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Ayn Rand (ianism) and Loneliness

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Every semester I ask first-year college students what they would do if they suddenly had infinite money. Rare is the one who can come up with anything better than the piggish pursuit of pleasure: cars, sex, houses, vacations, bling and more cars, sex, houses, vacations and bling. They imagine that pleasure, buying the fetishistic trinkets of our consumer culture, will make them happy. But happiness is not pleasure. Ten more minutes on the playground will not make a child happy, nor will a house in Aspen make an adult happy. Oh certainly these will provide pleasure, and so will heroin. Grandma was right, money cannot buy happiness, and only the childish, or the Ayn Randyian egoist would think otherwise.

The resurgence of contemporary Ayn Randyianism comes naturally with the demise of communism and the realization that individual moral agency is superior to the mindless amorality of various “collectivisms,” which include death-worshipping extremists, radical religions, as well as communism. But despite the Ayn Randyian’s notion that the individual is the locus of responsibility, their glorification of childish egoism, eliminates for them anything other than personal pleasure. Happiness will forever elude me, me, me Ayn Randyians.

Happiness, unlike pleasure, comes only from fulfilling your most personal human gifts. Happiness, as 2,500 years of Western Culture teaches, comes only from being fully human and that means being virtuous, or more simply, by being a good human being, a really human, human being, and only the fully human, human being can love. Randyians are left to love no more than their own appetites. They have reduced themselves to a variety of egoistic loneliness that is utterly inhuman. Love is not merely objective self-love. Human love always entails love of something or someone beyond oneself. Only the human being would sacrifice his own life to save his child or his friend or even to protect his ideas. Only a human being can recognize the moral fittingness of the behavior one’s hated opponent. “I may hate that jerk, but I recognize he is a good father, good mechanic, good tennis player, etc.” A loveless objectivist egoist could not recognize the goodness of others unless it served them personally. For the world of the egoist is a most primitive animal world of personal appetite and personal gain. Randyian Objectivism is ultimately solipsism it seems.

Imagine a handsaw and ask yourself if it would be happier if it were dull or sharp. Imagine a dog, would it be happier in locker room or a hay field. Now imagine yourself: Would you be happier acting like a pig or a person? As a fool who only knows appetite, or a human being who recognizes that the clarity of intellect is best used in the service of those you love beyond yourself? I urge you then: pursue happiness with all your reason and discover that there is reason in loving others. Love others, dear Ayn Randyians, and thereby be human too.

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About carmine

  • DrPat

    1. It’s “Randian” – no Y.
    2. Some of the most evil characters in Rand’s fiction are focused wholly on “getting and spending.”

    Rand’s definition of good accords completely with yours: Happiness, unlike pleasure, comes only from fulfilling your most personal human gifts. I believe the disparity comes from your differing appraisal of those human gifts.

    By carefully defining “love” (inaccurately) as something no Randian can achieve, qua Randian, you sidestep the need to defend your premise. Neither the Randian virtue of selfishness, nor the pursuit of fulfillment for one’s most human gifts (including rationality, judgment and intelligence) requires emotional solitude, and neither precludes happiness.

    You have conflated “appetite” with “desire,” and painted as Dionysian something that is totally Apollonian.

  • Al Barger

    Dear Mr PhD, I’m having real trouble seeing how a smart fellow such as yourself could honestly and accidentally so thoroughly and precisely misrepresent Rand. She was so completely NOT about getting high and collecting bling bling. Struggling night and day to become a world class architect or inventor is not mindless hedonism. Surely you know better.

  • DrPat

    Thanks, Al, for putting that into the vernacular! But one doesn’t have to have read Rand to get your point – Rich Dad, Poor Dad makes the same distinction about having (saving) money.

  • Maynard

    OK, DrPat and Al have been nice and tried to reach your brain. I come from the mosh pit and instead will just kick you in the nads.

    Carmine, you have absolutely no idea what Rand, nor Objectivism is about. After reading some of the other tripe you have posted, and seeing that you are in the “reformation” stage of your personal 12 step born again salvation, might I suggest you stop making shit up before you go out to talk about something in a very public forum?

    You want to know the point of what you are missing? OK, it’s about doing something the best you can, It’s about reason and rationality over superstition and mysticism.

    Example, the Canadien rock band Rush. Total Objectivists, could they have made radio friendly pop much by formulae and whore’d themselves out for all the money possible? Yeah, did they?
    No. Instead they made the best music they could, and ethically conducted their business to reap the biggest rewards without violating what the considered important or corrupting and compromising their art.

    Forget about Atlas Shrugged, just try actually reading the Fountainhead.

  • John W. Bales

    If Dr. Carmine would read further than the title of “The Virtue of Selfishness”–the introduction, perhaps–he would have to say about his own post “Oops! Nevermind!”

  • carmine

    1. I like the connotation of “randy”.
    2. Self-centered egoism without love is not a life without hard work. Many of the hardest workers work hardest for all the wrong reasons. Randy Randians must certainly work hardest of all.

  • Sister Ray

    Dr. Carmine, since you’re interested in Ayn Rand, I’m curious what you think about Nietzsche and his ideas on joy and self-overcoming. He was an influence on Rand (although she denied it).

  • carmine

    I quote from a devout Randyian:

    “Peikoff has said that the essential issue in this debate is the nature of objectivity. I agree. One of Ayn Rand’s great insights, the one that gives Objectivism its name, is her recognition that knowledge and values are objective, not intrinsic or subjective.”

    So Randians are rigid absolutists who have an unsubstantiated faith in some perfect isomorphism between human reason and the great world outside. It seems to me Ayn Rand is a trivialized version of Nietzsche, Sartre and Heidegger. A pseudo-existentialist who likes the freedom part but continues to hold out faith that our minds grasp TRUTH. But truth as every logician knows only refers to statements not the world beyond. Statements are true or false. The world just is. What are the colors beyond violet and red? Ultra violet and infra-red. Really? or are we just pretending. Truth only occurs in the systems of Man. Man knows in the end only Man. Check out a few of the linguistic philosophers such as Saussure or Wittgenstein. Rand, humbug.

  • Al Barger

    There’s certainly valid argument about human objectivity, that is, the ability of humans to grasp the “objective reality.” Reality may be objective, but our ability to ferret out the objective truth tends to be significantly limited by our physical and psychological limits. For starters, our physical sensors to perceive the energies and movements around us are highly limited. Think of all the radio waves and microwaves and whatnot bashing through the air that we can’t even pick up- much less interpret. That’s before we even start negotiating the tricky stairwells of our mammalian emotional circuitry.

    Humility is thus in order for all of us, including students of Rand and PhDs. And crackers from the holler.

  • carmine

    Certainly the gods that demand victims are dead to those with reason. But the the gods that deny heart are so infantile that they are the gods only of the puerile. Such a bleak world where fear of self-sacrifice in the name of individualism, such a bleak world where individualism eclipses the awesome love of one’s own child, own’s own wife, of the very universe. Let Peikoff have the fear of life he calls idividualism. Me? I do feel love. Hume is right. At the end of the day, passions inspire reason. Bad reasoning is when passions do your thinking for you. But do not be fool enough to reject your passions, to do so is to reject life. The greatest passion is not mere pleasure, bling and heroin, but love, the unselfish variety. To live without love in this momentary flash– life –thrown in the world. Is the self-absorbed life of the paranoid. Go on take a chance, be a man, love someone beyond yourself.

  • Omni Temporal

    Rare is the one who can come up with anything better than the piggish pursuit of pleasure …

    Blame that on MTV, reality programming, celebrity worship, movies, hip-hop, advertising, and basic ignorance, not Rand.

    … money cannot buy happiness, and only the childish, or the Ayn Randyian egoist would think otherwise.

    A gross mischaracterization of her intention.

    Happiness will forever elude me, me, me Ayn Randyians.

    If me, me, me-ness is being justified as an exercise of Rand’s tenets, then that’s a misinterpretation of those tenets.

    Maybe she is full of it. But, Ph.D. man, if you want to discredit her, the least you could do is to attack those things that she actually promotes.

    Careful, or we’ll see to it that your Ph.D. is revoked. (I gather that you have one of those.)

    P.S. Do you make people address you as “Dr.” ?

  • Al Barger

    Ya know there PhD, I was trying to be conciliatory, but that comment #10 just makes me wanna start bashing away. That’s just SO cheesy, and utterly intellectually unworthy. With your nonsense about “unselfish love” I was ready for you break into Elmer Gantry, “Love is morning and the evening star..”

    Never for a minute did Rand deny emotional bonds and love. She had, however, a different take on what should be the basis for love. She argued essentially that affections should be showered naturally on people who represent values- on good, worthy people, rather than throwing your pearls before swine with “unconditional” love being wasted on jackasses what will only break your heart.

    Good advice, I say.

    Carmine, do you really not understand this?

  • Harald

    The subtitle of “The Virtue of Selfishness” is “a NEW concept of egoism”. Already in the title the reader gets a tip: she has a DIFFERENT concept of egoism in mind than the conventional concept of an unthinking brute pursuing his whim you picked as your straw-man. If you actually read the book, instead of making it all up to fit your whim, that becomes clear. But by all means, please criticize Rand to your hearts content, but why not read and criticize what she actually defends (a RATIONAL egoism)? so that a real informative discussion might be had?

  • carmine

    Tsk Tsk such anger boys. But it should not be surprizing, lack of compassion is the pride of Rand. Does Peikoff allow you to quote the sacred texts or just to ape him. Where does Ms. Rand tell us love of deserving others is more valuable than self love? Where does she tell us those who hold subjective or intrinsic values deserve love? In your zealousness to defend her you have missed my argument. If enlighted self interest will help us all, and morality is absolute then only those that love themselves appropriately are the good people. The others are left to languish. Whether we consume bling or philosophy, without love of our community we are but lonely pigs. Happiness cannot be had with mere reason, objectivism or genitals. Read the little book by Hume, develop your sensitivity for others.

    Oh by the way Life and Liberty come from Locke, pursuit of happiness from Hume. And the pig comparison comes from JS Mill, the fellow who provided the back bone for our freedom of speech and the notion of the marketplace of ideas.

    And I think you are selling a faulty product. Your hallowed stern objecivism is no less a fetish than Victoria’s Secret underware. For Sartre too all love ultimately became an attempt to define and be defined. How easily reason without heart allows the weak to suffer. Will your fellows remember you when you are weak, my bold little Randies?

  • Al Barger

    Oh Carmine, your condescending sermon has shown me the error of my ways. Rand didn’t mean what she said, she meant this other thing that you say she said.

    You’re right. I’ve had no heart, and no empathy for others. I am a monster. I know not of True Love for my Fellow Man like you do.

    Look, I’m no kind of Randroid. She has her better and lesser points philosophically, literarily and emotionally. You’re simply not a credible critic of the weak points though, for you’re trashing straw men and not honestly addressing her actual views. Just based on what you’re saying here, it doesn’t sound to me like you’ve ever even actually READ any of the books.

    You’re supposed to be a PhD, but this nonsense post on Rand is unworthy of a scholar. A junior high school student who actually read the books could easily give a more stinging, convincing criticism than you do here.

    You flatter yourself to describe me as “angry.” It’d take a lot more credible effort than this to get my goat.

  • Carsten

    Hi Carmine,

    since your article itself just shows that you haven’t read anything of Ayn Rand, I won’t bash this further here.

    But you made an interesting comment about “faith” which I don’t quite understand: “So Randians are rigid absolutists who have an unsubstantiated faith in some perfect isomorphism between human reason and the great world outside.”

    1) Randians are in fact absolutists…about the fact that we live in a comprehensible and stable universe. Man, according to Rand, is neither omnipotent nor infallible but ABLE to understand the objective world with means of reason.

    2) Faith is (may be) defined as a trust in something, which cannot be proven, neither a priori nor a posteriori. Since the connection between “reason” and “outside world” is proven by any scientific progress, this has little to do with “faith”.

    2) Because mans senses have limitations (you mentioned ultra-violette) doesn’t mean all thought things are invalid per definitionem. In fact, ironically Hegel (great anti-philosopher to Ayn Rand) stated eloquently, that the grasping of limitation in the senses itself shows, that there are no actual limitations for the human mind.

    4) Here the question: Since faith is everything else but to believe in objective facts, how can you claim that this would be faith, too?


  • Sister Ray

    Thanks for responding to my earlier question, Dr. Carmine. I need to check out those linguistic philosophers.

    I brought up Nietzsche because so many Ayn Rand fans swoon over her as *the* font of individualism and reason. Whereas if you read just a little bit of Nietzsche you’ll find that he covered a lot of that territory earlier and better.

    Maybe it’s just literary taste, but I find “Thus Spake Zarathustra” more inspiring than John Galt’s speech. And less long-winded.

  • carmine

    Not drawing the desired conclusions from a text is somewhat different than not reading a text. I conclude differently than you. A common criticism made by the Bible crowd too. Read The Book and you will be saved. Yeesh. On the other hand.

    Carsten, other than the the ad hominem yours are most reasonable responses. Indeed I tend toward subjectivism, and theirin lies my fundamental criticism of Ayn Rand and primarily her “Randroids”. People do feel the good of the good. People do feel what is beyond reason. Morality ultimately entails developing a refined sensitivity to other people (a la David Hume.) I too accept that reason is our finest tool for grasping and shaping our world, but unlike Hegel, I do not project the mind of man upon the order/disorder of the world. As Nietzsche puts it, “Truth is but irrefutable error.” We are the truth makers but the noumenal remains noumenal. Our reason allows us to exert our “will to power” upon the world but our reason is but US. Dr. Pat’s initial comment about my conflating the appetite with desire and thereby turning the Appolonian into the Dionysian is also an accurate criticism, but what else is the tragic nature of man but that conflict. To downplay the Dionysian is no less dangerous than to downplay the Apollonian.

  • DrPat

    So the devil (or the tragic conflict in the nature of man) made you do it?

    Carsten: neither omnipotent nor infallible but ABLE to understand…

    Or, as we see in your case, James, UNable.

  • carmine

    Dr. Pat,
    spoken as a true zealot

    “Happiness is possible only to a rational man, the man who desires nothing but rational goals, seeks nothing but rational values and finds his joy in nothing but rational actions…. Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward [?!]you can earn[?!]for the moral qualities you have achieved in your charater and person, the emotional price[?!]paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another.”

    Less heart than Kant who at least recognized the real world is transcendent even if we share an inborn moral vision that somehow magically is right. Kant said one of the funniest things to make lust palatable: “Marriage is but a contract allowing for the mutually exclusive use of one another’s genitals” Now there’s love for you!

    So Johnny Galt, Love is but barter, quid pro quo. No one really loves his own infant, the helpless as of yet characterless human being. The infant has just not yet earned it. There is no grace for us. Diogenes clinging to his very large barrel waiting to find an honest man, pretending his reason and his character has made him and his heart is cold enough to disdain those messy people all gooey and sticky with the vagaries of the world. No diapers for John Galt!

  • DrPat

    James, I reserve my zeal for dialogues with people whose opinions matter to me – a subset, if you will, of the “deserved love” Rand espouses.

    But again, you miss the mark in your conclusion that Randian virtue precludes one from loving one’s children. That “expression of one’s values” may certainly extend to the potential one sees in chance-met strangers, uneducated colleagues, and one’s own “characterless” infants.

    And “how sharper than a serpent’s tooth” it is when that potential is unfulfilled! James, you are my latest chance-met disappointment. Go, and bite no more…

  • Randy Kirk

    Take the argument one step further. My experience is that happiness is still about what is happening and is more objective that joy. Joy comes from being free of the shackles of materialism completely.

    Bill Hybels in “Decending Into Greatness” points out that we become chained to our things, our professions, our source of income. And these very things create anxiety as we attempt to maintain them, increase them, etc.

    We can even become chained to the very things we love. Our children, to continue the example, can become a chain that pulls down our marriages.

    Ayn Rand wanted to be freed from the rules, and act on her own reason, which she somehow believed would be the same as mine. I want to be freed from having to decided whose reason is right.

    And stop using my name in vain. Either that or send me money for each use.

  • Maynard

    “I want to be freed from having to decided whose reason is right.” – states Randy.

    So instead of thinking for yourself, and making up your own mind by what you think of as morals and ethics, as well as every other person’s individual free will to do the same:

    You would rather have some authority tell you what is right and everybody have to toe the line?

    Question for you, who decides?

  • Robert

    Mr. James D Carmine PhD,

    Your understanding of Miss Rand’s book, The Virtue of Selfishness is zero.

    It takes a THINKING human being to understand the values and virtues of being selfish.


  • Randy Kirk

    C’mon Maynard. You know. The Bible.
    6000 years. 2,000,000,000 adherants now on planet earth.

    Sure, even as I use the Bible as the touchstone of my reason, I still have to extrapolate from Biblical scripture to make reasoned decisions about things that are specifically covered. At least I have a touchstone that has stood the test of time.

  • Carsten


    my former argument was not an ad huminem one. In fact, what you are writing really shows you haven’t read more than the title. If you had, you would not have stated that “personal pleasure” is mans highest goal (which is somewhat different from happiness achieved through rational egoism).

    Anyway, since you are very literate with philosophers I don’t read so much: I never got this phenomenal / noumenal dichotomy, if there is any.

    So, for what is this (alleged) dichotomy good for, if not for the exploitation of men through leaders of churches and states that we cannot be sure of anything our senses provide us and instead better believe them and act their way?

    Since I am challenging the objectivist philosophy (without real success yet), too, I would be more than happy to be enlightened.


  • carmine

    Thoughtful comment Carsten. Look, my gig here is less complicated than it seems. I think the over-glorification of the rational intellect ultimately means that the lust for order is just a new variety of the pursuit of pleasure as opposed to happiness. If enlightened selfishness and the benefits this accrues to society via productive capitalism (which I do accept) really turns me on, absorbs me fascinates me, drives me, I contend I am pursuing a lust as purely as I would be if it were a lust for drugs or bling. Happiness can only occur when all aspects of the human being are lived virtuously. It is really a pretty boring Aristotelian argument I am waging against the zealots. They have found themselves in the quicksand of the cynic there is no value but character and only those of character matter. Take this to an extreme and you live alone in a barrel. Also Ayn Rand’s oddly brutal pursuit of enlightened self interest rejects the simple fact that our hearts really do break when we see people are senselessly harmed. We really do fall in love, as embarrassing as that sounds. Tragedy makes us cry, and so does real love and utter ineffible beauty. “Oh taste and see” says poet Denise Levertov. Do! The human soul is more complex than AR and her followers would like. on to next columns now. Thanks Carsten

  • Al Barger

    PhD, it’s not so much that you’re completely wrong here that’s aggravating, but the supreme sanctimony with which you carefully misrepresent Rand. Rand didn’t believe in love? You might reasonably question some of her ideas on the topic, but you can’t read her work and get that she was an ice lady who didn’t believe in love- not by any honest means based on what’s actually in her books.

    Oh, Rand didn’t believe in beauty? Read The Romantic Manifesto and say that again.

    Dishonesty and sanctimony go together like a reverse Reese cup- two yucky tastes that are even far worse together.

  • Randal


    I don’t know if you’ve stopped looking at this page altogether, but I thought I might be able to correct some misconceptions you seem to have about Objectivism even in your last post. Objectivism would agree with your statement that only a life lived in accordance with virtue can be a happy one, and it would mean this in the exact same way that Aristotle does. This is what is meant by the idea that character is what matters–to have a good character simply means that you have internalized virtue consistently.

    The crucial move you’re missing is why virtue is important. Virtue is important because your survival is not automatic, and you need guidance in order to make sure that your actions are pro-life and not self-destructive. To certain people, drugs, dishonesty, and theft may seem like joyful–and possibly even pro-life–activities, but they are all in fact self-destructive and, hence, unvirtuous.

    Rationality does not reduce to a lust for order. It reduces to a lust for living, coupled with the recognition that for a man, rationality is his means of survival.

    To address your comments about emotions, I would say there’s absolutely no contradiction between having strong emotions and being rational. People who really understand Objectivism are the most “humane” people I know. When you are living your life by the standard of living well, you tend to feel benevolence and empathy toward good and innocent others. To hear that an innocent is being tortured, well, why wouldn’t that be rationally painful? It’s an injustice, it’s a crime, it’s the worst kind of evil loose in the world. That’s terrible. To say that Objectivism does not recognize tragedy, well, just look at Wynand or Katie in the Fountainhead and try not to weep.

    You seem to have this view of Rand and Objectivism as emotionally cold. That’s just not true. The difference between your view of emotion and the Objectivist view of emotion is that you seem to think emotion can be causeless. That’s not true, even in the case of love. You may not know why you feel a certain emotion at first, but if you dig deep you can figure it out.


  • carmine

    This is by far the most enlightening response yet. Your perspective is an Ayn Rand I DO find agreeable. What motivated this post is that two 26-year-old Rand fanatics were at my home for almost a week, both Ivy Leaguers Dartmouth and Stanford and they were accepted and intend to continue their graduate education at Harvard and Cornell respectively. Their BRILLIANT heartlessness was one of the most terrifying things I had ever experienced. They pretended to be a couple, loveless and selfish beyond words. They quoted Rand regularly and professed a near religious adherence to Rand’s Objectivism. What I saw was the most extraordinary bad faith in two people I had ever witnessed. I read over three Rand books, perused various articles and found that their brutal coldness WAS justified in these books. I don’t hold Ayn Rand responsible, but I do hold the fanatical Randians fully accountable, and horribly perverse. Sort of like Heidegger embracing Nazism at the start of WWII.

  • Ian Adams

    Man, and you were doing so well until you tripped over Godwin’s Law.

    For what it’s worth, though, I agree with you. The heartlessness of Randroids is staggering.

  • nugget

    Randites aren’t particularly my favorite people.

  • SonnyD

    “Only a human being would sacrifice his own life to save his child…”

    No, many animals would and do sacrifice their lives to save their young. Some animals have this instinct and some don’t. Some humans have this instinct and some don’t. It looks like this post was written without a lot of real thought or understanding. Perhaps, the fact that the two people the writer refers to didn’t truly understand the depth of Rand’s works colored his views when he read whatever he read.

    I see in these books an understanding of love that goes beyond the desire to possess or control another.

    Mindless love, on the other hand, given just because another person happens to exist, is stupid.

  • http://stoppseudoscience carmine

    Hi Ian,
    I have the sense that invoking Godwin’s so-called law is itself an ad hominem fallacy. Particularly in this new age of various burgeoning fascisms. Perhaps the presumption that any discussion of Nazi or Hitler negates the validity of an argument is itself a sort of emotional terror concerning the objective terror of our current age. I think the time has come to let the discussion of Nazism back into the debate. In a word I think Godwin’s Law falls to Godwin’s law. It is the fallacy of dismissal and nothing else. Much today is more like Nazism than we might like to imagine.

  • Ian Adams

    Carmine: I don’t believe that invoking Godwin’s Law is in any way ad hominem; like I said, I even agree with you. I wasn’t dismissing your entire argument or anything of the sort, as you seem to believe. I meant it to say that your argument would have been just as good, if not better, had you not had the “Sort of like Heidegger embracing Nazism at the start of WWII” bit in your comment. I think that in cases like this, Godwin’s Law holds true, because there would have been plenty of other ways to effectively make your point without having to drag in Nazism into it. It is also worth noting that until I made my comment, the conversation died *last year* with your Nazi comparison. Godwin’s Law applies especially to the situation above, as it portrays the inevitable appeal to emotion as well as holding an implied ad hominem attack on the subject being compared, and resulted (either directly or indirectly) in the cessation of the conversation. Regardless of whether or not I feel that Objectivism is evil (I do) and worthy of such attack (if I were to start, I’d mention that Ayn Rand wasn’t even a good writer, in my opinion), debates simply aren’t won by means of the same tired old Nazi comparisons, and as was demonstrated, it does have the tendency to end the debate in question.

  • Carmine

    Hi Ian,
    I hope I did not seem to imply you had used an ad hominem. I absolutely did not. I VERY much appreciate your thoughtful comments. The Ayn Rand crowd worries me in their tendency toward zealotry. No, I really wonder if the so-called Godwins law is a good idea. I realize it is an easy cheap shot to accuse someone of being like a Nazi, and I have seen enough of internet flame wars to see how prevalent it is, but Naziism is something we should be able to discuss. National Socialism, fascism, Christian extremisms, Islamic extremisms and so forth all have dangerous commonalities. The tendency toward zealotry in the name of conservativism is an important subject to allow entry into the blog world. It seems to me the fear of modernity we see in the Wahabist Islamists is much like Naziism in its oppressive and violent behavior that is justified by merging religion and state in precisely the way Hitler attempted to merge religion and state. But our attempt to cut off this sort of conversation because some people are ding bats when the argue is a mistake. We all say foolish things, myself very much included, but to let the fools curtail the debate is perhaps even more foolish.

  • Ian Adams

    I hear ya. It’s that damned “Internet misunderstanding” thing. Sorry I jumped to the defensive. :)

    I agree that Naziism is something we should be able to discuss, but I think that its overuse has lead to a situation in which Godwin’s Law tends to be true; that when it is brought up *unneccesarily*, the conversation tends to wind to a close. That was my whole point; not that it’s something that shouldn’t be discussed, not that it’s something that isn’t relevant, but that if you’re trying to convince people of something, they’ve all heard the “Nazi analogy” enough that I think people just get turned off by it and lose interest in what you’re trying to convince them of.

    Back to the actual topic, though, I definitely agree that all of these types of extremism are both dangerous and unnessary. It’s funny how, even though the Randroids claim to be devout followers of reason, they often are not open to reason in discussion. But this same thing can be said of all other followers of extremist philosophies. I think that the main thing that all these different philosophical adherents overlook is that in order for their philosophy to work, it requires a change in the nature of people. Humans, as a whole, aren’t generally extremist. We’re a pretty flexible, adaptable species, and that adaptability has aided in our survival.

    Well, anyway, I’m not sure where I was going with this. Just rambling, I guess.

  • Jim George

    It is so obvious that he hasn’t even read John Galt’s speech, he probably thinks that since he has a Phd behind his name, he no longer has to read or understand anything to make a comment on it.

    In otherwords a non-valueproducing wind bag. Happiness is directly related to value creation and can’t be faked.


  • Jim George

    One more thing,

    It is more heartless to keep the begger in his place by teaching him that he can rely on hand-outs then by teaching him to use his mind and reason to create values that he can trade.

    Who really is the heartless one?


  • Victoria Farmer

    I think you are misinterpreting her view. Here she is explaining it herself in a sterling interview Mike Wallis gave Ayn Rand with more video in conjunction.

  • carmine

    Look, I like Rand, I teach Rand, but I think Hayek and Nietzsche are better ways to look at things. I also actually believe that selfless love exists, beyond egoism. Men willing die for each other in war, fathers willingly die for their families. To conclude that is merely self deception is simply wrong. I was trained as a Sartrean Existentialist, and I find that the same problem with Sartre. Selfishness ultimately comes to narcissism unless we recognize, horror of horrors, humans actual have some raw empathy for each other. Capitalism depends on this. Adam Smith also wrote “A theory of moral sentiment” influenced by HUME. Rand is far too monolithic to be more than a guide post.

  • roger nowosielski

    Hey, Carmine. Interesting comment.

    But how do you get Hayek and Nietzsche in the same company as Rand? What’s the connection?

  • carmine

    Nietzsche and Hayek are both fundamentally opposed to dogmatic adherence to communitarianism, as is Rand. But Nietzsche is focussed more on the atheist component, Hayek on economics. Yet both begin with profound respect for individual autonomy. The Randians tend toward sheepish adherence without critical distance.

  • roger nowosielski

    Interesting take.

    How do you place Foucault and recent criticism of community by such as Miranda Joseph, Jean Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben, and generally speaking, post-modernist thought?

  • roger nowosielski

    BTW, Carmina,

    I invite you to visit a long-standing thread (over 2000 comments thus far and still going strong) on matters that might be of interest to you.

    I’d welcome your contribution(s)


    Here’s the link.

  • roger nowosielski

    Sorry for misspelling your name.

  • carmine

    Despite my enjoyment of Nietzsche, generally along lines of Fukuyama’s the notion of “men without chests,” I have come to abhor the post-modernist intellectual disease. Postmodernism is really a kind of cultural psychosis. Sure Foucault has a point in Madness and Civilization, but the entire groovy truth as social construct leads only to the death of millions and millions and millions.

  • roger nowosielski

    A rather radical dismissal of the entire school of thought, Carmine, and there I was, hoping for extending our discussion circle.

    Interestingly enough, though, Foucaldian thought does lead to an eventual, if not roundabout way, of reinforcing the power and the efficacy of the moral agency – which seems to be the intended aim of your own intellectual development (as per your own weblog).

    Which isn’t to say it encourages mass movements and upheavals – so you may regard is as an “intellectual disease” and impotent for the fact. Well, I’d argue that it’s precisely the opposite in the most important respects.

  • carmine

    good point, to be continued off for a week

  • roger nowosielski

    You’re quite a writer, Carmine, great way with words.

    You ought to be careful, though, because you’re being overtaken by passion. Nothing wrong with that as long as you recognize that philosophizing is a kind of passion – akin to religion you appear to despise.

    Anyhow, it’s a challenging view coming from a conservative, and I don’t make such pronouncements lightly.

    I don’t know what your academic writing is like, but for the purposes of public consumption, you leave nothing to be desired.

    Looking forward to future contact.

    Indeed, we should be able to engage in a hopefully fruitful discussion in the foreseeable future.