Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ayn Rand... Why Progressives Hate Her and How Conervatives Intentionally Misrepresent and Use Her

by: Les Carpenter
Rational Nation USA
Birthplace of Independent Conservatism
Liberty -vs- Tyranny

Ayn Rand

Almost thirty years after Ayn Rand's death she remains as controversial today as she did during her lifetime. Best known for her epic novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, which defined her individualism, ethics, and politics, she actually left a much larger body of work than is generally realized.

Rand, born in Russia under the bolshevik regime of terror escaped to America when she was a young women in her twenties. Having witnessed first hand the life sapping evils of progressive collectivism she became one of the 20th century's strongest advocate of  liberty, self reliance, and capitalism.

Ayn Rand believed Aristotle was one of, if not the greatest philosopher the world has ever known. In her view Aristotelian logic trumped the philosophies of Hegel, Kant, Engels, Marx, and a host of lesser known philosophers. Plainly put Rand believed logic and reason trumped emotionalism and or mysticism. A is A therefore A cannot be B. Something is what it is and therefor cannot be something else.

From her springboard of Aristotelian logic Rand developed her unique and non contradictory philosophy she named Objectivism. A dry read, as most books on philosophy are, it is however well worth the effort for those who have an interest in philosophy and believe Kant and Marx got it wrong.

Rand's interest were far reaching and she wrote {as well as spoke} much on subjects such as ethics, racism, altruism, fascism, collectivism, socialism, atheism, rational self interest, productive achievement, welfare, self reliance, capitalism... the list goes on and on. A good start for those who have little knowledge of Rand is to read The Ayn Rand Lexicon. It give a good, as well as brief overview on how she viewed concepts.

Rand, while having hundred of thousands who advocated her views, had as many, and perhaps more detractors. While the "you love Rand or you hate Rand" phenomenon encompasses a number of reasons perhaps the most notable are: 1) her atheism, 2)  those in the progressive movement, aka academia  worked to undermine any objective understanding of her views, 3) her fierce individualism, 4) her bold and vocal denunciation of any and all forms of collectivism, 4) her belief that man should work on behalf of his own rational self interest, 5) that a person should not sacrifice a higher value to a lessor value, 6) that altruism is a means to ultimately destroy the importance of the self, and 7) her staunch advocacy of true capitalism as opposed to socialism or the mixed capitalism the U.S has labored under for the past 120 years or so.

I started by saying Ayn Rand is as controversial today as she was during her lifetime. If one takes note of just the seven reasons highlighted above it is relatively easy to understand why this is. Simply put, her ideas were, and remains yet today, feared by progressives, collectivists, fascists, mixed market advocates, and modern conservatives and businessmen as well as  any other group that depends on the far reaching hands of government to provide them with special favors so that they may survive.

Anyone who properly understands and  practices Objectivist philosophy has concern for their own rational self interest, sees themselves as an individual possessing a strong sense of self, and believes self reliance is a virtue. Therefore they will have no need for a statist government to insure their well being and success. Be it progressive, collectivist, fascist, or any other form of liberty sapping social engineering Leviathan. In short they cannot be emotionally, intellectually, or physically controlled by another individual, or a group of thugs.

People who understand the preceding also live with the knowledge that liberty and freedom demands great personal responsibility. Which is... To respect the liberty and freedoms of all other individuals while asking nothing from them in return other than to respond in kind. As Rand would say, and I paraphrase... The only justification for the use of force is in response to the acts of an aggressor. To which I add, whether they be acts of physical or financial aggression.

Rand, were she alive today would be appalled by what she would suffer to witness. As much as she was opposed to Leviathan socialist collectivist government she would be equally as appalled by the crony capitalism, corporatism, pull peddling lobbyists, and Wall Street thieves suckling with great delight at the government's teat.

What amazes, and I am quite certain Ayn Rand would agree,  is what once was a nation built on hard work, self reliance, personal responsibility, innovative ideas, an attitude of  government get out of the way and let the competent doers get to work innovating and producing,  has turned into a nation of wimps and whiners. A montage if you will of individuals and groups that  EXPECT  government favors, subsidies, and special protections. In a nutshell to insure they succeed in whatever it is they do, or don't do.

Perhaps most puzzling is the fact that liberals ought to be the ones holding  Ayn Rand's philosophy and ethics up as examples of  how one should lead their lives. The reason they don't is quite rudimentary.  Progressives are really only interested in control. Control over your lives and your livelihood. Such power is the only thing that will satisfies the progressives insatiable power lust.

Which of course explains the progressives cultist obsession with destroying Ayn Rand the person as well as her philosophy.

Anyone, feel free to disagree with some or all I have written. By all means indulge in taking me to task and ask I support further that which  I have written. It shall be a delight to do so. For you see, I am tired of the progressives blowing smoke up everyone's a*ses by taking snippets of Rand's writings, quoting them out of context, and then twisting her words to support their fallacious accusations with respect to her character and works.

By the same token I am equally as puzzled by republicans and so called conservatives holding Rand up as a shining example, without understanding her philosophy, to support that which they are selling as the flavor of the month big government  remedy {Perry & Romney come to mind} for our nation's ills. I've got news for ya buckos, Rand is on record as being just as vehemently opposed to your brand of statism as she was to socialism and collectivism.

Here is what she said about conservatism...

Footnote: For those who may be interested in a deeper understanding of Rand's philosophy, ethics, and politics the following links will lead to what I believe would put your feet on the path to understanding the meanings of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as our Founders understood them.

1) Anthem, 2) We the Living, 3) The Fountainhead, 4) Atlas Shrugged, 5) Objectivism, 6) For The New Intellectual, 7) The Virtue of Selfishness, 8) Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 9) Return of the Primitive, 10) The Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikoff

Further information may be found at The Ayn Rand Institute.

Cross posted  to the Left Coast Rebel.

Via: Memeorandum


  1. In "Atlas Shrugged," I found it interesting that she had some of her characters helping one another when it really was NOT in their best interest. In my mind, that told me that her views on charity and sacifice were not quite as cut in stone as she would have us believe. At times they were, in fact, doing what true Christians (a rarity) would do under those circumstances. I found the inconsistancy interesting. I neither love nor hate Ayn Rand, I just think that she was flawed like the rest of us, but far smarter than most of us (including me, as I had trouble following some of her deeper passages).

  2. Gorges - I have read Atlas Shrugged three times. During the reading of said subject matter I failed to see the inconsistencies to which you allude.

    I would be most interested in the specific passages and circumstances to which you refer.

    I agree that some of her passages require deep and sometimes painful thought to arrive at an accurate understanding of precisely what she was saying and the ultimate message she was sending. Could it be Rand did so intentionally? Is it possible she was saying something to the American liberal establishment? Is it possible she was sending a forceful message to the conservatives and pull peddlers? Is is possible that she was sending a message to those who be;believe only in blind faith?

    Rand was a highly intelligent and complex women. To understand her requires a completely rational, logical, analytical, and open mind.

    Sasly there are to few of this calibr on either the progressive or conservative side.

    Perhaps this is why see has en loved, reviled, and only occasionally understood. An I speak this from over 10 years of reading,studying, and analyzing her positions.

    And for all you liberal progressives I say this... I was introduced to Rand by a liberal literature teacher (she was Greek... go figure) when I was 16. I never forgot her open minded approach to teaching nor the strength of Rand's message in her novella Anthem. At the age of 49 I took up the study of Rand and her message that those who most need it are the exact ones who deny it.

    Sound familiar anybody?

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