Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ayn Rand Back in the News

(And other digressions)

So I guess the fact that Mitt Romney's vice presidential nominee is a huge Ayn Rand nut has thrust Ayn Rand back into the news.

I don't know if you've been reading all the same internet articles I have, but here's all the interesting things about Ayn Rand I've learned in the past few days.

Via Phil I learned that Ayn Rand had a bizarre serial killer fan girl phase--article here.

And via, Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them.

For my own thoughts on Ayn Rand, see my review of The Fountainhead here.

If you've ever read any Ayn Rand, it comes out very quickly that she is not a fan of Christianity.
It is ironic she has become the icon of the Republican Party then.

So just to be clear : If you're from the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, and you like Ayn Rand, fair enough I suppose.
But if you're from the religious right wing of the Republican Party, you really have no business praising Ayn Rand.

Also while we're on the subject of historical figures who are misunderstood by the right wing, has a good article on why the Right has completely misunderstood Thomas Paine, and why they really have no business using him as a symbol considering he was actually much more of a New Deal Democrat and  stood for just about everything they opposed.

I made the same observation a few years after reading a mini-biography of Thomas Paine.
And in fact if you wanted to go even further on this, something that the article only talks about Thomas Paine's economic ideas, and doesn't even mention that Paine really hated the Bible, and spent most of his intellectual energy in his later years writing about what a horrible book the Bible was. Which is yet another reason he would make awkward company with today's religious right.

To quote Thomas Paine on the Bible:

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon, than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel.

(For full text see here).

And while I'm on the subject....
If you go back to the article linked to above: 8 Historic Symbols That Mean The Opposite of What You Think, I also agree with them that it is totally stupid for anarchists to use Guy Fawkes symbols. See my review of V for Vendetta here to see me making essentially the same argument that they do.

(Actually the whole list is pretty good. My only nit-pick is #6. I think they are being a little bit harsh on people who like Che Guevara. Yes, Che had his faults. Yes, the whole misadventure in the Congo was not his finest hour. But that doesn't mean that he wasn't a symbol of anti-imperialism. And plus I think most of the people who wear Che Guevara T-shirts do know that he was in the Congo.)

Link of the Day
On Politics, Occupy, the Tea Party and the Global Financial Crisis

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