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August 20, 2010


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Richard Brody

The one truly provocative part of Roy Edroso's ménagerie is the last one, regarding the aesthetic redemption of propaganda: compare to the nineteen-year-old Godard's 1950 essay "Towards a Political Cinema." The terms of praise overlap only slightly, but enough to spur reflection.

Asher Steinberg

A funny line, but, strictly speaking, the first victory had nothing to do with his performance as President as he wasn't President yet, so saying four, rather than three, is a non sequitur, the fourth victory was during wartime, and as for the second and third, they're not necessarily inconsistent with the claim that he made the Depression longer. Of course things improved from 1932 to 1936, and from 1936 to 1940, and Roosevelt was rewarded for that at the polls, but that doesn't mean that things couldn't have improved much more and much faster with different economic policies.

Glenn Kenny

@Asher: Well, we'll never know whether or not things "couldn't have improved much more and much faster with different economic policies." Or will we? I sure as hell hope not, as I don't think I could handle much more economic policy period, myself. Anyway, the part of the line that cracked me up the most was "if you're bored sometime, run this thesis past your grandparents," which created, for me at least, a quite uproarious mental image. His subsequent citation of Shlaes suggested to me that I wouldn't necessarily find her a very persuasive FDR debunker...

Oliver C

Counterfactuals are historians' equivalent of the movie 'The Butterfly Effect', and all too often just as manipulative and histrionic.

Kent Jones

This is really nothing new. I seem to remember plenty of Rand devotees in the Nixon and Reagan administrations. I think David Stockman, the trickle-down king, was a card-carrying Objectivist.

Glenn, I've never seen the Italian fascist epic adaptation of We the Living. How 'bout you?

Glenn Kenny

@ Kent: I have not seen it. I'd certainly like to. J. Hoberman writes about it very evocatively in "The Red Atlantis," and as it happens, it IS available on DVD—albeit in a perhaps less-than-ideal edition. I pondered its condition in this post:


Some might cite this as an example of an, erm, free-market failure. But I wouldn't want to get into an argument with anyone who'd object to that characterization...

Kent Jones

Oh, thanks - seem to have missed that.

I have fond memories of Rand's Phil Donahue appearances. Such as: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzGFytGBDN8


First of all I'm happy to have found your site Glenn. I spent way too much time reading it over the past two days.

The only problem I have is that when you delve into politics it seems more like sniping followed by caveats allowing for a retreat.

I am not a Rand devotee nor a big fan of FDR yet find no way to discuss any of the complex issues based on what you posted without being exposed to silly attacks. If I point out negatives regarding FDR and evidence that his policies actually exacerbated the Depression will it turn into a "Rand vs FDR" thing?

I mean there's nothing controversial about questioning conventional wisdom associated with FDR's stunning (in some senses frightening) impact, Rand or historical events that reshaped the entire planet.

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