I agree with much of Ayn Rand’s reasoning and logic, she has left us a number of eminently quotable quotes, but Dipnut of Isn’tapundit once expressed the definitive reason I have not swallowed the Objectivist philosophy hook, line, and sinker:
Perhaps the biggest mistake an intellectual can make is to try to parlay his one brilliant insight into a unified theory of existence. Ayn Rand made this mistake with Objectivism. Objectivism was useful for thinking in certain limited realms, but Rand sought to apply Objectivist thinking to every aspect of the human experience, including love. The result is a sterile philosophical landscape, extending out of sight in all directions.Tellingly, Rand was unable to live according to her ideals. This is part of what makes Rand so disagreeable; the almost hysterical denial of subjectivity’s inevitable, essential role in our lives. And it makes her not only disagreeable, but wrong.
I was therefore amused when I found via Prof. Reynolds this morning, Douglas Kern’s A TCS Christmas Carol. Kern offers various versions of the story from the perspective of different modern-day personalities. (Terry McAuliff’s was a howler.) Like Prof. Reynolds, though, I thought the Ayn Rand version was particularly scathingly accurate – and another illustration of why I am not an objectivist:
Ayn Rand: The ruggedly handsome and weirdly articulate Ebeneezer Scrooge is a successful executive held back by the corrupt morality of a society that hates success and fails to understand the value of selfishness. So Scrooge explains that value in a 272-page soliloquy. Deep down, Scrooge’s enemies know that he is right, but they resent him out of a sense of their own inferiority. Several hot sex scenes and unlikely monologues later, Scrooge triumphs over all adversity — except a really mean review by Whittaker Chambers. Meanwhile, Tiny Tim croaks. Socialized medicine is to blame.
Read the whole thing, though. Very funny.
Except the very last one, which is funny as hell.