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09 February 2014 @ 05:59 am
My mother made me a libertarian  
We now know that Ayn Rand's excesses can be blamed on her childhood. Her mother made her give her toys to the needy, and she grew up to blame all our problems on mandatory altruism.

I have now learned that Ma in Little House on the Prairie is portrayed as the same sort of mother. Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, whose contribution to Little House was somewhere between editorial assistance and writing the whole thing, was one of the leading libertarian thinkers of the 1930s.

My mother made me feel bad ("you should be grateful"*) about having toys but never actually took them away from me, so I was able to get over libertarianism.

* When I read in Stranger in a Strange Land that gratitude always includes resentment, I believed it, but I've learned that such feelings are nowhere near universal, and I figured out how not to feel that way about those I love.

Thanx to Making Light.
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houseboatonstyx: smaller-healing-buddhahouseboatonstyx on February 9th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
Rand grew up seeing early Communism first hand, unless we suppose she made up all the details in We The Living. The Wilder girls, and Harriet in A City of Bells didn't become politically active about altruism on a national scale, sfaik.

On a personal/social level, when Rand was writing, there really was a lot of 'self-sacrifice as altruism' assumption fashionable -- which she blasted away. There really was a large profitable radio commentator niche for people like Toohey; cf the one in To Love and Be Wise and the murderer in a Charlotte Armstrong thriller.