T Nation

Greenspan: Student of Ayn Rand


Most people don't know that Greenspan was a young student of Ayn Rand, being part of her 'inner circle', along with Nathaniel and Barbara Brandon. He was greatly influenced by her philosophy and was renowned as one of her brightest and best.

So, if you enjoyed the last 18 years of relative prosperity, say a silent 'Thank You!' to both Mr. Greenspan AND his mentor, Ayn Rand.

And to paraphrase Cy, let's be glad a Fountain didn't drop on Greenspan's Head :slight_smile:


Just goes to show....

Everyone makes mistakes.


HH you need to expand your reading list beyond Rand.

She is a horrible wordsmith and her philosophy of Objectivism seems to be about as deep as the average teenager's thoughts.

Of course maybe her crushing dullness blinds me to her deeper meaning.




Such as your post?


If you guys are going to do that stuff on this board, get a room.


Just finished three of Jack London's novels (Iron Heel, Martin Eden, The Road), thanks to FightinIrish. Your list?

Yes, Rand is pretty deep and hard to read. And she makes these bizarre statements like: "And no one came to say that your life belongs to YOU and that THE GOOD is to live it." ! Why would anyone want to read anything like that?


I was just busting your balls... I don't really care what you or Greenspan read.

I prefer Plato, Rousseau, Montesquieu, Machiavelli, Aristotle or even Montaigne, and especially Nietzsche to Rand.


Currently reading The War Journal of Major Damon "Rocky" Gause. It is about a guy that escaped the Battan Death March and took a 20 foot boat over 3000 miles to Australia.

I just finished a biography of Major Dick Winters of Band of Brothers fame. He lives a few miles from me.

These are both incredibly inspirational stories and it makes me wonder if I could do what they did.

Next on my list is Benjamin Friedman's The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth. Looks dry as hell and I am kind of dreading it.

Glad you liked Jack London. I haven't read him in 20 years. I would love to reread some of his stuff someday.

I can't help it that Rand is boring as hell and her lifes philosphy is incredibly simplistic. If you enjoy it go for it, but there is a whole bunch of good stuff out there and you seem fixated on Rand.


I happen to love Ayn Rand; I'm currently re-reading Atlas.


While getting a Bachelors in Philosophy at Michigan, I've read those philosophers also (except I do not remember reading Montesquieu). So, do you prefer the Platonic Forms or Aristotle's Conceptualism? Or was this just name-dropping?

If you had read Zarathustra btw and compared it to Atlas Shrugged, you might see some interesting analogies. Then again, maybe you wouldn't.

(Note: Greenspan was in her circle. He talked with her -- although he of course read her as well.)


So, you'd read an economics book, dread same, but won't attempt to read Rand?
Anyway, it does help to have a philosophy degree to understand her work. You see, I believe that a philosophy (or lack thereof) is what motivates men to do what they do. Since a welfare-state is amoral, I judge the one we live in according to my philosophical standards, which happen to come from AR.

You are a well-read person, but Rand requires several readings, each of which must be intense. You can't skim her and get any meaning. That's why many people find her work 'boring'; you have to read a page, put the book down, think about what was written, then repeat. It's hard work!!


You will get a lot more from your second reading. Enjoy!!


BTW: Captain Logic or Orbital Boner, or whatever the F you're calling yourself this week, what is your avatar a picture of? The Ninja Turtle was 'better' -- although it still looked like some kind of GD monkey to me.


And I'm getting a PhD in Political Philosophy at Maryland (like anyone cares). Whether or not the Ideas truly exist, or if they exist, if they are really accessible to human reason, are key problems in Platonic thought. Indeed, many scholars believe that Plato abandoned the forms later in life, with the Epinomis being one justification of that belief(if the work is not spurious). Certainly, as we learn in Parmenides, whenever a human mind gets hold of an Idea it necessarly becomes more concrete, and therefore declined, from its original nature. But while this is a difficult position from which to analyse the possible limits of human knowledge, or more importantly, wisdom, even without the forms it is possible to have an understanding of the Good. At least, enough understanding to live with others and perhaps even become virtuous. The key question to me is not whether or not Aristotle's notions of "essences (the thing itself)" or "substances (hypostasis)" are correct vis-a-vis Platonic forms, but in what ways they differ in their account of the best life. And this ought to concern you, as well, given your preoccupation with randian objectivism as a philosophy for living.

When I read Thus Spake Zarathustra, I was startled by the depth of Nietzsche's thought. As Heidegger pointed out, however, Nietzsche is too much for us; we must first spend ten or fifteen years with Aristotle, and then we may approach Nietzsche. Rand, coming nearly a century later, is not so impressive to me as a popularizer of a philosophy that was never intended for the mass audience.

Yes, I know.


"One must still have chaos within one to give birth to a dancing star." -Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra


It's a picture of a character from a Godzilla movie, not sure which one.

I seem to remember one of her objectivist statements being: 1) That no one has the right to seek values from others by physical force, or impose ideas on others by physical force.

I also seem to remember you advocating a 'bomb the middle east flat' philosophy a few threads back in the politics forum.

Maybe you should read her books a little more closely...

PS Glad you're back to your cranky old self.


"You know that, Nephorm? Nobody knows that!"
--- apologies to Nietzsche


I get far more out of an economics book even if I don't enjoy it.

I don't believe philosphers have any better understand of the meaning of life than I do. In fact when they distill it down to the written word it always comes across as cheesy and incomplete to me. I don't gain anything because they don't say anything that isn't obvious, but they say in in a convulted way to make themselves feel smarter.

That comes from being and engineer I suppose.

If you enjoy it, more power to you.


Killing people isn't necessarily imposing ideas. Sometimes it is just killing them all and letting god sort it out.


The Politics and Nicomachean Ethics are two of my favorite reads ever. They were assigned in a political philosophy class but I held on to the books just to have in my library. I'm also a huge fan of Hemingway and Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance). I would really like to read something from Nabokov soon, but will probably have to hold off until this semester ends.

Honestly, Howard Roark is probably my favorite literary figure of all-time, but I have really fallen off of Rand's bandwagon since I got to college.