Rand via Simpsons

JoeM's picture
Submitted by JoeM on Wed, 2007-07-25 11:53

On Good Day Philadelphia this morning, Bill Irwin, editor of SIMPSONS AND PHILOSOPHY (the D'oh! of Homer) was being interviewed briefly because of the new movie. When asked what the Simpsons have to do with philosophy, he cited an example from the book. Which philosopher did he choose to mention? Aristotle? Plato? Descartes? Nope. Ayn Rand (he referred to "A Streetcar Named Marge", when Maggie was placed in the Ayn Rand School For Tots...).

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Maggie had to escape

mvardoulis's picture

Because the school was authoritarian and sickeningly unemotional (clearly the writer's incredibly distorted concept of Ayn Rand - all too common). I agree with you, Leonid, about the over-arching leftist sentiment in The Simpsons, but I've always looked at Burns as the Toohey-ish corporate socialist and Lisa as representing the arguably forgivable 'young leftist' whose compassion is not balanced with experience. Ross is dead on when he says Marge is the only relative voice of reason in the show - not that reason is regarded that highly by the shows creators as evidenced by their dim view of Rand.

Maggie and the ayn Rand School for tots

Leonid's picture


Haven't watched that episode but it sounds like just another smear campaign frankly. "The Simpsons" has very strong Liberal content-for example, the evil antagonist of the show is Mr. Burns, the wealthy Nuclear Power Plant industrialist. And Lisa prexcribes to Buddhism and Global Warming hysteria.
So why did Maggie have to escape the school?


Ross Elliot's picture

...is correct. Marge is the voice (relatively-speaking) of reason. She is antithetical to the Homerized world around her. Bart is the obvious offspring of his father--sarcastic yet Dumb von Dumber--but Lisa mimics her mother, albeit far more savvy-ly.

The Simpsons reveals more about who we are in this philosophically disconnected world than almost anything else in the last 20 years.

Libertarian v O'ist? or Both?

Orson's picture

It is a broad characature contrast - libertine Libertarians versus disciplined (if not stern)
O'ists. The Simpson character usually named as a Libertarian could well be both! Apu, who runs the Quicky Mart

Is that what the Libertarian-Objectivist conflict is all about?

mvardoulis's picture

I was drawn to the kiwi LibertariaNZ as their libertarianism is in my opinion more 'correct' in that in emanates from Objectivism as well as Jefferson, Douglass, etc. While not all LibertariaNZ are Objectivist, pretty much in the NZ all Objectivists are LibertariaNZ (or so I remember from my visit in the 1990's). Did the US Libertarians ruin this kind of 'harmony' with Objectivists by painting Rand as an authoritarian?

Marge seems to be the only

Erik Christensen's picture

Marge seems to be the only Simpson character who has a modicum of reason.

Wretched Lies

James S. Valliant's picture

It was a smear job, based on the Libertarian-sourced "Authoritarian" mythology.

From what I remember

mvardoulis's picture

Maggie Simpson had to 'escape' the school to the tune of the theme from the WW2 POW movie 'The Great Escape' with Steve McQueen, etc. Ultimately, I don't think Rand's philosophy was portrayed in a positive light (hence Maggie's need to escape). Love the fact that this was the philosopher the author chose to speak of while televised, nonetheless.


JoeM's picture

Mark, you're right, Ayn Rand School for Tots. I was thinking of the Fountainhead Diet that the teacher was reading.


Spaceplayer Sight and Sound


MarkH's picture

Joe, that's great to hear. I remember my own delight the moment I saw the sign for the Ayn Rand School for Tots when that episode was first aired in the early 90's. (One of the posters inside read A Is A!) I thought there was a lot more the writers could have done with the Ayn Rand references, but at the time I figured "any publicity is good publicity."

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