I have a friend who identifies heavily with the Republican Right. he doesn’t understand how I can vote otherwise in any election. Why I don’t want to teach Iran a lesson by dropping a small Nuke on them or how I can be for an intelligent health care initiative. He considers himself an objectivist. We both had periods in our lives where we read Ayn Rand rather heavily. I know I was influenced by her. I got the meta message in Atlas Shrugged but liked The Fountainhead more than the later book. Maybe because that book was more about individualism because even a strike of those that Rand considered the important people sounded too collective to me. I admired the character of Roark for two reasons. He seemed unentangled with the stuff that weighs us down. Family pressure, clubs, cliques, wanting to get ahead. That was Peter Keating. Roark could be like this because Rand created him this way.
But the Republican right doesn’t resemble Ayn Rand in the least and neither does my friend who sees himself as a creator not a second hander. A second hander by the way is a person (most of us according to Rand) who live off the ideas of others.
Ayn Rand had a physical archetype for her heroes. If they were male they tended to be tall, gaunt and handsome in an unconventional way. My friend is medium height and rather fat. But he does drive a Porsche so that might make up for his physical short comings. I can remember in Atlas Shrugged that there was one short guy who was on the good side (he worked for the railroad). He was lean and wore cowboy boots. This must be important because I am short and lean and back in the day I too wore cowboy boots. Not because of Urban Cowboy but because back in the mid to late 1960’s when things were breaking loose as to what was acceptable, I chose to wear cords and boots. I was comfortable that way. My hair was long and wild like a dark lions mane and I often had a droopy mustache and a rare beard or two. In a faint way, I was my own man. But then Ayn Rand’s heroes didn’t have mustaches and beards. So I really didn’t fit the profile anymore than my rather plumpish, round friend does. He does fit the physicality of the second handers. The Wesley Mouch’s and others of their type.
I belonged to neither political party. I voted my conscience when I did vote which wasn’t often. I still vote that way. I see little difference between the two parties. If one were to get their head out of their respective asses they would see that they pursue the same ends in slightly different manners. One comes from behind and the other comes from the front. Depends on who has the majority. It’s like when I had a colonoscopy and an endoscopy the same day. One my request was that the doctor insert the tube in my throat first.
The truth is that I just don’t care that much about politics.
My friend has channeled Ellsworth Toohey from The Fountainhead through another fat guy, Rush Limbaugh. Rush says this. Rush says that. Rush is a radio personality for God’s sake. Toohey was a columnist.
I am not a Democrat or Republican. I am an individualist. At times I fail to live up to my own standards because I am human but I keep trying. I am not threatened by others who want to live their life differently. That is their business as long as they respect my choice of how I choose to live my life. No, as a mater of fact they don’t have to respect it. I don’t require that from them. Just let me live my life as I see fit, warts and all.
Even Ayn Rand had some ugly ghosts. She conducted a sexual affair with one of her protege’s even though she was married. That destroyed on marriage and neutered her husband. She played queen bee in her court of objectivity and if someone of the court didn’t agree with her and didn’t bow down very low in her presence, then she had no compunction about discrediting them. In the end, following her was just another form of servitude. She should have gone back and re-read The Fountainhead. She may have “made” Roark but after a period of time the creator drifted away from her own vision and became something else.
From Objectivism 101
A person who looks to others to decide his values or beliefs.
The term comes from The Fountainhead. It describes people who don’t deal with reality directly, but instead look to others. Instead of trying to understand the world, they simply accept what other people tell them, without attempting to evaluate that information. Instead of trying to decide what values would benefit their lives, they look to others and trust that they must be right.
A second-hander does not think for himself. He does not even act for himself. He lives in order to impress others. It doesn’t matter if he’s happy if he can trick others into believing he’s happy. It doesn’t matter if he’s wealthy, if he can trick others into believing he’s wealthy. The only thing that matters is what other people thing or believe.
In practice, people mix a little second-handedness into their lives. They look to impress others by acquiring things that others would want. They profess to believe things they don’t really accept in order to fit in. They ignore their own judgments or evaluations when they conflict with other people’s. They sacrifice their own values for the sake of fitting in.
Objectivism promotes the idea that each person should be free to do whatever they want to do just as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. This doesn’t mean that Objectivism thinks any action is as good as any other. People can and will do incredibly stupid things that they really shouldn’t do. Objectivism draws a distinction between what you should be free to do, and what you should do. You should be free to live your life the way you see fit, even if other people are convinced that it’s the wrong way. The law should not try to force people to act morally. Its sole purpose is to promote individual liberty, and by doing so, create the conditions necessary for someone to live his life.
Does either party really follow this line?
Not in my book.