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"You Are NOT Alone!"

Another perspective to consider on Ayn Rand...

Sometimes attractive packages contain unpleasant realities...


Michael Gerson

Ayn Rand's Adult-Onset Adolescence


We need to continually remind ourselves that the main reason for cherishing freedom is that it really is the best way to arrive at the common good. Not just freedom for freedom's sake.



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Comment by Peter Trippett on April 22, 2011 at 5:33pm

This linked article is not very complimentary of Ayn Rand or the "Atlas Shrugged" movie.  It was written by someone who is speaking from ignorance, and contains all the common misconceptions about Ayn Rand and Objectivism.  I do not believe that Mr. Gerson has read "Atlas Shrugged", or is at all familliar with Ayn Rand's philosophy.

The author writes:

But both libertarians and Objectivists are moved by the mania of a single idea -- a freedom indistinguishable from selfishness. This unbalanced emphasis on one element of political theory -- at the expense of other public goals such as justice and equal opportunity -- is the evidence of a rigid ideology.

No Objectivist argues for injustice or un-equal opportunity, unless the definitions of these words are somehow maleable.  How is it injustice to say that nobody else has a right to my life, my work, my property?  How is freedom not equal opportunity?  Does this author believe that equal opportunity must be purchased, with money stolen from others?

It is a common misconception that Ayn Rand opposed charity.  NOT TRUE!  She opposed the concept that she referred to as altruism, by which she meant actions that benefit others to the detriment of yourself, and included being forced by law to benefit others.  She had no problem with voluntarily helping others.

The author also noted Ayn Rand's opposition to religion.  This is true, and is the major point where I don't personally agree with her.  Ayn Rand argued for an Objective and logical basis for determining one's values and moral principles, and on most issues, she came to the same conclusions as most Christians I know. 

However, it is important to note that Objectivism opposes any effort to force one's mind, so in an Objectively free society, people would be free to practice their faith (more free, in fact than in our current society).  The only limitation would be that you could not force your beliefs on others, although you would be free to try to convince them!

From a purely secular standpoint, there is not a better or more logically constructed argument for freedom, capitalism, and individual rights than Objectivism.  And MIchael Gerson, claiming to be a Conservative, does us all an injustice by so misrepresenting this important philosophy.

In so doing, he demonstrates why, even when supposedly Conservative Republicans controlled all three branches of government, this country continued to drift towards Socialism: the lack of a solid foundation of principles directing their actions.

Will Ayn Rand's view of an Objectivist society ever exist?  Probably not.  However, it does provide a solid foundation of principles, based on simple premises, and logically sound arguments.  It serves as a signpost, stating: "This way lies freedom!"  And we ignore it at our own peril.

Comment by Chuck Ray on April 22, 2011 at 6:25pm

Thanks for the food for thought, Peter. You make good points. I do find it hard to believe, though, that the author would have written such a post if he had not read the book. He just seems to have had a different reaction to it.




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