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Ayn Rand: Sociopath Who Admired a Serial Killer?

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posted on May, 24 2011 @ 09:32 PM
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Ayn Rand: Sociopath Who Admired a Serial Killer?




If you've ever had the feeling that there was something fundamentally sociopathic about Ayn Rand's philosophy, you may have been on to something. Apparently one of Ayn Rand's early "heroes" was a serial killer named William Edward Hickman. When he was arrested Hickman became quite famous -- the talk of the town, so to speak, but for the entire country. Rand took things a bit further than most, though, and modeled at least one of her literary characters on Hickman.


The best way to get to the bottom of Ayn Rand's beliefs is to take a look at how she developed the superhero of her novel, Atlas Shrugged, John Galt. Back in the late 1920s, as Ayn Rand was working out her philosophy, she became enthralled by a real-life American serial killer, William Edward Hickman, whose gruesome, sadistic dismemberment of 12-year-old girl

named Marion Parker in 1927 shocked the nation. Rand filled her early notebooks with worshipful praise of Hickman. According to biographer Jennifer Burns, author of Goddess of the Market, Rand was so smitten with Hickman that she modeled her first literary creation -- Danny Renahan, the protagonist of her unfinished first novel, The Little Street -- on him.



What did Rand admire so much about Hickman? His sociopathic qualities: "Other people do not exist for him, and he does not see why they should," she wrote, gushing that Hickman had "no regard whatsoever for all that society holds sacred, and with a consciousness all his own. He has the true, innate psychology of a Superman. He can never realize and feel 'other people.'" This echoes almost word for word Rand's later description of her character Howard Roark, the hero of her novel The Fountainhead: "He was born without the ability to consider others." (The Fountainhead is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas' favorite book -- he even requires his clerks to read it.)


atheism.about.com...

Who was John Galt...really??? Found this to be quite interesting to say the least. I had actually heard about this a month ago and would have shared it then...but unfortunately did not have internet access.

Ayn Rand, based on this information...was a highly disturbed individual.
edit on 24-5-2011 by David9176 because: (no reason given)




posted on May, 24 2011 @ 09:44 PM
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Take it from me, a person with strong psychopathic tendencies. I will tell you now, I am a psychopath and I'm not murdering anyone. I just find public displays of emotions disgusting,revolting. I will not be in jail for murder in a couple of years. It's like sex(not meaning to offend anyone) you can fantasize about it as long as you do not act upon it. But if it came down to it, if somebody attacks me or attempts to hurt my family. I become a hunter, I will kill. No doubt about it, with no guilt or remorse.


As long as you're not killing anybody you're fine, delusions are fine if you don't act on them.Most of the best people have sociopathic tendencies, that's why you have geniuses. Most have collapsed under the sheer weight of their own minds. Ever hear of "collapsing under the weight of your own genius ?"

A lot of geniuses have mental problems, the woman was a genius and she like most of the rest is f 'ing crazy. Mental problems and intelligence go hand in hand. Sorry to whoever my opinion offends.
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posted on May, 24 2011 @ 10:18 PM
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reply to post by David9176
 


Its immaterial who Rand liked or did not like. Her philosophy is whats important and it is becoming increasingly relevant today. So she was facinated by a killer and thought he had admirable qualities? Just about every human being has admirable qualities. People will look to attack Rand because they can't handle the simplistic honesty of her message.



posted on May, 24 2011 @ 10:25 PM
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reply to post by David9176
 


Pretty twisted stuff. I wonder what Ron Paul has to say about this. On a lighter note, every time I think about Ayn Rand I also think of Officer Barbrady from South Park:




edit on 24-5-2011 by Torgo because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 06:40 PM
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Personally, I find Rand to be a mediorce philosopher, with a very immature, (scientifically speaking) idea of "the selfish individual" which at the time was most appealing for exactly the reason she created it. As a condemnation of communism.

However, he extreme individualism is unrealistic scientifically as well as factually. Ayn Rand did not make it in the world all on her own individually. Her family played a huge role in how her life turned out, sacrificing themselves in many cases, (her mother to pay her way to America) for her sake.

So while scornful of altruism and cooperation, she was indeed a huge beneficiary of it. Just so egotistical that it never occurred to her to note it and give it significance in her philosophy.

Of course her philosophy is popular again today. We have never been in a more ego driven state as a society. With Mebook, (Facebook) and Twitter, and all the other ways to inflate self importance all out of any objective reality.

In a sense, she is a "sociopath" in the sense that she happily took all the aid and help her family and friends offered and really never acknowledged it enough to herself that it found a significant place in her philosophy.

I can see why people like her. Its a sociopathic, selfish, self centered philosophy for a sociopathic, self centered, selfish society, but its totally out of step with the truth about nature, and human nature when its not totally dysfunctional.



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 06:44 PM
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Well let's see, John Galt wasn't a serial killer in Atlas Shrugged, and although Howard Roark blew up a building he actually admitted to it and allowed the police to arrest him, also not the usual acts of a serial killer.

Why is it that an author who wrote books in the 40's and 50's is still getting demonized today? And for such shoddy reasons.

neither John Galt nor Howard Roark were serial killers, so there's not much adding up with this story of Ayn Rand's love of serial killers.



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 06:50 PM
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reply to post by Heartisblack
 


Fantasize about what? What you are describing isn't psychopathy.. you are thinking of an antisocial personality disorder.



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 06:58 PM
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While the character of Howard Roark is an instant classic, the story itself is not quite razor sharp. In literary standards Atlas Shrugged is a masterpiece, and its political philosophy is highly advanced, so much so that Ayn Rand was most certainly knowledgeable of the 'elite' of society, which is why people seem to think she is somehow a globalist herself.

While her philosophy is a "survival of the fittest", John Galt tries to enlighten the world, rather than killing it. John Galt does not make one violent outburst in the entire book. So, if we really care about Rand's writing, we should note that the main character does not do one illegal thing in the entire book, and in fact gets tortured by the government at the very end, and still does not rebel, in fact he fixes the torture device when it breaks. This is the extent that Rand went in showing what she believed to be truly heroic qualities of a man. Not, like the OP is suggesting, "serial killers".

The only violent good guy in Atlas Shrugged was a pirate who only stole from those who plunder (i.e. the government). A type of anti-Robin Hood, he steals from the government and returns to those who were taxed.

Clearly, Ayn Rand is against the democratic, liberal, tax the wealthy ideology, and so her work is demonized.

But what the liberals need to understand is that the wealthy may be taxed, but not the super-wealthy. And in fact, the wealthy may not even be taxed, just the middle and lower class. So keep rooting for communism, you're essentially rallying for higher taxes.

Or, you can read Ayn Rand for real and learn a lesson about how the world works.



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 07:17 PM
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Originally posted by filosophia

Clearly, Ayn Rand is against the democratic, liberal, tax the wealthy ideology, and so her work is demonized.

But what the liberals need to understand is that the wealthy may be taxed, but not the super-wealthy. And in fact, the wealthy may not even be taxed, just the middle and lower class. So keep rooting for communism, you're essentially rallying for higher taxes.

Or, you can read Ayn Rand for real and learn a lesson about how the world works.


Very nice, and a tad condescending there, but I disagree. Ayn Rand is not telling "how the world works." She is giving one version of how society ought to work. Her "survival of the fittest" is immature scientifically. Which is not surprising considering when she wrote it, and how fast that field has progressed since Dawkins "Selfish Gene."

Its also not even "survival of the fittest" as prescribed by Adam Smiths free market. In fact, her misinterpretation is probably more responsible, (because of the prominence of the people who followed her half baked version) for our economic ruin than any other single philosopher.

She is a mediocre philosopher. What makes her popular is that so are most people. Its also what makes Aristotle so popular with the masses, who, like Rand, cant really understand Plato, so they reject him and go for "Plato dumbed way down and ruined" also known as "Aristotle." She is a fiction writer, and her greatness is simply that she could make "philosophy" appealing to the masses. Unfortunately, popularity doesnt now, nor has it ever, had anything at all to do with quality.

For her time, it was impressive that she got so much evolutionary concepts out to the masses. Its just a shame it was incomplete, and incorrect. Because once the masses have something in their minds, especially when it is sold to them wrapped in a storyline, and emotion, and drama, they usually dont then keep working on the underlying philosophy, (drawn from evolutionary theory) and refine the philosophy as new evidence comes to light.

No, they hold onto the theory that says what they want to hear. The truth is a little more complex than that, as human beings do not and cannot, function solely as individuals. We are social creatures, and the truth about us is a complex dance between whats good for the individual and whats good for the group. Its not either Rands extreme individualism, nor communisms opposite extreme.



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 07:23 PM
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A perfectly communist system where everybody is supported by the state and are only individualistic where it's absolutely necessary, is not possible, neither is a perfectly individualistic capitalist society where people rely on themselves and only work for the common good when it's absolutely necessary. Most things in this universe are a mixture. It's very hard to produce an isolated environment closed off from everything else. The end result is that our ideals and government and law system and whatnot are a mix of extremes and compromises.
edit on 31-5-2011 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 07:31 PM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


So a book written in the 50's is responsible for our economic problems? I think that's taking it a bit too far. I may not know much about her personal life but nowhere in any of her books does it advocate a system of corporatism, in fact it opposes it on every level. If Ayn Rand disobeyed this in her personal life, not likely, it's still an exaggeration to say she is responsible for the economic collapse of 2008. That's just some recent notion that tries to desperately link Alan Greenspan to Ayn Rand's philosophy. Alan Greenspan claimed he was for sound money and then turned character, so he most likely lied.



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 07:34 PM
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What I will add is that her philosophy of Objectivism doesn't make much sense, because there is always the Witness to the objective world. If you take it as materialism that is wrong, and Rand is staunchly against mystics in every way, so it is a bit nihilistic, it is selfish, it believes in itself. Yet, the story has an emotional appeal to it. If the characters were truly heartless, they would not help the weaker people. John Galt helps the masses while the government tries to make them brainwashed. Howard Roark helps his dumber colleague because he feels sorry for him on some ironic level. This means her characters do have a heart and soul, which is why I enjoy her works but not her philosophy. Although her political philosophy and social commenter is truthful and intelligent.

I would love to have a conversation about Ayn Rand, the problem is most people who demonize her haven't read her books.
edit on 31-5-2011 by filosophia because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 07:43 PM
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I find it interesting that she was good friends with (Alan Greenspan) at one time.



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 07:52 PM
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Originally posted by caladonea
I find it interesting that she was good friends with (Alan Greenspan) at one time.


If there truly was free market capitalism, every state, company, city, and person could print their own money, and this power would not just be monopolized by the federal reserve. Alan Greenspan is at the head of the government sanctioned monopoly, while Ayn Rand's philosophy is a separation of state and economy.


a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.


www.aynrand.org...



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 07:58 PM
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reply to post by filosophia
 


Im not "demonizing" her. And Im unsure why you would say that. Her philosophy just happens, as is sometimes the case, to be based on something that science has made some enormous inroads on since her day, and it just so happens that she really got an awful lot really wrong.

I do give her credit, she essentially wrote a version of "the selfish gene" decades before Dawkins did, just fictionalized, romanticized, and very light on actual science. Its impressive in that sense. She is hardly alone in her touching upon evolutionary theory and concepts, many did before her, all the way back to the ancient Greeks. But she did a pretty good job of elaborating the "selfish individual" aspect of it for her time. But the "selfish individual" is only ONE aspect. Its not the whole story.

And its not a huge stretch to say her misinterpretation of the role of the individual was taken and run with by people and that it negatively influenced our economy in a huge way. Thats the problem when you package philosophy the way she did. It gives it broad appeal, to the wrong kind of minds. A philosopher will always be looking for congruence in an earlier philosophers works with current "knowns" in the fields that work rests upon. Your average reader just says, "hmm, I like that," and files it away as "the way it is."

You cant do that. Philosophy and science are not truly separate. They never have been, and armchair philosophers often dont understand that. And they dont apply scientific rigor to the philosophy. They just toss labels around for what "kind" of philosophy it is, and discuss it, rather than examine its structure itself for disconnects with "reality" as we "know" it scientifically.

In her case, because her philosophy is so clearly connected to evolutionary theory, and so much work has gone into that in the last 50 years, (virtually every science now has an "evolutionary ____________" aspect to it,) it is easy to criticize her work meaningfully.

Even though apparently many just want to dismiss those criticisms as "liberal" or "socialist" or whatever. No, its just not. She got the theory wrong. The portion she got she did okay on, but she presented it as if it were whole and complete, and its most certainly not. The truth is, she didnt care if her own theory was "right" objectively. The virtue of HER selfishness was such that she was content to have it say what she preferred it say, and unlike an excellent philosopher, she did not override her own "wish" with a pure love for wisdom, or the desire to make her theory as right as she possibly could regardless if the truth of the matter conflicted with her wish.

It was self serving, and no good philosopher ever is. Its just like science in that it must be about getting as close to the truth as possible. Not making the statement you want to make for your own ends.



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 08:03 PM
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reply to post by filosophia
 


Just so you know, Ayn Rands philosophy is not a perfect meld with Adam Smiths free market, either. Smith was a whole lot more willing to have some interference in the market. It was just limited in very specific ways. Smith was a whole lot more on target in terms of evolutionary theory than Rand was. He was trying to balance the individual with the group, and set the system up to succeed. Rand was setting up her theory in opposition to one she didnt like. Which is bad methodology. You cant get as emotionally invested in your point of view as she does and really do good work.

What makes her popular is her emotionalism. Its also what makes her work mediocre.



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 08:05 PM
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Originally posted by filosophia

a complete separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church.


www.aynrand.org...




This quote is gold. It explemifies how the Randians dont get it. There has NEVER, in the entire history of mankind, been a seperation of government and economics. It cant work for so many reasons. One of the reasons a central government exists is to take control a territory's/country's wealth. Furthermore, I really hate when Randians talk about the Founding Fathers, when the Founding Fathers would have obviously rejected Rand. You think the FF wouldnt have wanted control over the colonies economy? Are you kidding? The fact that our .gov is set up the way it is proof of this.

Randians dont want "freedom", they just dont want the government telling them they cant dump their waste in our rivers. They want the government to stop forcing them to give workers benefits like lunch breaks and 8 hour days. They want complete and total control to do whatever they want, with the excuse "The consumer will decide with their wallets!" Well, if that were true, Walmart wouldnt be one of Americas largest companies. I bet voting with wallets is gonna really help the resident around Fukushima now.

I honestly cant believe, with the wealth of info out there about the evil tactics that corporations are using to destroy our country, that so many people willingly want to give them MORE power. /facepalm



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 08:12 PM
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reply to post by Illusionsaregrander
 


well you're not the OP, but this thread is equating Ayn Rand with serial killers, so I'd say that is a demonization.

Her science is based on the notion that people should be moral and voluntarily engage in trade with each other as opposed to being forced into it. I'm sorry that "science" has decided to go the tyranny route, but her philosophy is not wrong in that sense.

If everyone took care of themselves you wouldn't need a nanny state. So what's wrong with selfishness?

Sorry but just because someone misinterprets her philosophy does not mean its her fault.

Her philosophy really has nothing to do with evolutionary theory, it merely has to do with the free will of the self. Evolution does not believe in free will.

You did not mention one aspect of any of her stories, which leads me to believe you haven't actually read her fictional works.



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 08:15 PM
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reply to post by aching_knuckles
 


again, someone who has not shown any indication they have read any of Rand's books. Tell me, if "Randians" (love the name btw) don't want to give their workers 8 hour days, why is it Hank Reardon pays his employees more money than anyone else? Oops, you can't answer this because you have to read the book first. Oh, but I guess it's just a fiction book, right, it doesn't matter what the "characters" do? Then why is it so important to demonize her fictional books in the first place? You see, a true Ayn Rand fan, a "Randian" can see right through these tired old demonizations.
edit on 31-5-2011 by filosophia because: (no reason given)


I'm trying to stay on topic, but it just seems like the topic of this thread is to demonize Ayn Rand, so I have to argue this if I want to stay on topic. But more on topic, the thread tries to say that Ayn Rand's characters are based on serial killers. Okay, so if the fictional characters are so important, then let's look at their actions. They do not kill a single person, they are actually moral, so the thread should be saying Ayn Rand's characters based off of heroic virtue.


edit on 31-5-2011 by filosophia because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 31 2011 @ 08:24 PM
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Howard Roark may be distant, but again, he does not kill anyone in The Fountainhead. So, if his character was based off a serial killer, don't you think he would be doing some serial killing in the book? No, instead, he is an architect. Oooh, scary. I bet he throws people off the buildings he builds, right? Actually, no. He refuses to build a low rent government welfare apartments. Oh no, he's such an evil capitalist, I bet he's friends with the Koch brothers (waving fist in the air while shouting indignant liberal slogans), actually, he's quite poor throughout the entire book. He does however give the plans to his less intelligent although more acclaimed college friend Peter Keating, so he does make the effort to create the building. But at the end, he decides to take away his creation. He built it, why shouldn't he be able to take it away?

You see, the real reason liberals hate Ayn Rand is not because she was friends with Alan Greenspan, or because her philosophy is about the survival of the fittest, the elite love the idea of the survival of the fittest, because they are in love with eugenics, however the real reason they hate Ayn Rand is because her characters refuse to be milk cows for the state. Just because you are smart and wealthy does NOT mean you have to take care of the sick and diseased class of parasites. We're not even talking about cripples here, we're talking about people who are so full of themselves that they believe taxing the productive members of society will somehow lead to a better world.
edit on 31-5-2011 by filosophia because: (no reason given)

edit on 31-5-2011 by filosophia because: (no reason given)



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