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 Rational Nation USA

Via: Memeorandum

18 comments:

  1. LCR. Perfect. This was a beautifully written piece and I agree with virtually every word you have written.

    Like you, I am amazed that both flavors could stand to benefit from Rand's logic (I too love Aristotle) but instead they practice attack mentality and ensure that we will elect more elite and power wielding bastards who have no vision for what this country should look like. Fifty years of self serving assholes and I'll be damned if they don't want to elect another one.

    Romney or Perry. Gawd help us. Two more incarnations of slick talking elites spewing whatever bullshit they need- to get elected. Arrgghhh..

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  2. Thanks Brian. I'm thinking of doing periodic posts on specific issues Rand wrote or spoke to that are misunderstood and or misrepresented.

    Do you think such a endeavor is worthwhile and do you believe it wold have legs?

    Thanks in advance for the input.

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

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  3. Keep writing about Objectivism. I do a lot of technical work and logic leads me to agree with much that people who use less logic often oppose. Like any formula, a reminder is always helpful.

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  4. "From her springboard of Aristotelian logic Rand developed her unique and non contradictory philosophy she named Objectivism."

    hate to inform you of this, les, but there is no such thing as a non-contradictory philosophy. this could only occur in a perfect existence.

    to think otherwise is to make the same mistake as the liberals do in their belief of a perfect world.

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  5. I honestly confess I am woefully ignorant of Rand's writings. I mean, I have heard her name mentioned, and have even used a quote of hers, "When you compromise with evil, evil wins", or something like that. (I do not have it memorized.)

    However, I do believe it is time for me to digest her thoughts and see how they affect me. Off to the local library to peruse its aisles.

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  6. gripper - I assure you that while you may believe you have informed me I have long ago considered your point(s). May I suggest your premise may be flawed.

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  7. Doo Doo Econ - I have given much though to the possibility of writing more on Rand and her Objectivism. Your words serve as encouragement as I consider a series on Rand.

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  8. ecc102 - "In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit." The Ayn Rand Lexicon.

    Enjoy your journey with Rand. And please do let me know what you think.

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  9. "May I suggest your premise may be flawed."

    that you may, Les, but it won't change the fact of the premise you are referring to.

    and your suggestion is a good one for it is suggestions as those that lead to very informed debates.

    Every philosophical argument, Les, contains three elements; a presupposition, assumptions, and facts.
    1. only facts are indisputable.
    2. a disagreement of the presupposition is always a sign of a fallacy in arguments of both sides.
    3. the only thing a person needs to do is find the assumption that will inevitably lead to a fallacy. this can be very well hidden but it is still there whether it be explicit or implicit.

    to declare that one holds to a non-contradictory philosophy is to declare that each and every belief one holds as being true is in fact the truth and no person of logic will make that claim. only a person relying on emotion will make that claim.

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  10. Griper - I, in fact have no disagreement with your statements. Neither would Rand. The point I was making essentially is that when one finds a contradiction in ones premise one or the other is false. It would be an assumption of huge proportions To think Rand never found contradictions in any of her premises. At such point she would simply rethink jet premise. One needs to spend a fair amount of time with Objectivist philosophy to fully grasp it's value to.

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

    On Part the First, "Ayn Rand..." you offer up 'C' material at best. Not exactly a brilliant illumination of one of the finest thinkers of the 20th Century, but it does offer a partial listing of some of her works.

    On Part the Second, "Why Progressives Hate Her" we're feasted with 'D+' nonsense because you've failed to explain the hatred and it's manifestations beyond noting a "cultist obsession with destroying [her.]" That Liberals, Progressives and Collectivists in general disagree with her is not well explained either.

    On the last part... "How [Conservatives] Intentionally Misrepresent and Use Her" - pal, the dog ate your homework. This promised exposé is completely MIA. Granted, we "conervatives" love getting on people's nerves. Conservatives, on the other hand, intentionally misrepresent... how? Who? Where? Use what? Hey waiter, where's the pièce de résistance? And can I have fries with that?

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  12. les,
    if you have no disagreements with my statements then my conclusions must also be agreed to. the reason being is that every premise of an argument are related in some way to all of the rest. once one comes to a solution in regards to one acknowledged contradiction, that solution has an effect on the rest of the premises, thus, creating more problems.

    the only way to resolve this issue is to be able to remove any and every assumption and replace them with a fact and that is impossible.

    as to the value of her philosophy, that is irrelevant to the issue at hand. the reason being is that what i said applies to every philosophy not just Objectivism.

    the only difference being is that the fallacies are more transparent in some (like the liberal philosophy of today) than in the rest.

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  13. Perhaps her writings have been totally ignored and vilified today is because like your article states the right always uses her for their own purposes and most often leaves out that Any Rand was a total hypocrite.

    "The importance of Ayn Rand for modern conservatism would be difficult to underestimate. This has always been ironic given her staunch atheism, something that is completely at odds with almost everything in conservatism in America today. Less ironic is the recent revelation that Ayn Rand was a hypocrite: she secretly accepted government assistance instead of relying on the proceeds of all those books in which she decried government assistance.

    A heavy smoker who refused to believe that smoking causes cancer brings to mind those today that are equally certain there is no such thing as global warming. Unfortunately, Miss Rand was a fatal victim of lung cancer.

    However, it was revealed in the recent "Oral History of Ayn Rand" byScott McConnell (founder of the media department at the Ayn Rand Institute) that in the end Ayn was a vip-dipper as well. An interview with Evva Pryror, a social worker and consultant to Miss Rand's law firm of Ernst, Cane, Gitlin and Winick verified that on Miss Rand's behalf she secured Rand's Social Security and Medicare payments which Ayn received under the name of Ann O'Connor (husband Frank O'Connor)."

    http://atheism.about.com/b/201...

    If she in fact is to survive in American philosophy, then she shouldn't be vilified or glorified. I personally find her writings lack vision and have no particular value in a society that isn't the fantasy that she portrayed. While at the very same time she made an active choice not to live her life by the values she professed for others. Sorry, I know that's not what is expected here but they are simply my personal feelings.

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  14. Krissy - "Sorry, I know that's not what is expected here but they are simply my personal feelings."

    Well, feelings are okay for some things. When analyzing material such as Ayn Rand they are better left at the doorstep.

    A question if I may, how many, and which books have you read that she wrote. Or are you speaking from a limited snap shot of her published material presented from a primarily altruistic and or collectivist perspective.

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  15. ifyouseekpeace - Thanks for the grading session. I'll keep in mind your views.

    As to the dog ate my homework, you ought to be so kind as to point out the inaccuracies with respect to my statements on how conservatives misunderstand, misrepresent, and or use her

    I ask, how many publications of Rands have you actually read and studied? How many hours of your valuable time have you spent understanding her views?

    If you had spent much time you would realize it is you whose dog ate your homework.

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  16. Griper - I think the point is that when one finds a contradiction in their premise they need to check the premise.

    It is difficult, perhaps unrealistic to expect, that one can find and hold only non-contradictory views, premises, or philosophy.

    The point is too many hold to no philosophy, have little clarity or consistency, and seem to go the way of the pack. Regardless where that pack may take them. Progressives, RINO's, and neo-cons come quickly to mind.

    I am sure Aristotle, were he alive today, would be aghast at how illogical or non objective much of the world's population has become with respect to philosophy and knowledge.

    Who was it that said "the more things change the more they stay the same?" Or "there is nothing new in this world that hasn't been done before?"

    Perhaps it is time the citizens of America give up on the 20 second sound bite and talk shows and start researching more deeply the issues that really affect them.

    Perhaps, and this I recognize may be just my opinion, philosophy and ethics is a damn good place to begin.

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  17. ifyouseekpeace - After rereading your comment it occurred to me that indeed you make some valid observations.

    Rand, as you so aptly point out was indeed one of the more brilliant thinkers of the 20th century. As such my "essay" was by its very nature incomplete and was really meant as an introduction to a series I have been thinking about running for over a year. Time constraints have prfevented me from moving forward on the project.

    Suffice it to say I ought to have clarified that my "essay" was not to be considered as a all inclusive piece and summation of all her published wprks. After spending many hours over many years I realize the huge task it will be to do justice to her works. Even if done in smaller and more specifically targeted subjects. Which is my plan should I press on with the series I have been contemplating.

    Which leads me to my question. Should I decide to move forward do you have any interest in exchanging views on given subject matter?

    If so you can find my e-mail at Rational Nation USA.

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  18. smiles...Les, with your last comment to me i will only say we are close enough in thought to declare agreement.

    one last thought on the subject tho.

    we all are a part of a pack in our infancy of learning a philosophy, Les. some packs are larger than others but it still is a pack regardless of its size. a single philosophy accepted by all is one way to measure the size of that pack.

    what separates us from the pack and turns us into individuals is in the examination of that pack philosophy in order to find the flaws in it then correcting them. in doing so, we then have our own individual philosophy.

    when this occurs we hold to a philosophy that is unique and without equal. if there was no flaws or contradiction then everyone would hold that philosophy and that would make each of us but one of a collective.

    and it is there that the concept of individualism has its foundation and basis. without it the idea of individualism is without meaning or purpose.

    Les and all, have a good day in your thoughts.

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