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jordanz

TAS Website - Myths About Ayn Rand

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I just skimmed through it, and it's surprisingly good--especially considering the source.

(It's put out by David Kelly's group. Kelly is the man who wants a kindler, gentler, less judgmental "Objectivism" that tolerates Marxist academics, among others.)

Perhaps the two authors have been reading more Ayn Rand lately, and less David Kelly.

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Myths About Ayn Rand

Separating fact from fiction.

A Challenge to Journalists

Reliable information on Ayn Rand's ideas is so readily available that journalists who continue to misrepresent those ideas are without excuse.

Myth: Ayn Rand Was a Conservative

Ayn Rand’s economic vision may resonate on the Right, but she was hardly a conservative.

Myth: Rand Was for Dog-Eat-Dog Selfishness

Rand's ethic was not "live-and-let-die" but "live-and-let-live."

Myth: Ayn Rand Was Simply Pro-Wealthy and Pro-Business

Wealthy villains abound in Rand novels, and she never thought of getting rich as an end-in-itself.

Myth: Ayn Rand Wasn't a Serious Philosopher

Rand offered distinctive arguments in ethical and political philosophy. In John Galt’s speech alone, she surveys all the fundamental areas of philosophic inquiry.

My response to critics:

"You really ought to read Ayn Rand's works, before commenting. It's evident to everyone who has read them, that you haven't."

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So my somewhat rhetorical question is: for all the incorrect opinions about AR out there, why is it more of these people DON'T do their homework? No one is asking them to like Ayn Rand. Basic scholarship isn't that tough.

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So my somewhat rhetorical question is: for all the incorrect opinions about AR out there, why is it more of these people DON'T do their homework? No one is asking them to like Ayn Rand. Basic scholarship isn't that tough.

Because their philosophic premises don't permit them to look into the issues any deeper. What consistitutes an explanation requires a philsophic foundation. If they hold that selfishness or capitalism is evil, the mere charge of being selfish or a capitalist means that no further investigation is required by their premises. When confronted by a mountain lion, one does not ask why he wants to eat you, one runs or tries to kill it. Ideas for the attackers of Rand only go up to a certain mental point, not too far beyond the perceptual level. Beyond that, they are lost and no further explanation is required.

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Beyond that, they are lost and no further explanation is required.
That makes some sense. Without the ability to think in principles, AR's detractors are incapable of grasping that philosophic principles aren't just a bunch of concrete facts. It explains why religious conservatives are utterly befuddled by her view of religion.

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Beyond that, they are lost and no further explanation is required.
That makes some sense. Without the ability to think in principles, AR's detractors are incapable of grasping that philosophic principles aren't just a bunch of concrete facts. It explains why religious conservatives are utterly befuddled by her view of religion.

Yes, if there is one underlying reason it is so hard to convince people, it is because they have never learned to think in principles. One is in effect dealing with malfunctioning minds.

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So my somewhat rhetorical question is: for all the incorrect opinions about AR out there, why is it more of these people DON'T do their homework? No one is asking them to like Ayn Rand. Basic scholarship isn't that tough.

See "Altruism as Appeasement," a very important 1966 article from "The Objectivist," reprinted in The Voice of Reason: many young intellectuals sell their souls to what they see as the all-powerful mob, by adopting altruism:

By the time he reaches college, a bright, sensitive, precociously observant youth has acquired the sense of being trapped in a nightmare universe where he is resented not for his flaws, but for his greatest attribute: his intelligence...

His first year in college is, usually, his psychological killer. He had expected college to be a citadel of the intellect where he would find answers, knowledge, meaning, and, above all, some <vor_34> companions to share his interest in ideas. He finds none of it...

There are many wrong decisions he can make at this crossroads, but the deadliest—psychologically, intellectually, and morally—is the attempt to join the gang at the price of selling his soul to uninterested buyers. It is an attempt to apologize for his intellectual concerns and to escape from the loneliness of a thinker by professing that his thinking is dedicated to some social-altruistic goal. It is an attempt that amounts to the wordless equivalent of the plea: "I'm not an outsider! I'm your friend! Please forgive me for using my mind—I'm using it only in order to serve you!"

Whatever remnants of personal value he may preserve after a deal of that kind, self-esteem is not one of them.

Such decisions are seldom, if ever, made consciously. They are made gradually, by subconscious emotional motivation and semiconscious rationalization. Altruism offers an arsenal of such rationalizations: if an unformed adolescent can tell himself that his cowardice is humanitarian love, that his subservience is unselfishness, that his moral treason is spiritual nobility, he is hooked. By the time he is old enough to know better, the erosion of his self-esteem is such that he dares not face or reexamine the issue.

When they encounter Ayn Rand, such people recognize a threat. An enormous one. If anything she said is true, then they've literally thrown their lives away for nothing.

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Great, quote, Bill. I frequently comment to people I know well that what saved me from succumbing to the mob is my globetrotting. For many years I had to learn how other cultures worked and that required independence. So whenever I was back in the US, I found that I cared less and less what other people thought. I actually discovered Ayn Rand while I was teaching in Slovakia many years ago.

Expatriates are often the most independent people, I find. They may not all be Objectivists, but overall I find it easier to associate with them, generally speaking.

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