The Virtue of Selfishness
Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged, philosophically the most challenging bestsel...more
Reading Rand reminds me of teaching freshman composition at university years ago. There’s not nearly as many spelling errors, but Rand’s pronouncements bear all the markers of severe Dunning-Kruger effect: under-researched, un-theorized, insufficiently self-aware.
For instance, this text has a tendency to adopt dogmatic solecisms, such as “In popular usage, the word ‘selfishness’ is a synonym of evil” (vii)--uh, not really. This is a nasty problem throughout t ...more
Trump probably won't become the Republican nominee, but not because most Republicans reject his premisses. No: it will be because he states these arguments too crudely for mass public consumption. He takes the whispered dogmas of the Reagan, Bush and Tea Party years and shrieks them through a megaphone. The nominee will share similar ideas, but express them more subtly. In case you think these ideas are marginal to the party, reme...more
Rand was as anti-community and pro-individual as anyone I have ever read. Adamantly opposed to coercive state and religious power, she built a philosophy, Objectivism, on rational thinking and reason. She became too dogmatic and rigid for my taste in ...more
Although she tends to take things a bit too far, Rand touches on an often overlooked point of life: we are the ones best-equipped to care for ourselves. It is a wonderful and necessary aspect of humanity when we chose to show charity and care for others, but when is it appropriate to sacrifice ourselves for the well-being of another? You would jump into a rushing river to save your child, but would you do the same for an elderly stranger? A young stranger? ...more
Towards the end of the school year, a couple of kids in class had some serious self-destructive behavior--not just your run-of-the-mill, "I didn't do my homework." I dropped math for the day and we had an outstanding class discussion about how a plant will grow around a rock to seek light, and that roots grow deep to seek water--doing everything it can to sustain itse ...more
The first part of her argument does make sense if you boil rationality down to a purely biologica ...more
There were a couple of chapters I liked in particular. I liked the discussion about the importance of property rights. Rand asserts that there are no individual rights without property rights. If people cannot claim the fruits of their labors as their own, they are completely at the mercy ...more
Like most Western philosophers, Rand is a dualistic thinker, which I find simplistic. To her, value and morality are objective, inherent in human nature. There is Self and Other, Moral and I ...more
I disagree that her philosophy is founded on a Dr. Spok mentality.Her ...more
It's even better than the academics who cite things they haven't written yet.
Why have I picked it up? I'm sleeping badly. It made me closely examine what's in the bookshelf in the room in which I am generally living at the moment.
Oh yes. I see what's happened. Many years ago when I first moved into this house, I very sensibly put all the philosophy out in the spare bedroom where no ...more
Those that have read Rand know that her writing st ...more
This morality is based on the needs of man’s survival, with one’s self as the standard of value, (hence selfishness,) and the pursuit of one’s own happiness as the moral ideal. Or, to quote Miss Rand: ...more
What we are seeing is the constant abdication of private rights t ...more
There are two articles here that I think many would f ...more
Ayn Rand is an event. She had one of the most astute and utterly confident minds of all time. Whether she's right about what she thinks is a different story. But make no mistake--Ayn Rand thinks about thinking. She is a true intellectual.
That said, I think "The Virtue of Selfishness" is not her strongest effort. For starters it has an uncharacteristically provocative title. Which is okay, but when a title is too sensationalistic (a la Ivan Boesky's "Greed is good.") I'm always skeptical. There a...more
A decade or so later, I read that she was buried with a six-foot-tall floral arrangement in the shape of a dollar sign beside her ...more
But I cannot internalize it.
Rand makes t ...more
“The basic social principle of the Objectivist ethics is that just as life is an end in itself, so every living human being is an end in himself, not the means to the ends or the welfare of others – and, therefore, that man must live for his ...more