Tag Archives | Objectivism

Ayn Rand vs. the Natural Evolution of Human Altruism

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The natural history of mankind’s development seems to differ greatly with the psychopathic philosophy of Ayn Rand, a ‘virtue of selfishness’ in which her heroes, such as John Galt, strive for their individual supremacy and autonomy over a collective view of public good. The fact that anthropological evidence refutes her premises would hardly have deterred Rand, who referred to the “primordial savages” of the world, “unable to conceive of individual rights.” As if the rights of individuals are mutually exclusive from such goals as sharing, or showing compassion, working in tandem or exercising a collective group intelligence (with a social awareness) to meet goals.

Indeed, Ayn Rand framed her moral arguments as if the individualists were the persecuted minority, using drastic examples like Stalinist Russia to make her invective criticisms of much more centrist or moderate positions, while ignoring the rich history of robber barons, feudal states and serfdoms.… Read the rest

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Neuroscience Vs. Ayn Rand

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Greg Nyquist writes at Ayn Rand Contra Human Nature:

Human nature and politics. Rand’s politics is not entirely free of the contagion of her view of man. Rand’s so-called “philosophy of history” (i.e., her theory of historical change) acts as a transmission belt between her theory of human nature and her political philosophy.

(1) An individual’s political philosophy depend on his ethics, which depends on his epistemology/metaphysics. If by ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics you mean explicit philosophy, this view is inapplicable to most people. Explicit philosophies tend to be mere rationalizations: self-conscious window dressing draped over the cognitive unconscious, which does most of the heavy cognitive lifting and does not think in terms of broad philosophical abstractions. Moreover, the genesis of explicit philosophies generally suggests that the causation tends to go in the other direction; that is to say, people tend to begin with a political philosophy, which they rationalize with various ethical rationalizations.

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‘Atlas Shrugged’ Trailer Has a Bunch of People Yelling About the Railroad Industry (Video)

Atlas ShruggedYes, Ayn Rand’s book has been turned into a movie. As Cyriaque Lamar writes on io9.com:

Whatever your feelings happen to be about Objectivism, this isn’t a particularly effective trailer. Sure, it’s jam-packed with lines that ooze significance if you’ve soldiered through the book’s 90,000 pages, but for those audience members who don’t know Ayn Rand from Emo Phillips, it’s a movie about a bunch of randoms angry about Amtrak or yammering about metallurgy or something.

What’s your verdict? Can anything be salvaged here, or will this be an objective stinker?

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Ayn Rand and Political Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

From Slate’s 2009 review of Jennifer Burns’ Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right and Anne Heller’s Ayn Rand and the World She Made:

Alisa Rosenbaum (her original name) was born in the icy winter of czarism, not long after the failed 1905 revolution ripped through her home city of St. Petersburg. Her father was a self-made Jewish pharmacist, while her mother was an aristocratic dilettante who loathed her three daughters. She would tell them she never wanted children, and she kept them only out of duty. Alisa became a surly, friendless child. In elementary school, her class was asked to write an essay about why being a child was a joyous thing. She instead wrote “a scathing denunciation of childhood,” headed with a quote from Pascal: “I would prefer an intelligent hell to a stupid paradise.”

But the Rosenbaums’ domestic tensions were dwarfed by the conflicts raging outside. The worst anti-Jewish violence since the Middle Ages was brewing, and the family was terrified of being killed by the mobs—but it was the Bolsheviks who struck at them first. After the 1917 revolutions, her father’s pharmacy was seized “in the name of the people.” For Alisa, who had grown up surrounded by servants and nannies, the Communists seemed at last to be the face of the masses, a terrifying robbing horde…

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