Yet again, National Review manages to reach new lows in its swipes against Ayn Rand. In a just-posted article, Michael Novak describes the “many different belief systems are found among people who call themselves atheists.” His second type reads as follows:
Those relativists and nihilists who do believe, as Nietzsche warned, that the “death of God” has also meant the death of trust in reason and science and objective rules of morality. Such atheists, therefore, may for arbitrary reasons choose to live for their own pleasure, or for the joy of exercising brute power and will. This is the kind of moral nihilism that communist and fascist regimes depended upon, to justify the brutal use of power. It appears, also, to be the kind of atheism that Ayn Rand commended.
That gross misrepresentation is required for Novak’s argument that the ethical practices of morally decent atheists are basically those of Christianity, “all the way up the scale from mere sentiments, to effective personal help to the poor, and to heroic self-sacrifice.” Since that’s obviously not true of Ayn Rand, Novak can only marginalize her by falsely lumping her with amoralists (!!), fascists (!!), and communists (!!!). Intellectual dishonesty doesn’t get any worse than that.