Thursday, March 04, 2010

Who is John Galt?

Apparently he was a child-killing psychopath:

Romancing the Stone-Cold Killer: Ayn Rand and William Hickman

By the appraisal of any normal mind, there can be little doubt that William Edward Hickman was a vicious psychopath of the worst order. That Ayn Rand saw something heroic, brilliant, and romantic in this despicable creature is perhaps the single worst indictment of her that I have come across. It is enough to make me question not only her judgment, but her sanity.

No surprise that libertarianism starts as applied autism and easily slides into something worse.

How can anyone be a Randian after reading Prescott's essay?

Maybe this helps explain it.

Nonetheless, people such as Ayn Rand—and the nerds and geeks who cling to her in the naive belief that her rotten novels will turn them into supermen—could never understand the fact that human beings are social animals.

Prescott blames Nietzsche's influence for Rand's disturbing fondness for sick killers. That is, at best, only a partial explanation. No one who took Nietzsche seriously could create Objectivism:

The will to a system is a lack of integrity.
(Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols)

As is usually the case, Chesterton had the best response to the bad parts of Nietzsche and his dime-store disciples:

Fastidiousness is the most pardonable of of vices; but it is the most unpardonable of virtues. Nietzsche, who represents most prominently this pretentious claim of the fastidious, has a description somewhere-- a very powerful description in a purely literary sense-- of the disgust and disdain which consume him at the sight of the common people with their common faces, common voices, and their common minds. As I have said, this attitude is almost beautiful if we may regard it as pathetic. Nietzsche's aristocracy has about it all the sacredness that belongs to the weak. When he makes us feel that he cannot endure the innumerable faces, the incessant voices, the overpowering omnipresence which belongs to the mob, he will have the sympathy of anybody who has ever been sick on a steamer or tired in a crowded omnibus. Every man has hated mankind when he was less than a man. Every man has had humanity in his eyes like a blinding fog, humanity in his nostrils like a suffocating smell. But when Nietzsche has the incredible lack of humour and lack of imagination to ask us to believe that his aristocracy is an aristocracy of strong muscles or an aristocracy of strong wills, it is necessary to point out the truth. It is an aristocracy of weak nerves.


Steve Sailer said...

Thanks for the Chesterton quote.

craig said...

Happy to oblige. GKC is remarkably "current" for a man whose best work was done nearly a century ago.