Unlike most liberals and leftist thugs who hypocritically resort to name-calling and ad hominem without properly understanding their opponents’
views, I can justifiably explain why I call a liberal book author named Gary Weiss a “moron.”
The standard dictionary definition of the word “moron” is “a stupid person”. The word “stupid”, on the other hand, is defined as “lacking intelligence or common sense.” Mr. Weiss, who wrote an article titled Why You Shouldn’t Dismiss Ayn Rand, is a moron or a stupid person for a number of reasons.
First, Mr. Weiss passed himself as someone who clearly understands Ayn Rand’s philosophy and ideas when his Huffington Post article exposes him as an ignoramus who definitely lacks logic and critical thinking skills. Ayn Rand’s answer to Mr. Weiss’s context-dropping, misrepresentation, strawman attacks will show why the book author is just another liberal moron (actually the term ‘liberal moron’ is a redundancy, because one cannot be a liberal without being a moron.)
Second, Mr. Weiss has a moronic, nihilistic and primitive understanding of the concepts of ‘self-interest’, ‘sacrifice’, and ‘altruism’. That’s the reason why he dismissed Ayn Rand’s philosophy and still clings to his tribalist, collectivist liberal view.
Third, he didn’t actually do his homework. If he really wanted to expose Ayn Rand’s philosophical flaws, he should have practiced what he now preaches: take Ayn Rand seriously by actually reading her works, both fiction and non-fiction, and properly understanding her philosophy. Ms Rand was not merely an unapologetic advocate of capitalism; she was a philosopher, more specifically a moral philosopher. Her defense of capitalism is deeply rooted her ethics, which is rational self-interest, epistemology and metaphysics. One cannot properly understand her political views without taking a deep look into her philosophy of Objectivism- from her morality of ‘self-interest’ (on why she argued self-interest is the most proper morality for man and why she called altruism evil), epistemology whis is reason, and to metaphysics which is objective reality . In short, Mr. Weiss is just another lazy, moronic, stupid liberal who simply sought to make a name for himself by free-riding on Ayn Rand’s renewed popularity. He must be exposed as a clueless, indolent, dishonest moron.
Here I have to let Ayn Rand debunk the utterly moronic and dishonest claims of Mr. Weiss, who recently published a book titled Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul. I don’t recommend to anyone, especially students of Objectivism like me, to waste a penny on Mr. Weiss’s poorly researched, stupid book.
Weiss claimed to have conducted his own research to understand Ayn Rand’s impact on America’s culture and intellectual state. He explains himself – his political and moral views – in the following fashion: “I’m not a Rand follower–an “Objectivist”–and never will be. I don’t believe in laissez-faire, free-market capitalism. I believe in regulation and taxation and Medicare–all the things she hated (even though she became a Medicare recipient when it suited her purposes). But I can’t deny that there were aspects of her work that appealed to me. It’s foolish, I found, to pretend that Rand is a repulsive creature that only nutcases could fine appealing. If that were so, she wouldn’t be as powerful–and dangerous–as she is today.”
Now let’s see whether Mr. Weiss did his homework and whether he read or truly understood the philosophy and ideas of his subject.
Weiss: “The two books contrast in many ways. Fountainhead plays second fiddle to Atlas today because it focuses not on capitalism but on self-interest and selfishness. The principal character in Fountainhead doesn’t even like money. He’s a character that the left and the right can both appreciate, if his extreme characteristics are moderated.”
I don’t think Mr. Weiss has enough brain cells to understand the philosophical connection between The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Having read these books twice, I say that Mr. Weiss is too dumb and too stupid to be a book author. I believe that when one critiques someone else’s philosophy or views, one has to honestly and critically look into that person’s works and statements in order to properly know where that person is coming from. It appears that this is not what this liberal moron did, as I suspect he didn’t actually read Ayn Rand’s non-fiction works, particularly The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, and Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. This makes Mr. Weiss a dishonest moron. Based on what I read, it seems that Mr. Weiss simply read Rand’s fiction works and relied on second-hand opinions for her non-fiction books.
Ayn Rand disputes Weiss’s claim that her two best-selling books “contrast in many ways”. She said in The Art of Fiction:
The theme of The Fountainhead is: individualism and collectivism, not in politics, but in man’s soul.
The theme of Atlas Shrugged is: the crucial value of the human mind.
Contrary to Mr. Weiss’s idiotic statement that “The Fountainhead plays second fiddle to Atlas today because it focuses not on capitalism but on self-interest and selfishness”, Capitalism as a socio-political system is founded on the morality of self-interest or selfishness. One only has to possess critical thinking skills in order to connect the themes of the books. I don’t see any reason why Mr. Weiss claims that Atlas Shrugged does not focus on self-interest. Indeed, he must be a moron for failing to see that element in Rand’s magnum opus. Everything in the book (e.g., John Galt’s strike, the disappearing tycoons, the theme, the plot, the storyline, the final reawakening of both Dagny Taggart and Henry Rearden, Rearden’s refusal to surrender his metal, and the motor) is a dramatic, creative presentation of self-interest or selfishness.
Or: did he ever read the John Galt oath? It says: “I swear by my Life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for the sake of mine.“
Did Mr. Weiss ever read John Galt’s speech? Part of that speech says:
“If you heal your pain by your own effort, you receive no moral credit: your code regards it scornfully as an act of self-interest. Whatever value you seek to acquire, be it wealth or food or love or rights, if you acquire it by means of your Virtue, your code does not regard it as a moral acquisition: you occasion no loss to anyone, it is a trade, not alms; a payment, not a sacrifice. The deserved belongs in the selfish, commercial realm of mutual profit; it is only the undeserved that calls for that moral transaction which consists of profit to one at the price of disaster to the other. To demand rewards for your virtue is selfish and immoral; it is your lack of virtue that transforms your demand into a moral right.
Again, Mr. Weiss must be more than blind or a moron for failing to appreciate the philosophical import of that speech.
Is there any truth to this moronic claim: “The principal character in Fountainhead doesn’t even like money.”
The problem with the liberal morons is their idiotic propensity to equate self-interest with the pursuit of money. That simply shows their moral character. That’s the reason why they love to redistribute wealth and why they’re plainly motivated by hate and envy. To liberals, the pursuit of money itself constitutes self-interest, as they no longer attempt to know where that money comes from, whether it comes from immoral means or deceit.
First, Mr. Weiss needs to understand why Howard Roark opted to reject the projects that demand that he surrender his convictions to the desires of his clients. In the book, Howard Rorark says: “I don’t intend to build in order to have clients; I intend to have clients in order to build.”
Or: did Mr. Weiss ever read that part of the book where Roark tells Peter Keating the following:“To sell your soul is the easiest thing in the world. That’s what everybody does every hour of his life. If I asked you to keep your soul–would you understand why that’s much harder?”
What Mr. Weiss didn’t understand, since he’s a liberal moron, is that The Fountainhead simply laid down the moral foundation of an individualist society, which later on became the basis ofAtlas Shrugged‘s political theme.
The nexus between The Fountainhead‘s morality of self-interest and Atlas Shrugged‘s political theme can be found in Francisco d’Anconia’s money speech. Even if Mr. Weiss read that money speech, I don’t think he had enough brain cells to understand its political and philosophical message.
Part of that speech says:
But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver. It will give you the means for the satisfaction of your desires, but it will not provide you with desires. Money is the scourge of the men who attempt to reverse the law of causality – the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind.
Roark understands that money is merely a tool, not an ultimate value he ought to gain at the expense of compromising his principles and convictions in life.
The speech also says:
Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants; money will not give him a code of values, if he’s evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not provide him with a purpose, if he’s evaded the choice of what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money replacing his judgment, ends up by becoming the victim of his inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but the cheats and the frauds come flocking to him, drawn by a law which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than his money. Is this the reason why you call it evil?
Do you now understand, Mr. Weiss?
In Atlas Shrugged, Henry Rearden strongly dismissed the government’s offer to buy his Rearden Metal. Does that also mean Mr. Rearden, like Howard Roark, hates money? And if John Galt valued money more than his principles, then he should have chosen to offer his motor to the public, or sold it to the government at a very high price.
Weiss: “Sure, the hyper-selfishness that she advocated was absurd. Rand was so intent on winning the intellectual argument over selfishness that she blithely misquoted the dictionary. But there is much to be said for people pursuing their rational self-interests, to use Rand’s terminology, when doing so does not infringe on the rights of others.”
As to the claim that Rand “blithely misquoted the dictionary”, here’s what Ayn Rand said in The Virtue of Selfishness:
The meaning ascribed in popular usage to the word “selfishness” is not merely wrong: it represents a devastating intellectual “package-deal,” which is responsible, more than any other single factor, for the arrested moral development of mankind.
In popular usage, the word “selfishness” is a synonym of evil; the image it conjures is of a murderous brute who tramples over piles of corpses to achieve his own ends, who cares for no living being and pursues nothing but the gratification of the mindless whims of any immediate moment.
Yet the exact meaning and dictionary definition of the word “selfishness” is: concern with one’s own interests.
This concept does not include a moral evaluation; it does not tell us whether concern with one’s own interests is good or evil; nor does it tell us what constitutes man’s actual interests. It is the task of ethics to answer such questions.
Where’s the misquotation? Or it’s just that Mr. Weiss is too dumb and too stupid to have failed to understand that the standard dictionary definition of self-interest “does not include a moral evaluation”?
In order to understand Rand’s ethics, one has to understand why she also rejected altruism. But since Mr. Weiss is like a monkey with a keyboard, I simply let Ayn Rand further explain her morality of self-interest:
There is a fundamental moral difference between a man who sees his self-interest in production and a man who sees it in robbery. The evil of a robber does not lie in the fact that he pursues his own interests, but in what he regards as to his own interest;not in the fact that he pursues his values, but in what he chose to value; not in the fact that he wants to live, but in the fact that he wants to live on a subhuman level (see “The Objectivist Ethics”).
If it is true that what I mean by “selfishness” is not what is meant conventionally, then this is one of the worst indictments of altruism: it means that altruism permits no concept of a self-respecting, self-supporting man—a man who supports his life by his own effort and neither sacrifices himself nor others. It means that altruism permits no view of men except as sacrificial animals and profiteers-on-sacrifice, as victims and parasites—that it permits no concept of a benevolent co-existence among men—that it permits no concept of justice.
Weiss: “That’s a concept the 99% should embrace. Why do we support social programs? Because it is in our rational self-interests.”
That’s actually the most moronic, idiotic part of his article. That’s why I said Weiss didn’t actually do his homework. I suggest that Mr. Weiss read The Virtue of Selfishness, particularly one essay entitled The “Conflict” of Men’s Interests. In this essay, Rand identified “four interrelated considerations which are involved in a rational man’s view of his interests, but which are ignored or evaded in the above question and in all similar approaches to the issue”, namely, (a) “Reality,” (b) “Context,” (c) “Responsibility,” (d) “Effort.”
Allow me to summarize these four considerations as brief as possible:
Reality: The term “interests” is a wide abstraction that covers the entire field of ethics. It includes the issues of man’s values, his desires, his goals and their actual achievement in reality. A man’s “interests” depend on the kind of goals he chooses to pursue, his choice of goals depends on his desires, his desires depend on his values—and, for a rational man, his values depend on the judgment of his mind.
Desires (or feelings or emotions or wishes or whims) are not tools of cognition; they are not a valid standard of value, nor a valid criterion of man’s interests. The mere fact that a man desires something does not constitute a proof that the object of his desire is good, nor that its achievement is actually to his interest.
To claim that a man’s interests are sacrificed whenever a desire of his frustrated—is to hold a subjectivist view of man’s values and interests. Which means: to believe that it is proper, moral and possible for man to achieve his goals, regardless of whether they contradict the facts of reality or not. Which means: to hold an irrational or mystical view of existence. Which means: to deserve no further consideration.
Context: Just as a rational man does not hold any conviction out of context—that is: without relating it to the rest of his knowledge and resolving any possible contradictions—so he does not hold or pursue any desire out of context. And he does not judge what is or is not to his interest out of context, on the range of any given moment.
Context-dropping is one of the chief psychological tools of evasion. In regard to one’s desires, there are two major ways of context-dropping: the issues of range and of means.
A rational man sees his interests in terms of a lifetime and selects his goals accordingly. This does not mean that he has to be omniscient, infallible or clairvoyant. It means that he does not live his life short-range and does not drift like a bum pushed by the spur of the moment. It means that he does not regard any moment as cut off from the context of the rest of his life, and that he allows no conflicts or contradictions between his short-range and long-range interests. He does not become his own destroyer by pursuing a desire today which wipes out all his values tomorrow.
A rational man does not indulge in wistful longings for ends divorced from means. He does not hold a desire without knowing (or learning) and considering the means by which it is to be achieved. Since he knows that nature does not provide man with the automatic satisfaction of his desires, that a man’s goals or values have to be achieved by his own effort, that the lives and efforts of other men are not his property and are not there to serve his wishes—a rational man never holds a desire or pursues a goal which cannot be achieved directly or indirectly by his own effort.
Responsibility: This last is the particular form of intellectual responsibility that most people evade. That evasion is the major cause of their frustrations and defeats.
Most people hold their desires without any context whatever, as ends hanging in a foggy vacuum, the fog hiding any concept of means. They rouse themselves mentally only long enough to utter an “I wish,” and stop there, and wait, as if the rest were up to some unknown power.
What they evade is the responsibility of judging the social world. They take the world as the given. “A world I never made” is the deepest essence of their attitude—and they seek only to adjust themselves uncritically to the incomprehensible requirements of those unknowable others who did make the world, whoever those might be.
Effort: Since a rational man knows that man must achieve his goals by his own effort, he knows that neither wealth nor jobs nor any human values exist in a given, limited, static quantity, waiting to be divided. He knows that all benefits have to be produced, that the gain of one man does not represent the loss of another, that a man’s achievement is not earned at the expense of those who have not achieved it.
Therefore, he never imagines that he has any sort of unearned, unilateral claim on any human being—and he never leaves his interests at the mercy of any one person or single, specific concrete. He may need clients, but not any one particular customer—he may need a job, but not any one particular job.
Thus, those who see self-interest in demanding redistribution of wealth, replacing capitalism with socialism, welfare statism, and collective rights, like the Occupy Morons, are motivated by whims and hippyish desires. They are, in effect, asking for their own collective SELF-DESTRUCTION.
Let me repeat Rand’s statement: “Desires (or feelings or emotions or wishes or whims) are not tools of cognition; they are not a valid standard of value, nor a valid criterion of man’s interests. The mere fact that a man desires something does not constitute a proof that the object of his desire is good, nor that its achievement is actually to his interest. “
Weiss: “In the Randian worldview, however, there is no such thing as “the public,” there were only individual people, with individual rights. That may be fine if you’re a billionaire and don’t give a hoot about other people. It’s not so great if you’re a little guy, which is why collectivism–ordinary people’s collective prerogatives–is the antidote to the privileges of the 1%.”
Again, what a moronic, idiotic statement! Like a monkey with a keyboard, Weiss needs to understand the proper concepts of individual rights and collectivism. If he read Ayn Rand’s non-fiction works, he would have ‘somehow’ fixed his seemingly incurable conceptual bankruptcy.
Here’s how Ayn Rand explained the concept of individual rights:
“Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority; the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual).”
“A group, as such, has no rights. A man can neither acquire new rights by joining a group nor lose the rights which he does possess. The principle of individual rights is the only moral base of all groups or associations.” — “Collectivized ‘Rights,’” The Virtue of Selfishness.
As to collectivism, here’s Ayn Rand’s answer:
Collectivism means the subjugation of the individual to a group—whether to a race, class or state does not matter. Collectivism holds that man must be chained to collective action and collective thought for the sake of what is called “the common good.”
… “Collectivism holds that the individual has no rights, that his life and work belong to the group . . . and that the group may sacrifice him at its own whim to its own interests. The only way to implement a doctrine of that kind is by means of brute force—and statism has always been the political corollary of collectivism.”
Weiss: “It’s not in the rational self-interests of the 1% to support collectivism, but it is in the selfish interests of the rest of us.”
This moron seriously needs to research and understand the proper concept of collectivism. He seriously needs to look at history and try to understand why all 20th century dictators, like Hitler, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, glorified collectivism and vilified individualism.
In this essay Ayn Rand wrote:
They preach “Democracy” and then make a little addition — “Economic Democracy” or a “Broader Democracy” or a “True Democracy”, and demand that we turn all property over to the Government; “all property” means also “all rights”; let everybody hold all rights together — and nobody have any right of any kind individually. Is that Democracy or is it Totalitarianism? You know of a prominent woman commentator who wants us all to die for Democracy — and then defines “true” Democracy as State Socialism [probably a reference to Dorothy Thompson]. You have heard Secretary [Harold] Ickes define a “true” freedom of the press as the freedom to express the views of the majority. You have read in a highly respectable national monthly the claim that the Bill of Rights, as taught in our schools, is “selfish”: that a “true” Bill of Rights means not demanding any rights for yourself, but your giving these rights to “others.” God help us, fellow Americans, are we blind? Do you see what this means? Do you see the implications?
And this is the picture wherever you look. They “oppose” Totalitarianism and they “defend” Democracy — by preaching their own version of Totalitarianism, some form of “collective good,” “collective rights,” “collective will,” etc. And the one thing which is never said, never preached, never upheld in our public life, the one thing all these “defenders of Democracy” hate, denounce, and tear down subtly, gradually, systematically — is the principle of Individual Rights, Individual Freedom, Individual Value. That is the principle against which the present great world conspiracy is directed. That is the heart of the whole world question. That is the only opposite of Totalitarianism and our only defense against it. Drop that — and what difference will it make what name you give to the resulting society? It will be Totalitarianism — and all Totalitarians are alike, all come to the same methods, the same slavery, the same bloodshed, the same horrors, no matter what noble slogan they start under, as witness Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany.
It is not in the interests “of the rest of us” to embrace collectivism of any variant, form or version. Mr. Weiss seriously needs to undergo a long process of self-reeducation to correct his fatal conceptual and ideological flaws.
Weiss: “The Founders were certainly not Randian; they sacrificed for others. They were altruists. If they’d have thought only of themselves, there would have been no revolution.”
This is the reason why this liberal moron needs to understand the proper concept of altruism (according to Auguste Compte) and self-sacrifice. Were the founding fathers altruists? What a moron.
Altruism, according to Compte, calls for living for the sake of others.
Here’s Ayn Rand’s answer to Weiss’s ‘altruistic’ idiocy:
What is the moral code of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.
Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice—which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction—which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good.
Did the founding fathers sacrifice for others? They fought their British colonizers to achieve FREEDOM! Was that a sacrifice? To sacrifice is to simply submit to one’s slave-driver or invader.
Here Ayn Rand also explains the proper concept of sacrifice:
“Sacrifice” does not mean the rejection of the worthless, but of the precious. “Sacrifice” does not mean the rejection of the evil for the sake of the good, but of the good for the sake of the evil. “Sacrifice” is the surrender of that which you value in favor of that which you don’t.
If you exchange a penny for a dollar, it is not a sacrifice; if you exchange a dollar for a penny, it is. If you achieve the career you wanted, after years of struggle, it is not a sacrifice; if you then renounce it for the sake of a rival, it is. If you own a bottle of milk and give it to your starving child, it is not a sacrifice; if you give it to your neighbor’s child and let your own die, it is.
If you give money to help a friend, it is not a sacrifice; if you give it to a worthless stranger, it is. If you give your friend a sum you can afford, it is not a sacrifice; if you give him money at the cost of your own discomfort, it is only a partial virtue, according to this sort of moral standard; if you give him money at the cost of disaster to yourself—that is the virtue of sacrifice in full.
If you renounce all personal desires and dedicate your life to those you love, you do not achieve full virtue: you still retain a value of your own, which is your love. If you devote your life to random strangers, it is an act of greater virtue. If you devote your life to serving men you hate—that is the greatest of the virtues you can practice.
A sacrifice is the surrender of a value. Full sacrifice is full surrender of all values.
Also, here’s the best proof that the founding fathers were one of the first to practice the morality of self-interest: the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE.
This declaration proudly states: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
It does not say men must sacrifice their lives to others. It says every individual has a right to the pursuit of happiness. What could be more selfish than that? Nowhere in the American constitution will one find such phrases as “collective rights”, “collective good”, “national sacrifice”, or “redistribution of wealth”. To claim that the founding fathers were altruists is to assert that Barack Obama is a Jeffersonian.
Yes, Mr. Gary Weiss is a certified liberal moron.