Liberal Greed

Brant Gaede's picture
Submitted by Brant Gaede on Wed, 2009-04-01 05:22

Here is an explanation for general public insanities that cuts deeper than envy:


( categories: )

sic transit gloria--so let's reprise

Brant Gaede's picture



Brant Gaede's picture

Let's keep this up a little longer.



Jules Troy's picture

That is one great article.

Okay, that's a little scary

Mark Hubbard's picture

Okay, that's a little scary Smiling

Janet, I have no time to read your voluminous posts - be warned though, one of my beefs against the 'post modern' deconstructor, such as Derrida, Foucault, et al, ad nauseam, is that you can read a page, then another page, then another, of their scribblings to find only that it was meaningless, and as far as my pursuit of happiness was concerned, an utter waste of time.

Dr Goode, I've not read a huge amount either, my previous sentence pretty much sums up why. A long time ago, pre beer-gut and wine-haze in fact, I started an MA at Canterbury in English Literature. Luckily, despite smoking a lot of pot at the time, I did have the good sense to look up the regulations on when you could drop a course without it appearing anywhere on your academic record. I say luckily, because at the start of that program, I came up against the brick wall of Messrs Derrida and Foucault, and their dense (play on words there both would like), ultimately pointless prose.

Note I wasn't even an Objectivist then. I think I may have been listening to Linz about that time (??? - for reasons already mentioned, I am a bit hazy about 1986 and 87), but I'd virtually read no Rand. Derrida and Foucault foot tripped me anyway.

To them language was this slippery thing, which to a wannabe writer and lit grad at the time was fine. But they'd taken language and turned it into an enemy against the individual and living a life. Language is, as I think Janet says below somewhere, self-referential only, it has no connection ultimately with the concrete world: language is the proof of having to all live within a complete subjectivism (which is as close as you like to a dictionary definition of insanity). Worse, the deconstructivist program was always socialist inspired, with feminism grafted on: the premise was the individual had no real conscious control over language, and thus the smart arse post-modernist could show how language inevitability betrayed the writer of any missive to be misogynist (if male), or the evil elite (if white European and not on a welfare benefit). And of course it always took about a thousand pages of nonsense to show all these things. And I mean it, the process of deconstruction is a socialist exposing of the evil male/capitalist.

The ultimate implication was that the individual is simply an automaton dancing around according to the tune of history and upbringing, with no real volition at all. Not a rational human.

Which was, of course, a lot of old tosh. Even without being an Objectivist, I knew to cancel out, walk out, and then tuned out for a couple of years odd jobbing while living at Birdlings Flat in Banks Peninsula. Then did a couple of accountancy degrees Smiling

Rand was correct in saying

seymourblogger's picture

Rand was correct in saying that Hickman was sentenced to die, not for his crime, but for what he said in his arrogant way. He was punished for defying the authority of the system, not for the murder.

And the only reason I know she is correct is because in 1974 Foucault's Lectures on Abnormal at the College de France thoroughly investigated these kinds of crimes. When three of them occurred within a reasonably short time period, the psychiatric medical establishment was called into the court. This is a Foucauldian "cut" where the intersection of psychiatric medicine and the criminal justice system start to glue themselves together. The first instance in the western world. Rand was not thinking genealogically about this in a formal way, but she was reasoning that way just the same, the only difference being not within a formalist structure.

And Foucault's Discipline and Punish genealogically traces crime and punishment providing the background for understanding his Lectures on Abnormal.

Again thank you for baiting me as I have been thinking about these two crimes, Rand and Foucault's position on them, for quite a few weeks now. I am in your debt for more clarity.

Foucault is one of the freest thinkers of the 20th century, and the most precise and understandable. To brush him off as a deconstructionist, is to label him and miss all that he has to offer such a one as you, who is at a Rand site.

Doing is the wrong word so thanks.

seymourblogger's picture

I am "reading" Rand through Foucault, Baudrillard and Nietzsche. Following Nietzsche through Baudrillard.

Foucault is not a deconstructionist. Foucault uses Nietzsche's genealogy to reorder knowledge in human behavior:psychology; economics; language; art; medicine, did I miss anything? Probably. The Order of Things and The Archeology of Knowledge both by Michel Foucault.

Another very interesting thing is Foucault's study of a bizarre crime not unlike Rand's writing on Hickman, another bizarre crime. Foucault turned his study of Pierre Riviere into a beautiful book, but then he had the great prestige of The College de France to assist him. Rand did not. So Foucault could withstand the violence leashed against him for doing it but Rand did not have the same protection.

And now that you have brought this to my attention, both Rand and Foucault did in fact, deconstruct these very weird crimes and both took the side, no wrong word, exposed a deeper understanding of the crime and the criminal and the system. Rand was correct in saying that Hickman was sentenced to die, not for his crime, but for what he said in his arrogant way. He was punished for defying the authority of the system, not for the murder.

In considering Rand on this it helps to have read The Possessed by Dostoevsky, Rand's favorite book long before Hickman did what he did.

Please come read me. I'd love to discuss with you.

That's where I pitched it!

seymourblogger's picture

Why make something difficult that doesn't need to be. Just so I can sound smart?

Better contains the assumption of the comparative method of

seymourblogger's picture

interpretation which gets no one anywhere. I have said above what I think of both of them. Happy to discuss what I said with you though.


seymourblogger's picture

I find PC Feminist dominating Discourse a censoring device and regard it probably the way Rand did. I like ifemist site somewhat.

A Journey

seymourblogger's picture

As Bella Swan says in Twilight, "It's complicated."

Twilight is another "cut" BTW in sexuality.

I come from everything. If you read some of my blogs you will begin to see.

Barbara sent me to the University of Delaware into expperiemental psychology; perceptual studies and my MA thesis was on anillusion problem, interestingly enough. Much more though.


seymourblogger's picture

The Genealogy of Morals is short and for now is the most important to get. Rand clearly understood his argument for religion, morality and God. It is relentless and only the most devout can probably dismiss it from deep denial. Rand knew it thoroughly, but she did not go further with it except in using it to argue religion and God. Foucault picked genealogy up and ran with it. Heller, but maybe Burns, reported that she always argued in the early days and no one could defeat her. She associated with many educated and prominent people, not choosing the lightweights she chose later in life to surround herself with.

But Nietzsche is so much more and she read all of him, for many many years. Burns touches on it in her attack on purging the archives that are published. She saw the originals and although she didn't look at all of them, she looked at enough to see what was done. But if you don't know much Nietzsche then you don't see what was done in the scrubbing. My understanding of Nietzsche comes from Baudrillard. It is about impossible for someone to read N in the original, in a serious way, and truly study him, and then come back and go through Rand. It's not gonna happen. But reading Nietzsche through Baudrillard is an unforgettable experience, and Baudrillard is very accessible. So is Foucault BTW. Both wish to be read by readers, not professional scholars only or even.

Heller is a lovely read. She is a lovely writer. Burns is a compiler of information, not knowing. Heller is in the Order of Seduction and Burns is in the Order of Production, and once you get that, then both contribute greatly in their separate and distinct ways. Neither one is better or worse. When Burns gets to shredding the con job of the journals and the letters you see the professional researcher at work. She does not draw conclusions so as to give you the ammunition to do it yourself, if you are so inclined. And I am. Rand gave me the Symbolic Gift of Exchange. The Counter-Gift must be repaid.

Had the Brandens not moved her thought into the Order of Production, my academically trained mind would never have gotten me this far. And for them a Counter-Gift is in order. They aren't gonna like it either. Rand is just too good to lie there invisible within the Dominating Discourse.

Any better?


seymourblogger's picture

Oh, you are the first person I have been able to talk about this with. I am so excited!

The western tradition lies in the dialectic, and I think Rand saw herself there. But where Rand sees herself and where she is are two different positions, IMHO. Not so humble really.

Don't know if you saw this one:

Rand and Foucault made the same error. They did not see through to the end - to Death, as Canetti and Baudrillard do. Specifically Baudrillard in Forget Foucault where he "kills" Foucault saying that for some reason Foucault stopped at the edge of the abyss. Foucault is not trapped in the dialectic though the way Rand is. As far as "Objectivism" is enunciated.

But as far as her fiction goes, she jumps! What is Toohey but that, the effacement of opposites, and she has him clearly state that. This is what Baudrillard states is the definition of "evil" the effacement of opposites, that opposites are necessary, not just sufficient, for thinking about values. In "simulated" reality, where we are now, opposites "float", truth does not exist, and credibility reigns for the day. And month. And year. When "simulated" reality is total, then we will be in "virtual reality" and from that there is no escape. If you don't believe me, then get into some commenting site and just try to say something to all those different people, some of whom are real, some who are trolls, some who are sincere and ernest but uneducated, and and and ......Well, just don't go there.

So Rand in 1943 out of the mouth of Toohey is stating the most modern of post modern thinking. The Transparency of Evil, which is one of Baudrillard's books. And Dominique is choosing the "worst" because she believes in an "evil" universe, world. Like the Cathars. She is not self-destructive as all the psychological interpretations have her. She is a strategist. If excellence and integrity are impossible, then don't fight, just willingly choose the worse you can choose. I am sure someone who wishes to indulge in interpretation about my last sentence can think of worse choices for dominique. But this is fiction, and she chooses the "worst" but it doesn't work for her with Gail.

Foucault got much of his thought from fiction. Fiction writers were his basic diet. But no one has grasped that about Rand. She "cut" the Dominating Discourse, and those in power within the DD never even noticed, so they made fun of her. But millions of readers knew. It is a surprising modern read today that I did not expect two weeks ago when I started.

Rand was "worse than worse" but she never consciously decided that it was a strategy. But OMG where she took it. Destroying NBI was almost incomprehensible. And there we get Symbolic Exchange and Death. Where she lines up with Foucault is in perceiving the grid of bureaucracy/ government or as Foucault says, power/knowledge, there being no such thing as power in the way we discuss it, perceive it, talk about it, write about it, that it is in a functional relationship with knowledge. The two are inseparable. Each requires the other. We see this in the Fountainhead. It is fictionalized. And it is there.

I'll stop now on this part. But the western dialectic is over. Linear time, progressive historical time is finished. This puts fini to the liberal and neo liberal political stance. The far right I see about the way Rand saw it. We are now in discontinuous time, Event time, and Events come from elsewhere, out of the blue, unpredicted, without causes and having consequences that cannot be predicted, specified but go out like minute bits of explosive material to god knows where. Like 9-11.

You are exactly right in elucidating the opposing camps of academia. The dialectic is interpretive searching for horizons and origins. Foucault ends that. And when you finish him on this menu item, it is finished for you the reader. It dies a hard death, as all our academic training depended on our ability to swim in those waters. It is deliciously seductive, and we feel so damn smart to do it well, and it is just about impossible to give up. So easy to slip back into it.

Having just one person to validate my reality on this is such a gift. God, let's unbury Rand. Have you read Cosmopolis. One can read DeLillo through Rand and I have read Cosmopolis through a lot of different people, and have just come to reading it through Rand. Amazing!

It is an astounding book. http://cosmopolisfilm2.blogspo...

I am at the present time now rereading Fountainhead. I used to know AS by heart but have not read it in decades. I dread doing it again. But I think Rand is best in Fountainhead for PM thinking. At least I am rationalizing myself on this for now.


Richard Goode's picture

Do you think the expounder of A is A would agree with the slipperiness of language, vis a vis Derrida and the post-modern tradition from him?

When it comes to "slipperiness of language" Rand is unsurpassed, as I've remarked many times previously, for example, here.

"A is A" is a case in point. Has anyone ever denied that "A is A"? Whom do you think Rand was addressing when she exclaimed thus?

All the secret evil you dread to face within you and all the pain you have ever endured, came from your own attempt to evade the fact that A is A.

"A is A" is the Law of Identity. Everything is what it is and not another thing. A is A. I can't think of a less controversial statement. And I can't begin to imagine how you'd attempt to "evade" it. If we're to take Rand at all seriously, we must assume she meant something else entirely. Perhaps she had come, not to abolish the Law of Identity, but to fulfill it?

I never studied postmodern philosophy. I read some Nietzsche (he had a foot in both camps) and a tiny bit of Foucault. That's all.


seymourblogger's picture

The post modern - position? - on language is that language only references itself. I have tried to read Derrida and he is just too convoluted for me. I have given up and sold my copy. However, Lacan is another story.

This A is A stuff came about as Rand with Branden was organizing and institutionalizing Objectivism. T - a-b-l-e is a table that you eat on right? Well, yes it is and no it isn't. For our everyday purposes it is. But language is so much more than our daily grind of usage. It is literature and lots more. It refers to itself, it is self-referential and Rand never got into that.

Foucault really goes into it in so much depth that sound bites won't cut it. And I have no illusions about the efficacy of sound bites. At least not my own. Yes, language is slippery, and that is important to be aware of. But there are rules and strategies involved that you are ignorant of or ignore at your peril.

Do you think the expounder of

Mark Hubbard's picture

Do you think the expounder of A is A would agree with the slipperiness of language, vis a vis Derrida and the post-modern tradition from him? That, surely, is the defining point: namely, philosophy ('through' language).


Richard Goode's picture

While I could not help but laugh at Rand being described as "one of the great post modern philosophers," I think that Janet might be right.

In modern philosophy, there are two opposing camps, viz., the so-called Western analytic tradition and Continental philosophy (aka post-modernism). I was schooled in the Western analytic tradition, which is why I am apt to pour scorn on Rand's retarded attempts at philosophy. But I always saw Rand as a (would-be) philosopher in the Western analytic tradition. And philosophers in the Western analytic tradition are judged by very different standards from those in the Continental camp. What if we assess Rand on her merits as a post-modern philosopher?

I need to give this some more thought, but my first thought is that Rand is right up there with Foucault in the post-modernist pantheon. This is an epiphany moment.

Just in case you're wondering, yes, I'm serious.

I think you will find 'he' is

Mark Hubbard's picture

I think you will find 'he' is Janet, Gregster Smiling (Clicking bio).

I'm interested to read Jane't blog. And am fascinated to understand the link from Barbara Branden's course (which Janet did), to post-moderns and deconstructivists - I'm wondering whether that's by an MA in literature, or some feminist studies department - Janet?


gregster's picture

He also says Heller was better than Burns.

Good article on the Lotophagians Brant.

Oh dear, seymourblogger: I

Mark Hubbard's picture

Oh dear, seymourblogger:

I am doing Rand through Nietzsche,Baudrillard, and Foucault, as I now think she is one of the great post modern philosophers.

'Doing' Rand as a 'post-modern' and 'through' Foucault would be as useful as judging restaurants according to reviews by vegetarians, or following best beer buys according to Nanny's Prohibitionists. You really need to re-examine your premises - and from scratch. Mind you, being in the same room with Ayn and Mr Foucault as he tried to deconstruct her would have been interesting Eye

A is A, and language is not slippery, just the people using it sometimes are. (Which is not a barb at you Seymour, but Foucault and his mate Derrida). I'm fascinated to look at your blog when I get some time though).

"she is one of the great post modern philosophers"

Richard Goode's picture


Have read you for some years now

seymourblogger's picture

LIked the San Bushmen link.

What he is saying is the difference between survival and living. Living includes risk, surprise, seduction, reversibility as opposed to survival which is composed of risk-adverse, accumulation, reproduction, irreversibility. This is all Baudrillardian thinking, a very great post modern who is scaring the shit out of liberals, progressives, etc.

I am doing Rand through Nietzsche,Baudrillard, and Foucault, as I now think she is one of the great post modern philosophers. Through Nietzsche. I'd appreciate your visiting and taking a look. I was in Barbara Branden's first course of Basic Principles of Objectivism in 1960. I daresay much of what I am saying and am going to say will probably not be to your liking, but some of it certainly will be.

The link you provided is one of the things DeLillo is saying in his book Cosmopolis about which I have written a lot. Reading Cosmopolis through Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged is eye and mind opening. Eric Packer, Gail Wynand, Howard Roark and John Galt. and he opens the book with one of Rand's favorite quotes: When I die I won't die, the world will die. (not perfect). His bedroom is at the top of his penthouse triplex like Wynand's.

Rand's fiction is post modern. Oh when will Peikoff get savvy. I used to take courses from him too.

For starters I am at: http://guerrillablog2.blogspot...


double wow!

RLKocher's picture

This dude is into something. This essay should be required reading in Jr. high school.


iswarya ram's picture

Smiling wow!!!!!!!!1

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