It's one thing keeping the bible out of government policy, it's another keeping equally irrational non-religious nonsense out, …strange bedfellows indeed.

From AlterNet:

"Thanks to the trail paved in Weiss’ book, we did some further digging into the money cartel financing this “spontaneous” outpouring of campus and Tea Party interest in Rand, whose work is regularly considered by top academics to be mediocre and simpleminded."

“ARI seeks to spearhead a cultural renaissance that will reverse the anti-reason, anti-individualism, anti-freedom, anti-capitalist trends in today’s culture. The major battleground in this fight for reason and capitalism is the educational institutions—high schools and, above all, the universities, where students learn the ideas that shape their lives…To date, more than 1.4 million copies of these Ayn Rand novels have been donated to 30,000 teachers in 40,000 classrooms across the United States and Canada.

“Based on a projected shelf life of five years per book, we estimate that more than 3 million young people have been introduced to Ayn Rand’s books and ideas as a result of our programs to date…partnerships have been established between ARI and the corporate community to advance Ayn Rand’s ideas in the universities." ~ Ayn Rand Institute

"Weiss piqued our curiosity when he mentions in his book that the Ayn Rand Institute based in Irvine, California is holding its annual gala fundraiser, not on the west coast, but at the swanky St. Regis hotel in Manhattan and charging $1500 a plate.  We learn further from Weiss that Arline Mann, Managing Director and Associate General Counsel of the Board of Goldman, Sachs & Company is the Co-Chair of the Ayn Rand Institute.  To move the money trail along, Weiss interviews Barry Colvin, Vice Chairman of a hedge fund, Balyasny Asset Management, who just up and decides to open a New York chapter of the Ayn Rand Institute and spearhead a fund drive." 

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Great illustration!

Both graphs stolen from Pew Research. I do find it interesting that most followers of Rand aren't atheists, and the few that are, seem to have no problems keeping company with all those Christian Conservatives. I suppose Objectivist purists will call "no true Scotsman", but, these are the guys spreading the Rand scriptures.

CEOs Pushing Ayn Rand Studies Use Money to Overcome Resistance

The charitable arm of BB&T Corp., a banking company, pledged $1 million to the University of North Carolina Charlotte in 2005 and obtained an agreement that Rand's novel ``Atlas Shrugged'' would become required reading for students. Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, say they also took grants and agreed to teach Rand.

Required reading? 

Allison's BB&T, based in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in March pledged $2 million to establish the first U.S. chair in the study of objectivism, at the University of Texas at Austin.

That school and 27 others have accepted an aggregate $30 million from the bank's foundation in the last decade.

No serious student or scholar of philosophy considers Rands work philosophy, she's not mentioned at all in any academic philosophy references, even those specializing in American Philosophers. They've bought their way in...

The grant agreement described "Atlas Shrugged'' as "required reading'' in a course about the fundamentals of capitalism.

Yet, it's biggest evangelist Rand disciple Alan Greenspan, while he hedges (no pun) admits that following Randian principles of deregulated free-market capitalism led to the biggest global financial collapse since the depression. It's pretty much just a rework of Adam Smith's "invisible hand", which has also never worked.

How many times do we have to use this failed model before people wake up and remember Ben Franklin's famous quote concerning insanity?

The Kirkus Reviews blurb on Weiss' book:

AYN RAND NATION (reviewed on January 15, 2012)

Weiss (Wall Street Versus America, 2006, etc.) jumps headfirst into the complex socio-cultural maelstrom that was Ayn Rand, spotlighting her allies, enemies, nemeses and acolytes.

The author has been in the trenches of financial reportage since before Black Monday 1987, examining corruption, mob involvement, takeovers, bailouts, regulatory scandals and a long list of game-changing power plays in every corner of the stock market. Here the author looks at Rand’s immense influence on a variety of sectors of American life, especially politics and economics. If you thought her renowned novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead had been analyzed under every possible microscope, think again. Intrigued by a 1974 photo depicting Rand with Alan Greenspan and President Ford in the White House, Weiss embarks on a quest to excavate the oft-shifting strata of Rand's political doctrine, Objectivism, which she deemed “a philosophy for living on earth," starting with her infamous writings. The love-hate lens through which our society continues to view her self-interested, capitalist canon is, in Weiss' dogged hands, meticulously eye-opening—yet it remains confounding to conservatives, libertarians and liberals alike. Anointing her "the godmother of the Tea Party,” Weiss argues that Rand's influence on Greenspan, Timothy Geithner, Ben Bernanke and other major players in the contemporary financial and legislative landscape is significant; she suggests that the anti-government seeds she planted may now be taking root. Weiss writes, "[s]uch is the Ayn Rand vision of paradise: an America that would resemble the lands from which our ancestors emigrated, altruism confined to ignored, fringe texts, grinding poverty and starvation coexisting alongside the opulence of the wealthy."

A scrupulous and sobering investigation, vital for our times. ~

A history of Kirkus Reviews for cooties checkers.

My objection to Ayn Rand’s Objectivism

Let us assume time is linier, with no connection to present time, past time or future time. Then each moment would be discreet, separate from the last moment and not an influence on future moments. This makes no sense to me. Rather, I see time as cyclical, that present events have causal conditions from the past that influence how one thinks and acts in the present and thus influences the future. Or on a natural order of things, snow falls in the mountains, melts and runs down in streams to rivers, to lakes, to oceans, to be lifted up into clouds and then fall as snow or rain again. There are cycles of planets, agriculture, economics, politics, religions, mythology, culture, society and of war.

Existence does exist independent of consciousness, and consciousness occurs when perceptions occurs. Perception does not create existence, it identifies existence.

The processes of the senses, sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, and feelings form the elements of rational thought and concepts. An individual’s concepts are subjective and dependent on past events and memories that influence present perceptions that impact future events. Senses may indeed provide measurable, quantitative elements but do not provide definitions of qualitative elements: emotions, dreams, hopes, fear, pain, stereotypes, bias and therefore are not objective.

Why is ethics necessary? Because thriving of one at the cost of another yields no justification for hurtful actions. We are created, for good or bad, as social animals and as such we are obligated to think in terms of short and long time spans, and near and far space.

Yes, humans have to act in the face of a constant alternative: life or death. Survival is dependent on food, shelter, and sex; however more can be expected: that humans, the water, soil, air, and elements can thrive with careful consideration of consequences of one’s choices. A human being does have the capacity to take seriously actions that all life requires. A self-centered human being may make very different choices than a social one. Enlightened self-interest informs each one, however their focus involves looking for one’s own self interest and the other looks for the interest of oneself, family, community, and ultimately the earth. What is good for one individual may not be beneficial to others or the earth.

The purpose of ethics is to define such a code. It is to test against the impact on the individual and on the other. A community with thriving as its goal may make very different decisions than the selfish, self-centered one.

“All that which is proper to the life of a rational being is the good;
All that which destroys it is evil.”
~Ayn Rand

Rand falls short on her definition of ethics.
All that which is proper to the life of the rational being, to others, and to the planet are good;
All that which destroys them are evil.
~Joan Denoo

"want to say "bravo" to those of you who have made the effort in my absence to actually *steer this conversation into a philosophic discussion."

This thread *already has a topic (please see site guidelines concerning this), and it isn't philosophy.

But, if you want to discuss Objectivism as a philosophy, you should do it here, where it might actually be recognized as one and psycho-epistomolgy isn't just a humorously ironic double-entèndre.

"appeals to alleged authority figures and evasions..."

That's what put Koch Bros, BB&T, et al under the microscope in the first place.

I don't want to censor a "philosophic discussion, I'd just rather not have this discussion censored ad hoc, by derailing the topic of the thread. 

Another thought occurred to me concerning atheist ideology and Objectivism, a Humanism vs Objectivism (what seems to be the aim of the off-topic drift) discussion would probably get better optics (better traffic) here on one of the more general topic and open forums:


Ethics & Morals



"It may be that I misunderstood the theme of this post."

No problem, I understand that there's a polarization when her name comes up, but this was definitely about the legacy of her influence on the current global financial crisis that was foreseen by many who were/are skeptical about all things "Rand/Free Market Capitalism".

"I asked what you disliked about the philosophy and why."

I'll probably (with full regards to decorum/hyperbole) participate if you decide to post such a topic in the general forums, with specific answers to specific questions.

I'm not sure how civil a Humanism vs Objectivism thread can be, given the aforementioned polarization, but I'm willing to bet it'd be interesting.

...As well, I also promise not to go trolling in the Objectivism forum, though I'll definitely be reading it.

Alan Greenspan (A Rand disciple) for 40 years, had this to say to Henry Waxman chairman of the Government Oversight Committee of the House of Representatives

in 2008

"I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically

banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their

own shareholders and their equity in the firms."

"In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working," Waxman said.

"Absolutely, precisely," Greenspan replied. "You know, that's precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well."

Waxman challenged Greenspan's approach to regulating the mortgage industry while he was Fed chairman, saying that the Fed "had the authority to stop the irresponsible lending practices that fueled the subprime mortgage market." But Greenspan, Waxman said, "rejected pleas that he intervene."

The committee is holding hearings to determine what gaps in the regulatory structure abetted the crisis that has roiled the world's financial markets.

Greenspan appeared alongside Christopher Cox, the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and John Snow, who served as secretary of the Treasury early in the administration of President George W. Bush.

In his prepared remarks, Greenspan said he was in "a state of shocked disbelief" about the breakdown in the ability of banks to regulate themselves.

He also warned about the economic consequences of the crisis, saying that he "cannot see how we will avoid a significant rise in layoffs and unemployment." Consumer spending would decline, too, he said, adding that a stabilization of home prices would be necessary to bring the crisis to its end.

Saying that his thinking "has evolved" in the past year, Greenspan also defended his record.

"In 2005, I raised concerns that the protracted period of underpricing of risk, if history was any guide, would have dire consequences," he said. "This crisis, however, has turned out to be much broader than anything I could have imagined."


I read this with tears running down my face because what Greenspan confesses to and does not understand is the terrible havoc his principles brought down on good and decent USA citizens. It sounds like, "Oh well, I made a mistake, now carry on!" Well what about those young families just starting out in life, working hard to build a professional reputation, only to have the small businesses and consolidations of big businesses reduction in forces, leaving no jobs, no incomes, no health insurance, not retirement plans? 

The worry and confusion and chaos of the younger generation, not knowing what DEPRESSION meant, not knowing how to "carry on" is just so sad to observe. The best we old folks, and I am not counting you as old, remember; we know how to cut back; we know how to make do; we know how to do without!

Until the consumer generation realizes they fell for all the bells and whistles of consumerism, and believe they could live a lifestyle my generation could only dream about, and get caught in the jaws of credit card trap, and not take total blame for their spending practices that got them into trouble, will they be able to get their feet back on the ground, their heads held high, shoulder squared to the tasks ahead, and neck bowed to take on the load dumped on them by greed, thieves and liars.

Yes, I have strong feelings about Randian principles. Others may disagree with me and so what. Others disagreed with me about leaving a marriage with financial stability and social position, but I wasn't happy until I left.

I saw one of my doctors who saved my life a few years ago and she said she has never seen me more healthy and happy. I told her I have never been so happy. I am lucky! My life has been blessed ... hard ... but blessed. And without god. 

While I am on my rant, the principles of the church committed crimes, not sins, crimes by advising women to stay in abusive marriages.  They continue to do that to this day. 

And if anyone says I am off subject, I say G. T. H.... 



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