Thursday, March 5, 2009

Megan, Ayn, and Orderly Frameworks

There's an unmistakable wistfulness to Megan McArdle's chidings, if these even count as chidings:

Perhaps predictibly [sic], Ayn Rand is making a comeback on the right, with Congressmen handing out her books, and loose talk of rich people "Going Galt".
Predictably indeed. Shorn of the pretenses and burdens of conducting sensible public policy, right-wing "leaders" -- members of Congress, overweight spokesmen, underweight spokesmodels, gun show organizers, unhinged theocrats, unlicensed plumbers, mentally retarded governors, insane asylum fugitives, warriors of Kulturkampfs past and present -- can now indulge their boorish inner assholes and go Full Rand.

But the news from McArdle is not all sunny. File this under 'damnation by faint praise':
Her [Rand's] philosophy does not work, at least if by work we mean generate a framework by which a person or society can order itself. But she was actually a really very gifted observer, and she had a quite subtle understanding of how all the interconnected elements of an industrial economy fit together. It's a pity she didn't quite get how human beings worked, especially herself.
A pity indeed, that part about Ayn Rand's failure to understand human beings. There's a joke involving the quality of the Titanic's interior decorations all but announcing itself here.

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