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I think I should clean up that article I wrote. I haven't looked at it for years. I had no idea I babbled like that!

Seriously, though, the responses to the articles I've written about Rand have fallen into two categories: "best articles I've ever read," and "You're going to Hell for insulting the greatest woman to ever walk the earth."

I have found her True Fans to be, let's say, disturbed.

Murray Rothbard claimed that the "esoteric" or hidden teaching of Objectivism was that "Ayn Rand is the greatest human being who has ever lived." I think there is a good deal of truth in his observation - which is not to say that all Objectivists think that way. But some do.

Hello Witch!

//;-)

(That was an allusion to your last post to me in the Reversalism entry.)

Once again I find your writings on Ayn Rand to be hilarious. What's funny is that I did that same Google search about Satanism and Ayn Rand a couple of years ago with very similar results. I didn't pursue it back then, but I always thought it was extremely strange.

What you told me about yourself before (in Reversalism) does not shock me. Opening your mind is good. I even have my own added thoughts on Rand's epistemology which I call the epistemological conceit (not of Rand, but of human beings in general). Rand's whole approach is based on the five senses. Well, whoever said that the five senses detect all that there is in reality? They merely detect what we know of reality.

Therefore, my read is that the part Rand wrote about that pertains to the five senses (integration into percepts, then concepts, etc.) is correctly covered by Rand, but she made no allowance for growing another sense organ or isolating characteristics of some other kind of phenomenon and putting them into a chart or device or something that is detectable by sight or sound.

This is an area that I am researching right now.

I will probably get broadsided for consorting with the enemy one day, but I do not get the feeling that you are the enemy (more of a bad boy thing - and I find that charming, to be frank).

After all, anybody who says that killing kids is a BAD THING cannot be a BAD PERSON.

Maybe a witch, though...

//;-)

Michael

MP,
Sigh... I've concluded you've abandoned any attempt at being fair to Rand or her philosophy.

After all, it's one thing to criticize Rand on the basis of youthful journal entries; she did write them, though one could argue whether you interpret her intentions correctly.

It's quite another to cherry-pick a mixed group -- mostly losers and lunatics, some who are attracted to what they believe is an alternative to what they perceive as an oppressive religion. After all, there certainly is some basis, historically and at present, to regard Christianity as (sometimes) oppressive.

Would you accept criticism of Christianity from such people? Would you accept, as reasonable much less valid, criticism of Christianity because some have used it to justify witch burning, etc?

You know quite well that Rand abhored all such attempts to use her philosophy to justify such outlandish views as those you report. Your attempt at balance is dish-water at best.

Through history there have been many sects formed as off-shoots from a philosopher's main adherents; everything from the neo-Platonists to Jim Jones and the latest moony-loonies. Should the base philosophy and it's author(s) be lumped in with them by association?

You have far better reasoning powers than this, so I have to conclude it's simply unjust.

For examples of Buddhists, Christians, and others, for example who are sympathetic to Rand's work, see
www.theatlasphere.com

Jeff wrote, "You have far better reasoning powers than this, so I have to conclude it's simply unjust."

All I did was report the facts I discovered in a Google search. I didn't even state any opinion. I figured I'd leave that to the reader. But if you want my opinion on what it all means, here it is:

I think that some people are drawn to Rand for the same reason that some people are drawn to the Church of Satan - namely, they are powerless, insecure underachievers living out adolescent power fantasies. Satanism is one avenue of expression for such fantasies; Rand's novels are another. The same motivation is at work in both cases - the need to overcompensate for a low self-image by creating a grandiose persona.

Note that I am not saying all Objectivists fit this description. But some do.

Does this suggest a problem with Objectivism itself? It depends. Maybe these people are misinterpreting Rand. Or maybe they aren't. My view is that Rand was deeply insecure, basically an arrested adolescent, and that her novels and philosophy reflect her psychology. If this is so, it would explain why so many narcissistic adolescents are attracted to her work; they sense a kindred spirit.

Michael wrote, "Rand's whole approach is based on the five senses. Well, whoever said that the five senses detect all that there is in reality? They merely detect what we know of reality."

This is a very good point, and reminds me of an editorial in the Wall Street Journal on Oct. 12, 2003 -- "The Fallacy of the Enlightenment," by Dinesh D'Souza. He points out that the Enlightenment was built on the premise that there is "only one limit to what human beings can know, and that limit is reality itself," so reason can "unmask the whole of reality."

But later thinkers observed that while we apprehend reality only through our five senses, there may be a reality that goes beyond the senses. Thus "there is no reason whatsoever for us to believe that we can know everything that exists.... We know only through the refracted filter of our own experience.... Limits on reason are intrinsic to the kind of beings that humans are, and to the kind of apparatus we possess for perceiving reality."

He concludes, "Reason must know its limits in order to be truly reasonable."

I think this is a good summary of the error inherent in any attempt to posit Reason (with a capital R) as an absolute. The practical consequences of such an error were spelled out in the French Revolution, when allegiance to the Goddess of Reason resulted in mass murder, tyranny, and chaos.

Michael also wrote, "I do not get the feeling that you are the enemy (more of a bad boy thing ...)"

But I'm a good boy! (Even if Jeff doesn't think so.)

: )

Jeff does think you are a good boy, he just thinks you have a slant on Rand that makes you willing to overlook all the tremendously positive aspects of her philosophy.
She did, after all, advocate independent thinking, self-actualization, individual freedom, enjoyment of life on earth, rights that end at another person's nose, and so on and so on.
You can dislike her personally all you wish, but her philosophy has been a major influence in helping to create the improved atmosphere of respect for individual rights that we are seeing beginning to blossom.
What she was like personally is only marginally relevant and her 'fans' even less so.

Cordially,
Jeff

Well, we all have blind spots, and Rand may be one of mine - in which case I'm the last person who'll be able to see it!

It has occurred to me that I've spent an awful lot of ink - er, pixels - criticizing Ayn Rand, and that I should really find some new topics to explore.

For those who do want to read more criticism of Ayn Rand and Objectivism, I would refer you to Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature by Greg Nyquist, available at Amazon, and to an insightful, albeit strongly worded essay, "The Narcissism, Scapegoating and Leftism of Ayn Rand," by Bob Wallace: https://home.att.net/~bob.wallace/rand1.html (and following pages).

Those guys make the case better than I can.

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