Ayn Rand created a cult around her very strange personality. Like L. Ron Hubbard, she manipulated the use of her novels into a way of controlling the lives of those around her. From the grave, like some demonic harpy out to destroy the United States, she still does. If you were to ask The Pink Flamingo to name one author whose books should be given a Triple-X rating and hidden with the worst degrading pornography (of the intellect) it would be Ayn Rand. No one under the age of twenty- one should be allowed to read them. Her so-called philosophy should not be taught in colleges, and her books should be banned in all high school libraries.
Case in point.
“…Kate first read that scene when she was 12 years old. “I read all of [Rand’s novels] when I was in middle school,” says Kate. Now 22 and a student at Georgetown University, Kate spent her tween years a committed objectivist. “I was really, really into them. I read them all at least twice. I had pages dog-eared. I would go back and read over the best parts. I kept a journal that I would fill with quotes I liked from the books, the stuff that struck me as meaningful.”
But Kate’s very favorite lines never made it into the diary. “I’ll be honest. The first time I read The Fountainhead, the courtroom scene—that long soliloquy where she goes on and on about her philosophy—I skimmed it. I was really more interested in the sex scenes.”
When Kate first discovered Rand, “Sex wasn’t even a part of my vocabulary,” she says. Rand’s involved, fantastical rape scenes quickly filled the void. After reading her next Rand novel, Atlas Shrugged, Kate became obsessed with heroine Dagny Taggart, an idealistic capitalist who conquers the railroad industry—and submits to the violent sexual conquests of three men along the way. “That was the big draw for me as a teenage girl,” says Kate. “It was my first exposure to pornographic kind of materials. But the really fucked-up thing was that I didn’t realize back then that those scenes were rapes.”
It’s not unusual for readers to turn to Rand at a formative time in their lives. “It happens at all ages, but I think it does happen more commonly among young people,” says Joshua Zader, creator of the Atlasphere, a social networking Web site that connects objectivists around the world. Zader says that many Randians experience their first contact with her books between the ages of 14 and 21. “Her books appeal to youthful idealism, to people who are at the point in their lives where they’re trying to figure out what’s important,” Zader says.
It’s also when they’re trying to figure out sex. Rand’s influence on young people can’t be overstated—her fans have described her books as “life-changing,” “my Bible,” and “hot.” “I know that your sexual inclinations can be kind of stamped into you when you’re going through puberty,” says Kate. “So it’s a little disconcerting that at 12, 13 years old, I was stamping myself with this complete and total interest in submission, when I didn’t have any experience with sex at all,” she says. “It’s an interesting seed to plant in a teenager’s mind that that’s how sex operates.”
Even those teens who aren’t particularly obsessed with Rand’s erotica have picked up long-lasting sexual cues from her books. Angela Huynh, 24, is another Randian who got hooked as a teenager. “The Fountainhead changed my life,” says Huynh, who first read the book at age 19. “I…loved that whole philosophy of being who you want to be and doing whatever the hell you want to do in the most selfish way possible,” she says. “Who gives a shit about what people think or expect from you? …It became my Bible for life for a while.”…”
Jesssica Amanada Solmonson, a science fiction critic has seen the very same thing The Pink Flamingo sees in those who follow Rand.
“...Rand’s upraising of the loner, the loser, the failure, the selfish eternal adolescent, the self-important moron who does finally destroy everything, to the rank of godhead, who can & does destroy the world but is personally still standing, certainly appealed to a sorry-ass selfish generation that likewise believed all answers were in LSD & you can’t trust anyone over the age of 29. Boomers when young needed a false dream that would redefine all evidence of their own limitations as actually evidence of their greatness. Boomers who did not achieve anything in life, or achieved something but by the 1990s or in 2002 realized it was all an unfulfilling waste of their brief time on earth, are presently returning to Rand’s tiresome reassurance that a world laid waste is better than the world these profound losers actually live in & spent their pathetic lives sustaining.
The fact is, Ayn Rand inspired a lot of teenagers who were geeky & maybe smarter than average but if not smarter then at least more alienated from their parents than on average, & devoid of friends. They did not dig very deep for their special dream, & they were not very mature in their choices or their thinking; but it made for many exciting though inevitably juvenile discussions at the rear of that bright orange junior high school bus. They might have held on to their childish notion of profundity all the way through college, but eventually these kids finally did mature enough to have outgrown Rand. Thereby the Rand clubs diminished & disbanded after the fad had passed. Some Objectivist clubs that once had thousands of members literally found they had only one member left, some self-appointed club president.
Those forlorn teen geeks are now facing old age & getting nostalgic for the books of their childhood. Previous generations sought out their juvenile editions of Tarzan for nostalgia sake, & subliminally for the same reasons as Rand has nostalgia power for purposeless geeks. Tarzan books promoted primitivism, self-reliance, with an underlying philosophy of white supremacy, Lord Greystoke being inherently superior to black people because even being raised by apes cannot diminish white superiority over all other races. It’s no coincidence Rand too had to peddle her nonsense in the framework of science fiction, since science fiction is all it is. Rand does the same thing for white would-be capitalists who have failed in their lives. Presently an aging Boomer population is withdrawing into that nostalgia for lost youth, as Rand was almost as significant as the Beatles in 1965, & the choice for some of that generation boils down to embracing John Lennon or John Galt.
Objectivists relying on the John Galt Society & made-for-tv movie advertisers for their notion of Ayn Rand’s popularity are like Klansmen relying on some Klan publication or D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation for an assessment of the Klan’s popularity & significance. Objective assessments always look rather different doncha know….”
Shockingly enough, the person who did the most to expose Rand’s following as a cult was noted libertarian Murray N. Rothbard. He wrote a scathing commentary on Rand and her followers in 1972.
“...In the America of the 1970s we are all too familiar with the religious cult, which has been proliferating in the last decade. Characteristic of the cult (from Hare Krishna to the “Moonies” to EST to Scientology to the Manson Family) is the dominance of the guru, or Maximum Leader, who is also the creator and ultimate interpreter of a given creed to which the acolyte must be unswervingly loyal. The major if not the only qualification for membership and advancement in the cult is absolute loyalty to and adoration of the guru, and absolute and unquestioning obedience to his commands. The lives of the members are dominated by the guru’s influence and presence. If the cult grows beyond a few members, it naturally becomes hierarchically structured, if only because the guru cannot spend his time indoctrinating and watching over every disciple. Top positions in the hierarchy are generally filled by the original handful of disciples, who come to assume these positions by virtue of their longer stint of loyal and devoted service. Sometimes the top leadership may be related to each other, a useful occurrence which can strengthen intra-cult loyalty through the familial bond.
The goals of the cult leadership are money and power. Power is achieved over the minds of the disciples through inducing them to accept without question the guru and his creed. This devotion is enforced through psychological sanctions. For once the acolyte is imbued with the view that approval of, and communication with, the guru are essential to his life, then the implicit and explicit threat of excommunication – of removal from the direct or indirect presence of the guru – creates a powerful psychological sanction for the “enforcement” of loyalty and obedience. Money flows upward from the members through the hierarchy, either in the form of volunteer labor service contributed by the members, or through cash payments.
It should be clear at this point in history that an ideological cult can adopt the same features as the more overtly religious cult, even when the ideology is explicitly atheistic and anti-religious. That the cults of Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Trotsky, and Mao are religious in nature, despite the explicit atheism of the latter, is by now common knowledge. The adoration of the cult founder and leader, the hierarchical structure, the unswerving loyalty, the psychological (and when in command of State power, the physical) sanctions are all too evident….”
The beauty of being a devote of Ayn Rand is the fact that a person no longer needs to have basic human decency and compassion. The other day, John Hayward proved my point in his Human Events column.
There was a moment last summer when I thought I would be in the same position. I am basically taking care of my elderly parents, who were waiting for an investment check, that was delayed by months. I wondered what I was going to do if things fell through, and the worst happened. The thought of appealing to the local food-bank was humiliating enough that I would consider suicide before doing so. I would be required to get food stamps for them. I had several hundred dollars cash (I always keep cash for emergencies) in my $800 Louis Vuitton wallet in my $2500 Louis Vuitton purse. The economy for the middle class has been crushed. Investments my father made years ago, and should have paid off, beautifully, were worthless. I sold one of my LV bags on Ebay, received almost nothing for it, and was cheated by the buyer. So, forget about selling something. No one wants to pay anything. Why get rid of things of value?
I’ve been to the other side and seen how it is. This life-long Republican will never again make fun of people, or think that someone on assistance is worthless. Our world has changed, and not for the better. Keep up making fun of people, then see what it feels like when you are in that situation due to no fault of your own.
I will never again look at things the same way. People are accusing me of becoming liberal. I still have the same values. But – I’ve had my eyes opened and I know how it feels to be in a position of dire desperation. It was the best thing that has ever happened to me. I find myself hoping more of my fellow conservatives will be forced into the same situation. Perhaps then we might be able to make logical and rational changes that will be lasting, and not destroy people who are truly in need.
With the Cult of Rand, all goodness is sucked from the atmosphere. None is allowed. It is that simple.