Ayn Rand — Scariest Woman in the Universe

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What in the world is causing the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes level of hysteria being directed at Ayn Rand? How has onewoman, gone from this earth for decades, managed to inspire such loathing and dread? Far from being insulted, I think she’d be proud of herself if she could witness the panic being spread in her name. Not only proud, but if she could keep her temper,perhaps even encouraged.

The author’s name has become a sort of shorthand, in “progressive” parlance, for “great big meanie.” She believed that we own ourselves, that we deserve the fruits of our labor, and that we have a right to pursue happiness. She — gasp! — even extolled the virtue of selfishness, in one of the many books most of her detractors have never read, though what I believe is salient in her philosophy is the idea that we have a greater right to run our lives than others do to run them for us. Precisely why that’s meaner or more selfish than the notion that we have no right to do this, I can’t say.

It’s precisely because they’re still reachable by rational argument that so many people are barricading themselves behind walls. It’s why they create “safe zones” in schools. It’s why they listen only to certain media, and not others. What seems like a hopeless situation is, when viewed with clear eyes, actually quite hopeful.

Most of those who abuse Ayn Rand are too ignorant to know whether what’s being said about her is true or false, too lazy to find out, and too irresponsible to care.

People don’t need to protect themselves from other points of view if they’re sure of their own. Those who come unglued when presented with competing ideas are afraid that they might possibly be proved wrong. The good news about human beings is that once we’ve become aware of an alternative that makes more sense, no matter how determined we might have been to guard against it, our minds are stretched. And a mind that has been stretched can never return to its former, constricted position, no matter how hard its owner tries to squeeze it shut again.

Ayn Rand is the ultimate political punching-bag. She’s dead, so she can’t defend herself. Most of those who abuse her, or who regard the slanders against her as credible, are too ignorant to know whether what’s being said about her is true or false, too lazy to find out, and too irresponsible to care. I disagree with some of what she wrote, but then again, I have troubled myself to become familiar with it. I would find it impossible to intelligently criticize what I hadn’t bothered to understand.

I won’t expand here on what I like about Rand’s ideas and what I don’t. My purpose is not so much to delve into her thought as to comment on thinking itself. Most particularly, on thinking about the politics of liberty — or what passes for thought on the subject. Americans don’t appear, to me, to think too deeply anymore. I’m not sure that the rest of the world does, either, but as I happen to be an American, that is my primary concern.

I still have hope that the citizens of these United States will begin to do some serious thinking again. And my reason is that those who refuse to think must still clap their hands over their ears and shout, “la la la” every time they hear an idea that causes them discomfort. It’s when most people have stopped finding that necessary, and have become such braindead droids that they no longer need to put up a defense against sound thinking, that lovers of liberty will need to be very, very afraid.




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Visitor

Little Alice Rosenbaum is hated because she destroyed the principle of altruism, thereby putting an end to the moral cartel in ethics. That, and she had the cojones to get up in their faces to proclaim her views, not from the academy, but from the common press.

For all that, no matter what you may think of her other views, we owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude, and speaking for myself, cherish her in deepest intellectual love.

Johnimo

Amen!

Johnimo

Ayn Rand certainly is the scariest woman in the Universe, or at least the scariest woman in the tri-State area. What other author is able to challenge the entire Judeo-Christian ethic of altruism on a wide scale? What other author forced people all across the political spectrum to chose a pro or con stance on the basis of one novel, "Atlas Shrugged"?

It's very common for the left to accuse folks with whom they disagree of "sounding like Bill O'Reilly" or some other conservative, but only when they accuse me of sounding like Ayn Rand do I accept full responsibility for adopting another's ideas. I don't agree with Bill O'Reilly on much at all and I regularly laugh at lefties' attempts to tie me to the likes of him. But Ayn Rand .... sounding like Rand is a badge of honor.

Rand made a genuine dent in the altruists' monopoly of the underpinnings of our moral landscape. She provided generations with the ability to say, "No" to self sacrifice. The left looks upon her with the same disdain and hatred usually reserved only for black conservatives. They innately sense that she put lots of folks forever off the political reservations on which they'd have us all forever sequestered.

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