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NOVA Curmudgeon writes in response to my post below on my reaction to this weekend’s noisy sleepover party:

I think you said the same thing after the last sleepover you old softy.

It only gets better. Wait till the boys start attending (non-sleepover) parties.

As to the second point, it is actually worthy of its own post.  There were several boys (ages 7 to 11)  in attendance for the first part of the festivities.  (Don’t worry – they were promptly booted right after dinner.)  In fact, I had to break up a couple of scuffles.  In the normal course of things, I have very little interaction with boys, and it never ceases to amaze me when I do how completely different they are from the gels.

As to the first point.  You know, I get an awful lot of this “softy” stuff from people.  I just wanted to put it on the record here and now that I am, in fact, a Mean Old Man.  Cruel.  Pitiless.  Without Remorse.

Just sayin’.

I’ve noticed here and there about the intertubes of late that in these troubled economic times a fair number of people seem to be turning to the works of Ayn Rand for inspiration and solace in the face of the Big Business/Big Government ponzi schemes which have got us into this mess.

Now I will confess right up front that I’ve never read any of Rand’s works except in snippets and bits.  But I’ve read a good bit about them and about her, and my question to all those potential Neo-Randians is:  You’re kidding, right?

I mean, yes to the idea of self-interest, self-reliance and personal responsibility.  But I can get all of that from Smith, Burke, Hayek and the like, and without all the, ah, snakes that seem to have infested Rand’s head.   Further, it strikes me that Rand, in championing these concepts,  falls into the same kind of trap as do all Utopians, namely of believing that Man can be made into something other than what he is.  (My readings convince me that Rand was not just engaging in academic exercises here, but really believed in her own vision of the “New Man” or whatever she called him.)

I hope, I hope that (apart from the Libertarian fringe, whom I’ve always thought were a pack of loonies anyway)  people are taking a renewed interest in her philosophy just by way of blowing off steam, and that they aren’t really thinking about some kind of long-term commitment.

I won’t even try to get into all the various moral, ethical, religious and political arguments here, but instead will simply focus on the potential personal impact of a widespread embracing of her ideas:  As far as Rand’s pure laissez-faire vision of societal perfection goes, it really strikes me as just another Distopia.  I’m not sure that it would be any better to be abandoned on an ice-flow (or whatever it is that happens to backsliders in Galt’s Gulch – and in the Perfect World we’re all backsliders) under such a system than it would to be stood up against the wall and shot under a more collectivist arrangement.

“Jocularity! Jocularity!” ***  Update:

Because my braims work that way,  I am reminded by all this of one of my favorite bits of Pythonalia:

(***Spot the looney quote)

After the tumult and the shouting of Saturday night’s birthday sleepover party for the eldest gel (who turns 11 on Wednesday), I am seriously considering banning all such parties indefinitely.   The gel has one friend in particular who, even in repose, has a voice that would make a banshee wince.  When she’s excited, she can easily cause the plaster to start falling from my bedroom ceiling even when she’s in the basement two floors below.  And she’s always excited.



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March 2009