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Monday, March 5, 2012 - 2:25pmSanction this postReply
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I should have mentioned that in the last chapter Weiss interviews Oliver Stone who has been interested in remaking The Fountainhead. I don't know if this is common knowledge but in 2006 he started promoting the idea and having Brad Pitt playing Roark. Apparently Stone has the right to modify the script any way he chooses.

Stone was going to get all the top architects of the world to contribute to his grand remake of The Fountainhead. And, as he told me about it, I recognized why it fascinated him then, and continued to enthrall him years later. He was going to be Howard Roark; the movie character was going to reflect his vision of public service. "I was going to build a city for the public good," he said. "That was the idea of the movie." His Howard Roark would have been unselfish. "He has to build. That's the character. He sees the selfishness of all these other architects making fortunes, and there's a lot of them. But because he knows how to build an apartment well, he can do it at a cost saving of fifty dollars a foot" and that's his preoccupation, because he is a builder, not a capitalist. (And part of that would have been consistent with the novel because, as I mentioned earlier, Roark did not like money.)

Ugh!


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Monday, March 5, 2012 - 5:17pmSanction this postReply
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 I predict that Ayn Rand Nation will disappear as quickly and thoroughly as Walker's The Ayn Rand Cult.  Has anybody outside Objectivist circles paid any attention to it?

Rand sold the screen rights to The Fountainhead some time in the 40s, so legally her estate has no control, just as she had none legally over the first version.  On the other hand, Stone's approach is idiotic, and I suspect this is at least part of the reason why the project never got beyond the talking stage.

(Edited by Peter Reidy on 3/05, 5:24pm)


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Post 2

Monday, March 5, 2012 - 11:48pmSanction this postReply
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Ayn Rand was a genius. It is easy to say that but harder to truly appreciate it at her own depth without pausing to work hard at thinking ... at least for me... Even knowledgeable Objectivists miss the symbolic fact that Ayn Rand did not leave the USSR for "America" but for Hollywood. (She only much later followed Nathaniel Branden to New York City.) In Hollywood what counts is publicity: it does not matter what they say about you as long as they talk about you. That comes out in The Fountainhead in a scene that presaged Rand's own success. With the battle around the Stoddard Temple raging, people are talking about Howard Roark. Most have no idea what they are talking about. Of those that do, only a fraction understand the real issues and side with Roark. So it was with Ayn Rand herself and she came to appreciate that. For decades, she was ignored. Now, she is referenced in many books on modern philosophy. I go so far as to say that any college survey text on philosophy that does not citate Ayn Rand under egoism is insufficient and inept.

Therefore, on that basis, these intellectual assassinations only serve to validate her relevance and importance.

That said, also, the actual influence of Ayn Rand on the Tea Party would be interesting to explore. It seems easy on the surface, and you can find individuals at these rallies who know her work and advocate for her ideas. Largely, however, it seems that the Tea Party is traditionalist and even moderately so. They are only against the present Democratic administration; they are not for laissez faire capitalism ... and they are not for Objective metaphysics...


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Post 3

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 - 8:28amSanction this postReply
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Michael,

We see Ayn Rand differently. She left the USSR for the America she saw in Hollywood's productions, but it was the essense of America she sought, not the essence of Hollywood. When you imply that Rand was about publicity to any degree, I can only scratch my head at how much you have missed the essence of Rand.

We do agree that she was a genius, and that any college survey text on philosophy that leaves her out is insufficient and inept. And we agree that the Tea Party is primarily traditionalist.

But we disagree about them only being against the present Democratic administration. It wouldn't even make sense to say that that in a literal fashion - I mean, why are they against this administration? One assumes there are reasons.

The Tea Party can't yet be clearly understood as any single set of principles because they are too mixed - there are some libertarians, some Objectivists, some constitutional conservatives, some religious right, some "national security conservatitives" (I believe that is the proper description for those who favor the various middle eastern wars we are in), but no NeoCons, no big-government conservatives. It would be true to say that they are more united in what they oppose than what they support, but what they oppose is big government. They just do so from different perspectives. The closest one could come to assigning a single description that bridged all members would be, "advocates of smaller government."

The Objectivists in the tea party would, of course, support Objectivist metaphysics, but then many of the other members would also support it... once it was explained to them. They are mixed, but more would side with Aristotle, once understood, than with Plato.

It is sign of the recognition that Ayn Rand is receiving that books and articles and columns mention her name more and more often - both from positive and from negative directions.

It used to be, that when one saw that there was a new book written about her, it was approached with the assumption that it was pro-Rand (because that was nearly always the case) and the question was, "Is it any good?" Now, the assumption is that the book is probably written to cash in on her name recognition (and the question remains unchanged).

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Post 4

Friday, October 16 - 11:22pmSanction this postReply
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I actually found this book an interesting read.  He clearly does not understand Rand's philosophy and his arguments against it are against straw men. But this is confined largely to the first and the last chapter. The chapters in between are a fascinating look at the contemporary Objectivist movement.  And Weiss concedes that he actually found himself liking and respecting the people he met long the way. He acknowledges that they are no intellectual slouches. 

 

The fact that Weiss regards Rand as significant is important.  Many in the libertarian movement and its offshoots like the tea party movement don't often openly acknowledge the intellectual debt they owe to Ayn Rand.  But Weiss fully recognizes this debt and that Rand's philosophy is the bedrock on which the modern movement towards less government lies. 

 

For that, I thank him.



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Saturday, October 17 - 10:25amSanction this postReply
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Welcome to RoR, Marco.



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