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What Would Ayn Rand Think About Americanism Today?

Posted by DrEdwardHudgins 2 years, 4 months ago to Politics
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As we mark the 240th anniversary of this country’s birth, we can ask, “What would Ayn Rand think about Americanism today?”
SOURCE URL: http://atlassociety.org/commentary/commentary-blog/6048-what-would-ayn-rand-think-about-americanism-today


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  • Posted by Zenphamy 2 years, 4 months ago
    I have to think that if she could see that a site dedicated to her, her philosophy, and her works had become so 'politically correct' that it was allowed to become so dominated by the statist conservatism that desire so strongly the continuation and even expansion of war and intervention on a world wide stage, the near complete removal of commitment to the individual rights of man for imagined security, the nonsense arguments against only one religion rather than all religious belief, and the emotionally charged 'patriotism' that suffuses our discussion in place of reason and logic--she might well think that her life's work was a waste. For her to have to see what American's, in general think of as Americanism compared to her definition--one can only imagine the shudders and maybe tears.

    Those of us alive today in this country will not live to see the expression of the Americanism she so dearly loved and wanted everyone to truly remember and realize. We may celebrate this anniversary in our individual hearts, even though fireworks have been regulated out of our individual hands and the places that we can fly the flag is regulated to ridiculous levels and the dreams of the Founders for a country composed of individuals proudly achieving and accomplishing are only present in words and song--better maybe to wear black arm bands and hum a dirge beneath our breath as we return to our slavery on Tuesday.
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    • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 4 months ago
      I think you forget Rand's explicit statements about war, and about the United States' role. I quote: "Just as the United States had the right to invade Nazi Germany, so the United States also has the right to invade Soviet Russia or any other slave pen."

      What would trouble her the more is seeing the United States adopt internal policies that look like something that Wesley Mouch would draft and Mr. Thompson implement.
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      • Posted by Zenphamy 2 years, 4 months ago
        No, I didn't forget AR's statement about the US's right to invade what she termed as outlaw states (those states that do not recognize the individual rights of man either within or without and utilize force in both areas). But she went on to describe FDR's justification of his 'four rights' to invade, Stalin's power and territorial gains, statism's gains within the US, and the US's following obligations to support both enemies and allies as complete individualism failures resulting from the actual liberal/progressive motivations for war and the associated lies that Americans bought off on through misguided patriotism and willful ignorance. The statist central planning technocrats of Wilson and FDR utilized the war to solidify their positions and justifications in the minds of the population, and gained permanence in both political parties and within the 'hidden gov't' of the bureaucracy.

        No doubt that AR would deplore the "internal policies" that we now live under, but we mustn't forget the contributions to that condition obtained through continual intervention and wars and the continual barrage of the propaganda of external/internal fear and 'the good' of spreading democracy. We only fail ourselves if we refuse to recognize that all of the US policies, "internal and external" have the same ultimate goals of collectivism/statism and slavery to central planners

        The individual rights of man, defended fiercely by each and every man is the sole means to liberty, life, and happiness--that should be the true Americanism.
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        • Posted by philosophercat 2 years, 4 months ago
          What I don't see is the ability of the Gulchers to affirm a philosophical basis for their rejection of the creeping totalitarianism. They sense it as impinging on their love of freedom but don't seem to be coherent in their objections. Philosophical understanding requires intellectual work and opinions are lazy. So there is little indication that all the chatter here represents any potential for change.
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          Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 4 months ago
          Well, just don't forget one thing, that all too many libertarians forget. External enemies do exist. Muhammad declared war against every founding element of the United States before the United States was even a glimmer in anyone's eye. Like it or not, we inherit, in the Muslim mind, the despised position of the Byzantine Empire.
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          • Posted by Zenphamy 2 years, 4 months ago
            The reality that so many refuse to admit is the inherent similarity and origination of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam from the deserts of the Mid-East and the evils practiced by all three, as well as numerous other religions. The problem we face is not the religion, it is the stupidity of men that take direction from magical supernatural beings supposedly inviting us to live beyond our individual mortality if we will just do as we are instructed by those other, special humans that can understand and interpret the words of other special humans that the magical beings spoke to and on and on. What nonsense.

            We are here, and we are now, and I for one am an Individual with the rights of my existence and nature. All religions are anti-life in that they all seem to promise something beyond the glimmer of our life and our existence as we're able to know it. None are better or worse than any other. They are all morally wrong considered against the life of men. Only reason can defeat the evil or protect us from it.
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  • Posted by philosophercat 2 years, 4 months ago
    Ayn Rand made an important distinction between the state of politics and the American sense of life. She saw that there was a contradiction between our founding values, our sense of work and optimism, and the political ideas people expressed. She tried to correct it by giving the proper ideas their philosophical foundation. She would have been saddened by the intellectual confusion among her admirers and realized that the American sense of life is eroding from nonsense opinion offered as thought and drugs. offered as consciousness.
    She might have suggested that you go back and read the "Monadnock" section of the Fountainhead and try and envision the harmony of man's mind in reason with this earth. Happy 4th to those who remember.
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  • Posted by term2 2 years, 4 months ago
    I think she would be very unhappy that in spite of her great works, americans by and large have ignored her warnings (which are coming true).

    I do think that she would like the fact that there ARE a lot of people around the world who are better off because of thinking about and understanding her work.
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  • Posted by  $  MichaelAarethun 2 years, 4 months ago
    Might I ask that the term be define? What is Americanism? I looked around for some but had trouble finding any. Maybe I'm looking in the wrong place. Maybe it should include mroe than the center swath of North America.
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  • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 years, 4 months ago
    The Hollywood Red Scare was complicated. Ayn Rand could not get HUAC to understand the problem: ordinary films, such as romances and comedies, were being used to carry tag lines of communist propaganda. "He's an old-fashioned capitalist...." etc. She testified. So did others, and their careers were ruined.

    Some years ago, working for Coin World I wrote about Oak Ridge Tennessee. When they opened the secret city, among the celebrities was Adophe Menjou. Who?? The ORNL historian sort of laughed when she said his name: he was no one now. (See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolphe... For testifying against the communists, his career was destroyed. Permanently.

    In our time, James Cameron won accolades for Avatar. The film might have have had stunning graphical effects (I have not seen it), but the anti-business propaganda is impossible to ignore. Even I know it, never having seen the film. To me, the crude insistence on "unobtanium" -- used before; already a cliche -- should have condemned the production. But I am not the arbiter of public tastes.

    As for the deep question, I believe that Ayn Rand would be enthralled by Space-X and disheartened by our lack of response to ISIS.

    Capitalism is alive and well but still an unknown ideal. With some exceptions, the capitalists themselves do not know their own virtues.

    Defeating ISIS is not a matter of bombing them into oblivion, easy though that would be... It will take an overwhelming projection of the message of REASON, REALITY, AND EGO to defeat ISIS and the expressions of that are in fashion and music.
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    • Posted by 2 years, 4 months ago
      Mike - If I had written a longer piece, I would have included SpaceX and a whole lot of other things I think would really have excited Rand! A you know, a premise of a lot of my posts is that we have entrepreneurs in this country who have the values of a Roark but who still need the politics of a Galt.
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      • Posted by EdGoldstein 2 years, 4 months ago
        Most of the entrepreneurs of our time are state supporting leftists such as those who run Google. Many of the biggest names get their funding from govt. The biggest venture capitalists are among the biggest contributors to Obama and Clinton. Is it protection money or are they leftists?
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        • Posted by lrshultis 2 years, 4 months ago
          Their lack of a rational philosophy is the reason. Like with Rand where the influence from a line or two in some works would turn some away from discovering rational works. Some of the many anti Rand sources that in a few sentence trash Rand are 'The Closing of the American Mind', 'The National Review', and 'The Lonely Crowd". You do not want a lot of discussion if you want to turn readers against someone. Say too much and thinking might start. At the University of Wisconsin in the early 1960s it was that she was a naive realist: end of discussion,.
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          Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 years, 4 months ago
          Your glib statement is an array of glittering generalities. "Most of the entrepreneurs" would be millions of people. How many do you know?

          I grant that you do know about Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and of course Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and a few others. I grant also that Google executive Eric Schmidt is no fan of your freedom: he is explicit about that.

          On the other hand, T. J. Rodgers does not get the celebrity notice, though he does make his opinions known. He is not alone in that. Ed Snider was a serious promoter of Ayn Rand's ideas. Moreover, his story about Atlas Shrugged begins with Peter O'Malley.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbPV6...

          In The Invention of Enterprise, the editors and authors make the point that every society gets the entrepreneurs that it allows and encourages. In Rome, conquest brought glory. Successful businessmen bought farms, lived like landed optimates, and turned their enterprises over to freedmen and slaves. True laissez faire may be an unknown ideal, but you cannot condemn people for make the best lives they knew how. You might has well condemn them for not having cell phones.
          (See my review here: http://libertarianpapers.org/article/...

          The great age of railroading was interlaced with government initiatives. James J. Hill stands out. It is literally true that he sought no government favors. But the whole truth is that he benefited as a free rider on the grants and privileges given to others. Gould, Harriman, Fisk, Stanford,... Rockefeller, Ford, Carnegie, ... you can make heroes or villains out of any or all.

          The story is then not them, but you. You are not alone in enjoying the bitter dregs of economic weltschmerz. It is a story that plays well here.
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    • Posted by lrshultis 2 years, 4 months ago
      Adophe Menjou was one of my favorite actors in the fifties TV and replays of his films. Born in 1890, he was getting old and last performance was about 1961 and death from an infection in 1963. The socialist vane flowing through Hollywood did not seem to hurt his career, not like the blacklisting of leftists in the fifties actually killed the careers of many good actors and others.
      Try imdb.com for a good biography.
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  • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 4 months ago
    Like most of us, Rand would be wondering where to go. While Hollywood endorsed Communism while she was there, now a majority of American society embraces it. My wife and I are celebrating our friendship and mutually agreed-upon values with some friends tomorrow night, but I am planning on flying my flag upside down on Monday.
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    • Posted by 2 years, 4 months ago
      I would not say most Americans embrace communism. Most don't really know what it is; the leftists in this country rely on and promote the ignorance of the people in order to rule them. But most people do accept a mixed mess of contradictory principles. And yes, the country is in the most dire situation as I've seen since, as a high school student in the late '60s I've been active in politics. Switzerland would be a nice alternative, but at the moment I'm still here fighting for the principles on which this country was founded!
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      • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 4 months ago
        The difference between Communism and socialism is merely a few years. While Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton would not admit it in public, they are Communists. Mr. Sanders at least is forthright about his views. The fact that Obama won two straight elections is sufficient evidence that America has embraced communism even though they do not know what it is, as you correctly state. If you asked most Americans whether they would embrace Communism, most would say no. However, if you were to go through all of Communism's tenets one at a time without mentioning the word Communism, a slight majority of Americans would self-identify their mooching tendencies. Communism in slick packaging is still Communism.

        Switzerland has its plusses, but Ayn Rand would not have embraced it. What Rand embraced was the America of the late 19th century. By the time she arrived, she realized that America was starting to go down the perilous path that the Soviet Union had.
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        • Posted by scojohnson 2 years, 4 months ago
          I would argue the point that the 48-49% in America that are the producers in our society absolutely knew what he was, and he has never gone above around 51% popularity. The support he has is from the leaches on society- some obvious work but are government jobs so their lack of work ethic doesn't pose a financial risk.

          Faults stated, Obama was personally likable, and no known felonies before his presidency.

          We can contrast the Obama positives with Hillary.
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          • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 4 months ago
            It only takes 50% + 1 of the electoral college votes to constitute a majority of moochers + looters.

            Was Obama personally likable? I have found him at all times, including during his first presidential campaign, to be a condescending, pompous a--. Ayn Rand envisioned Toohey, Mouch, and Mr. Thompson. President Zero makes them look like pikers.
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        • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 years, 4 months ago
          Actually, Ayn Rand already had lived in Switzerland briefly with her family before returning to Russia. She came to America for the movies, something else that was not invented in Switzerland.

          A culture of entrepreneurship is not just about a lack of regulation. it is not even the legal framework of private property, though that is important. Hernando de Soto Polar made the point well in The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumph in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. Dale Halling has been saying the same things here. But necessary is not sufficient.
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        • Posted by term2 2 years, 4 months ago
          I am not sure if I would characterize the american populace as communists. From where I sit, it appears what they want is to use the government to take things from others and give to them. Maybe I am saying the same thing as you, but cronyism seems to be the rule of the day, and the attraction of Hildebeast.
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          • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 4 months ago
            Certainly there is a cronyist component. However, when you say they want to use the government to take things from others and give things to them, isn't that Communism in a nutshell?
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            • Posted by term2 2 years, 4 months ago
              I never really understood what communism was. I thought originally it was a system where everyone was fat dumb and happy in communes. When Russia collapsed I saw it was a system geared for the party members to live like kings while the peasants just survived.
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              • Posted by  $  jbrenner 2 years, 4 months ago
                I went to East Berlin for one day in 1984. The propaganda on building walls was everywhere ... and yet you had to pay a bathroom attendant / spy for access to toilet paper ... that was as coarse as the worst paper towel you have ever used on your hands. I knew that I loved America back then, but didn't know how much until I realized that I was born into the best 1% of situations I could have been born into.
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          • Posted by roneida 2 years, 4 months ago
            term 2.... Take from each according to his ability to produce and give to each according to his ability to need"", the old communist dictate sucks in most Americans.,, listen to the liberal/socialist/neo-communist speeches and propaganda,,,, Until Atlas Shrugs in real life, we are doomed to be overcome with the huge overpopulation of the lazy and stupid..
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            • Posted by term2 2 years, 4 months ago
              I am going to make a custom. T shirt. "Please don't feed the homeless"
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              • Posted by  $  asmsage 2 years, 4 months ago
                Great idea i might just go to a custom web site and have it made also. but the originator should sell rthem on his own site. love the commentary you folks are really good thinkers
                I just wish the American public would wake up to the fire in their own house that the liberals are labling just another friendly barbecue. (unfortunately its our own house that is going up in flames, the burning up of all the American ideals and dreams)
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                • Posted by term2 2 years, 4 months ago
                  its open source, feel free to make however many you want. I hope a LOT of them get made. I am getting some cool artwork done now. Feeding the homeless is really a stupid thing to do. They just come back tomorrow, and the next day, etc and never get their lives together.
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      • Posted by  $  MikeMarotta 2 years, 4 months ago
        I have been to Switzerland. Nice place. No life. Ordered. Regular. Predictable. Why do you think that the computer revolution did not begin there?

        It is a problem that we advocates of capitalism have not solved. If laissez faire is just about the laws, why did capitalism blossom here in the first place? Telegraph, telephone, television, Internet... they did not come from the Cayman Islands or even from Hong Kong. Those places may be more "business friendly" but they lack something that we have. Even if we gave it a label, it might still remain ineffable.
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