Ayn Rand is a name that once dropped stirs spirits. This writer fled the Soviet Union to spread her pro-capitalist ideas in the United States. In a Slovenian bookstore I bought a rotten copy of her novel for 1 euro upstream (1943). It is about the career of Howard Rourke, a quirky and talented architect opposed by left-wing intellectuals – the book describes what we call “cultural Marxism” today. This is the application of the socialist ideal of equality to culture rather than economics. Marxism seeks to redistribute property; Cultural Marxism strives for equality in cultural norms. In the story, this means that Roarke is no longer allowed to excel.
Progressive intellectuals in the book want to “pool” his talent – to subordinate it to the whims of the masses. If they fail to do so, they try to ruin his career. This story appeared nearly a hundred years ago and everything described in it is from a deep basic understanding. The Left’s Long March through Institutions, the Rise of Collectivist Ideas. How VVD (and classical liberals in the broad sense) fixed themselves on economics, lost sight of cultural struggle and lost. The emergence of social credit, for a society in which no one thinks authentically or governs individually. Altruism (“You do it for someone else”) as an elusive moral norm that first demoralizes people and then corrupts them. The misunderstood genius who tries to argue against the tide. Psychological background to the indifference of the masses and the despair, hypocrisy and opportunism of those who know best. Rand describes all of this in an overarching story that fits seamlessly into the demise of the West.
Contrary to what other works might suggest in her business, upstream It’s not a eulogy for capitalism: it deals with the architect’s desire for creativity that almost the entire world opposes. How do you come up with something creative in a world where everyone is against you and where no one understands you? This is the main question. Unlike for example Atlas shrugs (1957) Some characters are more sympathetic and ambivalent, more explicit and less coherent. Especially Jill Winand, the ruthless boss of the media empire. Their characters have conflicting motives, and Rand describes it in a captivating way.
The story takes place in and around a city rising triumphantly towards the stars, stately skyscrapers shrouded in a blue-black veil above the horizon and ocean. It unintentionally makes it very sad. Even if work is put on the compulsory reading list for schools today, it is too late. The story explains how impossible It is the victory alone against the masses and the invisible pressure of the accompanying ideological current. We read about characters who see how crazy altruism makes it impossible to stay true to yourself, but they still bow their heads based on their assessment of the force field. The world that Rand builds here is oppressively realistic and the antics she has to do next with the story to let the good win win just aren’t. Without going into detail, the story ends poorly for most of the characters.
We’ve already touched upon the battle between Howard Rourke as a talented individual and the whims of the masses. One character explains that the horde is like a crazy beast that you’re locked in a cage. You don’t want to be eaten and come up with your best arguments. But the beast does not care about your sanity and gnaws off pieces of your body. If you declare that you ought to live for your individual happiness, then the masses will pursue you with tar and feathers: for then you are selfish and selfish. In this way the people push themselves into the arms of the collectivists, who speak of making sacrifices for their fellow human beings and by this means: building master-slave relationships.
The fate of former minister and former VVD leader Halbe Zijlstra is typical. he is reading upstream But then it turns out that Mark Root’s liberalism has nothing in common with Rand’s ideas. Critics now describe VVD as a watered-down cartel of lobbyists and oligarchs: crony capitalism Where private companies are given the privileges of operating as state-owned companies and where “friends” are always the first to put their hand in the money pot. In the field of work, Zigelstra suddenly seemed to have forgotten everything he had read – not long after, he fell for a petty lie. VVD sacrificed it as another exchangeable pawn.
The book reveals how classical liberalism was defeated. Practical businessmen are preoccupied with bank accounts, real estate, and advertising contracts. They leave the impractical to the intellectuals. And so the left got the seemingly trivial things like cinema, theatre, radio, education, book reviews, architectural criticism – the keys to the soul of the masses. Once this became a reality, classical liberals withdrew from the cultural fray, hoping that this altruistic ideology would explode, but that never happened.
in a The land of evening and identity (2015) I have noticed that it is easy to accumulate values that deny life commercially, poison society with them and make a lot of money from them. The character mentioned by Jill Winand confirms this point. As the owner of a media empire, he gradually discovers that he has to succumb to the vulgar taste of the broad masses, the realistic risk aversion to investors and the ideological whims of the left-wing intelligentsia. If it does not bend, it loses everything. Lesson confirms that Weinand possesses nothing, but a hundred thousand invisible and mean bastards possess his soul.
that upstreamThe character says it is absolutely correct: “It is easier to judge a person than an idea.” What makes an architect a good architect? That he has standards for what constitutes good construction and stands behind it – Integrity is the ability to consistently stand behind an idea. That’s why every visionary, every innovator, needs intermediaries. Nine out of ten people are interested in: “What do other people think of this?” And with: “What do other people think about me?” Mirrors that reflect mirrors without showing an essence of their own. They cannot judge the basic idea and therefore rely on what they hear about people. Battle in the intellectual arena Scarcely A battle for ideas, but in general it is a battle for empty gossip and superficial doubts.
Columnist Ellsworth Toohey, in the story, Roark’s enemy, explains how it works: “Make someone feel guilty, you don’t need a whip – then the slave will bring the whip himself. He kills his integrity by corrupting him. You can do this by setting altruism as an exemplary. He has not achieved any Someone has this ideal at all and no one will ever do it. But man now feels that he is unable to achieve his highest goals – now his primary feeling is guilt and sin. This also opens the way for the devaluation of other ideals: in the end his soul is deprived of Self-respect and no longer trust his judgment. Do not try to destroy shrines, it frightens people. But make mediocrity sacred, and you will be under your feet. Suck someone’s soul empty of moral indignation, and this space is open to you to fill yourself.”
This brings us back to cultural Marxism: by appealing to the “common good” and “do it for our fellow human beings”, cultural achievements are leveled. “If something as cliched as gossiping with neighbors is something you have to play in common culture, then the fact that someone built a cathedral is no longer remarkable and no longer communicative at all.” Ellsworth said. The book makes it clear that it is easy to enslave flat characters without lofty ambitions, as we often see today.
This is how he explains upstream (in Dutch: the eternal sourceHow the political system in the “Free West” became so miserable. Most people do not have clear principles or ideals; They’re mainstream right now because it’s less of a hassle. Their minds are filled with mirror images of mirror images and echoes. Mark Rutte is their ideal prime minister: a pragmatic merchant who blows all the winds and sells his mother off to retain power. So the real question is who is creating new ideas and injecting values to fill the masses’ void. The key lies in the philosophers and artists. However, there is a strong infrastructure for social media, search engines, major media, and university jobs. These are the gatekeepers who rule the mind. That infrastructure must be broken in order to direct the creative ideas of the individual into the situations that define the culture.
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