My friend, in the Objectivist world of Ayn Rand, whose funeral featured a six-foot dollar sign made out of flowers next to the open casket, greed is God. They run influential libertarian think tanks like the Cato Institute in D. But they also tend to be people who—unlike all those semiotics majors who'd written off Rand as Nietzsche in a bra even before they'd graduated—impact our lives in direct ways.
Is "experience" even the right word for _The _ Her tentacular contempt for Shakespeare and Beethoven and Karl Marx and facial hair and government and "subnormal" children and the poor and the Baby Jesus and the U. and homosexuals and "simpering" social workers and French Impressionism and a thousand other things the flesh is heir to: experience? Rand grabs a reader at a time of maximum vulnerability and malleability, when he's getting his first accurate sense of how he measures up in the world in terms of intellect and talent. Enter Howard Roark, the heroic and misunderstood architect, square of jaw and Asperger-ish of mien, who at the end of _The Fountainhead _blows up his own masterpiece after a bunch of sniveling "parasites" and "second-handers" tinker with the blueprints. _Then enter _Atlas Shrugged'_s John Galt, the heroic and misunderstood engineer, square of jaw and Asperger-ish of mien, who, after persuading "men of talent" to retreat to his Colorado aerie while the country goes to seed (in order to show the "mediocrities" left behind what life is like without their betters), delivers a 35,000-word speech decrying bureaucrats and regulators.
Does a 19-year-old "experience" the likes of "She looked at the lone straight shaft of the Taggart Building rising in the distance—and…understood: these people hated Jim because they envied him"? The longing to regard oneself as misunderstood and underrated can be powerful; the temptation to project oneself as such, irresistible. The days during which that 19-year-old has Rand's worldview vectored into his cerebral cortex are feverish and sleepless.
It was tough for me, because as Ayn Rand herself says, we think alone.
"Because when you're young, you hunger for moralism.
He's an Ayn Rand Asshole, yes, but old-school. If so, is a given Objectivist coupling what it was in The Fountainhead—"an act of scorn.
Not as love, but as defilement…[by] a master taking shameful, contemptuous possession"? I cite my junior year of college, during which I frequently experienced precipitations of plaster dust onto my face while lying in bed, thanks to the ARA who lived above me, and his girlfriend.
That kid stands up, walks outside, and reflects on the 727 pages of he's just wolfed down. Nearly 2,000 hectoring, brook-no-ambiguity, you're-either-a-lion-or-a-leech pages of breathtaking psychological obtuseness. But none of us can escape the shadow of the lone straight shaft of the Taggart Building tumescing in the distance. Then you, sir, need to give thanks to Ayn Rand Assholes everywhere—as well as the steely loins from which they sprang. He's a New York City author and blogger who calls himself both a genius and an "elitist anarchist." What's that mean?
And realizes: That was nearly 2,000 pages (more, really, given that Rand's loathing of collectivist parasites is matched only by her loathing of paragraph indents) without a single instance of irony or humor. In time, he begins to understand that his ordeal consists of two phases. And then there is the digesting, which is quite another. The operatic rapes heralded by whips and rock drills. This is because there are boys and girls among us who have never overcome the Randian infection. And now the rest of us have to spend the next decade scaling the slippery slopes of the huge suppurative crater that was left behind. almost purely at the level of injunction—taking the things John Galt says and does as straight as a biblical literalist takes the eye of the needle? It means that if a panhandler asks him for a little money or food, Malice says, "I called me 'a hateful blowhard who touts his genius-level intellect and dismisses most of the world as inferior, deluded, or hypocritical.' They also called me a 'human cockroach,' because I'm indestructible.
"It was a little personal triumph for me."Malice also owns the domain name…eh, forget it.
You'll just think I'm making this stuff up.