Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Debunking the Debunkers

It's Ayn Rand's 100th on Feb 2nd, and the critics are out in force. I thought I'd weigh in on the whole shenanigan here briefly:

Someone needs to point out that Bernie Conneely doesn't know what he's talking about. He writes an article titled in part Plenty of Reasons, and yet Conneely gives none. Rather he makes ad hominem attacks which merely show he has never read a word of hers, or if he has, he had as much trouble with comprehension as he does with writing.

"History is riddled with the consequences of unregulated, unbalanced, money-driven societies where power and wealth become concentrated in the top few bricks of what is essentially a very large pyramid scheme. Oftentimes Rand's rugged, ambitious individuals of high achievement might be seen to prefigure some of history's worst criminals."-Bernie Conneely

Where? In what context? Which free-market societies riddle history? What do you mean by "pyramid-scheme" and how does it apply to meritocracy? Who are "history's worst criminals" and how do they resemble any of Rand's heroes? What were the names of Rand's heroes (Do you even know)????

I call this slander for slander's sake and a vicious misrepresentation administered by the Boston Globe.

And Then:

"It's a doubly embarrassing admission: Not only is Rand one of the most important figures in the libertarian movement of which reason is a part, but this magazine's name is an homage to her philosophy, Objectivism, which ascribes a key role to rationality." -Nick Gillespie

Well Nick Gillespie, maybe you don't know, but Ayn Rand was no great fan of libertarians either. And the magazine's name is a ridicule of the concept "reason". It is the defiance and destruction of reason which your magazine advocates.

"I'm more simpatico with Officer Barbrady, the illiterate cop on South Park who declared, "At first I was happy to be learning to read...but then I read...Atlas Shrugged... because of this, I am never reading again."
Yup, I can see that. So what provokes you to write?

This just goes to show that this site titled reasononline.com is out to destroy the meaning of reason, and has no intention of using it [any reason] except for the perverse corruption of the concept itself.

“Like most of my contemporaries, I first read The Fountainhead when I was 18 years old. I loved it. I too missed the point."—Nora Ephron, The New York Times Book Review (1968)
Why she continues with her nonsense beyond these revealing sentences (?) is unknown to me. But why Reason reprints it is starkly apparent.

"Rand’s unshakable belief in the power of the human mind led her to refuse to recognize the mental deterioration of her husband, Frank O’Connor, and she tormented him with exercises in “psycho-epistemology.” -Cathy Young
Perhaps I'm going out on a limb here, but isn't that like saying a wife "torments" her physically disabled husband if she encourages excercises in physical therapy?

"In the 21st century, as we face Islamist terrorism abroad and when public discourse at home often seems dominated by religious conservatism on the right and politically correct pieties on the left, Rand’s message of reason and liberty, if it’s stripped of its odder features, could be a rallying point for what the neo-Objectivist philosopher David Kelley, who runs the Objectivist Center, calls “Enlightenment-based values.” (Emphasis Added)
Odder features being conclusions? Moral judgements?

"This is perhaps how Rand is best appreciated: as a figure of great achievement and great contradictions, a visionary whose vision is one among many, whose truths are important but by no means exclusive."
How can a truth be important but not exclusive? Doesn't all truth neccessarily exclude the false? Hey I know, I'm out on a limb again.
My guess is that the author here is trying to evade her own contradictions, even as she proudly displays them in this article. But then, that would be a contradiction too wouldn't it?

Haha, Turns out Cathy Young is a columnist for the Boston Globe also. Whaddya know.


Blogger M.T. Daffenberg said...

Still no fan of Ayn (I'm ultra-critical of her thoughts on human motivations, someday I'll expand more). But I like what you're saying about truth. By definition, truth cannot be subjective. Yet, seemingly intelligent people say things like, 'that's their truth, but I don't agree,' implying, of course, that they are in denial of truth--but that's not what they really mean, they're just being dumb. I wish logic was deemed as important as reading and math in our elementary educational system. But logic is associated with philosophy, and, of course, philosophy is useless and pointless. Trust me when I say that most people have that opinion--I have a BA in philosophy and people rarely put any authoritative weight on that. As a matter of fact, it's more of a punchline than a resume builder. Sad for me, but even sadder for those who improperly use the word 'truth.'

9:25 AM  
Blogger Sarah Beth said...

I'd be interested in your expansion on those thoughts.
I also wish that logic and philosophy were included in the curriculum. I was lucky enough to get some of that in Signet, but I still have a lot to learn.

9:46 AM  

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