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Monday, September 20, 2010

Ayn Rand Sucks

I dislike Ayn Rand. But what is interesting to note is that I agree with her on a lot of her conclusions. Ayn Rand was a supporter of capitalism, so am I. Ayn Rand was against welfare, so am I. Ayn Rand was against the whole "equality" movement, so am I. But I still dislike her because our reasoning behind our positions are very different. She sometimes reminds me of the KKK or white nationalists. White nationalists and supremacists have a lot in common with me, but for very different reasons.

Ayn Rand approached these sort of questions with objectivism. It was what she claimed to be an objective moral system. But a very strange moral system. Based upon selfishness of ourselves. Most moral systems that people have are concerned about helping others, but Ayn Rand was not concerned with that, she was concerned about ourselves and how we treat ourselves and only ourselves.

Adam Smith and Ayn Rand are different supporters of capitalism. Adam Smith was a supporter of capitalism because he argued from an economic point-of-view. He argued that capitalism will lead to the best economic system which in turn will lead to higher standard of livings for the people. Ayn Rand was a supporter of capitalism because she argued from an ethical point-of-view. She argued that capitalism is the only system compatible with selfishness. Capitalism is the only means for people to act for their self-interests. That is why Ayn Rand so strongly supported capitalism.

I am not an egoist, I do not promote the idea of selfishness. I think that people's primary concern are themselves, but people should learn to share and give away what they have with others. What we teach our children, "sharing is caring" is something I strongly support. So I definitely have a big issue with Ayn Rand and the claimed virtue of selfishness. I side with Adam Smith on the capitalism issue, not with Ayn Rand. This is my first problem with her.

My second problem with her is that she was a moralist. She was an atheist, but she was nonetheless still a moralist. She was able to abandon the silly idea of God, but she never abandoned the silly idea of objective morality. I am a moral nihilist. Humanity will get so much more advanced and enlightened if we were able to give up morals and simply live a kind life in absence of morals. My problem with morality is that morality is a false concept. It is a dead surviving remnant of religion. It has no place in philosophy. There is no rational deductive way or an empirical inductive way to obtain an "ought" from an "is". What we know about the universe is simply what is, not what ought be, what ought be is just a human preference and so cannot be obtained from first principles. Besides, morality is also authoritarian in a way. Once you have objective morals you become extremely distressed with how people act. You get bothered when teenage girls wear short skirts or teenage boys wear their pants low. Or you get bothered when some other non-sense like this happens that really should not concern anyone. Morals make people want to impose their morals on other people, even if done in absence of a state, like with Ayn Rand, is still in a way authoritarian.

Ayn Rand was also known to be an unkind person. She disliked homosexuals. Not sure why, there is no reason to be anti-gay if one is no longer religious. She was against women being presidents. She hated the Arabs in the middle-east and sided with Israel. Her personality was quite terrible. I would not be surprised if her unkind nature was the result of her morals. As I said, morals make people more authoritarian. It seems that her Objectivism made her really dislike things that normal people should not otherwise dislike. I know that someone's character is not an argument against whether one speaks truth or not. She can be the most terrible person in the world, it would not necessarily make her ideas wrong. But this post is called "Ayn Rand sucks" not "Objectivism sucks", so I am legit when I go after her.

And finally, Ayn Rand is not original. Her works comes from Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche advocated a form of egoism. But not from an ethical point-of-view. Nietzsche after all was a moral nihilist. He simply argued for people to be the overman, there was no ethics attached to such a statement. Ayn Rand copied a lot of Nietzsche's work. One cannot give much credit for Ayn Rand, rather one must give credit for Nietzsche.


  1. I rather like her, and find her philosophy interesting (one can't really judge a philosophy by the philosopher's personal shortcomings). While I tended to take her ideas as a bit extreme, I have noted of late (with increasing discomfort) that my country is now being governed by a set of people who act like the villains in her novels. I used to think of her villains (and her heroes) as somewhat 2-dimensional, but it's all hitting home with the Obama administration.

  2. Nietzsche borrowed from many too. The fact that Rand is a moralist and Nietzsche not just means that she adapted what he said rather than copying it piecemeal. I have my own issues with her (the Fountainhead strikes me as being pretty opposed to market outcomes), but as David says, she is doing quite well as a prophet.