Hiding Cynicism Behind Objectivism

A short insight into Ayn Rand

I sat down on a Sunday afternoon, delving into the works of philosopher Ayn Rand. I couldn’t but notice that I had been encapsulated by her philosophy Objectivism. The foundations of it lay in reality as an objective absolute, free from the human conscious and perception. The concept of reason being the only valid form of discerning reality that is free from the arbitrary decree of society. Her philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as heroic with the pursuit of happiness the only moral purpose of his life; that he exists primarily to serve his rational self-interest. Rand advocates for the ideal political-economical system as a form of Laissez-Faire Capitalism, where the government can in retaliation only act when the fundamental rights of a man has been aggressed upon. The insinuation — that under rational self-interest, individualism would prevail over Altruism. She asks of us not to besmirch it with kindness, goodwill or respect for the rights of others; these are not primaries but consequences that make altruism impossible.

Ayn Rand makes a critical error in conflating Altruism with Collectivism. She fails to fully recognize that though humans are not constituted for self-sacrifice, they have an innate desire to see others succeed. Another flaw in her work belies in the seemingly innocuous assumption that all men will act in rationality. The world she envisions is a positive-sum game where individuals co-operate in mutual self-interest and do not infringe on the rights of others. The notion that all men are rational is unfounded and has been evidenced by Alain Ledoux’s game of guessing 2/3 of the average.

She asserts that to be anti-reason is intrinsically against morality and that religion is contradictory to reason. Aristotle, to whom Rand oft gives an ode as the sole inspiration of her works, claims that while traditional religion may be a farce, religious institutions are integral in upholding the moral fabric of society. Yet on the whole, Aristotle leans to a teleological theory based on metaphysical distinctions. Her critics have even claimed she is out to destroy almost every edifice in the contemporary way of life; the string of serendipitous consequences paints a false image of idealism.

It would be folly to ignore Ayn Rand’s influence in modern politics and economics. Her philosophy has been touted by the likes of Alan Greenspan, Peter Thiel and Margaret Thatcher.

Nearly 40 years after Ayn Rand’s demise, her legacy lives on virtually hiding cynicism behind objectivism.

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Kapil Agrawal

Kapil Agrawal

Film Enthusiast. Racing Fanatic. Music Producer.

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