I am an outcast among outcasts. Being a libertarian is marginalizing enough these days, but even among libertarians I don’t fit in because — well, because I just don’t like Ayn Rand. I'm sorry.
I mean, she made some brilliantly wonderful points. That bit about the factory that decided to run itself according to Communist principles was genius. But I don’t have time right now for a balanced and objective look at her strengths and weaknesses, so I figured instead I’d post my old high-school class notes from The Fountainhead:
1. People who design or live in buildings with decorative flourishes like Greek columns or Victorian moldings are evil freedom-hating statists.
2. A rich babe who inherits all her money from her father is the best person in the world to criticize people who are poor because they never do anything to earn money.
3. Lots of women are poor because the dumb sluts keep having kids they can't afford. However, when babelicious heiresses have sex without contraceptives back in the days before abortion was legal they never get pregnant anyway so this doesn't apply to them.
4. If you can afford it, you should buy a beautiful, irreplaceable piece of art and then destroy it, because most of the people who would otherwise look at it don't deserve to look at it the way you do.
5. Although it has already been established that unnecessary decorations destroy freedom, when a wealthy heiress marries a sexy rapist architect with high principles and then visits her husband at work on the last page of the book, she should wear high-heeled shoes to the high-rise construction site. (In case you were wondering, wearing high heels on a makeshift board elevator going hundreds of feet up in the sky is perfectly safe so long as you "plant your high heels firmly on the board," as the book describes.)
This is no way contradicts the "form over function" meme of the rest of the book.
6. Here is how to have a healthy, rational sex life. First, get yourself raped by the guy you eventually marry. (Your role models here are Luke and Laura on ancient General Hospital reruns.) Later, agree to have sex with a newspaper magnate, but tell him that you will not enjoy it one bit. This will challenge him to try things that will actually arouse you.
By the way, while you read this you must not think “Hmm, I’m detecting a theme here. The woman never has to know how to actually do anything, bedsportwise. Think about it: lying there like a corpse, beating a guy with your fists—neither one requires much in the way of sophistication, though under the right circumstances they can be portrayed as such."
Corollary: even if God forbid you’re depraved enough to notice such themes, and detect a clash with what you know of Rand’s personal life, do not allow yourself to envision somebody with a Natasha Fatale accent saying to her husband: “"Listen, you altruistic marry-me-so-I'm-not-deported vool, I vant you to dominate and subdue me like a real man. Right now! If you don’t vorce me to surrender to your superior male vill in ten minutes I'll vucking emasculate you. Stop cowering!"
Second corollary: at least don’t picture her husband looking like Boris Badenov.
7. Never say anything in one page if you can stretch it out to seventy. No, wait, that's from Atlas Shrugged.
Speaking of which, here is something my friend Dr. Thoreau (one of the bloggers at Unqualified Offerings) had to say once about Atlas Shrugged:
is it just me, or is Galt's project a microcosm of the LP?
-There's a guy whose job involves guns and secret raids and evading law enforcement. (That pirate guy)
-There's some guy who insists that he can solve all of the world's energy problems with his secret invention, but that would mean he'd have to pay taxes on his profits, so to remain pure he's devoting his time to some strange ideological project. (Galt)
-There's a guy who insists that he became fabulously wealthy in his spare time during college, but he's most famous for a spectacular business failure. (the copper magnate)
-Their guru claims to be a great philosopher, but he won't work in academia because the world just doesn't appreciate his genius.
-*There's a woman with interesting sexual tastes and a serious attitude problem.*
-There's a genuine self-made innovator, yet for some reason he hangs out with these freaks.
*As one of libertarianism’s token females, I just want to say that I, Jennifer, have no idea what Thoreau is talking about here. Clearly he’s been misinformed. That bothers me greatly, but otherwise the piece is spot-on.
Now I really do have to get back to work. And then I’ll check my premises. I promise.