Re: Rand and Romanticism

Technotranscendence (
Mon, 25 Oct 1999 19:39:35 -0700

On Monday, October 25, 1999 10:59 AM Max More wrote:
> >Socialist realism, which is mostly slop.
> Coming from an individualist, this may sound odd, but I've always *liked*
> socialist realism. There are some fantastically powerful and optimistic
> pro-technology sculptures and structures in Russia (such as the soaring
> edifice honoring Tsoliovsky (sorry if I butchered the spelling here), and
> like the bold, heroic portrayals of workers.

Yes, but it gets cliched fast. And these are just the posters. I've had the "good" fortune to see the Soviet exhibition at the Vorhees-Zimmerli Art Museum last year (at Rutgers in NJ, USA; don't know if it's still there). The official art was purely propaganda. It gets old fast.

I can understand you seeing that in it, though. And a lot of that came from the Stalin era too -- not from the 1920s or early 1930s, which were more socialist realist than
let's-make-Stalin-look-like-the-greatest-man-ever-and-the-people-under-him-l ook-like-heroes-too. The latter is more like Nazi art -- pushing the right buttons to keep people from questioning authority.

I saw, e.g., a socialist realist film from before the war. I don't recall the name of it. But it was basically the peasants overcoming the oppressors together as a dirty, grimey mass.

And this sort of art does not really challenge people. It just makes them feel comfortable being what they are and following who is in charge. On this, see "Finding Good Art: A Challenge for Objectivists" at my web site. (See below for the URL.)

> I found it hilarious back in the early '80s, when the libertarian
> was growing among young student members of the conservative party, when a
> newsletter came out with a socialist realist style cover. It looked just
> like a heroically bold picture of Lenin, but showed a tough working class
> guy holding a copy of one of Friedrich Hayek's books.

That is funny!:) Someone should put that up on the web.

> Apparently one person's slop is another's spice!

Can't argue with that.


Daniel Ust