.
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            • Posted by term2 3 years, 6 months ago
              I say the apple doesnt fall far from the tree (usually). I was most impressed by Ivanka, Trumps daughter. She was really amazing on that town hall. Anderson Cooper (liberal asshole) tried to make Trump look bad by questioning her and her father, but failed so miserably at it that he eventually just gave up and did a good interview.. Ivanka just shut him down, but not in a nasty way. It was great.
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              • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years, 6 months ago
                Could be Trump's kids learned first hand from a negative why one should think before they speak.
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                • Posted by term2 3 years, 6 months ago
                  I think Trump is saying things in a bombastic way to get free publicity in a pretty much rigged election process where the media acts just to make money on advertising at the expense of everything else. I really doubt he does things irresponsibly in business when it comes right down to it. From what his kids said, they were around him when business was going on, and I suspect they act they way they do in response to learning from that.
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                  • Posted by  $  allosaur 3 years, 6 months ago
                    Trump IS an alpha businessman success.
                    But POTUS? I dunno.
                    Better than any socialist Dem? Hell, yeah!
                    Better than the proven conservative Cruz?
                    That depends. I know what Cruz wants to change but can he pull it off? But what the hey?
                    Watch the GOP crown Kasich or maybe even Romney the front runner.
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                    • Posted by term2 3 years, 6 months ago
                      WE have tried everything else. Maybe a businessman wont do the terrible fiscal things that have been done lately.
                      Cruz is a bit preacher at heart. I dont think he can convince people to join with him and do anything like he wants. He is a trickster who tries what I would call underhanded things to get his way, and thats why his fellow senators dont seem to like him. Not a good thing for a president.
                      Personally, if Trump doesnt get nominated, and Sanders doesnt get nominated, I hope BOTH of them go independent, and the repubs put in whoever (doesnt matter really as none of the others would win against hillary anyway regardless of the polls).
                      That way, hillary is deprived of the 270 electoral votes for sure, and the house would elect the president, and definitely wouldnt pick her.
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  • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 6 months ago
    I liked the article. I'm curious why it contrasts Roark with Wynand instead of Keating. The article says Wynand does not crave the adulation of the mob and Trump does. Keating clearly does crave attention of any kind. Even when he walks past the guy mopping the floor he wants to see some reaction, any reaction.
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    • Posted by 3 years, 6 months ago
      A Keating comparison would be valid as well. In this short piece I focused on Wynand because he, like Trump, built business empires and were flamboyant figures. But yes, wanting the unthinking adulation of other was more Keating. One difference though is that Trump does want adulation for some actual achievements, e.g., becoming rich by building.
      ------
      On Twitter follow Edward Hudgins @DrEdwardHudgins .
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      • Posted by CircuitGuy 3 years, 6 months ago
        In some ways Wynand strikes close to home for me. I see exactly how he got sucked into it.
        Keeting came off as a little $hit to me from there very beginning, going along with is mother's esteem-seeking idea, stringing along his g/f, getting a kick out causing someone to be fired and out of causing the same person to get hired, needing the housekeeper to genuflect when he walks by and steps on the floor he just mopped.

        In short, I liked Wynand and did not like Keeting. You have a very powerful point: If Wynand were a real person, a public figure, I would see his low-brow public persona, which might look like Trump.
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  • Posted by chad 3 years, 5 months ago
    Donald trump is the antithesis of Howard Roark. He builds for exactly the wrong reasons and often fails making the public pick up his costs. He is Gail Wynand.
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  • Posted by mdk2608 3 years, 6 months ago
    I have learned from a previous post that Mr. Trump provokes some interesting comments on this site. The only thing Roark and Trump may have in common is the "a" in Architecture. Trump is a successful builder but in no was follows the teachings of Rand or Roark.
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  • Posted by johnpe1 3 years, 6 months ago
    I really doubt that The Donald could show an architect
    anything except chicken-scratching. . he's a deal artist,
    not a builder. . an architect is an engineer plus a people-
    space artist -- an ergonomicist, to beg for a word. . Donald
    is neither, in my estimation as a mechanical engineer. -- j
    .
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  • Posted by  $  BostonTEA 3 years, 6 months ago
    Good article - I too can see Gail Wynand as the character I would most associate with Trump. With a slight twist.

    As an activist, in observing the Trump phenomena, I look at both "the Donald" and the movement, his followers. I know a number of those people, some of which even have principles (lol).

    "the Donald" the man. The assessment of him as Wynand is close. But I see "the Donald" as Wynand in his advocacy for Roark after Cortlandt - trying to do the right thing (in part) by manipulating the mob he has created. "the Donald" does NOT have the intellectual capacity or inclination to understand issues or really get what he is fighting for. His "Make America Great Again" populism leads him to oppose illegal immigration, to fight against jobs going overseas (which he is wrong on, and for all the wrong reasons), to put America back to work, etc, anti-Obamacare (although we "HAVE TO care for the needy"). He is clueless as to the Constitution, market forces, freedom and liberty, and has a vague knowledge of our enemies... He is anti-PC because it is his nature, and for the affect it has on his followers. He knows the land mines NOT to touch- and "dances & prances" on many others.

    He is led, in part, by the mob he created.

    Trump the movement - I speak of what I believe (and hope) is the majority of his followers. They are followers because they want what he represents: taking on The Establishment, anti-immigration, being Politically INCorrect, proud of his wealth (ethics of how he acquired it appear murky), and, essentially, his as-mad-as-hell attitude. When legitimate questions are raised he pulls out "the lyin' media" or "lyin' Ted" and kills the argument and successfully becomes the Ducking Donald (a title he richly deserves). They like the hype they hear, and don't look too closely at the man they are following. The Emperor (wannabe) has no clothes.

    Many moderates who populate the squishy middle do not see that "the Donald" is fooling them by being a populist "from the right", the same way Obama fooled many as a populist "from the left".

    Critics have been demonized and hence are not valid in the "Trump minions world." The only hope to dislodge many would be if "the Donald" implodes...
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  • Posted by  $  Zero 3 years, 6 months ago
    "Is Trump Howard Roark?"
    Who the hell would ask such a question?
    Even just to tear it apart.
    Who would even think of such a question?

    Anyone who knows who Howard Roark is wouldn't even have the passing thought.
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  • Posted by davidmcnab 3 years, 6 months ago
    The first thing that stands out is that Roark was an introvert who had the utmost contempt for anyone who seeks power. That alone is enough to destroy any comparison with Trump.
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  • Posted by Joseph23006 3 years, 6 months ago
    Having finished the book for the umteenth time, I alternate it with 'Atlas' every few years, I would go with Gail Wynand and whomever his Ellsworth Tooey is! Howard Roark was about the vision of his work, not fame or riches, but credit for that vision on his terms. Gail Wynand was about overt success, showing what he could have built, what he could buy, whom he could control. There is a third character, a shadow more powerful than either of the other two. Ellsworth Tooey was behind the scenes, he could make or break the other two because he 'made public opinion'! Wynand (I mean Trump) needs a Tooey to remain successful, Roark doesn't care because the work he does stands on its own. Find Trump's Tooey and we will find who and what Trump really is.
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