from Keenan’s Twin Oaks blog Jan 29, 2012
|Ayn Rand when she first hears about Twin Oaks|
Ayn Rand drives me nuts! Her philosophy of greed and selfishness is antithetical to everything I do and believe. But imagine my shock when I discovered a few weeks ago that the feeling is mutual. In the midst of one of my Ayn Rand rants, Kristen told me that Ayn Rand specifically mentioned Twin Oaks as a failed philosophy in an article. Really!?
I googled “Ayn Rand, Twin Oaks” and there it was–a reference to her book, Philosophy: Who needs it where Ayn Rand criticizes Twin Oaks–for two pages! This world-famous philosopher of selfishness, greed, and individualism singles out Twin Oaks community as a bastion of the failed philosophy of egalitarianism and cooperation. Hallelujah! That is about the highest praise that Twin Oaks may ever receive! She ends her screed on Twin Oaks with this sentence: “For my comments on this [why Twin Oaks will fail], see Atlas Shrugged.”
|Welcome to Galt’s Gulch!|
From the conservapedia:
However, the Gulch had several unwritten customs which arose as a reaction to the things that the residents sought to rest from. No one ever remained in the Gulch at another person’s expense, nor asked nor granted any unremunerated favors. Every resident was expected to pay his rent, or else pay room and board to the leaseholder of any house in which he stayed. Similarly, no one ever “borrowed” something belonging to another; instead one rented it and was expected to negotiate a rent with the owner…[as] an example of “resting” from the constant stress of living in a society in which one’s fellow citizens constantly demanded certain things of one and expressed no willingness to pay for those things.
Other than these details, Ayn Rand doesn’t bother to describe how greedy, self-interested capitalists would actually structure their little utopia. This may be why Ayn Rand goes out of her way to pick on Twin Oaks–because the founders of Twin Oaks were inspired by the behaviorist, B.F. Skinner. Behaviorism, as described by B.F. Skinner, was a philosophy of how to control human behavior. Since Ayn Rand believed any constraint on individual behavior was immoral, she deplored behaviorism.
Ayn Rand’s name has been in the news of late because of the recent meltdown of the economy. Many of the captains of industry are followers of the theories of Ayn Rand. In her writings, Ayn Rand goes on and on about “looters,” bureaucrats who take the wealth of hard-working people without having earned it. What has been revealed in the most recent economic crash in disturbing detail is that successful capitalists can be the worst looters, taking the accumulated wealth of hard-working homeowners and then tossing them out of their houses and then re-selling the empty houses. Alan Greenspan, ex Fed chairman and an uncritical disciple of Ayn Rand, finally admitted that maybe Ayn Rand’s theories (that had been guiding his approach to the global economy) were incorrect. Thanks, Al.
I had to fly down to Florida and so on a whim I picked up a copy of Harvard Business Review. I was pleased and stunned that in article after article the basic premises of Ayn Rand were challenged. I mean, the Harvard Business Review…
Christopher Meyer and Julia Kirby write, “The overall objective of commerce in society was then, like now, to better people’s welfare…Today 41 countries have initiatives under way related to measuring happiness [as an alternative to GDP]… [I really love this next one] the effect of empowering alpha competitors is not to make an economy more competitive [Take THAT Ayn Rand!]…Capitalism can evolve and center on new pursuits…competition…moves over for collaboration…Suppose capitalism really centered on the pursuit of value–the greatest good for the greatest number.”
Rosabeth Moss Kanter writes “IBM, P&G, PepsiCo, and many other companies are aligning enduring value with social good.” Wait a minute! I know her! Rosabeth Moss Kanter wrote a book back in the seventies about communes, Commitment and Community, where she devoted a whole chapter to Twin Oaks and why it is doomed to fail because Twin Oaks doesn’t have the right culture to get people to commit and stay. (Ironic that Twin Oaks’ turnover has slowed to a trickle.) Now she is a professor of business at Harvard. This is getting spooky! Why do all these political/social theorists go out of their way to pick on Twin Oaks?
|It’s a pink book .|