Posted in A Bit of This, A Bit of That

Vicious Nonsense

Letters of Note is fabulous website that usually has me laughing or at least smiling. This letter made me sick to my stomach.

Evil Woman

Ayn Rand is a darling of many on the right, and seems to be the guiding spirit of corporate capitalism, the kind that takes no prisoners. You know, more work for the same or less money, layoffs, paying people pennies a day in third-world countries, working conditions that resemble the slaughterhouses of The Jungle.

Compassion. Love. Consideration of your fellow person. Rand scoffs at them. Read on and keep your barf bag handy.

In a letter in 1948, a reader asked what the sentence referred to below meant. This was Ms. Rand’s reply:

Dear Ms. Rondeau:

You asked me to explain the meaning of my sentence in The Fountainhead: “To say ‘I love you’ one must first know how to say the ‘I.”

The meaning of that sentence is contained in the whole of The Fountainhead. And it is stated right in the speech on page 400 from which you took the sentence. The meaning of the “I” is an independent, self-sufficient entity that does not exist for the sake of any other person.

A person who exists only for the sake of his loved one is not an independent entity, but a spiritual parasite. The love of a parasite is worth nothing.

The usual (and very vicious) nonsense preached on the subject of love claims that love is self-sacrifice. A man’s self is his spirit. If one sacrifices his spirit, who or what is left to feel the love? True love is profoundly selfish, in the noblest meaning of the word — it is an expression of one’s highest values. When a person is in love, he seeks his own happiness — and not his sacrifice to the loved one. And the loved one would be a monster if she wanted or expected such sacrifice.

Any person who wants to live for others — for one sweetheart or for the whole of mankind — is a selfless nonentity. An independent “I” is a person who exists for his own sake. Such a person does not make any vicious pretense of self-sacrifice and does not demand it from the person he loves. Which is the only way to be in love and the only form of a self-respecting relationship between two people.

Ayn Rand

Letters of Note: The love of a parasite is worth nothing.

Author:

Writer, Walker, Entrepreneur, baby-boomer

11 thoughts on “Vicious Nonsense

  1. Oh Margy, I could fall on your shoulder and cry. I was introduced to Rand (books, I mean) in college. I was terribly depressed when I read Fountainhead because I was everything Rand scoffed at, and I was very confused about my upbringing of not being selfish vs. the brutal selfishness prescribed by Rand. I was confused for a long time, and I hated Rand, but couldn’t own it for fear of being a “loser” among all the elite, intellectual friends to whom FH was bible.
    I am not one for passionate emotions…but RAND – she elicits an almost primal hatred in me.
    I once ranted about it here: http://babblogue.typepad.com/blog/2010/10/atlas-did-not-shrug-i-did.html

    1. Followed that link, and this grabbed me:
      “The guy who gave me the Bach and Rand in grad school, later went on to become an AMWAY representative.”

      I had quite a bit of contact with the world of multimarketing, warts and all. Amway. Shaklee. Nikken (and I personally knew a rags to riches story). Melaleuca. And more. Straight outta Utah and I’ll just leave it at that.

      I can imagine a LOT on why he got hooked into that world. A lot indeed. The structure itself isn’t really evil, but people can get super messed up trying to live the dream of part-time sales through networking = wealth.

      1. Yes. I’m familiar with MLM and wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. A lot of business colleagues have gotten sucked into it. I think it’s a huge ponzi scheme, actually. The way you make money with these things is to bring other people into your sales funnel, not to actually sell the product.

        That being said, I rather do like Shaklee products and know one woman who’s sold them for years and years. So, not everything can be painted with the one brush.

      2. The AMWAY reference wasn’t meant to be derogatory, excuse me if it offended you in anyway. It was just ironi, that the person who spoke so much about individualism and all the Ayn Rand crap of personal success etc. went on with the bandwagon. I had expected him to do something more original in life – maybe invent something spectacular..or something like that..if you get my drift. It was such a let down for me…

      3. I’m not offended, either… Margy’s sentiments are about what our (yep, Cimmy tried it too) experience was with MLM. I think she’s right. The products often are really good, honest! but yes, the profit comes in building a “downline”, or bringing people into your “sales funnel”, which is just about as apt a description, IMHO.

        I ran into the movie Believe a few years ago and watched it… so, so, so dead on, full of stereotypes we saw many times. Not all may be Ayn Rand acolytes, but… as MLM has a strong presence in Utah and what I call “The Mormon Belt Buckle” (southern Idaho, etc.), I did see a lot of churchmates (yes, I’m LDS/Mormon) get sucked in. The promise of “more time with family” is a strong pull, but it seemed many kept forgetting that running your own business is running your own business– and rarely is a part-time thing.

        Cimmy did a review on “Believe” but it got the axe when she moved one of her blogs from TypePad to WordPress… if you’re interested, we’ll review it again.

  2. I’ve been hearing Ayn Rand quite a bit in political discussion… as if the Dixiecrat revolt against the civil rights movement of the ’60s and the subsequent pandering of the evangelical vote up through the Bushes wasn’t enough.

    I remain firmly independent as far as partisanship, as I’ve often said. The left has enough for me to roll eyes over (*cough*PETA*cough*) but the right seems a much easier target. I’d prefer that they ditch the crony capitalism and the authoritarianism, however, if only to get those people that now call themselves independent (of major political parties) but are still partisan jerks to ditch the label.

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