History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Ayn Rand, seducer, and seduced

December 17th, 2011 · No Comments

Ayn Rand’s life is a lesson in the liabilities for intelligent people, who can be themselves seduced into technocratic illusion where the gateway is, well, intelligence. This type is in the phase of apotheosis in the age of hedge funds: a realm of Kantian intelligent devils, hopefully now burning out. We see a remarkable case in Alan Greenspan, both the smart/stupid economic theory geek/idiot, and direct follower of Ayn Rand. Greenspan is a warning that if math genius can be so vulnerable, what of the rest of Joe Public?

The same syndrome is, of course, present in evolutionary biology (aka Darwinism?) where, however, the level of intelligence is so low in general that the effect is less visible, but thrives especially in economics, where ‘smart’ stupidity seems to be the ruling paradigm.
The mystique of mathematical economics seems to be a game preserve for this type, and to claim those smart enough to handle the math, but, apparently, not smart enough to see the trap in the whole game. Mirowski’s More Heat Than Light (google/Amazon the title), cited here several times, shows one aspect of the game: the feeling you are doing something on the level of physics, when, in fact, you are indulging in pastiche.
In a way Marx as the ‘smart’ antagonist was the foil for this game of the smart/stupids, and almost succumbed himself, as he obsessed over economic theory.
Here Ayn Rand seems to be caught in this silly game, in a variant of the smart/stupid cubed, the Nietzschen superman type in the Rand disguise in her novels, in the age of superman comics. She had the same knack we see in Nietzsche of creating devoted converts in the ranks of those with IQ anxiety confronting the super smart. And this being is the typical smart/stupid of this type, hot and bothered over the selfishness quotient in bad economic Smithianism.
A pathetical case, and the remarkable achievement of a new level of stupidity.

How Ayn Rand Seduced Generations of Young Men and Helped Make the U.S. Into a Selfish, Greedy NationThanks in part to Rand, the United States is one of the most uncaring nations in the industrialized world.
December 15, 2011 |
Ayn Rand’s “philosophy” is nearly perfect in its immorality, which makes the size of her audience all the more ominous and symptomatic as we enter a curious new phase in our society….To justify and extol human greed and egotism is to my mind not only immoral, but evil.— Gore Vidal, 1961

Only rarely in U.S. history do writers transform us to become a more caring or less caring nation. In the 1850s, Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was a strong force in making the United States a more humane nation, one that would abolish slavery of African Americans. A century later, Ayn Rand (1905-1982) helped make the United States into one of the most uncaring nations in the industrialized world, a neo-Dickensian society where healthcare is only for those who can afford it, and where young people are coerced into huge student-loan debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.

Tags: Critique of Evolutionary Economy

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