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Desc:No, seriously. How?
Category:Classic TV Clips, News & Politics
Tags:Ayn Rand, john oliver, objectivism, Last Week Tonight
Submitted:Binro the Heretic
Date:10/10/14
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Comment count is 33
The Mothership
In high school I had a hard time when I was a freshman, as I had moved in from another district and was not taking school seriously. I quickly realized this and ejection-seated into honors English and geometry the next year. My honors English teacher was Ms Stanek, Hudson's Bay High School, Vancouver, WA, mid 90s. Ms Stanek was a bit of an enigma. She was stimulating, objective, funny, knew how to engage all students from the jocks to the nerds to the beauty queens, and even me, the guy who needed some encouragement to come do well and be more social. Despite the fact that she weighed about 300lbs or so. Seriously huge lady.

Anyway, great teacher and she helped me become a better person through several years of literature and language classes, and yet my senior year - in honors philosophy class - she forced us to read The Fountainhead from cover to cover.

I will never forgive her for that. I know it made me stronger in that whole 'i have seen the face of the enemy and now I know how better to defeat him' sort of way, but man, that was the worst book I have ever read. Awful, just awful. And the philosophy is shit too.

We could never figure out of Ms Stanek was pro Ayn Rand, anti Ayn Rand or just wanted to stir our shit up.
kingarthur
In high school one of my best friends was a rabid reader of Rand and Limbaugh and me, being someone coping with an anxiety disorder, well listening to his "advice" had a seriously stunting effect on my development. Luckily, I completely moved away immediately after graduation. I think he's since grown out of it over the years, or at least I hope he has because he's 36 now with two kids and fuck, you should really grow up and get the fuck over that Libertarian bullshit by then.

That guy
I'm guessing pro, unless you came from an area with a lot of Randroids and she was using their word against them.

I think any smart teacher not trying to grind an axe in class would have gone after the same kind of "where do we land?" thing with either:
A) an examination of what grounds ethics, if anything
or
B) Marx' effective critique vs. how shitty actual Marxism is
or
C) maybe even skeptical arguments of all forms
...if only because they are more difficult issues. You can pretty much throw out being pro-Rand if you care about other people even a sniffle's-worth.

Maybe you can't get away with B in high school, and you have to leave it for college along with Lolita, and Fear and Trembling and the arguments for/against the existence of God.

Anyway, my econ teacher in high school was a economically hard-right lesbian and had no business teaching anyone anything. She was like a 'let them eat cake' type, combined with angry lesbian....
I had to pass that class so I could graduate. I clothespinned my mouth shut a lot.

cognitivedissonance
"Ethics" is a focus term of both Ayn Rand and L. Ron Hubbard. This means that it means nothing whatsoever and any sense of actual ethics have been obliterated since the mid-50s.

Dinkin Flicka
"Ethics" merely regards ways of living; the term isn't intrinsically tied to your ethical values and thus void of meaning if anyone else has values different to yours. Unless you are an objectivist.

cognitivedissonance
I had to give up my Ayn Rand project. It was getting to the point where I actually dreaded reading it. It is so stultefyingly, kneeslapping offensive to anybody with even a nominal sense of philosophical scope that I had to give up.

I'm sorry. I really am.
Bobonne
None of us blame you, man.

You made a real sacrifice for us as it is.

Thank you for your courage.

Jet Bin Fever
please pick it back up sometime. I was enjoying it. Maybe you just need to speed it up and not try to explain all the glorious garbage in the plot!

Bort
I enjoyed it tremendously, and while I am sad to see it go, I would rather keep you in good working order.

Can you review something less painful? You're one of the few people who could review "One Fish Two Fish" and come up with illustrations as entertaining as the originals.

Binro the Heretic
Hey, you Tried. "Atlas Shrugged" has beaten many. It took me three attempts and a few years to finally make it all the way through.

You should at least make a video about how its sheer awfulness defeated you. It could prove cathartic.

memedumpster
You did what no human being should ever be asked to do in a just and fair universe, because you felt it needed to be done for the rest of us.

You're the Lionel to her Mum Ra.

Oscar Wildcat
We're all about suicide missions here. I opened the fucker myself just now and hit a 3/4 page long paragraph of Hank Reardon telling off his oppressors "...and I've done more good than you'll ever do, but I won't say that, because I don't even think doing good is something I should be concerned with, but I did actually say it, so fuck you and blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-bl ah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah-de-blah "

Oscar Wildcat
Also: Binro is right. You should close out the series with your self insert being clubbed to death by a Godzilla sized Ayn Rand armed with a hardcover copy of "Atlas Shrugged". The large type edition for seniors.

Needtodestroy
We understand.

Jumping on a grenade is jumping on a grenade no matter what size it is.

Having read Rand myself I can say it's a pretty big grenade you jumped on.

kingarthur
How is this asshole strain called American Libertarianism still a thing? You'd almost have to think it was a propaganda machine generated and paid for by extremely wealthy, evil benefactors....
EvilHomer
I wonder that, too! You'd think that with all the badmouthing libertarianism has got from propaganda machines generated and paid for extremely wealthy and evil benefactors, everyone in America would ADORE state coercion, big government, Keynesian banking, fiat money, the erosion of our civil liberties, the erosion of our right to free speech, total surveillance, endless warfare, the criminalization of non-violent behavior in order to grow an underclass of slaves for our for-profit prison system, the endless stream of highly entertaining prolefeed which tells us to distrust everyone different from ourselves and choose sides in a largely illusory culture war between vaguely Christian, neo-Con statist and vaguely humanist, neo-liberal statists (often flipping it's own narrative overnight to meet the current needs of Washington), carbon indulgences which surprisingly turn out to be far more useful to speculative bankers than to the environment, full blown crony capitalism masquerading as pseudo-Marxist progressivism which punishes small businesses and rewards those large and mercenary enough to either jump ship or shovel money into the mouth of the machine (typically both), massive tax rates (the highest in the developed world) that fund the planet's largest corporation (the US federal government) and go largely towards destabilizing African nations and imprisoning own citizens, a "democratic" system where third-party candidates are thrown in handcuffs for the crime of trying to speak at a televised debate but HEY! you should totally care about how concerned the billionaire-run establishment is that you keep your right to vote, and all the other well-documented, historically irrefutable bullshit from the prison-security-military-industrial complex, that has transformed us from the most liberal nation on earth, to a dying feudal empire where freedom is a dirty word, Hillary 'WalMart" Clinton is held up as a blueprint for whatever's left of well-intentioned socialism, and we've neither the moral authority nor the economic power to challenge our eventual enslavement by the Chinese.

Hell, Ayn Rand hated libertarians, those freedom-craving monsters, why shouldn't the rest of us?

Oscar Wildcat
Terrifc cri de coeur Homie, but how does Libertardianism solve any of those things ( except perhaps the legal doobage but we got that here already broseph! )???

EvilHomer
In all seriousness, people should be *pushing* for wider recognition of Ayn Rand, regardless of your economic views, if for no other reason than to reform American conservatives and get Middle America away from people like Reagan and Jerry Falwell. I understand why guys like Jon Stewart and John Oliver like to take funny jabs at Ms Rand, because they're entertainers and, in Mr Stewart's case particularly, are members of the 1% who feel threatened by the loss of privilege that wider adoption of Randian idealism would entail. But let's be honest; Ayn Rand is far better than the party of Bush and the Reaganauts.

memedumpster
It's kind of cruel to Republicans to undermine their disagreeable ideology by encouraging another. Like brushing off the inquiries of a child who doesn't know with a comforting fairy tale you equally don't believe in. It treats them like animals while reserving humanity for ourselves.

Satanic libertarianism.

EvilHomer
Mr Wildcat: how does it not? All of these problems are caused by the state's ability to utilize coercion; in many cases, they are caused *solely* by the state's ability to utilize coercion. That is, after all, the fundamental nature of the state: **a state is a simply corporation whose business is the application of force**. Now, you'd probably say that some force is necessary for the functioning a civilized society. I'd agree with that; I am not now, nor have ever, advocated complete anarchy and the wholescale abolition of the state. I do, for example, believe that limited provisions should be made to protect people from violent crimes, to encourage competition in markets through antitrust regulation, and (perhaps most controversially) to provide basic income for the underclass, through both monetary reform and a no-strings attached basic income entitlement that avoids the three major problems of the welfare state (increased bureaucracy, paternalistic social control, and the incentivization of laziness). However, one must always be aware that expanding the state also expands the state's ability to leverage force *according to it's own interests*, which are invariably the interests of those who control the system, and has led us directly to all of the problems listed above.

Freedom is never a bad thing; libertarianism, whether right-libertarianism or left-libertarianism, should always be the default, *particularly* in the minds of those who have no real power within the political system (i.e., every last one of us here).

Oscar Wildcat
OK, I see I was confused. What you are in fact is a raging Socialist, but I'm guessing that calling it such makes you persona non grata to the good people at Camp JesusFreedom. Hence Libertardianism.

But for the record, freedom is not always a good thing. I've come to appreciate that freedom and loneliness are just two ways of looking at the same phenomena.

John Holmes Motherfucker
'Libertarians are great, unless you like roads."-- Al Franken

EvilHomer
I used to be a raging socialist, which is why I tend to approach issues from a post-Marxist, class based perspective. It's also part of why I am so skeptical, both of proposing state-based solutions to economic problems (real or imagined), as well as the motives and methodology of my fellow travellers (who invariably wind up being "socialists" in either the Marxist-Leninist/ fascist sense, or sell out and become neoliberal-autocrats like everyone in the Democratic Party except for Mike Gravel and possibly Kucinich). Now I'd call myself a Voluntarist, a born-again liberal midway between the anarcho Libertarians and the Pirate International.

EvilHomer
Mr Holmes - roads are only one small issue. There's no proof that roads MUST be built and maintained by the state, nor even that this is the best/ most efficient/ most moral policy. And even if it *were* true that the state is a better provider of roadways than the private sector, how then does all the rest follow? Roads are not a rider in a non-negotiable packaged deal. Or rather, they should not be - the non-negotiable, anti-democratic nature of centralized economic planning being perhaps the single biggest problem with such schemes. If I like tax-funded roads, I do not also have to like cops with MRAPs, drone strikes in Yemen, welfare for failed billionaires, and federal goons shutting down Boomer the Dog's pirate radio show because the FCC is all a bunch of stupid jerks. Just as if I want to go to WalMart to buy a candle because I like their selection, I shouldn't also have to like their limp steaks, their horrible BluRays, their sweat-shop sewn fat person pants, or their dystopian employee policies that resemble the sort of rote brainwashing usually reserved for state-run public schools. And I don't! Mostly because WalMart, being a relatively *small* corporation that does not claim a ruthlessly centralized monopoly on violence (their total yearly income is less than a third of the budget of the US military alone), does not have the legal ability to coerce obedience and force everyone to buy into their top-down approved corporate service-bundle, on pain of death.

EvilHomer
For example: the state does not provide your internet service. It never has.

The state did not build your computer. It did not code your operating system. It did not make your router, invent your protocol, pay your service provider. It did not invent electricity. All it does is spy on you and tell you can't watch porn unless you're 21. There are certain *policies* that the state can enact which help foster a free, open digital world, net-neutrality being one example, a digital bill of rights being another (which will never happen, as rights imply duties, and duties would place restrictions on what the state can legally do to you; a quaint notion that has become passe in polite society), but pretty much everything surrounding your daily computer experience has been the product of motivated individuals operating in a free market. And needs to b,e OR ELSE!!! (can you imagine what a disaster it would be if the NSA was the only group allowed to build smartphones and run webpages? Both China and Australia have tried to muscle their nanny states in on the EVIL FREE INTERNET, with predictably hellish results) The computer was born in a top-secret government lab as a cynical tool to help our military kill millions of Russians. Left to the state, that's all it would ever have been. Thank God it was quickly co-opted by a decentralized cloud of ragtag hippie libertarians, free-spirited dorks who turned the digital revolution into the single most important movement of our lifetimes! Every time you hop on your favorite open-sourced Ubuntu webbrowser to watch hours and hours of Japanese CGI vore porn, Mr Holmes, just think to yourself: "Libertarians are awful, unless you like the internet".

memedumpster
The state is just the military wing of private industry, it always has been since we did away with kings and queens. The two cannot be separated. You want small government, it MUST come with small business. Otherwise, who will force the redistribution of wealth required to keep incompetent capitalism afloat? Capitalism is not capable of surviving on its own.

memedumpster
Also...
"For example: the state does not provide your internet service. It never has." is the best argument for big government in 200 years.

Sexy Duck Cop
EvilHomer:

Ayn Rand is worse than any number of straw man evangelicals. If Mike Huckabee and Sean Hannity are the Jokers, moderately dangerous thugs with exceptional PR skills, then Ayn Rand is Bane. She monologues too much, had an anticlimatic death, and can blow up huge chunks of territory that otherwise don't give a shit about Fox News or Talking Points Memo because she appeals to tge worst anarchic tendencies in all of us. Ayn Rand would stand in front of an Occupy Wall Street rally with a tank and a 1,542-page speech about how those hedge fund managers are more productive than you. It's like a venom coursing through America's veins.

SolRo
because even assholes like company.

Rand is something they can have in common with other assholes.

Nominal
How is The Daily Show still a thing when we have this?
Simillion
Comedy Central : Daily Show
Last Week Tonight : HBO

infinite zest
If I have a problem with LWT it's that it's only on once a week, vs. The Daily Show's 4 (5?) nights. I know that's sort of the point but the way it's set up (a couple of quick stories followed by a really long in-depth one) glazes over so many important things that happened that week. That's fine on a show like Newshour or Daily Show/Colbert, but I was about ready not to like the show after the time they spent on Oregon's failed Healthcare, even though it was funny to see my friend featured on a national show (that clip got her more publicity than she knows what to do with.) I can't remember what else was going on that week, but it was literally a story that effected a small group of people in a low-populated state, that honestly doesn't effect you unless you live right there. Oracle fucked up and now we're suing them. It's gotten better (I'd say the Space Gecko one was a bit de trop, but it's a comedy show and that week's best news was that.. well there was no good news at all that week.) I'd like to see it as maybe an hour-long program, but other than that it's the best 30 minutes of my week: this bit was great but if you haven't seen the story about Civil Forfeiture in the same episode.. just watch it.

Kid Fenris
We The Living was the only Rand book I found tolerable. It's a blandly written, gussied-up polemic about the evils of Commienism, but it's short and doesn't turn its characters into dipshit gods-among-roaches.
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