…Or so I’ve been telling myself since I was fifteen and first read The Fountainhead and committed those lines to memory.
Well, here’s a shameful secret: I’ve really been enjoying the audio book of this new Ayn Rand bio. I’ll have lots of thoughts to share about it…soon.
In the meantime, it’s my busiest work week of the year (making hay while the sun is shining sounds good on paper, but it sure sucks when you collapse from sunstroke…) and after that my sweetheart will be home for a few days and we’ll be raking leaves and petting lonely cats and catching up on Mad Men and generally acting like we share our lives even though our lives seem to be conspiring to make us liars lately.
Until then, here are some peeled chioggia beets and raspberry orange tarts. Enjoy!
While I’m gone please feel free to debate and discuss the philosophy of Objectivism; Ayn Rand’s insanely weird life; the virtues of altruism versus the virtues of egotism; various thoughts on the sexiness or lack thereof of Ayn Rand’s characters (I have soft spots for Howard Roark and Dagny Taggart, myself), whether or not the grassroots left truly is being torn apart by lazyass dreamers who can’t shake themselves out of their idiotic mystical visions long enough to get anything done; and, the topic I really want to bring up: can collectives ever accomplish anything? I’ve been a part of a few, and I think I can make a strong case that Rand-style individual actions get a shit load more done with a shit load less drama. Is there something inherently virtuous in working together, or are we deluding ourselves? No collective I’ve ever seen is a true collective, all have had a certain sort of hierarchy in order to survive. What’s wrong with that? As long as it’s not a fascist hierarchy that is killing its underlings, what’s wrong with admitting the truth: we are all good at different things, and shouldn’t pretend to be equals at everything.
Also: should an avowed anarchist who describes her political leanings as somewhere to the left of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky be getting as much pleasure as I am getting out of the ideas of a woman who so loved capitalism? Or could it be said that in a certain sense Rand was an anarchist? Her love for capitalism was, it seems to me, really a love of the meritocracy. Money doesn’t have to be involved in a meritocracy, and I’ve always thought that in any worthy anarchist society cream would still rise to the top (which by the way is a totally vegan metaphor if you’ve ever opened a can of coconut milk in the wintertime)—it’s just that everyone, creamy or not, would have a say and a stake in how they live their lives.
Here’s another thought: as much as Rand was an avowed capitalist, I’m an avowed barterer (I GOT THE COAT! IT WILL BLOW YOUR MIND! PIX TO COME!!), and it seems to me that bartering is the purest, most anarchic form of capitalism—bartering is capitalism minus governmental and societal bullshit, it is capitalism stripped of anything but the perfect question: “what is it worth to you?”
So basically what I want to say is that lefties shouldn’t ashamed to like Ayn Rand. She made a lot of mistakes and was sort of a giant bitch with an addiction to amphetamines and some serious emotional issues, but! Her sometimes overly simplistic, sometimes shrill ideas have real value. Inherent value, even.
PS: Um. Maybe I just shot my wad on that Rand post TK. Oops.