Ayn Rand - Right Wing Hypocrite

gopher

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The name Ayn Rand has been associated for many years with the idea of rugged individualism, hard work, success, conservatism, Republicanism, and now the Tea Baggers. Each of these groups regarded her as the goddess of truth, integrity, and as the inspiration for their ''wholesome'' idealism. While she condemned government interventionism in the economy and saw it as a needless and harmful intrusion, she was secretly taking handouts and surviving off the backs of the very people she condemned.

Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them | Tea Party and the Right | AlterNet

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


Ayn Rand was not only a schlock novelist, she was also the progenitor of a sweeping “moral philosophy” that justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes not only the slothful, undeserving poor but the lackluster middle-classes as well.
Her books provided wide-ranging parables of "parasites," "looters" and "moochers" using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes' labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O'Connor (her husband was Frank O'Connor).
As Michael Ford of Xavier University's Center for the Study of the American Dream wrote, “In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.”
Her ideas about government intervention in some idealized pristine marketplace serve as the basis for so much of the conservative rhetoric we see today. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” said Paul Ryan, the GOP's young budget star at a D.C. event honoring the author. On another occasion, he proclaimed, “Rand makes the best case for the morality of democratic capitalism.”
“Morally and economically,” wrote Rand in a 1972 newsletter, “the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull.”
Journalist Patia Stephens wrote of Rand:
[She] called altruism a “basic evil” and referred to those who perpetuate the system of taxation and redistribution as “looters” and “moochers.” She wrote in her book “The Virtue of Selfishness” that accepting any government controls is “delivering oneself into gradual enslavement.”
Rand also believed that the scientific consensus on the dangers of tobacco was a hoax. By 1974, the two-pack-a-day smoker, then 69, required surgery for lung cancer. And it was at that moment of vulnerability that she succumbed to the lure of collectivism.
Evva Joan Pryor, who had been a social worker in New York in the 1970s, was interviewed in 1998 by Scott McConnell, who was then the director of communications for the Ayn Rand Institute. In his book, 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand, McConnell basically portrays Rand as first standing on principle, but then being mugged by reality. Stephens points to this exchange between McConnell and Pryor.
“She was coming to a point in her life where she was going to receive the very thing she didn’t like, which was Medicare and Social Security,” Pryor told McConnell. “I remember telling her that this was going to be difficult. For me to do my job she had to recognize that there were exceptions to her theory. So that started our political discussions. From there on – with gusto – we argued all the time.
The initial argument was on greed,” Pryor continued. “She had to see that there was such a thing as greed in this world. Doctors could cost an awful lot more money than books earn, and she could be totally wiped out by medical bills if she didn’t watch it. Since she had worked her entire life, and had paid into Social Security, she had a right to it. She didn’t feel that an individual should take help.”
Rand had paid into the system, so why not take the benefits? It's true, but according to Stephens, some of Rand's fellow travelers remained true to their principles.
Rand is one of three women the Cato Institute calls founders of American libertarianism. The other two, Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel “Pat” Paterson, both rejected Social Security benefits on principle. Lane, with whom Rand corresponded for several years, once quit an editorial job in order to avoid paying Social Security taxes. The Cato Institute says Lane considered Social Security a “Ponzi fraud” and “told friends that it would be immoral of her to take part in a system that would predictably collapse so catastrophically.” Lane died in 1968.









Rand was vocal in her opposition of government programs like Social Security and Medicare. Yet when the time came when she could benefit from these same programs, she did so…in secrecy.
In the end, the queen of individual rights and limited government and staunch opponent of the welfare state, turned out to be nothing more than your common, everyday hypocrite.




“There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction*.” ~Ayn Rand











 

Machjo

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 19, 2004
17,878
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Ottawa, ON
The name Ayn Rand has been associated for many years with the idea of rugged individualism, hard work, success, conservatism, Republicanism, and now the Tea Baggers. Each of these groups regarded her as the goddess of truth, integrity, and as the inspiration for their ''wholesome'' idealism. While she condemned government interventionism in the economy and saw it as a needless and harmful intrusion, she was secretly taking handouts and surviving off the backs of the very people she condemned.

Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them | Tea Party and the Right | AlterNet

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


Ayn Rand was not only a schlock novelist, she was also the progenitor of a sweeping “moral philosophy” that justifies the privilege of the wealthy and demonizes not only the slothful, undeserving poor but the lackluster middle-classes as well.
Her books provided wide-ranging parables of "parasites," "looters" and "moochers" using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes' labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O'Connor (her husband was Frank O'Connor).
As Michael Ford of Xavier University's Center for the Study of the American Dream wrote, “In the end, Miss Rand was a hypocrite but she could never be faulted for failing to act in her own self-interest.”
Her ideas about government intervention in some idealized pristine marketplace serve as the basis for so much of the conservative rhetoric we see today. “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand,” said Paul Ryan, the GOP's young budget star at a D.C. event honoring the author. On another occasion, he proclaimed, “Rand makes the best case for the morality of democratic capitalism.”
“Morally and economically,” wrote Rand in a 1972 newsletter, “the welfare state creates an ever accelerating downward pull.”
Journalist Patia Stephens wrote of Rand:
[She] called altruism a “basic evil” and referred to those who perpetuate the system of taxation and redistribution as “looters” and “moochers.” She wrote in her book “The Virtue of Selfishness” that accepting any government controls is “delivering oneself into gradual enslavement.”
Rand also believed that the scientific consensus on the dangers of tobacco was a hoax. By 1974, the two-pack-a-day smoker, then 69, required surgery for lung cancer. And it was at that moment of vulnerability that she succumbed to the lure of collectivism.
Evva Joan Pryor, who had been a social worker in New York in the 1970s, was interviewed in 1998 by Scott McConnell, who was then the director of communications for the Ayn Rand Institute. In his book, 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand, McConnell basically portrays Rand as first standing on principle, but then being mugged by reality. Stephens points to this exchange between McConnell and Pryor.
“She was coming to a point in her life where she was going to receive the very thing she didn’t like, which was Medicare and Social Security,” Pryor told McConnell. “I remember telling her that this was going to be difficult. For me to do my job she had to recognize that there were exceptions to her theory. So that started our political discussions. From there on – with gusto – we argued all the time.
The initial argument was on greed,” Pryor continued. “She had to see that there was such a thing as greed in this world. Doctors could cost an awful lot more money than books earn, and she could be totally wiped out by medical bills if she didn’t watch it. Since she had worked her entire life, and had paid into Social Security, she had a right to it. She didn’t feel that an individual should take help.”
Rand had paid into the system, so why not take the benefits? It's true, but according to Stephens, some of Rand's fellow travelers remained true to their principles.
Rand is one of three women the Cato Institute calls founders of American libertarianism. The other two, Rose Wilder Lane and Isabel “Pat” Paterson, both rejected Social Security benefits on principle. Lane, with whom Rand corresponded for several years, once quit an editorial job in order to avoid paying Social Security taxes. The Cato Institute says Lane considered Social Security a “Ponzi fraud” and “told friends that it would be immoral of her to take part in a system that would predictably collapse so catastrophically.” Lane died in 1968.









Rand was vocal in her opposition of government programs like Social Security and Medicare. Yet when the time came when she could benefit from these same programs, she did so…in secrecy.
In the end, the queen of individual rights and limited government and staunch opponent of the welfare state, turned out to be nothing more than your common, everyday hypocrite.




“There can be no compromise on basic principles. There can be no compromise on moral issues. There can be no compromise on matters of knowledge, of truth, of rational conviction*.” ~Ayn Rand












In her defense though, I'll argue that she may have been thinking that while she opposes these services in principle, seeing that she'd paid taxes into them herself, she is entitled to get it back. Looking at it that way there is not necessarily any compromise. Had these services not existed, her taxes woudl have been lower so that she could have saved herself, but since they did exist she had to pay more taxes towards such services and thus made it harder to be more independent. So there is not necessarily a compromise depending on how she rationalizes it of course.

Just to take an example, I disagree with bus fares being subsidized, but if I use the bus, seeing that I've paid taxes into subsidizing it, I might as well pay the subsidized fare too, right?
 

TenPenny

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In her defense though, I'll argue that she may have been thinking that while she opposes these services in principle, seeing that she'd paid taxes into them herself, she is entitled to get it back. Looking at it that way there is not necessarily any compromise. Had these services not existed, her taxes woudl have been lower so that she could have saved herself, but since they did exist she had to pay more taxes towards such services and thus made it harder to be more independent. So there is not necessarily a compromise depending on how she rationalizes it of course.

Just to take an example, I disagree with bus fares being subsidized, but if I use the bus, seeing that I've paid taxes into subsidizing it, I might as well pay the subsidized fare too, right?


I'm firmly against something on principle, but I'll use it when it's convenient.

Ayn Rand was a nasty **** who was also a horrible writer. But she speaks to a certain kind of person, usually high school aged. Later on, people tend to outgrow that simplistic view of the world.
 

gopher

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Jun 26, 2005
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''Government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.''

''Her extreme individualism rejected any government safety net programs and called people who relied upon them “leeches” for not having prepared for their own eventualities.''

Ayn Rand in old age | Monastic Musings Too


There are other quotes which showed how she called ALL people who relied on government under these circumstances was a ''leech''. Therefore, it is proper to throw the word back at her.
 

Machjo

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I'm firmly against something on principle, but I'll use it when it's convenient.

Ayn Rand was a nasty **** who was also a horrible writer. But she speaks to a certain kind of person, usually high school aged. Later on, people tend to outgrow that simplistic view of the world.

I honestly know not that much about her and have not read any of her works yet. So who knows, there could be some logical contradiction in her books to what she is doing now. But based on the OP though, there was no indication of that.

Just to take another example. Imagine an MP voting against a particular government spending bill but the bill goes through anyway. Seeing that his constituents will still be paying taxes towards this new program, naturally he'd want them to also benefit from it. So here we'd be dealing with two different but not necessarily contradictory principles. The first being that he opposes the program, the second being that all should have equal access to whatever services the government provides. Looking at it that way, though I oppose bus fare subsidies, if I should buy a bus ticket, I'd expect to buy it at the same price as everyone else. And so with Ayn rand. She may have opposed those specific services but also supposed that since she was paying into them too she therefore had the same right a anyone else to them. There is no contradiction in this.

''Government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.''

''Her extreme individualism rejected any government safety net programs and called people who relied upon them “leeches” for not having prepared for their own eventualities.''

Ayn Rand in old age | Monastic Musings Too


There are other quotes which showed how she called ALL people who relied on government under these circumstances was a ''leech''. Therefore, it is proper to throw the word back at her.

Based on the little you say, seems she was a dirty mouthed bigot of some kind. That still doesn't change the principle that she may have simultaneously believed that:

1. government should not provide certain services, and
2. we should all have equal access to whatever services the government does provide.

Now unless you could find a quote of hers contradicting this (and you may very well find one), then there is not necessarily a contradiction in what she did, nor any hypocrisy.

Now should you find a quote of hers that states not only that the government should not provide certain services but also that responsible people should not make use of them even if they pay into them, then there'd be some hypocrisy. But there is a fine distinction here.

From the bit I've read so far though, it does seem she had a heartless, simplistic view of the world. That's another matter though.
 

Retired_Can_Soldier

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Mar 19, 2006
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Really? I've never read her works, but I certainly have heard of her plenty of times.

Again, from the little that I know, I'm not impressed enough by her ideas to bother prioritize her works, but who knows, if I might read them some day.

I generally steer clear of the wack jobs both left and right. Ie: Tea Party, couldn't tell you much about em. Anything JBeee posts, nah.
 

gopher

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Jun 26, 2005
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The point was that she called people under these same circumstances ''leeches'' as quoted above. Therefore, the word can rightfully be thrown back at her.

As they say, God punishes!
 

taxslave

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Although I read one of her books a number of years ago and found it somewhat entertaining considering it was written in the fifties all I know about her is that she came from Russia and therefore had first hand knowledge of the evils of socialism. But they are just novels though somehow the many right wingers seem to view them as a sort of text book.

The point was that she called people under these same circumstances ''leeches'' as quoted above. Therefore, the word can rightfully be thrown back at her.

As they say, God punishes!

Socialists are leaches.
 

damngrumpy

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Mar 16, 2005
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It is becoming clear to me the Tea Party is not a grassroots movement it has deep pockets in the
background. People are being manipulated by some big oil interests. This person is entitled to the
benefits true, but this should be pointed out that hypocrisy is front ant center in this thing.
The other aspect of hypocrisy is that, so many people condemn the private sector and denounce
the profit system, while at the same time investing in those very companies and banks and other
institutions to make enough money to finance their retirement.
This being said how many people are going to go through life not putting one penny away for their
retirement because they might become a hypocrite.
Now Ayn Rand was a hypocrite and in some sence a mental lightweight but does that make her any
better or worse than all those who rail against corporations while putting money into institutions that
make a profit for their retirement? Something to think about.
 

Machjo

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Oct 19, 2004
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Although I read one of her books a number of years ago and found it somewhat entertaining considering it was written in the fifties all I know about her is that she came from Russia and therefore had first hand knowledge of the evils of socialism. But they are just novels though somehow the many right wingers seem to view them as a sort of text book.



Socialists are leaches.

Not necessarily. Some socialists earn a high income, pay much in taxes, and rely little on government services. It still doesn't mean I don't see some major flaws in the socialist ideology, but I'm just pointing out how your assessment here is a little simplistic.
 

Machjo

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 19, 2004
17,878
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It is becoming clear to me the Tea Party is not a grassroots movement it has deep pockets in the
background. People are being manipulated by some big oil interests. This person is entitled to the
benefits true, but this should be pointed out that hypocrisy is front ant center in this thing.
The other aspect of hypocrisy is that, so many people condemn the private sector and denounce
the profit system, while at the same time investing in those very companies and banks and other
institutions to make enough money to finance their retirement.
This being said how many people are going to go through life not putting one penny away for their
retirement because they might become a hypocrite.
Now Ayn Rand was a hypocrite and in some sence a mental lightweight but does that make her any
better or worse than all those who rail against corporations while putting money into institutions that
make a profit for their retirement? Something to think about.

True enough. It's like Green Peace in motor boats, owning a truck and a log cabin. Or PETA chomping down on a burger.

Oh we can go on with this. The socialist who has no qualms about how inflation washes away a poor worker's hard earned savings, or the fiscal conservative who has no issue with spending tons on the military while cutting taxes, etc.

''Socialists are leaches.''

That would make Rand a socialist.

;)

No it wouldn't. Socialism is based on a particula idological belief and not on simple self-interest. Quite frankly, most union workers aren't socialists either I'm sure.
 

taxslave

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Gopher: Why are you so concerned about the lifestyle of someone that has been dead for a quarter of a century? Especially since she was making her pronouncements during the cold war and they were basically aimed at a country she was lucky to escape from with her life.

True enough. It's like Green Peace in motor boats, owning a truck and a log cabin. Or PETA chomping down on a burger.

Oh we can go on with this. The socialist who has no qualms about how inflation washes away a poor worker's hard earned savings, or the fiscal conservative who has no issue with spending tons on the military while cutting taxes, etc.



No it wouldn't. Socialism is based on a particula idological belief and not on simple self-interest. Quite frankly, most union workers aren't socialists either I'm sure.

Perhaps, but their leaders are and the dippers that they donate a portion of their dues to are.
 

JLM

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Nov 27, 2008
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''Government "help" to business is just as disastrous as government persecution... the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off.''

''Her extreme individualism rejected any government safety net programs and called people who relied upon them “leeches” for not having prepared for their own eventualities.''

Ayn Rand in old age | Monastic Musings Too


There are other quotes which showed how she called ALL people who relied on government under these circumstances was a ''leech''. Therefore, it is proper to throw the word back at her.

Does acting according to a system one is against make one a hypocrite?
 

gopher

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Jun 26, 2005
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''Why are you so concerned about the lifestyle of someone that has been dead for a quarter of a century?''

You did not catch the full drift of my cite or what others have said here - Rand is considered the absolute goddess of right wing ideology. In fact, there was a brief blurb in the news the other day that her books are selling at an all time high because of the belief people have in her stated views. She is genuinely regarded as the nearest thing to a goddess! Yet, her lifestyle belied her stated beliefs - the same beliefs that garnered her hundreds of thousands of dollars per year!

What incredible hypocrisy!

------------------------------------------------------

''Does acting according to a system one is against make one a hypocrite?''

Of course it does and impeaches all possible credibility.
 

Machjo

Hall of Fame Member
Oct 19, 2004
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''Why are you so concerned about the lifestyle of someone that has been dead for a quarter of a century?''

You did not catch the full drift of my cite or what others have said here - Rand is considered the absolute goddess of right wing ideology. In fact, there was a brief blurb in the news the other day that her books are selling at an all time high because of the belief people have in her stated views. She is genuinely regarded as the nearest thing to a goddess! Yet, her lifestyle belied her stated beliefs - the same beliefs that garnered her hundreds of thousands of dollars per year!

What incredible hypocrisy!

Are you sure it wasn't a case of two separate yet uncontradictory beliefs as I'd pointed out above? Again, she did pay into those services as a taxpayer, did she not?
 

JLM

Hall of Fame Member
Nov 27, 2008
74,789
325
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Vernon, B.C.
''Why are you so concerned about the lifestyle of someone that has been dead for a quarter of a century?''

You did not catch the full drift of my cite or what others have said here - Rand is considered the absolute goddess of right wing ideology. In fact, there was a brief blurb in the news the other day that her books are selling at an all time high because of the belief people have in her stated views. She is genuinely regarded as the nearest thing to a goddess! Yet, her lifestyle belied her stated beliefs - the same beliefs that garnered her hundreds of thousands of dollars per year!

What incredible hypocrisy!

------------------------------------------------------

''Does acting according to a system one is against make one a hypocrite?''

Of course it does and impeaches all possible credibility.

99.999% of the world are hypocrites to some degree. Doing whatever is necessary to sustain life is a human trait that generally trumps all other attributes.

Are you sure it wasn't a case of two separate yet uncontradictory beliefs as I'd pointed out above? Again, she did pay into those services as a taxpayer, did she not?

You are right, of course- I'm against spunging off my fellow citizens and would avoid doing it, but if I was sick or starving my rules would change. :smile: