Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ayn Rand's Revenge

OK, so John Galt's long-ass speech. I skimmed it. It was impossible to read it carefully word for word since it is just a rehash of what Rand had already said throughout the book.

What I found far more interesting was the response of some of the members of the public to Galt's inspiring call to anti-altruism:
Nobody had ever granted them the title of "the better men" or granting it, had paused to grasp that title's meaning, but everybody knew, each in his own community, neighborhood, office or shop, and in his own identified terms, who would be the men that now failed to appear on some coming morning and who would silently vanish in search of some unknown frontiers - the men whose faces were tighter than the faces around them, whose eyes were more direct, whose energy was more conscientiously enduring...
Rand just hate hate hated a fat or flabby face. Truly, having a "tight" face was a sign of innate superiority in Rand's strange mind.

And one of the examples of the little people going Galt is especially strange:
...the case of a woman with a fractured jaw: she had been slapped in the face by a total stranger, who had heard her ordering her five-year-old son to give his best toy to the children of neighbors.
Of all the illustrations of the noble cause of going Galt, why would Rand come up with this? A mother ordered her own kid to give his best toy away. Is this really a common problem that requires Objectivism to address? Whoever heard of a mother doing such a thing anyway?

And then I remembered...
When Rand was five or so, she recalled, her mother came into the children's playroom and found the floor littered with toys. She announced to Rand and Rand's two-and-a-half year old sister Natasha, that they would have to choose some of their toys to put away and some to keep and play with now; in a year, she told them, they could trade the toys they had kept for those they had put away. Natasha held onto the toys she liked best, but Rand, imagining the pleasure she would get from having her favorite toys returned to her later, handed over her best-loved playthings, including a painted mechanical wind-up chicken she could describe vividly fifty years later. When the time came to make the swap and Rand asked for her toys back, her mother looked amused, Rand recalled... (and) explained that she had given everything to an orphanage, on the premise that if her daughters had really wanted their toys they wouldn't have relinquished them in the first place.
 - Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne C. Heller
Clearly the stranger breaking the woman's jaw is the spectre of Ayn Rand, getting her revenge against her mother's betrayal and the loss of her beloved wind-up chicken.

The chick of course, could only have been named "Rosebud."