7/22/2006

Shrugging Off Ayn Rand

It's been a really productive day in the pursuit of my newest hobby, debunking Ayn Rand's Objectivism. ( I also played a little golf,
That didn't go as well ). It's a pretty small club that pursues this fine art, but that's OK. Despite being considered a Collectivest, Statist Scum and Insect by some, I like to think of myself as an individualist. Anyway in my search for the perfect Anti-Ayn quotations, I hit paydirt today. I discovered an article by: New York Times bestselling author Michael Prescott entitled: Shrugging Off Ayn Rand.
It's incredible how germane the topics touched in the article are to recent discussions on this blog.

The article begins with:

"Years ago, if anybody ever asked me about my intellectual views, I had a ready answer. I was an Objectivist. In fact, I had a ready answer for just about any intellectual, metaphysical, political, ethical, or aesthetic question that might come up. I had read Ayn Rand's books - novels like The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, nonfiction works like The Virtue of Selfishness and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal - and I had absorbed her philosophy, Objectivism. I believed it, I advocated it, and I tried to live by it.

And now, two decades later, I find that Ayn Rand plays almost no role in my thinking, that I never look at her books, and that her ideas strike me as irrelevant and, in certain respects, downright disagreeable."

What was it that gradually altered my point of view? The simplest answer is that while practicing Objectivism, I didn't attain the contentment, the sense of being comfortable with myself, that ought to be the hallmark of a successful philosophy of life. Instead, I found I'd developed character traits that made me unhappy - and which were probably unhealthy, to boot.

Then there was my attitude toward new ideas and alternative points of view - an attitude that was, in a word, unreceptive. I had become inflexible, intolerant, narrow in my outlook, with ready-made opinions set in stone. Rand had explained the world with such clarity, in such bright colors and vivid images, that I could see no merit in any contrary opinion. I became judgmental, stubborn, and a bit self-righteous - hardly qualities likely to "win friends and influence people."

11 comments:

jpn said...

Interesting post. In our discussion with Cato here, I believe this line of thinking has been alluded to a number of times. Being an "objectivist" seems to me to have the same affect on a person as being "born again" has on many newly, self-proclaimed Christians. Suddenly they have all the answers -- the unarguably correct answers. They become parrots for the phrases and ideas they are unquestioningly being indoctrinated with. They glow brightly with their new found "beliefs," but the flame offend dies down.

I think many of these "objectivists" get turned on to this Ayn Rand stuff by their friends and join in the philosophical parlor game spreads from the select circle to those who will listen. Since Al Gore invented the Internet and the blogs that followed, there's forums for these people to spread their lack of good cheer and expand the reaches of their parlor game. We see that in Cato. He can't really think outside the Ayn Rand box. He likes to say we can't, but he is really the one who has painted himself into the corner of his restrictive philosophical parlor.

AndyRand said...

I think it's important to state that my beef is not with CATO.
It's with Objectivism and its off shoots and the predicatable negative
effects it produces on society and individuals. CATO has been the
only objectivist, or person with a contrary view point with the courage
to come into our lion's den and thus has become the lightning rod and
scapegoat for my scorn of objectivism, in that sense, I have to admire him.
But I don't admire his philosophy.

jpn said...

My beef isn't with Cato either. I think anyone who reads and follows this blog know that we push for open mindedness and are very open to differing opinions. I heartily appreciate Cato for providing the insights into his worldview. I'm not good at seeing things as black or white. My experience paints things in shades of gray.

Rusty said...

Any one ever had an 'objectivst' friend? Dude, they're like Nazis in their metaphysical certainty of objective reality. And talking to them? It's like talking to a La Rouchie, only less anti-Semetic.

Cato said...

As threads go longer the probability that somoene will mention "Nazis" approaches one.

Fourth post for Goodwin's Law to show it's ugly face! It took 100 last time.

AndyRand said...

What again is Goodwins' Law?

Adolph said...

Professor Goodwin, U of I, in 1981 made the observation that Usenet discussions gravitate downhill.

He postulated that as the length of a discussion thread grows, the probability approaches one (1) that one participant will introduce the terms "Hitler" or "Nazi".

The custom has evolved that the first party to utter "Hitler" or "Nazi" has lost the discussion, and the thread terminates.

AndyRand said...

Oh.
I don't recall there being a Usenet
in 1981?

Himler said...

That's because Al Gore hadn't invented it yet.

Goerbels said...

Achtung!
Ze will not repeat Ze Fuhrer's name in zees post!

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a frequent participant of the "OTBL", that loves nothing better than name calling and using the "Nazi", nomenclatuer??