The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism
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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
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
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
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
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
But then I met a fellow student in college who was reviewing in the student newspaper the books by Ayn Rand that he was reading, including this one. I reme ...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
The first part of her argument does make sense if you boil rationality down to a purely biologica ...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
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
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
That said, this book isn't really what it sounds like. It's a collection of essays by Ayn Rand and Nathanial Branden that are not pro-heathenism per se. Rand and Branden try to explain how the philosophy ...more
I disagree that her philosophy is founded on a Dr. Spok mentality.Her ...more
Read "The Argument from Intimidation", the final essay in THE VIRTUE OF SELFISHNESS, then read just about any of the one-star reviews here in which readers offer their "rebuttals" of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy. You will notice the vast majority of "critiques" are filled with such witticisms as "If anything written by Ayn Rand means a lot to you and you're not going through adolescence you should be ashamed of yourself."
This is precisely the kind of meaningless drivel th ...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
Those that have read Rand know that her writing st ...more
Unlike inanimate matter, life is goal seeking. Its end is survival, and the means to that end is to secure energy so that it can live. Each kind of life is structured differently in how it survives. Plants are stationary absorbers of energy. Animals are mobile seekers of energy. Both function physiologically in an autonomous manner. Like all life, humans (“man”), are teleological beings. For Rand, there is no philo ...more
Rand's philosophy has/is having an enormous impact on our political sphere today. Yet it's always puzzled me how politicians who claim to practice a religion that basically commands altruism (especially in the New Testament) could so enthusiastically support s ...more
"For the reason that makes you afraid of it."
The Virtue of Selfishness is all about the individual and his rights. Anyone who dares to read this book should stay open minded until the end of each chapter. I found her writing and beliefs liberating and I feel no pressure from anyone else to live out my dreams, nor do I care about ...more