Another Bizarre and Vague Mention of Ayn Rand

 Posted by on 22 August 2006 at 6:14 am  Uncategorized
Aug 222006

These kinds of random snide comments about Ayn Rand really annoy me:

Even today there are people arguing that Ayn Rand is a major “liberal” theorist, and fighting to preserve her holy memory on the internet. This from a philosophy that starts out from two questionable tautologies and worships getting cancer. No rhapsody anywhere in Rand’s books surpasses her paean to smoking.

I’m not bothered by the author’s strong objections to Ayn Rand’s views so much as his method of expressing them. He wants to express his hostility without offering his readers the slightest chance to judge the facts for themselves. So what does he do?

First, he suggests that defenders of her ideas are actually religious zealots focused upon “her holy memory.”

Second, he claims that Objectivism is based upon “two questionable tautologies,” but never suggests what those are. Perhaps he’s thinking of Objectivism’s three fundamental axioms, but we don’t know, since he doesn’t say. The pairing of “questionable” with “tautologies” is quite Hegelian — or an attempt to suggest that the basic ideas of Objectivism are (1) trivial and (2) false. If that were possible, it wouldn’t get much worse than that, I suppose.

Third, Ayn Rand “worships getting cancer.” That’s downright obscene. Yes, Ayn Rand was a smoker. Yes, one of her minor characters briefly discussed the symbolic meaning of smoking. It was hardly a rhapsody, let alone noteworthy in comparison to Francisco’s speeches on money and sex, Roark’s courtroom speech, or Galt’s radio address. If that small comment means that Ayn Rand “worships getting cancer” then anyone who thinks that married couples ought to have sex “worships the spread of venereal disease.”


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