T Nation

Negative Self Image: Isn't It Scary?


I’m going with the missiles periodically lobbed at elementary schools being the worst.


Yes… insensitive hyperbole, on my part.


haha, yeah I’ve heard that one


Thanks. :slight_smile: I am an atheistical Jew but I have researched Jewish history quite a bit.


I laughed hard…

I had a Jewish roommate/friend (from Scarsdale) in college who told me that Jews have an innate need to settle near water as another avenue of escape; hence the affinity for NY and CA…


Allah can’t hear shit over the screams from lake of fire he sits in. So they need megaphones.

I obtained this opinion in Riyadh.


More like an innate need to settle in frenetic cities, which are generally located near water. So your friend’s statement, though funny, is true, but more so because of Jewish socioeconomic reasons rather than the unlikely future case of having to pack our bags for Tel Aviv, even though Obama was the “next Hitler” and now Trump is the “next Hitler” and all the “next Hitlers” to come, but seem to never do so.


The quote doesn’t represent Roark or Rand. It was uttered by Ellsworth Toohey, the book’s antagonist and personification of evil.

Edit: I suppose you could say it represents Rand in the sense that it’s a counterpoint used to develop her ideas but definitely not a representation of the ideals themselves.


I think the quote captures Rand’s contempt for altruism (albeit indirectly), and directly captures her rather low regard for compassion (except under quite limited circumstances). If you’re of the opinion that her attitudes regarding altruism and compassion are radically different from those expressed/implied in the quote I provided, I’d be interested to hear you expand on that opinion.


Thanks, Doc. It’s been a long time, and I couldn’t recall that quote at all. I knew it wasn’t anything Roark would say. There is no glorification of cruelty, and that’s certainly not the theme of the books. Gads. I didn’t remember that it was the Voldemort character.

As Doc pointed out, you’re quoting the black hat.

These books certainly aren’t about the merits of squashing people. Rand doesn’t give Howard Roark a frail grandmother with dementia, and she doesn’t give Dagny Taggert a disabled child. You, dear reader, will have to use your imagination about what they might have done under those circumstances. If you really want to see compassion, The New Testament is really good. You can wonder if a biography of Thomas Edison is a complete picture if it doesn’t tell you how he coped with a disabled child.

I’m more interested in your opinion after you read them, but I think it might be hard for you to see something you aren’t expecting to see. We’re more likely to see evidence of something we already believe. You, and me.


In referencing the NT (or ‘Christian scriptures’/‘Greek scriptures,’ if one prefers), you could not have selected a viewpoint more diametrically at odds with Rand’s philosophy:

“Christ, in terms of the Christian philosophy, is the human ideal. He personifies that which men should strive to emulate. Yet, according to the Christian mythology, he died on the cross not for his own sins but for the sins of the nonideal people. In other words, a man of perfect virtue was sacrificed for men who are vicious and who are expected or supposed to accept that sacrifice. If I were a Christian, nothing could make me more indignant than that: the notion of sacrificing the ideal to the nonideal, or virtue to vice. And it is in the name of that symbol that men are asked to sacrifice themselves for their inferiors. That is precisely how the symbolism is used.”

With all due respect (and as you acknowledge is a possibility), I am getting the impression that it is you who are having difficulty seeing Rand for the way she is. It seems the trappings and conceits of her novels have obscured her true message from you.


There is no coercion or force in Christ. Render unto Caesar BUT Remember the story of the rich young ruler? Remember how that ends? He goes away sorrowing. The story doesn’t end with Jesus tying him up and fleecing his pockets to save him.

Her heroes are never oppressors. They do not succeed by squashing anyone. Their motives are never evil.

If there are parallels to Christianity in Rand’s fiction, it’s the willingness of evil men to crucify or enslave something pure and beautiful.


Coercion/force? No. Absolute obligation? Yes.

I’m not sure I agree. But regardless, neither do her ‘heroes’ comport with Christian values (at least as I understand them).

Rand scorned Christianity (as she did all religions), and viewed it as contemptible except as sort of a ‘necessary evil’ along the path of human development (a point on which, ironically, she is in lockstep agreement with Marx). So I would say any parallels you find between Rand’s fiction and Christianity derive in large part from your desire to find them. (In that regard, you don’t strike me as a postmodernist/deconstructionist, but then again, you don’t strike me as someone who could hex-press 40 lb DBs either. So it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve been wrong about you.) :wink:



Just the type of person I want around when I need backup!

Oh, I wish the world worked in a way in which all of us individuals can go about our business and work on our own personal “goals” while not ever infringing upon the space, goals, belongings, and “freedoms” of others. And on top of that, no one will need the help or sacrifice others.

Does her philosophy also go for the family unit? I haven’t read her books, so I don’t know.


Numero Uno


It seems the only things stated that make sense are nothing but common sense, and were evident to me in my teenage years. That is, the only things I agree with, were evident to me when I was far less sophisticated, just a teenager. She speaks like a child, I believe.

I’ll take her stance on the asinine term “unconditional love” though.


@EyeDentist and @BrickHead

Look at what I said about her limitations, and the ways in which I would not apply her philosophy. If you recall, this came up because I made a crack about wearing a Who is John Galt? t-shirt while riding Jewbacca’s hypothetical gearless bike up the hill. Take that as a statement about achievement, and the impossibility of equality, nothing deeper. My willingness to pump that thing up the hill, does not prevent you from doing the same. It crushes no one.

Let’s assume that Thomas Edison’s main motive in inventing the incandescent light bulb was his own internal satisfaction in scientific achievement. He is motivated by the joy he feels in exercising his own brilliant mind. Is his work less valuable if his motive was not to light up orphanages? We’ve all still benefited from his work, regardless of his motive, right? We’re all lifted up by this exceptional individual. That is one of the themes of her fiction, with regards to the topic of this thread. Is it ethical to tie Edison to his lab stool? To coerce him? Do we all own Edison, because he’s more brilliant? Should we call him evil if he isn’t thinking of the orphans who sit in the dark? Note, I don’t know anything about Edison’s motives. I’m just making this up to make a point.

Remember, Rand was a product of the former USSR, and a system that took successful and thriving farmers and sent them to die in Siberia. Millions of Ukrainians died as a direct result. Those successful people are the heroes of her books, in a way. You have to see her work through that lens, as a product of her time. Many lefties of the 1950’s were very threatened by her ideas, because she condemned communism. No wonder so many progressives of her time condemned her so thoroughly.

Yes, she has a love affair with America, and with freedom. She is in part making a statement about the evils of coercion, and of those crabs who would pull the exceptional one back into the bucket. That is how Rand applies to the topic of this thread. As I said before, she has her limitations. You can decide if you like her ideas, or her politics, or her ideas about religion. I’m not going to take the time to argue these things here. What I might think about it, and how I think it applies or doesn’t apply to my life, is less important than that you might think, right? Her ideas on religion don’t resemble mine at all, except I think she does understand some aspects of evil. Truth is truth, and I see some true things in her fiction. I put an extremely high value on freedom, and I see that in Christ. With him it’s always a personal choice. He doesn’t want obedience out of coercion or fear, or for any other reason than what’s in my heart. You can decide for yourselves if she sees something profound, and if her heroes are beautiful to you.


Her position is based on the biological/moral imperative of self preservation. When looked at in that frame, he philosophy is not bad at all. If you do something that detracts from self, you have violated that highest moral imperative.

The paradox of selfless acts or altruism is that when you do something for someone else, there are benefits- either tangible or intangible, thus defeating pure altruism.

The benefit of an act doesn’t have to be tangible. Helping others feels good. That is a benefit. There goes the altruism.


Well, she talked a good game about freedom, I’ll grant you that. She heaped opprobrium upon the ‘moochers, looters and parasites’ of American life–that is, until she was diagnosed with lung cancer (she scoffed her whole life at the science linking smoking to lung Ca), at which time she was more than happy to accept (on the down-low of course) the government assistance she decried.

I’d say her love affair was more with herself than it was with America.


So instead of picking up a book and finding out for yourself, you’d rather engage in ad-homs about the author?

Thats not very open minded.:scream:


I have read one of her books (and parts of others). Additionally, I am very familiar with her philosophy.