Ayn Rand Day 2018 is on Friday, February 2, 2018: Conservatives seem to admire Ayn Rand, but none stick to her philosophy?
Friday, February 2, 2018 is Ayn Rand Day 2018. Ayn Rand on C.S. Lewis Rand wrote some really nasty, but really funny things about Lewis.
Ayn Rand is not someone to admire. In her journal circa 1928 Rand quoted the statement, "What is good for me is right," a credo attributed to a prominent figure of the day, William Edward Hickman. Her response was enthusiastic. "The best and strongest expression of a real man's psychology I have heard," she exulted. (Quoted in Ryan, citing Journals of Ayn Rand, pp. 21-22.)
She described him as, "A wonderful, free, light consciousness" born of the utter absence of any understanding of "the necessity, meaning, or importance of other people."
Hickman was a forger, an armed robber, a child kidnapper, and a multiple murderer.
Ayn Rand took both Medicare and Social Security.
Ayn Rand? Atlas Shrugged? modern day?
Rand was not thinking, and so to claim she was brilliant at anything other than self promotion is just an example of her style - a faux romantic style that aims low but claims high. And this style adheres easily to the problems Rand, as a rather common intellectual living in the 20th century, did not fully comprehend. It adheres easily to the spectre that provides the backround of the 20th century - ideology as that which conveniently fills the anxious void left by the gradual disintegration of certain traditions in the West. Put differently, in response to this ever-increasing awareness of the disintegration of traditions, the sensitivity of Rousseau compelled him toward the intelligent examination of love (amour de soi/amour-propre), whereas the absence of sensitivity compelled Rand toward what is essentially loveless: the life that the iron-hand granted to Rand herself, and in a perverse way, Rand overcelebrated as amor fati. But also, and this is another important fact, Rand seemed aware of what her superiors, like Nabokov, had elucidated: compared to Europeans, most Americans, especially young adults, lived as happy barbarians with no shortage of spendable income, ready for frivolous spending. Enter Rand with her solicitous paperback novels. No surprise the favor they find amongst the young and naive. Some of these readers will grow older, be exposed to the alternatives through mature yet leisurely reading, and come to know what the phrase "joyless quest for joy" means.
Who is Ayn Rand and why the big debate over Altruism?
Ayn Rand invoked Aristotle back into the philosophical discussion. This is inimical to the interests of relativists, collectivists, existentialists, and others who do not choose "objectivity." Objectivity is inimical to them because it requires admitting there are answers to questions.
She also did what philosophers do: commented on currect events using her unique epistemology and her metaphysics and ethics. She gave answers for questions. For this, she is villified.
She defines "altruism" as the expectation that one will sacrifice some part of himself because society expects it. She said everyone is free to help others, but not out of "social duty." That duty was altruism.
She recognized all the questions that put emergencies in the forefront of the subject: "What if you saw a man drowning, and it might cost you your own life to save him?" and declared that the "ethics of emergencies" were not metaphysically important; it is not a crime to save one's self before saving others.
To give help because you want to is noble if you do it because it serves your own interests while at the same time benefiting others, according to Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. Doing it for one's own benefit is taking the "social duty" out of helping the needy. People don't like that she denies "duty." (Kant gave us the modern definition of duty.)
She has taken the role of Galileo to Copernicus, although I'm not sure she saw it that way. However, Galileo had only to convince the Church; Rand is against all the political correctness in today's world, and in a world that claims there are no answers because nothing can be proven (this is how Kant influenced philosophy on the whole) she was full of black-and-white answers.
She is discussed more in this forum than any other philosopher and it is almost all bad press. But her critics wish to split hairs with her and make the claim that "doing it because it needs done" is not altruism.
It is altruism if: "because it needs done" is inimical to your own best interests. If the need is not inimical to your interests even if it does not coincide with what you believed was your own interest, it is not duty to do it. At that point, you are under no coercion to decide, and thus you have free will to choose. You can not have "free will" under coercive rules of "duty."
Modern philosophers want you to accept "duty" as altruism, but they call altruism "what needs to be done." I.e., they expect it of you.