Friday, August 10, 2007

Hillary Clinton’s Uncle Ellsworth: A Correction and a Postscript

In my August 8th commentary, I wrote:

“When Keating abandons her to marry Dominique Francon – an action encouraged by Toohey for his own malign ends – Catherine collapses spiritually. That is the last we see of her until much later in the novel (Part 4: Howard Roark, Chapter 10, pp. 621-628)”

This actually is not the last we see of Catherine Halsey. She reappears briefly on p. 398 (in the Centennial Edition of The Fountainhead). Through Ellsworth Toohey’s influence, she is given a position in charge of occupational therapy in the Hopton Stoddard Home for Subnormal Children – Roark’s vandalized Stoddard Temple. She is depicted as being ecstatic when “the least promising” of the children exhibits signs of intelligence or an awareness of reality.

Ayn Rand may have implied that Toohey meant the “occupational therapy” to be for Catherine herself, as a kind of finishing touch to his malevolent handiwork – finishing in the sense that such a job would complete the destruction of her identity and even corrupt her measure of “normalcy,” in herself and in others. What she says about the “art” produced by the genderless Jackie is, ironically, what she never heard from her uncle Ellsworth or anyone else when she attempted to apprehend reality.

That whole section on the Home, on pages 395 to 398, also underscores Toohey’s value-destroying methodology, in this instance the conversion of a temple to the human spirit into a clinic for the contemplation of the irrational and the diseased.

Also, I neglected to mention another thing that Hillary Clinton fears and which she would wish to bypass in Americans through statist legislation (or force): the element of volition. The volition (implied in the concept of independence) of individuals would confound any of her well-laid plans to impose mandatory compliance with her wishes (or the wishes of virtually any politician, for that matter). Further, she would want all Americans to become public service drudges in spirit, if not in fact.

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