The latest case in point:
"Ayn Rand is for Children" at Salon.com, dated today.
It's the usual (childish!) silliness passing for hard-hitting analysis, nothing that us veterans of internet culture-wars haven't seen recycled ignorantly thousands of times already and upvoted by the reddiotic circlejerk to the point of self-parody. That link points to the /r/politics subreddit, which is filled to the brim with intellectually-lazy partisans who give not the slightest shit about truth or justice but about what's popular, and reddiot's social-metaphysical upvote/downvote format only encourages it. But wait until you see the /r/"philosophy" subreddit, where there's no excuse whatsoever for this kind of ignoble/vicious behavior. But it gets worse: Even the leading "philosophy" blogger in the academic profession, Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago, and scores of vile little like-minded leftist cronies in that very profession, get in on the disgraceful, shameful act. I think of these particular academic-world assholes as the Lance Armstrongs of the philosophical profession: they have managed successfully to keep up the illusion of objectivity and integrity, but it won't last; it can't last, not as long as the truth can get out and justice prevails in this world. (If they are forward-looking enough, as they're supposed to be as philosophers, they cannot fail to recognize that in the extra-advanced information age that is the coming generation, all their public evasions can and will be fully exposed and assessed, as is happening right here, a good deal ahead of the curve. I can't think of any way around that eventuality short of species-wide technological collapse and/or extinction - and I've been giving this subject a reasonably good deal of thought.)
It's not even like these "liberal" intellectual thugs care about a fair fight. Cowards! Weaklings! BUMS! What psychological syndrome might explain this pathological pattern of behavior? One libertarian philosophy professor with a great deal of affinity toward Rand once explained to me that it pretty much boils down to politics: if Rand had (incomprehensibly) somehow been on the left politically while everything else about her remained the same, the academy and the rest of the Left would have welcomed her with open arms, especially given her demonstrable intellectual prowess (to anyone who'll look with an open mind - the "workshop" appendix to Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology being a nice readily-accessible example if it in action). I'm about 98% sure this professor has it right. (Yet another instance highlighting the sorry state of affairs here appears in a 2012 piece at the Chronicle of Higher Education. Being the kind-hearted, take-no-prisoners, suffers-no-fools-gladly gentleman that I am, I contacted the author of this piece a few days back (under a real-nym) to correct him on his errors by providing abundant contrary evidence; the response so far has been, shall we say, unsatisfactory, yes? - to put it mildly. Maybe he's too busy; I don't know. But that published piece sucks swamp ass regardless.)
I mean, c'mon: Jimmy Wales is a child, as today's Salon article unequivocally implies?
That these kinds of articles continue to flow even to this day from supposedly enlightened liberal news-and-opinion websites, in light of the growing academic/professional literature on Rand (see the Ayn Rand Society for example - lots of adults there, some of them leading Aristotle scholars, several of them on the faculty of highly-ranked philosophy programs), says a lot more about these so-called liberals than they do about Rand.
About this author:
"David Sirota is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and the best-selling author of the books "Hostile Takeover," "The Uprising" and "Back to Our Future.""
Oh, he sounds like he's really got some philosophical chops. Chances are 0% that he so much as emailed or called someone up at the Ayn Rand Institute for comment. These "liberal" pieces of shit never do.
Such so-called liberals' constant hysterical strawman reactions to Rand have gotten to the point of being comical (among those with a clue, or among those who don't evade stone-cold facts). Do they really have nothing better to offer than what the university professors seriously studying Rand have been offering, which has been overwhelmingly positive?
It's too bad Ayn Rand isn't still around, because there's no way these people would would be getting away with this blatant idiocy. How does it happen as it is? It's because of the intellectuals. As they go, so goes the nation. No wonder the public discourse in this country is so fucked up. I'll supplement this supremely judicious rant by quoting Rand from that link about the intellectuals, as it is way too good not to:
[The intellectuals] are a group that holds a unique prerogative: the potential of being either the most productive or the most parasitical of all social groups.The intellectuals serve as guides, as trend-setters, as the transmission belts or middlemen between philosophy and the culture. If they adopt a philosophy of reason—if their goal is the development of man’s rational faculty and the pursuit of knowledge—they are a society’s most productive and most powerful group, because their work provides the base and the integration of all other human activities. If the intellectuals are dominated by a philosophy of irrationalism, they become a society’s unemployed and unemployable.From the early nineteenth century on, American intellectuals—with very rare exceptions—were the humbly obedient followers of European philosophy, which had entered its age of decadence. Accepting its fundamentals, they were unable to deal with or even to grasp the nature of this country.
The intellectual Establishment of today isn't dominated by a philosophy of irrationalism, although it is dominated by a number of bad trends that undercut its usefulness to the society-at-large and its progress toward better conditions. Aside from the ugly political aspect of things, there's that thing about the American intellectuals having been unduly influenced by European philosophy when Aristotelian philosophy has always been the best intellectual paradigm in terms of the health of societies (and home-grown pragmatism hasn't been cutting it - not when it fails to identify eudaimonic self-actualization as the primary aim of ethical conduct and intellectual excellence as the key to all of human virtues). Added to that is the trend among intellectuals to oppose capitalism as if out psychological and sociological instinct. That ties in with Rand's observation that this nation's so-called intellectuals were unable to deal with or grasp the nature of this country. Hell, take a look at prevailing contemporary constitutional jurisprudence in contrast to a commonsense Jeffersonian-Paineist-Spoonerite-Barnettian natural-rights jurisprudence for a sign of the intellectual corruption involved.
(I mean, shit! - Congress could prohibit alcohol if it wanted to, on the very same grounds that the Supreme Court upheld cannabis prohibition in Gonzalez v. Raich (which built upon the bullshitty Wickard decision covering what's-not-interstate-commerce) - even though Prohibition was repealed once already (prior to Wickard, that is)! That's ass-u-ming that SCOTUS wouldn't bullshit its way into some squaring of this screwy circle in order to keep Congress from doing that. This absurd state of affairs could be cleared up quickly and easily on Jeffersonian grounds. But wtf do I know, I'm not a lawyer, just a measly philosopher whose chief credential is a non-peer-reviewed blog. Speaking of "peers," is Scumbag Leiter one of them? Derek Parfit, perhaps? Who "peer-reviewed" Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, Spinoza, Kierkegaard, Marx, and Nietzsche, anyway? I'm just asking questions here.)
Signs of health in the intellectual community would include the re-emergence of neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics in the academy (some decades after Rand had been on the cutting edge in this area, mind you) and the decline of Marxism into near-irrelevance. These are no-brainers, however. A chief indicator of dysfunction, on the other hand, I pointed to in a very recent posting: the most-unfortunate failure by the academy to connect with and make itself relevant to the People. The People desperately need education in philosophy - in critical thinking, in intellectual curiosity, and not only Aristotelianism or Randism in particular (although Aristotle and Rand would be the first to do all in their power to mobilize the intellectuals into relevance) - else the populace becomes anti-intellectual and public discourse suffers accordingly.
And that is how widely-viewed websites like Salon.com end up publishing idiotic commentaries on one of the nation's most influential and controversial thinkers of the day, and who knows what else. It is also how our current Head of State comes not understand jack shit about Ayn Rand (although I'm sure he could recite Rawls chapter and verse based on what he absorbed there at Hahhhvuhd). The people all across the fruited plain deserve a decent, fair, well-informed discussion among its leading ideas-merchants - especially those in academe - about societally-influential and controversial ideas that inform their lives and political trends. When the academy fails miserably - and I mean miserably - to deliver on their implicit and explicit promises to fulfill their professional and human obligations in this regard, righteous anger on the People's behalf is a perfectly normal and completely justified response.
This stuff should be a no-brainer. Scholars at the Ayn Rand Society have figured this stuff out. (Rand had it figured out more than 50 years ago, for crying out loud!) Why can't the rest of the intelligentsia? The sooner they get their act together, the sooner we all reach the cultural, technological and whatever other Singularities. Foot-dragging is not an acceptable option. It's not some goddamn mistake that ultimatephilosopher.com points right to this here expletive-filled blog, which has "ayn rand" and "integration" as the largest-lettered labels in the sidebar and a link to incestuous lesbians in the "about me" section, not to mention a treasure-trove of wisdom spread out over some 250ish blog entries now. Now how about getting fucking clue, any of you professional intellectuals reading this - and that goes especially for you so-called high-minded liberals among you - and get your asses in gear for the sake of the future well-being of humanity. At the very least, think of the children! ;-)
What would Aristotle do (aside from wiping the floor with Rand-bashing idiots and himself-point-missers)? (Remember, kids: boundless intellectual curiosity as the root source of great-souledness.)
Now go, go, for the good of the city!
("Yes, UP, for the thousandth time, integration is fun. :-|")
P.S. For an example of an honorable leftish-liberal media figure, try Glenn Greenwald. He's had the very good sense (as is standard for him) not to enter the Rand-criticism fray or to so much as mention Rand beyond his demolition of Paul Ryan, a politician (ew!) and Romney-sidekick (yuck!) who, as Greenwald correctly mentions, bears little resemblance to a Randian hero. Greenwald was the primary draw, for me, to Salon's website on a regular basis, before he moved over to the UK Guardian. For anyone who has observed Good Guy Glenn in action, he never loses an argument. Why? Because when he speaks on a subject, he knows what the fuck he's talking about. There's a key rule for how to win arguments: know more about the issue than your opponent does. It's worked for me: I've never lost an argument about Rand, for instance. Something something impossible to refute perfectivism....