The Black Box of Rand

From "From the archives":

Something happens to smart people when they don’t grow up around other smart kids. If they aren’t very, very lucky, they get broken in ways that don’t mend well and show for the rest of their lives. Sadly, the scars from being the smartest kid in the room show up in grownups as being detached, contemptuous, pedantic and smug. It is hard to feel for those people, but you should. It isn’t their fault. [...]

There is one sure way to ruin a smart kid. If you take a smart, hurt kid, and give him anything by Ayn Rand, all hope is lost. I haven’t read any Rand, so I can’t argue content with anyone. But I can tell you how Rand works as a black box. You put a hurt, smart kid through Rand, and you get out an insufferable, pleased-with-himself Libertarian. It is a loss to all of us, of course, but more of a personal tragedy for the kid. You can hope that one day that kid will want to get laid enough to rejoin society, but too many of those kids are irrecoverably lost.

Sounds about right.

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