Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 26

Thread: Ayn Rand and socialized medicine

  1. #1
    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    San Jose, California, United States
    Posts
    2,895

    Default Ayn Rand and socialized medicine

    Ayn Rand and Socialized Medicine

    Column by Erika Holzer - Aug 20, 2009

    One of the most powerful arguments against socialized medicine, emotionally and intellectually, lies in a book you may have forgotten to consult: Ayn Rand's first novel, We the Living.



    In an essay I wrote a few months ago, I raised a rhetorical question in response to the huge increase in sales of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Yes, there was a gratifying surge in the sales of Rand’s magnum opus. But why?

    Given the no-holds-barred assault on free-market capitalism and individual rights, why the unprecedented boost in sales of a 52-year-old thousand-page novel, but no corresponding boost in Rand’s equally relevant and highly persuasive non-fiction?

    Here’s how I answered my own rhetorical question:

    “One evening back in the mid-60s, when my husband and I were Ayn Rand’s lawyers [and] the three of us took a break from business ... Rand drew a fascinating distinction about the impact that ... fiction, as opposed to nonfiction, has on readers. ‘Reading non-fiction,’ she told us, ‘is mainly an intellectual exercise whereas fiction involves the reader in a personal experience. It’s the difference between reading a technical manual on flying a jet airplane as opposed to experiencing the actual sensation of hurtling through space in one. The manual may be educational, even stimulating, but the plane ride is happening to you.’” (Emphasis Rand’s.)

    I’m convinced that Rand was right. That the surge in sales of Atlas was to a large extent a remarkable example of readers — perhaps whole new generations of them — responding in a personal way to government intervention that was increasing at an alarming rate in the first few months of Obama’s presidency.

    But how, you may be wondering, does Ayn Rand’s fiction/nonfiction distinction relate to the raging controversy in town hall confrontations all over America on the issue of socialized medicine?

    I’ll make a prediction: Anyone who takes the time to fully grasp Rand’s fiction/non-fiction distinction will discover that he has armed himself with a powerful ideological tool with which to persuade other people, including politicians, about what’s wrong with government-managed or controlled health care.

    You wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t already concerned about the issue. So yes, a lot of us are writing essays or letters-to-the-editor or signing petitions. But what I’m suggesting is that you also put into play G. K. Chesterton’s famous maxim that fiction is one of the most potent means of addressing the public.

    No, this time I’m not beating the drums for Atlas Shrugged.

    The Ayn Rand novel so powerfully written that it causes the reader to “personally experience” the horrors of bureaucrat-controlled health care is her first novel, We the Living.

    Whether or not you’ve ever read We the Living — first published in 1936 — I urge you to read (or re-read) it now. Better yet, read the book and view the restored English-subtitled Italian-made movie of the same name. (For detailed information on the movie version and when the new DVD will be available, see wethelivingmovie.com.)

    From the Italian movie adaptation of We the Living (for more information, see the Atlasphere's interview with producer Duncan Scott)

    When my husband, Henry Mark Holzer, and I first represented Ayn Rand, we were under the mis-impression that the only movie based on a Rand novel was The Fountainhead. It was only after our professional relationship had deepened into personal friendship that she told us about a 1942 pirated two-part version of We the Living made in then-fascist Italy.

    With its hard-hitting anticommunist theme, Noi Vivi ("We the Living") and Addio, Kira ("Goodby, Kira") was shown in two consecutive parts and enjoyed an extremely successful theatrical run. After the war, Ayn was given a print of the bootleg film, courtesy of one of its stars, Rossano Brazzi.

    Then she told us that Noi Vivi was a much better film than The Fountainhead!

    But Ayn had lost the print, and the film had completely vanished. When my husband and I offered to track it down, Ayn, while not optimistic about our success after the passage of so many years, gave us her blessing. Initial queries to official Italian agencies led nowhere, so Hank and I concentrated on unofficial sources.

    It took us three years before we hit pay-dirt. In 1968, we flew to Rome and met with some businessmen who owned dozens of vintage Italian films. On their list was Noi Vivi and Addio, Kira. Best of all, the technical quality of what they had — the original nitrate negatives — was excellent. After we arranged to have a set of duplicate negatives made on safety film, we called Ayn to relay the good news.

    Back in New York, Hank and I, with filmmaker Duncan Scott, screened the film as Ayn gave us scene by scene input on what should be edited or cut. Hank, Duncan and I were in total agreement with her suggestions and made one of our own that Ayn, in turn, agreed to: In lieu of dubbing the newly resurrected We the Living, the film would be subtitled in English.

    Hank, Duncan, and I co-produced the film, Duncan and I wrote the subtitled script. We the Living premiered at Colorado’s Telluride Film Festival in 1986, and it was released to rave reviews in theaters throughout the U.S., Canada, and overseas.

    Now, as Obama, backed by a Democrat-controlled Congress, pushes hard for socialized medicine — the legislation having been engineered by the far-left Nancy Pelosi — I can’t help replaying what Ayn told me that night in her living room....

    “If a novel is well done,” she said all those years ago, “the reader feels the dramatized events of the story on his own skin, so to speak. He is impelled to rage against some injustice. To root for characters he cannot help identifying with.” (Emphasis Rand’s.)

    Even though We the Living’s basic theme — its philosophical message — is much broader than socialized medicine, its plot revolves in a crucial way around the compulsory “administration” of healthcare, doctors, and even the dispensing of medicine, by bureaucrats mired in corruption, favoritism, envy, revenge, power lust. It can become an acquired taste, the lust for power to decide whether a person lives or dies.

    I was so immersed in the production, editing, and subtitling stages of the film version of We the Living for so long that it has a stronger grip on my emotions than the novel.

    I cannot think of the book without seeing Italy’s leading star and brilliantly evocative actress Alida Valli as the protagonist. I cannot view the film with dry eyes. Without my sense of outrage flying off the charts.

    But whether you see the movie or read the novel, I challenge any fair-minded (and unrepressed) person to keep from identifying with and rooting for the uncompromising idealistic heroine. To stop yourself from raging against the ruined lives of three individuals torn by impossible conflicts and enmeshed in a heart-wrenching love triangle. To deny that you feel on your own skin the wanton, ruthless — and yes, careless — destruction of innocents whose only “sin” is the desire to live their own lives; to shape their own destiny.

    In the Foreword to the 1959 Random House hardcover republication of We the Living, Ayn Rand wrote that her novel is “...about Man against the State. Its basic theme is the sanctity of human life — using the word ‘sanctity’ not in a mystical sense, but in the sense of ‘supreme values.’”

    But in that same Foreword, Rand issued this “warning”: “...[D]o not be misled by those who might tell you that We the Living is ‘dated’ or no longer relevant to the present, since it deals with Soviet Russia in the nineteen-twenties....” As someone who was born in Russia and educated from the age of twelve under the Soviets, Rand tells us, she knew — without yet fully knowing why — that, in the words of a minor character, Irina Duneav, “There’s your life.... t’s something so precious and rare, so beautiful, that it’s like a sacred treasure. Now it’s over, and it doesn’t make any difference to anyone ... that treasure of mine....”

    Ayn Rand was a child at the time. Even so, she was smart enough to grasp what was under assault when the Communists took over her country. In the Random House Foreword, as Rand reflects upon her character Irina and “the sacred treasure” that is one’s life, one can almost feel the vehemence in Ayn Rand’s words:

    [T]his is the issue at the base of all dictatorships, all collectivist theories and all human evils. I could not understand how any man could be so brutalized as to claim the right to dispose of the lives of others, nor how any man could be so lacking in self-esteem as to grant to others the right to dispose of his life.” (Emphasis Rand’s.)

    So if you rise to my challenge — or if you choose to heed Ayn Rand’s warning — or if you’re curious about whether the fiction/non-fiction distinction Rand once called to my attention and I’ve just called to yours has validity — or you just want to find out for yourself whether or not We the Living is dated, pick up her novel. Watch the movie. Think of imaginative ways to maximize the sheer impact of Ayn Rand’s remarkable work of fiction by spreading the word.

    What have you got to lose?

    A rhetorical question. You know the answer.


    Erika Holzer’s vigilante suspense thriller Eye for an Eye was a Paramount feature film directed by John Schlesinger and starring Kiefer Sutherland and Sally Field. For more about her other books, fiction and non-fiction, and her most recent book, Ayn Rand: My Fiction-Writing Teacher, see www.ErikaHolzer.com.
    [i]Ayn Rand and Socialized Medicine - Ayn Rand Admirers at The Atlasphere

  2. #2
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,600

    Default

    In an essay I wrote a few months ago, I raised a rhetorical question in response to the huge increase in sales of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Yes, there was a gratifying surge in the sales of Rand’s magnum opus. But why?
    It's a great cure for insomnia. That's why.

  3. #3
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    3,808

    Default re

    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    It's a great cure for insomnia. That's why.
    Well...My explanation for the increase is that the American public is getting stupider, as evidenced by the toothless retards and uninformed nut-jobs making fools of themselves at the 'town meetings' on healthcare reform.

    Also, people think that reading Ayn Rand somehow makes them intellectual, when it does not. For example, many of these people do not appear to know the difference between communism, socialism, nazism, and the public healthcare option.

    Next question?

  4. #4
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Acerbia
    Posts
    33,706

    Default

    You lost me at Ayn Rand.
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

  5. #5
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    4,144

    Default

    I'd been hearing about that book lately and so I looked at it in the bookstore and it is complete unintelligible drivel. It reminded me of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Or Sarah Palin.

    Oh, wait...it was the Fountainhead I was thinking of. Still drivel.

  6. #6
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,600

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BBDSP View Post
    Well...My explanation for the increase is that the American public is getting stupider, as evidenced by the toothless retards and uninformed nut-jobs making fools of themselves at the 'town meetings' on healthcare reform.

    Also, people think that reading Ayn Rand somehow makes them intellectual, when it does not. For example, many of these people do not appear to know the difference between communism, socialism, nazism, and the public healthcare option.
    Too true. But if you still need something to help you get to sleep other than counting sheep, there's still Ayn Rand.

  7. #7
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    In WhoreLand fucking your MOM
    Posts
    55,372

    Default

    I think Jamieelizabeth needs to go live in a shack somewhere in the Ozarks and get it over with.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  8. #8
    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Acerbia
    Posts
    33,706

    Default

    JamieElizabeth is secretly Alan Greenspan
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

  9. #9
    Elite Member qwerty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    6,673

    Default

    I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged - I loved the Fountainhead more. I read them years ago as stories and not as political/social commentaries. Looking back though at some of these books' themes, Ayn Rand's objectivist ideals were/are interesting but like most ideologies not particularly practical in a real world setting.

  10. #10
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Wherever my kids are
    Posts
    26,033

    Default

    Is she attempting to draw a parallel between nationalization of healthcare (or even partial nationalization) and the communist takeover of Russia???

  11. #11
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Uranus
    Posts
    31,885

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by witchcurlgirl View Post
    You lost me at Ayn Rand.
    Yup. Me too.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

  12. #12
    Elite Member Shinola's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Smokin' with your baby
    Posts
    3,611

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JamieElizabeth View Post
    . . . ó responding in a personal way to government intervention that was increasing at an alarming rate in the first few months of Obamaís presidency.
    Love how that bullshit is put forward as a fact.

    The expansion of government and the abuse of power during the Bush "regime" was huge. Now to try to get some probably half-assed government-sponsored health care for people who have no other means of getting medical help is painted as some new surge in government limitation on freedom or whatever.

    I realize it'd be too much to ask for any kind of logic or truthfulness coming from the right these days, though.
    Posted from my fucking iPhone

  13. #13
    Elite Member L1049's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Chillin with my homeboy Xenu
    Posts
    2,435

    Default

    In an essay I wrote a few months ago, I raised a rhetorical question in response to the huge increase in sales of Ayn Randís Atlas Shrugged. Yes, there was a gratifying surge in the sales of Randís magnum opus. But why?
    One word: BioShock.



    Every damn time I hear the name Ayn Rand, I get an urge to play BioShock

  14. #14
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    5,600

    Default

    How do the British deal with the tyranny of socialized medicine? How? How? How?
    Why I love Britain's socialized healthcare system

    As I learned when my newborn daughter was very sick, in U.K. hospitals, people take care of each other
    By Stephen Amidon
    Aug. 22, 2009 |

    My eldest daughter had a rough first week. Born after 22 hours of hard labor, her pink skin proceeded to turn an alarming shade of yellow on the second day of her life. It was a bad case of jaundice. She would need to be placed in an incubator, whose ultraviolet light would hopefully clear up the condition. If not, a transfusion would be required. My exhausted wife and I watched in numb horror as our child was encased in the clear plastic box that was to become her crib for the next seven days. What we had hoped would be a straightforward delivery had turned into a nightmare.

    Because I am American, and those endless days and nights were spent in a maternity hospital in London, the week that followed has been very much on my mind as I listen to the recent attacks on the British National Health Service. It is a system that I found to be very different from the one currently being described as "evil" and "Orwellian" by politicians and commentators eager to use it as an example of the dark side of public medicine.

    I was initially skeptical about the NHS. Iíd grown up comfortably in suburban New Jersey; good private healthcare was always immediately available through my fatherís insurance. When my English wife became pregnant soon after we settled in London, I was alarmed by the idea of having our first child born in a system I had been told was underfunded, overstressed and inefficient. After all, healthcare in the UK was free. How good could it be? Friends and relatives back in the States were spending thousands to have children. If you get what you pay for, I was about to get a whole lot of nothing.

    My first glimpse of our prospective hospital was not promising. It seemed crowded, aging and apparently devoid of the gleaming, beeping equipment I associated with modern medicine. But our neo-natal class actually helped me prepare for the upcoming birth, and the scans we received afforded the same miraculous fetal glimpses we would have gotten back in New Jersey. Come delivery day, an impressive team of midwives, nurses and anesthesiologists attended my wifeís long labor, all of them respecting her request not to opt for a cesarean section. When things got sticky at the end, a senior obstetrician appeared and the monitoring equipment beeped reassuringly.

    Directly following the birth, we were taken to a large ward whose 20-odd beds were separated by curtains and changing tables. It was visiting hour; the place was alive with excited relatives, shellshocked fathers and the constant susurrus of hungry new life. That first night, however, the atmosphere grew peaceful. Crying babies were attended immediately by sensibly-shod nurses so that others could sleep. But it was after my daughter began to turn the color of saffron rice that I really began to appreciate the NHS. The moment she showed distress, we were whisked off to a private room, where we were looked after by a no-nonsense pediatrician and the imposing Irish ward sister, or chief nurse, who quickly made it clear to me that my sole useful contribution to the whole process had come nine months earlier. Blood was drawn regularly from our daughterís tiny heel; test results came back promptly. The meals were surprisingly edible. I even developed a taste for the milky tea brought to me by kind nurses. My only complaints over the following week were that the free cookies in the fatherís lounge were always running out. And for some reason the ward sister kept giving me withering looks, no matter how dutifully I attended to my familyís needs.

    As my blindfolded daughter slept in the incubatorís eerie violet glow, I would take occasional strolls through the ward. It was the most egalitarian place I had ever seen. The yuppie woman honking into her newfangled cell phone, the young Pakistani mother who always seemed to be surrounded by a half-dozen gift-bearing relations, the self-sufficient older woman desperate to get home to look after her other children -- all of them were cared for in exactly the same manner. Whoever needed help got it. When a terrified Afghani girl arrived, rumored to be only 14 and apparently abandoned by her family, several nurses dropped what they were doing to teach her the rudiments of child care. The rest of the mothers waited patiently until they were finished. Other wards were the same. There was no private wing with champagne service. Everybody was in this together. If you were a woman and you were in labor and you were in our part of London, this is where you came. If things went wrong, skilled doctors appeared with the latest technology. Nobody asked about insurance or co-pays.

    This, I learned, is what the NHS is about -- common decency. It is about the shared belief that all the people who live in the United Kingdom constitute a society, and a decent society provides certain necessities for its members. Freedom from hunger is one. Police protection is another. Free healthcare from the cradle to the grave is simply one more item on this list.

    I saw this decency at work countless times over the following decade, until my return to the United States. I saw it with the twice-daily home visits by community midwives for the fortnight after each of our newborn childrenís release from hospital, and in the vouchers for free milk we were given for those babies. I saw it when our GP paid us a house call early one Sunday morning to treat our sonís spiking fever.

    I saw it most clearly, however, in the treatment my in-laws received at the end of their lives. My wifeís father, who suffered from acute myloid dysplasia, spent his last year receiving constant care, including several sprints to the hospital for emergency transfusions, where doctors struggled heroically to keep him alive. His final week was spent in a very comfortable single hospice room whose French doors opened onto a terrace overlooking his beloved Yorkshire moors. When he died, he left us his house, and not a penny of healthcare debt. My mother-in-law, stricken by arthritis, got two artificial hips and two knees from the NHS, and received daily home visits from social workers during the last three years of her life so she would not have to go into a nursing home. Neither of these septuagenarians was working at the time. The amount of money spent on their care must have been staggering. And yet, despite shouldering this yoke of decency, the nation prospered around them. People were buying French wine and German cars and second homes. They were attending Cats and supporting Arsenal and going on holidays in the sun. Sure, people complained about the NHS. But the British complain about everything. Living without a public health system, on the other hand, was unthinkable.

    On the day we were finally given the all-clear, there were no papers to sign, no bills to settle. All we had to do was remove our daughterís blindfold and go. But I felt I had to leave something behind. So I rushed down to the local corner shop and bought several tins of cookies to give the staff whoíd looked after us so well. As luck would have it, the Irish ward sister was the only one at the nurseís station when I arrived. Before I could explain myself, she gave me a tight, approving smile.

    "Wondered when youíd start chipping in," she said, returning to her paperwork. "Just leave them in the fatherís lounge."
    -- By Stephen Amidon
    Why I love Britain's socialized healthcare system | Salon

  15. #15
    Elite Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Posts
    4,250

    Default

    "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
    By Chalet in forum Books and Literature
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: April 24th, 2008, 12:49 PM
  2. Socialized medicine: check your premises
    By JamieElizabeth in forum U.S. Politics and Issues
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: July 30th, 2007, 09:37 AM
  3. Do we want socialized medicine?
    By JamieElizabeth in forum Politics and Issues
    Replies: 36
    Last Post: April 6th, 2007, 08:31 PM
  4. Laughter really is the best medicine.
    By buttmunch in forum News
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: April 4th, 2006, 03:44 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •