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'Our daughter isn't a selfish brat; your son just hasn't read Atlas Shrugged'

When little Aiden toddled up our daughter Johanna and asked to play with her Elmo ball, he was, admittedly, very sweet and polite. I think his exact words were, "Have a ball, peas [sic]?" And I'm sure you were very proud of him for using his manners.

To be sure, I was equally proud when Johanna yelled, "No! Looter!" right in his looter face, and then only marginally less proud when she sort of shoved him.

More.

By Ezra Klein  |  August 12, 2010; 10:15 AM ET
 
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Comments

So the lesson is: everyone should always act like a selfish toddler?

It's amazing to me, the ability of these Randians to come up with elaborate, flowery justifications for their own decisions to act like huge jerks. I really hope the author of that piece has a second child, because my guess is that the philosophy will ultimately break the family apart.

And I can't wait until the little "princess" gets to school and has to deal with dozens of other children.

Posted by: KBfromNC | August 12, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Why didn't little Aiden's parents buy him his own Elmo ball if they thought it was so important that he have one to play with? :)

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 12, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

A man once asked us if our children is learning. Sadly, I think the answer is yes, they're learning from us.

Posted by: Fnor | August 12, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Yes, everyone should recall that we won the war against Japan by joining our hands, singing happy songs, and offering Earthly delights. Oh, wait a second...

Posted by: rmgregory | August 12, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

This story pretty much encapsulates my grand unified theory of why Republicans hate the social contract and PBS so much: they just never *got* the lessons of Sesame Street.

Posted by: slag | August 12, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Little Aiden might have had better luck getting his hands on Johanna's Elmo ball had he offered her his Dora ball in exchange.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 12, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, this is a parody.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | August 12, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

And a clumsy parody at that.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Actually it's not a parody, it's Megan McArdle's comment policy.

Posted by: BobFred | August 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Clearly a parody, follow the link to read the whole thing. It's funny.

But what some without toddlers may not know is that there are a set of parents who kind of like the leadership-bordering-on-dominance that their kids exhibit. It makes them think their kids will be leaders of men. Meanwhile, those of us whose kids are getting clobbered are disgusted at the poor parenting that leads to hitters.

It's that little grain of truth that makes a good parody work.

Posted by: BHeffernan1 | August 12, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

"Just to be clear, this is a parody.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | August 12, 2010 11:05 AM"

The fact that you had to clarify this as a parody says a lot by itself.

Posted by: jnc4p | August 12, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, this is a parody.

Posted by: Ezra Klein | August 12, 2010 11:05 AM

Wait, this blog is a parody?

Posted by: bigless55 | August 12, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

what is truely amazing is that those idiots who support Ayn Rand didn't get that it was a parody.

Too funny, - and a great example of how limited Randians are..

Posted by: newagent99 | August 12, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

maybe Aidan should have just gone to the unfortunate kid who worked hard all day to collect the balls littered all over the playground and require him to redistribute them to the unfortunate kids who didn't have one. Wouldn't that have been more fair?

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 12, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Little Aidan probably knows the unfortunate kid would bop him over the head, so Little Aidan needs to elect Principal Obama to require the unfortunate kid to disgorge his ill-gotten balls.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 12, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

what is truely amazing is that those idiots who support Ayn Rand didn't get that it was a parody.

Too funny, - and a great example of how limited Randians are..

Posted by: newagent99 | August 12, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse


actually what's truly amazing is how obnoxious that statement you made really is. Why is it that some liberals think they're smarter than everyone else when you've got examples of this:

"A man once asked us if our children is learning. Sadly, I think the answer is yes, they're learning from us."

Posted by: Fnor | August 12, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

------------------------

Its "ARE" learning. Ironic on so many levels. And it was actually (I'd expect) a liberal (KBfromNC) who chastised the author who assumed it wasn't a parody and actual events.

In the end we all make mistakes if that was the case but the moral of my story is you need to come off your high horse newagent99.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 12, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it's revealing and hilarious that the Randians in the audience are jumping all over themselves to defend Johanna and attack Aiden.

It takes a village of objectivists to warp a child.

Posted by: dfhoughton | August 12, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Regarding "Is our children learning," that's a Bush quote. Google it.

Posted by: dfhoughton | August 12, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

it perfectly encapsulates modern conservatism. It's just a-hole-ism as a moral philosophy.

Posted by: dplionis | August 12, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how many conservatives now embracing Ayn Rand actually know she was a die-hard atheist too. I'm an atheist but on the liberal end of the spectrum so I'm in agreement with that portion of her writings.

Would knowing that change any tea partier's love of Ayn Rand's economic philosophy? Or would they just conveniently ignore the parts they don't like as they do with the Bible?

Posted by: dplionis | August 12, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

"Yes, it's revealing and hilarious that the Randians in the audience are jumping all over themselves to defend Johanna and attack Aiden.

It takes a village of objectivists to warp a child."

Posted by: dfhoughton


Just to be clear, this is a parody.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 12, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

I just read a book where a group of "superior people" withdraw from society and try to live according to (mostly) Randian principles. Eventually, their kids revolt against them and have them arrested.

_Beggars in Spain_ by Nancy Kress. I highly recommend it.

Posted by: KarenJG | August 12, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Its "ARE" learning. Ironic on so many levels. And it was actually (I'd expect) a liberal (KBfromNC) who chastised the author who assumed it wasn't a parody and actual events.

In the end we all make mistakes if that was the case but the moral of my story is you need to come off your high horse newagent99."

Oh my. How telling that visionbrkr didn't grasp the Bush parody either. I'm sure visionbrkr was trying to inspire some self-reflection in us liberal commenters, but never expected that pity would be the emotion evoked instead.

Posted by: Rick00 | August 12, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

bgmma50 writes
"Why didn't little Aiden's parents buy him his own Elmo ball if they thought it was so important that he have one to play with?"

I didn't see Aiden's parents referenced in the story. Instead we see a kid thinking that maybe the kid with the ball wants to play ball together; but it turns out the selfish brat would rather have her ball to herself than share for 10 minutes and have fun together. Good luck with your life without friendships, kid.

Posted by: bsimon1 | August 12, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

bgmma50:

"
"Yes, it's revealing and hilarious ..."

Posted by: dfhoughton


Just to be clear, this is a parody.
"

Just to be clear, the audience I was referring to was you and the other wingers who populate this comments section, bgmma50. Or do you mean that you are a parody?

And to be still clearer, I do see the little smiley emoticon you attached to your first comment, so you know taking Johanna's side is a little extreme, but you persist in arguing the Randian side of the parody.

Posted by: dfhoughton | August 12, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"I didn't see Aiden's parents referenced in the story." posted by bsimon1

The story was addressed to Aiden's parents.

"Instead we see a kid thinking that maybe the kid with the ball wants to play ball together; but it turns out the selfish brat would rather have her ball to herself than share for 10 minutes and have fun together." posted by bsimon1

That may be what you saw, but that wasn't in the story.

"Just to be clear, the audience I was referring to was you and the other wingers who populate this comments section, bgmma50." posted by dfhoughton

Oh, that was quite clear. :)

"so you know taking Johanna's side is a little extreme, but you persist in arguing the Randian side of the parody."

I was making it clear that I knew this was a parody, as it was quite clear that the previous poster didn't. Besides, the story was more than a trifle simplistic and one sided, so a bit of fairness and balance seemed to be in order.

Posted by: bgmma50 | August 12, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Rick00,

my apologies for not spending my life following the Bush faux-pas. Just as an FYI I don't follow VP Biden's either that closely. I'm not partisan like that.

I think many are beyond self-reflection but the fact that you commented at all says more than enough to me.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 12, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

That read EXACTLY how I imagine Megan McArdle's blog to read once she and Suderman start making babies.

Posted by: nylund | August 12, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"my apologies for not spending my life following the Bush faux-pas."

I don't think you have to "follow" Bush to know it.

After all, "Bushism" became a turn of phrase. Letterman had a running gag based on it ("Great moments in presidential speeches"), and numerous books published his verbal gaffes. This example and "misunderestimate" were arguably the two most famous and oft-quoted ones.

Its like saying you never heard, "it depends on what your definition of 'is' is," "I am not a crook," or the story of Dan Quayle not knowing how to spell potato.

You really would have had to spend the last decade only watching Fox News and only reading rightwing blogs and papers, and other media sources where anything negative about Bush was filtered out, denied, white-washed, or forgotten.

Posted by: nylund | August 12, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

nylund,

actually I honestly spent the last 8-12 years working 60 hours a week building a business so I didn't have much time for left or right wing talk, tv or whatever. Sure I knew Bush was in general an idiot from what I saw occasionally from the MSM but to know that specific reference, sorry I didn't know it.

oh btw, I do remember "Mission Accomplished", the potato incident and the others as well.

Posted by: visionbrkr | August 12, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

So, Klein, what exactly is the parody a parody *of*?

Is it a parody of the way lefties project their hate laced fantasies onto those whom they can't fathom, or onto those whom, in being fathomed, are reckoned too dangerous to leave roaming about unsmeared in some way?

Posted by: msoja | August 12, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for clarifying, Ezra. This would have bothered me for a week.

Posted by: dollarwatcher | August 12, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Gah. I was gonna say. This better be a freaking joke.

Posted by: akusu | August 12, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Can I have your car please? Wait a minute....that would be rude. I don't have a garage to keep it in do I. Can I have your house to?

Posted by: emartin432000 | August 13, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

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