Thursday, September 01, 2011

Know Your Enemy

Progressives should know everything they can about Ayn Rand, including this:
The best way to get to the bottom of Ayn Rand's beliefs is to take a look at how she developed the superhero of her novel, Atlas Shrugged, John Galt. Back in the late 1920s, as Ayn Rand was working out her philosophy, she became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of 12-year-old girl named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation. Rand filled her early notebooks with worshipful praise of Hickman. According to biographer Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market, Rand was so smitten with Hickman that she modeled her first literary creation -- Danny Renahan, the protagonist of her unfinished first novel, The Little Street -- on him. 
What did Rand admire so much about Hickman? His sociopathic qualities: "Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should," she wrote, gushing that Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.'" 
This echoes almost word for word Rand's later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: "He was born without the ability to consider others." (The Fountainhead is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' favorite book -- he even requires his clerks to read it.)
Just who was this Hickman person she based her characters on?
Hickman and the girl's father exchanged letters over the next few days as they arranged the terms of the ransom, while Marion obediently followed her captor's demands. She never tried to escape the hotel where he kept her; Hickman even took her to a movie, and she never screamed for help. She remained quiet and still as told when Hickman tied her to the chair -- he didn't even bother gagging her because there was no need to, right up to the gruesome end.

Hickman's last ransom note to Marion's father is where this story reaches its disturbing end. Hickman fills the letter with hurt anger over her father's suggestion that Hickman might deceive him, and "ask you for your $1500 for a lifeless mass of flesh I am base and low but won't stoop to that depth." What Hickman didn't say was that as he wrote the letter, Marion had already been chopped up into several lifeless masses of flesh.
Remember that Ayn Rand's worldly, charity and compassion is evil and selfishness is good. The working poor and middle class are parasites to her, quite literally. Given her idolization of a murdering bastard serial killer, perhaps more people will come to understand exactly where she's coming from.

Everyone who considers themselves a progressive or liberal simply must read the full article linked above, and anyone curious about what's behind the republican ideology should. Ayn Rand is the driving force of their philosophy and it's important for people to know about her, the real her.

1 comment:

massmarrier said...

There's also a clear indicator, even for Randists and libertarian sorts who don't necessarily use the selfishness lingo. Ayn taught to cut off any discussion if you could ID a "false premise." The claim was that anything after that was worthless, because it was like building a house on an unstable foundation.

Instead of analyzing a whole position and argument, the Randist sorts shout people down and prevent weighing whole arguments. You either need to walk away from loonies like that or be prepared to correct them relentlessly until the ideas are on the table. Exhausting...

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