Billy sent me off to look at the brouhaha at SOLO. I haven’t been following it, because I came to the conclusion that SOLO doesn’t stand for “Sense of life Objectivists”, but is a comment on their sex lives. I was having trouble getting to the earliest comments, which I wanted to check out just because I was so appalled by Lindsay’s original post, which had passed my attention earlier:
Yes, even though the performance is fashionably homogenised and rushed, the beauty of Schubert’s Ave Maria—glorious music set to evil lyrics—remains irresistible to anyone with a soul. Until it can answer this, Objectivism will languish. Until we have not just a bunch of Halley concertos, but an understanding of their objective necessity and superiority, we will get nowhere. Hate to sound like a cracked record, but we have not been found wanting in epistemology, economics or politics. It’s the esthetics, Stoopid. As I’ve said so many times, it’s time for Objectivists to take The Romantic Manifesto seriously. More than that—to affirm unabashedly the objective superiority of Romantic music.
Well, first of all, did Schubert set that to evil lyrics? He set it to Walter Scott, not the Latin hymn (that was a later retread), and since I don’t know its context in Lady of the Lake, I’m not prepared to say that a character praying to the BVM is ipso facto evil in Objectivist terms. Second, the great music of the Catholic church (as opposed to some of the truly awful music of the recent Catholic church) is not Romantic in any sense at all, musicological or Objectivist. It’s not about Man in any sense, but entirely about Somebody Whom Objectivists don’t believe in. So if the Catholics are “beating Objectivism’s ass”, there must be another reason. There’s no need to get philosophical; just ask the Objectivist couples with more than one child to stand up.