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10 Shameless Right-Wing Tributes to Ayn Rand That Should Make Any Sane Person Blush

As the evangelical Right's influence has declined, conservatives are adhering to another religion -- one based on the scribblings of a sociopath.

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My posting is about the importance of definitions. We had a thread about .9999999999... which extended over 5 years -- unnecessarily so.

FIVE YEARS? These guys talked about this for FIVE YEARS? That must have been some party.

I used to haunt alt.talk.libertarian back in the '90s, and not even those wild men got into anything like this. But the Internet was young then, and users still sometimes got out of the house.

6. Amity Shlaes' Randfic

If you're a young, or emotionally retarded, admirer of a bigtime writer, you may find yourself writing in that author's style, or at least adopting his or her japes. How many college decadents have been inspired to write their own Thompsonesque Fear and Loathing or Ellisonian Less that Zero ripoffs?

Amity Shlaes is a credentialed right-wing scribe, best known for  The Forgotten Man, her book about how FDR fucked up the Great Depression, thus earning him four presidential election victories (if you're bored sometime, run this thesis past your grandparents). But even she is not immune when it comes to the Goddess of the Greenback.

Like all good conservatives nowadays, Shlaes is a subscriber to the "Going Galt" idea. But, because she is too exalted and well-paid a wingnut to admit affiliation with so common and bloggy an idea, in a  2009 essay on the subject she eschews Galt and uses a different Rand title for her hook: "You get the feeling plenty of Atlases are shrugging these days," she writes, "in part because their tax burden is getting heavier."

That's not so special. But then Shlaes starts to draw parallels between Rand characters and real people:

The hard-money monologue of Rand's copper king, Francisco d'Anconia, used to sound weird... Now, D'Anconia's lecture on the unreliable dollar sounds like it could have been scripted by Zhou Xiaochuan, or some other furious Chinese central banker...

Wesley Mouch, the Washington fringe-character-turned- politician who unexpectedly makes his way to center stage, recalls Timothy Geithner at Treasury in his early days...

Perhaps realizing that these characters are only going to appeal to econ dorks, Shlaes makes her Hollywood move: "Of all American governors, Arnold Schwarzenegger of California is the one who most resembles Rand's outsized characters."

Unfortunately, having cited this famous name, Shlaes has to admit that he doesn't really fit: "Schwarzenegger seems to be missing the Rand gene." So to keep the crowd from leaving before the final curtain, Shlaes actually writes a scene between Dagny Taggart and Schwarzenegger. Listen and learn, David Mamet:

Dagny: "Start decontrolling."

Schwarzenegger: "Huh?"

Dagny: "Start lifting taxes and removing controls."

Schwarzenegger: "Oh no, no, no, that's out of the question."

Dagny: "Out of whose question?" 

That's telling him, Dag! I wish she'd brought me in as a consultant. My version would have been much shorter: "Dere iss crazy voman in mein office. Bring ze tasers, schnell."

7. The Concerto of Deliverance (music inspired by Ayn Rand's words in  Atlas Shrugged) by John Mills-Cockell, lyrics by Blake Parker

In Atlas Shrugged, Richard Halley writes a "Concerto of Deliverance" based on individualistic themes. Halley and the Concerto only existed in the heads of Rand and her readers -- until John Mills-Cockell (described by  Wikipedia as a "Canadian composer in various media")  wrote a for-reals version on a  commission from Monart Pon, apparently a Randian with time and money to burn.

Of the music, as Jed Leland wrote in  Citizen Kane, that is happily not the concern of this department. You can hear samples at the home page; in the words of one  sympathetic reviewer at The Atlasphere, "What does John Mills-Cockell's piece sound like? In a word, eclectic. But pleasantly eclectic." You know, like Graceland would probably sound if it were written on commission by a composer in various media.

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