An Ayn Rand Era?

David Boaz has an interesting post at Cato@Liberty: “Ayn Rand Is In


3 Responses to “An Ayn Rand Era?”

  1. Clay Barham

    Is it self-centered greed or legitimate self-interest that is the main concern with those who do not understand Ayn Rand? Those who admire and criticize Ayn Rand’s beliefs about people who stand on their own feet often say she promoted selfishness, thereby greed, which is self-centered and anti-individual creativity. That is anti-Rand. Rand admired the creative individual, people like railroad builder James Jerome Hill, on whom she was reputed to have based her character Nathaniel Taggart in Atlas Shrugged. Independent “I’m OK, you’re OK” people are OK with Rand, not the criminal takers. If we look at Howard Roark’s summation to the jury, from Fountainhead, we do not see a self-centered individual destroying his work. If he was greedy he would have simply accepted his payment. We see an other- and outer-centered individual in love with his own dreams and creations, as one would love a spouse, child or family and refuse to allow them to be assaulted. That is the kind of self-interest that built America. Though love for anything spiritual may be missing, a great idea or vision also measures up to that which is spiritual, beyond self, and that view is not even inconsistent with Christianity.

  2. Clay — I think you’ve seriously misunderstood Ayn Rand’s ideas. Ayn Rand’s idea of selfishness is certainly not that of the brute that slaughters others to indulge his own desires — as Christianity and other forms of altruism claim must be the case. It’s where each individual pursues his own life and happiness here on this earth — not sacrificing others to himself or himself to others — in accordance with his best rational grasp of the facts.

    That’s not compatible with Christianity in the slightest. Christianity extols sacrifice as the moral ideal — the sacrifice of the morally perfect to the worthless sinners. It denigrates wealth — or any pursuit of values on this earth — as evil. It demands faith in an unproven, fantastic, self-contradictory myth — and threatens an eternity of hell to those who refuse to accept that. Ayn Rand very clearly rejects all of that as evil.

    Or, to put the point another way: Would Jesus have blown up a housing project for the poor to protect his intellectual property, as Howard Roark did? Of course not!

    If you’re interested in studying Ayn Rand’s ideas further, you might find my still-in-progress collection of podcasts on “Atlas Shrugged” of interest. They’re here:

    — Diana Hsieh. Ph.D, Philosophy

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