Mark Sanford Goes Galt

Clearly Jon Meacham and his deputy editors at Newsweek could use a refresher course in compelling journalism from their sister ship test proctors at the Stanley Kaplan Corporation. Newsweek, you see, has just seen fit to publish a lengthy interpretation of Ayn Rand by none other that Appalachian Trail aficionado Mark Sanford.

The Fountainhead is a stunning evocation of the individual and what he can achieve when unhindered by government or society. Howard Roark is an architect who cares nothing about the world’s approval; his only concerns are his integrity and the perfection of his designs. What strikes me as still relevant is its central insight—that it isn’t “collective action” that makes this nation prosperous and secure; it’s the initiative and creativity of the individual. The novel’s “second-handers,” as Rand called them—the opportunistic Peter Keating, who appropriates Roark’s architectural talent for his own purposes, and Ellsworth Toohey, the journalist who doesn’t know what to write until he knows what people want to hear—symbolize a mindset that’s sadly familiar today.

Yeah, because the guy using state money to fly himself around the globe to meet his Latin lover, while his wife and children are back in the government paid for Governor’s mansion, ought to be talking about second hand leeches.

When the economy took a nosedive a year ago—a series of events that arguably began when the government-sponsored corporations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went broke—many Americans, myself included, watched in disbelief as members of Congress placed blame on everyone and everything but government. This wasn’t new in 2008. It’s an act we’ve seen over and over since the beginning of the New Deal in 1933. For that reason, I think, those passages in Atlas Shrugged foreshadow what might happen to our country if there is no change in direction. As Rand shows in her book, when the government is deprived of the free market’s best minds, it staggers toward collapse.

Uh huh, how convenient. Sanford pegs Fannie and Freddie as the ultimate culprits without noting that, while government sponsored, they are privately run enterprises. Nor noting that the reason the GSEs failed is from the complete hash of the financial markets made by the anti-regulatory, free wheeling, Randian geniuses populating Wall Street and the “financial products” markets that Sanford so adores.

Then there is this:

There is one more major flaw in Rand’s thinking. She believed that man is perfectible—a view she shared with the Soviet collectivists she hated. The geniuses and industrial titans who retire to Galt’s hidden valley create a perfect society based on reason and pure individualism; and Galt himself, in the 57-page speech near the book’s end, explicitly denies the existence of original sin. The idea that man is perfectible has been disproved by 10,000 years of history. Men and women are imperfect, or “fallen,” which is why I believe there is a role for limited government in making sure that my rights end where yours begin.

Crikey. Sanford found the temerity to actually argue that Rand’s “one major flaw” is the one which would condemn self serving puerile lotharios, like himself, who abdicate even their personal responsibilities to wife, children and workcraft. Sanford also neglects to mention that Rand’s objectivism is, by definition, pretty much anti-religion. As Gore Vidal once said, Ayn Rand is an:

…odd little woman [who] is attempting to give a moral sanction to greed and self interest, and to pull it off she must at times indulge in purest Orwellian newspeak of the “freedom is slavery” sort. … it is gratuitous to advise any human being to look out for himself. You can be sure that he will. It is far more difficult to persuade him to help his neighbor to build a dam or to defend a town or to give food he has accumulated to the victims of a famine. But since we must live together, dependent upon one another for many things and services, altruism is necessary to survival. To get people to do needed things is the perennial hard task of government, not to mention of religion and philosophy. … Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality…

And so it is. Then again, this is a perfect snapshot of the intellectual and moral duplicity that lies at the heart of the C-Street mentality to which Sanford and so many other fiscal scolds in Washington adhere to.

Heck, why should I have all the fun? It is audience participation Friday! Everybody here knows Rand, Sanford and C-Street; read Sanford’s Newsweek tripe and dissect in comments!

93 replies
  1. klynn says:


    I cannot begin to know where to start. What was Newsweek thinking? Really? When I read this post, all I could think was that this was really a SNL skit script.

    I hope John Stewart has some fun with this.

    It is a bit disturbing that Ayn Rand is now required high school reading with no “counter text” to read.

  2. amilius says:

    The Sons of Belial who’ve gathered in Washington are scared shitless that there is nothing to support their self-elevated status now that the net has made it possible to shred their fabrications within hours. Those who would allow themselves what they would deny others and deny others what they would choose for themselves have grown conspicuous in their hypocrisy, not exactly an attractive attribute inside or out of self important religious and political institutions.

  3. freepatriot says:

    just tell these assholes that ayn rand sucks, and the “George Bush Depression of 2008” was created by the gram-leach-bliley bill and the credit modernization act compounded by george bush’s regulatory incompetence

    and tell em I prefer discussing the social habits of hobbits

    or the grappling habits of offensive linemen

    and Drew Fookin Brees, that’s always a good topic

    (jes exercising my right to participate)

  4. Leen says:

    Bmaz “And so it is. Then again, this is a perfect snapshot of the intellectual and moral duplicity that lies at the heart of the C-Street mentality to which Sanford and so many other fiscal scolds in Washington adhere to.”

    And so many of them hide behind those little crosses

    did you see Moore’s “Capitalism; A Love Story” where he has Jesus leaning over telling folks he can not heal them if they do not have health care coverage. This was one of my favorite parts of the film

  5. freepatriot says:

    what fucking pattern is this asshat talking about:

    When the economy took a nosedive a year ago—a series of events that arguably began when the government-sponsored corporations Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac went broke—many Americans, myself included, watched in disbelief as members of Congress placed blame on everyone and everything but government. This wasn’t new in 2008. It’s an act we’ve seen over and over since the beginning of the New Deal in 1933.

    when did the economy crash between 1933 and 2008 ???

    has this dickhead been on THIS planet during any portion of those years ???

  6. LabDancer says:

    Lovely link to Mister Veedal, bmaz.

    Both as public service & in partial atonement, NEWSWEEK should be required to insert that picture of Miz Rand right at the top next to the name of the author of each & every single such puerile projectile produced out of any male member the Family frathouse: she’s wearing FRINGE.

  7. freepatriot says:

    we would have to create a “negative credibility scale” to determine who is more discredited by this article, ayn rand or mark sanford

  8. Leen says:

    Sanford “I recognize no obligations toward men except one: to respect their freedom and to take no part in a slave society.” Cold though they sound, these words contain two basic truths. First, an individual can achieve great things without governmental benevolence, and second, one man has no right to another’s achievement. These are lessons we should all remember today, when each week is seemingly marked by another government program designed to fix society.”

    Sounds like Sanford is making excuses for dipping his stick while married with four kids. And also telling the peasants if you want it enough you can get it and do not question how some of us have all ready gotten it.

    Sanford grew up rich right? “Marshall Clement Sanford, Jr. was born on May 28, 1960, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, son of Marshall Clement Sanford, Sr., a cardiologist, and his wife, the former Peggy Pitts. Before his senior year of high school, Sanford moved with his family to the 3,000 acre (1,214 hectare) Coosaw Plantation near Beaufort, South Carolina from Fort Lauderdale.”

    It really gets under my skin when folks who grow up wealthy feed the folks down line… “pull your self up by the boot straps” hogwash. Sanford does not have a fucking clue. I also have the greatest respect for those who do grow up wealthy Kennedy’s, etc and decide it is part of their responsibility to insure that those less fortunate have access.

    I would be all about the “boot strap” theory if people had equal access to a quality education, living wage and health care. Then I would buy the dream…but folks do not have equal access.

    One of my gurus George Carlin

    they own you

    “they do not want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking”

    • bobschacht says:

      Sanford grew up rich right? “Marshall Clement Sanford, Jr. was born on May 28, 1960, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, son of Marshall Clement Sanford, Sr., a cardiologist, and his wife, the former Peggy Pitts. Before his senior year of high school, Sanford moved with his family to the 3,000 acre (1,214 hectare) Coosaw Plantation near Beaufort, South Carolina from Fort Lauderdale.”

      The sons of the rich grow up with a sense of entitlement. The C-street folks share a similar mentality. Sanford apparently hasn’t learned anything from his latest brush with fame and notoriety.

      Bob in AZ

      • Leen says:

        I know lots of really rich folks from living in Aspen and other wealthy ski towns. Lots of what I call “trustafarians” living in those places I promised myself that I would never give more power to money than it should have and would never allow those who have gross amounts of it to use it as a weapon or manipulative tool. When I have seen it I call it out.

        I have met altruistic rich folks and selfish poor folk. But one thing I will say is those who grow up wealthy are often incapable of imagining what it is like to economically struggle or are often unable to imagine that there is not a level playing field to start out with. And it does seem those who have economically struggled often show more empathy for others who struggle.

        The Kennedy’s are a prime example of growing up extremely privileged and having a mother (so they say) that reinforced “to those who much is given much is expected” Seems to be a driving force in that family.

        But not so much in that Bush Dynasty.

        Unions forced a more level playing field.


  9. orionATL says:

    political rehabilitation – it ain’t what it used to be:

    shame – scratch that

    contrition – scratch that

    arrogance – check

    emotional vacuity – check

    what an era we live in – political scoundrels proliferate like locusts for a plague

    and the corporate media provides them sustenance.

    as an aside –

    did sanford really HAVE to chose “the fountainhead” for his sermon? there are other rand titles available, all with a similar message.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Pray tell, where would one find a Randian Utopia? Rancho Santa Fe or Sedona? How much do they benefit from state services, police and fire protection, regulated airways that allow their residents to fly into and out of their box canyons of greed? Perhaps it’s among the isolated beaches in coastal California, Maine or New Hampshire. Same again. Or the archly gated communes in Northern Virginia, Maryland, suburban Detroit and Chicago, Florida and the Carolinas. Same again.

    No. Utopia must be in the South Pacific, now that governments have agreed they won’t explode more nuclear weapons there. The Outback? Water, food and radiowaves are government provided or supported, as are the transportation systems that permit one to travel there. The beaches of Thailand or a hill valley in the Himalayas? Ditto.

    Randians ignore that the most isolated community is preserved, protected and defended by the work or restraint of others. There’s nowhere where their millions of often ill-gotten gain can be invested, spent or multiplied, no cave of perfection not tied to a mountainside or hill opening or approach road, without it depending on the talents or forebearance of others.

    Ms. Rand simply wants the cream. Send the cow, the farmer, deliveryman, pasteurizer, and cold storage technicians to the abattoir.

  11. Leen says:


    “The prosperity and opportunity we enjoy comes ultimately from the creative energies of the country’s businessmen, entrepreneurs, investors, marketers, and inventors. The longer it takes this country to reawaken to this reality, the worse we—and in turn, our children’s standard of living—will be.”

    What Sanford does not get or pretends not to get is how the fuck can you play the capitalist game if you have no access to capitol? Or a quality education or health care?

    Have you ever gone to the coast of South Carolina or any of the coastal islands (have done a bunch of sea kayaking along that coast) Almost all white folks vacationing, with black or poorer whites working in resorts etc. You can look in the magazines that these places advertise in and the last time I looked in one they do not even try to pretend to be integrated. White white white. This is who Sanford represents.

    Over the last 32 years I have spent a fair amount time in South Carolina mostly in the Charleston area . Traveling back and forth to visit close friends in the St. Augustine region, we almost always stay at the Meeting Street Inn in down town Charleston. The maids ( now service technicians) make pitiful wages (taught my kids to leave big tips to fill in the pathetic wage gap) and I always get out early and talk with people on the streets. The entrenched economic disparity is in lock down in Charleston. I have talked with housekeepers and maids (ALL african americans) working for the same families for years and making the same wage that they made 20 years ago when they first started, I did not meet one woman who was getting health care with that job. Found a similar situation with the African American women that my daughter and I would have conversations with as we rode the trolley system in New Orleans. She was considering going to school at Loyala the spring before Katrina. These women were making seriously pathetic and unjust wages. Did not meet one woman that had health insurance provided by the people they were working for.

    While visiting South Carolina I remember hearing what the percentage of white kids who go to private schools in Charleston but I believe it was around 75%.

    More recently I was down in South Carolina working for Edwards who obviously fucked himself via his choices. But as I knocked, called and a variety of other jobs in many of the neighborhoods the disparity is still extreme. EXTREME

    With a 11.6% unemployment rate and no state minimum wage, most white kids in private schools, extreme disparity still alive and well in South Carolina. Mark Sanford’s elitist and greedy thinking will keep South Carolina right where he wants it.

    Let’s hope Andy Stern is successful at uniting all service industry workers. Many are being royally fucked over.
    “The idea ignores basic economic reality in South Carolina. What poor family has the money to pay tuition up front and wait to be reimbursed via tax credit after they file an income return? Many in the low-income brackets don’t even file returns.

    Here’s the reality many poor South Carolinians face, something I well understand, having grown up in a single-parent home with 10 siblings and receiving free lunch at school:

    –Nineteen percent — roughly one in five — of the 552,993 S.C. families with children younger than 18 were living below the poverty level during the period covered in the U.S. Census’ most recent three-year survey estimates, of 2005-2007.”

  12. bobschacht says:

    I tried to send a comment on this several hours ago, but I lost my connection to FDL/EW several times in the process, and lost all my work. So this time I’m composing off-line!

    Galt’s reading of Ayn Rand stands against, among other things, Lord Of the Flies, an imaginative “what if?” story about what life might be like under Randian conditions. But that merely pits one good novel against another.

    We’ve actually been conducting a Randian experiment for the last 10 years on a national scale, in the wake of repeal of Glass-Steagall and the removal of regulations on exotic investment vehicles such as derivatives and credit default swaps, at the urging of Phil Gramm, Robert Rubin, and Larry Sommers near the end of Clinton’s presidency. And then continuing unabated during Bush’s 8 years. That ride was exhilarating for a while, and some people became very very rich. But the exhilaration came to an end for most of us last fall. Unfortunately, Sommers and Geithner seem to both still be enamored with Rand’s philosophy because those exotic investment vehicles continue to be legal and essentially unregulated.

    We have seen enough of Randian capitalism. Newsweak(!) is clueless for printing this trash.

    Bob in AZ

  13. damagedone says:

    The ‘Frontline’ public tv show did a good job of linking Rand to that former genius Greenspan. I hope these people realize how wrong they were; Greeenspan looked remorseful Apparently, Sanford does not understand much beyond telling women what they want hear so he can score. Waiting for South Carolina to impeach his sorry ass is like waiting for fall football season to start; I am having a difficult time with the wait.

    • bobschacht says:

      The Frontline special was on my priority list, but when Tuesday night came, for some reason I was distracted by other things. I plan to watch it on the toobz later today. I’ve heard that it is really good.

      Thanks for the reminder.

      Bob in AZ

  14. Loo Hoo. says:

    Sanford hasn’t been impeached yet? What are they waiting for…

    Maybe Newsweek was just giving him a platform to show everyone how stupid and selfish he is.

  15. WilliamOckham says:

    Wow, where to start on this? Leen covered the fundamental hypocrisy of Sanford’s economic view. I’ll have to admit that I never could read Rand’s novels. Even back in high school when I would read just about anything (including Dune in one sitting, The Odyssey, and The Worm Ouroboros, so I think I have good feeling for long-winded pedantic heroic tales), I couldn’t make it through two pages of “The Fountainhead”. Today, I found those first two pages on the Ayn Rand Institute’s web page. Now I remember why:

    Howard Roark laughed.

    He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone flowing. The stone had the stillness of one brief moment in battle when thrust meets thrust and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than motion. The stone glowed, wet with sunrays.

    The lake below was only a thin steel ring that cut the rocks in half. The rocks went on into the depth, unchanged. They began and ended in the sky. So that the world seemed suspended in space, an island floating on nothing, anchored to the feet of the man on the cliff.

    I’ve read entries to the Bulwyer-Lytton contest that were better than that. As to objectivists, “Family” members, and tea party politicians, they all fit Ann Richards’ description of the elder Bush:

    He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.

    • Leen says:

      What I don’t get is how Rands (Greenspan one her devotees and fellow collaborators) basic belief in “rational self interest” has not completely morphed into “you better share or be fair because eventually the working class/working poor will come to burn your house down or kick your greedy fucking ass”

      Excuse my language I grew up in a hard core union family

      • WilliamOckham says:

        They really, really believe that they are so superior to the “collectivists” that we will worship their brilliance. As my son is fond of saying, the first ones to die when the Objectivist utopia is achieved will be the Objectivists because they are all a bunch annoying whiners.

    • dkfrey says:

      Wow! That is some epically bad writing! I was thinking “Bulwer-Lytton” even before I finished and saw you had thought the same thing.

    • bowtiejack says:

      Yes! I had the same experience.

      I could never get into this turgid alleged work of genius. How do you describe writing this bad?

      It was like reading the label on a can of paint.

  16. Leen says:

    Just amazed how the greedy thinking and actions of folks like Rand, Milton Friedman, Greenspan, along with Geitner, Summers, Rubin, Paulson brought our nation to the brink of bankruptcy or so they say. Then Obama brings many of the same team who brought us to the brink on board.

    These greedy bastards are all about keeping profits privatized and the socializing their losses. Hey at least we are hearing a bit of good news about the perverse compensation packages.

    Throwin the peasants some bones

    Just do not get it. I know I have read that by bringing the people who created the mess on board to clean it up is going to work because they understand the mess (derivatives, credit default swaps etc)

    Do you think Obama would ever consider bringing on Krugman, Stigletz, Reich on board?

  17. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Rand’s alleged “rational self interest” contains many unvoiced assumptions. It assumes power over resources and money, free of obligations to others. The power to be friendly with government when need be, to walk away from it when need be, yet remain within the social and political and legal restrictions and protections of that society. That includes the freedom to own and control a beautiful, bounteous place within some state, regardless of competing interests in it.

    There’s a parallel between Rand and her St. Petersburg origins: both displayed baroque excess and privileged wealth, the rest of Russia, its decrepit government in Moscow and its peasants be damned. All noblesse oblige without the oblige. No wonder the GOP love her so.

  18. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Rand seems to be a staunch collectivist: she wants to control and spread the wealth, but just to herself and whomever she lets in the door.

  19. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Two more observations:

    Sanford’s claim that Rand’s “major flaw” was a belief that humans are perfectible.

    Sanford disputes two things. He explicitly refutes Rand’s circular, hypocritical reasoning – man is perfectible, men are not. The many John Galts who have run away to their box canyon, their Shangri-La, in Colorado can work together successfully. Those left behind cannot.

    He is also disputing the rational optimism that humans can be better, if not perfect, by working together. That worldview underlies the secular Renaissance and keeps many fundamentalists awake at night. They can’t sleep because that perspective rejects abject dependence on a forgiving, beneficent lord, who intentionally (a redundant characterization) created an imperfect being whose greatest accomplishment should be to become self-aware of his imperfections and his consequent need for and dependence on his creator. (Don’t cut those apron strings, appreciate them. The Freudian undertones I’ll leave for now.)

    Limited government can restrain man’s excesses, except that individual choice ought to govern in any conflict between the individual and a government attempting such restraint.

    The circularity, the unworkability of Sanford and Rand’s “worldview” is obvious. It’s a mustard seed that could find fertile ground only among authoritarian followers and those that dominate them. Only they have sufficient tolerance for the hypocrisy needed to revere such tripe as a model for civil society. Rand’s imaginary perfect world is like a mafia don’s secrets: two people can keep them only when one of them is dead.

    • cinnamonape says:

      “Limited government can restrain man’s excesses, except that individual choice ought to govern in any conflict between the individual and a government attempting such restraint.”

      Wow! What a non-sequitor. LG is supposed to be the brake on ego. But ego (Individual choice) always wins when there is conflict. So in case of excess (which is ALWAYS an individual choice…unless it is instinct or genetic aberrancy) would always be favored. Government would have no control.

      Of course, Sanford also seems to suggest that in areas where there is no “choice”, perhaps government would have control. Thus if an individual CHOSE to murder, hey “whatever”…but if they had some sort of neurological disfunction (genetic, or perhaps physical trauma) then government could limit THAT.

  20. earlofhuntingdon says:

    This list of Randianisms precedes the quote bmaz excerpted from Gore Vidal’s 1961 comments. They elegantly reveal her “selfish gene”:

    “I am done with the monster of ‘we,’ the word of serfdom, of plunder, of misery, falsehood and shame. And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: ‘I.’”

    • “The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man’s first duty is to himself.”

    • “To love money is to know and love the fact that money is the creation of the best power within you, and your passkey to trade your effort for the effort of the best among men.”

    • “The creed of sacrifice is a morality for the immoral….”

    This is 1961, moments before the dawn of the pill and the sexual revolution that preceded and accompanied the liberation of women that has sadly, taken several steps backward during Reagan and more during Bush Too.

    It’s worth considering how much Rand is living through her “giant men” because she has to and resents the hell out of it. (Substitute the restricted lives available to woman in 1960 for the “we” in the first item.)

    Is Rand directing her resentment against all of society rather than directing it more specifically at the limited role it allows women? Is she longing for the freedom she imagines men enjoy – always a relative thing, especially to the men in grey flannel suits and the Japanese salaryman – but in a more vicious way than the more articulate and self-aware Virginia Woolf who preceded her?

    I know, the questions sound as if they were taken from a student essay for entrance to one of the Seven Sisters in 1960. Before my time. Perhaps the historical and comparative-minded skdadl and EW (Amherst, not Smith or Wellesley) and others will take this up.

    • skdadl says:

      Is Rand directing her resentment against all of society rather than directing it more specifically at the limited role it allows women? Is she longing for the freedom she imagines men enjoy – always a relative thing, especially to the men in grey flannel suits and the Japanese salaryman – but in a more vicious way than the more articulate and self-aware Virginia Woolf who preceded her?

      I know, the questions sound as if they were taken from a student essay for entrance to one of the Seven Sisters in 1960.

      Heh — they do, actually. (Did you get in? *wink*) All I know about elite U.S. women’s colleges, which are sort of mythical places to me, I learned from reading biographies of women like Sylvia Plath or Mary McCarthy (great fan of The Group and The Company She Keeps, me). EW’s your expert there.

      I dunno — none of the rapaciously right-wing women I’ve known (and I have known a few, like Barbara Amiel) has ever been willing to admit to resentment of the limits they faced as women or to resentment of male power, even though women my age and older did grow up with those limits, faced them when they first began working. They are drawn to power; they’re the kind of women who love being the only woman at the table — that was a meme for a long time, very Dorothy Parker, something a lot of us were secretly proud of if we could do it, even if we weren’t rapaciously right-wing. But I was drawn to women’s liberation right away; Rand and women of her ilk have always detested feminism, which to them would be collectivist, a refuge for the mediocre.

      We probably need a psychoanalyst to tell us whether there is necessarily something going on underneath when a strong and intelligent person is forced always to exercise her agency indirectly, through someone whose power is simply conferred on him in the first place. Rand has always struck me as twisted and manipulative, but then she would, given that I’m kind of transparent by nature. (Advice from a friend about how much shows on my face: “Never play poker, skdadl.”)

        • skdadl says:

          Hi, kiddo. I was distracted this week, first by plumbers, then by silly debates somewhere else, and then I had a Beatles birthday. Will ye still need me, will ye still feed me … *wink*

          So I’ve missed ‘way too much here. Watch me say something stupid in the coming days.

          • fatster says:

            We’ll just have to update the song a bit so I can guarantee I “will still need you, will still feed you, when I’m 74!”

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Glad to read your views. I didn’t get into the Seven Sisters, as it happened, educationally or socially. The few I’ve met seemed too Dorothy Parkerish for my taste.

        I can’t decide whether Rand would have been more of a challenge for Freud or Jung. Jung might have had more fun with her imagining the imagery of her darkness, her ruthless selfishness, her disdain for “society” outside her immediate grasp and control. I suspect she would have repelled and fascinated both.

        The Right is certainly bodily resurrecting her. Not just Sanford, but C Street, its clones and many others are attempting to hide behind her themes that money, disdain for society and ego dominance are valid substitutes for civil society and good government. Rand strikes me as a frightened girl lost in a decrepit, once brightly lit, now dung and lice ridden St. Petersburg palace. She never escaped the dream of what could have been or the horror of what it was.

  21. Slothrop says:

    The Fountainhead is a stunning evocation of the individual and what he can achieve when unhindered by government or society.

    Unfortunately, it says nothing about those individuals unhindered by ego.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I suspect Mark Sanford, these days, finds waking up in the morning stunning, especially now that he so much more often does it alone.

  23. Petrocelli says:

    I’d really appreciate it, if any of you could list specific sites or Books that counter Ayn Rand’s philosophy, point to point.

    Much thanks !

    • fatster says:

      Here is a gateway to Vidal, on this bizarre subject. As always, he is at his trenchant best.

      And here is (almost) everybody else.

      I spent a lot of time in academe, specifically in something called interdisciplinary social science, and I never knew any but a few goofy undergraduates who took her seriously.

      • Petrocelli says:

        Thanks, apparently there is a whole group of prospective clients who follow Rand’s teachings as if were truth !

        I’ll speak to one of them, to see if it’s worthwhile taking them on …

        Thanks again, fatster !

        • fatster says:

          In my experience they are about as conversant about anything beyond Rand-worship as Scientologists are about their thing.

          • Petrocelli says:

            Good thing I’m armed to the Teeth with snark ! *g*

            The guy I spoke to seems genuinely misled by Rand’s teachings and is quite open to my teachings.

            We’ll see how it goes … ;-)

  24. cinnamonape says:

    Last year Sanford was so “King David” and biblical, now he is a devotee of Ayn Rand, the adulterous objectible “objectivist” who broke up her own marriage and that of Nathanial Brand…then expelled Brand from the organization and fired him from his job when he had another affair with a younger, prettier woman.

    Interesting. I wonder how Jenny feels when her husband uses a philosopher that justified her narcissism and adultery by her “great person” ideology?

    • Leen says:

      cultural narcissism….. Rand part of a group believing we deserve more because we’re so special.

      Real sickness

  25. Hmmm says:

    Dear Randians,

    Regret to inform that while Objectivism’s central tenet, “A=A,” might have been a statement of identity had it arisen in the field of mathematics, you have chosen to play instead in the field of philosophy where, sadly, it is no more than a puerile tautology. Consequently, you got nothin’.

    — Hmmm

  26. cinnamonape says:

    Wagner translated Nietzsche to Grand Opera.
    Ayn Rand plagirized him for romantic paper-back novels.

  27. Hmmm says:

    Quoth Sanford the Galty:

    …explicitly denies the existence of original sin. The idea that man is perfectible has been disproved by 10,000 years of history. Men and women are imperfect, or “fallen,” which is why I believe there is a role for limited government in making sure that my rights end where yours begin.

    This strikes me a Family dogwhistling thing. What other group has ever gone so far in stapling the absolute worst parts of economic selfishness to the highest exaltations Christendom can muster, with a heaping helping of “I am and always have been a miserable conniving dog in order to achieve a degree of success and power rarely if ever seen before; therefore, clearly God has chosen me; consequently, whatever destruction I may cause is His will, and so I embrace and indeed revel in my own sheer awfulness, and by Divine right declare myself no longer bound by your puny so-called ‘morality’ and ‘laws’!!!”?

  28. klynn says:

    Not quite OT but…

    Fox News chief for Pres.? Friends encourage Roger Ailes to make 2012 GOP run.

    But he insists he will not run.

  29. orionATL says:

    rand was a “reactionary”; that she was reacting to pathological collectivism is not an acceptable excuse.

    she was, and remains, a reactionary, as were those(communists) whose philosophy she held in contempt.

    reactionary “chains” in politics are fairly common.

    think norman, then john, podhoretz.

    think irvin and then william, kristol.

    alas, being reactive, e.g., ayn rand, even if widely published and noted, is no substitute for being analytical, insightful, or imaginative.

    think alan greenspan.

    as for mark sanford; he’s just a recovering fornicator* (as they would say in the churches of dear old s.c.).


    i hate it when this new software messes up my spacing.

    cut it out, machine!!!!!!!

  30. 1boringoldman says:

    Ayn Rand wrote heroic fiction. She was good at it, though somewhat monotonous. One should leave a period of reading Ayn Rand like the rest of us did – deluded for a bit, then realizing that her ideas only work if you are, in fact, one of those talented, brilliant, chosen people. She works best as a catalyst for an encounter with one’s own Narcissism, so as to realize the folly of such thinking, and to rejoin the rest of us a little wiser. To get stuck with Ayn Rand into adulthood is to live the life Howard Roark should have lived. Instead of riding off into the sunset of brilliance, Roark should have been sent to prison for unlawful use of explosives and willful destruction of property. And Mark Sanford? His illusions of grandeur and specialness have gotten him a failed marriage, public humiliation, and an opportunity to be thrown out of government on his ear. That’s Objectivist Epistomology for ya’…

  31. prostratedragon says:

    Burning the midnight oil in the new products division of Diversions R Us, Inc.:

    Once the joining, sealing, and reglazing of the two newly hollowed-out halves of your Zombee™ cast, it is time to test the project for gaps or other flaws that might cause untimely extrusion of any contents owing to autonomous phantom soul pain spasms.

    Set up your test by filling the Zombee™ project with whatever wretched effluent you happen to have lying about the workshop; not only is quality unimportant, but it is a positive detriment to the efficacy of the test, as milder or cleaner, pablum-like substances are sometimes retained by even very incompletely refinished Zombee™ project attempts …

  32. Nutella says:

    I gave up on Newsweek when they had the headline on the cover about the stains on Lewinsky’s famous blue dress. For those of you who still read it, can you tell us all the details they have provided about the stains on Sanford’s Argentinian soul-mate’s laundry? Surely we are entitled to know.

  33. demi says:

    There was a thread the other day wherein Ann Rand and Mark Sanford were each, and both, discussed. Were you there? Ha! I know. It happens.
    (PS to Rat: I didn’t know Bob was a bird! Now that I’m enlightening, I can die happily. I’ll be careful what I offer in the future.)

    • ratfood says:

      Wow, how prescient, I had not yet posted a comment in this thread but somehow you KNEW I was here.

      Just a fly-by, headed out to do chores. See ya later.

  34. Twain says:

    Read The Fountainhead when I was a teenager and the only thing I remember is that it made me want to go out and do something for someone else.

    • demi says:

      Before you go all lauding me, it took me forever to find out Rat’s gender, I had surmissed incorrectly, and then, to make matters worse, the pet, Bob, is a bird, not a dog.
      Not to shatter your image of me. *g*
      I just like the truth, dammit!

  35. Mymy says:

    When I was a small child my parents took us to the movies to see The Fountainhead, and all I remembered about it was that my parents despised it. So when it came on cable, I thought I’d watch it to see what they found loathsome. I have to say that I could not finish watching it. What horrors: a woman who is a sexual predator using her wealth to get herself essentially raped by the man she’s selected (how twisted can one be, as a woman?), and an overbearing egotist of an architect who would rather burn down housing for lesser beings because the balconies he designed were altered.

    Such trash, and such foul, unethical behavior is what Randians are applauding? Give me a break. The absolute elitism of Rand is matched only by that of the C Streeters, who look down on us lesser mortals as kowtowing to moral imperatives they can transgress with impunity.

    Rand is the purest of trashy, selfishness.

  36. demi says:

    Didn’t mean to kill the thread. Also, I’m not the one to change Galt to Salt.
    As you were, team. Bye.

  37. TalkingStick says:

    Ayn Rand was a writer, mediocre at that, of fiction and these jerks think her world is real. But you know it would be worth the half of my pension they have stolen if they would go to the Gulch and have just each other to be with. They deserve each other.

    To be serious for one minute. The terrifying thing is these are the dolts who have been running our business and government for business most of my adult life.

    Query. Why do so many believe this garbage beyond adolescence? I really don’t know but do know they are profoundly stunted and flawed pieces of humanity. Sad for them. Sad for those who love them.

  38. mareada says:

    Several commenters mentioned this Randian superman’s own wealthy background, but don’t forget his wife is the primary heiress to the Skil tools fortune.

  39. marcos says:

    We should feel fortunate that the GOP, Family and Libertarian coalition are espousing extremist dogma that most Americans don’t agree with.

  40. TheOracle says:

    (per Klynn, first comment)

    “It is a bit disturbing that Ayn Rand is now required high school reading with no “counter text” to read.”

    Is this what replaced Civics classes in high schools around America?

    I mean, who needs Civics classes when Ayn Rand’s pro-corporatism, pro-oligarchy, pro-fascism, pro-elitism, pro-egomania, pro-selfishness screeds are available, and required reading?

  41. bob5540 says:

    The answer to the Randians is simple. Just ask, “Where in the Gospel did Jesus say, ‘Greed is good’?” Let them deny Rand…or let them deny Jesus. They can’t have it both ways.

  42. ThreadTheorist says:

    As I awoke this morning, I had this recurring feeling that something was missing in my life. Upon reading this post I at last discovered the source of this worry: I was thirsting for the wit and wisdom of Mark Sanford to show up in Newsweek, commenting on an economics perspective as old and obsolete as tail fins on cars.

    Now, if only Newsweek could sign up Sen. John Ensign to do a commentary on the Dale Carnegie tome How To Win Friends and Influence People.
    (especially if you are born to real rich parents)

  43. onitgoes says:

    Like many others, I read Rand in high school; found her somewhat interesting for a brief, head-scratching period; then realized how stupid her “vision” was. Quite simply: it makes no sense and cannot be achieved without collaboration, assistance, coercion or enslavement of others to achieve the ends. Ranch Santa Fe types can whine all they want about not wanting to pay taxes, but they’re the first ones with their hands out when the wild fires sweep across San Diego County, believe me.

    That Newsweek can publish such bunk from a phillandering dope who eschewed his duties to his family, his so-called “church” and his constituents indicates how far it has sunk to make some kind of a buck. But no surprises there. I never read it, myself, except for occassional excerpts like this online, which go to prove why it’s a crapulous waste of time.

    I wonder that the C Street Family BOYS (yes, I know some females are allowed, but I bet it’s only because they feel forced to do so) aren’t questioning their move to extend the size of their group.

    I get the feeling (not based on anything factual, so I could be wrong) that they used to be much more clannish and a smaller group of rich fat cats. Perhaps they needed more money or something bc they have expanded their base, and now many of these Christo-facist churchie types (usually male) follow their lead across the nation.

    That’s how Jeffery Sharlot got to infiltrate and learn about them (I know OF someone who lived in “Family” housing in MD, where I believe Sharlot did). Seems like their evil little philosophy – which can pretty much can be summed up as: bc I believe in Jesus, he has already forgiven me for anything and everything; therefore, I can do whatever the frack I like, up to and including fornication, adultry, murder, stealing, raping, diddling kids, you name it – is being adopted by the many, rather than just the select few. And hence, more of us are actually seeing who’s behind the curtain.

    My feeling is that C Street types will go more underground and become much more selective and even more secretive and more like the old-school rich guys club that it used to be. Too many hoi-poli are ruining their game.

    Why Sanford feels ok about barfing out crap like this is beyond me. I guess he thinks it gives him some kind of moral gravitas. It’s really beyond me how these slimes can look in the mirror or sleep at night, but I gave up trying to figure them out a long time ago.

    And yes, it is disturbing that more often than not, this is who is running our gov’t and our industry, etc. Behold the men behind the curtain! Pretty sad, isn’t it?

  44. Hmmm says:

    Huh. Maybe this is the GOP comeback strategy — pick up youngsters in their Ayn Rand phase? And try to arrest their development at that (infantile) point by providing a powerful peer-approval network? Before their consciences kick in?

    Wow. What an admission of we-got-nothin’ that would be!

  45. seraphx says:

    What I find most amusing about GOP appropriating Ayn Rand is that they categorically ignore her atheism. Why don’t these religious zealots realize she absolutely held Christianity in contempt?

    In regards to her philosophy, I think it’s certainly interesting, but it holds a host of assumptions that are generally untrue. She’s certainly an interesting figure but not one that should be taken too seriously.

  46. jimcaserta says:

    Please explain how Ellsworth Toohey & Peter Keating are Democrats? Who in society would they most represent…oh bankers & other management types. What party do those people congregate to? Oh, ok, carry on.

  47. mario says:

    You know, someone really needs to start talking about how Ellsworth Toohey is the model for all of the right-wing think tanks that have sprung up in the last 30 years.

    I happen to be a lib who likes the Fountainhead, and reading about Toohey is the perfect way to understand how today’s media works.

  48. oleo says:

    This is surely a dead thread by now (you can always tell a dead Rand thread when someone claims to be a lib who likes her or her books), but…the best commentary on Rand I’ve seen in the last 30 years (well, except for Rush’s 2112–great record!) must be the anonymous econ blogger (can’t seem to find a link, but it might’ve been The Mogambo Guru) who related a story about an acquaintance who was certain that Greenspan was trying to fashion himself as Roark through his endless facilitation of the banksters and his bottomless ability to find ways to prop up Wall Street. Of course, the assumption was that the eventual crash would be catastrophic beyond belief and beyond repair and would then lead to a renaissance in which Greenspan would be the hero who showed us our errors…except this was in the 90’s before the tech bubble burst and before Mr. Andrea Mitchell went on to facilitate the housing bubble and long before AG actually admitted his ‘mistake’ before Congress. In terms of this background, it’s hard to see Greenspan as much more than a stupid Roark (possibly blowing himself up rather than his creation) and that makes all of these latest Johns Galt/Randians look positively asinine in comparison(unless anyone thinks Jonah Goldberg or Michelle Malkin compares favorably with Alan Greenspan in the smarts department).

    • bmaz says:

      Heh, well, some of the conservative are actually dumb enough to compare Goldberg and Malkin to Greenspan I bet. Not that Greenspan is any Einstein or anything, but he clearly has a good jump on those two.

      See, thread not totally dead.

  49. gotoL says:

    [Not having read all the comments] Let me add: Sanford is “Randy” alright. And I think its time to get out the Purell.

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