Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Finally, a short analysis of Ayn Rand that I agree with.



jdege said...

Rand espoused the virtue of the individual, but if you pay attention, all of her oh-so-individualistic heroes didn't succeed alone, but rather through voluntary cooperation with others.

It isn't the collectivism of the collectivists that is evil, it is their insistence that they have the right to force others to join their collective.

Anonymous said...

I liked Atlas Shrugged, but I'm not a Randian.

There is an idiom often used for potential students at shooting and survival schools - take what works for you, discard what does not work for you. Don't idolize trainers.

I believe the same thing follows for philosophy. Rand had many good ideas - that doesn't mean she needs to be treated like a prophet or that every one of her opinions were all as sound. The same goes for every other philosopher and politician who ever said a sound word. Take what you find useful, discard what you do not.

I particularly find Ayn Rand's views on intellectual property troubling, and even though I am not religious, her militant atheism is not very helpful either.

Anonymous said...



Rand's philosophy, when you get right down to the kernel and the core, is ugly and dehumanizing.

All you have to do is read enough about her personal life to discover that.

Read about the "trials" she and her hardcore groupies subjected those of her "friends" to, who weren't ideologically pure enough to remain in her "inner circle."

Of course, true, hardcore Randians don't really have friends....just other rugged individualists with whom they enter mutually-beneficial economic agreements.

Anonymous said...

Very good analysis. I'm working my way through Atlas Shrugged now and it was very prescient, that's for sure. But I've had the same disagreements with Rand as I've learned more about her.

Even in Fransicso's "Money Speech," I was with him until he added that there was no problem with the "love of money." The quote from the Bible that is typically misquoted is 1 Timothy 6:10: For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.. Not money itself and not the root of all evil, just some.

And it only works if you're an atheist, which objectivism is by definition. And there is an arrogance that's even displayed by those from the Ayn Rand Center for Individual rights in this video that David Codrea linked to a few weeks ago: http://arc-tv.com/the-menace-of-pragmatism-how-aversion-to-principle-is-destroying-america/

It's the arrogance that those who believe in God, or are pro-life, or any number of other things that make different presumptions than (presumably) objectivists, that those people are just not rational. We all have our own presumptions which are by definition, unprovable. Objectivist (and other atheist) often believe they have proof that believers in God are wrong. There's not enough space to go into here, but I think it's the height of arrogance to claim you have proof that God does not exist.

Sean said...

Also, bingo, nailed it. I have to,by virtue of logic, admire her fierce stand against the collective, because they seek it by force, with the mindset that it is for our own good. Then, she says in almost the same breath, that we're to behave and think in ways that are not really human. If anyone behaved like the main characters in her books, they would probably be locked up, either in jail, or the bin.She makes the same mistakes the collectivists make, denying humanity when making your big plans. Everyone wants order, calm, peace. Humanity is chaos, strife, and war. When you refuse to recognize that, you crash onto the rocks of reality, and sometimes that's your end. To always give everyone, and everything, the benefit of the doubt, is to avoid the black hole of arrogance.

Brian K Miller said...

Finally, someone willing to look directly at Rand's unrepentant condemnation of humanity and recognize it for what it is, leftover Marxist assumptions of the superiority of the elites alongside the ever-present blind hatred of "the masses".

Individualism is key to understanding and solving the problems our world now faces. Elitist assumptions of aristocratic superiority are the source of our problems, not the solution.

There are no "unwashed masses". There are only individuals with diverse priorities and diverse strategies for survival, some of which are highly destructive and need to be eliminated, not because these approaches are "stupid", "lesser", or "ignorant", but because they are so very highly destructive of everything around them.

jon said...

that is an extremely polite review of ayn rand's works and life.

try this one by anthony daniels: engineer of souls.

or this one from whittaker chambers: big sister is watching you.

clay barham said...

With the exception of the origin of "rules" in the 1620 founding of America, Ayn Rand nails it as an author expressing how America became the wealthiest and most liberty-loving nation in the world. America was based upon individual freedom and laws that prevent injustice. It was not as Obama described it, where the interests of community are more important than are the interests of the individual, such as would describe every other nation in the world. See The Changing Face of Democrats onAmazon and claysamerica.com.

Carl said...

I thought the analysis was very good. I always appreciated Rand's championing of individualism and capitalism. But I have to disagree with a lot of her other philosophy. Still, I wouldn't throw out the baby with the bathwater when there are good lessons to be learned if one can separate the wheat from the chaff.

Anonymous said...

I read this a while back linked from lewrockwell dot com and think the author nailed it.

She was the first author I read that started me thinking that the years of collectivized nonsense I had been exposed to was just that so we can take that for what it's worth.


Anonymous said...

As pointed out by others, Rand got it right concerning the corruption of extreme collectivism or statism. However, while some understand that at heart she is an elitist, most seem to miss the point that she also suffered from that corruption of the soul which is Hero worship. She was not a defended of Republican ideals. She had no use for the small rugged independent tradesman or businessman - just take a look at her treatment of the best character in Atlas Shrugged - the railroad manager that dedicated his life to doing his job right and supporting the heroine of the book, who is simply tossed aside at the end and left to perish in the desert, while the heroine hurries off to throw her pulsating body and soul at the feet of her Hero. I have no use for Rand - she was a disgusting egotistical creep.


Anonymous said...

I've read Ayn Rand's work as well and while good points are made she was after all human. Human in the sense that we're not perfect. The author provides his assessment of why she wasn't perfect. Some will say, fine. Others will say, so what? Are there any two people on this planet, now or ever, that agree 100% of the time on everything?