Ayn Rand & Freedom's Furies: The Atlas Society Asks Tim Sandefur

February 01, 2023 00:59:27
Ayn Rand & Freedom's Furies: The Atlas Society Asks Tim Sandefur
The Atlas Society Presents - The Atlas Society Asks
Ayn Rand & Freedom's Furies: The Atlas Society Asks Tim Sandefur

Feb 01 2023 | 00:59:27

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Show Notes

Join CEO Jennifer Grossman for the 138th episode of The Atlas Society Asks, where she interviews returning guest Tim Sandefur about his latest book "Freedom's Furies: How Isabel Patterson, Rose Wilder Lane, and Ayn Rand Found Liberty in an Age of Darkness." Listen as he recounts the story of how in 1943 the three respectively published "The God in the Machine," "The Discovery of Freedom," and "The Fountainhead"--laying the groundwork for what would become the modern libertarian movement.

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello everyone, and welcome to the 138 episode of the Atlas Society asks, my name is Jennifer Anju Grossman. My friends call me Jag. I'm the c e o of the Atlas Society, a leading nonprofit introducing young people to the ideas of Iron Rand in fun, creative ways, like graphic novels and animated videos. Today we are joined by Tim Sanford. Before I even get into introducing our guest, I want to remind all of you who are joining us on Zoom, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, uh, LinkedIn, YouTube. You can use the comment section to type in your questions. We'll try to get to as many of them as we can, but I do have quite a few of my own. Tim Sanford is, was actually one of our first guests on the Atlas Society, uh, asks webinar series nearly two years ago when, um, we discussed his book, Frederick Douglas Self-Made Man, which helped shape our, uh, draw my life. Speaker 0 00:01:06 My name is Frederick Douglas. So in celebration of Ayn Rand's birthday month, we, uh, are excited to have Tim back to discuss his blockbuster new book, freedom's Furies, how Isabelle Patterson Rose Wilder Lane, and E Rand found Liberty in an age of darkness. As you, uh, may have guessed from, um, the Pickett of page markers that I have here, uh, freedom's Furries is a must read for anyone interested in learning about the life, literature and legacy of a Rand breaking new ground in illuminating the personal dynamics between its three subjects and contextualizing just how radical and revolutionary Rand Lane and Patterson were in their time. Tim is also author of Permission Society, how the Ruling Class Turned Our Freedoms and Privileges, uh, and What we Can Do about It. Um, I seem to have lost its cover somewhere. You can tell Tim's books get a lot of play in this house. Um, he is also author of the Right to Earn a Living, the Conscience of the Constitution, the Ascent of Jacob Broski, uh, the Life and Ideas of a Popular Science o Icon, co-author with his wife Christina, also a previous guest on our show of Cornerstone of Liberty property rights in the 21st century. And, uh, last but not least, some notes on Silent, his first collection of poems published last year. Tim, thank you for joining us. Speaker 1 00:02:55 Thank you so much for having me on. Speaker 0 00:02:58 All right, well, first let's talk about the inspiration for Freedoms Furries. I know, uh, you are a longtime student of Objectivism. Did this project grow out of, uh, your interest in Iran, or was there some other impetus? Speaker 1 00:03:14 Actually, there was a different impetus. I started out when I was first thinking about doing this to write a biography of Rose Wilder Lane. Ok. Uh, I have always been really fascinated by Lane. She's such a, uh, uh, an unusual personality. There are some parts of Speaker 0 00:03:30 Her that she say the least Speaker 1 00:03:31 <laugh>. Yeah. There are some parts of her that are really attractive and parts of her that are really weird. And she, and of course, her, her connection to the, the Little House on the Prairie novels that she secretly co-wrote with her mother, Laura Engels Wilder makes her especially interesting. I first actually learned of Rose because my mother is a, a lifelong fan of the Little House books, and so I grew up hearing about them and seeing the TV show. And then we were on a family vacation when I was a teenager and went to visit, uh, the, the Wilder home. And in the gift shop there, they had a little booklet about Rose, and I was just discovering the ideas of free markets and, and individual rights at that time. And I picked, flipped through the book and I was, wow, that's really interesting that she had this sort of connection to the, the broader libertarian or free market movement. And gosh, that was more than 20 years ago now. And so since then, and of course, as you mentioned, my interest in Rand and Patterson separately, I've sort of been intrigued by all three of them separately. And then I decided to see if I could write something about their, their relationship with each other. Speaker 0 00:04:32 Well, I'd also like to mention for those who are in the Phoenix area, that, um, February 16th at the Goldwater Institute, uh, where Tim is vice president of Litigation, they're hosting an event on Freedom's fur. So we're gonna put that in the link across the various platforms, and, uh, if you're around, definitely will want to check it out. Now, one of the things that make, makes reading good biographies, or even good novels for that matter, so enriching is not just their their subjects, but, but their settings. And in that respect, one of the gifts you give readers in freedom's furries, is a window into what you call the Age of darkness in which Rand Patterson and Lane Lived students of history might be familiar with the collectivization that progressed in FDRs 12 years. But I, for one, was not familiar, um, with the Revolt from the Village. What, what are were the origins of, uh, that cultural movement, its impact and how did it manifest in the lives and work of the furries? Speaker 1 00:05:45 Yeah, the, so the phrase, the Revolt from the village is, uh, a phrase that was used by a scholar, a literary scholar named Carl Van Doen, to describe the, the novels that were being written from about 1915 to about 19, let's say 1940. These are novels that were, uh, attacks on or, or condemnations of the pettiness and smothering atmosphere of life in small town America. And the primary, the, the main figure in this movement was Sinclair Lewis, who is the, the Nobel Prize-winning writer of Main Street and Babbitt. And one of the interesting things, one of the, the clues that I started my project with was that in 1936 when I Rand had published We The Living, she was asked to fill out a form that among other things, asked who her favorite writer was. Now, if any, you know anything about Ayn Rand, you would expect her to answer Victor Hugo or Ed Monroe St. Speaker 1 00:06:46 Or one of the Great Romantics, and instead she wrote Sinclair Lewis. And that was really fascinated me because Louis has in some ways the exact opposite interest in literature that Rand does. Rand was a high romanticist. Sinclair Lewis is, is a, a naturalist who wants to describe the world as it is. But the reason why there was this connection was because of his participation in this literary movement, the, the Revolt from the Village, which what if you read Main Street, what it really articulates is the desperate longing desire of the main character Carol Kennecott, to escape from the small town and to have a life of meaning something that matters in the world. And she's constantly being frustrated in her efforts to do this, to the point where she ends up just turning into just a, an a nag and a bore being sort of perverted in her, uh, legitimate aspirations in this way. Speaker 1 00:07:44 And I think that really resonated with Rand, who also wanted a life of meaning and purpose, but who in her early life, of course, was stuck in the Soviet Union, where that kind of ambition was regarded as antisocial. Now, meanwhile, of course, Lewis was very close to both Lane and Patterson as well. Patterson was a newspaper communist covering the publishing industry. And so she had known Lewis for many years. He, she had first met him when he was an editor, and he had rejected one of her manuscripts actually in the 1910s. And they, uh, uh, Roosevelt Elaine was very close to him too, because in fact, RA uh, lane had been lovers with Dorothy Thompson in Paris in the 1920s. And Thompson went on to Mary Sinclair Lewis, and they remained friends for many years afterwards. In fact, lane babysat for Sinclair Lewis and his wife when they went to Europe to collect the Nobel Prize for literature. Speaker 1 00:08:36 So the Louis was a major figure in all of their lives, sort of reflecting this ti this, this atmosphere of the particular, the late 1920s of wanting to make America or make an American life that was something more than just, you know, living on the farm or in a small house of the, the picket fence and your family and, and that sort have something of meaning and purpose and significance. Now, Patterson sort of resisted that a little bit. She thought there was nothing wrong with wanting a life on the small town farm behind the picket fence with your family and so forth than she, and was much more comfortable with what we call bourgeois values. And so there's a tension there between these three riders in their attitudes towards small town life and towards romanticism and trying to make a life of, of great greatness and grandeur and, and the, the complications that go along with that. Speaker 0 00:09:37 Whoops, I think I was muted. You can see some of that dynamic and the early Ayn Rand in some of those, um, short stories, like good copy of, of characters that are living in a small town context, but longing for adventure and, and something, uh, different. So that was one of the big eye-openers, uh, for me, going back to this, this, uh, sort of literary context as well. How does attempts at the so-called proletarian novel proletarian literature fit into those times? And, uh, any observations from the furries on that particular project? Speaker 1 00:10:17 Yeah, so in, in the 1930s, mid 1930s, the American Communist Party created a movement intentionally called, it was called the Popular Front, uh, an in a movement to try and take over or influence American culture and make it more amenable to Communist Revolution. And among other things, one of the, one of the efforts by communist writers at the time was to create what they called the proletarian novel. Now, this would be a novel in which there's no like personal heroism and no choice. Instead, it's about class struggle. And the, of course, there's an inherent problem with that, which is that you really can't write an interesting story that doesn't focus on individual choice. And so far, in fact, Patterson was particularly critical of the effort at proletarian novels. For one thing, she said, the only proletarians I know read, uh, Zane Gray and adventure novels. Speaker 1 00:11:12 They don't, they're not sitting around reading about class struggle. Secondly, the proletarian novel was self-contradictory in some ways. For, for example, the characters are tip the main characters are poor. Uh, they, it commits some sort of crime because their material circumstances basically force them to, and so then they blame society for the crime they've committed. And the resolution of the novel is something about how society ought to change and, and, and so forth. So, in other words, your the hero of your novel, the whole point of the novel is that he doesn't really have control over his, his circumstances and his faculties, but is a victim of circumstance. So, so who wants to read about that? You know? And, and as a result, it portrays its heroes or its main characters in a very unfavorable light because it says that they aren't in control of their lives. And as a result, the proletarian novel was really a failed project. The only two, uh, plausibly books that are pro plausibly describable is proletarian novels that really succeeded were The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. And, um, and, uh, uh, oh my gosh, uh, <laugh>, I'm blanking on it. Native Son, native Son is, is the other one. And, and they, the, these novels are novels in which characters, you know, they're, they suffer at the hands of society. And, and, and then what, you know. Speaker 0 00:12:35 Yeah. Um, I think one of, I think it was your observation in, in this perhaps kind of summarizing, um, or describing the views of, of the Furious saying that the proletarian novel set out to make it subjects look oppressed, but ended up making them look depraved. Yeah. So, uh, so Lewis and to some extent Isabel Patterson, you describe as members of the lost Generation of authors and intellectuals at that time. Help us understand what that means, and in what ways did that literary culture also influence, uh, lane and Rand? Speaker 1 00:13:17 The Lost Generation is a phrase that was coined by Gertrude Stein to describe writers who came of age in the World War I era. And she used the term to des, uh, because she was saying that World War I had basically wiped out the creative geniuses of their time and left the few who remained in a sort of sense of being lost. Patterson hated the term. She, for one thing, she said it was really inaccurate cuz this was a very creative generation. We were talking about the generation of Hemingway and so forth. And it, it's really not accurate to describe them as being a lost generation, but it's a, it's a handy term to describe this generation of writers. And if you were a last generation writer, you had a sort of cynical heir to you, to your, to your novels. You were not satisfied with the idea of reform. Speaker 1 00:14:07 Generally. You were very skeptical and you would mostly, uh, pack up and move to Paris mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And in fact, RW Lane herself did that. She was all, she and Patterson both were members of this generation. And I think in their, in, in both of their novels, you will, you see a certain, uh, lost generation quality to them. Now, Patterson is interesting in this regard because Patterson's novels, especially her big blockbuster novel, which was called Never Ask the End, they're written with this tone of nostalgia and almo, it's sort of a gloomy regret. The, the, the characters basically reflect over and over again on how the world of their youth is vanished forever. And Patterson even uses the term Atlantis to describe the America that she knew when she was young. She was born in 1886, as was Rose Wilder Lane. Both of them grew up in poverty on the American frontier. And so she used the term Atlantis to describe the America before World War I, a term, which I contend Rand borrowed from Patterson. And that the use of Atlantis in Atla Shrugged is, uh, an inheritance from Patterson. In fact, we first hear the term Atlantis used in Atla shrugged by a character at a tea party who is, in fact, Isabel Patterson Rand gave her a cameo in the novel the same way that she gave herself a cameo in the novel. Speaker 0 00:15:34 So you describe some similarities between the three theories, their devotion to ideas, their prioritization of their careers over raising children, their admiration of enlightenment ideals, but you also portray some profound differences. What were they, and do you think it was those differences that later led or at least exacerbated, uh, the friction between the three of them? Speaker 1 00:16:06 Yeah. So the answer to that second question is sorta, but the answer to the first question is this. So Patterson and Lane, you know, both of them, they're, they're born in, in America. Rand is born in Russia. The, uh, Patterson Lane, born in the same year, 1886. L Rand is a generation younger. They, uh, uh, have a lot of similarities, but they have differences in their approach to literature. And as I briefly mentioned earlier, that Patterson had this sort of, uh, fondness for what the, her era called the bourgeois virtues of wanting to have a, a simple life just, you know, with yourself and your family and your house, and you're not trying to build the world's tallest skyscraper. Whereas Rand had this really romanticized quality to her, uh, a literature and to her, her her philosophy. So those did create some tensions. Now, I, I can't cur confirm this or prove it because it's not written down anywhere, because Patterson and Rand, you know, they spent a lot of time together talking in person. Speaker 1 00:17:06 So there are letters, they don't elaborate on this too much. But Patterson never liked the books that Rand liked. She did not like Victor Hugo. She did not like Dostoevsky. She did not like the romantics. She, she was a little bit skeptical to the, the whole idea of romanticism because she said, well, what's to stop the, this sort of ambitious quality from being perverted into something like dictatorship, like it was in, in Mussolini's, Italy at that time. Right? Whereas Rand, she, what she's trying to do is to put it in a clumsy term, she's trying to romanticize the bourgeois. In other words, she's trying to take heroism and say, you know, you don't have to be a warrior. You don't have to be an, an ancient Greek mariner to be a hero. There's a heroism toward produ in productivity, in building, and so forth. And, and we need to romanticize and celebrate that. Speaker 1 00:17:57 And Patterson respected that, even though she did have these qualms about it. Lane. Meanwhile, lane is a funny figure in this respect because she starts out wanting to be sort of this adventurer. And then a, as time goes on, she latches onto her mother's family stories and starts using those to describe the virtues of self-reliance that the hard scrabble farmers of the 19th century had to put up with. And particularly women. Of the three of them, I think it's Lane who's particularly interested in how freedom or its ab or or its absence, affects women specifically. And so women are particularly interesting characters in her novels, particularly, uh, uh, let the Hurricane Roar, which was Lane's first attempt at these prairie novels, where the main character, the, by far the most interesting character is a woman who's having to make it by herself through a, a winter on the North Dakota, North Dakota Prairie. Speaker 1 00:18:54 So that these tensions between them did lend, uh, did lead in part to their breakup, but it was not really the cause. Rand and Lane only met one time in person, and according to Lane afterwards, she claimed that they argued about religion and never spoke again. That's really not what happened. What ha In fact, the day after their meeting, lane wrote this very nice letter to Rand saying, oh, I, I I loved our conversation. I hope you come back. You know, they did disagree about religion. Lane did believe in a God, and Rand did not, and that was obviously a tension between them, but it was more just Rand being so busy in Hollywood working on the Fountainhead movie and things like that, that I think contributed more to them not meeting again, Patterson, it was a little bit different. They, Patterson also was religious, and Rand had problems with, with that, but they, they negotiated that leg, you know, reasonably, they were fine with each other, you know, personally in that regard. Speaker 1 00:19:50 It was just that Patterson had a really, uh, had a temper, had a really short temper, and she, she tended to blow up at people sometimes. And as she got older, she got harder and harder to be around as she sank into depression for a number of reasons. One thing, her closest friend committed suicide in the late 1940s, and I think that contributed a lot to her depression. And so they ended up sort of breaking up. They, they remained friends or correspondence afterwards, but their friendship gradually dissolved over time. It wasn't like they had some kind of big showdown about religion or anything like that. Speaker 0 00:20:25 Fascinating. Well, are we talking about the similarities and differences? The most basic similarity is that they were all women, uh, born before women in America had even the right to vote. I'm wondering, you mentioned how, uh, lane, uh, focused on how women, um, perform and flourish or, uh, have a hard time in relative freedom or relative, uh, oppression. Um, but I'm wondering, uh, whether just the fact that they were women living at the particular time that they did, uh, gave them a particular vantage into this bourgeois culture, the bourgeois values that we were talking about. Um, for example, you described Patterson and Lane's observations of the practical way that women ran their households and contrasted that with government fiscal, yeah. Uh, irresponsibility. Speaker 1 00:21:28 Yeah. Lane likes to say that, that only men could do something like the New Deal because, uh, because women knew that you would have to pay the bills eventually. And so only men could have diluted themselves into thinking that the government could manufacture prosperity like the, through the New Deal. Uh, yeah, I think, I think being women did affect their understanding of freedom in different ways, uh, particularly Lane, as I mentioned. But both Lane and, and Patterson, you know, these, they were grown women. They were in their thirties when women got the right to vote in the United States. So they, they were very familiar with Victorian era morays and the, the sexual revolution of the 1920s. When we talk about sexual revolution, we typically are referring to the 1960s, but this, the twenties were just as much of a sexual revolution. There was not only was, um, uh, contraception more widely available, but the automobile totally transformed how men and women, uh, related to each other in this country. Speaker 1 00:22:25 Because now you could travel to visit people, you could travel to get away from your small town. And all the gossiping that went on, I think we really underestimate how stifling the gossipy world of small town America was in say, 1900. Now, 1920 is a pivotal year because not only is Sinclair Louis's Main Street published that year, but the 1920 census is the first time that more Americans lived off of farms than on farms. And so you have this generation gap of younger people who are trying to get out of their small towns, and they're interested in the new technologies like automobiles and radios and things like that. And those are of course, affecting how they deal with the opposite sex. And women are becoming liberated in some truly transformative ways, including economic. They, they're able to earn a living in a way that they could not have done just a few decades before. I think that that contributed to their understanding freedom, because, you know, that meant that they were very aware of the way that being protected or, or, or, or government shielding you or helping you or putting you on a pedestal can also be a, a way of taking away your freedom. I think they were very sensitive to that, as all women probably are. That be that it sounds nice to be protected, but when you think about it, what that often means is being put into a cage. Speaker 0 00:23:50 Interesting. All right, everyone, I know the questions are stacking up. We are going to get to them shortly, but, uh, as I mentioned, um, I've both read this book and I listened to the audio and, uh, just was really mesmerized. So grant me a little bit of patience. I'll get to a couple of more of mine that I promised we returned to yours. So type those in. Uh, you describe Isabel Patterson as the first among equals of the three theories. Was this just primarily because of what she had already accomplished in her career compared to Rand and Lane? Or was it a function of her very forceful personality? Speaker 1 00:24:32 It was a little of both. And part, so Patterson, both of them, both Lane and Rand, regarded Patterson as their teacher. And, uh, especially, so Rand, so Rand arrives in the United States in 1926, and she doesn't meet Patterson as in 1940, but she had been reading Patterson's column in the New York, Carol Tribune, nation's leading Republican newspaper, and for which Patterson wrote weekly columns for 25 years, quite a lot of work, and was a highly respected literary intellectual. And they meet in 1940 and Rand becomes something of a student of Patterson's, particularly learning about American constitutionalism and economics. Uh, Patterson herself was self-educated on all of this. She had two years of formal schooling, which ended before she was 11 years old. And so she was an entirely self-taught woman. Her book, the God of the Machine, is really a remarkable thing to be published by a woman who, who had no college degree and is figuring out economics largely on her own and doing a, a fantastic job of anticipating the work of people like Friedrich Hayek and Ludvig von Mises. Speaker 1 00:25:40 So that was her influence on Rand. I think also Rand sort of saw Patterson as a model of what an intellectual ought to be. Uh, I can't prove that, but I, I think that that was a big influence on Rand. And I think that the friendship between Howard Rourke and Gail Winan in the Fountainhead owes a lot to the, the relationship that they developed while Rand was writing this book, uh, in the 1940s Lane. On the other hand, she had known Patterson for 20 years. By then they met some, well, they probably first met in person in the 1930s, but they had been corresponding since at least 1926. So they shared ideas that unfortunately those letters have been lost. Uh, they got, after their argument, they apparently destroyed, uh, the, the letters on either side. So we don't have that. All we have is, uh, Patterson's newspaper columns where she would often quote from Lane's letters they corresponded and talked about world events and literature and gardening and all of the things that they, that interested them. And Lane really, I mean, it would not be much of an exaggeration to say that Lane worshiped Patterson really saw her as the bo ideal of an intellectual. Um, so I think that was really why I, I, that's why I call her first among equals of the Furies. Speaker 0 00:26:55 Interesting. Okay. As promised, getting going to get to some of these questions, uh, we have one coming in from YouTube from Scott asking, was Freedom's theories a reference to William f Buckley's term for these women? Speaker 1 00:27:10 Yes, that's right. So Pat, so, uh, William F. Buckley once referred to Lane Patterson and Rand as the three theories of modern libertarianism. I think Buckley probably meant this as a pejorative, but as I, in the introduction, actually, the term isn't a bad one because the Furies are figures from Greek mythology who they're spirits who pursue and chase down criminals who have violated the law and have not yet been caught by the authorities. So in East's arrest trilogy, they chase after Ores who has murdered his mother, KLE Nettra for killing his father, AGA. And they chase down parasites and breakers of oaths. And at the end of the arrest, uh, Athena puts an end to this sort of cycle of vengeance by creating, you might say, a constitution. She, she says, from now on, we're going to have trials before juries, and we're going to resolve these questions through reason and rational argument. And so, and when she does that, she changes the name of the Furies into the blessed ones. And so I thought, you know, actually Furies is not a bad term for the way that Rand Patterson and Lane were trying to, to chase down those who had violated the Constitution and bring the nation to the, the bar of reason. Speaker 0 00:28:26 Interesting. Well, you mentioned, uh, Buckley and his sort of animosity definitely towards Rand and, uh, the, these sort of early libertarian pioneers. Um, it's interesting that some people will lump Rand or or Patterson Lane as, as conservatives mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and they really were anything but mm-hmm. <affirmative>, do you wanna speak to that Speaker 1 00:28:54 A little bit? Oh, you're absolutely right. And they would definitely have rejected the term conservative. Uh, Patterson was very proud that she was the, she thought the first journalist ever to publish an article in the United States calling for the decriminalization of prostitution Lane, uh, wrote a n newspaper column for the nation's leading black newspaper. And Rand was of course, outspokenly in her opposition to conservatism and was, and defended things like, like, uh, sexual freedom and the right to an abortion and so forth. So none of them would've qualified as conservative by the way that term is generally used today. Um, of course, they, they thought of themselves as liberal in the old sense, as liberal in the classic sense before that word got perverted by people like Franklin Roosevelt. Speaker 0 00:29:42 All right. Paul is asking, um, well, he said mentioning he had never heard of Garrett, Garrett until recently. Of course, you cover him in the book. Um, and he was shocked to find that, uh, Garrett had written a novel a decade earlier, uh, than Rand with similar themes, even down to a character named Gat. Is this true or do you wanna talk a little bit about, um, Speaker 1 00:30:11 Yeah, there's, there's a longstanding, there's a longstanding myth that Rand copied, uh, from Garrett Garrett's novel, and it's true that there's a character named Gat, but evidently that really is basically the only true similarity. I mean, of course, Garrett shared, uh, belief in free markets with Rand and Lane and Patterson, but there seems to be no evidence of any actual influence beyond just the coincidental, uh, coincidence of their names. Garrett was a writer for the Saturday Evening Post who had been friends with Lane for many years, and in the thirties, the two of them traveled across the Midwest to write a, an article for the, the post about Franklin Roosevelt's agricultural schemes and how they were failing. There's some speculation among some biographers that they developed a romantic relationship, but I couldn't find any evidence of that. Speaker 0 00:31:04 All right. Uh, Scott, again, on YouTube is talking about God of the machine Patterson's, uh, masterpiece and how it kept going back to the analogy of an electric circuit. Can you talk a bit about that in, in the book about how, um, some people would, uh, try to say that it was a metaphor that, that it was an analogy, but that she was very emphatic, that she meant it more literally. Speaker 1 00:31:33 Oh, yes. She really was. She, what, what the theme of the God of the machine or the, the argument of the God of the machine is that the economy is a machine, or rather is a, a kind of circuit of energy. The energy in question is not electricity necessarily, although that might be part of it. The, the energy in question is the energy of human creativity, the God of the machine, and Patterson's title is the creative spark that keeps the machinery of a, of the economy going and can transform other kinds of energy from one form to another. Now, we're familiar from science and thermodynamics of the idea that energy can be transformed from one form to another, can kinetic energy can become, uh, uh, the energy of motion and, and so forth and so on. But Patterson goes a step further. She says, for example, if I write out an equation that, you know, enables me to split the atom, and of course, in doing so, I am fueled by, you know, the meals that I ate that day while I was working in my laboratory, then what I've sort of done is transformed the energy of the food into atomic energy, right? Speaker 1 00:32:42 And what has enabled me to do that is human creativity, this special spark. And so that idea that energy can be transformed through humanity into all sorts of unforeseen forms, underlies Patterson's argument that the economy is a kind of circuit of energy. And that government restrictions on the transformation of that energy, that is to say, restrictions on buying and selling or creating and building that those kinds of restrictions can short circuit the system or cause explosions or discombobulation. And that's Patterson's sort of anticipating the Austrian theory of how prices work as signals of information in the economy. So the, when, uh, other people said that Patterson was saying was using a metaphor, an analogy, she really objected to that. In particular, she had a meeting with Herbert Hoover, former President Hoover, that she was hoping he would, um, help her publicize the book. And during that meeting, she, he referred to the, uh, the book as a metaphor, and she writes this letter after the, after that she writes a letter to Rand describing this lunch, and she, she says, I'm so disgusted that I'm expected to take this man as my intellectual equal <laugh>. Speaker 0 00:33:54 Well, yeah, the dynamics that were described at that lunch kind of get back to this issue of these women at that time. And, and hos being, you know, fairly condescending <laugh> that, you know, well, you have the luxury of being able to think about such matters because you're a woman as opposed to these businessmen. And of course, Rand and others were frustrated that the businessmen of of the day weren't taking a more active stand in their rational self-interest, but they're so busy, so that's why they can't attend to that. Speaker 1 00:34:28 Yes, it drove, it drove Patterson up the wall that businessmen refused to stand up for their rights and instead would collaborate with government programs that were ultimately going to destroy their economic freedom. Speaker 0 00:34:42 Yes. And of course, it also, uh, was very frustrating to I rand, right? Um, and she was frustrated not just with the, the businessmen of the day, I guess it's fair to say, but all three, uh, also were frustrated with how some of the leading academic critics of the New Deal, um, who they viewed as advancing arguments that were really undermining the, their own cause. What were some of the specific problems that they had with Hayek? Speaker 1 00:35:15 Yeah. Oh, Friedrich Hayek. So if Hayek's, uh, road Deseron was published in 1944, the year after Rand Patterson and Lane published their books, and they, uh, by that time Lane was editing a magazine called the National Economic Council Review of Books. And she reviewed Hayek's book, and she was very irritated by Hayek's compromising on the idea of individual liberty, and arguing that, well, it's possible to reconcile economic freedom with a welfare state, which it is, is not, in fact. And he and Hayek's arguments for that proposition are, are notably weak. But Rand also was particularly frustrated that Hayek would not make a, an objective moral case for individual liberty. It's, it's revealing that the word rights does not appear in the road. Des serfdom, uh, Hayek is arguing more from a, uh, what you would, I think, uh, accurately call it conservative position of the limitations of our knowledge. Speaker 1 00:36:15 And he's arguing from a, uh, a theory called Spontaneous Order that says you don't need a government planner in order to create order in the economy, all of which is true, and a and a helpful observation, but it fails to mount a sort of normative case for individual freedom, which is what pa all three Patterson Lane and Rand insisted upon. They argued that you have a moral right to freedom, which is a position that both, that all the Austrians sort of shied away from, particularly Ludvig Van Mesis, although they got along better with meas for the most part than they did with Hayek. Speaker 0 00:36:50 Yes, I remember, uh, reading one of the margin notes that Rand had written, um, in her critique of Hayek when he had, uh, ascribed high moral ideals to Collectivists. And she wrote something along the lines of, there are, there is no hope for our cause if, uh, so-called Defenders of Liberty spout, things like this. So one Speaker 1 00:37:16 Reason why Hayek's argument fails is that Hayek, he says, well, you don't need a designer to, to, to have order. You can have this spontaneous order. But he also argues that spontaneous orders are a product of created intentional orders. And so therefore, planning is an important ingredient in what he's arguing for, and yet he's supposed to be arguing against planning. So those things are re reconcilable. And then you end up with this, the, at the bottom line that what Hayek is really arguing is just, well, you should go slowly. You should be careful. You should, you should be, make sure you don't just come in and override everything because there might be good reasons for the way that we have the world. Well, that's really a more of a buran sort of conservative argument. And as we said earlier, both or all three Lane Patterson and Rand W were definitely not burkian conservatives. Speaker 1 00:38:05 They were, if anything, they were radicals, they wanted in some ways to radically transform society in order to liberate people from traditions that held them back, which is a very unhi akian notion. Another scholar, by the way, you mentioned, uh, uh, how they had trouble with more than one of the free marketers of their day. Another one was Henry Haslett, who's book, uh, economics in one lesson, 1946, both Lane and, uh, Rand disliked. And on this point, uh, I, I feel myself a little bit, bit defensive because I love that book. And in fact, Rand did like the book. She thought it was a very good book, but it has an occasional comment in there that sort of undercuts, uh, me has Haslett's position in particular, Rand was bothered by a part where Haslett's tries to distinguish between luxury goods and necessities, but that distinction really only can become about, can only be discovered through the process of the free market through prices and, and goods and services being exchanged, and people setting their priorities in a laser fair system. So it's kind of an illegitimate thing for him to argue. Uh, so the but Lane gets really frustrated by this, and she, she says, the, the book is basically all wrong, right? Which is a little bit of an exaggeration, I think. Speaker 0 00:39:21 Well, for those interested, hopefully you've already gotten your, um, copy of Freedom's Furries, uh, and it is in the, uh, chapter called The Subversive, see Mine heavily underlined here. All right. Uh, Alex Moore on Facebook is asking, uh, Tim, could you explain more the threes the furries response to FD R'S policies in the thirties and early forties? Why were Republicans so ineffectual Speaker 1 00:39:55 <laugh>? Well, why Republicans were ineffectual is a, a bit of a long story. They were, um, truly wiped out by the Franklin Roosevelt Revolution in the 1930s. And in 1932, Roosevelt becomes president and starts, you know, the famous a hundred days, these huge new statutes that give him a lot of personal power. He starts handing out a lot of government money, hiring a lot of people onto the government payroll, and at the same time, restricting the, the freedom of the press to criticize him. And particularly radio, the Federal Communications Act gets passed. And that creates a board of officials who are in charge of licensing radio stations. And of course, since he's the only, he's the president, he gets to nominate every member of that commission, and every radio station has to get its license renewed every six months. So nobody is going to criticize the president on their radio station because you run the risk of losing your license. Speaker 1 00:40:50 Right? Meanwhile, Roosevelt's supporters in the Senate start investigating and holding these show trials, basically in the Senate of anybody who's critical of the New Deal and, and sort of a McCarthyism before McCarthy was around it. And it, and the shoes on the other foot where they're con they're trying to name and shame anybody who's opposed the New Deal. So Roosevelt gains a lot of, of in, of personal political authority because much of the country is more or less working for him, and they're afraid to criticize him. And the Republican Party has lost basically all of its support, cuz you're not gonna get any kind of government favors for by voting for Republicans. And of course, they get tarred in the, in the media as being a bunch of rich fat cats. More importantly, they lack the intellectual resources to make an ideological or, or a scholarly case against New deal programs. Speaker 1 00:41:42 We're talking about a time, as I said before, mesis before Hayek before Price Theory is really well understood before the ideas of spontaneous order that show that planning is not necessary and so forth. And so all of these things kind of come together so that by 1936, the Republicans have nobody that they can nominate, who is anything like a real opponent to Franklin Roosevelt. Al Landon, when he runs for president, he's missing for the first si that makes no public appearances for the first several months after he is nominated. And after that, all he does is a bunch of me too, me too. I agree with everything Roosevelt's doing, but I want to give you less of it. And so, unsurprisingly, he loses the, the, his election, the same thing happens in 1940. Same thing happens in 1944 and so forth. So that, that's one, uh, kind of the broad overview of why Republicans offered so little opposition to the New Deal. Speaker 1 00:42:33 Lane Patterson and Rand formulated a, a wide variety of arguments against the New Deal, especially Patterson. Remember that at this time, Rand wasn't so much into politics, she devoted herself to politics more toward the late 1930s and early 1940s, particularly when she volunteered for Wendell Wilkis campaign against Roosevelt, uh, for, for the presidency in 1940. And before that, she, you know, she wanted to write movies. She wanted to be a playwright, a movie writer, and a novelist. And so she wasn't really doing a lot of politics and economics at that time. So of the three, it's Patterson is really the leading opponent of the New Deal. And in her newspaper column, which as I said is very widely read, she starts more and more writing out why these programs are such a bad idea, for example, going off the gold standard, what does money mean? Things like that. She's writing about that in her column. And so there, it depends on, of course, on what program you're talking about, the opposition that they offered. And I couldn't go into all of them in the book because it <laugh> it would've swollen beyond capacity. In fact, you'll notice Jen, Jen, I don't, I don't ever mention the Tennessee Valley Authority in the book, cuz I just didn't have room for it. <laugh> Speaker 0 00:43:41 No, I mean, look, this is your, you know, Frederick Douglass, right? And this is, this is Freedom's stories, and I was still wanting more so, Speaker 1 00:43:50 Well, I have to give credit here to my wife, uh, Christina, who is really the family expert on the New Deal. She, she is, uh, she's been studying the Roosevelt era for a long time, and I relied heavily on, on her advice in, in, uh, in my research on into the programs of the New Deal. Speaker 0 00:44:07 All right, we have about 15 minutes left, so we might be able to get to another question or two. Uh, here's one on YouTube. Hank weird in asking why do you believe Rand had a number of falling outs with people who she was friendly with? Well, I guess you could probably say that of all of the three theories, but Speaker 1 00:44:26 Yeah, actually you can particularly Patterson Patterson, you know, know she had a, i i, I fear that I say this too much, that Patterson had an abrasive personality. She did. She was a, a fascinating woman. And Rand often said that when Patterson was, was in a good mood, she was, she said she was like quicksand. You couldn't resist her when she was in a good mood <laugh>. And I fear that I, that I may have portrayed her in a little bit overly negative light in the book, because she also had so little patience for people who did not think in principles or mm-hmm. <affirmative>, who, uh, were sold out to the system like the businessman who refused to, to defend their rights. One thing, by the way, this is a good example. One of the things that really bothered Patterson, the, the things she considered probably the most evil thing government does, is the military draft. Speaker 1 00:45:14 She thought that conscription was the ultimate sign of a tyrant. Now remember, this is, this is a woman who had lived through World War I, we don't know what she did during World War I because records about her early life, or rather spotty, but she did mention once that she nearly had a mental breakdown because she was so upset about World War I, when conscription forced hundreds of thousands of American men into a war that really was not very popular back at home. And there was censorship and, and oppression on a scale that had not been known before. And so, when World War II is coming and there's talk of more conscription, and then there's a peacetime, the world, the, uh, the country's first peacetime, conscription act, and then the Smith Act comes along and makes it illegal to oppose the, the military draft. And, and, and to publicly speak against the draft, you know, Patterson gets really upset by these sorts of developments. Speaker 1 00:46:11 I think that frustration at seeing nobody willing to stand up for their rights, I think that led Patterson to have a lot of personal conflicts, uh, with, with individuals that she thought weren't, uh, doing their job as, as citizens. There's a, a famous saying, um, about, uh, a person as a moral obligation to be intelligent. And Patterson, I think took that maybe a little too seriously. And I think Rand also, you know, especially as, as she got older, I think she got more and more frustrated by a world that seemed less interested in principle, more interested in short term satisfaction that will, would ultimately destroy something that all three of them believe very profoundly in the promise of America as a, as a sanctuary for humanity and freedom that was being, you know, whittled away bit by bit in their lifetimes. It's easy to think of this as a long time ago, but remember that, that this is a, a, a, a very short span of time. We're talking about Patterson. When she was young, she set a world altitude record in one of the earliest airplanes flying 5,000 feet with a pioneer aviator named Harry Bingham Brown. And her friend I Rand attended the launch of Apollo 11. So this is a very short span of time and a huge amount of social change that's going on. So it's, I think it's kind of understandable why they would find that very difficult to deal with in their personal lives sometimes. Speaker 0 00:47:38 Yeah, I sometimes, um, when I'm asked that question, I think of, uh, Thomas So's vision of the anointed. He's talked about this feedback loop that, uh, needs to not be interrupted, whether it's, uh, culture or society or, you know, even an individual. And sometimes when there are things that interrupt that feedback loop, you can become isolated. You don't get all of the information that you need in order to make a change. And I, I think of Ayn Rand and what it took to really stake out such, uh, for the time controversial, um, positions, and to really break a lot of norms and cheat needed to be able to tune out all of the people that said, this is horrible. This is crazy. You know, you're gonna fall, you're gonna fail. Uh, and then you almost get that muscle memory of tuning out what other people say. You Speaker 1 00:48:36 Know, that's a really good point, that the, it's kind of like an entrepreneur who gets told over and over again, you know, your rocket ship isn't gonna work, and you have to be able to, to develop sort of a callous so that you don't let that wreck your self-esteem. But then also the, the downside to that can be that once you've developed that capacity, sometimes you don't listen when you ought to listen to people. I can see how that would be a real problem. Speaker 0 00:49:00 So again, on Rand, uh, and we were talking about this age of darkness, and that's another gift I wanna mention of, of the book, because I know it's all too easy to feel that we are living in our own age of darkness and everything is terrible and things are getting worse. Well read about what these three were living through in the thirties and forties, and, uh, seeing this pioneer country, um, in some ways being transformed, uh, you know, the, the airplane generation in, in quite exciting ways, but in some ways, uh, being transformed into something that looked like it was more directional to what was going on in the Soviet Union, which Iran knew, uh, the, the dangers of which all too well. So, um, so I do think it is, uh, gives us a bit of perspective, as I always say to the objective, you must have perspective and this reading, this book can give you perspective and, uh, and a sense of gratitude for the times in which we're living today. Um, but I hadn't been aware of how Roosevelt, the Roosevelt administration had blamed the, uh, recession or perhaps the depression or depression after shock of 1937 on a strike of capital. Tell us the significance of this and how it may have inspired part of the plot of Atlas Speaker 1 00:50:26 Shred. Yeah, so this is, uh, uh, 1937 to 38 or so that we're talking about. What happened was the economy tanked as a result of, uh, Roosevelt's, uh, programs, often referred to as the second new deal. These are laws like the National Labor Relations Act and various tax increases and so forth. The economy collapsed in a situation that was even worse in some ways than the original depression had been. Uh, Roosevelt of course, tried to downplay it and say, you know, the, the so-called, uh, depression within a depression, he didn't like that term, so he changed it to the word recession, which he thought sounded better. But the Roosevelt recession was, although it was the consequence of federal economic policies, Roosevelt decided instead to blame it on a secret cabal of capitalists who were conspiring to undermine the new deal by going on strike. And he referred to it as the strike of capital. Speaker 1 00:51:18 His deputies went out and, and claimed that there was a, this secret conspiracy of capitalists going on. Now, uh, Patterson wrote an article about this. One of her columns was devoted to this, in which she said, there's no such, this is not going on. She said, the reason why the economy is collapsing is because these policies are so bad. But I think it's, it's inevitable that Patterson and Rand got to talking about this in the 1940s when they became friends. And then it seems like it may have been a really good idea for a novel. Patterson was really enthusiastic that Ram follow up the fountain head with a new novel devoted to this idea of a strike of capitalists. And she actually, she published an, uh, a newspaper article where she mentioned, oh, you know, Rand, uh, now that the fountain head's out she's at work on a new novel, and it'll be, but it'll be a while. Speaker 1 00:52:07 She'll probably finish it in a year. <laugh>. Yeah, of course it took more than a decade after that. Uh, but that was basically the spark of what led to Atlas Shrug. And I think this is an important thing that I had not really realized going into the book, is that all three of them wrote novels about the Great Depression. Patterson wrote a little novel called The Gold, the Golden Vanity, which is sort of a, a little satire, sort of a comedy novel about the silliness, uh, that's going on during the Great Depression Lane. Wrote a novel called Free Land, which is a frontier novel that was intended as an answer to people who at the time said, oh, well, previous generations had it easy cuz they got free land through the Homestead Act. And Lane was trying to say, no, this was not free land. People worked hard for that land. And Rand's Great Depression novel is Atlas Shrugged. The things that happen in Atlas shrugged. Most of these things actually did happen during the Great Depression. And a lot of the characters in Atlas Shrugged are based on real people who lived during the Great Depression. Uh, so, and, and I, and I, as I mentioned, it includes, that includes Patterson as in a cameo in the novel. So all three of them wrote novels of the great depression that were inspired by, by real life events. Speaker 0 00:53:20 All right, well, we are just about out of time. I'm gonna squeeze in Phil Coates, um, who's very interested in what you mentioned regarding some of the censorship during the New Deal. Uh, and you write a bit about that in this book. So again, go out there and pick, pick up your copy. Uh, but any other sources for, for learning more about this? Uh, Phil's mentioning he, he doesn't feel that it's, it's widely known about the censorship that took place in that era. Speaker 1 00:53:50 That's absolutely true, in fact, that most of, much of the criticism, much of the much of the downside to the New Deal era has been what they, the term for it nowadays is erased history. Um, it, it's really remarkable that although there's a rich literature in in economics about why the New Deal was such a bad thing and worsened and lengthened the Great Depression, right. Historians have largely ignored that fact. There's a, there are some books out there, f d r and The Media, I believe is a title of one of them that I used. Um, the book that actually, of, of the sources that I consulted in writing this book, I think my favorite was a very short little book called Three New Deals by Wolfgang Shival Bush, which compares the, uh, Italian, German and American New Deals. And the Italian New Deal is the Mussolini program of, um, of corporatism. Speaker 1 00:54:40 The, uh, German, uh, new Deal is fascism and particularly the creation of the Audubon in Germany and the American New Deal. He particularly focuses on the TV a and shows how these were really more like social experiments rather than any kind of serious economic program. A point that he really makes that I think is fantastic is that at the time a lot of people were around, who could remember what we would call the Industrial Revolution, Patterson and Lane, for example, they, they remembered the, the, the Industrial Revolution. They could tell you they were teenagers when they saw their first light bulbs, you know, so they knew what had happened, what the transformations they had witnessed, and there was no reason why it might not be undone if humanity continued on the course that it was going on with communism and fascism and, and New Deal corporatism and so forth. Speaker 0 00:55:34 So, Tim, I didn't wanna end without mentioning some notes on silence. I don't yet have my copy here. I know, uh, Amazon tells me it's arriving today. Now your fans know you as an author, a litigator, uh, and a legal scholar. Now we may add poet to the list. Um, is this a new area of creative endeavor or something that you've been exploring for some time? Speaker 1 00:56:01 Well, I've written poetry all of my life, but it was about 10 years ago that I, I said to myself that one of my goals was to, to try and become decent at it. And, uh, so I sort of as a, a, a side project teaching myself the, the poetic tradition and particularly the formal poetic tradition. You know, there's, there are a, a relatively small number of poets today who write in the traditional forms, and I really admire some of their work a lot. And I've tried to see what I can do with some of those forms. And so the opportunity came to, to put together some of the poems that I think are best. And so that's what that book is. It was also kind of inspired by this atmosphere that we have now of political correctness and cancel culture and this sort of fear of speaking out about things that matter to you. That was kind of the germ of, of the theme of the book, uh, which is just, it's a collection of homes I've written over the years, but they kind of coalesce around that theme, or at least that's my, that's my intention. Speaker 0 00:57:05 Well, I'm, I'm, uh, just breathlessly, uh, anticipating my copy and, um, folks, you can expect to see some of that and certainly a lot of this, um, in our social media thieve. So, uh, keep an eye out for that. Tim, as we close up, anything else that you had wanted to mention or that we didn't get to? Speaker 1 00:57:25 These women's lives were so rich that I could go on all day about them. Uh, I will say that, and I'm glad you, you emphasized this, that the, my book really tries to talk as as much about the atmosphere that they lived in and that they were working in as about them themselves. It's not intended as a biography of them as so much as a book, a biography of their books, the, the books that they published in 1943, the God of the Machine, the Discovery of Freedom and the Fountain Head, and to explore the political and literary, uh, atmosphere that they were working in. So, uh, I I, although it's it's primarily focused on the three of them as its main, as the main characters, I really try to tell a story more about the America of the thirties and forties, which has some in some ways, some eerie parallels with, with the, the world today. Some very discomforting parallels, but also, as you said earlier, is very different. We have things so much better than they had them in many ways also. So I hope that that inspires some thoughts about how we can defend and promote freedom today. Speaker 0 00:58:31 Thank you, Tim. And thank thanks to all of you for joining us today. As a reminder, if you are in the Phoenix area on February 16th, join Tim for a special event at the Goldwater Institute, a hot bed of objective, uh, to discuss freedoms, furies, and, uh, the three women who sparked a revolution. Uh, I am a big fan of the Goldwater Institute, so I urge you to check out their work. And if you enjoyed this video of any of the other work that we do at the Atlas Society, please consider making a tax deductible [email protected] Please be sure to tune in next week when we'll be joined by Professor Jiro Nagoya, uh, of the UK's University of Exeter, to discuss her work on social justice from a libertarian perspective. We'll see you then.

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