[ExI] Meta Rand was Attacking Rand

Stefano Vaj stefano.vaj at gmail.com
Fri Jun 19 11:58:57 UTC 2009

On Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 2:24 AM, hkhenson<hkhenson at rogers.com> wrote:
> There is a meta point I have considered for many years without coming close
> to resolving it.  What is it about Ayn Rand's writing that has such a
> powerful memetic hook on 13 year old boys?  (I think this is about the
> center of the distribution.)   To a lesser extent Heinlein had a similar
> effect, giving rise to the two main origins of people in the Libertarian
> party.

What makes both Heinlein and Rand attractive is the "titanism", the
overcoming of limitations, the quest for greatness and the concern for
the protection of greatness and creative spirit and will to power
against mediocrity and status quo. Accordingly, Rand may have an
appeal also for those who find mathematical demonstrations of the
alleged superiority of free markets, let alone the preaches on
fundamental benignity of giant corporations, frankly boring. This also
explains why both were, and to an extent still are, wildly popular in
the transhumanist camp.

This titanism, which has obvious Nietzschean roots, in the US ends up
invariably being declined in individualistic terms. In Europe, the
"hero" considers himself or herself most often an agent or the "true
soul" of a community, see Marinetti or D'Annunzio or the protagonist
of Fritz Lang's Metropolis. This is however a very rough sketch:
consider for instance Starship Troopers, where aristocracy is defined
by one's willingness to sacrifice for the good of the group.

Stefano Vaj

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