Ayn Rand and the Intellectuals

Ray Thomas
 
Issue XIV - May 21, 2003
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HATING WHAT THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND
Liberal intellectuals (almost a redundancy, that) hate author Ayn Rand.

They don't just dislike her, they
hate her with a passion. The reason? Because she has single-handedly come up with a logical and reasonable philosophy that strips them bare and reveals all their scams and schemes so that people who know her philosophy (Objectivism) automatically spot one of their scams from a long ways away.

THEY CAN'T TELL YOU WHY


They don't subject her to the usual mild criticism or "shunning" to which they subject liberals who say something "slightly different" from "the norm." Their treatment of Rand and her works is visceral and vicious. There are many who merely dismiss her philosophy with the wave of a hand. But they cannot explain why they feel the way they do. If asked for a reason for their opposition to Objectivism, they can't answer and launch into a personal attack on her that amounts to a "fact-free opinion."

DENYING REASON AND LOGIC

If you point out the fact that Objectivism is a "philosophy of reason," t
hey deny the existence of reason. If you point to the logic of Objectivism, they say there is no logic. Then they go on to tell you that "there are no absolutes." Of course, they don't even notice the fact that their very statement is a "statement of an absolute," and negates not only their entire philosophy, but the very statement they have made as well. I love being a proponent of a philosophy that allows me to "shut down" those who disagree with it so easily and completely, and with their own words.

I hasten to say that I do not accept all of Rand's opinions and that I am
not an Objectivist. I am a "student of Objectivist philosophy" and am still learning all its facets. That could change later, although I don't think I'll ever agree that abortion is a good thing and that there is no "higher power" although I may not see that "higher power" the same way other people do.

OPPOSING BAD IDEAS WITH GOOD IDEAS


One professor said Rand was a "phony libertarian" who wanted to strip communists of their citizenship. She did not. In fact, she was one of the few people not on the Left who opposed the violation of the rights of communists and said so, in print. She said that stripping them of their rights "is an invalid means of opposing communism and that the proper way to oppose bad ideas was with good ideas."

To show you just how visceral and violent their hate is, there is a story told by Ronald Merril, in his book,
The Ideas of Ayn Rand, where a woman's boyfriend was horrified when he saw her reading Atlas Shrugged and grabbed it, throwing it out the window. She watched as the gardener, upon seeing the title, threw it down and ran over it repeatedly. This is an excellent example of the violent reaction that her ideas often get from people who have never really investigated them, but have listened to what their liberal friends have said about her and her works. But again, if you ask them precisely what they don't like about her and her work, they can't answer and usually sneer some personal attack upon her.

IS OBJECTIVISM A "CULT?"

That's one of the criticisms that is most often hurled at Objectivism and its creator, that it is a "cult" that does not allow
any dissention. That people have been, in effect, "excommunicated" for disagreeing with it in the slightest way. There is a certain amount of truth to that charge, but it only applies to the personal "circle of friends" she laughingly called her "collective." Rand wasn't perfect, although her mistakes are tiny when put alongside her ideas, which are destined to change the world, and already are. She did insist on complete agreement among those people and shunned those who disagreed with her. But that does not apply to those who believe in, and use her ideas to guide their lives, as I do. That's not a "cult, nor is it a "religion."

Objectivism today has two major factions, about even in strength. One faction is run by her "philosophical and financial heir, Dr.Leonard Peikoff. Peikoff was a member of her "collective" and, in my opinion, is an "opportunist," who took advantage of Rand's fall out with her original protégé, Nathaniel Branden and took over her fortune as well as the "mantle" as "The Voice of Objectivism." This faction, running the
Ayn Rand Institute, and claims to be the only source for Objectivist information and ideas. But it is this group that operates somewhat as a cult in that Peikoff's contention that Objectivism, as Ayn Rand proposed it, was, and is, complete and not subject to any changes. To be an Objectivist to him, is to accept everything Rand said, as "gospel" and not deviate from it in any way. It is this which gives rise to the "cult" accusation.

But there is a second faction, run by Objectivist philosopher David Kelley, who started and runs the O
bjectivist Institute, a competing organization whose view of Objectivism is that it is not complete, and can be improved. It is this group who are not, and never will be, "cult-like." If you wish to associate with this group, you will never get any static whichever way you believe.

It is this division in "the ranks" that caused a severe setback in the acceptance of Objectivism for years. This division was worse than that created when Nathaniel Branden left. But the Objectivist Center has had a strong influence and the acceptance of Objectivism as an excellent guide for your life is rising again, as it must, because it is the only logical philosophy there is.

You may not agree totally with the basic tenets of Objectivism, but here you will not be met with a cold silence if you dare to suggest change. In the Objectivist Institute, you will be welcomed and your ideas debated respectfully. The concepts discovered by Objectivists are not subjective, but the final word on the details of Objectivism may not have yet been discovered. You might be the force by which we can improve the philosophy, no matter what Leonard Peikoff might say.

If you're still "drifting in a sea of opposing philosophies," and you don't know why what's happening in this world is happening, this philosophy will help you to understand. Things will become clear to you as never before, and you will be able to, as my older brother Bob said many years ago, "read between the lines" and be able to figure out why people do as they do. What brought me to Objectivism is my inability to understand why people like Nelson Rockefeller, who had more money than he could spend in three lifetimes, supported collectivism even though it was intent on taking his money away (If you want to know the answer to that, e-mail me).

But this philosophy answered most of my questions and therefore, I can follow it for the most part because it's a
logical philosophy and its opponents can only stupidly deny the existence of logic to oppose it. They cannot give coherent answers as to why it is bad, so they make things up. If you want to know the truth, go to the source: The Objectivist Center.

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Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's comprehensive treatise, A Rational Cosmology, explicating such terms as the universe, matter, space, time, sound, light, life, consciousness, and volition, here.

Read Mr. Stolyarov's four-act play, Implied Consent, a futuristic intellectual drama on the sanctity of human life, here.