"A despicable hatchet job, by a clueless non entity, pretentiously posing as a degenerate scum": one or two thoughts about Ayn Rand
There are plenty of comments critical of Rand sprinkled into the mix -- a bizarre specimen was #16, which dilated on the fact that Rand was Jewish and lamented that The New Criterion “hasn’t the courage to take a critical view of certain aspects of Jewish thought, history, and politics.” Most of the really amusing comments, though, come from Rand’s disciples. “Peter M” returned in #38 to inform us that it is “obvious” that “Daniels has written a cheap and dishonest smear that borders on the infantile” and that “What is even more interesting is that the New Criterion staff had their ‘seminar’ trolls just waiting at their keyboards for any objections to the ‘review.’” I am not quite sure what a “seminar troll” is, but it sounds like something we might want to invest in. Where, I wonder, are they to be found?
Then there is “Wendy” who, in making the 51st comment (and she came back with # 139) tells us that “Daniels knows that he and his kind are losing the war of ideas to Objectivism, and this piece is the pitiful machinations of a sore loser. Too bad, so sad, Daniels. You should have been more intellectually honest in your philosophical development, and then you wouldn't be in this position now.” This is especially funny for anyone who actually knows Anthony Daniels, one of the most percipient and humane cultural critics now writing. The disparity between what Daniels wrote and what he is accused of trespasses on the surrealistic: Here’s Sylvia Boker, #78:
“Anthony Daniels’ critique of Ayn Rand radiates a depth of viciousness that matches the mendacity and hate mongering of leftists. This is not surprising as there is next to no difference between the leftist and the neoconservative. . . . But there is more to Mr. Daniel's efforts than an attempt to tar and feather one of the greatest minds the world has known.”
“One of the greatest minds the world has known”?
Our old friend Peter M comes back at #91 to observe that if “Ayn Rand is the ‘Chernyshevsky of individualism’ [as Daniels charged] then The New Criterion has become the National Inquirer of sophisticated public taste.” Gee whiz.
I suspect that those responding feed upon and endeavor to outdo one another because by the time we get to #156 (“Ancap”), our commentators have descended to near hysterical ranting: “A despicable hatchet job, by a clueless non entity, pretentiously posing as a degenerate scum, whilst in reality, is nowhere near that virtuous. Wasted space!” Got that?
Well, it’s all in a day’s work, I suppose. From what I know, Ayn Rand was a pretty unsavory character. But she wasn’t stupid and I have to think she would have been embarrassed by this subliterate invective, much though it has entertained the rest of us.